Misak Indigenous Leaders Come to Mull

The Isle of Ulva

The North-West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) and LifeMosaic invite you to meet with community leaders from the indigenous Misak people of Colombia, when they visit Dervaig, NW Mull.

On April 24-25th, there are unique opportunities to meet with Misak indigenous leaders, as they tour Scotland to share their experiences of long-term community visioning and planning, and learn about Scotland’s journey towards land reform and community empowerment.

This event is part of a wider Scotland tour by Jeremias Tunubala and Liliana Pechene, who will be holding events with communities in Mull, Eigg, Skye, a residential training on Bute, and a final event at the Scottish Parliament. 

We’d appreciate your support to help make the tour happen. We’re looking to cover a short fall in funding through a crowdfunder - have a look here and contribute if you can!

There will be two public events in Dervaig, NW Mull:

Evening gathering with indigenous Misak leaders : Tuesday 24th April: Dervaig Village Hall 6-9 pm:  This informal event is free and open to all, young and old. Donations  welcome. Please bring a dish for a potluck meal. Bring instruments, songs and poetry.  Please register your interest here so we can gauge numbers.

Workshop on the Misak ‘Plan de Vida’ : Wednesday 25th April: Dervaig Village Hall 10-3pm. For those who would like to deepen their understanding of the approach. This event is free, with donations appreciated. Please register your interest for free tickets for the workshop here so we can gauge numbers. See more details below.

About the Misak

Over hundreds of years the Misak were progressively displaced from their lands and almost disappeared as a people. Over the last 40 years they have reclaimed their territory, their culture and their futures against all odds. They did this by developing the ‘Plan de Vida’ or Life Plan, an exceptional approach for communities to re-envision and take control of their futures. Pioneered by the Misak in the 1980s, this approach has been adopted by hundreds of indigenous peoples and communities across South America and beyond.

The upcoming events on Mull will provide a space to learn from and reflect on the Misak experiences in the context of Mull’s history of clearances and loss, but also at a time when community ownership can bring economic, social and environmental benefits for Ulva, North West Mull, and beyond.

•                After being displaced from their land and almost disappearing as a people, how did the Misak reclaim their land and culture?

•                9 out of 10 Misak youth who seek work or study outside come back to live in the Misak territory. How have the Misak overcome the challenge of rural outmigration?

•                The 26,000 Misak have developed self-governance. They run their healthcare including a traditional health clinic, a communications programme including a printing press, and an educational system from pre-school through to the Misak university. How have they achieved all this and what parallels can be drawn with the challenges facing rural areas in Scotland?

About the Workshop

The workshop (Wednesday 25th April: Dervaig Village Hall 10-3pm) will provide an opportunity to learn from the approach and reflect on how the Life Plan has helped the Misak and hundreds of other indigenous peoples revive their cultural memory, deepen their collective consciousness, and strengthen their self-determination.

In a Life Plan a community needs to define: What is our vision of the future? What skills do we need to (re)gain control? How do we recover our commons and our cultures? How do we tell a story of abundance, creativity, inclusivity and generosity? What institutions, agreements, and policies do we need to put into place that bring this about?

During the workshop will briefly look into steps and practices that go into developing a Life Plan. We will reflect on what is already happening in Scotland and specifically on Mull, and how we can build on these experiences. What opportunities do we have? What is holding us back?

We will look at the following questions:

  • How do we build a reality that is based on a more collective, collaborative and interconnected vision of development?
  • How do we reconnect with our collective memories, cultures, identities and nature?
  • How do we move from engagement, co-creation and consultation to community-led visioning and planning?
  • How can young people play more of a role, rooted in their communities’ stories?
  • How can Scottish communities determine their own destinies?

Other events during the Plan de Vida Scotland tour include:

Tues 24th – Wed 25th April, Isle of Mull, with North-West Mull Community Woodland Company: A series of events to learn from and reflect on the Misak experiences in the context of Mull’s history of clearances and loss, but also at a time when community ownership can bring economic, social and environmental benefits for Ulva, North West Mull, and beyond.

Fri 27th– Sat 28th April, Isle of Eigg, with the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust: Last year Eigg celebrated the 20th anniversary of their community buy-out. This visit will be an exchange sharing the experience of those 20 years, and the Misak experience of regaining their rights, culture and territory.

Wed 2nd May, Camuscross, Isle of Skye with Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative: A workshop on community-led development and an evening Ceilidh.

Thurs 3rd May - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye: Exchanging experiences on cultural revitalisation and the importance of mother tongue language and culture in community-led development.

Fri 4th- Sun 7th  May - An Tearman, Isle of Bute, with Centre for Human Ecology: a 3-day in depth residential workshop on Plan de Vida for practitioners and activists.

Tues 8th May, Edinburgh, with Mark Ruskell MSP: an evening at the Scottish Parliament about the Misak Plan de Vida, an exceptional indigenous approach to community visioning and planning.

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