“We are warriors, we are jaguars and millenaries custodians of the forest. For thousands of years we have lived without diseases […] We are living a nightmare.” On May 21st, we presented as the Waorani People, a legal action to demand the Ecuadorian State to guarantee our protection to exercise our rights as Indigenous People of recently contacted in this emergency.
The Waorani communities have been severely affected by the declaration of emergency and COVID-19, which is spreading without receiving adequate responses from State institutions. In Waorani culture, the loss of an elderly is the loss of wisdom and knowledge. “We do not want to continue losing our pikenane [grandparents] because of the coronavirus”.
In presence of the health emergency, the Waorani organizations implemented a variety of measures under the focus of community care: the mapping of the territory for the identification of communities and vulnerable groups, territorial monitoring, the revalorization and utilization of ancestral medicine, among others. However, we need support to acquire medicines, basic equipment and hygiene supplies and distribute them throughout their territory.
The Waorani people have barely 50 years of contact with the Occidental world and inhabit a very extensive territory, where the permanent movement of people related to forest and oil extraction activities increases our vulnerability. Besides, many Waorani communities border the Tagaere-Taromenani intangible zone, a transit area for these uncontacted and isolated indigenous peoples.
With our ancestral practices and our organizational form, we guard around 770,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest, a great contribution to the well-being of Ecuador and the world. Now we need your support!