Students will conduct group research on the role of one of the following groups to determine whether or not this group would be for/against a permit to drill oil on U'wa land in Colombia.
- Occidental Petroleum: multinational oil company headquartered in California
- U'wa tribe: people indigenous to northeastern Colombia
- Environmental activists: international community of activists that support positive environmental change and development
- Colombian Ministry: branch of the Colombian government that is responsible for issuing oil drilling permits on land within their country
Each group will research this situation from one of the above perspectives. As a culmination, they will present their group's opinion at a mock court hearing in response to this question:
"Should the Colombian Ministry of the Environment grant Occidental Petroleum a permit to allow them to drill for oil on U'wa land in Colombia?"
NOTE: On May 3rd 2002, Occidental Petroleum announced withdrawal of plans to drill for oil on U'wa lands, stating that there's no oil there. Although this situation is finished, it left a huge impact on Colombia, especially for the U'Wa people. We will debate this issue as if we were making a decision before the withdrawal.