The expansion of the oil industry is leaving its mark on today’s landscape. A photo report from the Amazon region in Ecuador.

By Carolina Zambrano (text and photography)

The Waorani are one of the indigenous peoples who live in the Amazon rainforest. It is known as the “community of first contact” because its existence was completely hidden from the occidental world until the 1950s. The area that their ancestors inhabited is between the Cuaray and Napo rivers in the deepest rainforest of Ecuador. In 1980, those people began to fight for the Ecuadorian state to recognize and release the territories – and thereby received the territorial rights for an area that currently covers 679,220 hectares.

In their forests many live according to their own rhythms and laws, including uncontacted peoples such as the Tagaeri and Taromenani – groups who have chosen to live in voluntary isolation. The only thing they know about civilization is the oil and logging processes that are destroying and taking over their land, threatening their very existence.

It is believed that further activity by oil companies in the forests would eradicate the Waorani culture within twenty years. Oil production began in Ecuador in the 1970s and with it the containment and destruction of the natural environment. In addition, many diseases have spread that threatened the integrity of the communities adjacent to the oil fields. The Waorani are currently fighting a battle for the defense of life DURANIBAI (life as before) – in touch with nature and unaffected by oil.

Text in the last picture:

Tapare lives with her family on the banks of the Bameno River – near the unspoiled area inhabited by the Taromenani. A year before this photo, her son was killed in the river by the clan. She carries the lance that pierced his body back then. Boamano 2017

The translation from German was done by Lulith V. from the Pressenza volunteer translation team. We are looking for volunteers!

*Carolina Zambrano is a photographer and visual artist, co-founder of @mujeresmirando and a member of @fluxus_foto