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Indigenous leadership for a peaceful relationship with our Earth


Indigenous Leadership for a Peaceful Relationship with Our Earth (JUAN CARLOS JINTIACH)
Indigenous Leadership for a Peaceful Relationship with Our Earth (JUAN CARLOS JINTIACH)

As Shuar indigenous from the heart of the Amazon ecuadorianmy life has been a network of struggles of my people and the land we consider sacred. Recently nominated for the Nobel Peace PrizeI want to acknowledge that this title is not about me, but about the collective spirit that unites us and our shared commitment to preserve Mother Earth.

More than two decades ago, in the 90s, my trip to endurance began with a historic collective action against Block 24, a project that sought to exploit oil in Shuar and Achuar ancestral lands. For more than 20 years, we fought not only for our rights, but for the very essence of life and the right to determine our own destiny; because we always understood that Our future is closely linked to caring for the nature that surrounds us.. In those years, the tireless Shuar, Achuar movement and the Interfederational Committee managed to stop the immediate threat, but the desire to exploit the bowels of the Amazon never dies, today we continue to defend every centimeter of land that our ancestors have preserved.

The lessons of that struggle, etched into my being by the wisdom of my grandfather and father, guide me today as we face a new challenge: the fight against gold mining in the mountains and rivers of Napo. The battlefield may have changed, but the essence remains the same: defend our land from those who seek wealth without thinking about the delicate balance that must exist between humanity and the enormous nature that gives us life.

The fight of the Shuar to defend the Ecuadorian Amazon has become more difficult in recent times (REUTERS)
The fight of the Shuar to defend the Ecuadorian Amazon has become more difficult in recent times (REUTERS)

Today the fight has become more complex, with legal and illegal lines becoming more blurred every day. Companies and governments have become expert navigators of the lines, with obscure permits and word games, they tiptoe to advance in the territories without any law protecting the sacred land. Entrepreneurs know our communities, they approach us and take advantage of the crudest needs, they know they can playing with inequality to make false promises of “development”. But the businessmen of these Chinese and Ecuadorian companies do not have a sincere interest, today they promise us bread and tomorrow, misery. For them the goal is to break our collective ties to extract every gram of gold from the veins of the rivers and mountains.

However, my determination remains unwavering, because I know that this fight is collective, that we people make a great maloca that resists exploitation and uprooting. Every day I connect with my ancestors and those around me to light that collective spirit that scares investors and entrepreneurs. I know that in our resistance lies the key to facing this climate crisis and bring us to peace with the nature that surrounds us.

At the international level I carry a clear and unwavering message: the fate of the world’s forests, ecosystems and biodiversity cannot be discussed without the primary guardians, indigenous peoples and local communities. Our connection to the Earth is deep, rooted in generations of wisdom; man and nature are one and the same.

For the Shuar, peace involves harmony with nature, recognizing ourselves as a single body rather than separate entities. This philosophy is clearly reflected in the Uwi ceremony, which takes place during the flowering of this Amazonian fruit. The Uwi is used symbolically in ceremonial harvesting as a representation of prosperity and abundance. When the Shuar perform this ceremony, they are experiencing a moment of peace, taking advantage of the Uwi’s flowering time to meditate next to the waterfalls, express gratitude to Mother Earth, reflect on the past, and heal. Spiritual connections are central to the meaning of Uwi, as they allow the Shuar to experience a deep connection with nature.

Beyond the possibility of awards and recognition, today I want my story to be an example of the hundreds of years of knowledge, connection with nature and resistance that we people are leading. This nomination is not for me, but for indigenous people around the world. It is a call to recognize the importance of our role as stewards of the Earth and for us to become one with nature, a responsibility that transcends borders and is only possible collectively.

Jintiach considers that this nomination and the recognition are not for him but for indigenous peoples around the world (Juan Carlos Jintiach)
Jintiach considers that this nomination and the recognition are not for him but for indigenous peoples around the world (Juan Carlos Jintiach)

In the face of these challenges, my journey is a testament to the power of collective action, the resilience of indigenous communities, and the urgent need for a peaceful relationship with Mother Earth. The Nobel Peace Prize should go to all the indigenous peoples of the world who, in daily life and from the depths of the richest ecosystems, call us to a world where humanity and nature coexist in harmony.



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