Patricia Gualinga, a Kichwa leader in Ecuador and member of Amazonian Women (Mujeres Amazónicas), shares her experiences of fighting back against extractive forces that threaten the Amazon rainforest and its surrounding Indigenous communities. Alongside oil drilling, logging, and hydroelectric projects, both formal and illegal mining have become an increasing threat over recent years. Under the guise of “for the good of the country,” the Ecuadorian government continues to prioritize the economy in lieu of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Gualinga clarifies that there is no such thing as a “middle ground” or opportunity for compromise with the extractive industries that Ecuador has become so dependent upon. She points to the history of social neglect and continued marginalization of Indigenous groups that have severed the relationship between peoples and the state. Although there has been an international acknowledgment of the fact that Indigenous people are the best protectors and defenders of the natural world, racist rhetoric persists in framing them as “helpless” or without resolve for solutions that are not inherently economically based. Gualinga challenges these colonial bureaucratic frameworks and the emergence of the carbon credit system by illuminating the global scale of the catastrophe that awaits all people. To be an Indigenous leader, especially an Indigenous woman leader, bears many threats in the name of speaking the truth. However, Gualinga and so many alongside her persist as this work is vital and central to protecting territory as all-encompassing of the ancestry and future of Indigenous peoples. Photo Credit: Jonathan Rosas