The members of Fundación Raíz have a long-standing commitment to the Amazonian indigenous peoples and especially to the Sieko Pai people, commonly known as Secoyas. The Secoyas are an ancestral indigenous people of the Amazon. Today there are several communities on the northern border between Ecuador and Peru. In 1990, Manuel Pallares and Pablo Yépez, founding members of Raíz, started a project aimed at the reunification of the Secoya people divided between Ecuador and Peru, and to the rescue of their territory.
As a result of this initiative it was possible to carry out the first meeting between the Secoya families of Ecuador and Peru through a fund from Solstice foundation of Denmark. This was a historic event not only for the Secoya people but also for the relations between the two countries. The few and sporadic encounters given previously were made in secret since the frontier was militarized and closed to the Secoyas until 1999.
Thanks to the work and vision of the members of Fundación Raíz, the Secoya people were able to achieve a very significant extension of their territorial rights. In the Peruvian side the State recognized in favor of the Secoya people the Airo Pai Communal Reserve, with an extension of 247. 887 hectares. On the Ecuadorian side, the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador has determined an area of approximately 5,000 hectares for the use and management of the Secoya. This extension, being insufficient for the practice of the life of an indigenous community, is being questioned by the Secoyas.
Fundación RAÍZ maintains its commitment to support the Secoya people in their struggle to recover most of their ancestral territory and for their right to full reunification.
REUNIFICACIÓN Y CONSOLIDACIÓN TERRITORIAL DEL PUEBLO SECOYA
Lagartococha, a river of black waters which forms the northern border between Ecuador Peru, is one of the best preserved lacustrine system in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon. For this reason, both the Ecuadorian and the Peruvian side of Lagartococha have been categorized as part of the protected area systems of both countries. The Ecuadorian side is the eastern boundary of the Cuyabeno Faunal Production Reserve and on the Peruvian side are the Güeppí National Park and the Airo Pai Communal Reserve, created in recognition of the ancestral rights of the Secoya people.
This river is the geographic center of the Secoya territory divided between Ecuador and Peru. Since 1992, Manuel Pallares and Pablo Yépez, founding members of Raíz, have supported the Secoya to achieve the resettlement of some families in this river. Thus, in 2004 a group of Secoya families from Peru settled on the banks of the Lagartococha River under the name of Mañoco or Puerto Estrella, thus achieving the return of the Secoya to Lagartococha after 80 years. Between 1941 and 1999 the Lagartococha River remained a militarized zone.