This month, we are sharing the insights we’ve learned through more than 20 years of partnership with the indigenous people of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. Most importantly, we’ve learned that what happens in the Amazon affects all life on Earth. Our fates are interconnected—we are all the Amazon.
Today’s message is from the leader of the Sápara Nation in the Ecuadorian rainforest, Manari Ushigua, who is pictured above at a climate demonstration in San Francisco this past September. This is what he sees is needed to protect the Amazon rainforest, and all life on Earth, after many years of fighting to protect it.
I am from the Sápara Nationality in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. I would like to share what is happening on the ground in our rainforest home with the hope that this knowledge will strengthen our partnership at this important time.
With the support of Pachamama Alliance, we have prevented oil extraction in our territory for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, our government recently sold new concessions to the Peruvian national oil company. The consequences are potentially fatal not only for us, but for our entire world. The Sápara believe that the destruction of our land would not only affect all humans but also the non-material, spiritual world; plants; animals; trees; and water—as we are all from Earth.
This is the same story over and over when it comes to threatening our land and it must stop. We must transform the behavior responsible for continuing to drive the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the crises we face together as a human society.
My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were powerful Shimanul—Shaman in the Sápara language—and decided that I would continue the lineage soon after my birth. I began special training to connect with the spirits of the forest and our ancestors. While my father is no longer living, he still teaches me in my dreams.
From the Sápara perspective, many of the challenges that humanity is suffering from are due to people not remembering where they come from and being disconnected from the dreams they have each night. Connecting through our dreams and with the natural world is a way for people to unblock and tap into insights they are unable to see now. Pachamama Alliance is working to awaken people so that they can both see the possibility for and to create collective change around the world. This partnership is critical for both keeping oil development from our lands and for creating a future that works for all.
Now more than ever, we have to all come together to defend the rainforest. And we must come together to inspire the transformation that the world needs at this critical time.
I thank you from deep within my heart for your ongoing support, solidarity, and partnership. Together, we have been effective for many years in protecting the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse rainforest. Now we must finish the job we have started together and achieve permanent protection for the heart of the world and the lungs of our planet.
You can count on me, my people and our united indigenous nationalities to never give up defending our forests, water, and Earth. Please stand with us and together we will strengthen this Alliance for life on our planet.
Healer and Sápara Leader