This story is part of The Human Cost of Conservation, a Grist series on Indigenous rights and protected areas. It was supported by The Pulitzer Center, and is published in partnership with Indian Country Today.
On the morning of July 27, 2022, a small coalition of Shipibo fishers and local farmers living inside a protected area in the Peruvian Amazon steered their boats across a still and glittering lake. They were bound for the town of Junín Pablo, where the regional government had installed a guard post several years prior as a base from which to monitor the area. Upon arrival, they set up camp along the shore beside the offices, with signs reading “No more corruption” and “Don’t fine us for defending our rights.” Over the course of a week, hundreds of people joined from the surrounding towns to peacefully demand the exit of the park administration.
“It was the only way to get anyone to listen,” said Jeremías Cruz Nunta, a member of the Shipibo-Konibo Indigenous community and head of the Indigenous and Peasant Defense Front for Imiría and Cauya Lake... Read more