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Where is Evaristo? [in developpement]

A documentary directed by , .




Ama­zon Indi­ans often appear to us as “time­less”, as vic­tims sac­ri­ficed on the altar of moder­nity. This is a cliché that is being chal­lenged by the unique career of the Jivaro Indian, the his­toric leader of the Amerindian protest move­ment: Evaristo Nugkuag.

Today Ama­zo­nia has become the world sym­bol of a threat­ened envi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural diver­sity. On this sub­ject, the media –and thus, the gen­eral pub­lic– show great pes­simism: the dis­ap­pear­ance of Amerindian peo­ples as well as the extinc­tion of a lot of nat­ural species appears to be just as unfor­tu­nate and unavoid­able. The events that occurred recently in Peru­vian Ama­zo­nia seem to con­firm, even to the point of car­i­ca­ture, the tragic lot of these indige­nous peo­ples: in 2009, the gov­ern­ment passed a series of gov­ern­ment decrees allow­ing Ama­zon­ian lands to be sold on a very large scale. Indian resis­tance, embod­ied by the Jivaro peo­ple, was crushed in blood. The Peru­vian and inter­na­tional media cov­ered this bloody con­flict, some con­fin­ing them­selves to pre­sent­ing the Amerindi­ans as “the time­less vic­tims of glob­al­iza­tion”, while oth­ers, blinded by the rep­u­ta­tion of these Jivaros, for­mer  head shrinkers,  pre­ferred to  insist on the sup­posed ‘return to their war­riors’ instinct’.

An arti­cle pub­lished in ‘El Com­er­cio’, the main Peru­vian daily, jarred in this cli­mate of gen­eral incom­pre­hen­sion. Writ­ten by a Peru­vian lawyer, Vir­ginia Bus­ta­mante, the arti­cle revealed the exis­tence of a very struc­tured move­ment uni­fy­ing all the peo­ples of the Ama­zon Basin that for decades had been char­ac­ter­ized by their paci­fism. Above all, this arti­cle reminded us of the out­stand­ing career of a Jivaro Indian, Evaristo Nugkuag, founder and his­tor­i­cal leader of the move­ment whose absence in these tragic cir­cum­stances was so dis­qui­et­ing that in the head­line the lawyer launched an appeal: “Where’s Evaristo?”

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