Event will include presentation by Ecuadoreans on lessons learned about recovery from oil disasters, native cultural exchange & ceremony, music, dance, and community meal
29 June 2010 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brianna Cayo Cotter, Rainforest Action Network (415) 305-1943
Han Shan, Amazon Watch (917) 740-7426
Who: Indigenous and community leaders from Ecuador's Amazon and Gulf Coast Native tribe
What: Community Town Hall Meeting, Dinner, Native Ceremony, Cultural Exchange
When: Thursday, July 1st, 6-9pm
Where: KC Home, 5396 Shrimpers Row, Dulac, LA 70353
New Orleans, LA – The United Houma Nation, a Gulf Coast Native American tribe in southeast Louisiana severely affected by the Gulf oil spill, is hosting a cultural exchange with their Ecuadorean counterparts who have been severely impacted for decades by Chevron's oil contamination in Ecuador's rainforest.
The Amazon leaders, who arrived in New Orleans Sunday, are touring areas of the Bayou affected by the spill, and meeting with the Houma community and other Gulf coast residents to share their experiences in recovery and protecting health, livelihoods, and culture in the wake of a serious oil disaster.
At Thursday's Town Hall forum, the Ecuadoreans will present to the Houma community a report containing ten lessons the communities in Ecuador have compiled from their experience in confronting severe oil contamination. Entitled The Lasting Stain of Oil: Cautionary Tales and Lessons from the Amazon, the report details some of the hidden health, environmental, cultural, and economic impacts of an oil disaster, as well as lessons for holding the polluter accountable and planning for long-term recovery. The report was prepared by the Asamblea de Afectados por Texaco (The Assembly of Communities Affected by Chevron/Texaco), in conjunction with Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch, two U.S.-based advocacy organizations that support the efforts of communities in Ecuador to demand environmental cleanup.
The United Houma Nation is a state recognized Tribe of approximately 17,000 citizens that reside along the coastal marshes of southeast Louisiana. Traditionally Houmas have lived off the land and work as fishermen and trappers. As the Deepwater Horizon disaster unfolds it holds a deeper meaning for the Houmas, who reside on the front lines – it is the uncertainty of whether the culture of the Houma as it stands today will survive.
Experts estimate that approximately 345 million gallons of pure crude were discharged into Ecuador's rainforest and waterways relied on by local groups for fishing, bathing, and drinking. For decades, Texaco (now Chevron) deliberately dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic oil waste, 17 million gallons of oil, and left over 900 unlined oil pits in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. The contamination has decimated Indigenous groups in Ecuador and caused an outbreak of illness, birth defects, and cancers that have accounted for at least 1,400 deaths.