'THE ONLY THING WE HAVE IS OUR SPEARS'

'We have nothing more to say. The only thing we have is our spears.' That is Matsés man Nestor Binan Waki, from a village called Puerto Alegre in one of the remotest parts of Peru's Amazon, speaking about two oil and gas concessions in Matsés territory owned by Canadian company Pacific Energy Rubiales. The concessions, known as Lot 135 and Lot 137, cover almost 1.5 million hectares and have been estimated to hold almost a billion barrels of oil. Lot 137 includes 48% of the Matsés's titled 'native community' and 36% of the Matsés National Reserve, some of which they consider part of their territories too, while Lot 135 includes parts of both the 'native community', the reserve, and a proposed reserve for indigenous people living in 'isolation' who have no regular, sustained contact with other people. To hear what other Matsés say about Pacific Rubiales, and how Brazil is threatened too, see my article in The Ecologist today. (08-12-2014)

David Hill