Indigenous peoples, national parks and participation: a case study of conflicts in Canaima National Park, Venezuela
This paper provides a resume of a D.Phil. research project. The overall aim of the project is to study and analyse the nature of conflicts in Canaima National Park, with emphasis on their history, structural causes and power relations. It seeks to find out which forms of participation are more likely to contribute to managing conflicts in national parks established in indigenous peopleÆs territories. The paper gives a brief background and rationale to the research project; presents the main points of argument and objectives; describes the project site and existing conflicts; and explains the research methodology which combines a community case study approach with traditional qualitative research methods. The paper discusses the spread of natural resource conflict management in Latin America; present trends and gaps in analysing conflicts in national parks; and the need to go beyond perception and stakeholder analysis in order to understand conflicts. The preliminary results of the study are presented regarding the nature of conflicts over implementation of park policy with focus on the use of fire by the Pemon people; tourism development; and the building of a power line to Brazil. The role of power in shaping different forms of participation is analysed focussing on the meaning of participation for the different factors. Based on the preliminary results, the paper proposes forms of participation that are likely to contribute to conflict management in Canaima National Park, focussing on the main conflicts (as mentioned above). An attachment gives further details of the field work process.