By the Kofan, Siona, Secoya and Waorani women of our indigenous partner organization, Ceibo Alliance

 

As indigenous women, we have never had a Women’s Day. We know that there are women who died for this day in the Western world. So it is not a day of celebration; it is a day for commemorating and for resilience, so that we do not lose everything that was achieved through these women’s struggles. It is a day to continue working towards an equitable society.

Today, in our society and in our communities, there is machismo and violence against women. These are bad habits that have developed within our society. But we all have the same capacity, we all have the same rights, we can all express ourselves. We are equal, men and women. We don’t want any more discrimination and this is why we are uniting and fighting more and more to defend our rights.

OUR FOREST, OUR FUTURE

All people need a healthy environment. In the past, we had a clean and pure forest with many animals. But oil exploitation contaminated our territories. As we lose our land, we lose our identity. Our culture is being lost more and more.

As women, we have always been a central part of the struggles of our peoples. The forest is our home. But in the western Amazon, we still don’t have many women leaders. We want to continue empowering ourselves and empowering our daughters. It’s really urgent for women to take on this fight and lift each other up. Together we are very powerful.

As the Ceibo Alliance, we, indigenous peoples of four nations — Siona, Siekopai, Kofan and Waorani — have united, to defend our territories and our rights. Unity builds strength, and that’s why we also want to cultivate more spaces for exchanges with women from other indigenous nations: we want to get to know each other, build alliances, and strengthen each other. We are doing this for our territories, our families, our communities, our indigenous nations – and for the Amazon, the lungs of our world, which gives life to our planet. If we take care of the Amazon, we can combat climate change.

Our languages and cultures are connected to the forest. We want to recover our culture, we want our traditions to be kept alive and for our world views to be valued. As women, we have always played a fundamental role in our communities and our homes, day to day. It is the women who are responsible for teaching, guiding, advising and looking after our children and our lands. Our grandmothers have a lot of wisdom, we must value them.

WE ARE MOTHER EARTH

As Amazonian women, we coexist with nature. We have a strong relation with our Mother Earth. We are the ones who are closest to the land because in the forest we are the ones who sow and harvest. And like water, we give life, we give birth. We look after our children and we use medicinal plants for healing.

This connection with the land and our territory gives us strength to continue fighting against the oil companies and other extractive industries. Without our territory, there is no life. Everything is connected with the forest — with the spirits.

NOW IS THE TIME TO UNITE

We, women of the western Amazon, call upon all Amazonian women and women around the world to unite. We must unite to protect nature, to defend our territories against extractive industries and combat inequality and injustice. And for this reason, we do not want it to be only women joining this struggle: this struggle belongs to everyone. It is for life, harmony and peace in the world.

 

Click on the link to get involved and support the indigenous-led movement for women’s equality, dignity and future generations in the Amazon.

Amazon Frontlines

Amazon FrontlinesDefending indigenous rights to land, life and cultural survival in the Amazon rainforest.

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