Waorani Indians march against oil drilling

July 15, 2005

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Over one hundred Waorani Indians from the Ecuadorian Amazon marched in the capital this week to protest at the destruction of their rainforest by oil companies.

Chanting 'we don't want money, we want the forest', the Indians marched to Congress, and delivered a defiant message to the Chamber of Deputies: 'We don't want more drilling in our land. We don't want to disappear. We want our rights to be respected.'

The immediate target of the Indians' wrath was the Brazilian company Petrobras, which has a licence to drill in the Yasuni National Park, home to isolated groups of Waorani.

The Waorani said, 'We don't want more oil companies in our territory, nor do we want more money from them. Before, our land stretched from the Curaray river to the Napo river. But we lost our land when the missionaries arrived, working together with the oil companies. Now what little remains to us is being split up and contaminated by those same companies. What will happen to our children when they're bigger? Where will they live?'