Jatun Kawsay Sisa Ñampi, Living Path of Flowers,

  • Frontier of Life –

Proposal of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku.


Sarayaku is located in the eastern part of Ecuador, in the Amazon region, Pastaza province, in the middle course of the Bobonaza River.

It is made up of 5 communities, Sarayakilu, Kali Kali, Shiwakucha, Chuntayaku and Sarayaku Centro.

It has a territorial extension of approximately 135 thousand hectares, of which 90 % are primary forests, with great potential for biodiversity. The ecosystem of the territory is made up of three essential environmental units: sasha (Jungle), yaku (rivers) and Allpa (Earth).

Each one of these biospheres sustains an infinity of faunal and floral species, essential for the life and existence of the Amazonian nationalities and peoples.


Sarayaku has ±1200 inhabitants, Kichwa speakers. 80 % of the population speaks Spanish, the vehicular language with the outside world. The majority of the population lives from agriculture, harvesting, hunting, and fishing, the fundamental basis of the community and solidarity economy of the town.

There are small productive programs and family initiatives that guarantee food and economic security and improve the quality of life of families.




The Original Kichwa people of Sarayaku, TAYJASARUTA is a system of social organization, mixed administrative policy, made up of the traditional authorities of the people combined with the leadership model, adopted from the national government regime.


Legally, Tayjasaruta was recognized in 1979 by the Ecuadorian Government, through the Ministry of Social Welfare, through ministerial agreement No. 0206. His legal personality was reformed and approved on June 10, 2004 by the Council for the Development of Nationalities and Peoples of Ecuador (CODENPE), through agreement No. 024.


The main activities of Tayjasaruta are related to the defense of its territory and collective rights, the preservation of the ecosystem, strengthening and application of knowledge, knowledge and traditional sciences, food security and the exercise of its solidarity economy as strategies to promote self-determination of indigenous peoples and nationalities, ensure the Sumak kawsay (life in harmony) of the Sarayaku people and the perpetuity of Kawsak Sacha (living jungle).


Sumac: It means the inner thought, original driver of order, the harmony of the human being with nature and with the sacred spirits.

Kawsay: It is daily life of all beings of the Allpamama (Mother Earth)-

The Sumak kawsay for the inhabitants of Sarayaku it means having a healthy territory without contamination, a productive and abundant land of natural resources that ensures food sovereignty.

It is to have its own organizational system, sustainable and free, in harmony with the concepts of life and development of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku.

The Sumak kawsay it is also knowing and practicing our ancestral knowledge, maintaining the practices of our traditional customs and strengthening our own identity.

  1. The three pillars of the Sumak Kawsay






Principles of Sumak kawsay.


Of Rune Kawsay (village life)

As far as the Runakuna Kawsay is concerned, the principles are to entertain and maintain community life. Maintain the family unit. Have a consolidated institutional organization and governance with collective decisions and gender participation. Practice and perpetuate traditional, cultural and spiritual knowledge in all freedom. Have adequate human settlements and infrastructures typical of the Kichwa culture. Ensure the food sovereignty of the population. Develop its own economy that is not based on the accumulation of goods but rather a solidarity economy, strengthening sustainable and sustainable production initiatives respecting natural and human resources, practicing Kichwa development technologies

Of Sumak Allpa (healthy land)

As for the Sumak Allpa, is to enjoy an ecosystem without contamination and well preserved. Have healthy rivers and lagoons with healthy aquatic fauna and flora. Maintain the abundant fauna and flora of the forest in good health. Preserve and respect sacred areas. Preserve the integrity of the territory where management and use rules are governed based on the conservation laws of the town. Respect the territorial zoning established by the town.



Del Sacha Runa Yachay (Knowledge of being Amazonian)

The principles of Sacha Runa Yachay are; Perpetuate the cultural and spiritual practices that allow the exercise of traditional health, healing practices and the use of medicinal plants, develop art, music, dance, architecture and one's own culture.

Teach and practice the proper techniques of preparation and use of land to cultivate, skill in own architecture, hunting and fishing techniques. Develop education with a human face and an open vision. Maintain solidarity, mingas (collective work). Preserve the balance and relationship of man with nature, Perpetuate the concept of living and living jungle, with its masters and owners. The Yachak (wise, man of science), the cosmovision are an integral part of the knowledge of the Amazonian being.



Sarayaku's life plan aims to restore the Sumak kawsay from the Sarayaku village.


The Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku consolidate their autonomous government, strengthen their own model of life, to ensure the continuity of their society and culture as a Kichwa people, strengthened in the philosophical principles of the Sumak kawsay (life in harmony) and the Kawsak Sacha (living jungle).


Develop actions based on the knowledge practices of the Sumak Allpa, Runakuna kawsay and Sacha Runa Yachay for the administration and management of the territory and exercise of the autonomous government of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku.


The general objective of the life plan of the Sarayaku People is to guarantee the continuity of the social, cultural, political and organizational life of Sarayaku through the implementation and execution of actions and programs that ensure and maintain the Sumak kawsay of the original Amazonian peoples and the perpetuity of Kawsak Sacha (living jungle).

Actions in progress of the Sarayaku life plan

Below, we present some of the programs, initiatives or daily tasks representative of the implementation of the plan Sumak kawsay of Sarayaku.

  • Kawsay Rune Shaft

Solidarity economy:

An example of solidarity economy is the chakra. By definition, it is a place where products are grown to feed the family. It is the productive economy of the people. But from a traditional point of view, the chakra has other contributions that reinforce its value and its necessity for the life of the original Amazonian peoples.

The chakra is the didactic instrument par excellence, where children and young people learn to recognize and cultivate all the plants necessary for their subsistence and satisfaction of daily needs. It is our closest pharmacy because we grow various medicinal plants in it. It is our “supermarket”, where we find materials to build, decorate and fix the house. Although much more of these materials are found in the bush, the chakra is a closer and more accessible place for women and children. Finally, it is a place of regeneration of the physical state and direct contact with mother earth.

The plants that are planted in a chakra are cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, corn, Chinese potatoes and other varieties of potatoes, cane, fruit trees, palms, beans, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin, medicinal plants and timber trees.

The minga is a community work of the people or families. It is the quintessential model of solidarity work practiced by the Kichwa people to carry out, with the support of all, an important and consistent work, task or action. In the minga, the knowledge, the strength, the energy of each one are brought together to achieve the same result. It is a job of ant that moves mountain.

monetary economy

In Sarayaku there are different models of family micro-enterprises that provide economic income to complement the basic needs of the Sarayaku ayllus, such as community tourism, picnic farm, river transport, shops, craft center, tobacconists and restaurants.

There is also a Savings and Credit Bank, an initiative of "Kuriñampi", Sarayaku Women's Organization with a vision to strengthen the economic system of the families of the people of Sarayaku, providing credit and savings services to its members.


Regarding communication, Sarayaku has a computer center located in the main square of the town, which allows it to communicate with the outside world and send the official and true voice of Tayjasaruta to the entire world.

“Jungle Productions” is the center for the realization, production and edition of videos, documentaries and films of Tayjasaruta. It is a center created by the communication department of Sarayaku. To date, Eriberto Gualinga, director and head of the communication department, has edited three films about, the defense of the territory, knowledge of the man of the jungle and the Border of Life.

  • Shaft of Sumak Allpa

Land use and administration plan (zoning, tapir protection, regulations and fish tanks)

The goal of this plan is to achieve the management and use, in a sustainable and sustainable manner, of the RR-NN of the Sarayaku territory.

This initiative began 10 years ago, with an important social, environmental, cultural, economic and political study of the Sarayaku territory and continues to be developed today.



Botanical Garden

The "Sacharuya" Botanical Garden is a project for the preservation and protection of Amazonian biodiversity. Its objective is to safeguard and reproduce varieties and species of plants and seeds in the area to ensure food sovereignty and the economy of the population.

border of life

The Sisa Ñampi will represent a perimeter of flower trees, a sacred space. It is a living path to reveal the thinking of the Amazonian peoples about the jungle, where the life of the peoples begins and takes shape.

In its physical context, this project consists of building a geographical demarcation in the ancestral boundaries of the territories of the Amazonian indigenous peoples of Pastaza. The spaces of the Frontier of Life will be circular areas of ± 2000 m², planted every 4 km on the boundaries of the territories of the peoples in resistance and in accordance with this project.

The spaces are planned in the shape of a farm as a center of biodiversity where, after a meticulous selection, food plants and flower and fruit trees are planted.

This proposal represents a labor of at least 20 to 30 years. At its apogee it will be in testimony of the beauty of the Amazon, with a colorful blanket visible from the air, to beautify the Pachamama and protect the territorial space.

