Gregorio Mirabal: "The New Vaccine Is Called Indigenous Territorial Governance"

Servindi, September 27, 2020.- The virtual presentation of the book: The essence of our existence until the sun goes out. Experiences and learnings in indigenous territorial governance in the Amazon, stood out by reflecting on the integration processes of indigenous peoples.

Gregorio Mirabal, general coordinator of the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), commented that the book "is uncomfortable" because it has "uncomfortable stories" that go against the current development model.

He said, “This book is uncomfortable. Those stories are uncomfortable. Our words - when we speak of self-determination, of governance, of autonomy - are uncomfortable for this development model that is destroying our largest maloca, which is the Amazon Rainforest and the planet.”

Likewise, he said that the book is a call for States to adopt new public policies with the participation of indigenous peoples from their autonomy and that, young people must seize territorial governance and autonomy since there is a lot of pressure on their territories.

“In this moment, our territories continue to be sold, divided, and traded on an international stage, in the banks. (…)I believe this book calls for attention; facing extractivism, mining, livestock, and those fires that are burning our future and our present”, he said.


A “New Vaccine”

During his speech, the general coordinator of COICA also mentioned the current COVID-19 pandemic that has unleashed a new race to get a vaccine against the disease. In this context, he described the book as "a vaccine against extractivism and the current development model."

“This book is a vaccine for our peoples. We have to carry out a vaccination process in all the territories of the Amazon basin with this vaccine called indigenous territorial governance, which is the only thing that can save us”, Mirabal warned.

In addition, he was not very optimistic about the aid announced by the governments. He said, “The support is not going to come. We have to look for it in our own territories with our indigenous territorial governance”.

In the current context - according to Mirabal - the book represents a rain that comes to calm an apocalypse.

“Let this call for indigenous territorial governance be heard loud and clear, it is necessary. This is the moment because our history has been one of extermination, abandonment and invasions and colonization”, he added.

A Territorial Experience

Gregorio Mirabal stated that if these experiences capitalization initiatives continue to be promoted, "about 500 more books would come out of the entire experience of the Amazon basin”.

The general coordinator of COICA said, “These are stories that have never been published before. They remain there in the territories. Let this rain continue. Let it become a river and let it run in the Amazon basin”.

Finally, the indigenous leader said that the matrix for self-determination is to strengthen the ancestral norms of governance.

"As long as we are clear about it and it is strengthened, as long as our authorities have that power, that knowledge that their own laws are respected, they will not be mocked in court, by an oil contract or a negotiation with the Government," he warned.

Download the book for free clicking on the following link:

“La esencia de nuestra existencia hasta que el sol se apague” (Spanish, PDF, 200 pages)

We share the virtual presentation of the book below:

About the Book

The text –which is made up of 64 capitalization files from 22 Amazonian leaders from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru– collects significant learnings from indigenous chiefs, technicians and leaders.

The book is also the result of the application of the methodology called “capitalization of experiences” created by Pierre de Zutter three decades ago, but which confirms its enormous usefulness and validity for indigenous leadership.

It is also part of the activities of the Capacity Building Program on Indigenous Territorial Governance coordinated by Forest Trends, sponsored by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).


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