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Help the Baihuaeri Save Their Rainforest Home

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We are friends of Ome Yasuni, volunteers who came together to support the Baihuaeri Waorani people’s defense of their ancestral home in the Amazon Rainforest and their grassroots organisation, Ome Yasuni. The Yasuni region is world-renowned for biological diversity and carbon-rich forests, but the forest and its indigenous inhabitants are in peril due to encroaching oil extraction.

Although world leaders at the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) pledged to phase out our reliance on fossil fuels, at home the government of Ecuador is vowing to increase oil extraction, including in Yasuni National Park.

The Baihuaeri Waorani have lived in and defended Yasuni for countless generations. As they defend the forest that is vital for their physical and cultural survival, they are helping us combat climate change on two fronts: by working to stop the expansion of oil extraction and protecting one of the world's most biodiverse forests and carbon sinks.

Yasuni boasts extraordinary species richness of amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and vascular plants – a typical hectare contains more tree species than all of the United States and Canada combined. It is an important refuge for jaguars, harpy eagles, freshwater dolphins, giant otters, Amazon manatees, short-eared dogs, giant armadillos and other threatened and endangered species.

The Baihuaeri Waorani are also defending the rights of some of the world's last uncontacted Indigenous Peoples – the Tagaeri, Taromenane and Dugakaeri Waorani, who share the same forest.

As oil companies come closer, the Baihuaeri Waorani of Bameno are reaching out to neighboring (contacted) Waorani communities, to teach them about human rights and build alliances to work together to defend the forest. Penti Baihua, a traditional Baihuaeri leader, is coordinating this effort on the ground.

Penti also recently testified to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in defense of his uncontacted neighbors, in the first international human rights case involving the rights of Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation. His message to the governments and peoples who live where the oil companies come from is, “Territory is Life; Deje Vivir, Let us Live”. This case offers a unique opportunity to protect the forest and make the promise of human rights a reality on the ground.

You can watch the court hearing here. You can read a message from Penti and Kemperi below.

Against this backdrop, we are organizing this fundraiser to help Penti and the Baihuaeri Waorani of Bameno unite with their neighbors to defend the Amazon Rainforest, their way of life, and our climate future. They need funds for mobilisation and communication. We believe that Indigenous Peoples have the right to protect their rainforest homes from oil extraction, and that respecting their land rights is the best way to ensure true and sustainable conservation.

We are inspired by Penti and the Baihuaeri Waorani defenders’ initiative and determination. Please share this link and donate generously to help Penti build more alliances to empower grassroots communities in Yasuni defend their rainforest home. No donation is too small to help when we all pitch in.

Thank you,

Friends of Ome Yasuni

Message from Penti and Kemperi

Our message is that we are living here. We are Baihuaeri Huaorani/Waorani and we live in our ancestral territory in the Amazon Rainforest in the region known as “Yasuni.” The forest is our home. It gives us life and our way of life. Without our rainforest territory, we cannot live.

We have problems because the government of Ecuador says our territory is not ours. It wants to decide who can speak for us and tell us how to live. It invites oil companies to take oil out of the ground, and they are destroying the forest. Where the oil companies put their environment, we cannot live. It stays bad.

We are a recently contacted Indigenous Peoples. Before the oil companies came, we lived in voluntary isolation in the forest. We did not have contact with the outside world. After oil was discovered near our territory, the oil company [Texaco, now part of Chevron] and government worked with missionaries to “contact” us and other Waorani peoples, and displace us from the lands where they wanted to search for oil. Now there are many companies and the Waorani peoples live in two worlds: some Waorani live in cities and on oil roads, but we, the Baihuaeri of Bameno, still live in the forest. We share the forest with other Waorani peoples who live in voluntary isolation (Tagaeri, Taromenane and Dugakaeri).

We do not want any new oil operations or roads in our territory, or in the territories of our neighbors in voluntary isolation. If the oil companies destroy everything, where will we live?

We have heard pretty words from the government and world leaders about the need to stop destroying the Amazon Rainforest. We want those words to be a reality. But we also want the outside world to understand that we are the Amazon, too. The forest is our home. It sustains us and we sustain it. Yasuni is still here today because it is our territory, and we and our ancestors have always respected, defended and cared for the forest. “Ome” means “territory” in our language; that is why we say “We are Ome Yasuni.” When outsiders want to support conservation, we want them to listen to us and respect our decisions and our rights.

Our message is that we want to live. We want our children and grandchildren to live after us, here, in what remains of our ancestral territory.

We want the oil companies to stop destroying the forest, and we want the government and other outsiders to respect our rights to speak for ourselves and live the way we want to live. We want the government to recognize our rights in its law, and give us and our neighbors in voluntary isolation a collective land title to our territories.

Territory is life. Let us live.



  • Jean-Claude Schembri
    • $200 
    • 1 mo
  • Mariah Cutajar
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $36 
    • 3 mos
  • Maria Degetau
    • $5 
    • 8 mos
  • Millie Drew
    • $5 
    • 8 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Katya Gorska
New York, NY
Ome Yasuni

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