Advancing the Rights of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Speeches Shim

Monday, March 30, 2020
In Nepal, Luis Felipe meets with Tamang Indigenous women to discuss the social safeguards for the implementation of the Hydropower project in the Upper Trishuli river.
Courtesy of Luis Felipe Duchicela

An advocate draws inspiration from his roots to promote the voices of Indigenous Peoples globally

Mygrandfather was born in an impoverished Indigenous community in the Chimborazo province in the central Andean highlands of Ecuador. Home of the Puruwá nation, Chimborazo owes its name to the majestic snow-capped mountain, which at 6,310 meters (20,700 feet) above sea level is the country’s tallest.

Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and Chimborazo is the poorest of all its 22 provinces. In the early 1900s, my grandfather left his community to work, study, and travel. He spent close to 18 years in Europe, and came back to Ecuador to raise a family in the port city of Guayaquil with the ability to speak six languages, including his native Quichua.

My memories of him growing up were that of a stubborn, old man with deep Indigenous features who would lecture us on the plight of the Indigenous communities of our country, and the love and reverence with which we must relate to our roots and identity.

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Last updated: March 30, 2020

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