Brazil-Peru Transboundary Networking

  • Carolina S. Comandulli
  • Carolina S. Comandulli

Project Informations

Name Brazil-Peru Transboundary Networking
Category Art and Culture, Community Organization, Territorial Protection

Project Description

Since the end of the 1990s, we Ashaninka of the Rio Amônia have joined together with indigenous and non-indigenous partners to address the various problems occurring along the frontier between Brazil and Peru. For decades, we indigenous peoples who inhabit this transboundary region have been confronted by illegal logging, road-building, exploitation of minerals, oil and gas in the headwaters of our rivers, as well as by the presence of drug trafficking.

To be able to combat these problems, we have sought to work in conjunction with governmental and non-governmental organizations of both countries and with Ashaninka communities in Peru. In the majority of cases these Ashaninka communities have been left weakened by the exploitative and intimidatory presence of logging companies and drug traffickers. Our activities with Ashaninka communities in Peru help strengthen them, by showing them development alternatives which protect their way of life and the essence of Ashaninka culture. Our partnership with the Pro-Indian Commission of Acre was fundamental for mobilizing other NGOs for this frontier agenda, by disseminating information and systematizing data.

Since 2004 and 2005, with the occurrence of several conflicts resulting from the presence of logging companies in our territory and along the frontier, we have intensified our contacts with several Ashaninka communities in the Ucayali region, including those of Sawawo, Saweto and Shawaya, to mention just three.  It was at this moment that the communities realised what the future scenario looked like and began mobilizing to protect themselves. In 2005, we hosted for the first time a group of Ashaninka from the Ene, Tambo and Upper Perene rivers in our community.

In 2015, we expanded our contacts with other Ashaninka communities of the Selva Central. This took place following a visit in July 2015, when a group of Ashaninka leaders of Apiwtxa visited several Serra Central communities and sites sacred to the Ashaninka people. During this visit, following discussions with several Peruvian Ashaninka organizations and representatives, we were invited to contribute to the organization of the First Binational Congress of the Ashaninka People, which was held in September 2015 in Pucallpa, Peru. More than 120 Ashaninka representatives of several Peruvian communities took part in this important meeting to discuss how to strengthen Ashaninka communities in Peru and Brazil.

We are currently working on a film about the sacred places of the Ashaninka in Peru and are continuing discussions on holding the next Binational Congress of the Ashaninka People of Brazil and Peru. As well as this, we are directly supporting, in partnership with the Pro-Indian Commission of Acre and the Rainforest Foundation Norway, the Comunidades Nativas Sawawo and Shawaya which directly border our territory. This involves a training programme for territorial and environmental management and organizational strengthening with a view to jointly sharing experiences and protecting our territories.

This is extremely important work for us, Ashaninka of Apiwtxa, as we seek to protect, strengthen, recognize and value the culture of our people. It is by being united that we will ensure the continuity of our people, our territory, our culture, our spirituality and all the values that represent the essence of our life. Many future meetings and discussions will take place to contribute to the strengthening and continuity of our people, our culture and our wisdom.

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