After 80 years, Ecuadorian indigenous tribe wins land recovery lawsuit

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After 80 years, Ecuadorian indigenous tribe wins land recovery lawsuit

On August 24, 2021, indigenous Siekopai people protested outside the National Court of Justice (CNJ) in Quito, Ecuador, to demand the right to keep ‘invaders’ out of their historic area. Image by CNN


After 80 years, Ecuadorian indigenous tribe wins land recovery lawsuit.

After more than 80 years of displacement due to conflict, an indigenous group in the Ecuadorian Amazon has triumphed in court to reclaim possession of their ancient lands.

According to a court verdict released  by Amazon Frontline, a nonprofit organization working with indigenous people to preserve their land rights, an Ecuadorian appeals court supported the Siekopai nation‘s claim over Pë’këya, a biodiverse zone in northwest Ecuador along the border with Peru.

The Siekopai people were uprooted in the 1940s while Peru and Ecuador were at war.

According to Amazon Frontline, the group of 800 people sued the Ecuadorian government in September, saying that the government had infringed upon their ancestral property rights.

According to court records, the Provincial Court of Sucumbios ordered the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment to transfer ownership of almost 104,000 acres of land to the Siekopai people within 45 days after Friday’s verdict.

“This is a historic moment for the Siekopai Nation,” declared Elias Piyahuaje, president of the Siekopai Nation of Ecuador. The Pë’këya land has been and will continue to be ours forever.

We have been battling for the return of our land for more than eighty years.

Piyahuaje stated, “We are fighting for the preservation of our culture on this planet. Without this territory, we cannot exist as Siekopai people.”

According to Amazon Frontline, the ruling “will mark the first time that the Ecuadorian government delivers a land title to an indigenous community whose ancestral territory is found in a protected area.

” Piyahuaje continued, “Sets an invaluable precedent for all indigenous peoples fighting to recover their lands across Latin America and the world.”

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