Now that the Ecuadorian justice system has recognized the Siekopai people as the rightful owner of 42,360 hectares in Pë'këya, which contains the tribe’s most important sacred places, they will be able to return to the ancestral home from which they were expelled in 1941. The judicial decision is “historic,” says Justino Pianguaje, head of the Siekopai Nation. It is the first time Ecuador has recognized an Indigenous population’s right to possess a territory that has been declared a protected area. The court has also obliged the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition of Ecuador to apologize publicly to the Siekopai for failing to protect their rights. To recover the land, they had to show that they were the original inhabitants. The ruling says this condition has been proven.

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