Justino Piaguage, president of the Siekopai Nation, on April 27, 2023 in Barcelona. Photo Credit: Carles Ribas

EnvironmentSociety Ecuador20. December 2023

Historic Win: Ancestral Land Goes Back to Its People

The Ecuadorian government is giving back a piece of the Siekopai people’s ancestral home, recognizing at last an Indigenous population’s right to possess land declared a protected area.

“This piece of land is what will allow us to continue existing as an ancient people, as a people who have shown that we are Amazonian, with a different culture, a different wisdom, and a different language,” explains Justino Pianguaje, head of the Siekopai Nation. “I finally feel an internal peace for having demanded respect for the rights of the Siekopai and having guaranteed this territorial space for current and future generations.”

The Siekopai Nation will have ownership of Pë’këya, a territory within Ecuador along the border of Peru, a 42,360-hectare piece or 40% of the jungle. The approval of the Organic Law of Rural Lands and Ancestral Territories in 2017 made it possible for protected spaces to be returned to the hands of their original owners. The court ruled that a public apology is due from Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition since it has “failed to fulfil its obligations to guarantee the rights of the Siekopai Nation.”

El País

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