From December 10 through December 22, 2018, the Bogota-based international human rights organization DeJusticia hosted its Second Global Workshop for Indigenous Leaders in the Ecuadorian Amazon, specifically in the Kichwa territory of Sarayaku, on the banks of the Bobonasa River. For more than a week, up to 15 Indigenous activists from Latin America, Africa, and Asia gathered alongside members of the Sarayaku community to discuss strategies of resistance to extractive industries, intransigent governments, and militarization in their territories. Along with comprehensive discussions about international law, the issue of prior consultation, and Indigenous rights within national and global contexts, workshop participants engaged in media production, storytelling, and spiritual reflections. The overall objective is to build a worldwide network of resistance and solidarity in a time of political, economic and ecological crisis.
One of the workshop participants was Media Scholar and Producer MARIO MURILLO, who is a veteran community radio practitioner and currently serves as the Vice Dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. MARIO has been a guest as well as a Guest Host on “First Voices Radio” on various occasions; and he prepared a series of audio montages about this latest experience with the Sarayaku of Ecuador, featuring the voices, the ambient sounds and the music that makes the Living Jungle — the Kawsak Sacha — come alive.
Featured are: Trenton Casillas-Bakeberg (Lakota), one of the workshop participants; Jose Gualinga, Sarayaku leader; Yaku Feliz Guateri, director for International Relations of the Sarayaku who gives us the history of the Sarayaku’s role in the national movement for Indigenous rights in Ecuador; songs by Yaku Feliz Guateri (who says, along with community activism, his music is his second weapon in defending the community); and Cesar Rodriguez, director of DeJusticia. Rodriguez explains the concept behind holding the workshop in Sarayaku territory, and how this global network of resistance and solidarity continues to expand.