On October 15th, 2019, the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative (ASHI) of the Sacred Basins Alliance (Cuencas Sagradas)—an alliance of more than 30 indigenous peoples and nationalities from the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon, together with civil society organizations—released the Declaration for the Protection of the Amazon Sacred Headwaters, calling for “recognition and respect for indigenous peoples’ rights, the rights of nature, and the pursuit of collective wellbeing — also known as Buen Vivir o Vida Plena” (1). The declaration also calls for an end to exploitative, destructive development models, and urges a “just transition to a postextractive, pluri-national, intercultural, and ecological civilization”(1).
The Declaration states:
“We call for support for our initiative and vision, which is rooted in indigenous cosmology and seeks in its initial phase to permanently protect 74 million acres (30 million hectares) of tropical rainforests in the headwaters the mighty Amazon River–the Napo, Pastaza, and Marañon River Basins of Ecuador and Peru, an area referred to as the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon: Territories for Life. This region is the ancestral territory of more than 20 of our indigenous nationalities and peoples–some who are in contact with dominant society and others who still shun contact. Our original peoples have been conserving these forests for millennia due to our deep intrinsic interconnection with our land, as has been documented by ample scientific evidence.” (1)
The Declaration is an urgent call for global support to protect 74 million acres of Amazon rainforest from destruction due to the governments of Ecuador and Peru expanding new fossil fuel, mining, and large-scale industrial development in critical headwaters regions of the Amazon River. This region is the most biologically diverse ecosystem on the planet and a critical region for ensuring global climate stability.
About the Sacred Basins Alliance (Cuencas Sagradas):
“Since ancient times, the indigenous peoples and nationalities of the Amazon have used alliance as a political figure to face adversities and conflicts that may arise in their territories.” Historically, the ancient cultures that inhabit the Sacred Basins have not only been threatened by wars, but by pollution and harmful consequences of extractive activity as well. Consistent with this sense, in 2017 the Sacred Basins Alliance was formed by various nationalities and Indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Peru, together with civil society organizations, with the purpose of permanently protecting over 74 million acres of Amazon rainforest, where 600 thousand people of more than 30 nationalities and indigenous peoples live. “Thus, by joining forces, they decide to face them together, understanding that there are no borders or nationalities. They are all children of the same forest, of the Amazon” (“About Us”).
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, NATIONS AND NATIONALITIES
Shipibo – Conibo
ISOLATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES