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This article is about the village in Pastaza Province, Ecuador. "Sarayaku" or "Sarayacu" is a common Quechuan toponym, see e.g. Sarayacu District, Peru.
Banana blossoms in Puyo.
(Photo: Martin Zeise, Berlin)
Bridge over the river Pastazas between Puyo and Macas.
(Photo: André Hübner)

Sarayaku (Quechuan: "The River of Corn"; also transcribed Sarayacu) is a territory and a village, situated by the Bobonaza River in the province of Pastaza in the southern part of the Amazonic region of Ecuador, el Oriente. The territory incorporates a number of villages and has a total population figure between 1,000 and 2,000 Kichwa speaking people, who call themselves the Runa people of Sarayaku, or the Sarayaku people. They are organized in “Organización de Pueblos Indígenas de Pastaza”, OPIP. The leader of the Sarayaku people is Jose Gualinga (2011)


Sarayaku is situated in tropical rainforest; approximately 25 minutes by plane or one day by canoe in the southeast direction from the nearest city, Puyo. Puyo is only 50 kilometres east of the more known city of Baños. The Bobonaza River drains into to the Amazon River at Iquitos in Peru, via the Pastaza River and the Marañón River.

The Sarayaku people have during the last few years made ecotourism a way of living. They try to preserve their distinctive characters as means in the tourism industry. After a founding process that took several years, the first semester of university studies in Sarayaku began in the fall of 2003. The program came through after close cooperation with the universities of Cuenca and Lleida, Spain. The main purpose of the university program is to raise the quality of multicultural and multilingual education among the indigenous communities in the province of Pastaza. Through this program, they will in addition to developing their own educational resources, brush up on old knowledge concerning philosophy, Indian cosmo vision, cultural identity and cultural traditions.

Conflict with CGC[edit]

A self-governed territory called “Tayjasaruta” or “Autonomous Territory of the Original Kichwa Nation of Sarayaku” was proclaimed when the Argentine oil company CGC moved into the area using seismic surveys in search of petroleum. The petroleum industry is of great value to the government in Quito, because the state economy is highly dependent on income from crude oil export to pay national debt. To stop the resistance against the industry from the Sarayaku people, the government sent federal soldiers to Sarayaku and closed the Bobonaza River as traffic artery.

The Sarayaku people accuses the oil companies of ethnocide since the industry, from the people’s perspective, will ruin their subsistence level economical, cultural, nutritive, ecological, and spiritual, and in addition it will undermine the social balance in the community. They also claim that the oil industry is the biggest threat to the recently founded university program in Sarayaku.

In 2012, a documentary titled Children of the Jaguar, co-produced by Amnesty International and the Kichwa de Sarayaku Indigenous community, was released at film festivals. The film tells the story of a Sarayaku courtroom victory against an oil company. Children of the Jaguar was awarded "Best Documentary" by the All Roads Film Project of the National Geographic Society.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Sarayaku Indigenous People and Amnesty International win film award". Amnesty International. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "All Roads Film Project Announces 2012 Film Festival Award Winners". Financial. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 1°44′S 77°29′W / 1.733°S 77.483°W / -1.733; -77.483