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Narratives of Resistance

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021657/00001

Material Information

Title: Narratives of Resistance An Ethnographic View of the Emergence of the Huaorani Women's Association in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Physical Description: 1 online resource (108 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Indigenous groups of Amazonian Ecuador started organizing in the 1970s as a reaction to oil exploitation in the region, becoming a central issue in the political agenda of the Ecuadorian Amazonian indigenous movement. The Huaorani followed this trend with the creation of ONHAE, the Organization of the Huaorani Nationality of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is also linked to the umbrella organization of the national indigenous movement. The Huaorani are hunter-gatherer horticulturalists that have been described by ethnographers as an egalitarian society with a flexible sexual division of labor and lacking in hierarchical structures. However, through contact and cross-cultural interactions with the national society and more specifically, with missionaries and the impact of oil exploitation, this society has undergone changes in social structure. These changes are interrelated and have resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of the Huaorani in general and of Huaorani women in particular. Huaorani women started organizing within the Huaorani organization, ONHAE, during 2002 and by 2005 they had their own legalized association, AMWAE, the Association of Waorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This study seeks to understand the emergence of this association and to analyze its functions and objectives. The emergence of AMWAE is analyzed through the narratives of its leaders from which I draw out the main driving factors behind its creation. I argue that the emergence of AMWAE can be understood by a combination of factors, some conjunctural and some related to the discontent of women with their subordination in formal leadership and their lack of access to income generating opportunities. Moreover, I discuss AMWAE?s structure, funding, networking and interactions with other social actors, highlighting its relations with ONHAE. I also analyze AMWAE's functions and objectives, and the principal concerns of its leadership as well as of members in the base communities, paying special attention to those that have the potential of transforming the existing gender relations, such as formal education. To complement the study of Huaorani women leaders, I explore the expectations and perceptions of AMWAE at the community level. The expressed concerns of the base are analyzed as demands, and they generally coincide with the objectives of the organization. Finally, while AMWAE's agenda cannot be considered feminist and AMWAE leaders do not engage in such a discourse, there were expressed concerns by AMWAE leaders that are related to gender issues as seen in terms of some of the driving factors behind the emergence of the association. These demands challenge current gender relations and are also related to the impact of cross-cultural interactions on traditional Huaorani customs and practices.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Deere, Carmen.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021657:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021657/00001

Material Information

Title: Narratives of Resistance An Ethnographic View of the Emergence of the Huaorani Women's Association in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Physical Description: 1 online resource (108 p.)
Language: english
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Indigenous groups of Amazonian Ecuador started organizing in the 1970s as a reaction to oil exploitation in the region, becoming a central issue in the political agenda of the Ecuadorian Amazonian indigenous movement. The Huaorani followed this trend with the creation of ONHAE, the Organization of the Huaorani Nationality of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is also linked to the umbrella organization of the national indigenous movement. The Huaorani are hunter-gatherer horticulturalists that have been described by ethnographers as an egalitarian society with a flexible sexual division of labor and lacking in hierarchical structures. However, through contact and cross-cultural interactions with the national society and more specifically, with missionaries and the impact of oil exploitation, this society has undergone changes in social structure. These changes are interrelated and have resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of the Huaorani in general and of Huaorani women in particular. Huaorani women started organizing within the Huaorani organization, ONHAE, during 2002 and by 2005 they had their own legalized association, AMWAE, the Association of Waorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This study seeks to understand the emergence of this association and to analyze its functions and objectives. The emergence of AMWAE is analyzed through the narratives of its leaders from which I draw out the main driving factors behind its creation. I argue that the emergence of AMWAE can be understood by a combination of factors, some conjunctural and some related to the discontent of women with their subordination in formal leadership and their lack of access to income generating opportunities. Moreover, I discuss AMWAE?s structure, funding, networking and interactions with other social actors, highlighting its relations with ONHAE. I also analyze AMWAE's functions and objectives, and the principal concerns of its leadership as well as of members in the base communities, paying special attention to those that have the potential of transforming the existing gender relations, such as formal education. To complement the study of Huaorani women leaders, I explore the expectations and perceptions of AMWAE at the community level. The expressed concerns of the base are analyzed as demands, and they generally coincide with the objectives of the organization. Finally, while AMWAE's agenda cannot be considered feminist and AMWAE leaders do not engage in such a discourse, there were expressed concerns by AMWAE leaders that are related to gender issues as seen in terms of some of the driving factors behind the emergence of the association. These demands challenge current gender relations and are also related to the impact of cross-cultural interactions on traditional Huaorani customs and practices.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Deere, Carmen.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0021657:00001


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NARRATIVES OF RESISTANCE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC VIEW OF THE
EMERGENCE OF THE HUAORANI WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION IN THE
ECUADORIAN AMAZON


















By

MAYRA DANIELA AVILES


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008






























2008 Mayra Daniela Aviles









ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I want to thank my supervisory committee: Dr. Anita Spring for her enthusiasm,

Dr. Michael Heckenberger for participating despite the distance, and my chair, Dr.

Carmen Diana Deere, for her dedication, encouragement, and all her help during the

editing process. I thank the friends my passage through Gainesville has given me, their

companionship and the laughter we shared has been dearly appreciated. I am particularly

grateful to my friend and classmate Cassie Howard, and to my unofficial adviser, Geraldo

Silva, for their valuable editorial advice.

Of course, I would also like to give thanks to the people far away from

Gainesville but close to my heart, my mother for her unconditional love and support, and

to Alejandro, siempre compahero. Above all I am deeply thankful to the Huaorani who

opened their doors to me and whose hospitality, kindness, and humor made my field

research an unforgettable and wonderful experience. The product of that experience, this

thesis, I dedicate to them.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G EM E N TS ................................................................... .... ............................. 3

L IST O F T A B L E S ...................................................................................................... . 5

ABSTRAC T ..........................................................................................

LIST OF ACRONYMS ............................... ... .. .... ..... ................. .8

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ......................................................................................... .......... .. .. ...9

2 HUAORANI TRADITIONAL SOCIETY AND THE EXPANSION OF THE
NATION-STATE IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON...................................................19

History of Contact .............. ............ ........... ................ ......... 19
Aspects Traditional Huaorani Society ..... ............... ....... .......... .... ................21
The Impact of the Oil industry and the SIL on Huaorani Society and Subsistence
p pattern s ......... ..... ............. ............................................. ................................. 2 8

3 THE ECUADORIAN INDIGENOUS MOVEMENT AND THE HUAORANI
IN THE CONTEXT OF POLITICAL MOBILIZATION..................... .....................31

The Creation of ONHAE: Building a Pan-Huaorani Identity ....................... ........... 37
Legal Issues: Huaorani Territory, Environmental Legislation and Oil Politics ...................49

4 HUAORANI WOMEN IN MOVEMENT: UNDERSTANDING THE
EMERGENCE OF AMWAE AND THE COMPLEXITIES OF HUAORANI
FE M IN IN E L E A D E R SH IP ......................................................................... .....................54

The Emergence of AM W AE .............. .......... ........ ...................... ................. 54
Structure and Funding of AM W AE ......... ......... .......... .................. ............... 63
Relations between AMWAE and ONHAE........................................................ ...............69
Expectations and Perceptions at the Community level................................ ............... 80

5 C O N C L U S IO N S ........................................ ............................................................. .. 9 2

APPENDIX: QUANTIFIED ETHNOGRAPHIC DATA.......................................................101

R E F E R E N C E S ...................................................................................................................... 10 5

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ......... ............... ........................................... .............................. 108





4









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

A-i M ost frequently mentioned concerns by leaders .................................. ............... 101

A-2 Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (regarding individual
issues).......... ... ....................... .................................... ......... ...... 10 1

A-3 Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (community level issues).............102

A-4 Total ranked of most frequently mentioned concerns...................................................103

A-5 AM W AE's networks and constraints ................................................... ..... .......... 104









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

NARRATIVES OF RESISTANCE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC VIEW OF THE
EMERGENCE OF THE HUAORANI WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION IN THE
ECUADORIAN AMAZON

By

Mayra Daniela Aviles

May 2008

Chair: Carmen Diana Deere
Major: Latin American Studies

Indigenous groups of Amazonian Ecuador started organizing in the 1970s as a

reaction to oil exploitation in the region, becoming a central issue in the political agenda

of the Ecuadorian Amazonian indigenous movement. The Huaorani followed this trend

with the creation of ONHAE, the Organization of the Huaorani Nationality of the

Ecuadorian Amazon, which is also linked to the umbrella organization of the national

indigenous movement.

The Huaorani are hunter-gatherer horticulturalists that have been described by

ethnographers as an egalitarian society with a flexible sexual division of labor and

lacking in hierarchical structures. However, through contact and cross-cultural

interactions with the national society and more specifically, with missionaries and the

impact of oil exploitation, this society has undergone changes in social structure. These

changes are interrelated and have resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of

the Huaorani in general and of Huaorani women in particular. Huaorani women started

organizing within the Huaorani organization, ONHAE, during 2002 and by 2005 they had









their own legalized association, AMWAE, the Association of Waorani Women of the

Ecuadorian Amazon.

This study seeks to understand the emergence of this association and to analyze

its functions and objectives. The emergence of AMWAE is analyzed through the

narratives of its leaders from which I draw out the main driving factors behind its

creation. I argue that the emergence of AMWAE can be understood by a combination of

factors, some conjunctural and some related to the discontent of women with their

subordination in formal leadership and their lack of access to income generating

opportunities.

Moreover, I discuss AMWAE's structure, funding, networking and interactions

with other social actors, highlighting its relations with ONHAE. I also analyze

AMWAE's functions and objectives, and the principal concerns of its leadership as well

as of members in the base communities, paying special attention to those that have the

potential of transforming the existing gender relations, such as formal education.

To complement the study of Huaorani women leaders, I explore the expectations and

perceptions of AMWAE at the community level. The expressed concerns of the base are

analyzed as demands, and they generally coincide with the objectives of the organization.

Finally, while AMWAE's agenda cannot be considered feminist and AMWAE leaders do

not engage in such a discourse, there were expressed concerns by AMWAE leaders that

are related to gender issues as seen in terms of some of the driving factors behind the

emergence of the association. These demands challenge current gender relations and are

also related to the impact of cross-cultural interactions on traditional Huaorani customs

and practices.









LIST OF ACRONYMS

AMWAE Asociaci6n de Mujeres Waorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana

CAIMAN Conservaci6n de Areas Indigenas Manejadas

CODENPE Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador

CONACNIE Consejo Nacional de Coordinaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas del
Ecuador

CONAICE Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Costa Ecuatoriana

CONAIE Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador

CONAMU Consejo Nacional de Mujeres

CONFENIAE Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Amazonia
Ecuatoriana

CONMIE Consejo Nacional de Mujeres Indigenas del Ecuador

ECUARUNARI Ecuador Runacunapac Riccharimui Movimientos de Campesinos
de Ecuador

FED Fundaci6n Ecuatoriana de Desarrollo

IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development

MUPP-NP Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik Nuevo Pais

ONHAE Organizaci6n Huaorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana

OPIP Organizaci6n de Pueblos Indigenas de Pastaza

PRODEPINE Proyectos de Desarollo para Pueblos Indigenas y Negros del Ecuador

SIL Summer Institute of Linguistics

USAID United States Agency for International Development









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

When I designed my research proposal, the objectives were quite different from the

research project that I ended up carrying out. I had been interested in the indigenous

movement in the Ecuadorian Amazonian from the time of my undergraduate studies. I

had also developed a particular interest in the Huaorani case, first, through the constant

media references to their struggle regarding territorial rights and natural resources; and

second, by the problematic and complex ways they are represented in the media. These

representations are linked to the place the Huaorani have occupied in the national,

Ecuadorian imagery. As noted by Whitten (1978) the Huaorani "(han sido) conocidos,

principalmente, por mitos falsos y distorsionados que presentan su cultural a traves de los

ojos de quienes tratan de convertirla y subvertirla" [(have been) known mainly by false

myths and distortions that present their culture through the eyes of those who want to

convert and subvert it]. Morover, these representations "tienen su origen en la voluntad

misma de construir una identidad national frente al Otro distant" [have their origin in

the very will of constructing a national identity in front of the distant Other (Rival 1994:

253).

In my original proposal I wanted to focus on the strategies through which the

Huaorani configure their political action. I was seeking a better understanding of how

they define and distinguish themselves with respect to other social actors, such as the

environmentalist movement and the regional and national indigenous organizations. I was

interested in how relations with these allies shape their discourse and priorities. The

purpose of the study was thus to analyze the claims and demands of the Huoarani,

examine their prime motivations for political activism and explain the reconfiguration of









a Huao identity and emergence of political consciousness. Two factors, however, led me

in a different direction. The first was finding a book by Lawrence Ziegler-Otero (2004),

the product of doctoral dissertation research, which dealt exactly with my issues. The

second was that I had been in contact with a Huaorani leader via e-mail who had

mentioned that there was an upcoming assembly of the Huaorani women's association. I

was not aware of its existence since it had just been created in 2005. This changed my

focus and my research objective became understanding what had led to the emergence of

the Huaorani women's association, AMWAE (Asociaci6n de Mujeres Huaorani de la

Amazonia Ecuatoriana), and analyzing its functions. To put my research in context, in the

following I briefly outline the organizing efforts of indigenous women in Latin America

and particularly, in Ecuador.

Olivera (2005) describes the organizing of indigenous women in Latin America as

a reaction to external influences, which she associates with the dynamic of capital and

national institutions that tend to subordinate women in the context of their insertion in

this process. However, it is difficult to make generalizing statements regarding

indigenous peoples, whose insertion in this new political and social order is never

complete as it encounters various forms of resistance. Olivera (2005) also identifies a

contradiction between their traditional cosmovision and the dynamic of capital that is

imposed hidden in the "valores, political, y discursos del progress, del desarrollo y de la

modernidad, primero del liberalism nacionalista y ahora del neoliberalismo imperial,

que inconscientemente han ido introyectando en sus subjetividades los indigenas que

forman parte de poblaci6n dominada por el sistema national" [values, politics and

discourses on progress, development and modernity, first from nationalist liberalism and









now from imperialist neo-liberalism that unconsciously interject in the subjectivities of

indigenous peoples that are part of the population dominated by the national system]

(Olivera 2005: 315).

The growth and consolidation of both the indigenous and women's movement in

Latin America coincide with the rise to dominance of neo-liberal governments in the

region, that is, it is a product of the 1990s (Deere and Le6n 2001). In the case of Ecuador,

the Confederaci6n de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) was created in

the late 1980s and became a strong social actor nationally in the early 1990s. In the

country, a large proportion of the women face a double discrimination for being women

and because of their ethnicity. Community women's organizations first emerge during the

1980s throughout Ecuador, along with middle class feminist groups and NGOs focused

on women's issues. By the end of the 1980s out of the five hundred to eight hundred such

groups existing in the country there were approximately fifty to sixty women's

organizations that had obtained legal status to acquire funding and support from the

government and international development organizations (Lind 2002). Lind argues that

while these formal and informal organizations have played important nationaland local

roles they have little formal economic support from the state (2002).

As for the institutional achievements of the women's movement, after many years

of struggle some of their demands become rights guaranteed in the constitution that was a

product of the 1998 constituent assembly. The 1998 constitution also granted a set of

collective rights to indigenous and afro descendant peoples. However, the struggle

against inequalities affecting women and especially indigenous and afro descendant

women is ongoing.









In 1980 the National Office of Women was created within the Ministry of Social

Welfare so as to provide an institutional platform to develop proposals that would have a

positive impact on women. While the Ecuadorian state has signed international

agreements for the improvement of women's condition, the incorporation of women to

positions of power has been slow compared to other Latin American countries. This

situation undergoes a significant change with the emergence of the women's movement

in the late 1980s. In 1997 the Office became the CONAMU, the National Council of

Ecuadorian Women, responding to an obligation undertaken by the Ecuadorian state after

the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. Institutional autonomy and

participation in decision making at the highest levels is considered necessary by the

women's movement as well as by the leaders of CONAMU in order to contribute to the

promotion of equal opportunities and the human rights of women. CONAMU works in

the elaboration of public policies for the benefit of women and it legally recognizes all

women's organizations.

However, the case of Ecuador seems to portray a disconnect between women's and

indigenous movements (Prieto 1998). The indigenous movement, represented by

CONAIE, which considers itself a mixed-sex organization, emphasizes unity in its

struggle for the recognition of their rights as indigenous peoples and nationalities while

considering women's issues within this framework. However, this does not mean

developing a specific agenda toward directly modifying gender relations. Moreover, the

leaders reject a feminist agenda, which they regard as an external and imperialist

imposition (Prieto 1998).









The Consejo Nacional de Mujeres Indigenas del Ecuador (CONMIE), created in

1998, is an example of the growing consideration of women's issues within the discourse

of indigenous women leaders. CONMIE was the first women's indigenous organization

at the national level and was the initiative of a group of women activists who wanted to

unify the secretariess de la mujer" (women's secretariats) of five mixed-sex

organizations. This group of women sought autonomy and equality because they felt

dissatisfied within mixed-sex organizations where mostly men tend to hold positions of

power. These women were leaders of CONAIE and other indigenous organizations who

wanted to focus on women's issues. Since they believed they were not given the same

importance and opportunities for participating in the political process as were the male

leaders, they decided to create CONMIE. The goal of this organization is to struggle for

gender equity while keeping its nexus within the structure of the broader indigenous

movement (Prieto 2005).

In my research I intended to find out if in the case of AMWAE these same forces

were also at play. However, an aspect that stands out regarding Huaorani traditional

society was its comparatively egalitarian social organization, in which, as it has been

stated by ethnographers (Rival 1996, 2002, Lu 1999, Robarchecks 1998) they did not

engage in hierarchical relations. Interactions with the national society have had impacts

on Huaorani society that include changes in social structures and gender relations. Thus, I

wanted to know what meaning could the creation of AMWAE hold and what

implications it carried. Was the creation of AMWAE related to changes in gender roles?

Would the creation of AMWAE implicate a reivndication of Huaorani traditional values

on social organization?









In an attempt to understand why indigenous women do not see themselves

represented by the discourse nor structures of the so called women's movement, Emma

Cervone et al. (1998) conducted a research project that focused on feminine leadership

among Quichua populations of the Andean and Amazonian regions. Their study sees

feminine leadership as a bridge between gender and ethnicity (Cervone et al. 1998).

Before delving further into feminine leadership, it is important to review briefly

what constitutes a women's movement, since there are opposing views on what

constitutes such a movement (Molyneux 2003). On the one hand, there are women's

movements that are clearly identifiable, have a political program and a large number of

followers. On the other hand, there are more diffuse ways of women's political activism

that includes clubs, groups or networks. It is hard to set boundaries between these two

types of movements because many times the latter evolve into the former. However,

Molyneux (2003) prefers to refer to movements as those which have a broader scale and

impact. Moreover, the literature suggests that independent grassroots mobilizations even

if small-scale and directed towards basic needs, can be considered as a movement

because of their global concurrence (Molyneux 2003).

Yet another concept is that of "women in movement" elaborated by Rowbotham

(1992) that refers to the phenomenon of women who act collectively to reach common

objectives, be these "feminist" or not. This concept is defined outside of the model of

women's movements that are autonomous and that express gender interests. However,

"women in movement" constitutes perhaps the most important part of feminine solidarity

in most parts of the world (Molyneux 2003).









The concept of "women in movement" fits well with the study of feminine

leadership carried out by Cervone et al. (1998) that proposes this as the bridge between

gender and ethnic activism in Ecuador. Likewise, I propose that the activism of Huaorani

women fits more into this framework. The study on indigenous feminine leadership by

Cervone et al consists of four case studies, three from the Highlands and one from the

Amazonian region. The objective of the Amazonian case study by Garces (1998), similar

to the objective of my study on Huaorani women, is to define the factors that contribute

to indigenous feminine leadership and the challenges and problems faced in the practice

of this role. The authors identify common factors leading to feminine leadership in the

highlands and the Amazon. These include the combination of formal education and a

process of ethnogenesis, being bilingual, and being exposed to the sphere of ethnic

organizations that grant the opportunity for women to develop as leaders (Prieto 1998). I

hypothesize that these factors can coincide in a general way with those that contribute to

the development of leaders among the Huaorani women.

A key analytical tool for the study of women's movements includes the distinction

between practical and strategic gender interests. Practical gender interests are based in the

fulfillment of the basic needs of women within a given gender division of labor. Strategic

gender interests include demands "para transformer las relaciones sociales con el fin de

potenciar la posici6n de las mujeres y conseguir un reposicionamiento mas duradero

dentro del ordenamiento de genero y la sociedad en general" [to transform social

relations aiming to strengthen of women's position and achieve a long lasting

repositioning within the current gender relations and the society in general, my

translation] (Molyneux 2003: 237). The purpose of this distinction is to highlight the









differences between diverse ways of confronting gender relations. Practical gender

interests assume the existing gender relations as a given while trying to improve women's

conditions within such. Strategic gender interests, however, explicitly question such

relations (Molyneux 2003: 242).

The creation of AMWAE is a new phenomenon and this thesis is the first study of

Huaorani women's activism and of the type of interests expressed by their leadership. It

provides an opportunity to inform the discussion of women's issues inside indigenous

organizations. Prieto (1998) states that the debate over these issues are centered on two

basic positions. Some indigenous women argue that a gendered agenda within the

organizations is not necessary because the indigenous world is egalitarian and the ethnic

discourse equally represents both men and women. The second position, advanced by

some indigenous women with formal education, is that women need to establish their

own agenda inside the indigenous movement. This position recognizes the unequal and

hierarchical relations between men and women that must be addressed by the indigenous

movement and priorities equality in opportunities to positions of power in leadership

(Prieto 1998). A third position of indigenous women that must be taken in consideration

is highlighted by Deere and Le6n (2001), which says that women need their own

autonomous organizations as the only way for them to act on their own demands and to

develop the leadership capabilities that will lead to women's empowerment. Through

this study, I hope to contribute to this debate by analyzing the case of Huaorani women's

activism.

Methodology: In order to carry out my field research, I spent two months living in

Puyo, capital of the province of Pastaza, where the AMWAE and ONHAE office









headquarters are located. I conducted interviews among AMWAE leaders and carried out

participant observation at the AMWAE office. I also attended an assembly in a

community (Gareno) and some meetings in the ONHAE office and CONAIE office in

Quito. I also conducted interviews at the community level to identify the concerns and

demands at the base and examine the relations between community members and the

association. In my interviews with AMWAE leaders, I not only sought to learn the

factors that led to the constitution of AMWAE but also how its agenda is related to

practical and strategic gender interests.

I used ethnographic, qualitative methods to obtain as much in depth information as

possible, and to give the informant's point of view sufficient and deserved importance.

These qualitative methods included structured and semi-structured interviews and

participant observation. The key informants chosen were eight current AMWAE leaders

and one former ONHAE leader. The age range of AMWAE leaders is early twenties to

early thirties. They all had basic formal education and speak Spanish.1

In the communities, the key informants were two male and eight female Huaorani

contacted through a Huaorani female leader in the communities of Tiwino, Bataboro,

Dayuno and Tepapare. Puyo is the capital of Pastaza and to a certain extent the

commercial, cultural and political capital of the Amazonian region. With a population

of 45,825, this frontier city is connected by road with Bafios and from there to Ambato,

the central urban area of the country and Quito.The community of Tiwino was chosen for





1 However, language should nonetheless be considered a barrier because none of the leaders responded that they felt completely
comfortable with Spanish, a problem that particularly becomes an issue when they have to cope with legal terminology or participate
in negotiation tables.










interviews because it represents a community outside of the old 'protectorate'2 but that

had contact historically with missionaries. A road passes through the community, and an

oil company has operations in the area and hires some Huaorani men as wage laborers.

The Tiwino River serves as the boundary between the oil company's area and that of the

community. Bataboro is located about a thirty minute drive from Tiwino on the same

road. This community is located further away from the oil company and depends on

another river, the Bataboro for its livelihood. Tepapare and Dayuno were chosen for

interviews because they had neither a road nor an oil company working nearby.3 I also

conducted various unstructured interviews and carried out e-mail correspondence with

the accountant of AMWAE. These interviews were key to my understanding of the

operational aspects of the association.
























2 This was the first type of legal recognition of part of the Huaorani territory. A more detailed explanation of this follows in chapter
one and two.

3 In fact, my passage through Dayuno was circumstantial. Dayuno was once a relatively large Huaorani community that due to
tensions among the nanicabolr or house groups comprising it was fractured and many members ended up moving and creating the
community of Quehueire Ono (Rival 1996). Other members of Dayuno moved to other communities and it was not until the time of
my field research that one family was building a settlement under the name of Dayuno again. The new Dayuno was on the way to
Tepapare and I conducted an interview there as I stopped in my route to Tepapare.









CHAPTER 2
HUAORANI TRADITIONAL SOCIETY AND THE EXPANSION OF THE NATION-
STATE IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON

History of Contact

During the colonial period, contact between the Huaorani and the colonial state was

initiated by Catholic missions. Colonial Jesuit chronicles do not refer to the Huaorani per

se, but it has been argued that they could have been identified with groups within the

"Zaparoan block" that are referred to variously as Omaguas, Abijaras, Aushiris or

Aubishiris, perhaps representing the northernmost extension of the Tupi-Guarani

migrations (Ziegler-Otero 2004, Rival 2002).

It is during the rubber boom period (1880-1920) that references to the Huaorani

start appearing in written documents. Historiographies report raids in Huao land and

Huaorani raids in response that took place during the chaotic and violent times of the

rubber boom in the region. There are not extensive written records of the atrocities

perpetuated during this period, but Huaorani oral tradition report these type of encounters

with cohuori, which is the Huao word for other/cannibal. This was a time of major

population movements into the Oriente (how the Amazonian region is referred to in

Ecuador) with the intensification of economic exploitation of the region.

Another period of contact occurs during the 1940s with the launching of oil

exploration. The Dutch company Shell began oil prospecting activities in the Oriente and

specifically in Huaorani territory at this time. Even though Shell's enterprise was not very

successful due to difficulties in securing a labor force, their passage through the area left

a town named after the company -Shell- which was centered around a missionary station.

There are also written records of attacks on and counter attacks by Huaorani during this









time. Full-scale oil exploitation, however, does not take place in the Oriente until the

1970s (Rival 2002).

Permanent peaceful contact (although an arbitrary term) with the national society

was established in the 1950s through North American missionaries of the Summer

Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Their first encounter, however, was rather violent ending

with the killing of five missionaries. These missionaries, who had encroached on Huao

territory seeking contact to convert the Huaorani, also killed a Huaorani, although this

fact is rarely mentioned. This event received international attention and contributed to a

construction of the Huaorani within the national imagery as the "Aucas," a Quichua word

that can be translated as "savages," thus becoming the emblematic Other.

With the expansion of capitalism through oil exploitation in the Oriente in the

1970s the Ecuadorian state gained more economic and political control over the region. It

divided the region into blocks for future potential concessions to the companies. In the

case of Huaorani territory, the SIL played a significant role in facilitating the entrance of

the oil companies. It was convenient for the missionaries to encourage the relocation of

villages closer to the missionary station, which opened the way for the entrance of oil

companies into Huaorani ancestral territory. The presence of the state in the region has

always been very limited and characterized by its lack of provision of basic services like

health programs. Precarious formal schooling programs that replaced the missionary

schools after the SIL was expelled from of the country in 1982 constitute the closest point

of connection with the nation state.

In recent times another contact that is conflictive and represents a threat is the

increase of illegal logging in the area. Many times violence has broken out between









loggers and Huanorani communities, including those in voluntary isolation like the

Tagaeiri and Taromenani.

Aspects Traditional Huaorani Society

While it is difficult to sketch the main elements of traditional Huaorani society with

confidence, there is consensus that they lived nomadically in egalitarian, autarkical

groups and that they consistently rejected contact, trade, exchange or any kind of

relationship with the neighboring indigenous groups and later with the Ecuadorian

national society.

At the time when a more permanent contact and prolonged relations were

established (1960s) there were three to four territorially localized groups. Within these

groups there are also subgroups that carry the name of an important elder and the suffix

iri meaning group (Robarchek and Robarchek 1998), for example, Guikitairi stands as a

way of referring to Guikita's group.

Among the ethnographers who studied the Huaorani, there are remarkable

differences of interpretation regarding important features of Huaorani society. While

Robarchek and Robarchek (1998) focused on violence and provided a broader account of

some general aspects of Huaorani society, Rival and Lu made deeper studies departing

from distinct theoretical backgrounds. Their different perspectives can also be partially

explained by the different time periods of their research, both Rival and Lu conducted

fieldwork in Quehueire Ono but it could be assumed that their views of the community

might differ due to their individual experiences. Rival experienced the creation of

Quehueire Ono when between 1989 and 1990 the house group she was living with, along

with some others house groups, decided to split from the community of Dayuno and go

trekking to find a new place where to settle. Quehueire Ono then was new and very small.










There was more natural abundance and consequently, for hunter/gatherers/horticulturalist

like the Huaorani, probably less horticultural activities. Some years later, in 1996, the

Quehueire Ono that Lu found was one of the most populous Huaorani communities, had

a school and had just signed a contract with an oil company allowing them to conduct

seismic prospecting.

Traditionally, the Huaorani settlement pattern consisted of self-sufficient and

relatively isolated residential units with an average of thirty members inhabiting a

longhouse. Typically, a longhouse was inhabited by an older couple, their unmarried

children and their married daughters with their husbands and children. Often, men were

married to more than one woman, usually sisters (Lu 1999, Rival 2002, Robarchek and

Robarchek 1998). Kinship and marriage were structured by bilateral descent and cross

cousin marriage. Post marital residence is uxorilocal without bride service. Cross cousin

marriage divides people into two types of guirinani (relatives), parallel cousins

considered as siblings and cross cousins who could be potential spouses (Robarchek and

Robarchek 1998). The fundamental unit in Huaorani society is the nanicabo (house

group) within which demand sharing' is intense, shaping its economic subsistence

pattern. Exchange with the outside, on the other hand, is much more limited. Living

together, being part of a nanicabo, translates symbolically to sharing substance which is

what makes you huaomoni (us). Once you leave the nanicabo, you become huarani

1
Demand sharing", as coined by Peterson (1993), is not morally constructed as a reciprocal obligation. Rival identifies this concept as
applicable to the Huaorani case although she also describes giving and receiving food among the Huaorani as the moral base of
common residency (Rival 1996). As Peterson explains "demand sharing reflects tensions between autonomy and relatedness"
(Peterson 1993: 871).Huaorani sharing economy contrasts to that of other groups who engage in reciprocal exchange because the act
of giving is dissociated from receiving (Rival 1996, 2002). Food sharing is thus described as a personal expression, consistent to
hunter-gatherer food sharing that is by demand and not by unsolicited giving which emphasizes on donor obligation and recipient
entitlement. This practice is very much in tune with egalitarian principles where receiving does not bind the recipient to reciprocate.
Bird-David explains that in this type of giving, when an individual requests food, it is the giver's generosity that is invoked instead of
moral obligations due to past provisions (Bird-David 1990). It should be stressed that this characteristic present among the Huaorani,
breaks from what is common among other Amazonian groups where reciprocity is the dominant type of exchange.









(other). Likewise, if you marry in, like men coming to live in the nanicabo of their wife's

mother, you become guiri (relative) and eventually huamoni. According to Rival,

residence principles seemed to be structurally more important for social organization than

consanguinity (Rival 1996, 2002).

To better understand the system of relationships shaping Huaorani society, the

differentiations of the key terms, cohuori, huaomoni and huarani are pivotal. Cohuori, as

mentioned earlier, can be translated into a cannibal Other that make up an

undifferentiated class. This may include other indigenous groups, slave hunters during

the rubber boom era, missionaries, oil company workers, illegal loggers or anyone else

invading their territory to 'prey' on them. That is, everybody else that is not Huaorani,

standing in absolute opposition to them. The Huaorani, however, see themselves as

differentiated into huaomoni 'us', and huarani 'others', the other Huaorani that do not

make up part of their group (Rival 1996, 2002). Such a system of relationships

characterizes settlement patterns, the endogamous nexuses and the limited exogamous

relations.

Rival (1996) identified three models of residential patterns in her field work. The

first is more similar to the pre-contact, traditional residence pattern of isolated house

groups living off hunting, gathering and horticulture. Nowadays, however, even among

groups following this residential model, longhouses are not as common and do not hold

as many people. The second model consists of grouped longhouses, a sort of semi-village

with clusters of houses dispersed throughout an extended area. The clusters consist of two

or three houses and are separated by many kilometers and by cultivated land and a river.

There is no plaza or center but the longhouse of the founding members is recognized as a









nucleus where people from different clusters meet informally and where visitors without

kin should stay. Residential configurations are fluctuant; from year to year houses might

be abandoned and new ones built. Belonging to a residential group, however, is fairly

stable. While how space is occupied might be flexible, the social relations across

residential lines are more structured defining the endogamous nexuses. That is, "...the

extended family clusters remain the primary units of social, political and economic

organization" (Robarchek and Robarchek 1998). The third type of settlement is the

village with ane elementary school and sometimes an airstrip. At the time Rival was

conducting her field research, the second type of residence pattern was the most common.

She predicted that most would eventually follow the third pattern. Today, thirty-two out

of the thirty-four communities have a school and are thus settled as villages.

Another point that must be stressed is that spatial mobility among the Huaorani is

related to a means for alleviating social tension. According to Lu (1999) apparently there

is no other structured mechanism for non-violent conflict resolution. When conflict arises

the responses are either to suppress the anger or to be consumed by p'i (anger) and

engage in spear killing. Such attitudes have led many times to prolonged intra-ethnic and

inter-ethnic violence. When the suppression of anger is approaching a limit, another

response without engaging in spear killing is the fissioning of settlement (Lu 1999).

Robarcheck and Robarchek summarize Huaorani political organization, authority

and social control as follows:

Waorani society is egalitarian at the extreme and every residence group is
completely autonomous. Within these groups, there are no headmen and no formal
councils. Even within households and settlements there is no authority beyond
individuals' power of persuasion or coercion. There are no communal religious
rituals or obligations and no clubs or other associations that might confer on some
individuals authority over the actions of others (1998: 102).









Apart from the consensus on the Huaorani egalitarianism, a point of dissension

about the role of ritual like the ceremonial drinking feasts is understated by the

Robarcheks (1998) but elaborately highlighted by Rival (1996, 2002). There are three

drinking festivals: the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), the plantain and the eeme, the

manioc drinking festival.2 All these festivals play a key role in marriage alliances. An

important characteristic of these feasts is that they do not seem to implicate_trade or

exchange of gifts. The peach palm drinking festival is much more informal, improvised

and celebrated when there is a need to consume the abundant fruits made into a drink.

The manioc and plantain drinking festivals are planned in advance when a nanicabo has

specifically planted large quantities of the crop to invite other house groups. During the

feast people divide by gender and it is the sexual difference that cuts across huaomoni

(us) and huarani (others) differences opposite to daily life practice. Traditionally these

feasts transformed huarani groups into huaomoni allies bonded through the collective

marriage alliances as well as individual connections. This way, the huarani, potential

enemies, are transformed into allies. However, nowadays, not many marriages are carried

out this way. The drinking feasts, while fewer, still take place and serve to renew and

strengthen alliances by bringing people from the different house groups together (Rival

2002).

There is also some dissension on the role of horticulture. On the one hand, the

Robarcheks (1998) define the Huaorani as "classic tropical horticulturalists" and argue

that their life and subsistence is rooted in the manioc gardens. Lu (1999) demonstrates

how in Quehueire Ono the bulk of Huaorani diet comes from cultivated crops. Rival, on

2 Tepe is the name of drink made of manioc that is a fundamental staple in Huaorani diet and is served in the eeme festival. It should
be stressed that contrary to the Quichua manioc drink chichaa) like that of the Shuar, and other Amazonian indigenous groups, the
Huaorani tepe in not fermented, lacking alcohol content (Rival 1996, 2002, Robarcheck and Robarchek 1998).










the other hand, argues that the Huaorani should be seen as hunter-gatherers more than

horticulturalists. She refers to the concept of "natural abundance"3 to maintain that the

Huaorani prefer to rely on gathering and hunting, and that subsisting from perennial

plants is seen as more reliable than from cultivated crops. The value of horticulture, Rival

asserts, rests not on subsistence but on providing the essence of the manioc and plantain4

drinking festivals that serve to join different house groups for the occasion. This way,

horticulture is seen as analogous with times of abundance, peace and stability (Rival

1996, 2002). Beyond the contention, what is critical is that horticulture is what enables

these drinking festivals to occur and thus, it has a key structuring role in Huaorani

society.

This traditionally egalitarian society of hunter-gatherer-horticulturalists is

characterized by a gender division of labor noted for its flexibility (Rival 2002).

According to Rival, "sexual differences are naturally embodied in a way that suggests

both equivalence and complementarity" (Rival 2005: 288). Furthermore, this author

observes that in Huaorani social life gender is given little importance since both in

representation and practice, conception, birth, childcare and upbringing are alike for boys

and girls. As they grow and mature the undifferentiated and overlapping tasks performed

by each acquire more gender specificity. Men principally hunt and women take care of

gardening or gathering and cooking, however, these parameters are not rigid. Men also



3 Rival coins this term to refer to the "indigenous representation of the relationships between living people, the forest, and past
generations". The author argues that this concept helps to highlight "the reasons behind the Huaorani dismissal of crop production as
a mode of subsistence and uses manioc cultivation as the point of comparison. Rival states that "it is through hunting and gathering
that daily subsistence is secured and that manioc cultivation is (1) neglected in practice, (2)largely confined to (...) the elaborations of
ceremonial drinks used (...) in feasts; besides (3) manioc is associated with fast unreliable growth" (Rival 2002). Moreover,
contrasting to the third aspect on manioc cultivation, "there is also the idea that useful perennial species encountered in forest groves
are closely associated with one's forbears".
4 While plantains and manioc are cultivated, peach palms are not seen as such, rather they are just seen as a by product of their and
their ancestors consumption (Rival 1996, 2002)









are involved in gathering and gardening while women can also hunt. Fishing is done by

both men and women although women do more fishing than hunting, which is rather

occasional. Collecting fuel wood and fetching water are duties that may vary in gender

specialization from one household to the other. Men are also very much involved in

childcare. The same flexibility can be seen in the manufacturing of art crafts (Robercheck

and Robercheck 1998, Rival 2002, Ziegle-Otero 2004). While men and women know

how to and can craft almost every object from their material culture there are some

exceptions. For example, men do not make clay pots or fishing nets, while women do not

make spears or blowguns. However, it is the crafting of these items, not their use that is

gendered (Rival 2002).

