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The Road to Moraro

Sebastian James Lister | Guyana

Uncle Sylvester's House, Wakapau, Guyana

An ongoing series started in April of 2018, concentrating on a unique protected area of the Guyanese rainforest (Moraro, near Wakapau), highlighting the role of the indigenous peoples and what their heritage, customs and knowledge can do to help preserve our environment (and collective spiritual health) at this crucial point in our planet’s history. Moraro is of course an ideal, as well as a physical place, and it is perhaps at the intersection of these two that real progress can be made. 

Indigenous people all over the globe have always had a knowledge and respect for nature. They see themselves as part of it. Too often western conservation movements ignore their role. Lokono, the language spoken in and around Moraro, has far more words for describing the variety in nature than a western vocabulary. The ICCA Consortium estimates that indigenous peoples conserve about 21% of life on earth but rarely get credit for it. This series is not about modern solutions but seeks to highlight the value and dignity of ancient methods and the people who practice them.


Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples


Indigenous Rainforest Keepers (Claudette De Viera - email: moraro56@yahoo.com)


I visited Guyana in April & May 2018,at the kind invitation of Claudette De Viera, the founder of Moraro. I am one of the only westerners ever to have gone there. Indigenous communities are countries within countries. I had to have signed documentation from the local Toshao (chief) to be there at all. My work seeks to celebrate indigenous culture and their relationship to the earth. They have for centuries largely stayed out of racial tensions in the country at large. The non-indigenous population of Guyana is mostly comprised of the descendants of two imported groups: black slaves, and Indian indentured labourers who have had many clashes in the past. Oil has recently been found off the Guyanese coast, and people are divided now as to whether or not they should base a future economy on such short term thinking. It would be a bitter irony if Guyana depended on oil in the future, having recently been part of a carbon offsetting partnership with Norway (2009). Infact the current exploitation of these oil fields off the Guyanese coast goes against United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) 2007.








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