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Photo Credits: Header courtesy of Nia Tero, (clockwise) David Rothschild, Tracy Rector, courtesy of Nia Tero, Douglas (Junior) Pikacha
Photo of a house in Wampis territory by David Rothschild. 


The Wampis Nation Forges a New Path in Peru
By David Rothschild

The Wampis Nation, in the northern Peruvian Amazon along the border with Ecuador, manage a territory of more than 1.3 million hectares of Amazon rainforest — an area larger than Jamaica. Their culture is rich in history and spirituality, with stories about their people and traditional lands going back thousands of years, entangled in the ecosystems and landscapes of their territory. In 2015, the Wampis established their Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation, the first in Peru to encompass a contiguous territory of the customary lands of an Indigenous people, as a way to exert their right to self-determination and to defend their territory against resource extraction and colonization. This example is unique in the Peruvian Amazon as most Indigenous land titles are for individual communities, not entire peoples, as is common in Peru’s neighboring countries.

Wampis governance is based on a Statute that lays out a vision in all areas of life including religion, spirituality, education, language, and recovery of ancestral places. It establishes a “moral council” for elders with a proven track record who have sought visions in the sacred waterfalls. Crafted through general assemblies and guided by Wampis elders, the Statute requires that any activity that could affect Wampis territory must secure the free, prior, and informed consent of the Wampis, and no Wampis community can take a unilateral decision that affects others. In accordance with the Statute, in March 2021 the Wampis elected new leaders who are now responsible for implementing the vision of the Wampis Nation.

Early in their leadership term the new Wampis Pamuk and Vice-Pamuk (traditional leaders) participated in the November 2021 United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow (COP26). While in attendance, they presented the recently completed Wampis climate strategy, which documents the Wampis territorial government contribution to the Paris Agreement, and ambitions looking forward. The scientific study found that the 1,327,760-hectare Wampis territory makes a significant contribution, including the following conservative estimates:

  • An extremely low annual deforestation rate of 0.053% 
  • Store (stock) of more than 145 million tons of carbon, equal to 522 million tons of CO₂ equivalent
  • Annually removing or absorbing 57 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalents
  • By 2030 reducing CO₂ emissions an estimated 1,756 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalents 

While in Glasgow at a Nia Tero event, the Wampis leaders sat down with the renowned 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning author, Thomas Friedman, and shared some of the story of the Wampis people and their contributions to a climate solution. In his New York Times summary of takeaways from the climate summit, Friedman noted that the Wampis live in harmony with their territory, which “absorbs 57 million tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and stores millions of tons of carbon by keeping those trees standing.” The Wampis told Friedman, “We have been taking care of this for the world, and our future generations, and we need to make sure that it is there forever.”
The Wampis example of self-determination and self-implementation of a territorial government is inspiring other Indigenous peoples in northern Peru to begin their own processes toward establishing territorial governments. Most recently, in December 2021, the Wampis neighbors and traditional allies, the Awajun, officially formed their Autonomous Territorial Government of the Awajun. 

Nia Tero is proud to partner with and support the Wampis territorial government. 

Learn More About the Wampis Nation


New Season Coming Soon!

New year, new season! Seedcast is a story-centered podcast, produced by Nia Tero, where we dig up, nurture, and root stories of the Indigenous experience from around the world. Hosted by Jessica Ramirez, Seedcast aims to bring in voices of global Indigenous peoples to shine a light on their lives and the work they do, personal and professional, to advocate for rights, preserve culture, and steward the land on which they live.

Our new season starts on February 2, 2022, and guests will include: Joan Carling, Co-Founder and Global Director of Indigenous Peoples Rights International and co-convener of Indigenous Peoples Major Group on SDG; Luciano and Tatiana Peas of Kara Solar; Nara Baré of COIAB; and many more.

You can listen to Seedcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Buzzsprout, the Nia Tero website, or wherever you like to tune in to your favorite podcasts. Subscribe, tell a friend, and catch up on Season One to get ready for the fresh episodes! 

We can't wait to spend another year with you.

Listen to the Seedcast Season 2 Trailer
We're so proud to premiere all eight Season One Reciprocity Project films at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and to sponsor the 2022 film festival events!

Learn more about Reciprocity Project.

Photo courtesy of Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
Don't miss ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) at the Sundance Film Festival from January 20 - 30. ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) was directed by Brit Hensel with Keli Gonzales and produced as part of Reciprocity Project.

Watch the trailer

Photo by Taylor Hensel.
In the latest Seedcast article for South Seattle Emerald, Jodall Mattson of Wild Hearts Farm and Native Sharing Garden explores the intersection of owning land and stewarding it. 

Read "The Land is Happy You're Here."
Photo by Felipe Contreras.

Read. Listen. Watch. Learn. 

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