Roots & Routes

2022 REX FOUNDATION GRANTEE

Roots & Routes facilitates sharing knowledge and compassion between diverse cultures en route to responsibly stewarding a flourishing living world. Coordinated out of Santa Cruz, California, Roots & Routes is a community network of Indigenous and Ancestral peoples’ environmental educational initiatives who take actions toward social and climate justice. By teaching youth in California and beyond the importance of expanding and interconnecting diverse cultural worldviews and practices in relation to taking care of Earth, we transform our relations all over the globe and show the world this: We are worth more than the resources below our feet. Together with Selvas Producciones Film Director, Eriberto Gualinga, from the Ecuadorian Original Kichwa Peoples of Sarayaku (Ecuadorian Amazon), Roots and Routes IC is completing the documentary: “Hope and Struggle in the Ecuadorian Chocó Rainforest.”

The documentary vision emerges from an Amazon-Chocó video school experience that takes place in communities treated as disposable, but who resist and fight for their survival. The film interweaves the stories of the two communities: the Awá Indigenous community of Guadualito and the Afro-descendant community of La Chiquita. Together they protect La Chiquita River. They also defend their ancestral territories—the last stands of the tropical Chocó jungle (Cantón San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas Province) along the Ecuadorian-Colombian border and the Pacific Ocean—against surrounding African oil palm companies. Palmeras de Los Andes S.A. and Palesema SA both contaminate the river and have replaced the rainforests with monoculture oil palm. Now a twenty-year long struggle, the Awá and Afro-descendant communities, and their allies, have come together for water justice and the Rights of Nature.

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