Asociación Waorani de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana
She was born in the community of Gabaro, Yasuní. Together with 18 women, she co-founded the Waorani Association of the Ecuadorian Amazon (AMWAE) and became its first president. AMWAE seeks to support the autonomy of Waorani women in decisions about their territory and assists communities through handicraft products and Wao chocolate, among others. Despite receiving threats for refusing to change her anti-extractive stance, Alicia Weiya continues her struggle and is currently a leader in the family and women’s division of CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador).
Translating the Waorani Territory: A Negotiation Between Worldviews
In our contribution, we analyze the significance that members of the Waorani nationality attribute to their territory. Theoretically, we base ourselves on conceptualizations that conceive translation as an act immersed in highly political processes of negotiation and often occur between different ways of analyzing the world and acting within it. Through qualitative interviews in communities in Orellana and Pastaza with young people, women leaders, and wise elders (Pikenani), we examine the territory as a vital space whose care determines not only the future of the Waorani and the isolated family groups (the Tagaeri Taromenani) but is also crucial for the fight against climate change. At the same time, we observe the rapid loss of the Waoterero language and cultural practices inherent in a life in the forest. By contrasting the perceptions of the interviewees with some official stances, we demonstrate, based on Alicia Cahuiya’s struggle, how communicating the significance of a territory for a transhumant people becomes a translation between worldviews.