Sarayaku Leaders Travel to San Francisco for Climate March and Summit

Indigenous Amazonian leaders from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku will be in the San Francisco Bay Area from September 7th through 15th for events surrounding the Global Climate Action Summit. They will share their visionary Kawsak Sacha ("Living Forest") proposal to promote true climate leadership from indigenous and grassroots communities.

Amazon Watch will join our allies from Sarayaku and the Climate Justice movement to call for no new extraction and a commitment for a managed decline of fossil fuels from California to the Amazon. Together, we are planning a series of events with indigenous and NGO allies of the north and south, including: joining indigenous peoples to lead the largest-ever march for climate justice on the West Coast; creating a giant aerial banner; participating in the Solutions to Solidarity Summit and Women's Assembly; speaking at panels about our work to protect forests, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and much more.

See the list of planned events here.

Who are the Kichwa of Sarayaku?

For the last twenty years, the Kichwa People of Sarayaku have resisted all efforts to extract resources from their ancestral territories, including keeping 100 million barrels of oil under the soil. The Kichwa made world news headlines in 2010 by winning their case against the Ecuadorian government before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a major victory for indigenous self-determination in the face of the threat of industrial development.

This summer, Sarayaku officially launched their Kawsak Sacha ("Living Forest") proposal to the world. This visionary proposal would create a new international category for the permanent protection of native land, free of natural resource extraction, and based upon the interconnected relationship between indigenous peoples and their forests, water, and spirits.

Delegation Bios:

Mirian Cisneros is one of the first women to serve as the President of Sarayaku. From a young age she has been involved in community and regional organizations, including the Sarayaku women's organization. This spring, she took part in historic dialogues between indigenous leaders and Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno, and she leads her community's efforts to confront oil extraction in indigenous territories and promote alternative development pathways like Kawsak Sacha.

Samai Gualinga is the Communications Coordinator of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku. As a community leader, she uses her graphic design and social expertise to bring Sarayaku's Kawsak Sacha proposal to life and reach national and international audiences. As a young female leader, she is passionate about using storytelling to protect her ancestral territories and supporting new leaders in learning how to use media platforms to propel change.

Marlon Santi is a Kichwa political leader and has served as the National Coordinator of Pachakutik, Ecuador's indigenous political party, since June 2016. Previously, he was the youngest president of the CONAIE, Ecuador's largest national indigenous federation, as well as the President of Sarayaku. Marlon and his family have been subject to targeted threats and attacks for his role in denouncing oil companies and defending his territories from extractive development, but this does not stop him from continuing his fight for indigenous rights.

Yacu Viteri is the International Representative of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku. In this role, he establishes and maintains contacts with governments, non-governmental organizations and civil society at the local, national, and international level. He has traveled internationally to serve as a spokesperson for his people and is a gifted artist and musician.

Calendar of Events

= key events

If you have any questions about these events or how to get involved, contact Zoë Cina-Sklar.

Saturday, September 8th

10:00 am: Rise for Climate, Jobs, & Justice March
March with thousands of Californians in San Francisco as part of a global day of action before Governor Jerry Brown welcomes the world to San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit. There is no time left for false solutions and empty promises – we're demanding real climate leadership from Governor Brown and all elected officials. That means no new fossil fuel projects from California to the Amazon and a just transition to 100% renewable energy. RSVP here to march with the Brown's Last Chance Contingent. After you march, join us at SF Civic Center to paint a mural about protecting forests, rights, and #EndAmazonCrude. Also, visit us at the Resource Fair.

Sunday, September 9th

9:00 am: Intertribal Prayer, Teach-In and Direct Action Training
Join us at the West Berkeley Shellmound, the oldest sacred site in the Bay Area, to lay down prayers, offer songs and learn about the struggle to protect this ancient burial/ceremonial and village site of the Lisjan/Ohlone people. The event will be followed by a non-violent direct action training. Directions and details here.

12:00 noon: Expansion and Resistance: The Fossil Fuel Industry in the Bay Area
Soil not Oil panel featuring Amazon Watch campaigner Zoë Cina-Sklar and other local activists discussing the impacts of oil refineries and other fossil fuel infrastructure in the Bay Area. Tickets available here.

4:00 pm: Aerial Mandala for Climate Justice
Join Dancing without Borders and Spectral Q at Crissy Field to co-create a visual message in support of climate justice. This iconic image will captured from the sky and will send a message to world leaders about the need to join with us in creating a more just and equitable future. RSVP here.

7:30 pm: 37th Indigenous Women New Moon Ceremony
Gather with signatories of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty to share prayers for the water and prayers for guidance as we work together to protect and defend Mother Earth. Location and details here.

