Didier Lacaze y esposa Rosa Canelos.

Working with women for me, has been a way to return to my roots, to see more clearly the situation in which each of women is: older women, younger women and girls.

I ask the young people to look back, look for the history of our elders, to rediscover our roots. Looking back does not mean getting caught in the past, but rather knowing the good things that were there when the wise men and women who led our peoples lived; powerful women, our teachers the grandmothers, the healers … many things that now seem to have now been lost. That worries me a lot. I feel that it is getting out of our hand. And if all that knowledge is lost we will no longer have our own identity, we will not belong here, nor there.

Our territory is so extensive. In it, inhabit all of the being, spirits of rivers, of the lakes, of the mountains, of the forest –the “rucu sacha”, of the plants, of the animals. There are these spirits in each of these forms, which make everything work in harmony. That is why we must respect all the things that exist in our territories.

I thank those men and women who fought to obtain the official recognition of these territories that today my people now live on. They say that the indigenous people are lazy, because we do not know how to work in so much land. But that’s not the case. Us indigenous people know how to take care of our lands. If it had been the colonizers, there would not be a single tree left in the Amazon, just like we can see on at the frontiers of colonization, on the coast and in other parts of the world. For these reasons, from the Sacha Warmi, we have proposals to work on these issues.

We must return to our roots, cultivate the food in our chakra, work with our plants, talk with the elderly, be disciplined, just as our elders were before. The change is in each one of us.

I am from a community of great shamans. I feel very proud, but today there are no longer such great shamans and I see that people have become dependent on medicines from the outside. It makes me so sad that people in my community don’t even know how to use the plants or what the plants are for. I am young, but I want to support my people so they start to take up the knowledge and uses of the plants. That is what I think, I feel and I want!

Women, families and territories program.

Born along the bank of the river Bobonaza, Rosa belongs to the Kichwa nationality from Canelos, in Pastaza. At a very young age she left her community and lived for 8 years in various places across Ecuador. Her experience outside of her community gave her a new outlook on her own culture and made her realize the importance of the traditional ways of life in her own community. Worried about the future of her community, Rosa came back to motivate the women in her community to come together and reflect about their current situation, in order to come up with small-scale cultural and productive projects, which can help improve their current life situation, as well as their family’s.