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'The earth expects you to respect her': Meet Indigenous leader Nemonte Nenquimo

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Waoranis leader Nemonte Nenquimo, center right, waits for the start of a hearing on a lawsuit in Puyo, Ecuador.
Waoranis leader Nemonte Nenquimo, center right, waits for the start of a hearing on a lawsuit in Puyo, Ecuador.   -   Copyright  Dolores Ochoa/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Doloresz Katanich with AFP

Nemonte Nenquimo is a mother, an Indigenous leader, an activist and one of the 100 most influential people of 2020, according to Time magazine.

Over the last few years, she has grown to be the international voice of Indigenous people protecting the Amazon rainforest. Nenquimo's efforts caught Academy Award-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo Di Caprio's attention, who endorsed her efforts and wrote about her: "Nemonte’s cause is all our cause".

Nemonte Nenquimo is the first female leader of the Waorani people, who live in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, separated from the outside world. The community was first contacted over 60 years ago by an American missionary group. The resistance against the exploitation of the land started not long after.

Nemonte is going further than just trying to protect the land of her tribe, she has set up a non-profit organization called Ceibo Alliance to bring other Indigenous communities together in their fight against climate change.

The activist claims that listening to Indigenous peoples and their solutions is the only way we can restore a healthy planet.