Indigenous Leaders from Ecuadorian Amazon Honored in Bay Area

Join Us for a Historic Week of Public Events with Amazonian Indigenous Leaders from Sarayaku, Ecuador

Sarayaku Indigenous leaders

Amazon Watch is honored and excited to invite you to a series of events featuring our indigenous allies and leaders from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon who will be in the Bay Area from October 15-21, 2012 to share news about their major victory for indigenous self-determination in the face of egregious industrial development threats.

Our friends and leaders are:

  • Marlon Santi is a historic leader of Sarayaku, and Ecuador's indigenous movement. He was instrumental in the Sarayaku's resistance to oil drilling plans, and led the organization of peace camps that monitored and ultimately kicked out the oil company. The Saryaku v. Ecuador case was brought to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission under his tenure as Sarayaku President. He most recently led Ecuador's national indigenous conferedation CONAIE – one of the post powerful indigenous movements in South America, having overthrown several governments through popular uprising, and de-railed several free trade agreements. Under Santi's leadership, CONAIE beat back several repressive government policies on water and education. Santi has been persecuted for his leadership, and still faces several trumped up charges for leading non-violent protests against the government. Santi has been a vocal advocate for indigenous rights in the UNFCCC climate negotiations at COP 15 and 16 in Copenhagen, and Cancun respectively. 
  • Tupak Amaru Viteri Gualinga is the young Vice President of the Sarayaku federation. Named for the last monarch of the Incan Empire, he comes from a long familial line of leaders steeped in Sarayaku's struggle to defend their culture and territory. He has traveled to Europe and Costa Rica in representation of Sarayaku. Together with President Jose Gualinga, he is working to force the Ecuadorian government to comply with the favorable decision from the Inter-American Human Rights Court and defend Sarayaku lands from new oil extraction.
  • Nina Sicha Siren Gualinga is a young woman leader from Sarayaku. She represented the Sarayaku youth at the final hearing before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, as well as international events, and a recent press conference on the historic court victory with Amnesty International in London. Nina splits her time between Sweden and Sarayaku, and is currently working with Sarayaku youth on leadership development skills. She will return to Sweden next year to continue studying. She is 19 years old.

Click here for information on this week's special events.

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