“It’s a great honor for me to be here today with my sisters from the North. My people from Sarayaku are in solidarity with the struggle in Standing Rock because we identify with the struggle."

 "Though we are a small people of just 1,200, we were successful in kicking out an oil company in our territory. Our role in life is to fight. We must help the world learn that we can’t destroy life. We have to unite." -Patricia Gualinga, International Relations Director for the Kichwa First People of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Known as one of the world’s largest environmental disasters, Chevron’s oil dumping in Ecuador has impacted as many as 30,000 people, mostly Indigenous residents.

While drilling in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992, Chevron, then Texaco, deliberately dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic waste in the oil-rich area of Ecuador’s Amazon. Based on thousands of pages of evidence, Ecuador’s supreme court ordered Chevron to pay US$9.5 billion in damages and cleanup costs in 2013, but the oil giant has refused to comply, dragging out the lengthy court battle.

“We don’t want what happened to us to happen to the people in Dakota,” said Indigenous Amazon. “We shouldn’t attack the main source of life which is water.” He concluded that it was the love of land, water and nature that united Indigenous people throughout the world.

In fact, it’s all connected. Chevron is also responsible for dumping billions of gallons of oil and toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, seriously damaging local indigenous communities and destroying the rainforest for miles around. But Chevron still denies responsibility, despite the fact that an Ecuadorian court has ordered them to pay more than $9 billion in damages. The whole world has become the front line.

Photo: Ayse Gursoz

Photo by August White

Photo by August White

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