We want to live like Waorani

by April 25, 2009
 

The Waorani have a reputation for being some the fiercest warriors in the Amazon. Despite being dragged into the colonial world fifty years ago, they have retained that fierceness, and throughout the years they have continuously struggled to regain what was taken from them: their land and freedom to live their own way of life.

The struggle continues even now, as it does for so many others around the world, with oil companies ripping through the land, and with the government of Ecuador threatening to open up the Yasuni National Park—dragging the Waorani, and others to the cutting edge of extinction.

Story continues below

There is a fleeting chance that Yasuni will be left untouched, but only as long as the world is willing to pay a price. And now matter the payout, the Yasuni will remain vulnerable to oil exploitation forever in the future.

This is not reasonable nor acceptable to the Waorani — or to the Kichwa, Shuar, Tagaeri, Taromenani, Zaparoan and all other land-based peoples in the region.

That much has been made clear since the first oil companies arrived — and it will remain as such, regardless of what anyone says or does or forgets.

After all, their struggle is not merely some ‘trivial pursuit’, as if the Waorani are ‘savages’ who need to be taught a lesson so they can live the so-called modern life.

Indeed, it is a struggle for life itself. The Waorani want to live their own.

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of distorted news and misinformation. By supporting IC, you're empowering the kind of journalism we all need, at the moment we need it most.