Human Rights on TrialUniversity of Pennsylvania Press Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life—part of a larger story of tribal and indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe.
The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per person, of any country in the world. During the 1990s, its government began awarding extensive logging and mining concessions to multinational companies from China, Indonesia, Canada, and elsewhere. Saramaka Maroons, the descendants of self-liberated African slaves who had lived in that rainforest for more than 300 years, resisted, bringing their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In 2008, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered its landmark judgment in their favor, their efforts to protect their threatened rainforest were thrust into the international spotlight. Two leaders of the struggle to protect their way of life, Saramaka Headcaptain Wazen Eduards and Saramaka law student Hugo Jabini, were awarded the Goldman Prize for the Environment (often referred to as the environmental Nobel Prize), under the banner of "A New Precedent for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples."
Anthropologist Richard Price, who has worked with Saramakas for more than forty years and who participated actively in this struggle, tells the gripping story of how Saramakas harnessed international human rights law to win control of their own piece of the Amazonian forest and guarantee their cultural survival.
Africans Discover America
Land, Spirits, Power
Earth, Water, Sky
The Dam at Afobaka
Rockets at Kourou
Sovereignty and Territory
The Aloeboetoe Incursion
The Moiwana Massacre
The Depredations Continue
Developments on the Ground
"Rainforest Warriors is, for activists and jurists, a lesson; for perpetrators of human rights violations, a warning; and for academics, journalists, and anyone else whose career depends on fieldwork, a hope that our work can one day reciprocate the favors of our host communities and study 'subjects.'"—Human Rights Review
"An extraordinary work of remarkable depth and consequence. . . . Price is an exceptional ethnographer of Saramaka communities, histories, and individual lives. He is also a clear and informed ethnographer of emergent human rights regimes. Humane, reflective, actively written, and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic."—Donald Brennis, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Winner the 2012 Best Book Award in human rights from the American Political Science Association
- Winner of the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society