Nahuat Pipil Indigenous Resistance, Victories and Struggles: Sensunapán River Hydroelectric Dams in Nahuizalco, Sonsonate, El Salvador


This visit's primary exploratory research objective was to learn more about the Nahuat Pipil Indigenous Resistance with the Sensunapán River and Hydroelectric Dams in Nahuizalco, Sonsonate, El Salvador. My goal was to learn how this environmental issue impacts their livelihoods and the environment in the region. I was able to accomplish more objectives than I had set for myself while staying with this community. I built rapport with community leaders, visited the capital to submit documents for the government to acknowledge indigenous people, met with professors and elders from other communities, visited the dams, and met with the Nahuat Pipil Tribal Council of Nahuizalco. I decided to expand my exploratory research goals to analyze how the new legal tender–Bitcoin–is impacting specific communities in the region; I was specifically interested in learning how the transformation of natural resources into electricity is being used to create virtual mines and how that is displacing and impacting communities. Communities have mixed views on the Bitcoin issue. I also visited a remote island near where Bitcoin City is supposed to be built. This island has an interesting story that needs to be studied further; it appears to be an anomaly. It has not been impacted by various violent events that have taken place in the country, and the ecological story of the region is fascinating. I also centered on water issues (these are rooted in extreme sedimented inequalities); gangs' environmental impact, and the current state of exception; finally, I explored my indigenous heritage and the displacement my family has experienced. This was my first time returning to El Salvador after my family was displaced into the US. I was too ambitious during this visit. I tried to explore too many topics during this visit. However, I wanted to ensure I took advantage of this opportunity. Now I have too many things to write about and too many projects to pursue. I think I pushed myself too far because I returned with COVID-19, and I was fatigued to the point I needed bed rest for more than two weeks after my return. Overall I think it was worth it. From what I know, I was the first in my Ph.D. program to make this trip to El Salvador, and now I have a long list of suggestions for other scholars interred in the region. My goal is to do everything I can to support scholars from Central America so they can conduct research in their own countries. Central America is not getting the attention it deserves on these topics–we can change this together!

Deibi Daryin Sibrian
Publication date: 
October 30, 2022
Publication type: 
Student Research