Source: Intercontinental Cry
For most Peruvians it was a Sunday like any other; but in the Wampis community of Soledad, it was a historic day. On November 29, the Wampis nation declared the formation of the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru.
Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory – a region the size of the State of Connecticut – the newly elected government brings together 100 Wampis communities representing some 10,613 people who continue to live a traditional subsistence way of life through hunting, fishing and small scale agriculture.
While the newly-formed government does not seek independence from Peru, its main role is to protect Wampis ancestral territory and promote a sustainable way of life that prioritizes well-being, food security and a healthy harmonious existence with the natural world.
This is no small task in today’s world; but it is nonetheless a necessary one, as Andres Noningo Sesen, Waimaku (Wampis Visionary), explains in a recent email to the New Internationalist. Due to the advance of mining and oil companies, illegal logging and palm oil plantations, the Wampis have found their livelihoods increasingly under threat.