Hello, my name is Nemonte Nenquimo, I’m a Waorani woman and leader of my people in Pastaza, Ecuador.
Right now, I’m sitting at the boundary line of my people’s territory in the Amazon. From here, just upriver, loggers are devastating the forest, cutting down trees and opening up the forest to further resource extraction, agriculture, and destruction.
While from here down river is my people’s ancestral territory. Waorani territory. A place of immense biodiversity where we, Indigenous people, live and protect our territory; where we still have clean water; where jaguars roam along with monkeys and so many other kinds of animals. Such beautiful diversity of wildlife.
For thousands of years my people have lived in this forest, we have protected it and cared for it because this territory gives us life. It gives us our food and our medicine, the things we as Indigenous peoples need to thrive and live happily. Our livelihoods.
And, so, I ask all of you who are hearing my message today - environmentalists, politicians, human rights activists - to join our fight to protect this place and invest in Indigenous peoples on the frontlines so that we may leave this inheritance for our children and yours; so that future generations may know such biodiversity and experience an unspoiled and uncontaminated environment, breathe clean air and drink fresh water and experience our way of life that we love.
I hope you all have a beautiful day and I send you my best wishes from the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Watch Ms. Nenquimo's message here.