Indigenous Ecuadorians prepare to resist state-backed oil mining

• January 16, 2013

Amazon Rainforest, Creative Commons: Sara y Tzunky, 2011

A tribe of indigenous people in Ecuador, numbering at around 400 people, is prepared to ‘die fighting’ to protect their land and their way of life from state-endorsed oil excavation.

The Kichwa tribe lives on 70,000 hectares of Amazonian rainforest near Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.  One hectare of the Kichwa’s land contains a wider variety of life than in all of North America.

The area faces the threat of complete devastation, however, since oil was discovered beneath the forest.  The Kichwa people, who have lived on this land for generations, now find themselves at odds with state oil company Petroamazonas.  They have been told that oil prospecting will begin with protection from public security forces.  Despite their desire to peacefully resist Petroamazonas, the Kichwa are risking physical conflict with state security by opposing excavation.

Community secretary Klider Gualinga spoke of their fight: “People think it is dishonest and the oil company is treating them like dogs. It does not respect the land or the planet. There is no deal, nothing is agreed. The people do not want the oil company. They’re very upset and worried.  We have decided to fight to the end. Each landholder will defend their territory. We will help each other and stand shoulder to shoulder to prevent anyone from passing.”

Read More: The Guardian>>

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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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