In recent years the Latin American region has become a stage for the emergence of new indigeneities, that is, the organization of new political subjects based on new typologies of indigenous identities that challenge the narrow constructions of indigeneity that require fixed geographic or cultural-racial characteristics. This paper aims to contribute to this growing research and literature as it presents a case study in which an environmentally dispossessed group has implemented a novel ethnic strategy based on the concepts of “ancestrality” and “peoplehood” in order to demand collective mangrove land titles, and thus, gain more control over their natural resources. In particular, it addresses the reasons explaining why the mangrove gatherers’ grassroots movement in Ecuador has declared itself to be the Pueblos Ancestrales del Ecosistema Manglar (Ancient People of the Mangrove Ecosystem). This paper argues that this ecosystem-based ethnic identity responds to a total lack of recognition and valuing of a cultural way of life with nature (mangroves). This case study highlights how current natural resource depletion is pushing novel deployments of indigeneity by the fact that this legal category entails rights to collective land and at the same time highlights the dangers of exclusion resulting from granting collective land titles exclusively in terms of indigeneity.
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