Larry Salomon Pedro (Asangpas Kíamak), Mayangna, Nicaragua
What does your local forest mean to you?
“The forest, the earth, the rivers and forest animals, they are our heritage, our inheritance from our ancestors, therefore we have the obligation to maintain them alive forever. These natural elements are the principal source of community life. Thanks to the earth and its derived resources, we live and give life in this world. The forest is my home, where I have spent the greater part of my life, my forest knows me and I know it, we are good friends, I know where to walk, the birds, the animals of every kind that exist there, present wherever I go, I walk through its interior and nothing happens to me, rather it is a space of health. My forest has no price, because it is not just material, but it has the spiritual, cultural and anthropological part which is not defined by any monetary value.
I take this opportunity to cite a definition from my people about the concept of territoriality:
“Territoriality: the SUMU SAUNI is a great living being, over which our ancestors have walked, leaving their footprints that we can see until today. Our territory is that on which the animals walk, it is the air in which the birds fly, it is the waters where the fish swim, it is the earth in which the plants grow, it is the sites from where we obtain our food and medicine. It is also the places where we have our riches and where those beings that only the Mayangna understand and see exist.” (Life Plan Awastingni, 2009)”
How do you pass time in your local forest, describe a typical day in your forest”
“Come rain, come sun, I must spend my days in the forest, neither the sun nor the rains do me damage, they fascinate me because the forest protects me, it does not permit them to affect me directly. I spend my days collecting my daily food, I find my medicines for healing there, I don’t have any other place that makes my life happy, my paradise is my forest, I find the food with which I was brought up, every morning and evening I bathe in the where I navigate unfalteringly. I see the fish swim, I see the birds fly through the air, I enjoy the fresh nights, while those great cities need air conditioning, I do not, that which my forest generates is enough.
What is your message to young people who do not live near to any forest?
The contemporary era of this planet has lost environmental consciousness, it is believed that human development is industrialisation, infrastructure and technology. It is certain that those aspects have satisfied some necessities of humanity, such as housing, communication and medicine, however it must be understood that everything which we have or which is seen in the industrially developed cities, has its origin in natural resources (the environment), therefore the little which we have today we must preserve, care for and exploit with great caution, thinking of the generations to come, the global climate and native people who depend from these forests. It is necessary to live with nature to be able to understand how much it costs to lose the environment, so it is necessary to make oneself aware, to develop a more committed environmental education for the planet and humanity. “To be in solidarity with peoples who live in forests is to collaborate with the environment and global humanity.”