Indigenous Perspectives (English)

“All of this space is Achuarti Nungkári, the territory of the Achuar. From these lands, forests and waters we obtain the food we need to live and the materials we need to construct, weave and make our houses, products and crafts, In the remote areas the animals that we hunt live and grow. We depend on them and respect their spaces. We get every kind of forest resource that allows us to feed our children and grandchildren. From the waters we get fish to eat and with the crystal clear water from the springs and waterfalls we wash and clean ourselves. Here is where our ancestors lived and relied on the same resources and the same land. They looked after it and they left it for us as a reserve which we use today. Because of this we can live, and because of this we have life.” Achuar leader, Huitoyacu river, Loreto region

“They clear the forest completely, for 10 to 15 hectares, much, much bigger than what is cleared traditionally. They remove all the vegetation, they make channels, they do the sowing, and they use herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer which, along with their litter, contaminate the water. It’s already a problem for some communities. Sometimes the papayeros take advantage of the situation and illegally take out wood.” Luis Huansi, FERISHAM

“We used to fish in the River Puquiri, but it’s not a river anymore due to the tailings and sediment. The miners work there now and there’s no fish. It’s all mud.” Indigenous leader, Madre de Dios

“As long as we don’t have land title, the loggers won’t respect our property. They threaten us. They intimidate us. And they’re armed.” Edwin Chota, Ashéninka

“Oil operations lead to deforestation, heliports are built, and there are well-platforms in the aguajales, which have dried up, but most importantly they contaminate the forest and the aguajales. It’s irresponsible that they’re still using the same tubes – with leaks everywhere – as they have done for more than 40 years, but the company accuses us of sabotaging them. On 5 December 2013 the president [Ollanta Humala] was talking about the benefits of Perenco operating to the highest standards in Lot 67 when a spill occurred there.* The company officially reported it a month after the spill took place.” Alfonso López, ACODECOSPAT

“The government said it would benefit Peruvians because products would be exported to Brazil. But all it’s done is enable Brazilian products to enter Peru.” Klaus Quicque: FENAMAD

“A huge impact of the roads is the migration it causes. The people fleeing the violence and poverty in the VRAE are an example. With them comes a cocktail of problems: illegal logging, coca cultivation, and illegal mining. The presence of all those people puts greater pressure on hunting and fishing stocks. Now there’s the IIRSA south road, which has increased the number of settlements along the road and the gold-mining that the government is finding so hard to control. Imagine what will happen when they build the road from Cruzeiro do Sul to Pucallpa?” Robert Guimaraes, FECONAU

“We don’t want the road because we have big trees growing there in abundance, animals in abundance. There’s no deforestation or colonization like in other places. We live peacefully, without any kind of problems, and we don’t need a road. A road will bring criminals, colonization and murder.” Emilio Montes Bardales, FECONAPU

“This state land title is not fit for purpose. From times gone by our parents and grandparents lived and occupied the land in all this space way beyond the land title. They made it theirs, they made a farm, they hunted animals and got skins and their remains lie there still, far away. Far over there lie their bones. They occupied this area for generations. IN addition, our rivers and streams rise in the most isolated areasof our territory and form a part of all that is ours from which we live. In this big space there is water, animals and plants that sustain us and that give us life. All this we consider to be ours . WE do not see it as the land of other people, it is ours. We do not want other peoples or companies to come here, We do not want them to harm or contamination our place.” Achuar leader, rio Huasaga

“The first problem is that they overlap logging rights on top of the ancestral rights of indigenous communities. Here there is a concession that foes from the mouth of the river Tigre to the Nahuapa river basin and overlaps land title requests. That’s why such requests have gone nowhere. Some communities have been titled with help from the regional government, but the area titled has been cut so they share a border with a concession. So the loggers aren’t just cutting our timber: they’re cutting our ancestral territories too.” Alfonso López, ACODECOSPAT

“The government wants to do business with the jungle, thats why they don;t title indigenous territories.” Marcial Mudarra,CORPI

“Why does it take so long for the State to respond to our complaints and appeals about the threats we receive, the invasions and contamination we suffer or the applications for land titles that never materialise? Is it an institutional weakness or perhaps a lack of resources? We see that instead when it’s a multinational company everything gest sorted out quickly and in their favour. These delays in addressing our demands is one more example that business is pripritsied over and above the rights of indigenous peoples and represents a deep seated national and state racism.” Marcial Mudarra,CORPI

“Unfortunately MINAM has been created with the objective of protecting the forest but instead of this it is negotiating with these resources. Our territory and its resources have become a business to hand over to investors and capitalists. They create the protected areas, the parks, communal reserves but it’s the same State that overlaps these areas with mining and oil concessions.” Teobaldo Chamik Líder Wampis, río Santiago

“The people in OSINERGMIN don’t come here to see the contamination. They keep to the company’s base. The company looks after them well.” Wilson Sandy.Achuar monitor, rio Corrientes

“In the La Pampa area there are 30,000 miners controlling the military commanders, the police, and the judges. The police earn miserable wages, yet now they have big houses and luxurious 4x4s. Officials pretend they’re intervening, but in reality they do nothing.” Indigenous leader, Madre de Dios

“With these major projects we know that we are all going to be affected even though they tell us they are using cutting edge technology, we will all be affected from these two river basins so they can’t carry on consulting community by community. We are one single people and we must defend our territory as one.”

“Large dams are a direct threat to our way of life. Flooding territories along the rivers would mean death for indigenous people. We are totally opposed to dam construction.” H.Kinin, Pueblo Awajún, ORPIAN 

“We feel threatened when we hear that we are overlapped by concessions because what we want is our territory as this is where we have lived, this is where the bones of our grandparents lie and this is where we will continue to live. This is not the concept of the capitalists who can sell the land and abandon it. This is not our way, we are going to continue living here.” Teobaldo Chamik, Líder Wampis, río Santiago

“We have enough resources from fishing or from cacao and enough animals for hunting, there is no reason here to get tied up with oil companies or loggers. We must not worry only about money but about the good life.” Sabina Ahmanchi, Lideresa Wampis, río Santiago

“In their cities there is a group of people who have money and for those without money, what kind of development can we speak of for them? There is violence, the group without money attacks the rich,that is what ends up as hostage taking. Here on the other hand, life is healthy, you can sleep well and peacefully here while in the city you wander around in fear. So I say that the person who has all this and enjoys peace is the Wampis people and so we are the ones who are developed, here at any hour you want to have a swim you can but there in the cities the workers kill themselves working and have to get up at 4am to cook and then go to the office. They live accelerated lives so that they don’t have time to be with their families m, with their children or their friends and all this absence from the family may end the relationship. So what development can we speak of when you are not free?” Teobaldo Chamik, Líder Wampis, río Santiago

*http://servindi.org/actualidad/99604

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