Moreover, the relationship between spouses has been characterized as a reciprocal

partnership. Couples with unmarried children must function as productive units, with

each partner fulfilling their mutual obligations in order to provide for their children

because, as Rival states "... conjugality is, first and foremost, joint parenting" (Rival

2002: 106). This emphasis on joint parenting is expressed from the moment of gestation

with the practice of the couvade that "activates the mutual obligations of joint parenting

and the gender symmetry it produces. Fathers and mothers equally share in the ritual

protection of the fetus, who contains an equal quantity of female blood and male semen"

(Rival 2005:292).

With parenting responsibilities certain activities of the conjugal pair become

gendered as a form of complementarity. This complementarity results in a certain

division of labor that not only varies from couple to couple but that also is not normative

since there is an equal value given to the different productive tasks. More importantly, in









this egalitarian society these differences are not translated into hierarchy. Even in the

context of the ceremonial drinking feasts where gender identities are emphasized (and

individual identities like kin, affines, friends or enemies are downplayed) it is to tame

hostility and create conditions for peace, alliance and marriage. Rival highlights that, as

opposed to the classical description of the use of gender as a system of social inequality

here it is used to erase social differences and principally those between huaomoni and

huarani. Thus, gender symbolism instead of expressing hostility between the sexes is

used in ritual contexts to overcome potential conflict as sexual and bodily images are not

used to symbolize male supremacy but the importance of organic life and fertility (Rival

2005).

The Impact of the Oil industry and the SIL on Huaorani Society and Subsistence
patterns

After permanent contact with the Huaorani was established in the late 1950s,

different factors have contributed to changes in Huaorani social organization, settlement

patterns and gender relations. The first factor is the influence of the SIL that established a

missionary station in the Huaorani community of Tihueno in 1958 and managed to gain

control over the 'protectorade' or reservation for the Huaorani granted by the

government5. They managed to attract most of the Huaorani population to live within this

zone that consisted of less than ten percent of their traditional territory. Although the SIL

was later expelled from the country and the Huaorani now have title to their own territory

covering an area much greater than that of the 'protectorade', SIL greatly influenced their

settlement patterns. The Huaorani now have more sedentary settlements, which are closer

to large rivers and many of them located around airstrips and schools. Residential units in

5 Territorial struggle will be discussed in greater detail in chapter II.









particular were altered. While the Huoarani were uxorilocal and extended families shared

a same longhouse, the missionaries imposed monogamy and also encouraged them to

split into nuclear families. However, even while residing in different houses, an extended

family will build them close to each other.

Moreover, sedentarism caused changes in subsistence patterns that in turn affected

gender relations. With sedentarism, game was depleted in the hunting grounds close to

the villages. As hunting treks took longer periods of time, the women were left behind for

days at a time to perform all the household duties (E-shen Lu 1999).

Similarly, wage labor also increased the burden of women's work. Oil companies

in Huaorani territory hire Huaorani men under sporadic and short contracts that at times

can leave an entire settlement without men for months, leaving women alone with all the

responsibilities of providing food for the family (Ibid 1999). Some oil companies have

programs of "community relations" that distribute food to Huaorani communities. While

this way women do not have to increase their daily activities to get enough food for their

families, it has the consequence of bringing about a negative dietary change. Their diet

becomes poor in proteins as they rely on the carbohydrates and sugars provided by the oil

companies. Furthermore, the distribution of food, part of the "community relations"

programs, has also influenced how women relate to each other. Instead of gathering "to

cooperatively fish or garden they become more isolated, each female head of household

fixating on her own weekly ration" (Ibid 1999).

To conclude, in this chapter I provided an overview of Huaorani society

discussing how these hunter-gatherer-horticulturalists belong to an egalitarian society

lacking of hierarchical structures. The sexual division of labor is significantly flexible









and tasks performed by each gender are equally valued. However, contact with

missionaries, the national society and the oil companies have produced changes in

Huaorani society that have affected their social structure, settlement and subsistence

patterns. These changes are interrelated and have resulted in the deterioration of the

living conditions of the Huaorani in general, and of Huaorani women in particular.









CHAPTER 3
THE ECUADORIAN INDIGENOUS MOVEMENT AND THE HUAORANI IN THE
CONTEXT OF POLITICAL MOBILIZATION

Amazonian indigenous grassroots organizations started forming in the late 1960s.

The first organizations were those representing the Amazonian Quichua, Shuar and

Achuar groups. Initially, these were did not coordinate their activities way which made

the struggle for their rights even harder. But the fact that these Amazonian peoples found

themselves experiencing common growing threats against their culture and survival

brought them together to develop a resistance strategy. In the 1980s, consciousness of the

importance of unity at the regional level fueled the organization of the first and second

regional congresses of Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. In these

congresses they came to define their main objectives, which were the defense of the

culture and territories of all the Amazonian indigenous nationalities, and addressing

specific problems of particular communities. These efforts led to the creation of the

CONFENIAE (Confederaci6n de Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana)

in 1980.

Although Amazonian indigenous people were the first to organize in indigenous

grassroot organizations, the Ecuadorian highland region had a longer tradition of political

activism and mobilization. ECUARUNARI (Ecuador Runacunapac Riccharimui -

Movimientos de Campesinos de Ecuador) emerged in 1972 with the purpose of uniting

the representation of highland indigenous peoples. Before the 1970s and the formation of

ECUARUNARI, organizing among Highlands indigenous people was led by non-

indigenous left-wing organizations and mainly concentrated on peasant demands for

better wages and agrarian reform. According to CONAIE, organizations like the FEI

(Federaci6n Ecuatoriana de Indigenas) and other peasant organizations were not really









representative of indigenous peoples (CONAIE 2006). When the agrarian reform was

passed in 1964, conditions did not change much for the indigenous people. As a result,

ECUARUNARI was formed with the purpose of having an exclusively indigenous

representation, emphasizing ethnic consciousness and addressing identity issues. In the

early 1980s the organization had began to establish relations with other regional

indigenous organizations as well as with international indigenous and non-indigenous

peasant organizations. ECUARUNARI also served as the executive coordinator for the

CONACNIE (Consejo Nacional de Coordinacion de las Nacionalidades Indigenas del

Ecuador), created in 1980 to provide coordination among all the indigenous organizations

in the country. While there are some other highland indigenous organizations that operate

at a local level, ECUARUNARI is the most prominent one operating at the regional level

and representing all highland Quichua indigenous people who, together, in numbers make

up the majority of the indigenous nationalities in Ecuador. Thus, having the capacity to

convene all these peoples, ECUARUNARI had a fundamental role in the rise and

consolidation of the indigenous movement in general, and played a particularly role in the

consolidation of CONAIE (Llacta 2006).

CONAIE (Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de Ecuador) was formed

in 1986, and occupies the top of a chain of organizations that interact and coordinate from

local, provincial, and regional levels to the national one. Besides ECUARUNARI, from

the highlands, the other two main regional organizations are CONFENIAE

(Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana), from the

Amazon, and CONAICE (Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Costa

Ecuatoriana), the most recent one representing the Coastal region, which has the smallest









share of the indigenous population in the country. With the formation of CONACNIE

(Consejo Nacional de Coordinacion de las Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador) they

came together to understand what united and separated them. What separated them was a

language barrier but what united them was much greater: the lack of land, the lack of

bilingual education and most importantly, the need to make their voices heard. Thus later,

with the consolidation of CONAIE, they achieve the objective of making their voices

heard at the national level.

The main issues in CONAIE's agenda include:

* Dar direcci6n political al Movimiento Indigena a fin de lograr la igualdad
econ6mica, socio-cultural y political.

* Promover y consolidar el process organizativo de las Nacionalidades y
Organizaciones Indigenas.

* Recuperar y defender los territories de las Nacionalidades Indigenas y luchar por el
derecho a la autodeterminaci6n de los pueblos.

* Defender la integridad de las Nacionalidades Indigenas y velar por su unidad.

* Representar a las Nacionalidades Indigenas ante el Estado y sus gobiemos de turno
y ante instituciones de desarrollo nacionales e internacionales.

* Crear mecanismos de interrelaci6n entire las Nacionalidades y Organizaciones
Indigenas del pais, mediante la recuperaci6n de la historic, la cultural y las
tradiciones.

* Defender, rescatar y desarrollar las cultures de las Nacionalidades Indigenas.

* Fomentar las relaciones internacionales a traves de una political de apoyo,
cooperaci6n, respeto y solidaridad entire todos los Pueblos. (Consejo Nacional De
Cultura 2007)

* [To give political guidance to the indigenous movement with the purpose of
achieving economic, socio-cultural and political equality.]

* To promote and consolidate the organizational process of the indigenous
nationalities and organizations.









* To recuperate and defend the territories of the indigenous nationalities and to fight
for the right to self-determination of the people.

* To defend the integrity of the indigenous nationalities and to safeguard their unity.

* To represent indigenous nationalities before the state, the current administration
and before national and international development institutions.
* To create mechanisms of interrelation between the indigenous nationalities and
organizations of the country through the recuperation of history, culture and
traditions.
* To defend, recover and develop the culture of the indigenous nationalities.
* To promote international relations through policies based on support, cooperation,
respect and solidarity among all the Peoples]

Additionally, there are other demands that are included in the agenda as critical

events develop in the country.

The concerns that are articulated are cultural- and identity-related issues as well as

issues regarding land rights and aid to small farmers and peasants. In their discourse,

indigenous peoples express an intertwined point of view of these issues: "Un pueblo sin

cultural no puede existir, un pueblo sin territorio no puede vivir, un pueblo sin idioma que

es parte de la cultural, no seria pueblo." [A people without culture cannot exist, a people

without territory cannot live, a people without a language, which is part of culture, would

not be a people] (CONAIE 2006). In short, the dual general objectives of the movement

are to resolve the land issue and to attain the recognition of Ecuador as a plurinational

and multicultural state.

Due to the increasing sense of indigenous identity enabled by the organizations

from the three geographical areas in the 1980s, a significant indigenous uprising took

place in 1990. Unlike other indigenous uprisings that had taken place throughout

Ecuadorian history, this one was a peaceful protest, but it paralyzed the nation. Blocking

roads and seizing food so it would not reach the market, the protesters made clear to









everyone their importance in the national social structure. In this uprising, which would

not have been possible without the leadership of the CONAIE, indigenous people were

demanding that their place as citizens be recognized. But recognition and acceptance of

them as "different citizens" was also a part of these demands (Collins 2004:47). This last

demand expresses their attempt to reshape the nation's exclusionary ethnic identity by

proclaiming it a multicultural, pluri-national state. The pluri-national state is one of the

main concepts used in CONAIE's political project in which it is defined as "la

organizaci6n political y juridica de los Pueblos y Nacionalidades del pais. El Estado

Plurinacional surge cuando various pueblos y nacionalidades se unen bajo un mismo

gobierno y Constituci6n. El Estado Plurinacional es distinto del Estado Uninacional que

es la representaci6n de los sectors dominantes" [the political and judicial organization of

the nationalities and peoples of the country. The pluri-national state arises when various

nationalities and peoples are united under the same government and constitution. The

pluri-national state is different from the uni-national state that is the representation of the

dominant sectors] (Llacta 2007)

CONAIE's participation in the 1998 National Constituent Assembly enabled the

indigenous peoples to make important changes to the new Constitution. Even though they

did not obtain the official recognition of the Ecuadorian state as pluri-national and

multicultural, they did achieve the official recognition of Ecuador as a multiethnic and

pluricultural state. Other imperative achievements include the legalization of land for a

number of indigenous communities and the creation of DINEIB (Direction Nacional de

Educaci6n Intercultural Bilingue del Ecuador), a nation wide bilingual education program









for indigenous students to study in their own language as well as in Spanish (Collins

2004).

During the 1980s CONAIE's position was characterized by its autonomy from the

political parties and a stance of non-participation in formal politics. Their position was

rooted in a radical critique of the Ecuadorian state which they regarded as exclusionary

and anti-democratic.

However, they realized that the advantages of political participation at a national

level could provide greater access to resources in order to address concrete material needs

and demands of their communities. As a result, the political wing of the indigenous

movement, MUPP-NP (Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik Nuevo Pais),

emerged in 1995. Pachakutik describes itself as a political, pluri-national and democratic

movement that has organizational autonomy and strong relations with the indigenous

nationalities and peoples (Pachakutik 2007). The creation of Pachakutik, in the overall

context of opposition to the neo-liberal model, represented "an alternative to forming an

ethnic party or merging with existing Leftist groups" (Becker 2006). They proposed an

alternative that would incorporate the creation of a new economic, political and cultural

model within a more inclusive and participatory political system. Furthermore,

Pachakutik was configured more as a political movement than a political party and its

name itself vouches for an alternative, a 'new country'. The meaning of the Quichua

word pachakutik also suggests "change, rebirth, transformation and the coming of a new

era" (Becker 2006). With the consolidation of Pachakutik the indigenous movement

acquires a greater presence by participating politically at the national level.









The Creation of ONHAE: Building a Pan-Huaorani Identity

It is in the context of the oil industry era, once contacted and evangelized, that the

Huaorani find themselves struggling for their land and rights. ONHAE (Organizaci6n de

la Nacionalidad Huaorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana) was founded in the period of

1989-90 as the Huaorani saw the need to organize themselves in order to contend with

the different social actors that had become embroiled in their lives. The organization was

officially constituted in a Biye1 (assembly) in 1990.

The bulk of the literature on the Huaorani does not include a thorough analysis of

ONHAE, but does refer to it in one way or another. In Huaorani versus Maxus: poder

&tnico versus poder transnacional, Narvaez (1996) is the first to focus his study more on

ONHAE, but it is not until Lawrence Ziegler Otero's Resistance in an Amazonian

Community: Huaorani Organizing against the Global Economy (2004) that there is a

truly detailed study of the creation of the ONHAE, its functions, and the role it plays in

the Huaorani and national society. The book examines the organization and its leaders in

the context of their relations with the different social actors with which they are

continuously interacting. The actors include oil companies, missionaries, other

indigenous organizations, and environmentalists (Ziegler-Otero 2004).

As described by Ziegler-Otero there were four major factors leading to the creation

of ONHAE. The first is the emergence of a group of young Huaorani activists who had

been formally schooled and had a better understanding of the national society (that is, the

criollo-mestizo world) than their elders. This new generation believed that there was a

need for them to serve as a "go-between" for the Huaorani people. The second factor was



1 The Blye is the annual assembly organized by the ONHAE.









the decrease of missionary influence due to the expulsion of the SIL combined with the

increasing cultural literacy of the younger generation of Huaorani. The third incentive

was the increasing influence of non-Huaorani, non-evangelical outsiders involved with

the Huaorani and concerned for their future. Particularly significant within this group was

Laura Rival (the first non-missionary anthropologist to conduct long-term research

among the Huaorani) and the representatives from the CONFENIAE, CONAIE, and

OPIP (Organizaci6n de Pueblos Indigenas de Pastaza) that encouraged them to organize

and affiliate to them (Ziegler-Otero 2004). This latter factor is highly significant given

that the indigenous movement in Ecuador is especially strong. Finally, the fourth factor

delineated by Ziegler-Otero was the sense of crisis, consequence of an increasingly more

intense and frequent encroachment of and threat to their territory (2004).

In 1994 ONHAE adopted its first set of by-laws, according to which the Biye was

to be the highest authority of the organization and through which policy could be

decided, leaders elected and removed, and agreements approved. The by-laws also set up

a specialization among the leadership board, which was comprised of a president, a vice-

president, a treasurer, and other dirigentes (officers), each of them in charge of either

land, education, health or tourism. In the elaboration of the by-laws, OPIP and

CONFENIANIE provided assistance and guidelines.

An interview I conducted with David Elliott (2007) from the Fundaci6n

Pachamama sheds light on the process of legalization of indigenous organizations.

Although indigenous organizations are not legally required to be recognized by any state

organism, they always want to call for such recognition, and following the guidelines for

the by-laws is part of the process. Without legal recognition from the State, relations with









the different social actors are hindered, such as when it is required in order to obtain a

land title, or when NGOs require it in order finance a project, or when banks require

personeriajuridica (legal personhood) to open an account.

There are different ways to proceed, but the main prerequisite is to obtain the

personeriajuridica. The legal recognition of an organization is a sort of ministerial

agreement whereby that the state recognizes the organization. There are three means by

which organizations can obtain legal recognition from the state, which also depends on

how they decide to organize. Some organizations organize and legalize themselves as

comunas (communes ) and these are governed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The most

common way for Amazonian indigenous populations to organize is as organizations,

associations and federations that are ruled under a different law. They are organized as

social organizations and they are legalized through the Ministry of Social Welfare. There

are also some organizations that obtain their legal status through the Ministry of

Government. These were the standard procedures until 2004 when a presidential decree

was passed in which authority was given to CODENPE (Consejo de Desarrollo de las

Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador) to issue and manage the legal recognition of the

Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian organizations. In 2005 another decree was passed that

gave CONDENPE the exclusive authority to legalize any type of indigenous

organization.

CODENPE was created under a presidential decree in 1998, in response to the

institutional changes that came with the 1998 constitutional assembly. The latter obliged

the state to enable the participation of the different peoples and nationalities of Ecuador

in planning and decision making. As of August 2007 congress approved Indigenous









institutions including CODENPE. Thus, CODENPE is now supported by organic law and

not only by a presidential decree

CODENPE's national council includes an executive secretary and a representative

of each of the self-defined nationalities and peoples. This structure allows more

grassroots links and communication and thus more representation. In contrast to the other

state institutions, CODENPE registers the organizations without imposing specific norms

in their by-laws and respecting whichever way they decide to organize themselves

internally. As argued by proponents and supporters of this initiative, this results in the

organizations having more autonomy and therefore more potential for empowerment.

This way individuals may not need to be registered members of the institution or to have

a formal voting registration to count as actual members, but the by-laws can enable all

individuals from a specific ethnic group to be innate members of a specific organization.

CODENPE is much more flexible in regards to such exigencies because they are aware of

how unjust it results to ask for a voter registration card or cedula (national personal

identification) of a person who lives deep in the forest. For CODENPE such requirements

are discriminatory because they hinder the legalization of organizations of indigenous

and Afro-Ecuadorian peoples that live in remote areas without easy access to the state.

Following this new framework, significantly progressive statements have been

included in the by-laws of some organizations such as affirming rights to all the resources

in their land. Also, for those groups still lacking legal title to their land, they could self

recognize their ancestral territory in the by-laws of their organization. While this is not

the equivalent to a land title, it represents some kind of legal recognition or at least a legal

claim. The implications of these changes are still not well known. Another positive aspect









of the new regulatory framework is that having a single entity such as CONDEPE under

which to register, means that indigenous organizations have more control over potential

splits within their organizations. For CODENPE to endorse the creation of a new

organization when there is already an organization representing the nationality, requires

first the permission from the nationality's general organization (David Elliot, 2007,

personal communication).

The recent leaning toward organizing simply as nationalities under CODENPE

rather than as organizations, federations, associations, communes and the like is also part

of an initiative undertaken by CONDENPE jointly with Fundaci6n Pachamama and other

NGOs. Recently many indigenous organizations have changed their names and registered

simply as nationalities under the CODENPE. In the case of the Huaorani, for instance,

only a couple of months after I left the field in 2006 the ONHAE became NAWE2

(Nacionalidad Waorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana). ONHAE leaders explained this

change as related to their interest to be recognized at the national level as a nationality

rather than just an organization. Moreover, as part of their initiative, CODENPE and

project partner NGOs have elaborated a simple manual on how to organize as a

nationality without having to resort to lawyers, with the purpose of opening a route to

empowerment.

The primary concerns of ethnic federations of the Amazon region as described by

Theodore MacDonald include: "1) to defend their member communities' rights to land

and resources, 2) to expand and strengthen their organizations, and 3) to maintain their

unique ethnic identity" (MacDonald 1998:90). Considered against Ziegler Otero's


2 Given that during my time in the field the transition from ONHAE to NAWE had not been made, I will still refer to the organization
as ONHAE throughout the text.









ethnography and my own observations, these do coincide with the primary concerns of

ONHAE. Furthermore, as recorded by Ziegler-Otero, the final agenda that emerged from

the Biye which he attended were the following goals: "1) land and border marking

projects, 2) education, 3) health issues and 4) tourism" (Ziegler-Otero 2004:114). These

expressed goals are reflected in the assignments of leaders within the organization to

specific specializations. They also correspond to the concerns expressed by AMWAE and

the former ONHAE leader I interviewed.

In my interview with the former ONHAE leader, to the question about which were

the main concerns that led the Huaorani to organize, territory was the first issue to be

mentioned. "Mas important para Huaorani much tiempo que viene hasta hoy y va

future para mi es de territorio Huaorani, territorio es como madre grande que tiene, esa

cultural va muy largo, idioma, cultural que para que tenga, ese es para Huaorani." [The

most important for the Huaorani from a long time ago and until now and for the future for

the Huaorani is their territory, territory is like a big mother, this culture has been around

for long, language and culture for the Huaorani to have, that is it]. Here the intimate link

between land and culture is expressed. The other concerns that were mentioned were

health issues and education as a means to deal with external pressure and relate to

outsiders. Moreover, these concerns also coincide with the concerns that were

prominently mentioned in the interviews I conducted at the community level.

ONHAE gained visibility in 1992 when they lead their first march to Quito

denouncing the activities of Maxus (a Houston based oil company) and Petroecuador (the

national oil company). This brought much attention to the Huaorani case and garnered

them a meeting with President Sixto Duran Ballen. However, after all the efforts to









oppose the entrance of oil companies, the leaders of ONHAE ended up signing the first

pact between the organization and the oil company, Maxus. This marks the fundamental

problem in praxis that all generations of ONHAE have faced. "While they oppose the oil

companies, they have so far been unable to maintain a strong stand against them when the

resources offered by oil companies appear so great in the economic context of the

Huaorani" (Ziegler-Otero 2004:85). Rival (1994) argues that the Huaorani acknowledge

the fact that relations with the oil companies bring both good and bad consequences, and

this is why their positions on the matter can be considered inconsistent. The ambiguity of

the impact of the socio-economic changes brought about by oil activities make their

decisions on what adjustments are necessary or wanted in their life style much harder

(Rival 1994).

In the face of this, the Huaorani find themselves in an extremely complex and

contradictory position confronting what has been defined as the assistencialist model or

the oil companies-Huaorani relations model (Narvaez 1996,Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce

2001).This model is produced because of the vacuum left by the oil exploitation process

which was characterized by improvisation and scattered state presence for control of such

activities and their impacts in the region.

In the 1980s, however, through the CEPE (Corporaci6n Estatal Petrolera

Ecuatoriana), a Fund for Communal Development was created, and the Huaorani

benefited from small infrastructural works. In the early 1990s these actions were taken

over by the transnational oil companies that started to implement Huaorani

Communitarian Programs, assisting in the areas of health and education and replacing the

State as provider of basic services. These communitarian programs respond to the needs









of the oil development process in the country. The state requires that the oil companies

have environmental and communitarian programs. Moreover, the oil companies supply

the infrastructural works that the State is unable to provide (Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce

2001). The Huaorani are thus faced with the dilemma of a struggle for their land and

rights against a social actor that is at the same time providing services. This creates a

dependency on the oil companies and allows the oil companies to gain control over the

indigenous organizations and justify their enterprise.

The Huaorani-oil companies relations model functions through the ties of power

that bind these two social actors, the oil companies, on the one hand, as providers of

goods and services, and the Huaorani, as "beneficiaries" that have the obligation of

accepting these due to their needs and Ecuadorian law. Since the subsurface belongs to

the state, this limits what the Huaorani can do to oppose oil exploitation in their territory

(Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce 2001). At the same time, according to Rivas Toledo as

well as Lara Ponce and Narvaez, this model is one of the external factors that has helped

create a Huaorani ethnic identity. Here it is important to remember that traditionally for

the Huaorani, there was not a notion of a Pan-Huaorani identity. For example, other Huao

terero speakers that were not part of their endogamous nexus were considered huarani,

that is, others. According to these authors this emergent Huaorani ethnic identity

corresponds to commercial, extractive and industrial interests, rather than to a need to

construct the Huaorani as an independent political actor in national life. Huaorani identity

is thus described as transitory and strategic, externally motivated and articulated mostly

by ONHAE. Narvaez refers to this kind of identity construction as "situacionalismo" as it









is formed according to the circumstances wherein they find themselves in the face of

external interests instead of an autonomous historical processes.

Hence, this theory sees Huaorani identity as temporary and thus merely reactive

and conjunctural. It loses sight of the fact that such "situations" are embedded in a long

and complex process of socio-economic transformation due to the expansion of

capitalism in the region and integration to national society. These define their reality and

are not merely a conjuncture. I do not disagree with the fact that the creation of ONHAE

was conjunctural and that Huaorani ethnic identity is a construct that was built in relation

to external factors, especially at the level of the formal leadership. However, this does not

make it less real or valid. I would argue that after seventeen years of being organized as

an ethnic organization, Huaorani identity might not be merely a response to a 'situation'

but to a constant reality of operating between two worlds, the Huaorani and the national

society. Reducing Huaorani ethnic and political identity to "situacionalismo" is reducing

the political element by viewing it from a reactive logic of cause and effect when the

political is much more complex.

Furthermore, within this line of thinking Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce also

describe the creation of ONHAE not as a need of the Huaorani seeing themselves as a

minority, but more as corresponding to national and transnational interests. The oil

companies needed a representative entity at the negotiation table to legitimize their

expansion in exchange for health and educational programs. Likewise, the ONHAE is

seen as a good base for the development and consolidation of the "asistencialista" model.

This argument then not only reduces the political but also ignores any type of agency on

the part of the Huaorani.










At the time of Ziegler-Otero's field work he found that Maxus had managed to

establish some dependency of ONHAE upon the company since they paid for the office

including most of the furniture and equipment as well as part of the staff honorariums.

While these are not bribes they have had the effect of creating a sense of obligation to the

company on the part of the Huaorani leaders. I would argue that while it is important to

consider the implications of receiving money from the oil companies, it should also be

kept in mind that the Huaorani should have the right to be compensated by the companies

that are earning billions of dollars off their land.

Maxus was later bought by YPF (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales), an Argentine

state-owned oil company that was later bought by Repsol S.A., a Spanish multinational

corporation. Today Repsol YPF, continuing the agreement that its predecessor signed

with the Huaorani, pays the honorariums of all ONHAE and AMWAE leaders and staff.3

Repsol YPF hired ENTRIX, an environmental and natural resource management

consulting firm specializing in environmental liability management, to develop its

community relations plan. This plan, as stated by ENTRIX, is supposed to concentrate in

the sustainable development of community infrastructure, education, healthcare, and

preservation of Huaorani cultural identity (Entrix 2007).

While ONHAE's purpose has been to represent the Huaorani in face of the cohuori

and the changes that they encounter as a result of the impact of national society, there

have also been changes brought by the very process of organizing. These changes are

seen in gender relations, internal politics, and decision making. In the case of gender


3 Repsol YPF (as agreed in the contracted inherited from Maxus) also has to pay for derecho de via, that is, a payment the Huaorani
nationality, through ONHAE, to have the right to pass through the Huaorani territory. This money is kept off the balance sheet and it
could be used as the ONHAE finds it necessary. The exact amount Repsol YPF has to pay monthly is $1596 which, considering what
the company's profits, is almost insignificant. It happens that the honorariums for ONHAE leaders used to be extremely low and thus
ONHAE decided to use derecho de via money to add up to the bonuses so that leaders could manage to live in the city.









relations, the process of organizing has also supported the ongoing process towards a

more rigid gender division of labor, as the leadership of ONHAE is immersed in the more

machista criollo-mestizo society of Ecuador. However, Ziegler-Otero argues that if

gender relations within ONHAE are a reflection of those that exist among the Huaorani

of today, which are more androcentirc than traditionally, it cannot be said that this is

solely a product of the organizing process or of the actions of the organization or its

leadership. I would maintain that beyond the argument that changes in gender relations

are influenced by the immersion in the national culture and not necessarily a result of

organizing, the organizing process still created a new unequal dynamic in gender

relations. This will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter through the

testimonies of women leaders.

As for internal politics and decision making, there has obviously been a change to

more centralized authority from traditional egalitarianism. In the interview with the

former Huaorani leader, when reminiscing about the creation of ONHAE, she expressed

the initial reaction of the people:

Llegaron como Huaorani y fueron a la comunidad y decian 'tenemos que tener
como organizaci6n porque yo creo que despues vendra la compafiia, turismo,
madereros, ONG de la gente cualquier cosa pero no sabemos porque van a venir' la
gente pensaron tenemos que tener organizaci6n tener un jefe, dirigente, 'que es
dirigente?" la gente decia (Maria).


[They arrived as Huaorani and went to the community and said 'We need to have
something like an organization because I think that later the (oil) company will
come and the people from NGO's and tourists, all kinds of people, but we do not
know why they are coming' So the people thought we have to have an
organization, have a leader, an officer 'what is officer?' people would say]

ONHAE, as an organization representing all Huaorani, has tended to encourage

concentration of power in the hands of a few leaders, this way weakening the









traditionally diffuse and acephalous nature of Huaorani internal politics. While this is true

and it is necessary to point this out as a problem, a greater disadvantage would be not to

organize altogether. As eloquently expressed by Ehrenreich:

The internal political processes are the ones that help explain the satisfactory
persistence, 'ethnic substance' even if many times they are hidden. Flexibility,
dynamic adaptations and frequent innovations, and not cultural intransigency, are
the key of the cultural survival of many indigenous peoples (Ehrenreich 1991 in
Narvaez 1996:100)

The adoption of external patterns of organization is often traversed by a number of

tensions that could seem contradictory. However, it is also important to acknowledge that

this is a valid political stand that responds to new realities.

The central thesis in Ziegler-Otero's ethnography is that for an egalitarian society

like the Huaorani forming an organization with a formally established hierarchy and the

specialization of its leadership creates a center of power that becomes the target of the

efforts of the different interest groups to influence, sway or even co-opt. Thus, the author

argues that the diffuse decision making practices of Huaorani traditional society would

have served better to maintain a stronger position vis-a-vis pressures from the different

interest groups. Nevertheless, he also states that the final evaluation of ONHAE should

not be made by social scientists but by the Huaorani. In this respect it can be said that

ONHAE has established itself as the representative of the Huaorani people before the

state, the press and by the Huaorani themselves (Ziegler-Otero 2004). From my

observations, ONHAE is seen as the rightful representative of the Huaorani people and a

front with which to negotiate with the cohuori, even if there are many criticisms of the

organization and its leaders. There is a clear recognition on the part of the people that it is

the representative of the Huaorani. Moreover, in the interviews I conducted at the









community level, when asked about ONHAE, some participants used the symbolism of a

father to refer to the organization.

With this power of representation, ONHAE states its opposition to oil development

in Huaorani land, but in practice this has not happened. Ziegler-Otero argues that this

may mean the "opening wedge of a constellation of related forces that will ultimately

doom the Huaorani culture and indeed the very survival of the Huaorani as a distinct

ethnicity and society" (Ziegler-Otero 2004). While there is no denying the ill-fated

impact that these agreements with oil companies may have, it cannot be assumed that this

is only a consequence of the creation of the organization and the decisions taken by it.

The external pressures still exist, and even without an organization such agreements

could have taken place at the individual community level. Such would have left the

communities even weaker, without any leader with relatively more preparation,

experience, and understanding of the cohuori world.

While the organization is something external to traditional social organization, the

pressures encountered with the integration to the national society are definitively foreign

as well. The alternative of finding a means of organization that reconciles more with their

cultural practices is something that, hopefully, can be built along the way through

experience.

Legal Issues: Huaorani Territory, Environmental Legislation and Oil Politics

Huaorani ancestral territory covers an area of two million hectares' ha between the

Napo and Curaray rivers. The first legal recognition of Huaorani territory is through the

SIL with the creation of the "Protectorado." Having already established a missionary

station in the 1950s, the SIL obtained permission from the government to create a

protected zone in 1969, the Protectorado. This area covered less than a tenth of Huaorani









traditional territory (Rival 1996). Most of the Huaorani population at the time was living

within the Protectorado or reserve. The control granted to the SIL lasted until 1982 when

they were expelled from the country. Although some missionaries stayed under different

denominations, they are far from possessing the same power as before, as resistance to

their presence has grown. Furthermore, resistance to the influence of the missionaries, as

mentioned above, became formalized with the creation and stance of the Huaorani

organizations.

The next step was the creation of the Yasuni Nacional Park in 1979. The Yasuni

was created with the technical assistance of UNESCO to the government without any

previous social or ethnographic study and participation of the Huaorani even though it

was evidently part of their traditional territory (Acci6n Ecol6gica). Ten years later, in

1989 Yasuni was declared as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, we see the first

manifestations of biological concerns for Huaorani territory and attachments of

biodiversity significance to this space. This marks the beginning of the insertion of

biodiversity discourses around Huaorani ancestral lands. But it also meant the

dispossession of the Huaorani.

In 1990 the limits of the Park were reduced apparently to exclude an area rich in oil

(the Block 16) so that its use would be free from the environmental regulations associated

with the protected area. Once out of the limits of the Park, Block 16 became in that same

year part of the legalized Huaorani territory. This was a maneuver by the state to facilitate

oil exploitation in that block. After a long struggle, in 1990 CONAIE managed to have

the government give legal title of Huaorani territory to its people through a presidential

decree. However, only 612.650 hectares out of two million were officially recognized in









the presidential decree, representing less than a third of Huaorani ancestral territory.

Additionally, the title granted to the Huaorani specifies that the awardees are not to

impede mining and petroleum exploration or exploitation activities carried out by the

national government or any other legally authorized entity. This was, thus, a maneuver of

the state to have easier access to block 16 (Acci6n Ecol6gica, Narvaez 1996).

Even though the Huaorani have now had their land titled, the subsoil was kept

under the state's administrative control. In Ecuador like in other ex-Iberian colonies, the

subsoil belongs to the state. This causes a tension, since it limits the territorial rights of

indigenous peoples, especially when having to deal with transnational oil companies

which have the support of the state. This tension is a manifestation of the contradictions

found between the environmental legislation (which prohibits oil extraction in national

parks), indigenous legislation (to secure the constitutional rights to self determination

with respect to their ancestral lands), and oil politics through energy-related legislation

including the Hydrocarbon Law. This law has a "special" character which imposes its

provisions on the other two pieces of legislation, because the state has the right over the

subsoil. These tensions between legislation draw attention to what Fontaine lucidly

coined as the "schizophrenic symptoms of the state," which, seeing itself pressured by the

overwhelming obligations of the external debt, goes forth with the capitalization of the

protected areas of the Amazonian region (Fontaine 2003).

ONHAE was created the same year that the land title was granted and territorial

rights4 have remained one of their main struggles. In their perception of the environment

sociability is an integral part of it and the intertwined association of these makes the


4 The struggle for territorial rights has focused on the expansion of the limits to include all of ancestral territory which includes the
Yasuni National Park, control over it and managerial autonomy.









territorial demand crucial in their agenda. Like among other indigenous peoples, territory

belongs to the social sphere. Thus, when referring to territorial rights, human rights are

also at stake (Surrealles and Garcia Hierro 2005).

According to article 84 of the constitution, the pluricultural and multiethnic state

guarantees indigenous peoples and afro-descendants the right to be consulted on any

projects related to the exploitation of resources found in their lands. Displacement from

their lands is a violation of their rights, just as excluding them as beneficiaries of such

projects. Ecuador also ratified the ILO Convention 169 that ensures indigenous collective

rights internationally. However, many times there is not compliance with these measures

and indigenous rights are neglected. Transnational oil companies take almost 80 percent

of the gains of oil exploitation and what stays goes mostly to pay off the external debt

and never really benefits the Huaorani or the Oriente region. Thus in practice the

neoliberal state is present to claim its rights to the subsoil but does not provide the

Huaorani with basic services such as health care and adequate education programs but

leaves that role to the oil companies. Oil companies with profits of hundreds of millions

of dollars fail to comply with their obligaitons and they do not redistribute but the lowest

percentage possible of those profits.

Historically, nation-states have appropriated pre-state indigenous territories and

designed political frameworks that threaten the survival of these peoples. As the

CONAIE continuously makes a point to articulate, for indigenous peoples and

nationalities territoriality includes their worldview system along with their sense of

belonging and identity. Thus, territory represents the physical space that contains life

(CONAIE 2004).









To conclude, how adequate and acceptable are the legal titles of indigenous lands in

Ecuador? While acquiring the legal title of their territory might have seemed at times as

the final goal of the territorial struggle of indigenous peoples, they are constantly having

to reassess this issue, that is part of an ongoing, longer process.









CHAPTER 4
HUAORANI WOMEN IN MOVEMENT: UNDERSTANDING THE EMERGENCE OF
AMWAE AND THE COMPLEXITIES OF HUAORANI FEMININE LEADERSHIP

In this chapter I will analyze the emergence of AMWAE, map out its structure and

networks, discuss its objectives, and examine its relationship with ONHAE. To explore

AMWAE's significance in Huaorani society I will also go beyond the institutional level,

studying the perceptions of AMWAE in the communities and compare the demands of

the community with AMWAE's objectives.

The Emergence of AMWAE

From the narratives gathered on the creation of AMWAE, I identify two sets of

driving forces that need to be considered in order to understand the emergence of

AMWAE. Both are somewhat interrelated without one necessarily predominating over

the other. The first set is conjunctural and is related to two events: first, there were funds

available for projects involving women, and second, there was opposition on the part of

the women to an ONHAE leader and a contract he had signed. The second set of driving

forces has to do with the discontent of women regarding their lack of representation in

the leadership of ONHAE and their lack of income generating opportunities. I also

identify some secondary factors. These are not as prevalent in the narratives of AMWAE

leaders as the ones I identify as main factors, and are related to women's consciousness

regarding gender and political roles. I will begin with the more conjunctural explanation

for the creation of AMWAE.

