Nemonte Nenquimo: Waorani Female Leader Among The 100 Most Influential People Of 2020

Last week, the Waorani´s celebrated Nemonte Nenquimo´s recognition by the Times magazine. Nemonte is an Ecuadorian indigenous leader, and she is the President of the Coordination Council of the Waorani Nationality of Pastaza (Conconawep), she has been chosen among The 100 Most Influential People of 2020 due to her constant fight for the environment.

The Time magazine announced Nenquimo’s name on September 22 of 2020 with an introduction by the actor and environmentalist Leonardo Di Caprio.  Di Caprio said that Nemonte lives her struggle and that talking with her is to witness a rare clarity. He said he remembers that the Waorani leader once told him that she would not give up and was going to continue fighting for the environment and for defending the forest that she loves from the industries and oil companies that want devour it. Also, Di Caprio stated that the Waorani leader has kept her word and continues to be an important voice and defender of her community. He adds he feels lucky to have met her and even luckier having learned from her.

Currently, the work of this strong Waorani leader focuses on the threat of COVID-19 and the ecological crisis in the Amazon. The inhabitants of this region are aware that the territory is a fundamental element in the isolation of this disease. The Waorani received this recognition as a collective triumph, they stated: “This honor is for the struggle of all the Amazonian indigenous peoples in defense of our rights, our territories, and our global climate.” Also, they firmly said that their struggle is being heard throughout the world and that the Occidental civilization is awakening and starting to understand the importance of listening and respecting indigenous peoples.

Indigenous communities constitute an important cultural pillar in the cultures of many countries, therefore it essential that these communities obtain spaces to express themselves with freedom and respect. Nemonte Nenquimo is a woman who has shown courage and tenacity. Without a doubt, the recognition that has been granted to her responds to the strength she has shown for her ideals. Congratulations Ecuador! I am very proud of the women of my country who are firm in their thoughts, and I hope that this strong woman sets an example for many more Ecuadorian female leaders to continue to emerge. Also, it is very motivating for the world to know that Time magazine reported that 54 of The 100 Influential People of 2020 are women.

Desirée Viteri Almeida
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