Annalena Eckton grew up in Portland, Oregon, then moved to Worcester, Massachusetts to attend Clark University. After backpacking through South America at the age of 18, she completely fell in love with the culture and knew she wanted to orient her studies to focus on that particular region of the world. She chose to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, and conducted research on the negative socio-environmental impacts of mega development and extractive projects. In the spring of 2020, Annalena graduated from Clark with a degree in International Development and Social Change, specializing in Human Rights in Latin America. She is passionate about indigenous rights and environmentalism, and strongly believes in empowering alternative development visions for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Roselyn Poton , SIREJ Vice-President Roselyn completed her undergrad at the University of Oregon earning a Bachelor of Science in General Social Science with a concentration in Globalization, Environment, and Policy and an International Studies Minor and Global Health Minor. In the Summer of 2019, she was one of ten students that went on the inaugural study abroad program this student organization is affiliated with, “Indigenous Rights & Environmental Justice in Bolivia”. Several of the 2019 participants, including her, founded SIREJ shortly after returning from Bolivia. That same year in the Fall she traveled to Brazil as an Oxford Consortium Human Rights Fellow and attended a week long workshop on “Community, Identity, and Human Rights”. Her experiences and studies she had in both countries illustrated for her the importance of community and identity in advocating for human rights which also encompasses indigenous rights and intersects with environmental justice. In addition to her volunteer work through SIREJ she practices as a Licensed Practical Nurse and has a little over 10 years of combined experience in the healthcare field as a nurse and Certified Nursing Assistant working in a variety of settings. Beginning Fall 2020, she begins her studies at Oregon Law as a Graduate student studying Conflict & Dispute Resolution with plans to apply to their law program and goals to one day serve others as a lawyer and conflict mediator.
Founding Member Media & Communications Chair Website Development
Dr. Derrick Hindery is a geographer and Associate Professor in the Department of International Studies at the University of Oregon. He has conducted collaborative research in Bolivia with Chiquitano/Monkóx, Guarayo, Ayoreo and other indigenous peoples since the late 1990s on the effects of pipelines and mines built by multinational corporations (e.g. Enron and Shell) and financed by international financial institutions on indigenous communities and the environment. Professor Hindery is the author of From Enron to Evo: Pipeline Politics, Global Environmentalism, and Indigenous Rights in Bolivia. He has supported various community initiatives in Bolivian indigenous territories, including non-timber forest products (e.g. medicinal oils), ecotourism, handicrafts, music, environmental education, institutional strengthening and outreach. He previously worked at Amazon Watch, where he was involved with campaigns supporting indigenous peoples in Colombia (e.g. the U'wa in their struggles against Occidental Petroleum) and Ecuador (Chevron/Texaco).
Jose Martinez Sociology Professor, Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno
Professor José Martinez has served as the head of Sociology at the Gabriel René Moreno Autonomous University (UAGRM) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. A sociologist who conducts research on development, social movements, indigenous peoples, extractive industries and the environment, Martinez has served as a university professor at UAGRM since 1997. He is an associate investigator at the Center for Social Investigation in Support of Development (CISAD) and a member of the science committee. On a national level, he is a member of Bolivia’s Climate Justice Program. Martinez has published books and articles on forest management, deforestation, indigenous rights, indigenous history, impacts of fire on ecosystem biodiversity, protected areas and indigenous territories. He has taught courses on the anthropology of the Amazon, Chaco and Eastern Lowlands of Bolivia; Evaluation of Social and Environmental Impacts; Political Sociology; Research Methods and Techniques and Community Forestry. He worked with the territorial planning office (CPTI) at the lowland national indigenous organization (CIDOB), heading up the satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems unit, produced an Atlas of indigenous territories in Bolivia and worked with indigenous peoples to map and was instrumental in the creation of various large-scale indigenous territories in the country. Professor Martinez has been featured in several TV interviews on topics such as extractive industries, indigenous rights, gender and environment and politics.
Zulma Villegas Gomez’s passion for science and technology led her to study computer science at the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (Higher University of San Simón), located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, but her inclination towards people encouraged her to become a geographer, working with communities and the environment, particularly as a systems specialist of geographic information (GIS) and remote sensing. In recent years she has been involved in several research teams related to indigenous peoples, the environment and socio-environmental evaluation. Currently, her area of interest is the relationship between the environment and society, focused mainly on deforestation processes in Bolivia. She has collaborated with two important research centers: the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum (MHNNKM-UAGRM) as Head of the Geography and Informatics Laboratory, and the Center for Planning of Indigenous Territories (CPTI) within the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivia (CIDOB).