Before AMWAE became an independent association legally recognized by the

state, there was a group of Huaorani women organizing and working within ONHAE.

These women lived in the city and thus had experience within the white-mestizo world.

They were more informed about cross-cultural issues regarding territory, the role and









impact of the oil companies and ONHAE's ongoing projects than women in the

communities. Also, their husbands had worked in ONHAE or at least participated in

meetings, workshops and events of the organization. Rocio and Nancy were recognized

as the main leaders in the creation of AMWAE. Rocio was the first and current AMWAE

president during my field research. Nancy had previously been secretary of health of

ONHAE and was officially the vice-president of AMWAE at the time of my research. It

is also worth mentioning that Nancy is the daughter of Dayuma, the first Huaorani who

had peaceful contact with the SIL missionaries. As the first convert, Dayuma became the

bridge of communication between the missionaries and her Huaorani kin. She also

became somewhat of a leader figure among the Huaorani who lived in the communities

under or close to the missionary station and their influence. Nancy is therefore also

recognized as a leader among people from those communities.

These women first organized themselves in 2002 under the name of Bore. They

were given an office in the ONHAE headquarters where they worked as volunteers.

External funding had a pivotal role in this event:

...fondo vino a nombre de la mujer Huaorani para que trabaje una mujer pero no
habia una mujer avanzada, formada, entonces lamentablemente no habia y entonces
ahi era el period de Armando. Entonces Armando dijo que 'ustedes deberian
former una organizaci6n o una asociaci6n de mujeres para que puedan trabajar y
puedan administrar'. Entonces de ahi nosotras formamos tambien pero ahi teniamos
que legalizar papeles, hacer estatuto (... ) porque nosotros desde el principio
tambien pensamos organizer, porque era antes nombre de asociaci6n era Bore.
Entonces con Bore nos dieron prestamo a las mujeres Huaorani ahi que maneje. Yo
mismo fui y maneje un poco para piscicultura, para agriculture. Entonces asi
despues dejamos porque no habia para legalizar, legal como asociaci6n. Teniamos
que estar molestando el ministerio de medio ambiente pero ellos nos dijeron no
podemos legalizar porque es de los varones, no querian. Entonces dijimos donde
podemos coger la organizaci6n para poder trabajar las mujeres? Y ahi todas las
mujeres estuvimos en una asamblea para que la ONHAE mismo apruebe, para que
sea asociaci6n de las mujeres Huaorani. Entonces ONHAE una vez tenia asamblea
en Tofiampare, period de Juan Enomenga, fuimos. Entonces dijo Juan Enomenga









si podemos dar para que ellas tambien trabajen las mujeres, porque vemos que
hombres y mujeres tenemos fuerzas. Entonces ahi nos dieron, aprobaron el estatuto
y de ahi salimos (Rocio).

[Funds came addressed to Huaorani women for a woman to work but,
unfortunately, there was not an advanced and schooled woman. This was during
the period of Armando. So, Armando said 'you should create an organization or
association of women so that you can work and manage it'. So, we then created it
but we then had to legalize documents and make by-laws (... ) because from the
beginning we also thought of organizing, because earlier the name of the
association was Bore. So, with Bore Huaorani women received a loan and there I
managed it. I went and managed it, a little for fish farming, for agriculture. And
then we just left it because it was difficult to legalize, become legal like an
association. We had to be bothering the Ministry of Environment but they said that
we could not [be legalized] because it is from the men, they did not want. So, we
said 'where can we get the organization for women to be able to work?' And then
there we were all women present at an assembly for the ONHAE to approve [the
legalization], to create the association of Huaorani women. So, ONHAE had once
an assembly in Tofiampare, during the period of Juan Enomenga, we went. So, Juan
Enomenga said 'yes we can give it to them for women to work too, because we see
that men and women have strength'. So, there they gave it to us, our by-laws were
approved and then we left].

In this quote we can explicitly see the conjuncture that leads to the emergence of

Bore. Funds had become available to the organization for projects targeting women.

These funds came from a PRODEPINE / IFAD project and was designed to provide

microcredit through a village bank or "cajas solidarias." There was $1000 available for

the women who wanted to pursue an income generating project, which had to be paid

back after one year including a low interest payment. This way, the organization would

be able to keep the main capital and to make new loans to other women. However, it did

not work because simply the money was never paid back.

Bore is the Huao name for a kind of ant, a hard working one. According to my

informant, the name was supposed to symbolize the labor of Huaorani women who are


1 PRODEPINE stands for Proyectos de Desarollo para Pueblos Indigenas y Negros del Ecuador. This is a project of IFAD
(International Fund for Agricultural Development), a specialized agency of the United Nations system devoted to support initiatives
dealing with food security.










"siempre trabajando, siempre tejiendo" ("always working, always weaving," my

translation). Later they changed the name to AMWAE because AMWAE besides the

meaning its acronym (Asociaci6n de Mujeres Waorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana) also

has a meaning in Huao-terero, the name of a fish.

There was another factor that led to the configuration of AMWAE as a separate

entity. All the leaders mentioned the signing of a contract between Ecogenesis

Development Company LLC 2and ONHAE under the leadership of Juan Enomenga as

part of the story of how AMWAE was created. This contract entailed the waiving of

usufruct rights to almost 700 hectares of Huaorani territory to the company.3 It was

signed by ONHAE president Juan Enomenga without consulting any of the communities.

This caused great turmoil that ended in the overthrow of this president and all the other

officers. Since the women were among the strongest opponents of this contract, before he

was overthrown, Juan Enomenga threw them out of the ONHAE office headquarters:


En ese tiempo cuando recien se formo, el Juan Enomenga ha dicho a las mujeres
que empezaron a trabajar en la ONHAE acerca del FED. El Juan solamente queria
firmar y coger dinero, pero las mujeres decian que no querian dinero y querian que
el territorio Huao sea de los Huaorani, ninguna negociaci6n y el Juan dijo que no,
ustedes tienen que irse de aqui, ustedes estan haciendo mal y por eso nos mando a
sacar de la ONHAE(Rocio).

[In that time, when it was just created, Juan Enomenga told the women that had
started working within ONHAE about FED. Juan only wanted to sign and take the
money, but the women said they did not want money, and they wanted Huao



2 In the interviews when the leaders talk about the contract with Eco Genesis Development Company LLC they refer to it as FED
(Fundaci6n Ecuatoriana de Desarrollo) which is the entity that directly deals with the Huaorani in representation of Eco Genesis. This
will be discussed in greater detail in the section on critical issues of this chapter.
3 The interests that were implied in the contract with Ecogenesis fit within the broader context of environmental services, namely bio-
prospecting, sustainable forestry, eco-tourism and others. However, in Ecuador, most of the time such initiatives have a great impact
on indigenous peoples that do not have sufficient legal knowledge and skills to manage this kind of projects that involve their land and
natural resources which are essential to their physical and cultural reproduction. In fact, the juridical department from CONAIE finds
itself overloaded with similar cases from various indigenous organizations representing groups from throughout the country (personal
communication, Manuel Morocho and Efrain Calapucha, 2006).









territory to belong to the Huaorani, no negotiations, and Juan said 'no, you have to
leave here, you are doing bad' and that is why he threw us out of ONHAE]

This event led the women to settle in an office separate from ONHAE. They

obtained the financial support of the project CAIMAN (Conservaci6n en Areas Indigenas

Manejadas) which had already been working with ONHAE and also opposed the Eco

Genesis contract. CAIMAN was a consortium of national NGOs organized to develop

projects financed by USAID (United States Agency for International Development).

CAIMAN aided in the legal configuration of AMWAE. Furthermore, they provided

capacity building workshops for the leaders on administrative management and

communication. They also held workshops in the communities on topics such as agro-

forestry management and handicraft production and marketing. While this was a very

specific driving force supporting and guiding the creation of AMWAE, recurring in the

narratives is another equally decisive factor.

There was discontent among the women with their lack of representation in the formal
leadership of ONHAE. They also did not have access to paying jobs as the men did.
Some of the narratives tell the story of the creation of AMWAE this way:

Primero empezaron Rocio y Nancy en oficinas de ONHAE, empezaron con el
nombre de Bore, mujeres tenemos derecho de trabajar, no solo los hombres,
dijeron, y asi empezaron poquito a poquito sin sueldo ni siquiera. Asi vinieron
trabajando... (Marcela)

[First Rocio and Nancy started in the ONHAE office, they started with the name
Bore, 'we women have a right to work, not only men' they said, and this way they
started little by little, even without a salary. This way they started working...]

The narratives demonstrate a growing consciousness over genders roles in a formal

leadership structure that left women behind. The interview with Rocio, the president and

chief leader in the creation of AMWAE, perhaps offers the best example of this sense of

dissatisfaction and revindication:









Yo vivia en la comunidad, despues sali porque mi esposo trabajaba en la
organizaci6n, en la ONHAE. Entonces ahi sali y conoci la organizaci6n, muchos
afios pase con ellos, pero vi que siempre los hombres trabajan, solo los hombres.
Entonces siempre a nosotras nos dejaban a un lado. Entonces comenzamos asi y
despues nosotros dijimos, organizamos, preguntando a todas las mujeres que viven
adentro, dijimos: 'por que nosotras tambien no podemos former una organizaci6n
para poder trabajar igual que los hombres?' Entonces ahi dijeron, preguntamos en
cada comunidad y dijeron que si estamos dispuestas para hacer, para former una
organizaci6n, para poder trabajar como iguales trabajan los hombres. Entonces de
ahi fuimos a un taller en la comunidad Tiwino, que para former una organizaci6n
debemos concentrar todas las mujeres y queremos apoyar a la ONHAE, tenemos
tambien que seguir apoyando, queremos former una asociaci6n pero con tal que
trabajemos con la ONHAE. Entonces asi fue en Tofiampare otra reuni6n, despues
en Quihuaro otra reuni6n, fuimos Danementaro otra reuni6n y fuimos a Gareno,
Gareno hemos ido como tres veces. Entones ahi poco a poco las mujeres
primeramente no querian hablar, vivian en la comunidad entonces algunas conocian
y algunas no entonces teniamos miedo de hablar espahol, miedo de hablar
Huaorani.

En la epoca de Armando el no queria [aprobar para la configuraci6n legal de
AMWAE] porque decia que todas las mujeres tenian que estar en la casa no afuera.
El decia que siempre esten en la casa decian pues pero nosotras nos levantamos.
Despues cuando ya dieron el nombramiento entonces tenia que buscar fondo para ir
a Quito, entonces Armando en frente de las ONGs me puso, dijo en el public
cuando habia bastante gente, me dijo: 'las mujeres Huaorani tienen que estar atras
de los hombres no adelante, no igual' pero le dije 'Armando, nosotros, en la historic
Huaorani, hombres y mujeres defendieron cuando armaron la guerra, hombres y
mujeres lucharon para tener la fuerza, eso esta mal' le dije. Porque en la
organizaci6n tambien nosotros hombres y mujeres podemos estar juntos, no
podemos estar haciendo destrucci6n a la organizaci6n cuando estamos, cuando
estan solos si pueden hacer, le dije. Tambien cuando un lider puede hacer mal ahi si
la organizaci6n esta de quiebra, le dije, la organizaci6n cuando son hombres
cumplen hasta los nifios si es bueno, le dije. Desde ahi las mujeres si estaban con
animo de apoyar a la asociaci6n, todas las mujeres viajaban Coca a la reunion,
todos viajaban, nifios y ancianos viajaban, ellos pensaron que tener una
organizaci6n o asociaci6n ellos estaban emocionados apoyar a la organizaci6n. Es
bueno tambien cuando tenemos la organizaci6n, ya nosotras damos lo que estamos
dando. Hay gente que dice que las mujeres Huaorani siempre estan en la casa, no,
porque nuestros abuelos siempre un hombre hacia lanza y la mujer tambien tenia
que dar chicha u ortiga ahi y listo. Hombres y mujeres trabajaban pero ahora
cambiaron y entonces no, tenemos que seguir y seguiremos nosotros [A diferencia
de lo que sucede en la ciudad]... asi hacen, adentro si trabajan juntos, la mujer
siembra la yuca y el hombre corta el arbol (Rocio).

[I lived in the community, then I left because my husband worked in the
organization, in ONHAE. So then I left and I came to know the organization, I
many years spent with them but I saw that always men worked, only the men. So,









we were always left behind. So, we started this way, and then we said 'lets
organize' asking all women who live deep in the forest we said 'why can't we also
build an organization to be able to work as the men do?' So, there they spoke, we
asked in each community and they said yes 'we are up for it, to build an
organization, to be able to work just as the men do. So, we then went to a workshop
in Tiwino, to create an organization we have to gather all women and we want to
support ONHAE, we have to continue supporting it, we want to build an
organization just as long as we work with ONHAE. And so there was another
meeting in Tofiampare, then in Quihuaro another one, we went to Damentaro to
another meeting and we went to Gareno. We've been to Gareno like three times. So
little by little, women at first did not want to talk, they lived in the community and
so some knew but other did not and they were afraid to speak Spanish, to speak
Huaorani. During Armando's period, he did not want [to approve the legal
configuration of AMWAE] because he said that women should be at home and not
outside. He said to stay at home but we rebelled. Later when we obtained the
appointment I had to look for funds, go to Quito and so Armando in front of the
NGO's when I was in the audience, when there was a lot of people, he said
'Huaorani women have to be behind the men, not before, not the same' but I told
him 'Armando, we, in Huaorani history, men and women defended when war broke
out, men and women fought together to have the strength, this is incorrect. Because
in the organization also we, men and women, can be together, we can't be causing
destruction to the organization if we are there, but if you are by yourselves you can,
I said. Since then women became more enthusiastic to give support to the
association, all women traveled to Coca to the meeting, everybody traveled,
children and elders traveled, they were thinking about having an organization or
association, they were excited about supporting the organization. It is good when
we have the organization, we already give what we are giving. There are people
who say that Huaorani women are always at home, no, because our grandparents
always a man made a spear and the woman also had to give the chicha or nettle
there and that is how it went on. Men and women worked but now things changed
but no, we have to continue, and we will continue. That's how we do it, deep in the
forest they do work together, the women plants manioc and the men cut the trees].

This narrative sheds light on the tensions around gender roles in an ethnic group

that is immersed in the political and social ambiguities generated by the crossultural

relations between their traditional society and the national society. It is interesting to see

through this narrative how the discourse on complementarity in gender roles among

spouses appears. As discussed in chapter one, in Huaorani society the relationship

between spouses has been described as a reciprocal partnership where certain activities

become gendered as a form of complementarity. This complementarity results in a certain










division of labor that does not manifest any hierarchy (Rival 2002: 106). Thus, in this

narrative it appears as if that conjugal complementarity is being transplanted into gender

roles in activism. This is also noticeable in Rocio's statement on how the women's desire

was to work with ONHAE, supporting it and coordinating with it. This can be understood

as an appeal to complement instead of substitute.

There were also some secondary factors that appeared in the discourse of some of

the leaders. They expressed their belief that women were firmer with respect to defending

Huaorani interests and better managed money. An example of this view can be found in

the following statement by the president of AMWAE:

... los hombres, solo los hombres hacian, pero nosotros estabamos atras, pero les
dijimos que nosotras entrando en la organizaci6n podemos trabajar igual que ellos.
Porque si los petroleros entran talvez en el Puyo y ellos [gente en las comunidades]
a lo mejor adentro dicen 'no, no queremos' y entonces mas bien nosotras podemos
enfrentar con petroleros porque los hombres como son dan un poco de dinero y ya
aceptan. En cambio nosotras no. Entonces hemos pensado asi poco a poco
(Rocio).

[Men, only men did, but we were behind, but we told them that joining in the work
of the organization we could work the same as they do. Because if oil companies
come perhaps in Puyo, they in the forest might say 'no, we don't want' and so we
can face the oil companies because the way men are they give them a little money
and they accept, we don't. And this is how we have been thinking little by little]

This discourse of the firmness of Huaorani women's activism to confront oil

companies or any potential threats to their territory is not only common among AMWAE

leaders, but I noticed this view was shared by some CONAIE officers and members of

national NGOs that work with the Huaorani. However, this is something to be tested in

practice4


4 During my time in the field there were internal tensions that were linked to the contract with Ecogenesis/FED. Although AMWAE
was one of the major opponents of the contract, at the time of my field research it was common knowledge that two officers were
collaborating with FED. These two officers organized an assembly with the purpose of overthrowing the officers that opposed FED.
These two officers allegedly collaborating with FED did not admit to their involvement with the institution and instead they argued
how AMWAE leaders were not doing a good job and, in demonstration of their belief that the leadership of AMWAE should be
replaced, renounced their positions. Because of this internal tensions and division within AMWAE, I could not interview these two










With respect to the way men and women manage money, women's better

management of money is used as an argument for creating income generating activities

for women:

Porque nosotros vemos, somos j6venes como los hombres, porque tenemos que
trabajar nosotras, derechos. Pero hombres solamente organizan y trabajan, pero
mujeres tenemos dar a nuestros hijos buena educaci6n, tener artesanias, todo,
turismo, para educar bien y organizer bien para tener como mujeres queremos tener
bien. Porque hombre trabajan y ganan plata y gastan ellos mismos y las mujeres
nada tienen. Entonces ellas tambien quieren derecho para trabajar.

[Because we see, we are young like the men, because we have to work, we have the
right. But only men organize and work, but we women have to give our children
good education, have handicrafts, everything, tourism, to educate and organize well
to have as women how we want to have well. Because men work and earn money
and they spend it themselves and women have nothing. So they also want their
right to work].

This quote not only makes clear that women believe they spend money more

responsibly, but it reflects how they also want access to income generating opportunities.

In their interactions with the national society men have been more exposed to income

generating activities. Oil companies, for instance, have hired Huaorani men sporadically.

Similarly, officer positions in ONHAE are also income generating opportunities that,

until the creation of AMWAE, were occupied mostly by men.

Thus, building from the organization of Bore in 2004 within ONHAE, by 2005

women had created their own organization, AMWAE.







officers who I did not see again after they resigned in that assembly. Elections were carried out in that assembly but the new officers
were not approved because there were not representatives from all communities present in the assembly. AMWAE leaders came to an
agreement and decided that a couple of months later another assembly would take place to determine if the then current officers were
to stay in their assignments. The assembly did take place and by the time I returned to visit five months after I left the field, the
leadership had been replaced but through a more consensual assembly. Ironically, in the communities the fulfillment of terms of office
was recurrently mentioned as a needed improvement for ONHAE and for AMWAE not to follow the same steps. But, at the time the
assemblies are taking place this view is not manifested enough to be put in practice. In May 2007 I was informed of what Rocio
expressed as very good news: there was no longer division among AMWAE members and Ecogenesis/FED had stopped being an
issue.









Structure and Funding of AMWAE

AMWAE officially has ten officers: president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary,

three board members and three substitute board members. These leaders are elected in an

assembly, the results which are then ratified by CONAMU (Consejo Nacional de la

Mujer). AMWAE also has an accountant and a secretary who is referred to as the tecnica.

Both the accountant and the technician are non Huaorani women from Puyo. They are in

charge of tasks that the Huaorani officers do not yet have training in, but the goal is that

someday Huaorani women will occupy these positions.

Following the structure of ONHAE, within the AMWAE leadership there are

specific responsibilities assigned to each leader which include education, tourism,

handicrafts, health and coordination. The structure of all indigenous organizations is

similar because their by-laws follow a model that is required by the government in order

to be legalized. As discussed in the previous chapter, this is now changing because

indigenous organizations are now being legalized under CODENPE (Consejo de

Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador) which does not require them to

follow a specific by-laws model, but allows them to organize as they please. However,

AMWAE was legalized as an association by CONAMU and according to its by-laws

members have to be registered; this contrasts with ONHAE where all Huaorani are innate

members. This organizing format is an imposition entailed by the by-laws of associations.

However, the bases (and to a certain point, the leaders themselves) do not understand

well this differentiation and consider themselves all members. AMWAE has its own

personeriajuridica and legal documents but ONHAE is still considered the main

organization. They are, however, relatively independent and AMWAE has developed the

capacity to manage its own affairs, settling in a separate office.









In the case of AMWAE, in practice, I observed little specialization. The president

was involved in all affairs. Only once I saw her send other leaders as representatives for a

meeting in CONAIE. However, she usually attended other meetings accompanied by

other AMWAE leaders. There was one leader who seemed to have a more specialized

role. This was the treasurer, Marcela. Marcela was always learning by the side of the

tecnica and the accountant, processing the payments of the other leaders and doing paper

work.

The AMWAE office is located in downtown Puyo. It has three office rooms, one

open meeting room, a bathroom and another room facing the street which houses the

crafts store. One office room was occupied by the accountant, another one by the tecnica

and another room was assigned to the president. AMWAE leaders, including the

president, gathered in all rooms indiscriminately. Additionally there was a studio in the

back where the conserje (the guard and cleaning person) lived. The conserje was a

Huaorani woman that lived there with her husband and children. The environment of the

AMWAE office was calm and friendly. Children were always around. Toddlers were

wrapped around their mothers, and older children would play around in the open meting

room or in the front yard. Huaorani children are very independent and from what I

observed their presence in the office did not appear to be an impediment to their mother's

work.

In the office there were some busy days and other days when not much seemed to

be going on, but the women were there, weaving and discussing current issues and

upcoming events. A busy day involved all-day workshops, mapping the upcoming

month's agenda, and meetings with ONHAE and other organizations.









AMWAE works through the same networks as ONHAE: the oil companies, the

NGOs of the project CAIMAN consortium, other NGOs, indigenous organizations and

state institutions. Even if AMWAE is not directly involved in the implementation of

projects that are carried out through ONHAE, AMWAE leaders are present and interact

with the relevant institutions at planning meetings. Also, being a women's association

means it has an even wider network. AMWAE is registered under CONAMU (Consejo

Nacional de la Mujer) and occasionally participates in workshops related to issues on

women's leadership.

My interviews with AMWAE leaders included a question about the association's

networks (Table A-5). Specifically, I asked which were the most important relationships

and with which social actors, and how these had facilitated or hindered their struggle.

Ten institutions were mentioned positively as having helped AMWAE, while three were

mentioned as not having helped AMWAE or causing problems for them. Out of the eight

leaders interviewed, seven mentioned CAIMAN as having helped the association. Two

NGOs that are part of the CAIMAN consortium were mentioned individually as

organizations that help. Other institutions mentioned positively besides these were

CONAIE, and then less frequently, ONHAE, IBIS, CONAMU, Acci6n Ecol6gica, Entrix

and the Municipality of Puyo. IBIS is a Danish NGO that has worked with indigenous

organizations in Ecuador for some years. It also works directly with CONAIE and with

the Huaorani. Acci6n Ecol6gica is a national NGO that works on issues related to the

impact of oil, mining, and plantation activities as well as biotechnology, bio-prospecting

and bio-piracy. This is a politically committed organization that questions the model of









development implemented in the country which they consider to be unequal and anti-

ecological.

The oil companies were mentioned by five leaders; two classified them as helping

social actors, two as causing problems and one as not helpful. This underlines the

contradictory relations that the Huaorani people have with the oil companies, as detailed

in the previous chapter. The government was mentioned by two leaders and identified as

unhelpful while Ecogenesis/FED was also mentioned twice as a social actor that causes

problems.

In terms of funding, AMWAE initially (and at the time of my fieldwork) depended

mostly on the CAIMAN project and the oil company Repsol YPF. In the annual budget

agreement the Huaorani have with Repsol YPF, there is an item called Bonificaci6n

dirigente (honorarium for leaders) for ONHAE and for AMWAE it is called Gestion

AMWAE (management of AMWAE). These are not salaries per se, but honorariums.

According to the accountant of AMWAE: "...ni facturamos, tampoco tenemos ningun

beneficio social pero, el personal Huaorani, si se enferma o pasa algo, la Compafiia los

cura o los lleva al hospital, pero si se enferma un cohuori que trabaja para el pueblo

Huaorani se enferma o se muere gratis." [We do not invoice, and we do not receive any

social benefits, but if any Huaorani personnel gets sick or something happens, the

Company takes care of them and takes them to the hospital, but if a cohuori that works

for the Huaorani people gets sick, they get sick or they die for free, my translation].

Additionally, Petrobras and Perenco occasionally make contributions for specific items

such as the cost of acquiring passports, mobilizations, etc.









During 2006 Repsol YPF gave AMWAE $1200 monthly that went mostly for

bonuses for the leaders. Each leader received $100 a month and the remaining $200 went

for transportation to and from the communities and to Quito for meetings and workshops.

Considering the profit that the company earns from Huaorani land, these bonuses are

pittances. While some AMWAE leaders already lived in the city because of their

husband's jobs, other elected officers had to move to the city. In both cases they have to

support their families on only $100 a month.

CAIMAN only gives a bonus to the president, and she must decide how to

distribute it. It also pays the honorariums of the tecnica, the accountant and the guard

whose pay are not taken care of by Repsol YPF. CAIMAN was key in the configuration

of AMWAE since it financed the rent for the AMWAE office, administrative costs

(general office supplies, and telephone and internet bills), office equipment and capacity

building workshops. All these expenses were registered, and AMWAE had to send

monthly financial reports to be approved for reimbursement so that there was no

diversion of funds.

While CAIMAN helped in the creation of AMWAE, its assistance only lasted one

year. It helped train the leaders and carried out some community workshops. But one year

of support was not enough. Even the capacity building workshops carried out during that

year were not sufficient, as will be discussed in greater detail in the section below.

With the expiration of the agreement with CAIMAN and initiation of the 2007

budget agreement with Repsol YPF, AMWAE's funding situation changed. They had to

move into a smaller office and all honorariums are now funded by Repsol YPF. The oil









company is interested in continuing oil exploitation for a prolonged time and so it must

give more prolonged support to the Huaorani as suggested in the contract.

The budget agreement with Repsol YPF is negotiated annually giving the Huaorani

organizations the opportunity to meet with Repsol YPF and present their demands. I was

in the field when such a meeting took place to discuss funds for schools in the

communities. The company sent invitations just a few days before the meeting which did

not leave much time for the leaders to come up with a good proposal and discuss it with

people in the communities. In the renegotiation of the 2007 budget agreement AMWAE

managed to get a raise in the honorariums for its leaders. The difference in the level of

honorariums paid to ONHAE and AMWAE leaders, however, is extremely high. For

instance, the ONHAE president currently gets $500 from Repsol YPF, $360 from

Petrobras and $160 from ONHAE,5 or a total of $1020 a month. The president of

AMWAE, on the other hand, now gets only $250 from Repsol. The other ONHAE

leaders get $400 from Repsol, $160 from Petrobras, and $100 from ONHAE, for a total

of about $660 monthly. The other AMWAE leaders, however, only receive $200 a

month from Repsol YPF. This reflects how differences in the value of men and women's

labor are being imposed from the outside. It is the oil companies that decide that the

leaders of the women's association should earn less than men, although, the differences

in payment are not explicitly between men and women but rather between their

organizations.







SThese funds that are referred to as coming from ONHAE itself are actually derecho de via.









Relations between AMWAE and ONHAE

At this point, then, it is crucial to explore the relations between AMWAE and

ONHAE. As noted earlier, the women first created Bore within ONHAE at the

suggestion of the then ONHAE president, Armando Boya, because there were some

funds available for women's projects. However, the idea of organizing among the women

was not his alone; it had already been discussed among the women. The Huaorani women

living in Puyo had been pondering about their marginality in the formal leadership of

ONHAE. Even though Bore worked within ONHAE there were still tensions with the

ONHAE leadership. First with Armando Boya himself who felt that the women should

not be considered at the same level as men and should stay at home. Second, with Juan

Enomenga who ended up expelling them from ONHAE, causing a clearer separation

between the two organizations. Forming their own separate association was not the initial

intention of the women leaders. They wanted to be included in ONHAE and work

together, in partnership with the men. This was always stated in the interviews and in

conversations.

With the leadership of Vicente Enomenga (who was president during my time in

the field) there was a closer relationship between AMWAE and ONHAE. The two

organizations were constantly coordinating. Nevertheless, I did hear occasional

complaints. Rocio, for example, complained that the ONHAE men were not supporting

them enough. However, there are always tensions among and between AMWAE and

ONHAE leaders, and also between previous and current leaders of the organizations.

Both ONHAE and AMWAE have had elections since my period of field work

(June through August 2006) and now have different officers. Under the new leadership, it

appears as if the relation between ONHAE and AMWAE is not as close as it was under









the previous leadership. When CAIMAN's mission ended, and AMWAE did not have

enough money to pay the rent for their office, they tried to go back to ONHAE

headquarters where there was physical space for them. But ONHAE declined to help

them, giving the explanation that the women "son muy chismosas y hacen much

problema" [gossip too much and cause too much trouble] (Flora, personal

communication). I was also informed that the women felt that in the 2007 budget

agreement with Repsol YPF they were not given equal importance. As expressed by the

accountant "como si las mujeres estan ahi para que hagan artesanias y nada mas" [As if

the women are there just to do handicrafts and that is all]. The implementation of

projects and programs on key issues like territory, education, health, and even tourism is

done through ONHAE, even if AMWAE participated in the planning and negotiating

meetings. When AMWAE did not exist, women felt disadvantaged because they were not

included in the formal leadership, but now that they have their association they are still

excluded in the implementation of key programs and projects.

ONHAE is the organization representing the Huaorani nationality--both men and

women--and thus it should have a more inclusive leadership. AMWAE was not created

with the goal of substituting ONHAE, but rather complementing it by broadening

Huaorani representation. In practice, the creation of AMWAE has had two contradictory

outcomes. On the one hand, it has opened up a space for Huaorani women, giving them a

channel for their voices to be heard and giving them more visibility in the sphere of

indigenous organizations. On the other hand, the creation of AMWAE has also resulted

in the paradox of ONHAE becoming for all practical purposes an all male organization.









While it is true that there was a lack of women's representation in the ONHAE

leadership, which was the very fact that motivated the women to organize, it is also true

that there had been some exceptions. Nancy, for example, was leader of health twice,

Maria, leader of tourism, and Cantanpari, leader of territory. However, since the creation

of AMWAE as a separate association there have not been any women elected to

leadership positions in the last two ONHAE elections. The fact that ONHAE is the

organization in charge of implementing projects on key issues like land, education, and

health while AMWAE is mostly in charge of handicrafts or plant nursery projects is

creating a clear division of labor among organizations, one that is now gendered and

where women's activities are viewed as less important than the men's.

The motivations behind the emergence of AMWAE and the relations between it

and ONHAE speak to key questions about social movements and women's movements.

Should indigenous organizations be organized by gender? Should a women's

organization exist as a separate entity or be an integral part of an ethnic organization?

What are the implicit benefits and difficulties in these choices? In the case of AMWAE,

is it only going to be relegated to manage handicrafts projects and result once again in the

marginalization of women as ONHAE becomes an all male organization with more

decision making power than AMWAE?

It is difficult to ascertain the proper answer to these questions and it is perhaps also

too early to do so. It is, however, not only worth it but necessary to consider these

questions. Drawing on the narratives it is important stress how these emphasized that

ONHAE and AMWAE need to coordinate, and how AMWAE was created to provide









women with more opportunities, but also how AMWAE should support ONHAE and

work together.

The AMWAE's Functions and Objectives

In the by-laws of AMWAE the main objectives of the association are stated as

follows:

1. Fortalecer la participaci6n solidaridad y responsabilidad comunitaria a traves de la
Asociaci6n.
2. Desarrollar Programas encaminaos al mejoramiento del trabajo artesanal, turismo
ecol6gico, cultural pecuario, forestal, y de conservaci6n de la ecologia en beneficios
de las mujeres de la Nacionalidad Waorani.
3. Implementar cursos en todas las areas para las Socias.
4. Gestionar ante los organismos publicos y privados, nacionales o internacionales,
apoyo financiero para la consecuci6n de los fines y objetivos de la Organizaci6n.
5. Dar a conocer las Leyes y Derechos que protegen a la mujer tanto entire las Socias y
la comunidad.
6. Velar porque las autoridades cumplan debidamente con las disposiciones legales a
favor de la muj er.
7. Fomentar relaciones de Cooperaci6n con la ONHAE


1. [Strengthen communitarian participation, solidarity and responsibility through the
Association
2. To develop programs that target the improvement of handicrafts, ecological tourism,
and forestry and ecological conservation work for the benefit of Huaorani women.
3. To implement courses in all areas for the associates.
4. To negotiate before public and private institutions, national or international, financial
support for the achievement of the objectives of the organization.
5. To make known, among associates and in the communities, the laws and rights that
protect women.
6. To make sure that legal dispositions in favor of women are being properly fulfilled by
the authorities.
7. To promote cooperational relations with ONHAE].

The by-laws, however, seem to represent more a formality than an actual guide for

praxis, although, they are also always referred to with respect to legal procedures. My

analysis is based on the objectives expressed by AMWAE leaders in their narratives.

Most of the objectives stated in the by-laws coincide with the expressed objectives of









AMWAE leaders. Objectives five and six in the by-laws represent the exceptions; these

were not mentioned by any AMWAE leaders. There are also expressed objectives of

AMWAE leaders that are not mentioned in the by-laws. These will be discussed in

greater detail below.

While it might be too early to analyze the achievements of a newly formed

association like AMWAE, there are noticeable accomplishments. The first and most

obvious is the opening of a political space for Huaorani women. The best example of this

is how for the first time a Huaorani woman was appointed dirigenta de la mujer (leader

of women) in the CONFENIAE (Confederaci6n de las Nacionalidades Indigenas de la

Amazonia Ecuatoriana), the regional indigenous confederation of the Ecuadorian

Amazon. This recognition would not have been so easily accomplished if it were not for

the creation of AMWAE. In this same line, the building of AMWAE has allowed women

to widen their networks and their articulate demands more extensively. They have

established relations with different social actors to put forward their projects.

Another achievement has been the capacity training of leaders and other Huaorani

women that has been carried out through the different workshops by and for AMWAE.

Capacity training was an issue frequently and emphatically mentioned by Huaorani

women, both leaders and non-leaders, as a benefit. Lastly, AMWAE has developed their

own income generating project, handicraft production, and sales are managed through

AMWAE. This is an income generating opportunity of particular importance to women

because it contrasts to wage labor since it involves their cultural traditions. AMWAE was

able to carry out workshops in some communities and established a handicraft store in

AMWAE headquarters in the city. This project was carried out by Sinchi Sacha, a









national NGO which is part of the CAIMAN consortium. These workshops were

intended to rework traditional Huaorani handicrafts and introduce new techniques using

traditional materials. This initiative was successful in that it took into consideration a

demand of the Huaorani women and carried it through. However, just like every other

project put forward by CAIMAN, it had no continuity. The agreement signed between

AMWAE and CAIMAN was for only one year and was not renewed by the latter. As a

result, AMWAE found itself with no funds to continue the projects. The dependence on

externally funded projects has contradictory outcomes. One the one hand, it can provide

funds for the association to develop new activities. But it does not necessarily result in

self sustaining activities. At the same time it can at least partially drive the agenda of the

association away from its primary objectives.

The new leadership of AMWAE did not get the training to continue with the

handicraft project, and they were also not trained for fundraising or connected to other

organizations that might offer opportunities to continue training and such projects. After

the 2005-2006 agreement ended, CAIMAN's mission was just dropped and while this

mission might look good in USAID's reports, in practice, it has had many failures.

USAID's website brags about how this mission succeeded in supporting the creation of

AMWAE, and how many Huaorani they trained (USAID). However, paying some basic

bills for a year, carrying out a few workshops, and counting the number of people who

attend these workshops are questionable indicators of success if there was no provision

for continuity.

Considering all the different social actors with which the Huaorani organizations

interact, the experience with CAIMAN can actually be considered a positive one. Even if










some of the national NGOs which are part of the consortium that makes up CAIMAN

have been declared non grata6 by CONAIE, this is something ONHAE and AMWAE

have been able to counter-balance. Thus, overall their association with CAIMAN is

considered as a positive one. In fact, in my interviews, AMWAE leaders considered it the

organization that has helped them the most. However, the projects CAIMAN conducted

with AMWAE not only lacked continuity, but the actual workshops carried out during

that year were deficient. For instance, there was a computer skills workshop to train

AMWAE leaders that only lasted one afternoon. Certainly one afternoon is not enough to

train indigenous women who are not too familiar with such technology. The workshop

was a waste of money and time since little actual progress in capacity building took

place. As stated by Rocio: "Si van ayudar que ayuden bien" [If they are going to help

then they should do it well].

Other workshops and activities that I observed or heard of included plant

nurseries and workshops on hand crafts, communication, and internal management. The

plant nurseries were established in the communities of Noneno, Mefiepare, Tiwino and

Bataboro. These had the purpose of training community members in agroforestry to

produce materials used in the elaboration of hand crafts. The plant nurseries have since

been abandoned by community members, another example of effort, money, and time

spent in vain.

The communication workshops were important because poor communication

between the communities and the Huaorani organizations is an issue that was constantly

6 In 2004 CONAIE declared many multilateral environmental organizations and their national partners non grata. CONAIE argues
that these organizations receive significant funds but the expected results on sustainable environmental management are lacking.
CONAIE further argues that the results have not been in conservation but in favorable economic conditions of these organizations
meaning that these environmental institutions do not prioritize the interests of the populations directly dependant on the natural
resources and natural environment in question (CONAIE 2004). Among the national environmental organizations there are two
NGO's that are part of the CAIMAN consortium.









brought up at the community level. This CAIMAN initiative included providing the

communities with radios and teaching AMWAE leaders and Huaorani women how to

operate the radios.7 This initiative was only partially accomplished since only 12 radios

were distributed. This experience also reveals the constant tension that indigenous

organizations face in adapting to foreign ways of organizing. On the one hand, these

means of organizing and communication seem necessary in order to i) increase

communication, information and participation between base and leadership, and ii)

communicate the indigenous people's struggles in relation to their interactions with the

white-mestizo world. On the other hand, these new means are imposing a format that

indigenous people may not be familiar with and find it difficult to make their own.

