Chris Fagan

Author's posts

UAC’s work to protect isolated tribes highlighted in Science magazine

June 2015 Science magazine has published an extensive expose on issues surrounding isolated tribes in the southwestern Amazon in light of recent contact events between the tribes and local villagers. The articles are divided into two sections—Peru and Brazil. The Peru section was informed by an April expedition to the Alto Purús led by UAC and its Peruvian sister organization ProPurús.

Frustrations Grow after Communities are Raided by Isolated Tribes

March 2015: A UAC and ProPurús expedition to the remote headwaters of the Alto Purús River found growing frustration among local people towards isolated tribes living in nearby forests. In October and November of last year, four communities on a tributary of the Alto Purús were raided by isolated tribespeople who broke into houses and took clothing, machetes, pots and pans, as well as a short wave radio and solar panels.

Peru Passes Resolution to Title Saweto after Murders

January 2015 After a 12 year struggle to obtain title to their homelands which cost the lives of four of it’s leaders who were murdered by loggers in September, last month the Peru government finally passed a resolution legally recognizing 80,000 hectares as belonging to the Ashéninka community of Saweto. Furthermore, officials have promised to travel to Saweto by helicopter in February to present the title to Saweto’s newly elected leaders in a community assembly. Upper Amazon Conservancy and its Peruvian sister organization, ProPurús, has been helping Saweto in their quest for land recognition and justice for three years. The struggle has been resisted by illegal loggers benefiting from open access to Saweto’s timber, as well as corrupt, pro-logging officials …

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December News: Saweto at Climate Conference, Plotkin TED talk, Alto Purús Resource Use Studies

December 2014 For links to articles related to Saweto and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change currently taking place in Lima, click here.   https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_plotkin_what_the_people_of_the_amazon_know_that_you_don_t?language=en “The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle,” says Mark Plotkin, “It’s the isolated and uncontacted tribes.” In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest’s indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge. Click here for full screen version of Plotkin’s 16 minute talk.  University of Texas PhD …

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Saweto Receives Soros Foundation Award for Environmental Activism

November 2014 Diana Ríos Rengifo, 21, gave a stirring speech to the human rights and environmental advocates who cheered her acceptance of the Alexander Soros Foundation’s Environmental Activism award on behalf of her community of Saweto and the four assassinated leaders: Edwin Chota, Leoncio Meléndez, Francisco Pinedo, and her father, Jorge Ríos. For her part, Diana presented Alexander Soros with a necklace from her Ashéninka people, and invited him to the community when he comes to South America in April. Diana also shared her resolve to continue fighting for title to her lands, and her continued worries for the safety of her people given she believes at least 10 other killers continue at large beyond the two men in jail …

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New Alliance Created to Protect the Alto Purús

October 2014: UAC and ProPurús have initiated a new project to prevent illegal activities and promote sustainable resource use on the La Novia River, a tributary of the Alto Purús River near the town of Puerto Esperanza. The project’s primary objective is to create a working alliance between the Conta indigenous community, the Mabosinfrom conservation concession, and the Purús Communal Reserve which is administered by Peru’s protected areas agency, Sernanp. It is a unique opportunity to bring together these diverse stakeholders to create the region’s first-ever indigenous-mestizo (non-indigenous) conservation alliance with the goal of protecting one of the most threatened parts of the greater Alto Purús region. In October, partners convened to discuss the new alliance and elect a leadership committee. To mark …

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Peru Promises to Title Saweto in Response to the Murders

September 2014: After several weeks of silence, Peru’s government is finally responding to the tragic and senseless murders of four leaders from the Ashéninka community of Alto Tamaya-Saweto on September 1st. Last week, a large committee of senior government officials, led by Peru’s Prime Minister, Ana Jara, traveled in helicopters from the city of Pucallpa to Saweto to meet with the villagers and discuss their needs in the wake of losing four leaders, including their chief, Edwin Chota. The commission included Ministers and Vice Ministers from various government agencies including Education, Housing, the Interior, the Environment, Health, Women and Vulnerable Populations, as well as the Executive Director of Peru’s new Forestry Agency, SERFOR. After touring the community and murder site …

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