  • Axis of Sacha Runa Yachay


In Sarayaku there are 6 community educational centers and a bilingual intercultural school. Of which the CECIB Tayak Wasi is dedicated to the transmission, learning and revaluation of ancestral knowledge. This Educational Center was created in 1994 and continues to implement teaching, learning and rescue programs of the Kichwa's own knowledge for the children and young people of the town.

Traditional medicine (Sasi Wasi)

The traditional health center "Sasi Wasi" of Sarayaku is an Amazonian healing center, through the use of medicinal plants and ancestral rituals, for the transmission and valorization of preventive health knowledge.

indigenous justice

Since its existence, Sarayaku resolves its family, community and territorial conflicts through the exercise of its own ancestral justice norms and procedures.

What, at present, the new Ecuadorian Constitution recognizes and guarantees in the rights of peoples and nationalities, such as indigenous justice, (article 171) and international treaties.


Kawsak Sacha, Living Jungle and jungle of beings, is a territorial and vital space, destined to raise the transcendental emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual facets for the energy, health and life of the original peoples.

The Amazonian peoples and nationalities practice a structured life system in coexistence with nature, in a true incarnation in our bodies and spirits that procures vital behaviors for each one of us and for the living beings that surround us.

The jungle, for the indigenous peoples who live in the Amazon, is life. Each space has its masters and owners. In each of these there are Llakta (towns) with populations called Runa, which are also the houses and shelters of the sacred animals.

Each mountain and large trees are interconnected by networks of conduits through which the Supay (superior beings of the jungle) move in all the places of the superior beings of the jungle.

From the waterfalls there are the entrance doors that communicate with the lagoons and the large rivers, through which the Yakuruna (water beings) and the Yakumama (anaconda) to the Amazon River. In the rivers and lakes Yakuruna they are the ones that conserve the abundance of the ichthyofauna. When the Yakumama leaves its dwelling, the river and the lagoons become sterile and orphans.

The Allpamama (Mother Earth) gives us everything, protects us, feeds us, keeps us warm. The land and the jungle are what give us the energy and breath of life. From them come wisdom, vision, responsibility, solidarity, commitment, the emotions that keep man close to his loved ones, his family, those he loves and what he hopes for in the future, as a result of his efforts and norm of life

All that make up the Kawsak Sacha it is intertwined. The very life of the Yachak, of our ancestors and of us is involved in the lagoons, in the trees, in the mountains, who connect to give the force and energy of life through the transmission of the Muskuy (messages, dreams).

The whole world of the Kawsak Sacha has energy and symbolizes the human spirit both for its strength and its greatness, an inner thought where the soul and life are one with Pachamama and which is part of our formation from the embryo.


To ensure true protection of its territory as well as the continuity of the cultural practices and life of its people, Sarayaku presents an innovative proposal for environmental and cultural preservation as heritage specific to its reality and need as a native Kichwa people of Ecuador.

This proposal aims to achieve recognition of the Living Forest – Kawsak Sacha, through the promulgation of a law that catalogs a new category of preservation of the territorial spaces of the original peoples.

This pronouncement will recognize the spiritual dimension of the Sacred territory, Kawsak Sacha – Living Forest, biodiversity and cultural heritage in Ecuador. This means the declaration of Free zone and exclusion of oil.

This declaration has three important foundations.

a.The recognition of the oil and mining exclusion zone.

It means that the development of industrial projects are incompatible in the sacred territories and that oil and mining remain underground.

b. A symbolic, geographical delimitation, through the development of Jatun Kawsak Sisa Ñampi, the Living Path of the Flowers or Border of Life.

The continuation of the program for the protection of the territory and the actions of the frontier of life.

c. The implementation and application of Sumak Kawsay through the actions of life plans.

The declaration will demonstrate a new model of progress founded on the true Sumak kawsay, life in harmony, is an urgent and concrete proposal presented by Sarayaku to change the development model of extraction and sale of fossil energy to a harmonic and respectful development of life and the well-being of nature, the planet and beings humans


In 1996, the Ecuadorian State signed an oil concession contract with the Compañía General de Combustibles (“CGC”) over the so-called “Block 23”, a portion of territory in Ecuador, which includes part of the territory of the Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku. The contract was carried out without respecting Sarayaku's guarantees to participation, through consultation and prior, free and informed consent, without benefit sharing, and without having carried out social studies and corresponding environmental

Given this, the Kichwa People of Sarayaku expressed their rejection of the entry of the oil company into their territory, organizing to protect the individual and collective rights that assist them as an indigenous people.