As mentioned earlier, the handicrafts project was perhaps the most successful

project. Sinchi Sacha organized the handicraft store and positioned itself as the

intermediary for sales at a larger scale. However, this organization promoted these

workshops only in the city and in a few selected communities. Besides this problem, poor

communication between the communities and AMWAE also caused the exclusion of

many potential participants and beneficiaries.

After having discussed the accomplishments of AMWAE and evaluating the

activities carried out by Project CAIMAN, it is necessary to look at the main concerns

expressed by AMWAE's leaders so as to better understand the objectives and agenda of

the association (Table A-i).

According to my interviews with AMWAE leaders, the main concerns of the

association, in terms of the frequency in which they were mentioned, are territory,


7 Few non-leaders could attend these workshops that are mostly directed towards AMWAE officers because few women have enough
money for transportation and lodging expenses that is reimbursed by CAIMAN only after and with receipts.









education, health care, and contamination. Another concern frequently mentioned was

handicraft sales. Culture, tourism, looking after the forest and looking for projects were

also mentioned by several participants. Finally, the least frequent concerns mentioned

were capacity building, fulfillment of leadership, organizing, and water, all with the same

frequency.

Defense of territory is a crucial issue for all indigenous organizations as detailed

in the previous chapter. Moreover, even if the Huaorani have managed to have a large

part of their ancestral territory legally recognized, there are constant threats to their

rights. These threats include oil concessions, water contamination, illegal logging and

usufruct rights among others. Education is valued greatly as a means of acquiring

competence to interact with the national society or, as described by Rival (1996), to

perform well in the public sphere. Lack of access to health care reflects another vacuum

in the responsibilities of the state with respect to indigenous people in the Amazonian

region. Interactions with the national society also brought many diseases for which

indigenous people have no traditional medicine. Furthermore, oil activities have caused

damage to the health of Huaorani people that live near the oil camps, water

contamination being the most obvious. Handicraft sales, which came in the second set of

frequently mentioned concerns, refers to creating opportunities for women to generate

income and benefit the community as well as to help pay for the indirect costs of formal

education of children. This concern is prominent because handicraft production is among

the few income-generating opportunities for women that does not disrupt women's

household responsibilities.









The concern denominated as culture refers to maintaining their cultural identity or

as the participants express it "vivir como Huaorani, como duranibai" [living like

Huaorani, like duranibai]. Duranibai is an expression in Huao-terero that means roughly;

the the way of our ancestors. Paradoxically, formal education is linked to this because

they see it as a way of preparing themselves to fight to maintain their territory and way of

life in the face of the pressures that come from their interactions with the national society.

Tourism, just as craft sales, is another income generating activity that is of interest to the

Huaorani. This is another example of the contradictions that appear between a traditional

way of thinking that is not open to the presence of cohuori in their land, with the desire

for a means of generating income through this interaction. Looking after the forest is a

concern related to the current destruction of natural resources, expressed as

contamination by oil activities and illegal logging, among others. "Finding projects"

represents the need of leaders to identify opportunities to offer the communities. These

activities and the associated benefits justify their position as leaders, which is constantly

being tested. Among the least mentioned concerns, capacity building relates to a

particular interest of the association in training leaders and potential leaders. Fulfillment

of leadership refers to the completion of the association's officers' appointed terms. This

is due to the fact that many times because of internal tensions or dissatisfaction at the

base, leaders have been dismissed from their positions and replaced during assemblies.

The concerned expressed as "organizing" implies the coordination among and between

leaders as well as between the organizations and the communities. Finally, water was a

concern mentioned only by one leader, the AMWAE president, and it is related to the









problem of contamination. The quality of water in many communities has become an

important issue.

It is interesting to point out that the most frequently mentioned concerns are those

that are related to the traditional responsibilities and roles of the State. Those functions

that are more in line with the role of the women's association, such as capacity building,

fulfillment of leadership and organizing were less frequently mentioned. This is

significant regarding the association's objectives and what leaders and the base expect.

The concerns that were expressed more frequently coincide more with the agenda of the

ONHAE. This reflects how AMWAE's agenda does not prioritize gender issues but fights

for a political space, equality, and representation in leadership shared with men. In this

process, the women encounter challenges to their pursuit and specific objectives that

target the gender-based inequalities are incorporated into the association's agenda to open

opportunities and a space for women. In reality, considering the concerns expressed by

AMWAE leaders, it can be assumed that ONHAE and AMWAE have practically the

same agenda. Nevertheless, when considering the narratives on the emergence of

AMWAE and those other concerns not shared with ONHAE, it becomes obvious that

what the women want is equal representation and participation in leadership as well as

more income generating opportunities.

When analyzing AMWAE's agenda in terms of practical and strategic gender

interests it becomes obvious that AMWAE's interests are more practical than strategic.

For a more direct application in policy planning and formulation in the context of GAD

(Gender and Development), Moser (1993) interprets the conceptual model of gender

interests as gender needs. This author develops a gender needs assessment tool whose









purpose is to "recognize women as active participants in development" (Moser 1993:94).

This tool, thus, is used to classify "planning interventions in terms of those that meet

practical gender needs (that is, the needs identified to help women in their existing

subordinate position in society) and strategic gender needs-namely, the needs identified

to transform existing subordinate relationships between men and women" (Moser

1993:94). While AMWAE is not a development project but a women's association, this

tool can still be applied to analyze the needs it articulates.

This way, the most frequently mentioned concerns by AMWAE leaders can be

interpreted as needs. Following this model, territory, education and health care would be

AMWAE's main needs. While for the Huaorani territory and health care are crucial to the

condition of both men and women, these seem to be needs without the potential of

transforming the existing gender relations. Education, however, does have the potential of

transforming the existing gender relations in the sphere of the Huaorani organizations. As

mentioned earlier, formal education is a factor that contributes greatly to leadership and

being a successful leader. With the creation of AMWAE women have gained access to

leadership but the control on critical issues is still held by ONHAE that has more decision

making power than AMWAE. Thus, greater education for women may be strategic in that

this may be a precondition for women to participate on more equal terms in ONHAE and

exercise effective leadership.

Expectations and Perceptions at the Community level

Shifting the focus to the community level, in this section, I analyze the perceptions

about AMWAE at the base and compare the community-level demands with the concerns

expressed by the AMWAE leadership. To explore the demands at the base I asked the

interviewees to express their concerns at:









The community level (related to what they thought the community needs) (Table
A-3)
The individual level (related to their own priorities) (Table A-2).

Most of the time the concerns identified as individual or personal were related to

concerns regarding close kin rather than to the individual per se. I must admit that I later

pondered this conceptual division because, besides the language barrier, I questioned

whether the conceptual differentiation between individual and community made sense for

the interviewees. It did not seem as if the answers about the concerns of the community

and those of the individual varied much, but the division of questions in this way gave

interviewees a second chance to think and express their concerns. In the following, I

summarize the results separately for the two levels of the question, but I analyze the

concerns altogether.

Regarding the main concerns of the community, the most frequently mentioned

one was education. In second place came the problem of excessive alcohol consumption

and the road, which I will explain more about later. The following concerns were

mentioned with the same frequency: health care, contamination, territory, tourism and the

sales of hand crafts. Lastly, culture, looking after the forest, illegal logging, support from

the organizations, and money management were also mentioned by at least one person.

The concerns identified as personal overlap greatly with those identified as

communitarian. The most frequently mentioned one was also education followed by

culture. Alcohol consumption then followed, and lastly, the road, tourism and the

problem of domestic violence.

Education is the most frequently mentioned concern at both the community and

individual levels and was among the most frequently mentioned concerns of AMWAE









leaders. While territory was among the most frequently mentioned concerns of AMWAE

leaders, I was surprised that it was only mentioned by the interviewees twice as a concern

pertaining to the community. Both of these respondents lived in communities close to oil

camps. This discrepancy has to do with the fact that the leaders have a broader

knowledge of the threats to their territorial rights and are aware of what is going on in

Huaorani territory as a whole.

Health care was also an expressed concern at the community level, however, it is

also interesting to consider the view of the eldest interviewee on this matter: "Para mi

mejoraria tambien como dice salud, si, no hay medicine pero nosotros si tenemos

medicine, tenemos todo, hay muchas plants medicinales y eso nunca tiene que olvidar,

seguimos teniendo." [I also would like improved health care, yes, there is no medicine

but we do have medicine, we have everything, there are many medicinal plants and that is

something that never should be forgotten, we still have it]. Here health care is mentioned

as a concern but this elderly woman approached it in a different manner emphasizing how

Huaorani traditional medicine and related knowledge should be valued.

Alcohol and the road are two concerns that were not mentioned by AMWAE

leaders, but were voiced by interviewees in the communities of Tiwino and Bataboro.

Both these communities have a road passing through them, which according to the

interviewees, brings problems, namely alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption is said

to cause family quarrels and violence, and great dismay was expressed about these

interrelated problems. It should be stated that the Huaorani are not used to alcohol

consumption traditionally. Their main drinking staple, tepe, in contrast to the









chicha consumed by other indigenous groups in the area, is not as fermented and has

virtually no alcohol content.

Other concerns mentioned by non leaders in the communities were money

management and support from the organizations. Money management refers to the

difficulty they have in dealing with money, traditional practices are based on demand

sharing among household members and reciprocity between spouses. As expressed by

the interviewee, the lack of skills in money management manifests itself in disputes

among family members and between families about debts and perceived retributions.

Support from the organization refers to what they expect from the Huaorani

organizations. These expectations will be discussed below.

Overall there was considerable overlap of the concerns expressed by AMWAE

leaders and interviewees in the communities demonstrating that the leaders are aware of

the demands of the communities (Table A-4). However, some concerns of the

communities such as the road and alcohol consumption, which are very concrete issues

pertaining to specific communities, were not mentioned by AMWAE leaders. This should

serve as a warning to the association that the leadership must to pay attention to activities

with the potential to cause trouble and that they must address these issues.

In my community interviews, I also attempted to learn about the expectations that

they have of both AMWAE and ONHAE. The expectations expressed by the

interviewees in the communities were practically the same for both institutions. The most

prominent expectation was better communication and coordination with the communities.

As expressed by one participant:


8 A traditional fermented beverage made out of corn (in the Highlands) or manioc (in the Amazon).









ONHAE tiene que hacer contact con nosotros, organizer, comunicar con nosotros
y cuando hay problems organizer las cosas bien. Por ejemplo, ONHAE tiene que
invitar una fiesta grande, feliz, talleres, comunicar que es lo que estan haciendo.
Tener contact con nosotros porque a veces ONHAE no comunica, no sabemos
nada. Ellos tienen problems a veces, no organizan bien, no se comunican con
nosotros y no sabemos nada... Nosotros tenemos que conversar con ellos,
organizer bien para seguir adelante.

[ONHAE has to make contact with us, organize, communicate with us and when
there are problems organize well. For example, ONHAE has to invite us to a feast,
big, happy, workshops, tell us what they are doing. To make contact with us
because sometimes ONHAE does not communicate, we do not know anything.
They sometimes have problems, they don't organize well, don't communicate with
us and we know nothing... We have to talk to them, organize well to go on].

It is worth noting how this participant also suggests how the organization should

organize a big feast because such would resemble a traditional Huaorani custom of

organizing manioc drinking feasts to establish, renew or maintain social nexuses. Rival

(2002) explains how these types of feasts were traditionally organized by prominent

elderly couples that typically led a compound of longhouses to move to a new area of the

hunting territory.

ONHAE was described by a number of interviewees as a "big father." As one

participant put it: Para mi ONHAE es muy grande como tenemos nuestro padres, la

organization, muy grande." Taking the symbolism of ONHAE as a father, an interesting

interpretation might be that the organization assumes the role of the prominent elderly

couple in the Huaorani-cohuori context. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take into account

that a pan-Huaorani identity is something that has only been recently created. In any case,

taking up the organizing of these feasts could be a good practice to improve the

relationships and communication between the organizations and the communities.

The same communication and coordination was expected from AMWAE:

[AMWAE] ... tiene que compartir con dirigentes mismos, organizer, comunicarse
con nosotros. Si no comunican lo mismo van a quedar como ONHAE, entonces yo









pienso que tiene que hacer buen trabajo para mejorar, sin problems, tiene que estar
en contact, con comunicacion ...



[ ... they have to share among leaders themselves, organize, communicate with us.
If they don't communicate they are going to end up like ONHAE, and so I think
that they have to work well to improve, without problems, they have to be in
contact, in communication ...]


However, instead of being considered as a "big father," AMWAE was compared to

a newborn baby: AMWAE es como un recien nacido. Thus, there is an implicit

assumption that AMWAE needs to grow up to become a complete, "full service"

organization. This does not imply that AMWAE is considered to be less important than

ONHAE, but that it is new and still has to mature. In fact, the same participant expressed

that both organizations should go hand in hand:

ONAHE es mas arriba, AMWAE es muy bajo, tenemos que ir subiendo bajando,
subiendo hasta donde podemos llegar y despues al final tenemos que llegar juntos
como hombres y mujeres, sin problems para vivir.

[ONHAE is more on top, AMWAE is very low, we have to go up and down and up
until we can get there and later, at the end, we have to get there together, like men
and women, to live without problems]

Other expectations that were consistently mentioned by community members were

those related to responsibilities that traditionally are responsibilities of the state, namely,

education and healthcare. As discussed above, this coincides with the concerns expressed

by the leaders.

Another frequently mentioned expectation is that of fulfillment of the leaders' term

of office. In respect to ONHAE, one participant said

Para trabajar ellos hasta cumplir [sus obligaciones] y no para dejar botando por
atras, dejar mitad -mitad, no es bueno, para mi es que trabaje bien y organic bien a
nosotros. Si hay problems que nos llamen ellos y podemos apoyar a ellos, si no
comunica como podemos ayudar, apoyarlos ellos?









[They have to work until they fulfill [their obligations]and not leave it behind,
leave it halfway, that is not good, for me they should work well and organize us
well. If there are problems, to call us and we can give them support, if they don't
communicate how can we help, support them?]

Again, this was also something expected from AMWAE:

... como la otra organizaci6n [ONHAE] tiene que cumplir como dice dos anfos,
tres ahos. Lo maximo tiene que cumplir porque a veces la gente esta por un afio y
se sale y otro entra y no sabe nada de como coordinar. Entonces quieren hacer
como los hombres, pero para mi no era bueno esto.

[ ... like the other organization [ONHAE] has to fulfill like they say, two years,
three years. The maximum it has to fulfill because sometimes people leave after
one year and then another one comes and doesn't know anything about how to
coordinate. So they want to do like the men, for me this is not good].

This statement particularly refers to a pattern that has been perpetuated by ONHAE

officers who have not fulfilled their term of office due to tensions between them and

former officers or by complaints from the base. This is why the interviewee says that it is

not good that AMWAE follow this pattern, since ONHAE is predominantly comprised of

male leaders. Also, male respondents showed a positive and enthusiastic reception to the

idea of the women organizing and to the creation of a women's association. In contrast,

the narratives of AMWAE leaders suggested that the creation of AMWAE was somewhat

controversial in the beginning among the men of ONHAE living in the city. These

men's response seems to recall traditional Huaorani egalitarian ways and suggests that

gender inequality appears in the realm of the city and mostly in the context of the process

of organization.

Some other expectations that were also expressed in the interviews with

community members include fulfillment of the organizations' responsibilities, the

capacity training of leaders, and the protection of Huaorani territory. Lastly, coordination

with the "outside" (namely, the white-mestizo society) and between ONHAE and









AMWAE, and carrying out workshops were identified as expectations as well. All these

expectations coincided for both ONHAE and AMWAE. The only exception was how

some interviewees related one particular expectation to AMWAE, that they expect

training workshops on handicraft production and sales.

While complaints regarding the lack of communication with the communities raise

questions about the representativeness of the organizations and their legitimacy, it should

also be emphasized that the perceptions of the organizations tell us that the base rightfully

recognizes the organizations as their representatives with the outside world. Moreover, as

seen in the above quotes, they also see supporting their organizations as their personal

responsibility.

I also inquired about expectations for leaders of the two organizations, that is, what

characteristics make up a good leader. One characteristic required for a good leader that

was shared by all interviewees was experience. Experience is closely related to another

characteristic that was also frequently identified, that a leader must be a mature person.

Maturity was highlighted in the interviews because most of the time ONHAE and

AMWAE officers are young, and perhaps any mishandlings can be interpreted as

associated with their youth. The following quote speaks of the link between experience

and maturity:


A veces nosotros metemos j6venes [como dirigentes] pero no saben despues que
hacer, no pueden hablar, son muy debiles. Entonces la organizaci6n puede caer.
Entonces yo pienso que para ser buen dirigente tiene que tener experiencia.

[Sometimes we get young people [as officers] but then they don't know what to do,
they can't speak, they are very weak. So the organization can fail. So, I think that to
be a good leader they have to have experience]









There is also the perception that younger Huaorani who are elected to officer are

more oriented towards a future in the city where they loose sight of the ways of Huaorani

people and their needs:

... jovenes estudiantes van [a trabajar a la ONHAE] y para ellos es muy dificil. Son
bachilleres pero es muy dificil, no entienden nada de como tener contact con los
ancianos y trabajar. Entonces solo piensan en vivir en la ciudad nomas.

[...young students go [to work to ONHAE] and for them is very difficult. They are
schooled but it is difficult, they don't understand anything of how to have contact
with the elders and work. They only think about living in the city]

Other good personal characteristics mentioned for leaders were the ability to

coordinate with the base, and good family relations. It was not a surprise to hear that a

good leader is one that coordinates and communicates with the base, and as mentioned by

one interviewee, with the elders. Communication with the communities was brought up

extensively in other parts of the interviews. However, I was not truly expecting to learn

that among the characteristics of a good leader is for him or her to get along well with his

or her family. I deduce that the rationale is that if a leader has good family relations this

can be expected to extend to the community level, since this person will have good social

skills. Other characteristics that were mentioned more than once were speech and

organizing skills, as well as a leader who supports the communities and fulfills his

responsibilities and term of office. Organizing skills refers to being skilled in the sphere

of indigenous organizations, knowing the workings of this environment and how to

operate in it. Moreover, it is directly linked to the idea of a leader that supports the

communities, as seen in the following quote:

[Un lider que sea]... bueno organizando entonces el puede apoyarnos a nosotros, el
puede buscar algunas cosas aunque sean pequefias o grandes para las comunidades.
A todos, no para apoyar a los que viven en Puyo nomas, a todos apoyar.









[ (A leader that is) ... good organizing so that he could give us support, he can look
for some good things, small or big for the communities. For everyone, not only to
support those who live in Puyo, to support everyone]

From this quote we also learn of the perception that the Huaorani living in Puyo are

the ones that get the most benefits from the Huaorani organizations. The Huaorani living

in Puyo are more informed of the activities of the organizations and are more likely to

participate in the workshops carried out in the city. Among the Huaorani living in Puyo

are the ONHAE and AMWAE officers as well as Huaorani representatives in the

DINEIB (Direcci6n Nacional de Educaci6n Intercultural Bilingie/ National Directorship

of Intercultural Bilingual Education), all of whom receive honorariums. The fact that

Huaorani living in Puyo get paid might lead to the perception that they benefit the most.

Speech skills refer to the ability of officers to speak in representation of and

communicate with the Huaorani people. In this same line are the following

characteristics: language, literacy and knowledge of the "city." By language what is

meant is the ability of leaders to be proficient in both Huao-terero and Spanish. In the by-

laws of organizations it is a requirement for officers to be native Huao-terero speakers as

representatives of the Huaorani people. While being proficient in Spanish is not stated in

the by-laws, it is implicitly necessary in order to be a proper intermediary between the

Huaorani nationality and the national society. In the same manner, literacy is also

required to be able to carry out activities pertaining to the organizations' relations with

other social actors. Also linked to the two previously mentioned characteristics,

"knowledge of the city" refers to, again, having the skills to interact in the sphere of the

city and the broader context of the white-mestizo society. Finally, knowledge of Huaorani

territory and no alcohol consumption were also identified as characteristics of a good

leader. Alcohol consumption, as previously discussed, is associated with violence and









quarrels and, therefore, behavior even less acceptable in a leader. Knowledge of Huaorani

territory, on the other hand, can have various meanings since the concept of territory is

itself complex. Thus, it can mean knowing the location of all Huaorani settlements and

hunting grounds, as well as knowing how to live in it and of it. Moreover, a leader with

this knowledge is better equipped to defend their territory.

There are some apparent contradictions between the identified characteristics that

make up a good leader. Literacy and "knowledge of the city" are characteristics that are

not commonly associated with maturity, given that most Huaorani elders are not

proficient in Spanish, literate nor, have "knowledge of the city." These characteristics are

more likely to be present in the younger generation whom are not perceived as

completely apt leaders. The convergence of all these characteristics is perhaps more

likely among individuals such as the founders of ONHAE that while being young at the

time of the creation of this organization, are now entering a more mature age, and, at the

same time, also have more experience in the sphere of indigenous organizations and

crosscultural relations with the national society. The two main leaders in the creation of

AMWAE, Nancy and Rocio, are also more likely to fit within this category. These same

contradictions emerge in the context of indigenous organizations vis-a-vis the national

society and permeate the cross-cultural relations of indigenous peoples in daily life.

In sum, I have discussed how the emergence of AMWAE can be understood by a

combination of factors, some conjunctural and some related to the discontent of women

with their subordination in formal leadership and access to income generating

opportunities. While AMWAE and ONHAE follow a similar structure and share their

sources of funds, ONHAE is still considered to be the parent organization and its officers









earn higher honorariums than AMWAE's. AMWAE's agenda and objectives coincide

greatly with ONHAE's but its functions are more limited since it is ONHAE that deals

with the implementation of activities related to key issues such as education, health care

and territory defense and management.

Regarding the cost and benefits of having an all women's association the first issue

to consider is that with the creation of AMWAE, ONHAE, the parent organization with

more decision making power, has apparently turned into an all men's organization. While

this might translate to the marginalization of Huaorani women, some positive aspects that

have resulted from the creation of AMWAE include: a national visibility and political

space for Huaorani women; an increase in networking opportunities; the capacity training

of women leaders; and promotion of handicrafts related to income generating

opportunities.

At the community level, the expressed concerns were analyzed as demands, and I

established how these generally coincided with the objectives of the organizations.

However, these demands do not necessarily represent the actual functions of AMWAE

according to its by-laws. Moreover, the main demands of the base and the main

objectives of the organizations consist of activities that are traditionally the responsibility

of the state.









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSIONS

The main objective of this thesis has been to understand and explain the emergence

and functioning of the Huaorani women's association. Through the narratives of

Huaorani women leaders we saw that there were different driving factors at play. For

analytical purposes, I divided the main factors into conjunctural factors and factors

related to the women's dissatisfaction with respect to their position in the formal

leadership of ONHAE. As discussed in chapter three, the conjunctural factors are linked

to two events. First, the availability of funds from PRODEPINE for a project involving

women which led the women to initially organize within ONHAE under the name of

Bore. Second, the opposition of the women to the Ecogenesis contract and the ONHAE

leadership who signed it, led to the configuration of AMWAE as a more independent

organization established in a separate office. The other driving forces included the

discontent of women regarding their lack of representation in the leadership of ONHAE

and the lack of income generating opportunities for them. There are other, secondary

reasons related to women's growing consciousness of gender and political roles, such as

the belief women's activism is firmer than men's and that women manage money better.

In the context of cross-cultural interactions, income generating opportunities have been

mostly available to men, who tend to spend money irresponsibly. According to the

women, they want income opportunities too because they believe they should have the

same right as men and because they would spend money more responsibly than men,

directing it mainly to the needs of their children.

Here I juxtapose the narratives of AMWAE leaders with the driving factors behind

feminine leadership identified by Cervone et al (1998). With respect to the Ecuadorian









highlands and Amazon, common factors contributing to indigenous feminine leadership

include the combination of formal education and a process of ethnogenesis, being

bilingual, and being exposed to the sphere of ethnic organizations that grants the

opportunity for women to develop as leaders (Prieto 1998). Similarly, the main leaders in

the creation of the AMWAE are bilingual, literate women that had being living in Puyo

and whose husbands or relatives had experience in the ONHAE leadership. Indeed, one

of the most prominent leaders in the creation of AMWAE had previously been an

ONHAE officer. These factors continued to be an influence after the creation of the

women's association; its current president was also an ONHAE officer. Moreover, being

involved with the indigenous organizations not only gave them experience but also made

them realize that the lack of participation by women was a problem. The narratives of the

Huaorani women as well as the testimonies of the Amazonian Quichua women studied by

Garces (1998), emphasize the interest in the attainment of gender equality in the positions

of power. As discussed in chapter three regarding the complementarity between men's

and women's work, particularly relevant in the case of the Huaorani is the fact that men

and women have traditionally worked side by side. Rocio, a Huaorani leader, observed

that when she arrived in Puyo only men worked in the ONHAE and she pondered how

different this was from traditional custom.

Another point regarding gender relations relates to the discussion by Ziegler-Otero

(2004) on the changes brought about the Huaorani organizing process. He argues that

organizing has also validated the ongoing process towards a more rigid gender division of

labor, but such changes in gender relations are not solely a product of the organizing

process or the actions of the organization or its leadership. Within ONHAE, the author









sustains, these changes are a reflection of those that exist among the Huaorani society of

today, which lean towards more androcentric ways than traditionally. I agree with his

argument that changes in gender relations are influenced by the immersion in the national

culture and are not necessarily a result of organizing. However, based on the narratives of

AMWAE leaders, I would maintain that the Huaorani organizing process still created a

new, unequal dynamic in gender relations.

As for the organizational structure of AMWAE, the association faces many of the

same challenges as ONHAE. Huaorani organizations follow a format that is foreign to

their traditional social structure. However, the need to be organized for cross-cultural

relations and negotiations is recognized by both leaders and non leaders in the base.

Perhaps, in the future, through experience they might find an organizing format that fits

better within their traditional social structures and results in more effective interactions

with other social actors.

Regarding funding, AMWAE also faces the same problem as ONHAE. That is, the

association is trapped in the Huaorani-oil companies relations model described in chapter

two. In this model there is an implied dependency and a complex relation with the oil

companies that provide goods and services but simultaneously threaten the integrity of

their territory. Thus, the Huaorani are "beneficiaries" and "contenders" at the same time.

Furthermore, adding to the impact that the oil companies have had on Huaorani

social structure, settlement patterns, and the sexual division of labor is the undervaluing

of women's labor in the city. The honorariums that AMWAE leaders receive from Repsol

YPF are one third of the amount that ONHAE leaders receive from the same company.









The oil companies, by placing a greater value on the labor of men, contribute to the

establishment of artificial gender, social, and political hierarchies.

In the analysis of AMWAE's objectives in chapter three, I found that the official

objectives in the by-laws are more focused and limited in scope than the objectives

expressed by AMWAE leaders. AMWAE leaders see their responsibility and implied

objectives as territory, education and health care, which is not that different from the

objectives expressed by ONHAE. However, handicraft production and sales, and income

generating opportunities for women, are objectives expressed by AMWAE that is not

important in ONHAE's agenda. All the concerns of the leaders, with the exception of

"territory," coincided with the views of the base. While the main concerns of AMWAE

were implied objectives, the main concerns at the base were implied demands.

A perceived challenge for the Huaorani organizations is that the main concerns of

the leaders as well as the main expectations of the base are education and healthcare,

traditional responsibilities of the Ecuadorian state. Other writers have commented on how

the state has delegated its constitutional responsibilities regarding Amazonian indigenous

affairs. As discussed by Garces in the case of Quichuas of Napo, "el estado ha delegado

gran parte de sus responsabilidades a las ONGs, las que se han convertido en

intermediaries de recursos estatales y privados hacia la poblacion. La organizaci6n, en

muchas ocasiones tambien ha asumido ese rol, lo cual ha debilitado su papel socio-

politico en las bases y en su relacion con el Estado y los agents externos" [the estate has

delegated a great part of its responsibilities to the NGOs, which have become

intermediaries between state and private resources to the population. The organization, in

many occasions has also assumed this role, which has debilitated its socio-political role in









the base communities and in its relation with the state and external agents] (1998: 96). In

the case of the Huaorani, this role has been delegated by the state primarily to the oil

companies that provide infrastructure and funding for educational and healthcare

programs. ONHAE has to assume the responsibility of negotiating with the oil companies

to attain the minimum standards for these services to be provided to the Huaorani people.

This puts the organization into a vulnerable position because it does not have sufficient,

trained personnel for these purposes. Furthermore, ONHAE does not receive sufficient

funding to be able to discuss these issues in a timely manner with over thirty

communities in order to better negotiate with the oil companies. In the case of AMWAE,

the base expects these negotiational responsibilities to be filled by the association and the

leaders conceive this as among their objectives, but this is not actually the function of the

association according to its by-laws. Moreover, the women participate in the negotiation

and planning meetings for these activities but it is through ONAHE that the funds are

received, and the services implemented.

Huaorani perceptions of what constitutes a good leader reveal a blend of personal

and political characteristics, as I have pointed out in chapter three. Valued personal

characteristics include experience, maturity, public speaking skills, good family relations

and to a lesser extent, characteristics like being literate, bilingual and abstaining from

alcohol consumption. Political features identified include organizing skills, the capacity

to coordinate with the base, being able to cope with responsibilities, the fulfillment of

one's term of office and having "knowledge of the city." Whether personal or political

characteristics, the tensions in attaining all of them are evident. While experience and

maturity are greatly valued, being literate, bilingual and having "knowledge of the city"









is also perceived as necessary characteristics of a leader. The latter characteristics are

mostly found among the younger generation while maturity and experience are attributes

of elders. These intergenerational differences also reflect the constant tensions and

contradictions that the Huaorani find themselves involved in while negotiating the

traditional (duranibai) with what they refer to as cohuoribai, the ways of the cohuori.

Most likely, these tensions and contradictions will remain important issues for the

Huaorani and their organizations in the foreseeable future.

Tensions are also apparent in the relations between AMWAE and ONHAE. In their

narratives, AMWAE leaders emphasized how they always seek to work together with

ONHAE, complementing each other and coordinating. However, ONHAE has had

shifting attitudes towards AMWAE depending on the officers in charge and on specific

situations. It has encouraged and supported the women's organization but at times also

opposed AMWAE when it showed political disagreement on some particular issue.

Moreover, even if AMWAE participates in planning meetings and its leaders have a

voice, ONHAE is the one that implements key projects and programs. This has to do with

how the organizations are externally perceived by the different social actors with which

they interact. In addition, this is also related to the objectives and functions stated in the

by-laws of the organizations. ONHAE leaders have been passive regarding these political

differentiations and the differences in the honorariums received by officers of each

organization. They have not shown clear opposition to this kind of problem.

Here it is pertinent to discuss the costs and benefits of having a more independent

all women's association. AMWAE's autonomy is relative since ONHAE is considered

the parent organization and AMWAE is like a "daughter." In many studies of the









women's movement (Deere and Le6n 2001) having an autonomous organization is seen

as necessary for the empowerment of women. Molyneux (2003) also points to some

shortcomings in this position. She notes how in some contexts autonomy can mean

marginalization and a lesser political effectiveness (Molyneux 2003). That seems to be

the case of AMWAE. So far, the creation of AMWAE has resulted in ONHAE becoming

an all men's organization, and the primary one that implements and manages the key

programs and projects that AMWAE leaders are most concerned with. On the other hand,

among the benefits of having a Huaorani women's organization has been the leadership

training, the opening of political space, and the widening of their networks that enable

women to articulate their demands more extensively.

In the introduction I presented three positions on the role of women's issues within

indigenous organizations. First, that a gendered agenda within indigenous organizations

is not necessary because ethnic discourse equally represents both men and women.

Second, recognizing unequal and hierarchical relations between genders, a gendered

agenda within mixed-sex indigenous organizations is necessary. This position priorities

equality in opportunities to positions of power in leadership. The third position poses that

women need their own autonomous organization to successfully voice their own demands

and develop leadership skills for women's empowerment.

Although AMWAE currently fits more or less within the third category since it is

technically autonomous from ONHAE, initially, Huaorani women wanted to pursue the

second option. Similarly to what Garces (1998) found for Amazonian Quichua women,

Huaorani women stress the aim of equality in leadership. In addition, AMWAE's gender

interests are not strategic but refer to basic needs which they do not articulate as gender









interests but as for Huaorani society as a whole. The exception to this is the production

and sale of handicrafts, an income generating activity directed mostly towards women.

The case of AMWAE problematizes this third position since it is configured as an

independent all women's association, but this does not necessarily mean that its agenda

includes strategic gender needs with the goal of empowering women. This was not

necessarily the objective of Huaorani women, since they consider themselves as

belonging to an egalitarian society. But when faced with the inequalities brought about by

their interaction with and partial insertion in the national society, they question and resist

such inequalities, including those regarding gender relations. Just as the women's

movement and indigenous movement many times do not intertwine without tensions, so

does the case of the Huaorani women's organization seems too complex to fit well in any

of the positions mentioned above. Huaorani women organized in resistance to the

changes brought about by the interactions of the Huaorani and national society. Just like

ONHAE, they demand basic rights like recognition of and autonomy within their

territory, and access to education and health care. At the institutional level, Huaorani

women articulate their interest in the equality of leadership and income generating

opportunities for women. Both these issues are manifested in the sphere of their cross-

cultural relations.

It is worth reiterating that the communities have seen changes in gender relation as

documented by Lu (1999), but these were not identified or expressed as concerns in my

interviews at the community level. I believe this is due to methodological issues involved

in my research. I had a small sample, my brief stay in the communities did not allow

proper participant observation to identify these changes or concerns, and my questions









did not target this information. Thus, in my study, consciousness regarding changes in

gender relations were present at the institutional level but absent at the base.

The very creation of AMWAE suggests that there is a certain consciousness over

gender and political roles on the part of Huaorani women leaders. They have taken

advantage of the conjuncture that influenced their organizing process to put forward two

demands for the improvement of women's condition: equality in leadership and income

generating opportunities for women. While these are gender interests, this does not

necessarily mean that Huaorani women leaders fully identify with the discourse of the

women's movement or that AMWAE has a truly feminist agenda since their expressed

interests and the objectives of the association do not indicate it. Overall, it can be said

that the organizing of Huaorani women can be interpreted as an important component of

Huaorani resistance mechanisms.

Although this is a limited study due to time and logistics it can serve as a

springboard for future inquiries. This study is mostly based on women leaders working in

the city. The interviews conducted at the community level among non leaders targeted a

small sample, and extended participant observation was not possible due to the

aforementioned constraints. Future research needs to study in more detail the changes in

gender relations at the community level. Such an endeavor would greatly enrich the study

of Huaorani women leaders and the impact of their association.









APPENDIX A
QUANTIFIED ETHNOGRAPHIC DATA


Table A-1. Most frequently mentioned concerns by leaders
Concerns %

contamination 4 50%
education (formal) 4 50%
healthcare 4 50%
Territory 4 50%
craft sales 3 38%
Culture 2 25%
looking after the forest 2 25%
Projects (income generating) 2 25%
Tourism 2 25%
Capacity training 1 13%
fulfillment of leadership 1 13%
organizing 1 13%
Water 1 13%
Alcohol 0 0%
Loggers 0 0%
money handling 0 0%
Road 0 0%
support from organizations 0 0%
Total interviews 8 100 %
Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006


Table A-2. Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (regarding individual
issues)
Concerns %

education 5 50%
culture/ duranibai 4 40%
Alcohol 2 20%
Road 1 10%
Turism 1 10%
craft sales 1 10%
Violence 1 10%
Total interviews 10 100 %
Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006









Table A-3. Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (community level issues)
Concerns %


education 5 50%
Road 3 30%
Alcohol 3 30%
craft sales 2 20%
Tourism 2 20%
Territory 2 20%
health care 2 20%
contamination 2 20%
money management 1 10%
illegal logging 1 10%
Culture 1 10%
looking after forest 1 10%
Support from organizations 1 10%
Projects 0 0%
Organization 0 0%
fulfillment 0 0%
capacity training 0 0%
Water 0 0%
Total interviews 10 100 %
Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006










Table A-4 Total ranked o s


Concerns %

education 9 50%
contamination 6 33%
Territory 6 33%
healthcare 6 33%
craft sales 5 28%
Tourism 4 22%
Alcohol 3 17%
Road 3 17%
looking after forest 3 17%
Culture 3 17%
Projects 2 11%
Water 1 6%
Support from organizations 1 6%
capacity training 1 6%
fulfillment of leadership 1 6%
Loggers 1 6%
money handling 1 6%
organizing 1 6%
Total interviews 18 100 %
Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006


~~--~--~~--~~~-













Table A-5. AMWAE's networks and constraints
social social social social social social social social social social social social social
actor 1 actor 2 actor 3 actor 4 actor 5 actor 6 actor 7 actor 8 actor 9 actor 10 actor 11 actor 12 actor 13
FED/
leaders CAIMAN Entrix Ecogenesis Petroleras ONHAE Kantarida Sinchi Sacha CONAIE CONAMU Municipio IBIS Gobiero Accion Eco
101 HD helps helps a bit problems helps/problems
102 HD helps
114 HD helps helps
115 HD helps no help helps helps
116HD helps helps helps helps helps helps
117HD helps helps helps helps no help
118 HD helps problems no help/problems helps helps helps
119HD helps helps helps no help helps
Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006









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SAID
2006. USAID Latin America and the Caribbean: Ecuador Environment Summary.
Electronic document,
http://www.usaid.gov/locations/latinamericacaribbean/environment/country/ecuador.ht
ml, accessed June 2007.

Yost, James.
1979 EL desarrollo comunitario y la supervivencia etnica: el caso de los Huaorani,
Amazonia Ecuatoriana. Quito: Cuadernos Etnolinguiisticos.

Ziegler-Otero, Lawrence
2004 Resistance in an Amazonian Community: Huaorani Organizing Against Global
Economy. New York: Bergham Books.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Mayra Daniela Aviles was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she lived until she moved

to Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Florida

where she later completed her Master of Arts in Latin American studies with a concentration in

anthropology. Her research interests include social movements and indigenous activism in Latin

America.





