Huaorani of Ecuador is dedicated to promoting a better understanding of the Huaorani and the challenges they face as oil workers, colonists and loggers sweep through the jungles of Ecuador.
Oil drilling and illegal logging and land grabs threaten to destroy the pristine jungle habitat where the indigenous group has lived for more than 1,000 years.
The Huaorani, also called the Waorani, have resisted outsiders for centuries. They drew international attention in 1956 when they killed five American missionaries.
Missionaries later returned and made peaceful contact with the indigenous group. Some of the Huaorani’s distant cousins – the Tagaeri and Taromenane – still live in isolation.
Tensions have been rising as oil workers, colonists and others compete for scarce resources. Violence has been rising. Dozens of Huaorani and their isolated relatives have been killed in territorial and family disputes over the past 15 years.
Some experts fear that the Huaorani’s isolated kin are on the verge of extinction.
“We’re not talking about animals,” ecologist Eduardo Pichilingue said. “We’re talking about human beings. They have rights and we should respect them.”