The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Siona Ancestral Governor and Shaman Vitoriano Criollo, known as “Mayai”- the Red Tiger,- has died.

Siona Ancestral Governor and Shaman Vitoriano Criollo, known as “Mayai”- the Red Tiger, – has died.

SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras, with profound regret and sorrow, announces that “Mayai” died on Monday, July 2nd, 2012.  Siona ancestral governor and shaman, Vitoriano Criollo, was the last of a generation of Amazon leaders who were material witnesses to the forced transition of a hunter and gatherer society to one that can best be described as semi sedentary decentralized communities inhabiting the Cuyabeno river banks, submerged in extreme poverty.  His wisdom, his guidance and his vast knowledge of medicinal plants will be critically missed by both Nature and Humanity.

On Sunday June 17th, 2012, we had the sad privilege of sharing the last meeting in which Mayai decided to participate.  NCP’s David Radcliff best summarizes Mayai’s final message to us.

Ninety plus year-old Vitoriano, spiritual/moral leader of the Siona people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We met with him this week –it was an amazing experience. “We must stop the petroleum drilling”, was the first thing he said, after greeting us warmly in his home. Oil production has fouled the water, driven away the animals, and led to any number of health issues for his people.

“It’s a priority that we stop everything related to oil. When I was young, the diseases we have now didn’t exist. We drank water from the river in those days—now we have to collect rainwater. Then there were plenty of fish and lots of animals in the rainforest, but the oil companies came with their explosions (seismic tests for oil deposits involving cutting swaths of forest and setting off dynamite blasts) and pollution, affecting the animals, the water, and the soil. Last week alone the Ministry of Environment in Tarapoa organized a meeting with the Chinese Andes petroleum and Sionas invited from 7 villages. The Chinese offered to pay each village $ 200,000 and $40 per hectare to drill deep into the Cuyabeno National Park. They did not invite me because I would have said no to such a crime. The Chinese, the government, they do not respect me as the legitimate Siona leader.  All they are interested in is Money.  We, the Sionas and the rainforest, pay the price for their greed and destruction.”

“I will not be here much longer, I am getting tired.  But we must think of the children. There are only two Shamans left; you have to help protecting my children.  Even when I am gone, I will be here in spirit, and support you in doing so. Do not forget the children.”

Mayai, rest in Peace.

Mayai & SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras’ Pieter Jan Brouwer

Photos: David Radcliff

Translated and edited by Pieter Jan Brouwer.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 4 July, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Siona Ancestral Governor and Shaman Vitoriano Criollo, known as “Mayai”- the Red Tiger,- has died.”

  1. I felt honored to be able to meet with Vitoriano with NCP. I believed myself to be a witness and I hope to continue that witness.

    • The honour was ours, and we thank you for your medical insight in helping Vitoriano’s wife and saving the leg of the young man.

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