Uwa | Amazon Watch
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Sarayaku’s Kawsak Sacha Is What the World Needs Now!

The Kawsak Sacha proposal aims to sustainably preserve and conserve territorial spaces, the material and spiritual relationship established there by native peoples with the living forest and the beings that inhabit it.

Colombian Civil Society Launch National Strike, Face Violent State Repression

Amazon Watch expresses our solidarity with Colombian civil society and popular movements facing violent repression by state security forces, riot police (ESMAD), and the national army, since the national strike began on May 28. We are deeply concerned by reports of over 1,000 cases of violence, over 700 arbitrary arrests, at least 37 deaths...

The U'wa Community's Nonviolent Resistance to COVID-19 and Attacks in Colombia

The U'wa Indigenous Guard, active in the cloud forest of Colombia near the border with Venezuela, were formed to nonviolently defend U'wa territory from a multitude of external threats from extractive companies and unwanted "eco-tourists". In the era of COVID-19 – known to U'wa spiritual elders as "The Demon" – the Guard's mission has expanded to...

Amazon in Focus 2018

While the threats to the Amazon and indigenous peoples seem daunting at times, we cannot lose sight of hope and victories on the horizon. And while the day-to-day isn't always good, there are still many reasons to be hopeful for the future of the Amazon. Indigenous peoples across the Amazon are resisting extraction and further destruction of their...

Amazon Watch is building on more than 25 years of radical and effective solidarity with Indigenous peoples across the Amazon Basin.


My First Decade at Amazon Watch

Over ten years, I have been privileged to play a role in most of the organization's major campaign initiatives. While the moments of exhilaration, frustration, learning, anger, and beauty could fill a book, I want to share ten snapshots of key experiences that represent what serving with Amazon Watch has meant to me.

Amplify! A Celebration of Voices from the Amazon

Thank you to all our friends and supporters who joined us on September 27th, 2017 for our annual gala - Amplify! A celebration of voices from the Amazon.

Berito’s Vision

If UNESCO designated people as World Heritage sites, Berito Kuwaru'wa would be a leading candidate. On one hand, he personifies the beautiful and poetic U'wa view of the world, deeply connected to the original laws of nature. On the other, he is a unique and visionary human being, with an innate charisma through which he has bridged cultures and...

Colombia’s U’wa Still Teaching Us How To Resist

The U'wa consider themselves the guardians of their sacred ancestral homeland. In accordance with their natural laws, for centuries they have successfully defended their territory high in the Andean cloud forests.

Portraits of Resistance: Inside the Peaceful U’wa Uprising

Peace is more than the silencing of guns, and that the peace accord will not address all sources of violence in the conflict. To that end, we share with you this guest blog from Bogota-based activists working with our partners of the U'wa Nation in Colombia, recounting the U'wa's recent struggle to recover their ancestral territory from oil...

Global Solidarity from the Amazon to Standing Rock

The Sioux fight is representative of other fights around the globe. If Standing Rock wins this, we will win other fights for social and environmental justice. We all need to work together to build this global justice movement around the globe.

Defend the Sacred: Making Indigenous Sacred Sites "No Go" Zones for Extractive Industries

"Whatever fine print comes out of the World Conservation Congress, Amazonian indigenous women will continue to protect our Living Forest." Paty Gualinga, the powerful spokeswoman from Ecuador's Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku, inspired the attendees at one of the world's largest gatherings of environmental organizations and...

Conservation Efforts Are Still Violating Indigenous Rights

With the recent centennial of the National Park Service, we've seen much publicity in favor of national parks within the United States. The idea of natural protected areas is viewed as a general good among popular opinion. Who could be opposed to the conservation of nature?

Colombia’s U’wa: Bending the Arc of History Towards Justice

For decades, the U'wa indigenous people of Colombia have been an inspiration to others around the world, including everyone at Amazon Watch. With vision, persistence and courage, they have repeatedly demanded their rights and overcome the daunting forces arrayed against them.

"We Own These Territories. Ecopetrol Has To Go."

By entering and occupying the actual Gibraltar gas extraction site, the U'wa are taking their nonviolent direct action to a new level, even given the risks they run.

Indigenous Diplomacy

"Today, I’m here sharing this with you but my people are once again mobilized. We are on Zizuma, the sacred mountain where many sources of water originate – lakes and rivers which bathe our territory and serve as an important source of water for Colombia."

The Legacy of Berito Cobaria

"Berito taught Colombia's indigenous people and the world the importance of the globalization of resistance, how to defend the beloved Earth and how to fight against climate change."

They Say the Land Is Dead, But It Lives Yet

"These are very serious accusations providing a political rationale for a violent paramilitary repression against the U'wa," said Andrew Miller, Advocacy Director at Amazon Watch. "The notion that the U'wa are associated with an armed group is absurd. They are actually radical pacifists by culture."

The Guardians of Mother Earth

The U’wa, who call themselves the people who know how to think and speak, consider themselves the Guardians of Mother Nature, and large tracts of land inside their territory have become biological reserves for jaguars, spectacled bears, as well as a kaleidoscopic array of endemic plant and bird life that do not appear anywhere else on the planet.

U’wa Update: Serious Threats Against Peaceful Mobilization

There is no legitimate rationale for using violence against the U'wa. They are extreme pacifists by culture (considering the mere presence of weapons in their territory as violence) and have always been transparent about their actions. In this case, they are protecting an ecologically fragile and spiritually significant part of their own territory...

Protecting Their Sacred Zizuma

Taking direct action to defend their territory is a deadly serious proposition for Colombia's indigenous peoples. As such, the current mobilization of the U'wa Indigenous Guard to stop tourists from entering the sacred snow-capped mountain peak of El Cocuy has grabbed national and international attention.

How They Won

What we can learn from the U'wa and Achuar Victories in 2015

In 2015, several indigenous peoples announced important advances in their decades-long struggles to defend their sacred homelands. The Achuar people of the Northern Peruvian Amazon and the U'wa people of the Colombian cloud forest both embody the power of grassroots resistance in the face of multi-billion dollar corporations.

Keep It in the Ground

What becomes of places like the Amazon Basin that don't have major oil reserves, but are vital for the regulation of the earth's climate, house 20% of the planet's fresh water, and one in ten of the world's known species?

Amazon in Focus 2015

The past year saw many important victories for our partners, yet the next several years will be critical to advancing rainforest protection, indigenous rights, and solutions to climate change such as clean, renewable energy.