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1 NARRATIVES OF RESISTANCE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC VIEW OF THE EMERGENCE OF THE HUAORANI WOMENS ASSOCIATION IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON By MAYRA DANIELA AVILES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORI DA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Mayra Daniela Avils

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3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I want to thank my supervisory committee: Dr. Anita Spring for her enthusiasm, Dr. Michael Heckenberger for participating despite the distance, and my chair, Dr. Carmen Diana Deere, for her dedication, en couragement, and all her help during the editing process. I thank the friends my pa ssage through Gainesville has given me, their companionship and the laughter we shared has been dearly appreciate d. I am particularly grateful to my friend and cla ssmate Cassie Howard, and to my unofficial adviser, Geraldo Silva, for their valuable editorial advice. Of course, I would also like to give thanks to the people far away from Gainesville but close to my heart, my moth er for her unconditional love and support, and to Alejandro, siempre compaero. Above all I am deeply tha nkful to the Huaorani who opened their doors to me and whose hospita lity, kindness, and hu mor made my field research an unforgettable and wonderful experi ence. The product of that experience, this thesis, I dedicate to them.

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................................................................................3 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........5 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............6 LIST OF ACRONYMS............................................................................................................... ....8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... .9 2 HUAORANI TRADITIONAL SOCIETY AND THE EXPANSION OF THE NATION-STATE IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON.......................................................19 History of Contact............................................................................................................. ......19 Aspects Traditional Huaorani Society....................................................................................21 The Impact of the Oil industry and the SIL on Huaorani Society and Subsistence patterns....................................................................................................................... .........28 3 THE ECUADORIAN INDIGENOUS M OVEMENT AND THE HUAORANI IN THE CONTEXT OF PO LITICAL MOBILIZATION......................................................31 The Creation of ONHAE: Buildi ng a Pan-Huaorani Identity................................................37 Legal Issues: Huaorani Territory, Envir onmental Legislation and Oil Politics.....................49 4 HUAORANI WOMEN IN MOVEMENT: UNDERSTANDING THE EMERGENCE OF AMWAE AND THE COMPLEXITIES OF HUAORANI FEMININE LEADERSHIP....................................................................................................54 The Emergence of AMWAE..................................................................................................54 Structure and Funding of AMWAE........................................................................................63 Relations between AMWAE and ONHAE.............................................................................69 Expectations and Perceptions at the Community level...........................................................80 5 CONCLUSIONS....................................................................................................................92 APPENDIX: QUANTIFIED ETHNOGRAPHIC DATA...........................................................101 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................... .......105 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................108

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5 LIST OF TABLES Table page A-1 Most frequently menti oned concerns by leaders.............................................................101 A-2 Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (regar ding individual issues)........................................................................................................................ .......101 A-3 Most frequently mentioned concerns by non-leaders (community level issues).............102 A-4 Total ranked of most fre quently mentioned concerns......................................................103 A-5 AMWAEs networks and constraints..............................................................................104

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6 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts NARRATIVES OF RESISTANCE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC VIEW OF THE EMERGENCE OF THE HUAORANI WOMENS ASSOCIATION IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON By Mayra Daniela Avils May 2008 Chair: Carmen Diana Deere Major: Latin American Studies Indigenous groups of Amazonian Ecuador st arted organizing in the 1970s as a reaction to oil exploitation in the region, beco ming a central issue in the political agenda of the Ecuadorian Amazonian indigenous movement. The Huaorani followed this trend with the creation of ONHAE, the Organizati on of the Huaorani Nationality of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which is also linked to the umbrella organiza tion of the national indigenous movement. The Huaorani are hunter-gatherer horticu lturalists that have been described by ethnographers as an egalitarian society with a flexible sexual division of labor and lacking in hierarchical structures. Howe ver, through contact and cross-cultural interactions with the national society and more specifically, with missionaries and the impact of oil exploitation, this society has undergone changes in social structure. These changes are interrelated and have resulted in the deterioratio n of the living conditions of the Huaorani in general and of Huaorani wo men in particular. Hu aorani women started organizing within the Huaorani organi zation, ONHAE, during 2002 and by 2005 they had

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7 their own legalized associat ion, AMWAE, the Association of Waorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This study seeks to understand the emergen ce of this association and to analyze its functions and objectives. The emerge nce of AMWAE is analyzed through the narratives of its leaders from which I draw out the main driving factors behind its creation. I argue that the em ergence of AMWAE can be unde rstood by a combination of factors, some conjunctural and some relate d to the discontent of women with their subordination in formal leadership and th eir lack of access to income generating opportunities. Moreover, I discuss AMWAEs structure, funding, networking and interactions with other social actors, highlighting its relations with ONHAE. I also analyze AMWAEs functions and objectives, and the prin cipal concerns of its leadership as well as of members in the base communities, payi ng special attention to those that have the potential of transforming the existing gende r relations, such as formal education. To complement the study of Huaorani wome n leaders, I explore the expectations and perceptions of AMWAE at the community level. The expressed concerns of the base are analyzed as demands, and they generally coinci de with the objectives of the organization. Finally, while AMWAEs agenda cannot be c onsidered feminist and AMWAE leaders do not engage in such a discourse, there were expressed concerns by AMWAE leaders that are related to gender issues as seen in term s of some of the driving factors behind the emergence of the association. These demands challenge current gender relations and are also related to the impact of cross-cultural interactions on traditional Huaorani customs and practices.

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8 LIST OF ACRONYMS AMWAE Asociacin de Mujeres Waor ani de la Amazona Ecuatoriana CAIMAN Conservacin de reas Indgenas Manejadas CODENPE Consejo de Desa rrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador CONACNIE Consejo Nacional de Coordinaci n de las Nacionalidades Indgenas del Ecuador CONAICE Confederacin de la s Nacionalidades Indgenas de la Costa Ecuatoriana CONAIE Confederacin de las Naci onalidades Indgenas del Ecuador CONAMU Consejo Nacional de Mujeres CONFENIAE Confederacin de las Naci onalidades Indgenas de la Amazona Ecuatoriana CONMIE Consejo Nacional de Mujeres Indgenas del Ecuador ECUARUNARI Ecuador Runacunapac Ricch arimui Movimientos de Campesinos de Ecuador FED Fundacin Ecuatoriana de Desarrollo IFAD International Fund fo r Agricultural Development MUPP-NP Movimiento de Unidad Plur inacional Pachakutik Nuevo Pas ONHAE Organizacin Huaorani de la Amazona Ecuatoriana OPIP Organizacin de Pueblos Indgenas de Pastaza PRODEPINE Proyectos de De sarollo para Pueblos Indge nas y Negros del Ecuador SIL Summer Institute of Linguistics USAID United States Agency for International Development

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9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION When I designed my research proposal, the objectives were quite different from the research project that I ende d up carrying out. I had been in terested in the indigenous movement in the Ecuadorian Amazonian fr om the time of my undergraduate studies. I had also developed a particular interest in the Huaorani case first, through the constant media references to their struggle regarding territorial rights and natural resources; and second, by the problematic and complex ways th ey are represented in the media. These representations are linked to the place the Huaorani have occupied in the national, Ecuadorian imagery. As noted by Whitten ( 1978) the Huaorani (han sido) conocidos, principalmente, por mitos falsos y distorsionado s que presentan su cultura a travs de los ojos de quienes tratan de convertirla y s ubvertirla [(have been ) known mainly by false myths and distortions that pr esent their cultu re through the eyes of those who want to convert and subvert it]. Morover, these repres entations tienen su origen en la voluntad misma de construir una identidad nacional frente al Otro distante [have their origin in the very will of constructing a national identity in front of the distant Other (Rival 1994: 253). In my original proposal I wanted to focus on the strategies through which the Huaorani configure their political action. I was seeking a better understanding of how they define and distinguish th emselves with respect to other social actors, such as the environmentalist movement and the regional and national indigenous organizations. I was interested in how relations with these alli es shape their discourse and priorities. The purpose of the study was thus to analyze th e claims and demands of the Huoarani, examine their prime motivations for political activism and explain th e reconfiguration of

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10 a Huao identity and emergence of political co nsciousness. Two factors, however, led me in a different direction. The first was fi nding a book by Lawrence Ziegler-Otero (2004), the product of doctoral dissertation research, which dealt exactly with my issues. The second was that I had been in contact w ith a Huaorani leader via e-mail who had mentioned that there was an upcoming assembly of the Huaorani womens association. I was not aware of its existen ce since it had just been created in 2005. This changed my focus and my research objective became unde rstanding what had led to the emergence of the Huaorani womens association, AMWAE (Asociacin de Mujeres Huaorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana), and analyz ing its functions. To put my research in context, in the following I briefly outline the organizing efforts of indige nous women in Latin America and particularly, in Ecuador. Olivera (2005) describes the organizing of indigenous women in Latin America as a reaction to external influences, which she associates with the dynamic of capital and national institutions that tend to subordinate women in the context of their insertion in this process. However, it is difficult to make generalizing statements regarding indigenous peoples, whose insertion in this new political and social order is never complete as it encounters various forms of resistance. Olivera (2005) also identifies a contradiction between their traditional cosmovi sion and the dynamic of capital that is imposed hidden in the valores, polticas, y di scursos del progreso, de l desarrollo y de la modernidad, primero del liberalismo nacionalis ta y ahora del neoliberalismo imperial, que inconscientemente han ido introyectando en sus subjetividades los indgenas que forman parte de poblacin dominada por el sistema nacional [values, politics and discourses on progress, development and mode rnity, first from nationalist liberalism and

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11 now from imperialist neo-liberalism that uncon sciously interject in the subjectivities of indigenous peoples that are part of the population dominated by the national system] (Olivera 2005: 315). The growth and consolidation of both th e indigenous and womens movement in Latin America coincide with the rise to dominance of neo-liberal governments in the region, that is, it is a produc t of the 1990s (Deere and Len 2001). In the case of Ecuador, the Confederacin de Nacionalidades Indgena s del Ecuador (CONAI E) was created in the late 1980s and became a strong social actor nationally in th e early 1990s. In the country, a large proportion of the women f ace a double discrimination for being women and because of their ethnicity. Community wo mens organizations first emerge during the 1980s throughout Ecuador, along with middle class feminist groups and NGOs focused on womens issues. By the end of the 1980s out of the five hundred to eight hundred such groups existing in the country there were approximatel y fifty to sixty womens organizations that had obtained legal stat us to acquire funding and support from the government and international development or ganizations (Lind 2002). Lind argues that while these formal and informal organizati ons have played impor tant nationaland local roles they have little formal econo mic support from the state (2002). As for the institutional achievements of the womens movement, after many years of struggle some of their demands become ri ghts guaranteed in the constitution that was a product of the 1998 constituent assembly. The 1998 constitution also granted a set of collective rights to indigenous and afro descendant peopl es. However, the struggle against inequalities affecting women and especially indige nous and afro descendant women is ongoing.

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12 In 1980 the National Office of Women was cr eated within the Ministry of Social Welfare so as to provide an institutional platform to devel op proposals that would have a positive impact on women. While the Ecuadorian state has signed international agreements for the improvement of women s condition, the incorporation of women to positions of power has been slow compared to other Latin American countries. This situation undergoes a significan t change with the emergence of the womens movement in the late 1980s. In 1997 the Office b ecame the CONAMU, the National Council of Ecuadorian Women, responding to an obligati on undertaken by the Ec uadorian state after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. Institutional autonomy and participation in decision making at the highe st levels is considered necessary by the womens movement as well as by the leaders of CONAMU in order to contribute to the promotion of equal opportunities and the hum an rights of women. CONAMU works in the elaboration of public policies for the be nefit of women and it legally recognizes all womens organizations. However, the case of Ecuador seems to portray a disconnect between womens and indigenous movements (Prieto 1998). Th e indigenous movement, represented by CONAIE, which considers itself a mixedsex organization, emphasizes unity in its struggle for the recognition of their rights as indigenous peoples and nationalities while considering womens issues within this framework. However, this does not mean developing a specific agenda to ward directly modifying gend er relations. Moreover, the leaders reject a feminist agenda, which they regard as an exte rnal and imperialist imposition (Prieto 1998).

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13 The Consejo Nacional de Mujeres Indige nas del Ecuador (CONMIE), created in 1998, is an example of the growing consideratio n of womens issues within the discourse of indigenous women leaders. CONMIE was the first womens indigenous organization at the national level and was the initiative of a group of women activ ists who wanted to unify the secretarias de la mujer (womens secretariats) of five mixed-sex organizations. This group of women sought autonomy and equality because they felt dissatisfied within mixed-sex organizations where mostly men tend to hold positions of power. These women were leaders of CONAIE and other indigenous organizations who wanted to focus on womens issues. Since th ey believed they were not given the same importance and opportunities for participating in the political process as were the male leaders, they decided to create CONMIE. The goa l of this organization is to struggle for gender equity while keeping its nexus within the structure of the broader indigenous movement (Prieto 2005). In my research I intended to find out if in the case of AMWAE these same forces were also at play. However, an aspect that stands out regarding Huaorani traditional society was its comparatively egalitarian so cial organization, in which, as it has been stated by ethnographers (Rival 1996, 2002, Lu 1999, Robarchecks 1998) they did not engage in hierarchical relations. Interactions with the national society have had impacts on Huaorani society that include changes in so cial structures and ge nder relations. Thus, I wanted to know what meaning could the creation of AMWAE hold and what implications it carried. Was the creation of AM WAE related to changes in gender roles? Would the creation of AMWAE implicate a re ivndication of Huaorani traditional values on social organization?

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14 In an attempt to understand why indi genous women do not see themselves represented by the discourse nor structures of the so called womens movement, Emma Cervone et al. (1998) conducted a research project that focu sed on feminine leadership among Quichua populations of the Andean and Amazonian regions. Their study sees feminine leadership as a bridge between gender and ethnicity (C ervone et al. 1998). Before delving further into feminine lead ership, it is important to review briefly what constitutes a womens movement, since there are opposing views on what constitutes such a movement (Molyneux 2003). On the one hand, there are womens movements that are clearly identifiable, have a political program and a large number of followers. On the other hand, there are more diffuse ways of womens political activism that includes clubs, groups or networks. It is hard to se t boundaries between these two types of movements because many times the latter evolve into the former. However, Molyneux (2003) prefers to refer to movement s as those which have a broader scale and impact. Moreover, the literature suggests th at independent grassroots mobilizations even if small-scale and directed towards basic needs, can be considered as a movement because of their global concurrence (Molyneux 2003). Yet another concept is that of women in movement elaborated by Rowbotham (1992) that refers to the phenomenon of wo men who act collectively to reach common objectives, be these feminist or not. This concept is defi ned outside of the model of womens movements that are autonomous and that express gender interests. However, women in movement constitutes perhaps the most important part of feminine solidarity in most parts of the world (Molyneux 2003).

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15 The concept of women in movement fits well with the study of feminine leadership carried out by Cer vone et al. (1998) that proposes this as the bridge between gender and ethnic activism in Ecuador. Likewise I propose that the act ivism of Huaorani women fits more into this framework. The st udy on indigenous feminine leadership by Cervone et al consists of four case studie s, three from the Highlands and one from the Amazonian region. The objective of the Amazo nian case study by Garcs (1998), similar to the objective of my study on Huaorani women, is to define the factors that contribute to indigenous feminine leadership and the challenges and problems faced in the practice of this role. The authors identify common fact ors leading to feminine leadership in the highlands and the Amazon. These include the combination of formal education and a process of ethnogenesis, being bilingual, a nd being exposed to the sphere of ethnic organizations that grant the opportunity for wome n to develop as leaders (Prieto 1998). I hypothesize that these factors can coincide in a general way with those that contribute to the development of leaders among the Huaorani women. A key analytical tool for the study of womens movement s includes the distinction between practical and strategic gender interests. Practical gender interests are based in the fulfillment of the basic needs of women within a given gender division of labor. Strategic gender interests include demands para transformer las relaci ones sociales con el fin de potenciar la posicin de las mujeres y c onseguir un reposicionamiento mas duradero dentro del ordenamiento de gnero y la so ciedad en general [to transform social relations aiming to strengthen of wome ns position and achieve a long lasting repositioning within the curre nt gender relations and th e society in general, my translation] (Molyneux 2003: 237) The purpose of this distin ction is to highlight the

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16 differences between diverse ways of conf ronting gender relations. Practical gender interests assume the existing gender relations as a given while trying to improve womens conditions within such. Strategic gender inte rests, however, explic itly question such relations (Molyneux 2003: 242). The creation of AMWAE is a new phenomenon and this thesis is the first study of Huaorani womens activism and of the type of interests expressed by their leadership. It provides an opportunity to inform the discus sion of womens issues inside indigenous organizations. Prieto (1998) st ates that the debate over thes e issues are centered on two basic positions. Some indigenous women ar gue that a gendered agenda within the organizations is not necessary because the in digenous world is egalitarian and the ethnic discourse equally represents both men and women. The second position, advanced by some indigenous women with formal educati on, is that women need to establish their own agenda inside the indigenous movement This position rec ognizes the unequal and hierarchical relations between men and women that must be addressed by the indigenous movement and prioritizes equality in opportuni ties to positions of power in leadership (Prieto 1998). A third position of indigenous women that must be taken in consideration is highlighted by Deere and Len (2001), which says that women need their own autonomous organizations as the only way fo r them to act on their own demands and to develop the leadership capabili ties that will lead to wo mens empowerment. Through this study, I hope to contribute to this debate by analyzing the case of Huaorani womens activism. Methodology : In order to carry out my field re search, I spent two months living in Puyo, capital of the province of Pasta za, where the AMWAE and ONHAE office

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17 headquarters are located. I conducted interv iews among AMWAE leaders and carried out participant observation at the AMWAE offi ce. I also attended an assembly in a community (Gareno) and some meetings in the ONHAE office and CONAIE office in Quito. I also conducted interviews at the co mmunity level to identify the concerns and demands at the base and examine the rela tions between community members and the association. In my interviews with AMWAE leaders, I not only sought to learn the factors that led to the constitution of AMWA E but also how its agenda is related to practical and strategi c gender interests. I used ethnographic, qualita tive methods to obtain as much in depth information as possible, and to give the informants point of view sufficient and deserved importance. These qualitative methods included structur ed and semi-structured interviews and participant observation. The key informants chosen were eight current AMWAE leaders and one former ONHAE leader. The age range of AMWAE lead ers is early twenties to early thirties. They all had basic formal education and speak Spanish.1 In the communities, the key informants we re two male and eight female Huaorani contacted through a Huaorani female leader in the communities of Tiwino, Bataboro, Dayuno and Tepapare. Puyo is the capital of Pastaza and to a certain extent the commercial, cultural and political capital of the Amazonian region. With a population of 45,825, this frontier city is connected by ro ad with Baos and from there to Ambato, the central urban area of the country and Quito.The community of Tiwino was chosen for 1 However, language should nonetheless be c onsidered a barrier because none of the leaders responded that they felt completely comfortable with Spanish, a problem that particularly becomes an issue when they have to cope w ith legal terminology or partici pate in negotiation tables.

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18 interviews because it represents a comm unity outside of the old protectorate2 but that had contact historically with missionaries. A road passes through the community, and an oil company has operations in the area and hi res some Huaorani men as wage laborers. The Tiwino River serves as the boundary betwee n the oil companys area and that of the community. Bataboro is located about a thir ty minute drive from Tiwino on the same road. This community is located further away from the oil company and depends on another river, the Bataboro for its live lihood. Tepapare and Dayuno were chosen for interviews because they had neither a road nor an oil company working nearby.3 I also conducted various unstructured interviews and carried out e-mail correspondence with the accountant of AMWAE. These interviews were key to my understanding of the operational aspects of the association. 2 This was the first type of legal recogniti on of part of the Huaorani territory. A more detailed explanation of this follows in chapter one and two. 3 In fact, my passage through Dayuno was circumstantial. Dayuno was once a relatively large Huaorani community that due to tensions among the nanicaboiri or house groups comprising it was fractured a nd many members ended up moving and creating the community of Quehueire Ono (Rival 1996). Other members of Day uno moved to other communities and it was not until the time of my field research that one family was building a settlement unde r the name of Dayuno again. The new Dayuno was on the way to Tepapare and I conducted an interview there as I stopped in my route to Tepapare.

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19 CHAPTER 2 HUAORANI TRADITIONAL SOCIETY AND THE EXPANSION OF THE NATIONSTATE IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON History of Contact During the colonial period, contact between the Huaorani and the colonial state was initiated by Catholic missions. Colonial Jesuit chronicles do not refer to the Huaorani per se, but it has been argued that they could ha ve been identified with groups within the Zaparoan block that are referred to vari ously as Omaguas, Abijaras, Aushiris or Aubishiris, perhaps representing the north ernmost extension of the Tupi-Guarani migrations (Ziegler-Otero 2004, Rival 2002). It is during the rubber boom period (18801920) that references to the Huaorani start appearing in written documents. Histor iographies report raids in Huao land and Huaorani raids in response that took place du ring the chaotic and violent times of the rubber boom in the region. There are not exte nsive written records of the atrocities perpetuated during this period, but Huaorani or al tradition report these type of encounters with cohuori, which is the Huao word for other/cannibal. This was a time of major population movements into the Oriente (how the Amazonian region is referred to in Ecuador) with the intensification of economic exploitation of the region. Another period of contact occurs duri ng the 1940s with the launching of oil exploration. The Dutch company Shell be gan oil prospecting activities in the Oriente and specifically in Huaorani territo ry at this time. Even though Sh ells enterprise was not very successful due to difficulties in securing a labor force, their passage through the area left a town named after the company -Shellwh ich was centered around a missionary station. There are also written record s of attacks on and counter a ttacks by Huaorani during this

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20 time. Full-scale oil exploitation, however, doe s not take place in the Oriente until the 1970s (Rival 2002). Permanent peaceful contact (although an arbitrary term) with the national society was established in the 1950s through Nort h American missionaries of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Their first encounter, however, was rather violent ending with the killing of five mi ssionaries. These missionaries, who had encroached on Huao territory seeking contact to convert the Hu aorani, also killed a Huaorani, although this fact is rarely mentioned. This event received international at tention and contributed to a construction of the Huaorani within the national imagery as the Aucas, a Quichua word that can be translated as savages, thus becoming the emblematic Other. With the expansion of capitalis m through oil exploitation in the Oriente in the 1970s the Ecuadorian state gained more economic and political control over the region. It divided the region into blocks for future pot ential concessions to the companies. In the case of Huaorani territory, the SIL played a si gnificant role in facilitating the entrance of the oil companies. It was convenient for the missionaries to encourage the relocation of villages closer to the missionary station, wh ich opened the way for the entrance of oil companies into Huaorani ancestral territory. The presence of the state in the region has always been very limited and characterized by it s lack of provision of basic services like health programs. Precarious formal schooli ng programs that replaced the missionary schools after the SIL was expelled from of the country in 1982 constitute the closest point of connection with the nation state. In recent times another cont act that is conflictive and represents a threat is the increase of illegal logging in the area. Many times violence has broken out between

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21 loggers and Huanorani communities, includi ng those in voluntary isolation like the Tagaeiri and Taromenani. Aspects Traditional Huaorani Society While it is difficult to sketch the main elem ents of traditional Hu aorani society with confidence, there is consensus that they liv ed nomadically in egalitarian, autarkical groups and that they consistently rejected contact, trade, exchange or any kind of relationship with the nei ghboring indigenous groups and later with the Ecuadorian national society. At the time when a more permanent contact and prolonged relations were established (1960s) there were three to four territorially lo calized groups. Within these groups there are also subgroups that carry the name of an important elder and the suffix iri meaning group (Robarchek and Robarchek 1998) for example, Guikitairi stands as a way of referring to Guikitas group. Among the ethnographers who studied th e Huaorani, there are remarkable differences of interpretation regarding impor tant features of Huaorani society. While Robarchek and Robarchek (1998) focused on vi olence and provided a broader account of some general aspects of Huaorani society, Ri val and Lu made deeper studies departing from distinct theoretical bac kgrounds. Their different perspec tives can also be partially explained by the different time periods of their research, both Rival and Lu conducted fieldwork in Quehueire Ono but it could be assumed that their views of the community might differ due to their individual experi ences. Rival experienced the creation of Quehueire Ono when between 1989 and 1990 the house group she was living with, along with some others house groups, decided to split from the community of Dayuno and go trekking to find a new place where to settle. Quehueire Ono then was new and very small.

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22 There was more natural abundance and conseque ntly, for hunter/gathe rers/horticulturalist like the Huaorani, probably le ss horticultural acti vities. Some years later, in 1996, the Quehueire Ono that Lu found was one of th e most populous Huaorani communities, had a school and had just signed a contract w ith an oil company allowing them to conduct seismic prospecting. Traditionally, the Huaorani settlement pa ttern consisted of self-sufficient and relatively isolated residential units with an average of thirty members inhabiting a longhouse. Typically, a longhouse was inhabite d by an older couple, their unmarried children and their married daughters with th eir husbands and children. Often, men were married to more than one woman, usually sisters (Lu 1999, Rival 2002, Robarchek and Robarchek 1998). Kinship and marriage were structured by bilateral descent and cross cousin marriage. Post marital residence is uxorilocal without bride service. Cross cousin marriage divides people into two types of guirinani (relatives), parallel cousins considered as siblings and cross cousins who could be potential spouses (Robarchek and Robarchek 1998). The fundamental unit in Huaorani society is the nanicabo (house group) within which demand sharing1 is intense, shaping its economic subsistence pattern. Exchange with the outside, on th e other hand, is much more limited. Living together, being part of a nani cabo, translates symbolically to sharing substance which is what makes you huaomoni (us). Once you leave the nanicabo, you become huarani 1 Demand sharing, as coined by Peterson (1993), is not morally c onstructed as a reciprocal oblig ation. Rival identifies this co ncept as applicable to the Huaorani case although she also describes gi ving and receiving food among the Huaorani as the moral base of common residency (Rival 1996). As Peterson explains demand sharing reflects tensions between autonomy and relatedness (Peterson 1993: 871).Huaorani sharin g economy contrasts to that of other groups who engage in reciprocal exchange because the a ct of giving is dissociated from receiving (Rival 1996, 2002). Food sh aring is thus described as a personal expression, consistent to hunter-gatherer food sharing that is by demand and not by unsolicited giving which emphasizes on donor obligation and recipient entitlement. This practice is very much in tune with egalitari an principles where receiving doe s not bind the recipient to reci procate. Bird-David explains that in this type of giving, when an i ndividual requests food, it is the gi vers generosity that is invoked instead of moral obligations due to past provisions (Bird-David 1990). It should be stressed that this characteristic present among the Hu aorani, breaks from what is common among other Amazonian groups wh ere reciprocity is the dominant type of exchange.

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23 (other). Likewise, if you marry in, like men co ming to live in the nanicabo of their wifes mother, you become guiri (relative) and ev entually huamoni. According to Rival, residence principles seemed to be structurally more important for social organization than consanguinity (Rival 1996, 2002). To better understand the syst em of relationships shaping Huaorani society, the differentiations of the key terms, cohuori, hua omoni and huarani are pivotal. Cohuori, as mentioned earlier, can be translated in to a cannibal Other that make up an undifferentiated class. This may include other indigenous groups slave hunters during the rubber boom era, missionaries, oil compa ny workers, illegal loggers or anyone else invading their territory to prey on them. Th at is, everybody else th at is not Huaorani, standing in absolute opposition to them. Th e Huaorani, however, see themselves as differentiated into huaomoni us, and huarani others, the other Huaorani that do not make up part of their group (Rival 19 96, 2002). Such a system of relationships characterizes settlement pa tterns, the endogamous nexuses and the limited exogamous relations. Rival (1996) identified three models of re sidential patterns in her field work. The first is more similar to the pre-contact, tr aditional residence pattern of isolated house groups living off hunting, gathering and horti culture. Nowadays, however, even among groups following this residential model, longhouses are not as common and do not hold as many people. The second model consists of grouped longhouses, a sort of semi-village with clusters of houses disper sed throughout an extended area. The clusters consist of two or three houses and are separa ted by many kilometers and by cu ltivated land and a river. There is no plaza or center but the longhouse of the founding members is recognized as a

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24 nucleus where people from different clusters meet informally and where visitors without kin should stay. Residential configurations are fluctuant; from year to year houses might be abandoned and new ones built. Belonging to a residential group, however, is fairly stable. While how space is occupied might be flexible, the social relations across residential lines are more structured defi ning the endogamous nexuses. That is, the extended family clusters remain the primar y units of social, political and economic organization (Robarchek and Robarchek 1998) The third type of settlement is the village with ane elementary school and someti mes an airstrip. At the time Rival was conducting her field research, th e second type of residence pattern was the most common. She predicted that most would eventually fo llow the third pattern. Today, thirty-two out of the thirty-four communities have a sc hool and are thus settled as villages. Another point that must be stressed is th at spatial mobility among the Huaorani is related to a means for allevia ting social tension. According to Lu (1999) apparently there is no other structured mechanism for non-viol ent conflict resolution. When conflict arises the responses are either to suppress the a nger or to be consumed by p (anger) and engage in spear killing. Such attitudes have led many times to prol onged intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic violence. When the suppression of anger is approach ing a limit, another response without engaging in spear killing is the fissioning of settlement (Lu 1999). Robarcheck and Robarchek summarize Hu aorani political organization, authority and social control as follows: Waorani society is egalitarian at th e extreme and every residence group is completely autonomous. Within these gr oups, there are no headmen and no formal councils. Even within households and settlements there is no authority beyond individuals power of pe rsuasion or coercion. There are no communal religious rituals or obligations and no clubs or other associations that might confer on some individuals authority over the actions of others (1998: 102).

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25 Apart from the consensus on the Huaorani egalitarianism, a point of dissension about the role of ritual like the cerem onial drinking feasts is understated by the Robarcheks (1998) but elabor ately highlighted by Rival (1996, 2002). There are three drinking festivals: the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), the plantain and the em, the manioc drinking festival.2 All these festivals play a ke y role in marriage alliances. An important characteristic of these feasts is that they do not seem to implicate trade or exchange of gifts. The peach palm drinking festival is much more informal, improvised and celebrated when there is a need to cons ume the abundant fruits made into a drink. The manioc and plantain drinking festivals are planned in advan ce when a nanicabo has specifically planted large quant ities of the crop to invite other house groups. During the feast people divide by gender and it is the sexual difference that cuts across huaomoni (us) and huarani (others) differences opposite to daily life practice. Traditionally these feasts transformed huarani groups into huaomoni allies bonded thr ough the collective marriage alliances as well as individual connections. This way, the huarani, potential enemies, are transformed into allies. Howeve r, nowadays, not many marriages are carried out this way. The drinking feasts, while fewe r, still take place and serve to renew and strengthen alliances by bringing people from the different house groups together (Rival 2002). There is also some dissension on the ro le of horticulture. On the one hand, the Robarcheks (1998) define the Huaorani as cla ssic tropical horticu lturalists and argue that their life and subsistence is rooted in the manioc gardens. Lu (1999) demonstrates how in Quehueire Ono the bulk of Huaorani di et comes from cultivated crops. Rival, on 2 Tepe is the name of drink made of manioc that is a fundamental stap le in Huaorani diet and is served in the em festival. It shoul d be stressed that contrary to the Quichua manioc drink ( chicha) like that of the Shuar, and othe r Amazonian indigenous groups, the Huaorani tepe in not fermented, lacking alcohol content (Rival 1996, 2002, Robarcheck and Robarchek 1998)

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26 the other hand, argues that the Huaorani should be seen as hunter-gatherers more than horticulturalists. She refers to the concept of natural abundance3 to maintain that the Huaorani prefer to rely on gathering and hunting, and that subsisting from perennial plants is seen as more reliable than from cultivated crops. The value of horticulture, Rival asserts, rests not on subsistence but on provi ding the essence of the manioc and plantain4 drinking festivals that serve to join different house groups for the occasion. This way, horticulture is seen as analogous with times of abundance, peace and stability (Rival 1996, 2002). Beyond the contention, what is critical is that hort iculture is what enables these drinking festivals to occur and thus, it has a key structuring role in Huaorani society. This traditionally egalitarian society of hunter-gatherer-horticulturalists is characterized by a gender division of labor noted for its flexib ility (Rival 2002). According to Rival, sexual differences are naturally embodied in a way that suggests both equivalence and complementarity (Rival 2005: 288). Furthermore, this author observes that in Huaorani social life ge nder is given little importance since both in representation and practice, c onception, birth, childcare and upbringing are alike for boys and girls. As they grow and mature the undi fferentiated and overlapping tasks performed by each acquire more gender specificity. Men pr incipally hunt and women take care of gardening or gathering and cooking, however, these parameters are not rigid. Men also 3 Rival coins this term to refer to the indigenous representation of the relationshi ps between living people, the forest, and p ast generations. The author argues that this concept helps to hi ghlight the reasons behind the Huaorani dismissal of crop produc tion as a mode of subsistence and uses manioc cultivation as the point of comparison. Rival states that it is through hunting and gath ering that daily subsistence is secured and that manioc cultivation is (1) neglected in prac tice, (2)largely conf ined to () the elab orations of ceremonial drinks used () in feasts; besides (3) manioc is a ssociated with fast unreliable growth (Rival 2002). Moreover, contrasting to the third aspect on manioc cultivation, there is also the idea that useful perenni al species encountered in for est groves are closely associated with ones forbears. 4 While plantains and manioc are cultivated, peach palms are not s een as such, rather they are just seen as a by product of thei r and their ancestors consumption (Rival 1996, 2002)

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27 are involved in gathering and gardening wh ile women can also hunt. Fishing is done by both men and women although women do more fishing than hunting, which is rather occasional. Collecting fuel wood and fetching wa ter are duties that may vary in gender specialization from one household to the other. Men ar e also very much involved in childcare. The same flexibility can be seen in the manufacturing of ar t crafts (Robercheck and Robercheck 1998, Rival 2002, Ziegle-Ote ro 2004). While men and women know how to and can craft almost every object fr om their material culture there are some exceptions. For example, men do not make clay pots or fishing nets, while women do not make spears or blowguns. However, it is the cr afting of these items, not their use that is gendered (Rival 2002). Moreover, the relationship between spouses has been characterized as a reciprocal partnership. Couples with unmarried children must function as productive units, with each partner fulfilling their mutual obligations in order to provide for their children because, as Rival states conjugality is, fi rst and foremost, joint parenting (Rival 2002: 106). This emphasis on joint parenting is expressed from the moment of gestation with the practice of the couvade that activates the mutual obligations of joint parenting and the gender symmetry it produces. Fathers and mothers equally share in the ritual protection of the fetus, who contains an equa l quantity of female blood and male semen (Rival 2005:292). With parenting responsibili ties certain activi ties of the conjugal pair become gendered as a form of complementarity. Th is complementarity results in a certain division of labor that not only varies from couple to couple bu t that also is not normative since there is an equal value given to the di fferent productive tasks. More importantly, in

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28 this egalitarian society these differences are not translated into hierarchy. Even in the context of the ceremonial drinking feasts wh ere gender identities are emphasized (and individual identities like kin, affines, friends or enemies are downplayed) it is to tame hostility and create conditions for peace, alliance and marriag e. Rival highlights that, as opposed to the classical descrip tion of the use of gender as a system of social inequality here it is used to erase social di fferences and principally those between huaomoni and huarani Thus, gender symbolism instead of expressing hostility between the sexes is used in ritual contexts to overcome potential conflict as sexual and bodily images are not used to symbolize male supremacy but the impor tance of organic life and fertility (Rival 2005). The Impact of the Oil industry and the SIL on Huaorani Society and Subsistence patterns After permanent contact with the Huaora ni was established in the late 1950s, different factors have contribu ted to changes in Huaorani so cial organization, settlement patterns and gender relations. The first factor is the influence of the SIL that established a missionary station in the Huao rani community of Tihueno in 1958 and managed to gain control over the protectorade or rese rvation for the Huaorani granted by the government5. They managed to attract most of the Huaorani population to live within this zone that consisted of less than ten percent of their traditional te rritory. Although the SIL was later expelled from the country and the Huao rani now have title to their own territory covering an area much greater than that of th e protectorade, SIL greatly influenced their settlement patterns. The Huaorani now have mo re sedentary settlements, which are closer to large rivers and many of them located ar ound airstrips and schools. Residential units in 5 Territorial struggle will be discusse d in greater detail in chapter II.

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29 particular were altered. While the Huoarani were uxorilocal and extended families shared a same longhouse, the missionaries imposed monogamy and also encouraged them to split into nuclear families. However, even wh ile residing in different houses, an extended family will build them close to each other. Moreover, sedentarism caused changes in subs istence patterns that in turn affected gender relations. With sedentar ism, game was depleted in the hunting grounds close to the villages. As hunting treks t ook longer periods of time, the women were left behind for days at a time to perform all the household duties (E-shen Lu 1999). Similarly, wage labor also increased th e burden of womens work. Oil companies in Huaorani territory hire Hu aorani men under sporadic and sh ort contracts that at times can leave an entire settlemen t without men for months, leav ing women alone with all the responsibilities of providing food for the fa mily (Ibid 1999). Some oil companies have programs of community relations that dist ribute food to Huaorani communities. While this way women do not have to increase their daily activities to get enough food for their families, it has the consequence of bringing about a negative dietary change. Their diet becomes poor in proteins as they rely on the carbohydrates and suga rs provided by the oil companies. Furthermore, the distribution of food, part of the community relations programs, has also influenced how women rela te to each other. Instead of gathering to cooperatively fish or garden they become mo re isolated, each female head of household fixating on her own weekly ration (Ibid 1999). To conclude, in this chapter I provi ded an overview of Huaorani society discussing how these hunter-gat herer-horticulturalists belong to an egalitarian society lacking of hierarchical struct ures. The sexual division of labor is significantly flexible

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30 and tasks performed by each gender are e qually valued. However, contact with missionaries, the national society and the oil companies have produced changes in Huaorani society that have affected their social structure, settl ement and subsistence patterns. These changes are inte rrelated and have resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of the Huaorani in general, and of Huaorani women in particular.

