Today, on #IndigenousPeoplesDay, the United Nations released a special video paying tribute to the inspiring struggles of the Waorani people, and all indigenous nations, in the battle to protect their lands, their way of life, and our shared climate from the mounting threats of a global economic system premised on the limitless extraction of natural resources.
“The Waorani people have defended their land for generations. They won a legal battle but their struggle isn’t over. On #IndigenousPeoplesDay, they ask us to unite and fight.” – Message from the United Nations.
In the tribute video, Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leaders, says: “We want to give a message to the world. We need to unite in the struggle because the fight is not only up to indigenous people but for all of humanity. We have to sustain our planet. Everyone is talking about climate change. That is what we have to do: Unite to save our planet.”
The Secoya, Siona, Kofán and Waorani indigenous nations featured in the video have lived for half a century with the impacts of oil. They have united to form an alliance, the first of its kind in their history, to protect their lands and way of life. This union has been instrumental in saving half a million acres of the Waorani’s land from oil drilling. In the words of a young Kofán leader, “We have united with our Waorani brothers and sisters because we share the same struggle and dream: to protect our forest and to continue being who we are, as indigenous peoples.” Check out this Chronicle to learn more about how this alliance worked together to defend the Waorani’s forest.
Nemonte is right. Only through unity can we overcome problems as big as the destruction of the Amazon and our planetary climate crisis. Join the indigenous nations in defense of indigenous life and one of our planet’s greatest natural treasures.