This paper reports on the gendered impacts of Honduras’ neoliberal agrarian legislation within the context of tourism development. It draws on ethnographic research with the Afro-indigenous Garifuna to demonstrate how women have been most affected by land privatization on the north coast of Honduras. Garifuna communities are matrifocal and land had historically been passed through matrilineal lines. As the coastal land market expands, Garifuna women have lost their territorial control. The paper also treats Garifuna women’s activism as they resist coastal development strategies and shifts in landholding. While women have been key figures in the Garifuna movement to title and reclaim lost ancestral land, the movement as a whole has yet to make explicit the gendered dimensions of the land struggle. The neglect may be attributed to the activists’ adoption of an indigenous rights discourse.


A Spanish translation of this article appears in JIWS, Vol. 9, No. 3: La Pérdida de la Tierra y el Activismo de las Mujeres Garífunas en la Costa Norte de Honduras

Author Biography

Keri Brondo is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Memphis. She is an applied anthropologist engaged in teaching and research in the areas of gender, development and social justice, organizational anthropology (NGOs and business), and applied participatory action research and assessment. She has over ten years of research experience in both urban and rural communities in Central America and the United States.