Raúl Nunink Paucar
Founder and President of Asociación Amigos de la Amazonia (ASAMA)
Raúl was born in Ecuador in 1976, son of Natem Anank Nunink Nunkai, a traditional Shuar Uwishin. His grandmother, Nunkai, made quite an impact on him at an early age by sharing her wisdom and teaching her grandchildren to be proud of their Shuar ancestry.
Today Raúl is a Shuar leader, defender of Native autonomy. In 1999 he was elected the youngest president in the history of OSHE (Shuar of Ecuador Organization), he was 23. Community leaders were looking for a person to lead their fight with great bravery and unwavering morals; someone capable of uniting communities in all provinces of the Ecuadorian Amazon. His tenure at OSHE was very difficult due to the fact that former corrupt leaders were very unhappy with this turn of events. Things changed dramatically and political persecution against Raúl and his family began. There were threats to their lives and their reputations. In spite of it all, he never once thought of giving up. The people then decided “It is time for Raúl to leave the country, we need a leader who is alive, who we can listen to and follow, not a leader that we mourn”.
Raúl has always been willing to sacrifice everything for his ideals. Currently he is in self-exile in Spain. In 2005 he founded Asociación Amigos de la Amazonía (Friends of the Amazon Association) and has continued working closely with communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He devotes his time to giving lectures, attending conferences, going to exhibitions and organizing events in support of indigenous causes. In one of his speeches he was quoted as saying “Call me a man with dangerous ideas, but in my defense I can say that these ideas are not new; they came from my Elders and have the sole purpose of protecting the Shuar culture which is on the verge of extinction. I am not the typical Shuar who, from his Kutan (seat) stares at his people disappearing and does nothing to change it … I try to be helpful to society… and if I must go against everyone because of that, I will do it happily…”
Learn more at Raúl’s website (mostly in Spanish)
Asociación Amigos de la Amazonia