Ecuador's Indigenous movement is regarded as one of the most successful social movements for Indigenous people in Latin America. Indigenous groups have had to fight for legal recognition as a people and state resource since colonization in Ecuador (Rubenstein, 2007); The state officially recognized Indigenous peoples' rights to their cultures and land in its constitution in 1997 (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 1997).
Today, Ecuador is a multicultural state with 14 different Indigenous nationalities recognized, with 1.1 million Indigenous people, out of a population of 17.2 million peoples (Ortiz-T, 2019). Indigenous peoples live around the country, with 10 of 14 nationalities located within the Amazon region (Ortiz-T, 2019). Indigenous peoples organize themselves through several "local, regional and national organizations (Ortiz-T, 2019, para 1).
CONFENAIE is the largest Indigenous affiliation group in the region. It supports Indigenous rights, self-determination and the protection of their natural resources (CONFENIAE, 2020). The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon "represents about 15,000 communities, belonging to the Amazonian nationalities, Kichwa, Shuar, Achuar, Waorani, Sapara, Andwa, Shiwiar, Cofan, Siona, Siekopai and Kijus (CONFENIAE, 2020, para 1).
The Shuar live in the Amazon basin in Ecuador. There are at least 40,000 Shuar in Ecuador. The Chiriap Shuar wish to resist the outside extractive industry and government interest in their lands. The Chiriap family and their larger community hope to initiate Shuar-led tourism to restructure the power dynamics inherent as Indigenous peoples in their region. This dynamic can allow them to continue to preserve their way of life and culture in their territory.
Our projects are based just outside of Maca's City - in and around the communities of Buena Esperanza and Nunpaim!
“Inisha Nunka" (Grandmothers Mother Earth) is preserved pristine rainforest in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest. Among the Shuar not all ancestral territory remains untouched. Often families have to sell their ancestral lands in order to make ends meet. Emergency healthcare, education needs, and basic living costs often force families to sell their lands for way below market value. This is a vicious cycle across the Amazon region that results from racist economic policies, a history of colonization, and it is a CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO CLIMATE CHANGE!
This initiative works to preserve and regain ancestral Shuar land for stewardship, conservation and healing in one of the most bio-diverse locations on the planet! Here in their Grandmother's home of the Ecuadorian Jungle near #macas.
We are working together to investigate, preserve and share Shuar Ancestral knowledge, land, and healing
1. Environmental Stewardship & Conservation
Recover Shuar territory for preservation and protection of the rainforest for future generations. We do this by working to gain legal entitlement to traditional territory, and putting the land in trust. Working to recover and preserve Shuar land for future generations and thus supporting planetary health. We also have built an adopt a tree program, to save ancient Amazonian trees from deforestation.
2. Protect Cultural Knowledge
Preserve and rescue Shuar Culture for future generations to enhance the cultural and spiritual wellbeing of the Shuar. Preserve Shuar traditional ecological knowledge, promote Shuar Arts and healing. overing traditional Shuar gardening and farming techniques to support more sustainably and healthy ways of living in communities. This also includes sharing Shuar knowledge to help bridge relationships with the more than human world.
3. Education & Community-based Ecotourism
Provide sustainable economic opportunities for the Shuar Peoples through tourism. This includes retreats, and workshops at our Shuar Cultural Centre in the community of Buena Esperanza. This is to benefit the Shuar communities themselves, and to help educate outsiders as well. We hope to create exchange programs, and opportunities as we grow as an organization.
Check out this from our President Ana Chiriap
Ana "Kayla" Chiriap is not only the
Secretariat of Management and Development of Peoples and Nationalities she is the President and a founding member of Inisha Nunka. Together with her family they have made a promise to not sell or exploit their ancestral territories for future generations to come. As a graduate of
Escuela Superior Politécnica del Chimborazo -Espoch she has her degree in public administration!
She is the leader and face of Inisha Nunka.
Jenny Chiriap Kuish is a youth leader in the community, knowledge holder and artist. She is working to support women artesian work in the Amazon. She also works with plants, to do medicine healing and products.
Tii Antonio Chiriap originally from Nunpaim Tii is an Shaman, Elder, and Shuar Knowledge keeper.
Born in Buena Esperanza Antonio knows everything you need to know about hiking in the jungle! He is an encyclopedia of plant knowledge!
"Chicham" meaning language or communication in Shuar is exactly what Chicham is best at! Having lived in the United States, and as a Tour Leader for Shuar Amazon Tours he speaks, Spanish, English and Shuar!
I am Martina Paloheimo, a PhD Student in the Human, Environment and Communities Lab in the Department of Geography at Queen's University. After completing my Masters in International Peace Studies in 2012, I have worked as a mediator, international consultant, and peacebuilder up until starting my PhD in 2019. I have experience in the not-for-profit sector, around Indigenous rights, and restorative justice. My research is focused on preserving traditional knowledge and territory with the Shuar in the Ecuadorian Amazon where I am doing collaborative community-based work. I am based in Toronto, where I live with my Partner and our dog Blue. I will be back and forth to Ecuador while I hopefully finish my studies.
We support communities to negotiate, build, implement and sustain equitable partnerships with industry and green companies, to assist in their Nation Building vision and strategy. Through our global network of innovative, biomimetic and sustainable enterprises, we connect communities with new opportunities for high-value businesses that support their own values and principles. We then provide the training, mentorship and coaching for leaders and teams to negotiate partners that enable their traditional knowledge, lands and resources to be respected and protected for healthy and prosperous economic development of their Nations. Lastly, we support in the implementation and long-term viability of such partnerships or the eventual transition to full ownership by the Nation of the business.
Supporting small, grassroots organizations working in the areas of human rights, animal protection and environmental justice.
As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) champions and funds research and innovation within and alongside developing regions to drive global change. We invest in high-quality research in developing countries, share knowledge with researchers and policymakers for greater uptake and use, and mobilize our global alliances to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.
Meet Chicham the Project Coordinator and see the land Inisha Nunka
There are so many ways to support our community. Contact us to find out more about volunteer opportunities, fundraising events, and ways to get our message to your community.