Monday, September 10th

8:00 am: Rise Against Climate Capitalism
You are invited to join us in a non-violent action that will include prayer, a teach-in, painting a street mural and direct action at one of the places where climate profiteers will be meeting prior to the Global Climate Action Summit. Details here.

12:55 pm: Keep it in the Ground: Building Movements for Climate Justice
Soil not Oil panel featuring Amazon Watch Executive Director Leila Salazar-López, a leader from Sarayaku, and and other organizers about inspirational campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Tickets available here.

Tuesday, September 11th

10:00 am to 8:00 pm: Solutions to Solidarity Summit
This day-long assembly will highlight frontline communities' solutions that address the interlinked crises of climate, economic, and racial injustice through interactive workshops, art, and music. More info here.

1:00 pm to 8:30 pm: Women's Assembly for Climate Justice
Join the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International for "Women's Assembly for Climate Justice: Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change" – a gathering of extraordinary women leaders from across the United States and around the world joined in solidarity to speak out against environmental and social injustice, draw attention to root causes of the climate crisis, and present the diverse array of visions and strategies with which they are working to shape a healthy and equitable world. Amazon Watch and indigenous leaders will speak at the following panels:

  • 1:30 pm: Women Speak from the Frontlines of Climate Change: Nina Gualinga, Kichwa from Sarayaku and co-founder of Hakhu Amazon Design
  • 5:55 pm: Keynote address by Mirian Cisneros, President of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku and Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch

More info here.

Wednesday, September 12th

4:00 pm: Grassroots Climate Leadership
From California residents working to create a just transition off fossil fuels by solarizing their neighborhoods to Indigenous peoples protecting their territories from oil extraction in the Amazon, many of the most innovative solutions to climate change come from those most impacted by climate change and fossil fuel extraction. Come hear an Indigenous leader from Ecuadorian Amazon, a community organizer from California, and a First Nations activist from Canada speak to their experiences defending their lands from fossil fuel development and finding innovative ways to accelerate a just transition to renewable energy. RSVP here.

5:00 pm: Following the Money: Holding Big Banks Accountable for Financing the Climate Crisis
Join a panel grassroots climate leaders to learn about the growing international movement holding financial institutions like JPMorgan Chase accountable for their central role in perpetuating the global climate crisis by financing big oil and gas. RSVP here.

Thursday, September 13th

7:00 am: Stand with Communities, Not Corporations
Jerry Brown's promotion of continued fossil fuel production, carbon trading markets and other incentives to oil, gas and other polluting corporations, perpetuates climate change and decimates Indigenous communities, communities of color and other working class peoples throughout California and around the world. Join us for a family-friendly direct action to demand that the Governor and other politicians stand with people not polluters. More info here.

5:00 pm: Women Leaders in Global Climate Action
The Women Leaders in Global Climate Action reception is centered around a panel of climate leaders, including Leila Salazar-López, Amazon Watch Executive Director. The event will mainstream the stories and words of those at the forefront and at the front lines of both climate impacts and climate solutions. With an emphasis on women leaders, both at the local level and in international policy spaces such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), real, lasting, and community-oriented solutions can be implemented with an eye to collaboration. RSVP here.

7:30 pm: The Eagle and the Condor (Closing Night of the San Francisco Green Film Festival)
Four Indigenous leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to unite the peoples of North and South America and deepen the meaning of "Climate Justice". This film documents the stories of these four well-known Native environmental spokespeople who are at the forefront of a perspective shift in the identity of their people, from forgotten voices to strong shared communities with the power to bring change to the entire world. Their path through the jungle takes them on an unexpectedly challenging and liberating journey, which will forever change their attachment to the Earth and one another. RSVP here.

Friday, September 14th

1:30 pm: Primary Forests: Key to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Primary forests, particularly intact tropical forests, serve a critical role in regulating global weather patterns and sequestering carbon dioxide, house about half of the world's biodiversity and are home to hundreds of indigenous peoples and traditional communities. These peoples have been stewards of their lands for millennia, but their forest territories face increasing pressure from industrial development and agribusiness. Tune in to our livestream of a panel featuring indigenous leaders, journalists, and advocates discussing these issues and their work to protect forests. More info here.

3:00 pm: The Tortoise and the Tapir
Haunted by images of empty water reservoirs in the Brazilian southwest, filmmaker Eliza Capai tries to understand the gigantic constructions being built in the middle of the Amazon forest, including the imposing Belo Monte dam. Upstream, she finds spirited victory against hydro dam: projects in neighboring Peru led by Goldman Environmental Prize Winner Ruth Buendia. Tickets available here for this screening, part of the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

For even more events, see:
Soil Not Oil Conference
Peoples' Climate Calendar
Village Well Symposium
Solidarity to Solutions Week
Our Village - Community Corner



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