|Waorani women celebrate their court victory (Dolores Ochoa/AP via The New Yorker).|
|Nemonte Nenquimo (Rodrigo Buendia/AFP)|
- PHOTO: Nemonte Nenquimo and other Waorani representatives marched in Puyo on the day they won a lawsuit against the government (Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty).
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“The court recognized that the government violated our right to live free and make our own decisions about our territory and self determination,” she said, over WhatsApp. “Our territory is our decision, and now, since we are owners, we are not going to let oil enter and destroy our natural surroundings and kill our culture.”
In February, the Waorani, together with Ecuador’s Ombudsman, a parliament-appointed official who serves as a public advocate, had filed a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government for not properly consulting with them before opening up their territory to potential oil exploration.
In recent years, Ecuador has divided much of its portion of the Amazon jungle into blocks to lease the mineral rights in an international auction. One of the blocks included Waorani land.
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Many of the Waorani representatives wore traditional dress in court and had red bars painted across their cheekbones and brows. Singing a song about their traditional role as protectors of the forest, they drowned out the judge and lawyers until the judge finally suspended the hearing, which was rescheduled for April.
Nemonte Nenquimo and other representatives of the Waorani people marched in Puyo, Ecuador, on the day they won a lawsuit against the government, over plans to lease oil rights on their land. More
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