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31 CHAPTER 3 THE ECUADORIAN INDIGENOUS MOVEME NT AND THE HUAORANI IN THE CONTEXT OF P OLITICAL MOBILIZATION Amazonian indigenous grassroo ts organizations started forming in the late 1960s. The first organizations were those representing the Amazonian Quichua, Shuar and Achuar groups. Initially, these were did not coordinate their activities way which made the struggle for their rights ev en harder. But the fact that these Amazonian peoples found themselves experiencing common growing th reats against their culture and survival brought them together to deve lop a resistance strategy. In the 1980s, consciousness of the importance of unity at the regional level fuel ed the organization of the first and second regional congresses of Indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian Amazon. In these congresses they came to define their main objectives, which were the defense of the culture and territories of all the Amazoni an indigenous nationalities, and addressing specific problems of particular communities. These efforts led to the creation of the CONFENIAE (Confederacin de Na cionalidades Indgenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana) in 1980. Although Amazonian indigenous people were the first to organize in indigenous grassroot organizations, the Ec uadorian highland region had a l onger tradition of political activism and mobilization. ECUARUNARI (Ecuador Runacunapac Riccharimui Movimientos de Campesinos de Ecuador) emerged in 1972 with the purpose of uniting the representation of highland indigenous peopl es. Before the 1970s and the formation of ECUARUNARI, organizing among Highla nds indigenous people was led by nonindigenous left-wing organiza tions and mainly concentrat ed on peasant demands for better wages and agrarian reform. Accordi ng to CONAIE, organizations like the FEI (Federacin Ecuatoriana de I ndgenas) and other peasant or ganizations were not really

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32 representative of indigenous peoples (C ONAIE 2006). When the agrarian reform was passed in 1964, conditions did not change much for the indigenous people. As a result, ECUARUNARI was formed with the purpos e of having an exclusively indigenous representation, emphasizing ethnic consciousness and addressi ng identity i ssues. In the early 1980s the organization had began to establish relations with other regional indigenous organizations as well as with international indigenous and non-indigenous peasant organizations. ECUARUNARI also serv ed as the executive coordinator for the CONACNIE (Consejo Nacional de Coordinaci on de las Nacionalidades Indgenas del Ecuador), created in 1980 to provide coordination among all th e indigenous organizations in the country. While there are some other highland indigenous organizations that operate at a local level, ECUARUNARI is the most pr ominent one operating at the regional level and representing all highland Quichua indigenous people who, together, in numbers make up the majority of the indigenous nationaliti es in Ecuador. Thus, having the capacity to convene all these peoples, ECUARUNARI had a fundamental role in the rise and consolidation of the indigenous movement in gene ral, and played a particularly role in the consolidation of CO NAIE (Llacta 2006). CONAIE (Confederacin de las Nacionalida des Indgenas de Ecuador) was formed in 1986, and occupies the top of a chain of organizations that interact and coordinate from local, provincial, and regiona l levels to the national one. Besides ECUARUNARI, from the highlands, the other two main regional organizations are CONFENIAE (Confederacin de las Nacionalid ades Indgenas de la Amazo nia Ecuatoriana), from the Amazon, and CONAICE (Confederacin de las Nacionalidades Indgenas de la Costa Ecuatoriana), the most recent one representi ng the Coastal region, which has the smallest

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33 share of the indigenous population in the c ountry. With the form ation of CONACNIE (Consejo Nacional de Coordinacion de las Na cionalidades Indigena s del Ecuador) they came together to understand what united and se parated them. What separated them was a language barrier but what united them was much greater: the lack of land, the lack of bilingual education and most im portantly, the need to make th eir voices heard. Thus later, with the consolidation of CONAIE, they achieve the objective of making their voices heard at the national level. The main issues in CONAIEs agenda include: Dar direccin poltica al Movimiento I ndgena a fin de lo grar la igualdad econmica, socio-cu ltural y poltica. Promover y consolidar el proceso or ganizativo de las Nacionalidades y Organizaciones Indgenas. Recuperar y defender los territorios de las Nacionalidades Indge nas y luchar por el derecho a la autodeterm inacin de los pueblos. Defender la integridad de las Nacionalid ades Indgenas y velar por su unidad. Representar a las Nacionalidades Indgena s ante el Estado y sus gobiernos de turno y ante instituciones de desarrollo nacionales e internacionales. Crear mecanismos de interrelacin entr e las Nacionalidades y Organizaciones Indgenas del pas, mediante la recuper acin de la historia, la cultura y las tradiciones. Defender, rescatar y desarrollar las cu lturas de las Nacionalidades Indgenas. Fomentar las relaciones in ternacionales a travs de una poltica de apoyo, cooperacin, respeto y solidaridad entre todos los Pueblos. (Consejo Nacional De Cultura 2007) [To give political guidance to the indigenous movement with the purpose of achieving economic, socio-cultur al and political equality.] To promote and consolidate the orga nizational process of the indigenous nationalities and organizations.

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34 To recuperate and defend the territories of the indigenous nationalities and to fight for the right to self-det ermination of the people. To defend the integrity of the indigenous na tionalities and to safeguard their unity. To represent indigenous nationalities before the state, the current administration and before national and interna tional developmen t institutions. To create mechanisms of interrelation between the indigenou s nationalities and organizations of the country through th e recuperation of history, culture and traditions. To defend, recover and develop the cultu re of the indigenous nationalities. To promote international relations thr ough policies based on s upport, cooperation, respect and solidarity among all the Peoples] Additionally, there are other demands that are included in the agenda as critical events develop in the country. The concerns that are articulated are cultura land identity-related issues as well as issues regarding land rights a nd aid to small farmers and peasants. In their discourse, indigenous peoples express an intertwined point of view of these issues: Un pueblo sin cultura no puede existir, un pue blo sin territorio no puede vivir, un pueblo sin idioma que es parte de la cultura, no se ria pueblo. [A people without culture cannot exist, a people without territory cannot live, a people without a language, whic h is part of culture, would not be a people] (CONAIE 2006). In short, the dual general objectives of the movement are to resolve the land issue and to attain the recognition of Ecuador as a plurinational and multicultural state. Due to the increasing sense of indigenous identity enabled by the organizations from the three geographical areas in th e 1980s, a significant i ndigenous uprising took place in 1990. Unlike other indigenous upr isings that had taken place throughout Ecuadorian history, this one wa s a peaceful protest, but it paralyzed the nation. Blocking roads and seizing food so it would not reach the market, the protesters made clear to

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35 everyone their importance in the national social structure. In this uprising, which would not have been possible without the leadersh ip of the CONAIE, indigenous people were demanding that their place as citizens be recognized. But recognition and acceptance of them as different citizens was also a part of these demands (Collins 2004:47). This last demand expresses their attempt to reshape th e nation's exclusionary ethnic identity by proclaiming it a multicultural, pluri-national state. The pluri-national state is one of the main concepts used in CONAIEs political project in which it is defined as la organizacin poltica y jurdica de los Pu eblos y Nacionalidades del pas. El Estado Plurinacional surge cuando va rios pueblos y nacionalidades se unen bajo un mismo gobierno y Constitucin. El Esta do Plurinacional es distinto del Estado Uninacional que es la representacin de los sect ores dominantes [the political and judicial organization of the nationalities and peoples of the country. Th e pluri-national state arises when various nationalities and peoples are united under the same government and constitution. The pluri-national state is different from the uni-n ational state that is th e representation of the dominant sectors] (Llacta 2007) CONAIEs participation in the 1998 National Constituent Assembly enabled the indigenous peoples to make important change s to the new Constitution. Even though they did not obtain the official recognition of the Ecuadorian state as pluri-national and multicultural, they did achieve the official recognition of Ecuador as a multiethnic and pluricultural state. Other imperative achievem ents include the legalization of land for a number of indigenous commun ities and the creation of DINE IB (Direction Nacional de Educacin Intercultural Bilingue del Ecuador), a nation wide bilingual education program

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36 for indigenous students to study in their own language as well as in Spanish (Collins 2004). During the 1980s CONAIEs position was characterized by its autonomy from the political parties and a stance of non-particip ation in formal politics. Their position was rooted in a radical critique of the Ecuadorian state which th ey regarded as exclusionary and anti-democratic. However, they realized that the advantages of political participation at a national level could provide greater acce ss to resources in order to ad dress concrete material needs and demands of their communities. As a re sult, the political wing of the indigenous movement, MUPP-NP (Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik Nuevo Pais), emerged in 1995. Pachakutik describes itself as a political, pluri-na tional and democratic movement that has organizational autonomy and strong relations with the indigenous nationalities and peoples (Pachakutik 2007). Th e creation of Pachakutik, in the overall context of opposition to the neo-liberal model, represented an alternative to forming an ethnic party or merging with existing Lef tist groups (Becker 2006). They proposed an alternative that would incor porate the creation of a new economic, political and cultural model within a more inclusive and partic ipatory political system. Furthermore, Pachakutik was configured more as a politic al movement than a pol itical party and its name itself vouches for an alternative, a n ew country. The meaning of the Quichua word pachakutik also suggests change, rebi rth, transformation and the coming of a new era (Becker 2006). With the c onsolidation of Pachakutik the indigenous movement acquires a greater presence by participati ng politically at the national level.

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37 The Creation of ONHAE: Build ing a Pan-Huaorani Identity It is in the context of th e oil industry era, once contact ed and evangelized, that the Huaorani find themselves struggli ng for their land and rights. ONHAE ( Organizacin de la Nacionalidad Huaorani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana) was founded in the period of 1989-90 as the Huaorani saw the need to organi ze themselves in order to contend with the different social actors that had become embroiled in their lives. The organization was officially constituted in a Biye1 ( assembly) in 1990. The bulk of the literature on the Huaorani does not include a thorough analysis of ONHAE, but does refer to it in one way or another. In Huaorani versus Maxus: poder tnico versus poder transnacional, Narvaez (1996) is the first to focus his study more on ONHAE, but it is not until Lawrence Ziegler Oteros Resistance in an Amazonian Community: Huaorani Organizing against the Global Economy (2004) that there is a truly detailed study of the creation of the ONHA E, its functions, and the role it plays in the Huaorani and national society. The book ex amines the organization and its leaders in the context of their relations with the di fferent social actors with which they are continuously interacting. The actors in clude oil companies, missionaries, other indigenous organizations, and environmentalists (Ziegler-Otero 2004). As described by Ziegler-Otero there were f our major factors leading to the creation of ONHAE. The first is the emergence of a group of young Huaorani activists who had been formally schooled and had a better unders tanding of the national society (that is, the criollo-mestizo world) than their elders. Th is new generation believed that there was a need for them to serve as a go-between fo r the Huaorani people. The second factor was 1 The Biye is the annual assembly organized by the ONHAE.

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38 the decrease of missionary influence due to the expulsion of the SIL combined with the increasing cultural literacy of the younger ge neration of Huaorani. The third incentive was the increasing influence of non-Huaorani non-evangelical outsi ders involved with the Huaorani and concerned for their future. Pa rticularly significant within this group was Laura Rival (the first non-missionary anthr opologist to conduct long-term research among the Huaorani) and the representativ es from the CONFENIAE, CONAIE, and OPIP (Organizacin de Pueblos Indgenas de Pastaza) that encouraged them to organize and affiliate to them (Ziegler-Otero 2004). Th is latter factor is hi ghly significant given that the indigenous movement in Ecuador is es pecially strong. Finall y, the fourth factor delineated by Ziegler-Otero was the sense of crisis, consequence of an increasingly more intense and frequent encroachment of and threat to their territory (2004). In 1994 ONHAE adopted its first set of by-laws, according to which the Biye was to be the highest authority of the orga nization and through which policy could be decided, leaders elected and removed, and ag reements approved. The by-laws also set up a specialization among the leadership board, which was comprised of a president, a vicepresident, a treasurer, and other dirigentes (officers), each of them in charge of either land, education, health or tourism. In the elaboration of the by-laws, OPIP and CONFENIANIE provided assi stance and guidelines. An interview I conducted with David Elliott (2007) from the Fundacin Pachamama sheds light on the process of legalization of indigenous organizations. Although indigenous organizations are not legally required to be recognized by any state organism, they always want to call for su ch recognition, and following the guidelines for the by-laws is part of the process. Without le gal recognition from the State, relations with

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39 the different social actors are hindered, such as when it is required in order to obtain a land title, or when NGOs require it in orde r finance a project, or when banks require personera jurdica (legal personhood) to open an account. There are different ways to proceed, but the main prerequisite is to obtain the personera jurdica The legal recognition of an organi zation is a sort of ministerial agreement whereby that the state recognizes the organization. There are three means by which organizations can obtain legal recogniti on from the state, which also depends on how they decide to organize. Some organiza tions organize and legalize themselves as comunas (communes ) and these are governed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The most common way for Amazonian indigenous popula tions to organize is as organizations, associations and federations that are ruled under a different law. Th ey are organized as social organizations and they are legalized th rough the Ministry of Social Welfare. There are also some organizations that obtain th eir legal status thro ugh the Ministry of Government. These were the standard pro cedures until 2004 when a presidential decree was passed in which authority was given to CODENPE (Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ec uador) to issue and manage the legal recognition of the Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian organizati ons. In 2005 another decree was passed that gave CONDENPE the exclusive authority to legalize any type of indigenous organization. CODENPE was created under a presidenti al decree in 1998, in response to the institutional changes that came with the 1998 constitutional assembly. The latter obliged the state to enable the participation of the different peoples and na tionalities of Ecuador in planning and decision making. As of August 2007 congress approved Indigenous

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40 institutions including CODENPE. Thus, CODE NPE is now supported by organic law and not only by a presidential decree CODENPEs national council includes an executive secretary a nd a representative of each of the self-defined nationalities and peoples. Th is structure allows more grassroots links and communication and thus mo re representation. In co ntrast to the other state institutions, CODENPE registers the organizations without imposing specific norms in their by-laws and respecting whichever wa y they decide to organize themselves internally. As argued by proponents and supporters of this initiative, this results in the organizations having more autonomy and therefore more potential for empowerment. This way individuals may not need to be regist ered members of the institution or to have a formal voting registration to count as actual members, but the by-laws can enable all individuals from a specific ethnic group to be innate members of a specific organization. CODENPE is much more flexible in regards to such exigencies because they are aware of how unjust it results to ask fo r a voter registration card or cdula (national personal identification) of a person who lives deep in the forest. For CODENPE such requirements are discriminatory because they hinder the legalization of organi zations of indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian peoples that live in remo te areas without easy a ccess to the state. Following this new framework, significantl y progressive statements have been included in the by-laws of some organizations such as affirm ing rights to all the resources in their land. Also, for those groups still lack ing legal title to thei r land, they could self recognize their ancestral territory in the by-laws of thei r organization. While this is not the equivalent to a land title, it represents some kind of legal recognition or at least a legal claim. The implications of th ese changes are still not well known. Another positive aspect

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41 of the new regulatory framework is that ha ving a single entity such as CONDEPE under which to register, means that indigenous or ganizations have more control over potential splits within their organizations. For CODENPE to endorse the creation of a new organization when there is already an organi zation representing the nationality, requires first the permission from the nationalitys general organization (David Elliot, 2007, personal communication). The recent leaning toward organizing simply as nationalities under CODENPE rather than as organizations, federations, associations, commune s and the like is also part of an initiative undertaken by CONDENPE jointly with Fu ndacin Pachamama and other NGOs. Recently many indigenous organizations ha ve changed their names and registered simply as nationalities under the CODENPE. In the case of the Huaorani, for instance, only a couple of months after I left the field in 2006 the ONHAE became NAWE2 (Nacionalidad Waorani de la Amazonia Ecua toriana). ONHAE leader s explained this change as related to their interest to be r ecognized at the national level as a nationality rather than just an organization. Moreover, as part of their initiative, CODENPE and project partner NGOs have elaborated a simple manual on how to organize as a nationality without having to re sort to lawyers, with the purpose of opening a route to empowerment. The primary concerns of ethnic federati ons of the Amazon region as described by Theodore MacDonald include: ) to defend th eir member communities rights to land and resources, 2) to expand and strengthen th eir organizations, and 3) to maintain their unique ethnic identity (MacDonald 1998:90) Considered against Ziegler Oteros 2 Given that during my time in the field the transition from O NHAE to NAWE had not been made, I will still refer to the organiza tion as ONHAE throughout the text.

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42 ethnography and my own observations, these do coincide with the primary concerns of ONHAE. Furthermore, as recorded by Ziegler-O tero, the final agenda that emerged from the Biye which he attended were the followi ng goals: ) land and border marking projects, 2) education, 3) heal th issues and 4) tourism (Ziegler-Otero 2004:114). These expressed goals are reflected in the assignmen ts of leaders within the organization to specific specializations. They also correspond to the concerns expressed by AMWAE and the former ONHAE leader I interviewed. In my interview with the former ONHAE leader, to the question about which were the main concerns that led the Huaorani to organize, territory was the first issue to be mentioned. Mas importante para Huaorani mucho tiempo que viene hasta hoy y va futuro para mi es de territorio Huaorani, te rritorio es como madre grande que tiene, esa cultura va muy largo, idioma, cultura que para que tenga, ese es para Huaorani. [The most important for the Huaorani from a long time ago and until now and for the future for the Huaorani is their territory, territory is li ke a big mother, this culture has been around for long, language and culture for the Huaorani to have, that is it]. Here the intimate link between land and culture is expressed. The other concerns that were mentioned were health issues and education as a means to de al with external pressure and relate to outsiders. Moreover, these concerns also coincide with the concerns that were prominently mentioned in the interviews I conducted at the community level. ONHAE gained visibility in 1992 when th ey lead their first march to Quito denouncing the activities of Maxus (a Houston based oil company) and Petroecuador (the national oil company). This brought much atte ntion to the Huaorani case and garnered them a meeting with President Sixto Duran Balln. However, after all the efforts to

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43 oppose the entrance of oil companies, the le aders of ONHAE ended up signing the first pact between the organization and the oil company, Maxus. This marks the fundamental problem in praxis that all generations of ONHAE have f aced. While they oppose the oil companies, they have so far been unable to maintain a strong stand against them when the resources offered by oil companies appear so great in the economic context of the Huaorani (Ziegler-Otero 2004:85). Rival ( 1994) argues that the Huaorani acknowledge the fact that relations with the oil companies bring both good and bad consequences, and this is why their positions on the matter can be considered inconsistent. The ambiguity of the impact of the socio-economic changes brought about by oil activities make their decisions on what adjustments are necessary or wanted in their life style much harder (Rival 1994). In the face of this, the Huaorani find th emselves in an extremely complex and contradictory position confronting what has been defined as the assistencialist model or the oil companies-Huaorani relations mode l (Narvaez 1996,Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce 2001).This model is produced because of the vacuum left by the oil exploitation process which was characterized by improvisation and sca ttered state presence for control of such activities and their im pacts in the region. In the 1980s, however, through the CE PE (Corporacin Es tatal Petrolera Ecuatoriana), a Fund for Communal Devel opment was created, and the Huaorani benefited from small infrastructural works. In the early 1990s these actions were taken over by the transnational oil companies that started to implement Huaorani Communitarian Programs, assisting in the areas of health and education and replacing the State as provider of basic services. These communitarian programs respond to the needs

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44 of the oil development process in the countr y. The state requires th at the oil companies have environmental and communitarian progr ams. Moreover, the oil companies supply the infrastructural works that the State is una ble to provide (Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce 2001). The Huaorani are thus faced with th e dilemma of a struggle for their land and rights against a social actor that is at th e same time providing services. This creates a dependency on the oil companies and allows th e oil companies to gain control over the indigenous organizations and justify their enterprise. The Huaorani-oil companies relations mode l functions through the ties of power that bind these two social actors, the oil companies, on the one hand, as providers of goods and services, and the Huaorani, as ben eficiaries that have the obligation of accepting these due to their needs and Ecuador ian law. Since the subsurface belongs to the state, this limits what the Huaorani can do to oppose oil exploitati on in their territory (Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce 2001). At the same time, according to Rivas Toledo as well as Lara Ponce and Narvaez, this model is one of the external factors that has helped create a Huaorani ethnic identity. Here it is important to remember that traditionally for the Huaorani, there was not a notion of a PanHuaorani identity. For example, other Huao terero speakers that were not part of their endogamous nexus were considered huarani that is, others. According to these author s this emergent Huaorani ethnic identity corresponds to commercial, extrac tive and industrial interests, rather than to a need to construct the Huaorani as an independent politi cal actor in national life. Huaorani identity is thus described as transitory and strategic, externally motivated and articulated mostly by ONHAE. Narvez refers to this kind of iden tity construction as situacionalismo as it

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45 is formed according to the circumstances wh erein they find themselves in the face of external interests instead of an au tonomous historical processes. Hence, this theory sees Huaorani identity as temporary and thus merely reactive and conjunctural. It loses sight of the fact that such sit uations are embedded in a long and complex process of socio-economic tr ansformation due to the expansion of capitalism in the region and integration to nati onal society. These define their reality and are not merely a conjuncture. I do not disagr ee with the fact that the creation of ONHAE was conjunctural and that Huaorani ethnic identi ty is a construct that was built in relation to external factors, especially at the level of the formal leadership. However, this does not make it less real or valid. I would argue that after seventeen years of being organized as an ethnic organization, Huaorani identity might not be merely a response to a situation but to a constant reality of operating between two worlds, the Huaora ni and the national society. Reducing Huaorani ethnic and political identity to situacionalismo is reducing the political element by viewing it from a r eactive logic of cause and effect when the political is much more complex. Furthermore, within this line of th inking Rivas Toledo and Lara Ponce also describe the creation of ONHAE not as a need of the Huaorani seeing themselves as a minority, but more as corresponding to nati onal and transnational interests. The oil companies needed a representative entity at the negotiation table to legitimize their expansion in exchange for health and edu cational programs. Likewise, the ONHAE is seen as a good base for the development and consolidation of the asistencialista model. This argument then not only reduces the politic al but also ignores any type of agency on the part of the Huaorani.

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46 At the time of Ziegler-Oteros field wo rk he found that Maxus had managed to establish some dependency of ONHAE upon the company since they paid for the office including most of the furniture and equipmen t as well as part of the staff honorariums. While these are not bribes they have had the e ffect of creating a sens e of obligation to the company on the part of the Huaorani leaders. I would argue that wh ile it is important to consider the implications of receiving mone y from the oil companies, it should also be kept in mind that the Huaorani should have the right to be compensated by the companies that are earning billions of dollars off their land. Maxus was later bought by YPF (Yacim ientos Petrolferos Fiscales), an Argentine state-owned oil company that was later bought by Repsol S.A., a Spanish multinational corporation Today Repsol YPF, continuing the ag reement that its predecessor signed with the Huaorani, pays the honorariums of all ONHAE and AMWAE leaders and staff.3 Repsol YPF hired ENTRIX, an environm ental and natural resource management consulting firm specializing in environmen tal liability management, to develop its community relations plan. This plan, as stated by ENTRIX, is supposed to concentrate in the sustainable development of community infrastructure, educa tion, healthcare, and preservation of Huaorani cultural identity (Entrix 2007). While ONHAEs purpose has been to repr esent the Huaorani in face of the cohuori and the changes that they encounter as a re sult of the impact of national society, there have also been changes brought by the very process of organizing. These changes are seen in gender relations, in ternal politics, and decision making. In the case of gender 3 Repsol YPF (as agreed in the contracted inherited from Maxus) also has to pay for derecho de via, that is a payment the Huaorani nationality, through ONHAE, to have the right to pass through the Huaorani territory This money is kept off the balance sheet and it could be used as the ONHAE finds it necessary. The exact amount Repsol YPF has to pay monthly is $ 1596 which, considering what the companys profits, is almost insignificant. It happens that the honorariums for ONHAE leaders used to be extremely low and thus ONHAE decided to use derecho de via money to add up to the bonuses so that l eaders could manage to live in the city.

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47 relations, the process of or ganizing has also supported the ongoing process towards a more rigid gender division of labor, as the lead ership of ONHAE is immersed in the more machista criollo-mestizo society of Ecuador. Howe ver, Ziegler-Otero argues that if gender relations within ONHAE are a reflecti on of those that exis t among the Huaorani of today, which are more androcentirc than tr aditionally, it cannot be said that this is solely a product of the organizing process or of the actions of the organization or its leadership. I would maintain that beyond the argument that changes in gender relations are influenced by the immersion in the national culture and not necessarily a result of organizing, the organizing process sti ll created a new unequal dynamic in gender relations. This will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter through the testimonies of women leaders. As for internal politics and decision maki ng, there has obviously been a change to more centralized authority from traditional egalitarianism. In the interview with the former Huaorani leader, when reminiscing about the creation of ONHAE, she expressed the initial reaction of the people: Llegaron como Huaorani y fueron a la co munidad y decian tenemos que tener como organizacin porque yo creo que despus vendra la compaa, turismo, madereros, ONG de la gente cualquier cosa pero no sabemos porque van a venir la gente pensaron tenemos que tener organizac in tener un jefe, dirigente, que es dirigente? la gente decia (Mara). [They arrived as Huaorani and went to th e community and said We need to have something like an organization because I think that later the (oil) company will come and the people from NGOs and touris ts, all kinds of people, but we do not know why they are coming So the pe ople thought we have to have an organization, have a leader, an officer what is officer? people would say] ONHAE, as an organization representing all Huaorani, has tended to encourage concentration of power in the hands of a few leaders, this way weakening the

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48 traditionally diffuse and acephalous nature of Hu aorani internal politics. While this is true and it is necessary to point th is out as a problem, a greater disadvantage would be not to organize altogether. As eloque ntly expressed by Ehrenreich: The internal political processes are the ones that help explain the satisfactory persistence, ethnic substance even if many times they ar e hidden. Flexibility, dynamic adaptations and frequent innovati ons, and not cultural intransigency, are the key of the cultu ral survival of many indigeno us peoples (Ehrenreich 1991 in Narvaez 1996:100) The adoption of external patterns of organi zation is often traversed by a number of tensions that could seem cont radictory. However, it is also important to acknowledge that this is a valid political stand th at responds to new realities. The central thesis in Ziegler-Oteros ethnogr aphy is that for an egalitarian society like the Huaorani forming an organization with a formally established hierarchy and the specialization of its leadership creates a center of power that becomes the target of the efforts of the different interest groups to infl uence, sway or even co-opt. Thus, the author argues that the diffuse decision making practi ces of Huaorani traditional society would have served better to maintain a stronger pos ition vis--vis pressure s from the different interest groups. Nevertheless, he also states that the final evaluation of ONHAE should not be made by social scientists but by the Hu aorani. In this respect it can be said that ONHAE has established itself as the represen tative of the Huaorani people before the state, the press and by the Huaorani th emselves (Ziegler-Otero 2004). From my observations, ONHAE is seen as the rightful representative of the Huaorani people and a front with which to negotiate with the cohuori even if there are many criticisms of the organization and its leaders. There is a clear re cognition on the part of the people that it is the representative of the Huaorani. Moreove r, in the interviews I conducted at the

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49 community level, when asked about ONHAE, so me participants used the symbolism of a father to refer to the organization. With this power of representation, ONHAE states its opposition to oil development in Huaorani land, but in practi ce this has not happened. Zieg ler-Otero argues that this may mean the opening wedge of a constellati on of related forces th at will ultimately doom the Huaorani culture and indeed the very survival of the Huaorani as a distinct ethnicity and society (Ziegler-Otero 2004) While there is no denying the ill-fated impact that these agreements with oil companies may have, it cannot be assumed that this is only a consequence of the creation of the organization a nd the decisions taken by it. The external pressures still exist, and even without an organization such agreements could have taken place at th e individual community level. Such would have left the communities even weaker, without any lead er with relatively more preparation, experience, and understanding of the cohuori world. While the organization is something extern al to traditional social organization, the pressures encountered with the integration to the national society are definitively foreign as well. The alternative of finding a means of organization that reconciles more with their cultural practices is something that, h opefully, can be built along the way through experience. Legal Issues: Huaorani Territory, Enviro nmental Legislation and Oil Politics Huaorani ancestral territory covers an area of two million hectares ha between the Napo and Curaray rivers. The fi rst legal recognition of Huaora ni territory is through the SIL with the creation of the Protectorado. Having already established a missionary station in the 1950s, the SIL obtained permission from the government to create a protected zone in 1969, the Protectorado. This area covered less than a tenth of Huaorani

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50 traditional territory (Rival 1996). Most of th e Huaorani population at the time was living within the Protectorado or reserve. The control grante d to the SIL lasted until 1982 when they were expelled from the country. Although some missionaries stayed under different denominations, they are far from possessing th e same power as before, as resistance to their presence has grown. Furthermore, resistan ce to the influence of the missionaries, as mentioned above, became formalized with th e creation and stance of the Huaorani organizations. The next step was the creation of the Yasuni Nacional Park in 1979. The Yasuni was created with the techni cal assistance of UNESCO to the government without any previous social or ethnographi c study and participation of the Huaorani even though it was evidently part of their traditional terr itory (Accin Ecolgica). Ten years later, in 1989 Yasuni was declared as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, we see the first manifestations of biological concerns fo r Huaorani territory and attachments of biodiversity significance to this space. This marks the begi nning of the insertion of biodiversity discourses around Huaorani ancestral lands. But it also meant the dispossession of the Huaorani. In 1990 the limits of the Park were reduced a pparently to exclude an area rich in oil (the Block 16) so that its use would be free from the environmental regulations associated with the protected area. Once out of the limits of the Park, Block 16 became in that same year part of the legalized Huao rani territory. This was a mane uver by the state to facilitate oil exploitation in that block. After a l ong struggle, in 1990 CONAIE managed to have the government give legal title of Huaorani te rritory to its people through a presidential decree. However, only 612.650 hectares out of two million were officially recognized in

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51 the presidential decree, representing less than a third of Huaorani ancestral territory. Additionally, the title granted to the Huaorani specifies th at the awardees are not to impede mining and petroleum exploration or exploitation activities carried out by the national government or any other legally authorized entity. Th is was, thus, a maneuver of the state to have easier access to bl ock 16 (Accin Ecolgica, Narvaez 1996). Even though the Huaorani have now had their land titled, the subsoil was kept under the states administrative control. In Ec uador like in other ex-Iberian colonies, the subsoil belongs to the state. This causes a tens ion, since it limits the territorial rights of indigenous peoples, especially when having to deal with transnational oil companies which have the support of the state. This tens ion is a manifestation of the contradictions found between the environmental legislation (which prohibit s oil extraction in national parks), indigenous legislation (t o secure the constitutional ri ghts to self determination with respect to their ancestral lands), and oil politics through energy-related legislation including the Hydrocarbon Law. This law has a special character which imposes its provisions on the other two pieces of legislat ion, because the state has the right over the subsoil. These tensions between legislation draw attention to wh at Fontaine lucidly coined as the schizophrenic symptoms of the state, which, seeing itself pressured by the overwhelming obligations of the external debt goes forth with the capitalization of the protected areas of the Amazonian region (Fontaine 2003). ONHAE was created the same year that th e land title was granted and territorial rights4 have remained one of their main struggl es. In their perception of the environment sociability is an integral part of it and th e intertwined association of these makes the 4 The struggle for territorial rights has focu sed on the expansion of the limits to in clude all of ancestral territory which inc ludes the Yasuni National Park, control ove r it and managerial autonomy.

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52 territorial demand crucial in their agenda. Like among other indigenous peoples, territory belongs to the social sphere. Thus, when re ferring to territorial ri ghts, human rights are also at stake (Surrealles and Garcia Hierro 2005). According to article 84 of the constituti on, the pluricultural and multiethnic state guarantees indigenous peoples and afro-descen dants the right to be consulted on any projects related to the exploitation of res ources found in their lands. Displacement from their lands is a violati on of their rights, just as excludi ng them as beneficiaries of such projects. Ecuador also ratifie d the ILO Convention 169 that ensures indigenous collective rights internationally. However, many times th ere is not compliance with these measures and indigenous rights are negl ected. Transnational oil companies take almost 80 percent of the gains of oil exploitation and what stay s goes mostly to pay off the external debt and never really benefits th e Huaorani or the Oriente region. Thus in practice the neoliberal state is present to claim its ri ghts to the subsoil but does not provide the Huaorani with basic services such as hea lth care and adequate education programs but leaves that role to the oil companies. Oil companies with profits of hundreds of millions of dollars fail to comply with their obligait ons and they do not redi stribute but the lowest percentage possible of those profits. Historically, nation-states ha ve appropriated pre-state indigenous territories and designed political frameworks that threaten the survival of these peoples. As the CONAIE continuously makes a point to articulate, for indigenous peoples and nationalities territoriality includes their wo rldview system along with their sense of belonging and identity. Thus, te rritory represents the physical space that contains life (CONAIE 2004).

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53 To conclude, how adequate and acceptable ar e the legal titles of indigenous lands in Ecuador? While acquiring the legal title of thei r territory might have seemed at times as the final goal of the territorial struggle of indigenous peoples they are constantly having to reassess this issue, that is part of an ongoing, longer process.

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54 CHAPTER 4 HUAORANI WOMEN IN MOVEMENT: UNDERSTANDING THE EMERGENCE OF AMWAE AND THE COMPLEXITIES OF HUAORANI FEMININE LEADERSHIP In this chapter I will analyze the emerge nce of AMWAE, map out its structure and networks, discuss its objectives, and examin e its relationship with ONHAE. To explore AMWAEs significance in Huaorani society I will also go bey ond the institutional level, studying the perceptions of AMWAE in the communities and compare the demands of the community with AMWAEs objectives. The Emergence of AMWAE From the narratives gathered on the creati on of AMWAE, I identify two sets of driving forces that need to be consider ed in order to understand the emergence of AMWAE. Both are somewhat interrelated w ithout one necessarily predominating over the other. The first set is conj unctural and is related to two ev ents: first, there were funds available for projects involving women, a nd second, there was opposition on the part of the women to an ONHAE leader and a contract he had signed. The second set of driving forces has to do with the discontent of wome n regarding their lack of representation in the leadership of ONHAE and their lack of income generating opportunities. I also identify some secondary factors. These are no t as prevalent in the narratives of AMWAE leaders as the ones I identify as main factor s, and are related to womens consciousness regarding gender and political roles. I will be gin with the more conjunctural explanation for the creation of AMWAE. Before AMWAE became an independent association legall y recognized by the state, there was a group of Huaorani wo men organizing and working within ONHAE. These women lived in the city and thus had experience within the white-mestizo world. They were more informed about cross-cultur al issues regarding te rritory, the role and

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55 impact of the oil companies and ONHAEs ongoing projects than women in the communities. Also, their husbands had worked in ONHAE or at least participated in meetings, workshops and events of the or ganization. Roco and Nancy were recognized as the main leaders in the creation of AM WAE. Roco was the first and current AMWAE president during my field research. Nancy had previously been secr etary of health of ONHAE and was officially the vice-president of AMWAE at the time of my research. It is also worth mentioning that Nancy is the daughter of Da yuma, the first Huaorani who had peaceful contact with the SIL missionaries As the first convert, Dayuma became the bridge of communication betw een the missionaries and her Huaorani kin. She also became somewhat of a leader figure among th e Huaorani who lived in the communities under or close to the missionary station and their influence. Nancy is therefore also recognized as a leader among people from those communities. These women first organized themselves in 2002 under the name of Bore. They were given an office in the ONHAE headquart ers where they worked as volunteers. External funding had a pivotal role in this event: fondo vino a nombre de la mujer Huaorani para que trabaje una mujer pero no haba una mujer avanzada, formada, enton ces lamentablemente no haba y entonces ah era el periodo de Armando. Entonces Armando dijo que ustedes deberan formar una organizacin o una asociacin de mujeres para que puedan trabajar y puedan administrar. Entonces de ah nosot ras formamos tambin pero ah tenamos que legalizar papeles, hacer estatuto ( ) porque nosotros desde el principio tambin pensamos organizar, porque era antes nombre de asociacin era Bore. Entonces con Bore nos dieron prstamo a las mujeres Huaorani ah que maneje. Yo mismo fui y maneje un poco para piscicul tura, para agricultura. Entonces as despus dejamos porque no haba para lega lizar, legal como asociacin. Tenamos que estar molestando el ministerio de me dio ambiente pero ellos nos dijeron no podemos legalizar porque es de los var ones, no queran. Entonces dijimos donde podemos coger la organizacin para poder tr abajar las mujeres? Y ah todas las mujeres estuvimos en una asamblea para que la ONHAE mismo apruebe, para que sea asociacin de las mujeres Huaorani. Entonces ONHAE una vez tena asamblea en Toampare, periodo de Juan Enomenga, fuimos. Entonces dijo Juan Enomenga

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56 si podemos dar para que ellas tambin trabajen las mujeres, porque vemos que hombres y mujeres tenemos fuerzas. Entonces ah nos dieron, aprobaron el estatuto y de ahi salimos (Roco). [Funds came addressed to Huaorani women for a woman to work but, unfortunately, there was not an advanced and schooled woman. This was during the period of Armando. So, Armando said you should create an organization or association of women so that you can work and manage it. So, we then created it but we then had to legalize documents and make by-laws ( ) because from the beginning we also thought of organizi ng, because earlier the name of the association was Bore. So, with Bore Huao rani women received a loan and there I managed it. I went and managed it, a littl e for fish farming, for agriculture. And then we just left it because it was difficult to legalize, become legal like an association. We had to be bothering the Mini stry of Environment but they said that we could not [be legalized] because it is from the men, they did not want. So, we said where can we get the organization fo r women to be able to work? And then there we were all women present at an assembly for the ONHAE to approve [the legalization], to create the associatio n of Huaorani women. So, ONHAE had once an assembly in Toampare, during the peri od of Juan Enomenga, we went. So, Juan Enomenga said yes we can give it to th em for women to work too, because we see that men and women have strength. So, ther e they gave it to us, our by-laws were approved and then we left]. In this quote we can explicitly see the c onjuncture that leads to the emergence of Bore. Funds had become available to the organization for projects targeting women. These funds came from a PRODEPINE / IFAD1project and was designed to provide microcredit through a village bank or cajas solidarias. There was $1000 available for the women who wanted to pursue an income generating project, which had to be paid back after one year including a low interest payment. This way, the organization would be able to keep the main cap ital and to make new loans to other women. However, it did not work because simply the money was never paid back. Bore is the Huao name for a kind of an t, a hard working one. According to my informant, the name was supposed to symbolize the labor of Huaorani women who are 1 PRODEPINE stands for Proyectos de Desarollo para Pueblos Indgenas y Negros del Ecuador. This is a project of IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Developm ent), a specialized agency of the United Nations system devoted to support initiat ives dealing with food security.

