The meeting was the first time the three groups met in their own territory.The assembly was called in response to an announcement by Ecuador’s Minister of Energy and Non-renewable Resources in 2018, who said Blocks 86 and 87 in Ecuador’s eastern Amazon are for sale and “there will be no problems because the communities are in other blocks.”In response, the three nations, whose territories overlap with Blocks 86 and 87, are demanding the free, prior and informed consent process and a stop to all oil, mining and hydroelectric projects in the Amazon. JUYUINTSA, Ecuador — More than 75 elders and community leaders gathered last week in the Shiwiar community of Juyuintsa, located in Ecuador’s far eastern Amazon rainforest, just at the border with Peru. This is the first time three indigenous groups were able to meet in their own territory, as they’re normally separated by large distances in the rough, roadless jungle terrain. Most traveled hours up the Conambo River by canoe or arrived by small charter plane to voice their opinions at the two-day assembly on March 20 and 21. Everyone agreed on one thing: Unity between the nations is needed now more than ever to keep extraction activities out. “Our objective is to unite in defense of our territory,” Edison Gualinga, president of the Shiwiar Nation, told Mongabay in Juyuintsa. Gualinga added that they are stronger fighting together. “We don’t want to lose our culture, we don’t want to lose our customs, we don’t want the rivers to be contaminated, or that the spirits that exist in the earth and in the water, we don’t want them to be destroyed.” The Shiwiar, Kichwa and Sapara nations came together because their territories overlap with what the government has labeled Blocks 86 and 87, which are part of an international oil auction known as the Southeast Oil Round. By the end of the two-day assembly, leaders created a nine-point resolution to reject the auction and all future oil, mining and hydroelectric energy projects in the Amazon, as well as contracts that are already underway. “The Shiwiar, Sapara and Kichwa nationalities of Kawsak Sacha decide to leave the oil in the subsoil and declare their territories intangible in perpetuity, where it is forbidden to extract non-renewable natural resources. The governments in turn must respect this decision,” states the resolution.