by Lucas Dourojeanni
News about the Amazon often shows the contamination and devastation of the rainforest, exploited by a greedy industry, unable to provide clear answers and concrete proposals to save it. In the midst of the outrage, the indigenous peoples stood up protesting against this unsustainable situation, demanding the protection of their livelihoods and the forests in which they were born.
A sparkle of hope
Within the chaos, a sparkle of hope shines from a small community in the Ecuadorian jungle, where many voices come together to share encouragement, support and, above all, answers – for all who fight for their rights and put All Eyes on the Amazon.
The Kofan community of Sinangoe, in the northern municipality of Lago Agrio, province of Sucumbíos, hosted the first learning journey of the All Eyes in the Amazon program. More than 20 local and indigenous organizations from Brazil, Ecuador and Peru came together to share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned on defending and protecting indigenous territories.
Powerful legal action
The history of the Kofan people and their successful fight against mining activities on their territory is incredibly valuable to the other organizations, and served as inspiration for the participants. Thanks to the combination of ancestral knowledge and technological advances, the Kofan community managed to put together a powerful legal action, with evidence collected through drones and cell phones, to pursue the protection of their territory and the environment.
Sharing challenges and solutions
Without doubt, each country has its own challenges and its own contexts. Adriano Karipuna from Brazil commented that “the government is […] anti-indigenous, since it has allowed invaders to set fire and destroy our territory. We must insist on the responsibility of the government to protect indigenous lands... the responsibility of conserving forests is not only not only our responsibility, but also the government’s. We therefore must demand that they do not destroy it.
Key to success is commitment, collaboration and organization
For Jaime Corisepa from Peru, it is also important to open the dialogue with the government. He points out that “the dialogue should not be confused with consensus or agreeing. It is thanks to the willingness to talk and listen that the Amarakaeri Community Reserve exists.”
Alexandra Narváez from Ecuador shares that the Ecuadorian government has turned its back on indigenous peoples, so they made the decision to exercise their right to self-determination, recognized in the Ecuadorian constitution.
The representatives and leaders of the indigenous communities from Ecuador, Brazil and Peru shared their struggles and concluded that regardless of the type of threat, the important and crucial element of success is the commitment, collaboration and organization of communities; without it, the fight will not succeed.
Women are a source of strength
Also the presence of indigenous women, who from their multiple roles (as mothers, wives, environmental monitors and leaders in their communities and organizations) stand out for being a source of strength, commitment and dedication for the protection of nature, was very valuable for the sharing of experiences.
The Learning Journey has strengthened and inspired us to continue the fight
Hernán Payaguage from Ecuador concludes: “We have shared experiences with leaders and representatives fighting for the same goal: protecting the Amazon and combating climate change. Not just for the people who live in the Amazon, but for the whole world.”
The Learning Journey has strengthened and inspired all to continue the fight. And at the same time it strengthened the commitment of the international partners of the All Eyes on the Amazon program.