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57 siempre trabajando, siempre tejiendo ( always working, always weaving, my translation). Later they changed the na me to AMWAE because AMWAE besides the meaning its acronym (Asociacin de Mujeres Wa orani de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana) also has a meaning in Huao-ter ero, the name of a fish. There was another factor that led to th e configuration of AMWAE as a separate entity. All the leaders mentioned the si gning of a contract between Ecogenesis Development Company LLC 2and ONHAE under the leadership of Juan Enomenga as part of the story of how AMWAE was create d. This contract entailed the waiving of usufruct rights to almost 700 hectares of Huaorani territory to the company.3 It was signed by ONHAE president Juan Enomenga without consulting any of the communities. This caused great turmoil that ended in the ove rthrow of this presid ent and all the other officers. Since the women were among the stro ngest opponents of this contract, before he was overthrown, Juan Enomenga threw them out of the ONHAE office headquarters: En ese tiempo cuando recin se formo, el Juan Enomenga ha dicho a las mujeres que empezaron a trabajar en la ONHAE acerca del FED. El Juan solamente queria firmar y coger dinero, pero las mujeres d ecan que no queran di nero y querian que el territorio Huao sea de los Huaorani, ninguna negociacin y el Juan dijo que no, ustedes tienen que irse de aqu, ustede s estn haciendo mal y por eso nos mando a sacar de la ONHAE(Roco). [In that time, when it was just created, Juan Enomenga told the women that had started working within ONHAE about FED. Juan only wanted to sign and take the money, but the women said they did not want money, and they wanted Huao 2 In the interviews when the leaders talk about the contract w ith Eco Genesis Development Company LLC they refer to it as FED (Fundacin Ecuatoriana de Desarrollo) which is the entity that directly d eals with the Huaorani in representation of Eco Genesi s. This will be discussed in greater detail in the s ection on critical issues of this chapter. 3 The interests that were implied in the contract with Ecogenesi s fit within the broader context of environmental services, name ly bioprospecting, sustainable forestry, eco-touris m and others. However, in Ecuador, most of the time such initiatives have a great impact on indigenous peoples that do not have sufficient legal knowledge a nd skills to manage this kind of projects that involve their land and natural resources which are essential to th eir physical and cultural reproduction. In f act, the juridical department from CONAI E finds itself overloaded with similar cases from various indigenous organizations represen ting groups from throughout the country (per sonal communication, Manuel Morocho and Efrain Calapucha, 2006).

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58 territory to belong to the Huaorani, no ne gotiations, and Juan said no, you have to leave here, you are doing bad and that is why he threw us out of ONHAE] This event led the women to settle in an office separate from ONHAE. They obtained the financial support of the project CAIMAN (Conser vacin en Areas Indgenas Manejadas) which had already been work ing with ONHAE and also opposed the Eco Genesis contract. CAIMAN was a consortium of national NGOs organized to develop projects financed by USAID (United States Agency for Interna tional Development). CAIMAN aided in the legal configuration of AMWAE. Furthermore, they provided capacity building workshops for the lead ers on administrative management and communication. They also held workshops in the communities on topi cs such as agroforestry management and handicraft producti on and marketing. While this was a very specific driving force supporti ng and guiding the creation of AMWAE, recurring in the narratives is another equa lly decisive factor. There was discontent among the women with thei r lack of representa tion in the formal leadership of ONHAE. They also did not have access to paying jobs as the men did. Some of the narratives tell the story of the creation of AMWAE this way: Primero empezaron Roco y Nancy en oficinas de ONHAE, empezaron con el nombre de Bore, mujeres tenemos der echo de trabajar, no solo los hombres, dijeron, y as empezaron poquito a poquito sin sueldo ni siquiera. As vinieron trabajando (Marcela ) [First Roco and Nancy star ted in the ONHAE office, th ey started with the name Bore, we women have a right to work, not only men they said, and this way they started little by little, even without a salary. This wa y they started working] The narratives demonstrate a growing cons ciousness over genders roles in a formal leadership structure that left women behind. The interview with Ro co, the president and chief leader in the creation of AMWAE, perhap s offers the best example of this sense of dissatisfaction and revindication:

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59 Yo viva en la comunidad, despus sa l porque mi esposo trabajaba en la organizacin, en la ONHAE. Entonces ah sal y conoc la or ganizacin, muchos aos pase con ellos, pero v que siempr e los hombres trabajan, solo los hombres. Entonces siempre a nosotras nos dejaban a un lado. Entonces comenzamos as y despus nosotros dijimos, organizamos, pr eguntando a todas las mujeres que viven adentro, dijimos: por que nosotras tamb in no podemos formar una organizacin para poder trabajar igual que los hombres? Entonces ah dijeron, preguntamos en cada comunidad y dijeron que si estamos di spuestas para hacer, para formar una organizacin, para poder trabaj ar como iguales trabajan los hombres. Entonces de ah fuimos a un taller en la comunidad Tiwino, que para formar una organizacin debemos concentrar todas las mujeres y queremos apoyar a la ONHAE, tenemos tambin que seguir apoyando, queremos form ar una asociacin pero con tal que trabajemos con la ONHAE. Entonces as fue en Toampare otra reunin, despus en Quihuaro otra reunin, fuimos Dane mentaro otra reunin y fuimos a Gareno, Gareno hemos ido como tres veces. Entones ah poco a poco las mujeres primeramente no queran hablar, vivan en la comunidad entonces algunas conocan y algunas no entonces tenamos miedo de hablar espaol, miedo de hablar Huaorani. En la poca de Armando el no quera [a probar para la configuracin legal de AMWAE] porque deca que todas las mujere s tenan que estar en la casa no afuera. El deca que siempre estn en la casa decan pues pero nosotras nos levantamos. Despus cuando ya dieron el nombramiento entonces tenia que buscar fondo para ir a Quito, entonces Armando en frente de las ONGs me puso, dijo en el publico cuando haba bastante gente, me dijo: 'las mujeres Huaorani tienen que estar atrs de los hombres no adelante, no igual' pero le dije 'Armando, nosotros, en la historia Huaorani, hombres y mujeres defendieron cuando armaron la guerra, hombres y mujeres lucharon para tener la fuerza, es o esta mal' le dije. Porque en la organizacin tambin nosotros hombres y mujeres podemos estar juntos, no podemos estar haciendo destruccin a la organizacin cuando estamos, cuando estn solos si pueden hacer, le dije. Tamb in cuando un lder puede hacer mal ah si la organizacin esta de quiebra, le d ije, la organizacin cuando son hombres cumplen hasta los nios si es bueno, le di je. Desde ah las mujeres si estaban con nimo de apoyar a la asociacin, todas la s mujeres viajaban Coca a la reunin, todos viajaban, nios y ancianos vi ajaban, ellos pensaron que tener una organizacin o asociacin ellos estaban emocionados apoyar a la organizacin. Es bueno tambin cuando tenemos la organizac in, ya nosotras damos lo que estamos dando. Hay gente que dice que las mujeres Hu aorani siempre estn en la casa, no, porque nuestros abuelos siempre un hombre hacia lanza y la mujer tambin tena que dar chicha u ortiga ah y listo. Ho mbres y mujeres trabajaban pero ahora cambiaron y entonces no, tenemos que segui r y seguiremos nosotros [A diferencia de lo que sucede en la ciudad]as hace n, adentro si trabajan juntos, la mujer siembra la yuca y el hombre corta el rbol (Roco). [I lived in the community, then I le ft because my husband worked in the organization, in ONHAE. So then I left and I came to know the organization, I many years spent with them but I saw th at always men worked, only the men. So,

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60 we were always left behind. So, we star ted this way, and then we said lets organize asking all women who live deep in the forest we said why cant we also build an organization to be able to work as the men do? So, there they spoke, we asked in each community and they said yes we are up for it, to build an organization, to be able to work just as the men do. So, we then went to a workshop in Tiwino, to create an organization we ha ve to gather all women and we want to support ONHAE, we have to continue supporting it, we want to build an organization just as long as we work with ONHAE. And so there was another meeting in Toampare, then in Quihuaro another one, we went to Damentaro to another meeting and we went to Gareno. We ve been to Gareno like three times. So little by little, women at firs t did not want to talk, they lived in the community and so some knew but other did not and they were afraid to speak Spanish, to speak Huaorani. During Armandos period, he did not want [to approve the legal configuration of AMWAE] because he said that women should be at home and not outside. He said to stay at home but we rebelled. La ter when we obtained the appointment I had to look for funds, go to Quito and so Armando in front of the NGOs when I was in the audience, when there was a lot of people, he said Huaorani women have to be behind the men, not before, not the same but I told him Armando, we, in Huaorani history, men and women defended when war broke out, men and women fought togeth er to have the strength, this is incorrect. Because in the organization also we men and women, can be toge ther, we cant be causing destruction to the organization if we are there, but if you are by yourselves you can, I said. Since then women became more enthusiastic to gi ve support to the association, all women traveled to Co ca to the meeting, everybody traveled, children and elders traveled, they were thinking about having an organization or association, they were excited about s upporting the organizati on. It is good when we have the organization, we already gi ve what we are giving. There are people who say that Huaorani women are always at home, no, because our grandparents always a man made a spear and th e woman also had to give the chicha or nettle there and that is how it went on. Men a nd women worked but now things changed but no, we have to continue, and we will continue. Thats how we do it, deep in the forest they do work together, the women plants manioc and the men cut the trees]. This narrative sheds light on the tensi ons around gender roles in an ethnic group that is immersed in the political and soci al ambiguities genera ted by the crossultural relations between their traditional society and the national society. It is interesting to see through this narrative how th e discourse on complementarity in gender roles among spouses appears. As discussed in chapter one, in Huaorani society the relationship between spouses has been described as a reci procal partnership wh ere certain activities become gendered as a form of complementarit y. This complementarity results in a certain

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61 division of labor that does not manifest a ny hierarchy (Rival 2002: 106). Thus, in this narrative it appears as if that conjugal complementarity is being transplanted into gender roles in activism. This is also noticeable in Rocos statement on how the womens desire was to work with ONHAE, supporting it and co ordinating with it. This can be understood as an appeal to complement instead of substitute There were also some secondary factors that appeared in the discourse of some of the leaders. They expressed their belief that women were firmer with respect to defending Huaorani interests and better managed money. An example of this view can be found in the following statement by the president of AMWAE: : los hombres, solo los hombres hacan, pero nosotros estbamos atrs, pero les dijimos que nosotras entrando en la organi zacin podemos trabajar igual que ellos. Porque si los petroleros entr an talvez en el Puyo y ello s [gente en las comunidades] a lo mejor adentro dicen 'no, no queremos y entonces mas bien nosotras podemos enfrentar con petroleros por que los hombres como son dan un poco de dinero y ya aceptan. En cambio nosotras no. Entonces hemos pensado as poco a poco (Roco). [Men, only men did, but we were behind, but we told them that joining in the work of the organization we could work the same as they do. Because if oil companies come perhaps in Puyo, they in the forest might say no, we dont want and so we can face the oil companies because the way men are they give them a little money and they accept, we dont. And this is how we have been thinking little by little] This discourse of the firmness of Huao rani womens activism to confront oil companies or any potential th reats to their territory is not only common among AMWAE leaders, but I noticed this view was shar ed by some CONAIE officers and members of national NGOs that work with the Huaorani. Howe ver, this is something to be tested in practice4. 4 During my time in the field there were internal tensions that were linked to the contract w ith Ecogenesis/FED. Although AMWAE was one of the major opponents of the contract, at the time of my field research it was common knowledge that two officers were collaborating with FED. These two officers organized an assembly with the purpose of overthrowing the officers that opposed FED These two officers allegedly collaborating w ith FED did not admit to their involvement with the institution and instead they ar gued how AMWAE leaders were not doing a good job a nd, in demonstration of their belief th at the leadership of AMWAE should be replaced, renounced their positions. B ecause of this internal tensions and division within AMWAE, I could not interview these t wo

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62 With respect to the way men and women manage money, womens better management of money is used as an argum ent for creating income generating activities for women: Porque nosotros vemos, somos jvenes como los hombres, porque tenemos que trabajar nosotras, derechos. Pero hombre s solamente organizan y trabajan, pero mujeres tenemos dar a nuestros hijos buena educacin, tener artesanas, todo, turismo, para educar bien y organizar bien para tener como mujeres queremos tener bien. Porque hombre trabajan y ganan pl ata y gastan ellos mismos y las mujeres nada tienen. Entonces ellas tambi n quieren derecho para trabajar. [Because we see, we are young like the men, because we have to work, we have the right. But only men organize and work, but we women have to give our children good education, have handicrafts, everything, tourism, to educate and organize well to have as women how we want to have well. Because men work and earn money and they spend it themselves and women ha ve nothing. So they also want their right to work]. This quote not only makes clear that wo men believe they spend money more responsibly, but it reflects how they also wa nt access to income generating opportunities. In their interactions with th e national society men have been more exposed to income generating activities. Oil companies, for instan ce, have hired Huaora ni men sporadically. Similarly, officer positions in ONHAE are al so income generating opportunities that, until the creation of AMWAE, were occupied mostly by men. Thus, building from the organization of Bore in 2004 within ONHAE, by 2005 women had created their ow n organization, AMWAE. officers who I did not see again after they resigned in that asse mbly. Elections were carried out in that assembly but the new officers were not approved because there were not representatives from a ll communities present in the assembly. AMWAE leaders came to an agreement and decided that a couple of mont hs later another assembly would take place to determine if the then current officers were to stay in their assignments. The assembly did take place and by the time I returned to visit five months after I left the fiel d, the leadership had been replaced but through a more consensual assembly. Ironically, in the communities the fulfillment of terms of office was recurrently mentioned as a needed improvement for ONHAE and fo r AMWAE not to follow the same steps. But, at the time the assemblies are taking place this view is not manifested enough to be put in practice. In May 2007 I was informed of what Roco expressed as very good news: there was no longer division among AMWAE members a nd Ecogenesis/FED had stopped being an issue.

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63 Structure and Funding of AMWAE AMWAE officially has ten officers: presid ent, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, three board members and three substitute board members. These leaders are elected in an assembly, the results which are then ra tified by CONAMU (Consejo Nacional de la Mujer). AMWAE also has an accountant and a secretary who is referred to as the tcnica Both the accountant and the technician are non Huaorani women from Puyo. They are in charge of tasks that the Huaorani officers do not yet have training i n, but the goal is that someday Huaorani women will occupy these positions. Following the structure of ONHAE, with in the AMWAE leadership there are specific responsibilities assi gned to each leader which include education, tourism, handicrafts, health and coordi nation. The structure of all indigenous organizations is similar because their by-laws follow a model th at is required by the government in order to be legalized. As discussed in the previous chapter, this is now changing because indigenous organizations are now being legalized under CODENPE (Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador) which does not require them to follow a specific by-laws model, but allows th em to organize as they please. However, AMWAE was legalized as an associati on by CONAMU and according to its by-laws members have to be registered; this contrast s with ONHAE where all Huaorani are innate members. This organizing format is an imposition entailed by the by-laws of associations. However, the bases (and to a certain point the leaders themselv es) do not understand well this differentiation and consider them selves all members. AMWAE has its own personera juridica and legal documents but ONHAE is still considered the main organization. They are, however, relativel y independent and AMWAE has developed the capacity to manage its own affairs, settling in a separate office.

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64 In the case of AMWAE, in practice, I observe d little specializa tion. The president was involved in all affairs. Only once I saw he r send other leaders as representatives for a meeting in CONAIE. However, she usually attended other meetings accompanied by other AMWAE leaders. There was one leader who seemed to have a more specialized role. This was the treasurer, Marcela. Marc ela was always learning by the side of the tcnica and the accountant, processing the paymen ts of the other le aders and doing paper work. The AMWAE office is located in downtown Puyo. It has three office rooms, one open meeting room, a bathroom and another room facing the street which houses the crafts store. One office room was occ upied by the accountant, another one by the tcnica and another room was assigned to the pr esident. AMWAE leaders, including the president, gathered in all r ooms indiscriminately. Additiona lly there was a studio in the back where the conserje (the guard and clean ing person) lived. The conserje was a Huaorani woman that lived there with her husband and children. The environment of the AMWAE office was calm and friendly. Child ren were always around. Toddlers were wrapped around their mothers, and older ch ildren would play ar ound in the open meting room or in the front yard. Huaorani child ren are very independent and from what I observed their presence in the office did not appe ar to be an impediment to their mothers work. In the office there were some busy days and other days when not much seemed to be going on, but the women were there, w eaving and discussing current issues and upcoming events. A busy day involved all-day workshops, mapping the upcoming months agenda, and meetings with ONHAE and other organizations.

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65 AMWAE works through the same networks as ONHAE: the oil companies, the NGOs of the project CAIMAN consortium, other NGOs, indigenous organizations and state institutions. Even if AMWAE is not di rectly involved in the implementation of projects that are carried out through ONHAE, AMWAE leader s are present and interact with the relevant institutions at planning meetings. Also, being a womens association means it has an even wider network. AMWA E is registered under CONAMU (Consejo Nacional de la Mujer) and occasionally partic ipates in workshops related to issues on womens leadership. My interviews with AMWAE leaders incl uded a question abou t the associations networks (Table A-5). Specifically, I asked wh ich were the most important relationships and with which social actors, and how these had facilitated or hinde red their struggle. Ten institutions were mentioned positively as having helped AMWAE, while three were mentioned as not having helped AMWAE or causing problems for them. Out of the eight leaders interviewed, seven mentioned CAIM AN as having helped the association. Two NGOs that are part of the CAIMAN consor tium were mentioned individually as organizations that help. Othe r institutions mentioned positively besides these were CONAIE, and then less frequently, ONHAE, IBIS, CONAMU, Accin Ecolgica, Entrix and the Municipality of Puyo. IBIS is a Da nish NGO that has worked with indigenous organizations in Ecuador for some years. It also works directly w ith CONAIE and with the Huaorani. Accin Ecolgica is a national NGO that works on issues related to the impact of oil, mining, and pl antation activities as well as biotechnology, bio-prospecting and bio-piracy. This is a politically committed organization that questions the model of

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66 development implemented in the country whic h they consider to be unequal and antiecological. The oil companies were mentioned by five l eaders; two classified them as helping social actors, two as causing problems and one as not helpful. This underlines the contradictory relations that th e Huaorani people have with the oil companies, as detailed in the previous chapter. The government was mentioned by two leaders and identified as unhelpful while Ecogenesis/FED was also menti oned twice as a social actor that causes problems. In terms of funding, AMWAE initially (and at the time of my fieldwork) depended mostly on the CAIMAN project and the oil co mpany Repsol YPF. In the annual budget agreement the Huaorani have with Repsol YPF, there is an item called Bonificacin dirigente (honorarium for leaders) for ONHAE and for AMWAE it is called Gestion AMWAE (management of AMWAE). These are not salaries per se, but honorariums. According to the accountant of AMWAE: ni facturamos, tampoco tenemos ningn beneficio social pero, el personal Huaorani, si se enferma o pasa algo, la Compaa los cura o los lleva al hospital, pero si se enferma un cohuori que trabaja para el pueblo Huaorani se enferma o se muere gratis. [We do not invoice, and we do not receive any social benefits, but if any Huaorani pers onnel gets sick or something happens, the Company takes care of them and takes them to the hospital, but if a cohuori that works for the Huaorani people gets sick, they get sick or they die for free, my translation]. Additionally, Petrobrs and Perenco occasiona lly make contributions for specific items such as the cost of acquiring passports, mobilizations, etc.

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67 During 2006 Repsol YPF gave AMWAE $1200 monthly that went mostly for bonuses for the leaders. Each leader receiv ed $100 a month and the remaining $200 went for transportation to and from the communitie s and to Quito for meetings and workshops. Considering the profit that the company ear ns from Huaorani land, these bonuses are pittances. While some AMWAE leaders alrea dy lived in the city because of their husbands jobs, other elected officers had to move to the city. In both cases they have to support their families on only $100 a month. CAIMAN only gives a bonus to the pres ident, and she must decide how to distribute it. It also pa ys the honorariums of the tcnica the accountant and the guard whose pay are not taken care of by Repsol YPF. CAIMAN was key in the configuration of AMWAE since it financed the rent fo r the AMWAE office, administrative costs (general office supplies, and telephone and in ternet bills), office equipment and capacity building workshops. All these expenses we re registered, and AMWAE had to send monthly financial reports to be approved for reimbursement so that there was no diversion of funds. While CAIMAN helped in the creation of AMWAE, its assistance only lasted one year. It helped train the leaders and carried out some community workshops. But one year of support was not enough. Even the capacity building workshops carried out during that year were not sufficient, as will be discusse d in greater detail in the section below. With the expiration of the agreement with CAIMAN and initiation of the 2007 budget agreement with Repsol YPF, AMWAEs funding situation changed. They had to move into a smaller office and all honorariu ms are now funded by Repsol YPF. The oil

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68 company is interested in continuing oil expl oitation for a prolonged time and so it must give more prolonged support to the Huao rani as suggested in the contract. The budget agreement with Repsol YPF is negotiated annually giving the Huaorani organizations the opportunity to meet with Repsol YPF and present their demands. I was in the field when such a meeting took place to discuss funds for schools in the communities. The company sent invitations just a few days before the meeting which did not leave much time for the leaders to come up with a good proposal and discuss it with people in the communities. In the renegotiation of th e 2007 budget agreement AMWAE managed to get a raise in the honorariums for its leaders. The difference in the level of honorariums paid to ONHAE and AMWAE leaders, however, is extremely high. For instance, the ONHAE president currently gets $500 from Repsol YPF, $360 from Petrobras and $160 from ONHAE,5 or a total of $1020 a month. The president of AMWAE, on the other hand, now gets onl y $250 from Repsol. The other ONHAE leaders get $400 from Repsol, $160 from Pe trobrs, and $100 from ONHAE, for a total of about $660 monthly. The other AMWA E leaders, however, only receive $200 a month from Repsol YPF. This reflects how differences in the value of men and womens labor are being imposed from the outside. It is the oil companies that decide that the leaders of the womens association should earn less than men, although, the differences in payment are not explicitly between men and women but rather between their organizations. 5 These funds that are referred to as coming from ONHAE itself are actually derecho de via.

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69 Relations between AMWAE and ONHAE At this point, then, it is crucial to explore the relations between AMWAE and ONHAE. As noted earlier, the women first created Bore within ONHAE at the suggestion of the then ONHAE president, Armando Boya, because there were some funds available for womens projects. Howe ver, the idea of organizing among the women was not his alone; it had alre ady been discussed among the women. The Huaorani women living in Puyo had been pondering about their ma rginality in the formal leadership of ONHAE. Even though Bore worked within ONHAE there were still tensions with the ONHAE leadership. First with Armando Boya himself who felt that the women should not be considered at the same level as me n and should stay at home. Second, with Juan Enomenga who ended up expelling them fr om ONHAE, causing a clearer separation between the two organizations. Forming their ow n separate associati on was not the initial intention of the women leaders. They wanted to be included in ONHAE and work together, in partnership with the men. This wa s always stated in the interviews and in conversations. With the leadership of Vicente Enomenga (who was president during my time in the field) there was a closer relati onship between AMWAE and ONHAE. The two organizations were constantly coordinati ng. Nevertheless, I did hear occasional complaints. Roco, for example, complained that the ONHAE men were not supporting them enough. However, there are always tensions among and between AMWAE and ONHAE leaders, and also between previous and current leaders of the organizations. Both ONHAE and AMWAE have had elections since my period of field work (June through August 2006) and now have differe nt officers. Under the new leadership, it appears as if the relation between ONHAE a nd AMWAE is not as close as it was under

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70 the previous leadership. When CAIMAN s mission ended, and AMWAE did not have enough money to pay the rent for their o ffice, they tried to go back to ONHAE headquarters where there was physical space for them. But ONHAE declined to help them, giving the explanation that the women son muy chismosas y hacen mucho problema [gossip too much and cause too much trouble] (Flora, personal communication). I was also informed th at the women felt that in the 2007 budget agreement with Repsol YPF they were not gi ven equal importance. As expressed by the accountant como si las mujeres estn ah para que hagan artesanas y nada mas [As if the women are there just to do handicrafts and that is all]. The implementation of projects and programs on key issu es like territory, education, health, and even tourism is done through ONHAE, even if AMWAE partic ipated in the pla nning and negotiating meetings. When AMWAE did not exist, women felt disadvantaged because they were not included in the formal leadership, but now that they have their association they are still excluded in the implementation of key programs and projects. ONHAE is the organization representing the Huaorani nationality--both men and women--and thus it should have a more in clusive leadership. AMWAE was not created with the goal of substituting ONHAE, but rather complementing it by broadening Huaorani representation. In practice, the creation of AMWA E has had two contradictory outcomes. On the one hand, it has opened up a space for Huaorani women, giving them a channel for their voices to be heard and givi ng them more visibility in the sphere of indigenous organizations. On the other hand, the creation of AMWAE has also resulted in the paradox of ONHAE becoming for all pr actical purposes an all male organization.

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71 While it is true that there was a lack of womens represen tation in the ONHAE leadership, which was the very fact that motiv ated the women to organize, it is also true that there had been some exceptions. Nancy, fo r example, was leader of health twice, Mara, leader of tourism, a nd Cantanpari, leader of territo ry. However, since the creation of AMWAE as a separate association ther e have not been any women elected to leadership positions in the last two ONH AE elections. The fact that ONHAE is the organization in charge of implementing proj ects on key issues lik e land, education, and health while AMWAE is mostly in charge of handicrafts or plant nursery projects is creating a clear division of la bor among organizations, one that is now gendered and where womens activities are viewed as less important than the mens. The motivations behind the emergence of AMWAE and the relations between it and ONHAE speak to key questions about so cial movements and womens movements. Should indigenous organizations be or ganized by gender? Should a womens organization exist as a separate entity or be an integral part of an ethnic organization? What are the implicit benefits and difficultie s in these choices? In the case of AMWAE, is it only going to be relegated to manage ha ndicrafts projects and re sult once again in the marginalization of women as ONHAE become s an all male organization with more decision making power than AMWAE? It is difficult to ascertain the proper answer to these questions and it is perhaps also too early to do so. It is, however, not only worth it but necessary to consider these questions. Drawing on the narra tives it is important stress how these emphasized that ONHAE and AMWAE need to coordinate, and how AMWAE was created to provide

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72 women with more opportunities, but also how AMWAE should support ONHAE and work together. The AMWAEs Functions and Objectives In the by-laws of AMWAE the main objectiv es of the association are stated as follows: 1. Fortalecer la participacin solidaridad y re sponsabilidad comunitaria a travs de la Asociacin. 2. Desarrollar Programas encaminaos al mejora miento del trabajo artesanal, turismo ecolgico, cultural pecuario, forestal, y de conservacin de la eco loga en beneficios de las mujeres de la Nacionalidad Waorani. 3. Implementar cursos en todas las reas para las Socias. 4. Gestionar ante los organismos pblicos y privados, nacionales o internacionales, apoyo financiero para la consecucin de los fines y objetivos de la Organizacin. 5. Dar a conocer las Leyes y Derechos que prot egen a la mujer tanto entre las Socias y la comunidad. 6. Velar porque las autoridades cumplan debi damente con las disposiciones legales a favor de la mujer. 7. Fomentar relaciones de Cooperacin con la ONHAE 1. [Strengthen communitarian participation, solidarity and responsibility through the Association 2. To develop programs that target the improve ment of handicrafts, ecological tourism, and forestry and ecological conservation work for the benefit of Huaorani women. 3. To implement courses in all areas for the associates. 4. To negotiate before public a nd private institutions, national or international, financial support for the achievement of the objectives of the organization. 5. To make known, among associates and in th e communities, the laws and rights that protect women. 6. To make sure that legal dis positions in favor of women ar e being properly fulfilled by the authorities. 7. To promote cooperational relations with ONHAE]. The by-laws, however, seem to represent more a formality than an actual guide for praxis, although, they are also always referre d to with respect to legal procedures. My analysis is based on the objectives expre ssed by AMWAE leaders in their narratives. Most of the objectives stated in the by-laws coincide with the expressed objectives of

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73 AMWAE leaders. Objectives five and six in the by-laws represent the exceptions; these were not mentioned by any AMWAE leaders. There are also expressed objectives of AMWAE leaders that are not mentioned in the by-laws. These will be discussed in greater detail below. While it might be too early to analyze the achievements of a newly formed association like AMWAE, th ere are noticeable accomplishments. The first and most obvious is the opening of a political space for Huaorani women. The best example of this is how for the first time a Huaorani woman was appointed dirigenta de la mujer (leader of women) in the CONFENIAE (Confederacin de las Nacionalidades Indgenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana), the regional indi genous confederation of the Ecuadorian Amazon. This recognition would not have been so easily accomplished if it were not for the creation of AMWAE. In this same line, the building of AMWAE has allowed women to widen their networks and their articulate demands more extensively. They have established relations with di fferent social actors to put forward their projects. Another achievement has been the capacity training of leaders and other Huaorani women that has been carried out through th e different workshops by and for AMWAE. Capacity training was an issue frequently and emphatically mentioned by Huaorani women, both leaders and non-leaders, as a be nefit. Lastly, AMWAE has developed their own income generating project, handicraft production, and sales are managed through AMWAE. This is an income generating opportu nity of particular importance to women because it contrasts to wage labor since it i nvolves their cultural traditions. AMWAE was able to carry out workshops in some communities and established a handicraft store in AMWAE headquarters in the city. This proj ect was carried out by Sinchi Sacha, a

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74 national NGO which is part of the CAIMAN consortium. These workshops were intended to rework traditional Huaorani ha ndicrafts and introdu ce new techniques using traditional materials. This initiative was succes sful in that it took into consideration a demand of the Huaorani women and carried it through. However, just like every other project put forward by CAIMAN, it had no c ontinuity. The agreement signed between AMWAE and CAIMAN was for only one year an d was not renewed by the latter. As a result, AMWAE found itself with no funds to continue the projec ts. The dependence on externally funded projects has contradictor y outcomes. One the one hand, it can provide funds for the association to develop new activ ities. But it does not necessarily result in self sustaining activities. At the same time it can at least partially drive the agenda of the association away from its primary objectives. The new leadership of AMWAE did not ge t the training to continue with the handicraft project, and they were also not trained for fundraising or connected to other organizations that might offer opportunities to continue training and such projects. After the 2005-2006 agreement ended, CAIMANs missi on was just dropped and while this mission might look good in USAIDs reports, in practice, it has had many failures. USAIDs website brags about how this mi ssion succeeded in supporting the creation of AMWAE, and how many Huaorani they trai ned (USAID). However, paying some basic bills for a year, carrying out a few works hops, and counting the number of people who attend these workshops are questionable indi cators of success if there was no provision for continuity. Considering all the different social actors with which the Huaorani organizations interact, the experience with CAIMAN can actually be considered a positive one. Even if

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75 some of the national NGOs which are part of the consortium that makes up CAIMAN have been declared non grata6 by CONAIE, this is something ONHAE and AMWAE have been able to counter-balance. Thus, overall their association with CAIMAN is considered as a positive one. In fact, in my interviews, AMWAE leaders considered it the organization that has helped them the mo st. However, the projects CAIMAN conducted with AMWAE not only lacked continuity, but the actual workshops carried out during that year were deficient. For instance, th ere was a computer skills workshop to train AMWAE leaders that only lasted one after noon. Certainly one afternoon is not enough to train indigenous women who are not too familiar with such technology. The workshop was a waste of money and time since little actual progress in capacity building took place. As stated by Roco: Si van ayudar que ayuden bien [If they are going to help then they should do it well]. Other workshops and activities that I observed or heard of included plant nurseries and workshops on hand crafts, co mmunication, and internal management. The plant nurseries were estab lished in the communities of oneno, Meepare, Tiwino and Bataboro. These had the purpose of training community members in agroforestry to produce materials used in the elaboration of hand crafts. The plant nurseries have since been abandoned by community members, a nother example of effort, money, and time spent in vain. The communication workshops were important because poor communication between the communities and the Huaorani organi zations is an issue that was constantly 6 In 2004 CONAIE declared many multilateral environm ental organizations and their national partners non grata. CONAIE argues that these organizations receive significant funds but the expected results on sustaina ble environmental management are lacking CONAIE further argues that the results have not been in conservation but in favorable economic conditions of these organization s meaning that these environmental instituti ons do not prioritize the interests of the populations directly dependant on the natu ral resources and natural environment in question (CONAIE 2004). Among the national environmental organizations there are two NGOs that are part of the CAIMAN consortium.

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76 brought up at the community level. This CAIMAN initiative included providing the communities with radios and teaching AMWA E leaders and Huaorani women how to operate the radios.7 This initiative was only partially accomplished since only 12 radios were distributed. This experience also re veals the constant tension that indigenous organizations face in adapting to foreign wa ys of organizing. On the one hand, these means of organizing and co mmunication seem necessary in order to i) increase communication, information and participati on between base and leadership, and ii) communicate the indigenous people s struggles in relation to th eir interactions with the white-mestizo world. On the other hand, these new means are imposing a format that indigenous people may not be familiar with and find it difficult to make their own. As mentioned earlier, the handicrafts project was perhaps the most successful project. Sinchi Sacha organized the handi craft store and positioned itself as the intermediary for sales at a larger scale. However, this organization promoted these workshops only in the city and in a few sel ected communities. Besides this problem, poor communication between the communities a nd AMWAE also caused the exclusion of many potential participants and beneficiaries. After having discussed the accomplishm ents of AMWAE and evaluating the activities carried out by Projec t CAIMAN, it is necessary to look at the main concerns expressed by AMWAEs leaders so as to be tter understand the objectives and agenda of the association (Table A-1). According to my interviews with AMWAE leaders, the main concerns of the association, in terms of the frequency in which they were mentioned, are territory, 7 Few non-leaders could attend these workshops that are mostly directed towards AMWAE officers because few women have enough money for transportation and lodging expenses that is reimbursed by CAIMAN only after and with receipts.

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77 education, health care, and contamination. Another concern frequently mentioned was handicraft sales. Culture, tourism, looking af ter the forest and looking for projects were also mentioned by several participants. Fina lly, the least frequent concerns mentioned were capacity building, fulfillment of leadershi p, organizing, and water, all with the same frequency. Defense of territory is a crucial issue fo r all indigenous organizations as detailed in the previous chapter. Moreover, even if the Huaorani have managed to have a large part of their ancestral territory legally r ecognized, there are constant threats to their rights. These threats include oil concessions, water c ontamination, illegal logging and usufruct rights among others. Education is valued greatly as a means of acquiring competence to interact with the national society or, as descri bed by Rival (1996), to perform well in the public sphere. Lack of acce ss to health care refl ects another vacuum in the responsibilities of the state with respect to indigenous people in the Amazonian region. Interactions with th e national society also brought many diseases for which indigenous people have no traditional medicine Furthermore, oil activities have caused damage to the health of Huaorani peopl e that live near the oil camps, water contamination being the most obvious. Handicr aft sales, which came in the second set of frequently mentioned concerns, refers to creating opportunities for women to generate income and benefit the community as well as to help pay for the indirect costs of formal education of children. This concern is prominent because handicraft production is among the few income-generating opportunities fo r women that does not disrupt womens household responsibilities.

