Waorani people traveling by canoe on a river.

A Leader for Her People

Nemonte Nenquimo was born and raised in the Waorani culture. Her grandfather taught an important lesson. He taught her that their land must always be protected.

This Waorani elder uses a blowpipe and darts for hunting.

Nenquimo’s grandmother taught her, too. Waorani women are the caretakers of the forest. They watch over the plants and animals. They tell the hunters where to hunt and for which animals. Nenquimo learned all of these things.

She helped the elders make a map of their land. It showed special places. It showed where animals live. It showed where fruit trees grow. The map showed their strong relationship to the land. When this land becamed threatened, her people needed a leader. They chose her.

The Waorani mapped the rainforest to show their connection to the land.

Nenquimo speaks to reporters about the court case.

The Waorani filed their lawsuit. They said that the government could not sell their land. It did not have their permission. The Waorani did not know if they would succeed. But, they knew they had to try.