After 500 years of conquest, our peoples are still singing. After centuries of imposition, our peoples are still remembering. After centuries of violence, our peoples are still living and standing up for our dignity.
I want to share with you a song that I composed: it’s a song of love and resistance for the forests of Yasuni, one of the most beautiful, biodiverse, and important parts of the Amazon.
My name is Alex Lucitante. I’m a young A’i Cofan human rights defender, artist, and yagé drinker. My people have suffered more than half a century of pollution and destruction by the oil industry. My grandfather, my father, and I have all seen how the animals have disappeared, how the roads have invaded these lands.
I am not from the forests of Yasuni, but I just had the opportunity to travel there to be with the ancestral inhabitants of that land: the Waorani people. I joined other visiting leaders from different Indigenous nations. Over the course of a week, we gathered and connected, among youth and elders, affirming that together we will protect all our territories.
In this encounter, surrounded by the songs of the insects, birds, rain and winds of this forest, I composed this song to raise consciousness about how we all need to wake up and become the Earth defenders our planet needs. I wrote this song for those far away from the forest, who don’t know or see the reality of this territory. This is a forest that allows for so much diverse existence, including the Indigenous Tagaeri and Taromenane peoples who choose to live in isolation, in part as an act of resistance against the oil industry.
The lyrics evoke an encounter with a river in Yasuni, and all the living beings sharing the forest in harmony:
‘And on the other side [of the river], I saw the spirit of a shaman transforming into a jaguar.
And on the other side, I saw a jaguar returning to its forest.
And on the other side, I saw a forest full of life.’
I am proud to be part of a movement of Indigenous nations that are willing to sacrifice everything to protect Mother Earth. We continue to hold hope, trust and belief that all of you have our backs. That all of us, in our diversities, in our different homelands, can support each other to protect the common home of our planet.
Now, we must stand together for Yasuni. In less than two weeks, Ecuadorian voters will have the chance to kick the oil industry out and win a major victory for us all. If enough people uplift the voices of Indigenous communities on the frontlines, we will all be able to sing a song of victory.
Please share this song across your networks
For Yasuni, and Indigenous peoples worldwide.