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September 3, 2013

Essay on Cultural Huaorani of Ecuador

Cultural Huaorani of Ecuador
The Huaorani are a faction of Amerindians that reside in the Amazonian rain forest.  Their society can be dubbed as a semi-nomadic horticultural society. Ecuador is the clearest interpretation of what may be the diversity. There are no fewer than 10 languages ​​spoken in Ecuador. The culture of Ecuador is not a single culture; rather it is a mixture of a whole range of cultures, representing each level of this community which is very heterogeneous. The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, but Quichua, an Inca language is spoken by the Indian population. Besides the Spanish there are about ten native languages ​​still in use.
Culture plays an important role in determining the behaviors of communities. Generally speaking, culture defines the lifestyle, norms and traditions of a community.  Hence, the behavior, primary mode of subsistence, and economic organization of Huaorani people cannot be well understood without due reference to its cultural influences. The culture’s primary mode of subsistence, be it a forager, horticulturalist, agriculturist, pastoralist, or industrialist,  has a direct effect and impact on the cultural behaviors such as social and economic organization, social change, kinship, gender relations, political organizations, beliefs and values.
The people of Huaorani have different characteristics from the other tribes of Ecuador. Though the community continues to possess its ancestral lands between the Curary and Napo rivers but these areas have now become quite vulnerable due to the practices of oil trapping and logging which are deemed illegal in the country. Most of all, the Huaorani community has been very successful in preserving and protecting their culture from the enemies.

Historically, the Hauorani community was a group of hunters and gatherers who dwelled in forest and hunted animals as their primary mode of subsistence. However, their practice has been reduced to its minimum due to the onset of technology and communication but forest still remains to be their permanent settlement. The community accommodates five different groups namely, the Tageri, the Huinnatare, the Onamenae and two from Taromenane. These groups prefer to live in isolation avoiding contact with the outside world.
As far as the belief systems of the Huaorani people go, they believe the entire world was once a forest and a safer place than the outside world. For them, living in the forest protects them from the unwanted troubles that their opponents and enemies can create. They consider the forest and rivers as the primary source of living. Cultural anthropologists conclude that animals and plants also have a spiritual and physical existence.
Among them, the notion of respecting animals is strongly rooted despite the fact that they hunt them as the primary source of subsistence. They believe that the spirits of the dead animals must be pacified lest they harm the human beings. They encourage the hunting of snakes and jaguar----considered as the evil force in the cosmology of community while the jaguar is seen as the majestic marauder. They have profound knowledge about the botanical and medicinal values of plants in the forest. Plants are considered as part of the life of this community and portray their characteristics. (Karttunen, 2000) 
The animals that can be hunted are limited to birds, monkeys, and wild peccaries. They are forbidden to eat the meat of certain animals. For example, deer is prohibited to be haunted and eaten.  Their cultural values raise ethical issues about the practice of killing animals indiscriminately. The belief that the spirits of dead animals rule the forest and can harm the people in anger is also embedded in the minds of Huorani people.
Their beliefs and values place restriction on the hunting and eating practices. Plants hold unique position among the community because they supposedly have medicinal, botanical, and spiritual values.
The Huaorani live in the Ecuadorian Amazon between the Rio Napo and Rio Curaray, and are estimated at less than 2,000 individuals.  Although their territory extended over 2 million hectares, oil activities, settlers and lumbermen, had led, in 1990, the Ecuadorian President Borja to allocate their collective ownership of a slightly less than 700,000 hectares in order to facilitate all their activities. The Huaorani Tagaeri are the only ones who have remained faithful to the traditional way of life, are themselves deeply buried in the forest between the Amazon River and Tiputini Cononaco.
To protect them, a natural reserve was created in 1979, the Yasuni Park recognized World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, including the same, an area of
​​intangibility and excluding therefore, theoretically, any oil.
The Huaorani, formerly known as Auca Aushiris were the last Indians that have preserved their ancestral roots intact after the Spanish conquest in the fourteenth century, which killed one million natives in the Andes of South America.
The process of domination of the Huaorani group, began with the establishment of evangelical missions in its territory by the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) of U.S., the Ecuadorian government gave one of the most important tasks:
education. The purpose of SIL has been directly linked to oil companies, including maintenance of that group, to allow for oil exploration, which led to the acculturation of the Huaorani.(Rival, 2002)
Before the time of evangelization, the Huaorani were victims of the rubber boom (1880-1920), by the incursions of rubber producers who hunted Indians for sale in Manaus (Brazil), Iquitos (Peru) and
Mother Earth (Bolivia).

With the presence of evangelizing Summer Institute of Linguistics of the United States began a process of acculturation of Huao people who helped them come into contact with white civilization, and more presence of oil has set the tone for this indomitable people begin a long process of organizing in communities that have led to the creation of the Organization of the Huaorani Nationality of the Ecuadorian Amazon, ONHAE in 1986, with Ministerial agreement No.100050, as the place Puyo, Pastaza.

          The Huaorani are a people of skilled hunters and warriors, who occupy a habitat mainly interfluves. Its economy, social organization and the spiritual world are amazing models aptly updated to the environment of the jungle. Hector Vargas, an anthropologist and jungle guide, found a Huaorani leader who told him the true story of the death of Bishop LABACE in 1987. "LABACE Arango and his mother entered the Tagaeri Tiguino area, south of Pastaza, on arrival of the missionaries Tagaeri a child was ill and died the next day, so that the objectives Tagaeri blamed for his death and decided to kill them. "This revelation was made by a young woman who was captured by Tagaeri Huaorani to establish a friendship with their brothers Tagaeri, but it was not possible and had to return to the young daughter and threatened to kill them. (Dally, 1999)

The Tagaeri live in myth and legend ancestral Huaorani of their patron god and his jungle, the Angel of the eagle soars whenever there is danger and every time he approached the danger is everywhere and everyone should be prepared for war. The Tagaeri have been a very small group, inbred clan that has deepened its own extinction.