Despite this, the company, with the support of the State, entered the territory of the Sarayaku People, opening seismic trails, placing explosives in them, and deforesting important areas of the territory, damaging the Sarayaku's right to property, as well as as well as to the use, enjoyment and interest of the resources that are found in it and that form the basis of its subsistence. The Ecuadorian State acted in violation of other individual and collective rights of the Sarayaku, such as their right to freedom of movement, to life, to integrity and personal freedom, to culture, and to access to justice.

On December 18, 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights approved Merits Report No. 138/09, in which it concluded that Ecuador has incurred international responsibility for violating several articles of the American Convention on Human Rights.

In July 2011, the public hearing of the case was held before the Inter-American Court at its headquarters in San José, Costa Rica, during which statements were heard from the victims, witnesses, and experts, and the positions and arguments of the the parts. Within the term established by the Court, the parties presented their final written arguments.

The Inter-American Court, in exercise of its powers, has decided that, prior to passing sentence, it will carry out an on-site visit to the territory of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku, on April 21, 2012, in order to obtain additional information about the situation of the victims and the places where some of the reported events occurred.

We hope that the sentence will be favorable to the Sarayaku lawsuit, which would mean a historic victory for all the indigenous peoples of the continent, especially since this sentence will be considered as binding jurisprudence in many internal laws of various states, in whose territories indigenous peoples live. indigenous peoples, and at the same time, said sentence will be the jurisprudential reference that will be cited in future cases that are aired both in the Commission and in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, forcing the states that have committed Human Rights violations, to assume their omissions or actions and compensate the violated rights, thus guaranteeing a harmonious coexistence among all the nationalities of the continent.


  • Texaco operated in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990. It drilled 339 wells and extracted 1.5 billion barrels of oil. The area affected by the Texaco operation extended over around two and a half million hectares of Amazonian forests. In that area, some 20,000 million gallons of formation water, a highly toxic waste product from hydrocarbon extraction, were spilled directly into the water sources. 235 billion cubic feet of gas were flared in the open and 16.8 billion gallons of crude spilled. Upon leaving the country, Texaco abandoned 600 pools with oil waste in the open1. The Ecuadorian justice has just ratified a ruling that condemns compensation for environmental damage for 8,640 million dollars2.
  • Yasuní ITT seeks to keep 846 million barrels of oil in the ground, protecting 200,000 hectares of mega-diverse Amazon forest, habitat of the Tagaeri and Taromenani, peoples in isolation. It aims to obtain 3,600 million dollars in 13 years3 . Up to now (4 years of existence of the initiative) 116,048,384.63 dollars have been collected, of which only 2,469,319.88 dollars would be effectively deposited in the trust4. The amount of expenses incurred by the state for the promotion of the initiative would amount to 2,292,4735
  • The new oil round in the Center-South Amazon would affect the territory of the Achuar (100%), Andoa (100%), Sapara 100%), and Shiwiar (100%) nationalities, as well as part of the territory of the Waorani nationalities (16,34). Kichwa (96.53) and Shuar (70.45). The new oil round would affect a total of 2,927,513.37, which means 75,91% of the indigenous territories of the region. Reserves are estimated at 120 million barrels.

The Texaco case makes visible the disastrous consequences of an extractive model that disposes of territories behind the backs of their legitimate ancestral owners. The ITT-Yasuní-Initiative is a hope that the search for creative alternatives to definitely abandon extractivism, with all the difficulties and contradictions on the way, is underway. Unfortunately, the harsh reality emerges in view of the repeated announcement of a new oil tender that could in oil hands the fate of an area larger than that operated by Texaco and whose main victims would be seven indigenous nationalities and the mega-diverse forests of their sacred territories. .

Plurinationality, the Sumak Kawsay and the rights of Nature that the current Constitution proclaims must be the main weapons for the defense of the territories of the central-southern Amazon in the face of this new threat.

[1]Acosta, Albert. Editorial Diario Hoy, reproduced in La Insignia, Spain. June 4, 2003. In, Local Development. With the Amazon in sight. National Publishing Corporation. 2005

2Provincial Court of Justice of Sucumbíos. Judgment of Second Instance case 2.011-016

3Larrea, Carlos and others. Yasuni-ITT. An initiative to change history. UNDP-Ecuador, GIZ, MDGIF. Second edition. August 2012.

4Status of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative. Yasuní-ITT Trust Fund. Power Point presentation. December 2012

5Vanguard Magazine, 321. Second fortnight of December 2012

Puyo Office: Francisco de Orellana and General Villamil Telephone +593 32 896 999  ©2022  Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku

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