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78 The concern denominated as culture refers to maintaining their cultural identity or as the participants express it vivir como Huaorani, como duranibai [living like Huaorani, like duranibai ]. Duranibai is an expression in Huao -terero that means roughly; the the way of our ancestors. Paradoxically, formal educati on is linked to this because they see it as a way of preparing themselves to fight to maintain their territory and way of life in the face of the pressures that come from their interact ions with the national society. Tourism, just as craft sales, is another income generating activity that is of interest to the Huaorani. This is another example of the cont radictions that appear between a traditional way of thinking that is no t open to the presence of cohuori in their land, with the desire for a means of generating income through this interaction. Looking af ter the forest is a concern related to the current destructi on of natural resources, expressed as contamination by oil activities and illega l logging, among others. Finding projects represents the need of leaders to identify opportunities to offer the communities. These activities and the associated benefits justify their position as leaders, which is constantly being tested. Among the least mentioned c oncerns, capacity building relates to a particular interest of the association in tr aining leaders and potential leaders. Fulfillment of leadership refers to the co mpletion of the associations o fficers appointed terms. This is due to the fact that many times because of internal tensions or dissatisfaction at the base, leaders have been dismissed from their positions and replaced during assemblies. The concerned expressed as organizing implies the coordination among and between leaders as well as between the organizations and the communities. Finally, water was a concern mentioned only by one leader, the AM WAE president, and it is related to the

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79 problem of contamination. The quality of water in many communities has become an important issue. It is interesting to point out that the mo st frequently mentione d concerns are those that are related to the traditional responsibilities and roles of the State. Those functions that are more in line with the role of the womens association, such as capacity building, fulfillment of leadership and organizing we re less frequently mentioned. This is significant regarding the associ ations objectives and what le aders and the base expect. The concerns that were expressed more freque ntly coincide more with the agenda of the ONHAE. This reflects how AMWAE's agenda do es not prioritize gender issues but fights for a political space, equality, and representati on in leadership shared with men. In this process, the women encounter challenges to their pursuit a nd specific objectives that target the gender-based inequalities are incorpor ated into the association's agenda to open opportunities and a space for women. In realit y, considering the concerns expressed by AMWAE leaders, it can be assumed that ONHAE and AMWAE have practically the same agenda. Nevertheless, when consider ing the narratives on the emergence of AMWAE and those other concerns not sh ared with ONHAE, it becomes obvious that what the women want is equal representation an d participation in leadership as well as more income generating opportunities. When analyzing AMWAEs agenda in te rms of practical and strategic gender interests it becomes obvious that AMWAEs interests are more practical than strategic. For a more direct application in policy pl anning and formulation in the context of GAD (Gender and Development), Moser (1993) inte rprets the conceptual model of gender interests as gender needs. This author develops a gender needs assessment tool whose

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80 purpose is to recognize women as active part icipants in development (Moser 1993:94). This tool, thus, is used to classify planni ng interventions in terms of those that meet practical gender needs (that is the needs identified to help women in their existing subordinate position in society) and strategi c gender needsnamely, the needs identified to transform existing subordinate relati onships between men and women (Moser 1993:94). While AMWAE is not a development project but a womens association, this tool can still be applied to anal yze the needs it articulates. This way, the most frequently mentioned concerns by AMWAE leaders can be interpreted as needs. Following this model, territory, education and health care would be AMWAEs main needs. While for the Huaorani territory and health car e are crucial to the condition of both men and women, these seem to be needs without the potential of transforming the existing gender relations. E ducation, however, does ha ve the potential of transforming the existing gender relations in th e sphere of the Huaora ni organizations. As mentioned earlier, formal education is a factor that contributes great ly to leadership and being a successful leader. With the creati on of AMWAE women have gained access to leadership but the control on critical issues is still held by ONHAE that has more decision making power than AMWAE. Thus, greater edu cation for women may be strategic in that this may be a precondition for women to pa rticipate on more equal terms in ONHAE and exercise effective leadership. Expectations and Perceptions at the Community level Shifting the focus to the community level, in this section, I an alyze the perceptions about AMWAE at the base and compare the co mmunity-level demands with the concerns expressed by the AMWAE leadership. To e xplore the demands at the base I asked the interviewees to express their concerns at:

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81 The community level (related to what th ey thought the commun ity needs) (Table A-3) The individual level (related to th eir own priorities ) (Table A-2). Most of the time the concerns identified as individual or pers onal were related to concerns regarding close kin rath er than to the individual per se. I must admit that I later pondered this conceptual division because, besides the language barrier, I questioned whether the conceptual differentiation between individual and community made sense for the interviewees. It di d not seem as if the answers about the concerns of the community and those of the individual varied much, but the division of questions in this way gave interviewees a second chance to think and express their concerns. In the following, I summarize the results separately for the two levels of the question, but I analyze the concerns altogether. Regarding the main concerns of the community, the most frequently mentioned one was education. In second place came the problem of excessive alcohol consumption and the road, which I will explain more about later. The following concerns were mentioned with the same frequency: health care, contamination, territory, tourism and the sales of hand crafts. Lastly, culture, looking af ter the forest, illegal logging, support from the organizations, and money management were also mentioned by at least one person. The concerns identified as personal overl ap greatly with those identified as communitarian. The most frequently men tioned one was also education followed by culture. Alcohol consumption then followe d, and lastly, the road, tourism and the problem of domestic violence. Education is the most frequently menti oned concern at both the community and individual levels and was among the most frequently mentioned concerns of AMWAE

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82 leaders. While territory was among the most frequently mentioned concerns of AMWAE leaders, I was surprised that it was only me ntioned by the interview ees twice as a concern pertaining to the community. Both of these re spondents lived in communities close to oil camps. This discrepancy has to do with th e fact that the leaders have a broader knowledge of the threats to their territorial rights and are aware of what is going on in Huaorani territory as a whole. Health care was also an e xpressed concern at the community level, however, it is also interesting to consider the view of the eldest interviewee on this matter: Para mi mejoraria tambien como dice salud, si, no hay medicina pero nosotros si tenemos medicina, tenemos todo, hay muchas plantas medicinales y eso nunca tiene que olvidar, seguimos teniendo. [I also would like improve d health care, yes, there is no medicine but we do have medicine, we have everything, th ere are many medicinal plants and that is something that never should be forgotten, we st ill have it]. Here hea lth care is mentioned as a concern but this elderl y woman approached it in a di fferent manner emphasizing how Huaorani tradicional medicine and re lated knowledge should be valued. Alcohol and the road are two concerns that were not mentioned by AMWAE leaders, but were voiced by interviewees in the communities of Tiwino and Bataboro. Both these communities have a road passing through them, which according to the interviewees, brings problems, namely alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption is said to cause family quarrels a nd violence, and great dismay was expressed about these interrelated problems. It shoul d be stated that the Huaora ni are not used to alcohol consumption traditionally. Their main drinking staple, tepe in contrast to the

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83 chicha8consumed by other indigenous groups in th e area, is not as fermented and has virtually no alcohol content. Other concerns mentioned by non lead ers in the communities were money management and support from the organiza tions. Money management refers to the difficulty they have in dealing with mone y, traditional practices are based on demand sharing among household members and reciproc ity between spouses. As expressed by the interviewee, the lack of skills in mone y management manifests itself in disputes among family members and between families about debts and perceived retributions. Support from the organization refers to what they expect from the Huaorani organizations. These expectations will be discussed below. Overall there was considerable overlap of the concerns expressed by AMWAE leaders and interviewees in the communities demonstrating that the leaders are aware of the demands of the communities (Table A-4). However, some concerns of the communities such as the road and alcohol c onsumption, which are very concrete issues pertaining to specific communities, were not mentioned by AMWAE leaders. This should serve as a warning to the association that the leadership must to pay attention to activities with the potential to cause trouble and that they must address these issues. In my community interviews, I also attemp ted to learn about the expectations that they have of both AMWAE and ONHAE. The expectations expressed by the interviewees in the communities were practically the same for both institutions. The most prominent expectation was better communicati on and coordination with the communities. As expressed by one partcipant: 8 A traditional fermented beverage made out of corn (in the Highlands) or manioc (in the Amazon).

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84 ONHAE tiene que hacer contacto con nosot ros, organizar, comunicar con nosotros y cuando hay problemas organizar las cosa s bien Por ejemplo, ONHAE tiene que invitar una fiesta grande, feliz, talleres comunicar que es lo que estan haciendo. Tener contacto con nosotros porque a veces ONHAE no comunica, no sabemos nada. Ellos tienen problemas a veces, no organizan bien, no se comunican con nosotros y no sabemos nada Nosotros tenemos que conversar con ellos, organizar bien para seguir adelante. [ONHAE has to make contact with us, organize, communicate with us and when there are problems organize well. For exampl e, ONHAE has to invite us to a feast, big, happy, workshops, tell us what they are doing. To make contact with us because sometimes ONHAE does not communicate, we do not know anything. They sometimes have problems, they don t organize well, dont communicate with us and we know nothing We have to talk to them, organize well to go on]. It is worth noting how this participant also suggests how the organization should organize a big feast because such would re semble a traditional Huaorani custom of organizing manioc drinking feas ts to establish, renew or ma intain social nexuses. Rival (2002) explains how these types of feasts were traditionally organized by prominent elderly couples that typically led a compound of longhouses to move to a new area of the hunting territory. ONHAE was described by a number of interv iewees as a big father. As one participant put it: Para mi ONHAE es muy grande como tenemos nuestro padres, la organizacin, muy grande. Taking the symbo lism of ONHAE as a fa ther, an interesting interpretation might be that th e organization assumes the role of the prominent elderly couple in the Huaoranicohuori context. Nevertheless, it is ne cessary to take into account that a pan-Huaorani identity is something that has only been recently created. In any case, taking up the organizing of these feasts could be a good practice to improve the relationships and communication between the organizations and the communities. The same communication and coordina tion was expected from AMWAE: [AMWAE] tiene que compar tir con dirigentes mismos, organizar, comunicarse con nosotros. Si no comunican lo mismo van a quedar como ONHAE, entonces yo

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85 pienso que tiene que hacer buen trabajo para mejorar, sin problemas, tiene que estar en contacto, con comunicacin [ they have to share among leaders them selves, organize, communicate with us. If they dont communicate they are goi ng to end up like ONHAE, and so I think that they have to work well to improve, without problems, they have to be in contact, in communication ] However, instead of being considered as a big father, AMWAE was compared to a newborn baby: AMWAE es como un reci n nacido. Thus, there is an implicit assumption that AMWAE needs to grow up to become a complete, full service organization. This does not imply that AMWAE is considered to be less important than ONHAE, but that it is new and still has to matu re. In fact, the same participant expressed that both organizations should go hand in hand: ONAHE es mas arriba, AMWAE es muy bajo, tenemos que ir subiendo bajando, subiendo hasta donde podemos llegar y despu s al final tenemos que llegar juntos como hombres y mujeres, sin problemas para vivir. [ONHAE is more on top, AMWAE is very low, we have to go up and down and up until we can get there and later, at the end, we have to get there together, like men and women, to live without problems] Other expectations that we re consistently mentioned by community members were those related to respons ibilities that traditionally are res ponsibilities of th e state, namely, education and healthcare. As di scussed above, this coincides with the concerns expressed by the leaders. Another frequently mentioned expectation is that of fulfillment of the leaders term of office. In respect to ONHAE, one participant said Para trabajar ellos hasta cumplir [sus obligaciones] y no para dejar botando por atrs, dejar mitad mitad, no es bueno, para mi es que trabaje bien y organice bien a nosotros. Si hay problemas que nos llame n ellos y podemos apoyar a ellos, si no comunica como podemos ayudar, apoyarlos ellos?

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86 [They have to work until they fulfill [their obligations]and not leave it behind, leave it half way, that is not good, for me they should work well and organize us well. If there are problems, to call us and we can give them support, if they dont communicate how can we help, support them?] Again, this was also something expected from AMWAE: como la otra organizacin [ONHAE] tiene que cumplir como dice dos aos, tres aos. Lo mximo tiene que cumplir porque a veces la gente esta por un ao y se sale y otro entra y no sabe nada de como coordinar. Entonces quieren hacer como los hombres, pero para mi no era bueno esto. [ like the other organization [ONHAE] ha s to fulfill like they say, two years, three years. The maximum it has to fulfill because sometimes people leave after one year and then another one comes and doesnt know anything about how to coordinate. So they want to do like the men, for me this is not good]. This statement particularly refers to a pattern that has been perpetuated by ONHAE officers who have not fulfilled their term of office due to tensions between them and former officers or by complaints from the base This is why the interviewee says that it is not good that AMWAE follow this pattern, sin ce ONHAE is predominantly comprised of male leaders. Also, male respondents showed a positive and enthusiastic reception to the idea of the women organizing and to the creat ion of a womens association. In contrast, the narratives of AMWAE leaders suggested that the creation of AMWAE was somewhat controversial in the beginning among the me n of ONHAE living in the city. These mens response seems to recall traditional Hu aorani egalitarian ways and suggests that gender inequality appears in the realm of the city and mostly in the context of the process of organization. Some other expectations that were al so expressed in the interviews with community members include fulfillment of the organizations responsibilities, the capacity training of leaders, a nd the protection of Huaorani territory. Lastly, coordination with the outside (namely, the whitemestizo society) and between ONHAE and

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87 AMWAE, and carrying out workshops were iden tified as expectations as well. All these expectations coincided for both ONHAE and AMWAE. The only exception was how some interviewees related one particular expectation to AMWAE, that they expect training workshops on handicraft production and sales. While complaints regarding the lack of communication with the communities raise questions about the representa tiveness of the organizations and their legitimacy, it should also be emphasized that the perceptions of the organizations tell us th at the base rightfully recognizes the organizations as their representative s with the outside world. Moreover, as seen in the above quotes, they also see suppor ting their organizatio ns as their personal responsibility. I also inquired about expecta tions for leaders of the two organizations, that is, what characteristics make up a good leader. One charac teristic required for a good leader that was shared by all interviewees was experience. Experience is closely related to another characteristic that was also fr equently identified, that a lead er must be a mature person. Maturity was highlighted in the intervie ws because most of the time ONHAE and AMWAE officers are young, and perhaps any mishandlings can be interpreted as associated with their youth. The following quote speaks of the link between experience and maturity: A veces nosotros metemos jvenes [como dirigentes] pero no saben despus que hacer, no pueden hablar, son muy dbiles. Entonces la organizacin puede caer. Entonces yo pienso que para ser buen dirigente tiene que tener experiencia. [Sometimes we get young people [as officers] but then they dont know what to do, they cant speak, they are very weak. So th e organization can fail. So, I think that to be a good leader they have to have experience]

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88 There is also the percepti on that younger Huaorani who are elected to officer are more oriented towards a future in the city wh ere they loose sight of the ways of Huaorani people and their needs: jvenes estudiantes van [a trabajar a la ONHAE] y para ellos es muy difcil. Son bachilleres pero es muy difcil, no entie nden nada de como tener contacto con los ancianos y trabajar. Entonces solo pi ensan en vivir en la ciudad noms. [young students go [to work to ONHAE] and for them is very difficult. They are schooled but it is difficult, they dont unde rstand anything of how to have contact with the elders and work. They onl y think about living in the city] Other good personal characteristics menti oned for leaders were the ability to coordinate with the base, and good family relati ons. It was not a surprise to hear that a good leader is one that coordi nates and communicates with the base, and as mentioned by one interviewee, with the elders. Comm unication with the communities was brought up extensively in other parts of the interviews. However, I was not truly expecting to learn that among the characteristics of a good leader is for him or her to get along well with his or her family. I deduce that the rationale is th at if a leader has good family relations this can be expected to extend to the community level, since this person will have good social skills. Other characteristics that were me ntioned more than once were speech and organizing skills, as well as a leader who supports the communities and fulfills his responsibilities and term of office. Organizing skills refers to being skilled in the sphere of indigenous organizations, knowing the work ings of this environment and how to operate in it. Moreover, it is directly linked to the idea of a leader that supports the communities, as seen in the following quote: [Un lider que sea] bueno organizando entonc es el puede apoyarnos a nosotros, el puede buscar algunas cosas aunque sean peque as o grandes para las comunidades. A todos, no para apoyar a los que viven en Puyo noms, a todos apoyar.

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89 [ (A leader that is) good organizing so that he could give us support, he can look for some good things, small or big for the communities. For everyone, not only to support those who live in Puyo, to support everyone] From this quote we also learn of the per ception that the Huaora ni living in Puyo are the ones that get the most benefits from th e Huaorani organizations. The Huaorani living in Puyo are more informed of the activities of the organizatio ns and are more likely to participate in the workshops carried out in the city. Among the Hu aorani living in Puyo are the ONHAE and AMWAE officers as well as Huaorani representatives in the DINEIB (Direccin Nacional de Educacin Intercultural Bili nge/ National Directorship of Intercultural Bilingual Edu cation), all of whom receive honorariums. The fact that Huaorani living in Puyo get paid might lead to the perception that th ey benefit the most. Speech skills refer to the ability of officers to speak in representation of and communicate with the Huaorani people. In this same line are the following characteristics: language, lit eracy and knowledge of the c ity. By language what is meant is the ability of leaders to be proficient in both Huao-terero and Spanish. In the bylaws of organizations it is a requirement for officers to be native Huao-terero speakers as representatives of the Huaorani people. While be ing proficient in Spanish is not stated in the by-laws, it is implicitly necessary in or der to be a proper inte rmediary between the Huaorani nationality and the national society. In the same manner, literacy is also required to be able to carry out activities pertaining to th e organizations relations with other social actors. Also li nked to the two previously mentioned characteristics, knowledge of the city refers t o, again, having the skills to in teract in the sphere of the city and the broader context of the whitemestizo society. Finally, knowledge of Huaorani territory and no alcohol consumption were al so identified as characteristics of a good leader. Alcohol consumption, as previously di scussed, is associated with violence and

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90 quarrels and, therefore, behavior even less ac ceptable in a leader. Knowledge of Huaorani territory, on the other ha nd, can have various meanings sinc e the concept of territory is itself complex. Thus, it can mean knowing the location of all Huaora ni settlements and hunting grounds, as well as knowing how to live in it and of it. Moreover, a leader with this knowledge is better equipe d to defend their territory. There are some apparent contradictions be tween the identified characteristics that make up a good leader. Literacy and knowledge of the city are char acteristics that are not commonly associated with maturity, gi ven that most Huaora ni elders are not proficient in Spanish, literate nor, have know ledge of the city. Th ese characteristics are more likely to be present in the younger generation whom are not perceived as completely apt leaders. The convergence of all these characteristic s is perhaps more likely among individuals such as the founde rs of ONHAE that while being young at the time of the creation of this or ganization, are now entering a more mature age, and, at the same time, also have more experience in the sphere of indigen ous organizations and crosscultural relations with the national soci ety. The two main leaders in the creation of AMWAE, Nancy and Roco, are also more likely to fit within this category. These same contradictions emerge in th e context of indigenous organi zations vis--vis the national society and permeate the cross-cultural rela tions of indigenous pe oples in daily life. In sum, I have discussed how the emergence of AMWAE can be understood by a combination of factors, some conjunctural a nd some related to the discontent of women with their subordination in formal lead ership and access to income generating opportunities. While AMWAE and ONHAE follow a similar structur e and share their sources of funds, ONHAE is still considered to be the parent organization and its officers

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91 earn higher honorariums than AMWAEs. AM WAEs agenda and objectives coincide greatly with ONHAEs but its functions are more limited since it is ONHAE that deals with the implementation of activ ities related to key issues su ch as education, health care and territory defens e and management. Regarding the cost and benefits of having an all womens association the first issue to consider is that with the creation of AMWAE, ONHAE, the parent organization with more decision making power, has apparently tu rned into an all mens organization. While this might translate to the marginalization of Huaorani women, some positive aspects that have resulted from the creation of AMWAE include: a national visibility and political space for Huaorani women; an increase in networking opportunities; the capacity training of women leaders; and promotion of ha ndicrafts related to income generating opportunities. At the community level, the expressed c oncerns were analyzed as demands, and I established how these genera lly coincided with the objec tives of the organizations. However, these demands do not necessarily represent the actual functions of AMWAE according to its by-laws. Moreover, the ma in demands of the base and the main objectives of the organizations consist of activ ities that are traditi onally the responsibility of the state.

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92 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS The main objective of this thesis has b een to understand and explain the emergence and functioning of the Huaorani women s association. Through the narratives of Huaorani women leaders we saw that there we re different driving factors at play. For analytical purposes, I divided the main f actors into conjunctural factors and factors related to the womens dissatisfaction with respect to their position in the formal leadership of ONHAE. As discussed in chapte r three, the conjunctural factors are linked to two events. First, the availability of funds from PRODEPINE for a project involving women which led the women to initially organize within ONHAE under the name of Bore. Second, the opposition of the women to the Ecogenesis contract and the ONHAE leadership who signed it, led to the confi guration of AMWAE as a more independent organization established in a separate offi ce. The other driving forces included the discontent of women regarding their lack of representation in the leadership of ONHAE and the lack of income gene rating opportunities for them. There are other, secondary reasons related to womens gr owing consciousness of gender a nd political roles, such as the belief womens activism is firmer than mens and that women manage money better. In the context of cross-cultural interactions income generating oppor tunities have been mostly available to men, who tend to spend money irresponsibly. According to the women, they want income opportunities too b ecause they believe they should have the same right as men and because they woul d spend money more responsibly than men, directing it mainly to the needs of their children. Here I juxtapose the narratives of AMWA E leaders with the driving factors behind feminine leadership identified by Cervone et al (1998). With respect to the Ecuadorian

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93 highlands and Amazon, common f actors contributing to indigenous feminine leadership include the combination of formal educa tion and a process of ethnogenesis, being bilingual, and being exposed to the sphere of ethnic organizations that grants the opportunity for women to devel op as leaders (Prieto 1998). Similarly, the main leaders in the creation of the AMWAE are bilingual, literate women th at had being living in Puyo and whose husbands or relatives had experi ence in the ONHAE leadership. Indeed, one of the most prominent leaders in the cr eation of AMWAE had previously been an ONHAE officer. These factors continued to be an influence after the creation of the womens association; its curre nt president was also an ONH AE officer. Moreover, being involved with the indigenous organizations not only gave them experience but also made them realize that the lack of participati on by women was a problem. The narratives of the Huaorani women as well as the testimonies of the Amazonian Quichua women studied by Garces (1998), emphasize the interest in the attainment of gender equality in the positions of power. As discussed in chapter three re garding the complementarity between mens and womens work, particularly re levant in the case of the Huaorani is the fact that men and women have traditionally worked side by side. Rocio, a Huaorani leader, observed that when she arrived in Puyo only men worked in the ONHAE and she pondered how different this was from traditional custom. Another point regarding gende r relations relates to the discussion by Ziegler-Otero (2004) on the changes brought about the Huaora ni organizing proce ss. He argues that organizing has also validated the ongoing pro cess towards a more rigid gender division of labor, but such changes in gender relations are not solely a produc t of the organizing process or the actions of the organization or its leadership. Within ONHAE, the author

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94 sustains, these changes are a reflection of t hose that exist among the Huaorani society of today, which lean towards more androcentric ways than traditiona lly. I agree with his argument that changes in gender relations are influenced by the immersion in the national culture and are not nece ssarily a result of organizing. Howe ver, based on the narratives of AMWAE leaders, I would maintain that the Huaorani organizing process still created a new, unequal dynamic in gender relations. As for the organizational structure of AM WAE, the association faces many of the same challenges as ONHAE. Huaorani organizations follow a format that is foreign to their traditional social structure. However, the need to be organized for cross-cultural relations and negotiatio ns is recognized by both leader s and non leaders in the base. Perhaps, in the future, through experience they might find an organizing format that fits better within their traditional social structures and results in more effective interactions with other social actors. Regarding funding, AMWAE also faces the same problem as ONHAE. That is, the association is trapped in the Huaorani-oil co mpanies relations model described in chapter two. In this model there is an implied depe ndency and a complex re lation with the oil companies that provide goods and services but simultaneously threaten the integrity of their territory. Thus, the Huaora ni are beneficiaries and cont enders at the same time. Furthermore, adding to the impact that the oil companies have had on Huaorani social structure, settlement patterns, and th e sexual division of la bor is the undervaluing of womens labor in the cit y. The honorariums that AMWAE leaders receive from Repsol YPF are one third of the amount that ONHAE leaders receive from the same company.

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95 The oil companies, by placing a greater valu e on the labor of men, contribute to the establishment of artificial gender, social, and political hierarchies. In the analysis of AMWAEs objectives in chapter three, I found that the official objectives in the by-laws are more focuse d and limited in scope than the objectives expressed by AMWAE leaders. AMWAE lead ers see their responsibility and implied objectives as territory, education and health care, which is not that different from the objectives expressed by ONHAE. However, hand icraft production and sales, and income generating opportunities for women, are objectives expres sed by AMWAE that is not important in ONHAEs agenda. All the concer ns of the leaders, with the exception of territory, coincided with the views of th e base. While the main concerns of AMWAE were implied objectives, the main concer ns at the base were implied demands. A perceived challenge for the Huaorani orga nizations is that the main concerns of the leaders as well as the main expectations of the base are edu cation and healthcare, traditional responsibilities of the Ecuadorian state. Other writers have commented on how the state has delegated its constitutional re sponsibilities regarding Amazonian indigenous affairs. As discussed by Garces in the case of Quichuas of Napo, el estado ha delegado gran parte de sus responsabilidades a las ONGs, las que se han convertido en intermediarias de recursos estatales y privados hacia la poblacion. La organizacin, en muchas ocasiones tambien ha asumido ese ro l, lo cual ha debilitado su papel sociopolitico en las bases y en su relacion con el Estado y los agentes externos [the estate has delegated a great part of its responsib ilities to the NGOs, which have become intermediaries between state a nd private resources to the pop ulation. The organization, in many occasions has also assumed this role, whic h has debilitated its socio-political role in

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96 the base communities and in its relation with the state and external agents] (1998: 96). In the case of the Huaorani, this role has been delegated by the state primarily to the oil companies that provide infrastructure a nd funding for educational and healthcare programs. ONHAE has to assume the responsib ility of negotiating with the oil companies to attain the minimum standards for these servic es to be provided to the Huaorani people. This puts the organization into a vulnerable position becaus e it does not have sufficient, trained personnel for these purposes. Furthe rmore, ONHAE does not receive sufficient funding to be able to discuss these issu es in a timely manner with over thirty communities in order to better negotiate with the oil companies. In the case of AMWAE, the base expects these negotiational responsibilities to be filled by the association and the leaders conceive this as among their objectives, but this is not actually the function of the association according to its by-laws. Moreover, the women participate in the negotiation and planning meetings for these activities but it is through ONAHE that the funds are received, and the services implemented. Huaorani perceptions of what constitute s a good leader reveal a blend of personal and political characteristics, as I have poi nted out in chapter th ree. Valued personal characteristics include experience, maturity, public speaking skills, good family relations and to a lesser extent, characteristics like being literate, bilingua l and abstaining from alcohol consumption. Political features identified include or ganizing skills, the capacity to coordinate with the base, being able to cope with responsibilit ies, the fulfillment of ones term of office and having knowledge of the city. Whether personal or political characteristics, the tensions in attaining al l of them are evident. While experience and maturity are greatly valued, being literate, bilingual and having knowledge of the city

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97 is also perceived as necessary characteristic s of a leader. The latter characteristics are mostly found among the younger generation while maturity and experi ence are attributes of elders. These intergenerational differences also reflect the c onstant tensions and contradictions that the Huaorani find th emselves involved in while negotiating the traditional ( duranibai ) with what they refer to as cohuoribai, the ways of the cohuori Most likely, these tensions and contradict ions will remain important issues for the Huaorani and their organizations in the foreseeable future. Tensions are also apparent in the rela tions between AMWAE and ONHAE. In their narratives, AMWAE leaders emphasized how they always seek to work together with ONHAE, complementing each other and coordinating. However, ONHAE has had shifting attitudes towards AMWAE depending on the officers in charge and on specific situations. It has encouraged and supported the womens or ganization but at times also opposed AMWAE when it showed political di sagreement on some particular issue. Moreover, even if AMWAE participates in planning meetings and its leaders have a voice, ONHAE is the one that implements key pr ojects and programs. This has to do with how the organizations are externally perceived by the different social actors with which they interact. In addition, this is also relate d to the objectives and f unctions stated in the by-laws of the organizations. ONHAE leaders ha ve been passive regarding these political differentiations and the differences in the honorariums received by officers of each organization. They have not shown clear opposition to this kind of problem. Here it is pertinent to discuss the costs and benefits of having a more independent all womens association. AMWAEs autonom y is relative since ONHAE is considered the parent organization and AMWAE is lik e a daughter. In many studies of the

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98 womens movement (Deere and Len 2001) having an autonom ous organization is seen as necessary for the empowerment of women. Molyneux (2003) also points to some shortcomings in this position. She notes how in some contexts autonomy can mean marginalization and a lesser political eff ectiveness (Molyneux 2003). That seems to be the case of AMWAE. So far, the creati on of AMWAE has resulted in ONHAE becoming an all mens organization, and the primary one that implements and manages the key programs and projects that AMWAE leaders ar e most concerned with. On the other hand, among the benefits of having a Huaorani wome ns organization has been the leadership training, the opening of political space, and the widening of their networks that enable women to articulate their de mands more extensively. In the introduction I presented three positions on the role of womens issues within indigenous organizations. First, that a gendered agenda with in indigenous organizations is not necessary because ethnic discourse equally represents both men and women. Second, recognizing unequal and hierarchical relations between genders, a gendered agenda within mixed-sex indigenous organizati ons is necessary. This position prioritizes equality in opportunities to pos itions of power in leadershi p. The third position poses that women need their own autonomous organizatio n to successfully voice their own demands and develop leadership skills for womens empowerment. Although AMWAE currently fits more or le ss within the third category since it is technically autonomous from ONHAE, initiall y, Huaorani women wanted to pursue the second option. Similarly to what Garces (1998) found for Amazonian Quichua women, Huaorani women stress the aim of equality in leadership. In addition, AMWAEs gender interests are not strategic but refer to basic needs which they do not articulate as gender

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99 interests but as for Huaorani society as a w hole. The exception to this is the production and sale of handicrafts, an income generati ng activity directed mo stly towards women. The case of AMWAE problematizes this third position since it is configured as an independent all womens association, but this does not necessarily mean that its agenda includes strategic gender needs with the goal of empowering women. This was not necessarily the objective of Huaorani women, since they consider themselves as belonging to an egalitarian so ciety. But when faced with th e inequalities brought about by their interaction with and partial insertion in the national society, th ey question and resist such inequalities, including those regardi ng gender relations. Ju st as the womens movement and indigenous movement many time s do not intertwine wi thout tensions, so does the case of the Huaorani womens organi zation seems too complex to fit well in any of the positions mentioned above. Huaora ni women organized in resistance to the changes brought about by the interactions of the Huaorani and nationa l society. Just like ONHAE, they demand basic rights like r ecognition of and autonomy within their territory, and access to educati on and health care. At the institutional level, Huaorani women articulate their interest in the equa lity of leadership and income generating opportunities for women. Both these issues are manifested in the sphere of their crosscultural relations. It is worth reiterating that the communities have seen changes in gender relation as documented by Lu (1999), but these were not id entified or expressed as concerns in my interviews at the community level. I believe this is due to methodological issues involved in my research. I had a small sample, my brief stay in the communities did not allow proper participant observation to identify th ese changes or concerns, and my questions

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100 did not target this information. Thus, in my study, consciousness regarding changes in gender relations were present at the institutional level but absent at the base. The very creation of AMWAE suggests that there is a certain consciousness over gender and political roles on the part of Hu aorani women leaders. They have taken advantage of the conjuncture that influenced their organizing proce ss to put forward two demands for the improvement of womens cond ition: equality in leadership and income generating opportunities for wo men. While these are gender interests, this does not necessarily mean that Huaorani women leader s fully identify with the discourse of the womens movement or that AM WAE has a truly feminist agenda since their expressed interests and the objectives of the association do not indicate it. Overa ll, it can be said that the organizing of Huaorani women can be interpreted as an important component of Huaorani resistance mechanisms. Although this is a limited study due to time and logistics it can serve as a springboard for future inquiries This study is mostly based on women leaders working in the city. The interviews conducted at the community level among non leaders targeted a small sample, and extended participant observation was not possible due to the aforementioned constraints. Futu re reasearch needs to study in more detail the changes in gender relations at the community level. Such an endeavor w ould greatly enrich the study of Huaorani women leaders and the impact of their association.

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101 APPENDIX A QUANTIFIED ETHNOGRAPHIC DATA Table A-1. Most frequently me ntioned concerns by leaders Concerns % contamination 4 50% education (formal) 4 50% healthcare 4 50% Territory 4 50% craft sales 3 38% Culture 2 25% looking after the forest 2 25% Projects (income generating) 2 25% Tourism 2 25% Capacity training 1 13% fulfillment of leadership 1 13% organizing 1 13% Water 1 13% Alcohol 0 0% Loggers 0 0% money handling 0 0% Road 0 0% support from organizations 0 0% Total interviews 8 100 % Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006 Table A-2. Most frequently mentioned con cerns by non-leaders (reg arding individual issues) Concerns % education 5 50% culture/ duranibai 4 40% Alcohol 2 20% Road 1 10% Turism 1 10% craft sales 1 10% Violence 1 10% Total interviews 10 100 % Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006

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102 Table A-3. Most frequently mentioned concer ns by non-leaders (community level issues) Concerns % education 5 50% Road 3 30% Alcohol 3 30% craft sales 2 20% Tourism 2 20% Territory 2 20% health care 2 20% contamination 2 20% money management 1 10% illegal logging 1 10% Culture 1 10% looking after forest 1 10% Support from organizations 1 10% Projects 0 0% Organization 0 0% fulfillment 0 0% capacity training 0 0% Water 0 0% Total interviews 10 100 % Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006

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103 Table A-4. Total ranked of most frequently mentioned concerns Concerns % education 9 50% contamination 6 33% Territory 6 33% healthcare 6 33% craft sales 5 28% Tourism 4 22% Alcohol 3 17% Road 3 17% looking after forest 3 17% Culture 3 17% Projects 2 11% Water 1 6% Support from organizations 1 6% capacity training 1 6% fulfillment of leadership 1 6% Loggers 1 6% money handling 1 6% organizing 1 6% Total interviews 18 100 % Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006

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104Table A-5. AMWAEs netw orks and constraints social actor 1 social actor 2 social actor 3 social actor 4 social actor 5 social actor 6 social actor 7 social actor 8 social actor 9 social actor 10 social actor 11 social actor 12 social actor 13 leaders CAIMAN Entrix FED/ Ecogenesis Petroleras ONHAE Kantarida Sinchi Sacha CONAI E CONAMU Municipio IBIS Gobierno Accion Eco 101 H D helps helps a bit problems helps/problems 102 H D helps 114 H D helps helps 115 H D helps no help helps helps 116 H D helps helps helps helps helps helps 117 H D helps helps helps helps no help 118 H D helps problems no help/problems helps helps helps 119 H D helps helps helps no help helps Source: Interviews by the author, July 2006

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105 REFERENCES Accion Ecologica 2006. Breve Historia del Parque Naci onal Yasuni. Electronic document, http://www.accionecologica.org/webae/inde x.php?option=com_cont ent&task=view&id= 20&Itemid=39#breve accessed November 2007. Becker, Marc 2006. The coming of a new era? Electroni c document, in The New Socialist: http://www.newsocialist.org/index.php?id=1155 accessed July 2007. Collins, Jennifer. 2004. Linking movement and Electoral Politics : Ecuador Indigenous Movement and the Rise of Pachakutic In Politics in the Andes: Id entity, Conflict, Reform, eds. Jo-Marie Burt and Philip Mauceri. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. _________ 2000. A Sense of Possibility: Ecuador Indigenou s Movement takes Center Stage. In NACLA Report on the Americas 33:5: 40-50. CONAIE 2004. Propuesta de Ley de Biodi versidad. Quito: CONAIE. CONAIE 1992. CONAIE: A Brief History. Electronic document, http://conaie.nativeweb.org/conaie1.html accessed November, 2004. CONAMU 2005. Historia. Electronic document, www.conamu.gov.ec accessed November 2006. Consejo Nacional de Cultura 2005. Instituciones Culturales: CONAIE. Electronic document, http://www.cncultura.go v.ec/cultura/html/con Accessed July 2007. Deere, Carmen Diana and Magdalena Lon 2001 Empowering Women: Land and Property Ri ghts in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Entrix 2006. Projects: Community Relations with I ndigenous Communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Electronic document, http://www.entrix.com/projects/project.aspx?id=80 accessed July 2007. Fontaine, Guillaume 2003 El precio del petroleo: C onflictos socio-ambientales y g obernabilidad en la region amazonica. Quito: FLACSO Sede Ecuador

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106 Garcs, Alicia 1998 Entre la tradicin y la modernidad: las lderes indgenas de la provincia del Napo. In Mujeres contra corriente. Cervone, et al. Pp 91-133. Quito: CEPLAES. Llacta Organizaciones Indgenas y Movimientos Soci ales del Ecuador. Electronic documents, http://www.llacta.org/organiz/ acessed November 2004. _____ 2001. Conceptos bsicos de un Estado Pl urinacional. Electronic document, http://www.llacta.org/organiz/coms/com62.htm accessed July 2007. Lind, Amy 2002 Making Sense of Neoliberalism: The In stitutionalization of Womens Struggle for Survival in Ecuador and Bolivia. Journa l of Developing Societies 18 (2-3): 228-252. Lu, Flora E-shen 1999 Changes in Subsistence Patterns and Re source Use of the Huaorani Indians on the Ecuadorian Amazon. Ann Arbor: UM I Dissertation Services. Molyneux, Maxine 2003 Movimiento de mujeres en Amrica La tina: Estudio terico comparado. Madrid: Ediciones Ctedra. Narvez Q., Ivan. 1996 Huaorani versus Maxus: Poder tnico versus poder transnacional. Quito: FESO. Olivera, Mercedes 2005 La participacin de las mujeres i ndgenas en los movimientos sociales. In Movimiento indgena en Latino Amrica: re sistencia y proyecto alternativo. Fabiola Escrzaga and Raquel Gutirrez, eds. Pp 313-322. Mxico DF: Gobierno del Distrito Federal, Casa Juan Pablos, Benemrita Un iversidad Autnoma de Puebla, Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico, Universida d Autnoma de la ciudad de Mxico. Pachakutik 2004. Nuestros Inicios. Electronic document, http://www.pachakutik.org.ec/home/cont enidos.php?id=16&identificaArticulo=2 accessed June 2007. Prieto, Mercedes 1998 El liderazgo de las mujeres indigenas: Tendiendo puentes entre gnero y etnia. In Mujeres contra corriente. Cervone, et al. Pp 91-133. Quito: CEPLAES.

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107 Rival, Laura 1994 Los indgenas Huaorani en la concie ncia nacional: Alteridad representada y significada. In Imgenes e imagineros: Rpresentaciones de los indgenas ecuatorianos, Siglos XIX y XX. Blanca Muratorio, e d. Pp 253-292. Quito: Flacso-Sede Ecuador. _________ 1996 Hijos del sol, padres del ja guar: Los Huaorani de ayer y hoy Quito: Abya Yala. _________ 2002 Trekking Through History: The Huaora ni of Amazonian Ecuador. New York: Columbia University Press. _________ 2005 The Attachment of the Soul to th e Body among the Huaorani of Amazonian Ecuador. Ethnos 70 (3): 285-310. Rivas Toledo, Alex and Rommel Lara Ponce 2001 Conservacion y petroleo en la Amazoni a Ecuatoriana: Un acercamiento al caso Huaorani. Quito: Abya Yala Robarchek, Clayton. 1998 Waorani: The Context of Violence and War Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Sawyer, Suzana. 2004 Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberlism in Ecuador. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. USAID 2006. USAID Latin America and the Caribb ean: Ecuador Environment Summary. Electronic document, http://www.usaid.gov/locations /latin_america_caribbean/e nvironment/country/ecuador.ht ml accessed June 2007. Yost, James. 1979 EL desarrollo comunitario y la superviven cia tnica: el caso de los Huaorani, Amazonia Ecuatoriana. Quito: Cuadernos Etnolingsticos. Ziegler-Otero, Lawrence 2004 Resistance in an Amazonian Community : Huaorani Organizing Against Global Economy. New York: Bergham Books.

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108 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Mayra Daniela Avils was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador where she lived until she moved to Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor of Ar ts in anthropology from th e University of Florida where she later completed her Master of Arts in Latin American studies with a concentration in anthropology. Her research inte rests include social movements and indigenous activism in Latin America.


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