The Huaorani maintain the custom of punishing a child when he does not obey the rules of the father and the community. The children spent one year, are bound to a tree and punished with a vine of Mount says Juan Enomenga Huaorani leaders. "It also keeps the wedding itself, when a youth is caught with his girlfriend, the father of the bride has forced him to marry this".
                                            The Tagaeri and Taromenane
The group's name derives from the Tagaeri Tagairi or boss or TAGAI Taga, which in the late 60 grouped around Huaorani. This clan wanted to preserve their cultural heritage and ancestral social system without outside influence, rejecting the policy of reduction imposed by the protectorate under the control of the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Tagaeri. Due to this they became isolated and began to migrate gradually from the region. During the last decade, little contact with Tagaeri was marked by violence, especially when exploring in blocks 16 and 17, Huao territory, in charge of oil YPF (Maxus) and Petrobras. The Catholic Church began the stage of the Huaorani people, due to the presence of oil, the objective was to locate the Huaorani past who were in a primitive state.
The Spanish priests, Mons, Alejandro LABACE and Ines Arango Colombian missionary, came on July 21, 1987 from CGG oil camp, block 16, to make his first contact with this primitive group, whose village has been discovered April 10, the same year by the priest himself, 3 km south of the river Tiguino in Pastaza.
The Tagaeri demonstrated not only their rejection of white society, but also with other indigenous people, who maintain a state of war, as happened in November 2000 that killed two Quechua.
In 1992, workers involved in seismic operations in the Yasuni National Park in conflict with another group isolated Huaorani and unknown, unknown until then. Taromenane.
In 1993, Tiguino Huaorani, Tagaeri entry and kidnapped a young woman named Omatuki, who spoke of the Tagaeri and their possible relationships with Taromenane. This group would dominate the Tagaeri.
According to some Huaorani, there would be other groups that have not been contacted.  

The traditional territory of the Huaorani covered an approximate area of ​​2,000 hectares .000, between the right bank of the Napo and the left bank of Curaray. They maintained the independence and defend their territory through military actions. From 1958, with the permanent presence of the ILV (Summer Institute of Linguistics, the time of contact with the outside world began.
The Huaorani are independent hunter-gatherer, and require a large tract of land to maintain its production practices and consumption. They are constantly moving through their territory, at the beginning of last century, they moved between the Napo and Curaray. The pressure of the ownership of land by the oil companies, through concessions of forest, through the purchase of forest settlers who took possession of the cultures that defined the state of colonization lands, etc, has reduced the area of ​​movement of the Huaorani-Curaray Tivacuno area.
             They started the contact with the Western world in 1958 through the missionary evangelists of the Summer Language Institute (ILV). The work of the evangelical mission was to clear an area for the oil companies to enter. The ILV has proposed the creation of an indigenous reserve, which was finally established in 1983, with an area of
​​612,000 hectares.
Oil companies have influenced the creation of an organization for communication with businesses, Onah, as an instance of formal relationship with the industry itself. "The Agreement of Friendship, Respect and mutual support" between Maxus and Onah, with a validity of 20 years, said that the Huaorani "does not preclude the exploitation of hydrocarbons in their territory and that therefore the moratorium exploration and exploitation will not be solicited, and will collaborate closely with the oil company. "(Peter, 2003)
Currently, many people of this nation have lost their traditional hunter-gatherers spirit and, instead of being independent, they have become dependent on oil companies. These companies have made them dependent for food and medicine they provide them, causing profound changes in their eating habits. The incursion of oil workers in the Huaorani territory also meant the introduction of serious diseases like hepatitis B, malnutrition, and serious cultural impact. Living Centres have been trained in the park, which, although they are inhabited by Huorani, respond to lifestyle and relationship with the environment very different from the traditional model.
            Tagaeri along with three other clans have decided to avoid all contact with the outside world and have maintained their lifestyle due to the fact that they live on land rarely visited.

In 1996, the CONFENIAE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon) and ONHAE filed a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS), accusing the Government of Ecuador and the oil companies from attacking the rights of indigenous peoples. That complaint led to a visit of the Commission and implementation of a document listing recommendations.
An examination of the human rights situation in the eastern region of Ecuador (Oriente) was driven by filing a complaint on behalf of the Huaorani people, who reported that it was under imminent threat of serious violations human rights due to oil exploitation activities planned in the heart of their traditional lands. The CONFENIAE said that activities will irreparably damage the Huaorani, threatening their physical and cultural survival in violation of guarantees of the American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The Commission recommended taking measures to prevent the consequences of these activities.
                   On May 10, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures of protection for people and Taromenani Tagaeri. These measurements suggest action to protect the rights and safeguard the lives of these clans. The IACHR "has requested from the Ecuadorian State adopting the measures necessary to protect the presence of others in the territory inhabited by the beneficiaries." (Otero, 2007)
On April 18, 2007, President Rafael Correa announced the adoption of a policy to safeguard the lives of these people, taking responsibility to protect their fundamental rights and commitment to lead efforts to eliminate threats to extermination and guarantee human rights, collective and individual peoples living in voluntary isolation.

Otero, Ziegler, (2007) “Resistance in an Amazonian community: Huaorani organizing against the global economy” Bergahan books
Rival, Laura,(2002) “Trekking through history: the Huaorani of Amazonian Ecuador” Columbia University
Dally, Lee,(1999) “The Cambridge encyclopedia of hunters and gatherers”  Cambridge University Press
Karttunen, Frances, (2000) “Between Worlds: interpreters, guides, and survivors” Rutgers University Press


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