Dear Friends,

At WECAN and WECC we are celebrating International Women's Day by celebrating the remarkable efforts of women around the world who care for their families and communities under extreme environmental hardships and injustices. Today we want to highlight women defending their way of life and lands in the Amazon. Last October women from 7 different indigenous tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon marched to Quito defend their lands from aggressive oil and mining policies. WECAN and WECC have been collaborating with Amazon Watch to support the Amazonian women in their courageous efforts. Beginning on March 8th in Coca, Eduador there will be a poignant photo exhibit by Felipe Jacome showing the women who marched and sharing their stories. Please see the link to the photos and testimonials

The Last Amazonas

On October 12, 2013, nearly 300 women from 7 different indigenous tribes of the Ecuadorian Amazon embarked on a 219km march to the country�s capital to ask the central government to spare their ancestral lands from its aggressive oil and mining policies. Several days later the women arrived in Quito carrying their toddlers, their faces painted with natural dies in beautiful patterns and symbols, with the same determination and elegance with which they departed. While women have always played an active role in a number of historical marches that punctuated the struggle for indigenous rights in Ecuador, this was the first march that was organized and spearheaded by women. As female givers of life, the women from the Amazon have felt a responsibility to lead the fight against impending oil drilling and the destruction of the pacha mama, or life giving mother earth. Although Ecuadorian public opinion overwhelmingly praised the bravery of the marching women, President Rafael Correa refused to meet with them.
On November 28, a smaller delegation of women arrived to Quito to peacefully protest during the 11th Oil Licensing Round, an auction of 6 million acres of indigenous ancestral lands for oil exploitation. The demonstration, however, got heated when oil executives and politicians came outside and protestors scolded them accusing them of being complicit in ethnocide. Correa took advantage of this situation to publicly portray all indigenous protestors and the NGOs that supported them as violent, subsequently closing Fundaci�n Pacha Mama, one of the most reputed environmental NGOs in the country, and indicting 10 indigenous leaders currently facing charges of terrorism.

The Last Amazonas aims to document the struggle of the indigenous women defending the Ecuadorian Amazon from oil exploitation through a series of images combining portraiture with their written testimonies and artistic expressions. The words written on the images are self-reflections of the women�s lives, of their culture, history, traditions, and their reasons for fighting against oil extraction in their ancestral lands. The traces around the portraits use the same natural dies with which they decorate their faces to draw the symbols and patterns that reflect their personalities and their struggle.

Fifteen percent of annual carbon emissions are due to deforestation. Every year 61,700 square miles (or 40 million acres), most of it natural tropical and rainforests, are cut and deforested. A single tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, sequestering one ton of carbon dioxide over 40 years. Additionally, 80% of the biodiversity of the Earth is located on Indigenous peoples' lands.  

WECAN is dedicated to protecting the biodiversity of forests and the traditional peoples who live there. There is a need to connect women around the world on these forest issues for higher visibility and effective advocacy. We are dedicated to supporting and standing with the Indigenous women who live in these forests, who are fighting to protect their traditional communities and to protect the forests, the lungs of our planet, for all of us.

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Thank you and have a great International Women's Day!

For the Earth and Future Generations,


The WECC and WECAN team