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Patricia Gualinga, fearless Kichwa leaderLast week we introduced you to Patricia Gualinga, a dear friend and fierce warrior from the Kichwa community of Sarayaku. For as long as I can remember she’s been on the frontlines, relentlessly defending her community and the Ecuadorian Amazon from oil development. Recently she has taken this fearless leadership to a whole new level.I’ve worked with Patricia, her heroic family and the Sarayaku community since 2002 and can attest that they are some of the most inspiring, courageous people that I have ever met. Against all odds, they continue to fight…and win! But with new threats on the horizon, the battle for the Amazon can seem unrelenting.
Tomorrow is the final deadline for companies to bid in the Ecuadorian government’s 11th Round oil auction, which threatens over 6.5 million acres of primary rainforest and indigenous territory. Another 1.5 million acres nearby and much of Yasuni National Park are also on the chopping block. This attack on such a vast swath of forest has mobilized indigenous communities, including Sarayaku, in defense of their rights and for all life. Communities are gathering in Quito this week, and tomorrowPatricia will join hundreds of indigenous representatives and their allies to protest this attempted sale of the Amazon at the Ministry of Hydrocarbons.
“Following the historic Amazonian Women’s Mobilization for Life (which Patricia helped lead), we are traveling to Quito to ensure our voices are heard,” she told me by phone last night. “We will not sit back as our government tries to sell our land—the Amazon is not for sale. I’m running for local office and am committed to building the indigenous woman’s movement in the Amazon. We will continue to mobilize and we need your support!”
This is a dynamic, commanding woman who radiates a passion and integrity that is contagious. In Sarayaku, she’s a treasure member of the community. In Puyo, she’s an indigenous leader running for office. At Amazon Watch, she’s Paty, our longstanding partner and a constant inspiration to our team. Around the world, she’s a powerful spokeswoman for indigenous rights, women’s rights and all life in the Amazon and on this planet that we share.
Patricia and her allies like Amazon Watch will continue to mobilize, but we need your support. Thank you for being a champion for Patricia as she defends indigenous territory and helps build an unprecedented movement in women’s leadership across the Amazon!
With deep gratitude for your support,