Creolized Conservation: A Belizean Creole Community Encounters a Wildlife Sanctuary


In this article, I analyze the implementation and management of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in rural Creole (Afro-Caribbean) Belize as a process of creolization. Encounters between different villagers, Belizean and international conservationists, and government officials in creating and running the sanctuary generated both synthesis and disjuncture in the conservation policy and practice that emerged. Differently positioned actors shifted their claims depending on context, reflecting the ambivalence that characterizes rural Creole culture, to further their interests as they created conservation in Belize. I use the metaphor of creolization to capture the ambivalence of subjects as they adopt varying and, sometimes, contradictory positions in fields of uneven relations of power. The metaphor shows how temporary syntheses emerge out of the encounters between these subjects. My analysis thus reveals how “local” peoples, often imagined as pawns in global processes, can be creative agents in the generation of global forms