Photographer:Sarah Fretwell
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Project Title: The Amazon In Us – Trees are your brother and river water your blood. Natives and nature are one.
Project Continent: South America
Project Country: Peru
Nominated By: Frank Meo
Seconded By: Selaru Ovidiu,

In Peru, Amazon Tribes have experienced massive plunder of their land for carbon. The creation of Cordillera Azul National Park and the resulting carbon offset scheme turned Amazon Tribes into trespassers on their ancestral land.

Native activists explained that the core conflict is that native communities see themselves as a part of the forest, and western conservation models do not. In their hearts and in reality, natives are fighting for the survival of human life on the planet by protecting the rights of nature. With the Peruvian Amazon is at the tipping point most believe it is their sacred duty to protect it at all costs.

“They are like our brothers - the trees, the animals, the water. The only difference is they have no voice.”

This collage series, created from a combination of documentary images of the land and the people, depicts their interconnection with the landscape as they fight for the rights of nature.

At the end of a sweltering day bathing and playtime are a highlight for the children of Santa Rosillo This image is overlaid with a drone image of the rainforest adjacent to their community community

The Forest Guardians overlaid with a recently discovered burn area that they estimate has been burning for a month Self-organized and unpaid they work on behalf of Pachamama

Indigenous activist Marisol Garcia poses overlaid with remains of the sacred rainforest She noted We firmly believe the whole Amazon is connected to our spirituality The waters of our territory are the blood that flows in our bodies The air purified by our trees is our breath of life

Most natives and campesinos do not even talk to each other even though they are living side by side Here their children play together in the river at the end of the day overlaid by a drone image of intact forest by their village

Government documents from the national park notifying a family they must move from the land they have farmed since 1977 becuase it is now located inside the boundary of the national park overlaid with an area in the unmonitored buffer zone that has been burned for illegal use

Raquel Inuma Madruma holds her once wild pet bird that she calls to her finger each morning The natives live very close to nature This image is overlaid with a drone image of the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul National Park

The natives here are so immersed in nature there is no separation they are one and the same Bathing time for the women and girls at the end of the day overlaid with the rainforest adjacent to their village

Understanding that a tree the water and the air have personhood and the same right as them natives here work to protect the forest at all costs Native activists are overlaid in the river landscape

The river and forest are a huge part of life and natives here see themselves as integral to the health of the landscape Here everyone lives very closely with nature This image is overlaid with a drone image looking down on the buffer zone of Cordillera Azul national park

The teenagers are growing up at an interesting time when native life is rapidly changing They are relearning their lost native Kichwa by cell phone at night This image is overlaid with an aerial image of the forest across the river from their home