The Shahuarmanga are an Indigenous community that resides in Pastaza, an Amazonian province of Ecuador. Tourism is currently their main strategy for conserving their culture and land. But fossil fuel companies are demanding to enter their lands in order to search for oil and gas. Not only is it ridiculous to search for more fossil fuels in a time of climate breakdown, but to sacrifice other people’s livelihoods for it is simply revolting.
So, too, think the Shahuarmanga. Together with 33 other Indigenous communities, led by women, they stand their ground and resist these multinational polluters. They didn’t let themselves be intimidated, and organized protests and sit-ins around the province and in the capital of Quito to demand these companies desist their plans immediately. Digging machines were already approaching their holy lands, so there was no time to lose.
The protests were organised swiftly and efficiently, and the results are cause for celebration. The Shahuarmanga succeeded in barring the petrol companies entry into their lands for now. The companies have issued a second demand, which they hope will be overturned this january. In any case, the Shahuarmanga won’t sit idly by, because this is their land, their culture and their livelihood put in the scale. Fossil fuel activities doesn’t just imply the destruction of the forest, but also the pollution of the rivers and the air, a biodiversity catastrophe, the exploitation of what they call Pachamama, Mother Earth.
Their resolve is strong. In their words: “[T]hanks to the support of the institutions that give us confidence and show us that we are not alone, we have the support, they give us strength to continue in this struggle of resistance. Since we are all resistance. We are land, we are river, we are seed.”
Het Actiefonds is proud to support the Shahuarmanga!