Peru: How the Achuar People are Saving their Territory from Oil Companies

The movie Chumpi & The Waterfall follows the life of young Chumpi and his community, the Achuar people who live in the Amazon Rainforest in the border between Peru and Ecuador. In the movie, subtitled in English, the Achuar show the richness of their daily life and also the steps they are taking to protect their ancestral lands from Oil Companies.

On the website The Achuar Movie by Amazon Watch, there is a wealth of information on the Achuar and other indigenous communities that share the region and share the same concerns of how governments give permissions to Oil companies to exploit the land, considering them without owners and undeveloped. Using GPS systems and traveling through their lands, the Achuar are mapping their territory and their resources, in the hope that their claim to the land and its resources will be respected.


From the site:

Chumpi and the Waterfall (TeleAndes) was filmed in the Achuar community of Chicherta in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, the last community on the Huasaga River before the border with Ecuador. This is a headwater area, where the forest is full of animals and the rivers teem with fish. Daily life is usually peaceful and calm.

Chumpi, with his father Secha and his grandfather Irar, make a trip to a sacred waterfall where both adults had received a vision as young men. Achuar lands, including this waterfall, are under threat from oil drilling. The Achuar believe oil drilling would contaminate its pure waters and the Arutam spirits which inhabit it would leave, and future generations would lose the power of their visions forever.

The daily life of the Achuar is documented on the site through a series of photographs, and along with an explanation of the importance of the territory for the Achuar is an image of the map they've been making:

Achuar hand drawn map using GPS points

GPS points help map out the Achuar territory

You can get involved with helping the Achuar defend their territory by sharing the video through social networks to raise awareness about the Achuar, by signing a Global Petition, signing up to receive updates from Amazon Watch or donating money for the Achuar.

Thumbnail image of an Achuar man is from the website.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.