Eriberto Benedicto Gualinga of the Sarayaku people is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer and musician whose lifework is to tell the political and social stories of his people as they face off against oil companies infringing on their territorial rights. Residing in the central Ecuadorian Amazon, the Sarayaku community comprises around 1,200 indigenous Kichwa people who boast one of the most successful histories of defending their land from resource extraction. Last year marked a new chapter in their story; after over a decade of relentless struggle for recognition of years of human rights violations, the Sarayaku received an official apology from the State.

Sensing an urgency to preserve Kichwa culture for generations to come, modern-day storyteller Eriberto used audio visual tools to record his people’s inspirational plight in a groundbreaking documentary called “Children of the Jaguar” which scooped up two film festival prizes: the National Geographic’s award for best documentary and Columbia’s Indigenous Festival prize for best depiction of a struggle by an indigenous people. For Eriberto, marrying age-old tradition with modern technology isn’t just about having the Sarayaku’s story reach a wider audience; it’s a way to immortalize Kichwa culture for generations to come. Just as his ancestors passed down the principles of Kichwa storytelling, Eriberto teaches the younger generation about the storyteller’s role in their communities and how stories and prophecies of the past are vital in their walk towards the future.
8 feb. 2016
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