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Settlers during a demonstration of the UDAPT
Today's Amazon also belongs to the settlers of all generations, whose history is made up of amazing efforts, tenacity, adventures in the face of the unknown, costly mistakes and a demand for recognition. In 1970 the government of Ecuador declared the Amazon as an area where people could come to colonize: this declaration provoked very poor social sectors from other provinces to come to live there, especially peasants who did not have land.
As roads were opened to the oil wells, the population arrived and built their farms. The companies opened roads in the jungle, made seismic explorations, oil infrastructures, and, before they laid the oil pipelines to connect the new wells with the batteries, the colonists had already built their houses. Along the way, flourish simple wooden houses surrounded by pipes and vegetation.
As a consequence, confrontations between settlers (also called "mestizos" and "colonos") and indigenous communities began, to such an extent that the Kofán nationality, such as the Waorani, Siona and Siekopaai, ceased to own their territory and lived in already identified territories. Faced with the advance of the extractive-colonizing border, the Tagaeri and Taromenane clans of Waorani Nationality opted for voluntary isolation, and even today they live in the deepest interior of the jungle.
Historically, the Amazonian territory was considered as an inhospitable space by the Spanish colonization, with few possibilities of generating wealth and an enormous difficulty to be colonized in the same parameters of the colonization of the Andean mountain range or the Ecuadorian coast. Therefore, it was not until the seventeenth century that the process of colonization and control of the Ecuadorian Amazon territory, which was initially in charge of the Jesuit missions, would began
In more recent times, the work carried out by the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano was especially important in the emptying of the indigenous Amazon territories, simultaneously with the beginning of the oil exploitation of the U.S. company Texaco. This evangelical institution concentrated the population in new settlements along the riverside, where the church and the landing strip were constructed for the arrival of the evangelical shepherds and linguists. The territorial strategy was similar to the Jesuit one: to concentrate the dispersed population in towns where a religious and cultural dominion could be exercised. This strategy was carried out with both peaceful and violent methods.
To the new settlements was added the educational centre of Limoncocha, established by the ILV with the intention of forming shepherds belonging to the indigenous peoples themselves (Waorani, Kofán, Siekopai and Siona), and which was the way to confirm the cultural change in the Amazonian peoples and to ensure their discipline with regard to the new transnational power that would become hegemonic in the territory. Therefore, the strategy of territorial distribution that included urbanization was fundamental to Texaco's operations in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This territorial strategy completely changed the way of life of the Kofán, Siona, Siekopai and Waorani peoples (except for the clans that fled and that persist in voluntary isolation), and caused the disappearance of the Tetetes and Sansahuaris.