The Secoya, or Siekopai people, known as the People of Many Colors, have lived for countless generations along the rivers and streams of the Amazon Rainforest, along the border of Ecuador and Peru. Hernan Payaguaje, a young Secoya leader, learned to fish in these rivers from his grandfather Delfin, who recalls a time when the rivers where crystal clear and teeming with fish. Today, oil operations and large-scale agriculture upriver have affected the Secoya peoples’ rivers and the fish they rely on. Hernan straddles two sides of modern indigenous life in the Amazon: he has a college education and has spent time in the city, but he is also connected to his ancestral culture and the teachings of his grandfather. He hopes to bring both sides together, his education and his identity, to understand what contaminants are affecting the rivers in order to protect his people and their ancient way of life.
Ceibo Alliance website: www.alianzaceibo.org
Amazon Frontlines: www.amazonfrontlines.org