Eye on the Amazon

"Kindy Challwa" Canoe of Life of the Kichwa First People of Sarayaku

After a long adventure of over a year – after the idea was born, after selecting the tree, after building the canoe, after being transported to the city, after having to respond to the demands of the Ministry of Environment and a review by the Ecuadorian police – on the 7th of December, the Canoe of Life arrived in Paris, France.

After being cut down, the cinnamon wood tree was transformed methodically by the able hands of master Sarayaku wood workers into a traditional Kichwa canoe. On October 17th we carried out a community gathering of over 100 people to carry the canoe from the place if its birth ("Wira Kaspi" in Kichwa) to the center of Sarayaku village. Afterwards, along the riverbank, the maestros put the finishing touches on the artistic design and the final details.

On October 27th, the Canoe of Life began its journey along the Bobonaza River piloted by the master builders – Lenin Gualinga, Silvio Gualinga, Alberto Manya, Walter Gualinga – who navigated over two days with long poles until arriving at the village of Latasas, in Canelos, where they came upon the road about an hour and a half away from Puyo, the capital of the province of Pastaza.

In the early morning of October 29th, the canoe left toward Guayaquil, accompanied by the previously mentioned four maestros and two other men from Sarayaku: Franco Gualinga Tapuy and Gerardo Gualinga. The parting message these men made to the canoe was: "Now you go. Your final destination will be a country we don’t know but our work of life will be forever shaped, representing that in the rainforest we live in harmony with nature. Our children are charged with some day understanding the effort we have made."

The Canoe of Life passed through Amsterdam, finally arriving in the cold waters of the Villette Canal in Paris. This Tuesday, December 8th, we will carry out a welcoming ceremony for the canoe called "Kindy Challwa" (which means "hummingbird fish") at 8:30 am, with the presence of press and representatives of different Indigenous peoples of the world.

Mid-day, the canoe will be taken over to the Climate Generations space within Le Bourget, where the COP is being carried out. There Kindy Challwa will be officially received in the Indigenous Pavilion with a ritual act for Kawsak Sacha / "Living Forest" as a symbol of life and peace between Indigenous peoples and the sacred beings of nature.

Come and share with us the joy of Kindy Challwa, the Canoe of Life, that thanks to the huge human effort of all and the solidarity of our strategic allies finally arrived in its destination to share a message of life with all humanity.

Learn more and support this important delegation as we journey through COP21 activities in Paris!

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