• The Ecuadorian multicultural state. implications for indigenous land rights

Lambert Academic Publishing
Publication date:

(Isabela Figueroa is a Brazilian/Ecuadorian lawyer specializing in indigenous peoples'' rights and extractive industries. She has completed legal studies in Brazil, Ecuador, the United States, and Canada, and has worked with a number of indigenous organizations from Amazon Basin countries to raise awareness and advocate for indigenous rights.)


This thesis argues that multiculturalism is a principle for interpreting the 1998 Ecuadorian Constitution and, in light of that, the inalienability of indigenous lands reflects the exercise of an inter-generational right and protects the exercise of indigenous self- governance. The Constitution also establishes the state''s ownership of oil and any non- renewable resources in the subsoil. Most of Ecuador''s oil reserves are located in the Amazon region, which is inhabited by several indigenous peoples. The intersection of the property systems for the surface and the mineral estate is a realm of constant conflict between indigenous peoples and the Ecuadorian state. The thesis argues that the 1998 Constitution prevents the multicultural state from extinguishing indigenous property rights even by resorting to expropriation based on a claim of public interest. Thus the thesis argues that indigenous consent is a condition precedent to state authorization of oil projects inside indigenous lands. This thesis was awarded the Chancellor''s Graduate Medal, recognizing outstanding scholastic achievement among students at the Master''s level from the University of Calgary in 2009.

MATERIAS: Ecuador, multicultural state, Ecuadorian 1998 Constitution, indigenous peoples, extractive industry, Land Rights, inalienable lands.