TIPNIS Indigenous March: Courageous Women

Jacqueline Patiño
Posted September 23, 2011 from Bolivia

Facilitator, laborer of transformation from hopes to actions, pacifist, nómade, seriuously committed with science, free person, a questioner, and happy. This is how Daniela Leyton describes herself in her facebook page. She missed saying “courageous”. Our courageous young woman, Daniela, is showing us the path to being the change we want to see, as Gandhi said.

Founder president of Kandire, an environmental organization, when she heard about the highway that divides the Indigenous Territory Isiboro Secure National Park (TIPNIS – Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure), she began to lead marches in La Paz, her original city, a thousand miles away from TIPNIS rainforest. So she lead the “night of lights” where she asked young people of La Paz to light a candle and walk at night calling everyone’s attention about TIPNIS. Then she lead the barefoot walk for the TIPNIS, also calling everyone´s attention.

Meanwhile, indigenous mothers with their children, older people, young men and women pertaining to the aboriginal tribes of Yuracare, Chiquitanos, and other small indigenous peoples who dwell in the rainforest were marching and making the leftist establishment mad. They do not understand left or right, they understand LIFE. So, when they see their lives threatened by the colonizing coca leave growers supported by the government, they march to say NO to the dividing highway that will kill them.

Daniela sees her efforts in La Paz make sense, but knows her organization was not founded to be a watcher, but a doer. She leaves her people in La Paz and joins the marching indigenous peoples in their way to La Paz, to meet president Morales, 15 days ago.

Today, September 22nd, the march has been detained in Limoncito, near Yucumo, for over 10 days now. Police has taken away water and food from the march and do not let them pass. The excuse: a group of government supported coca leave growers (coca leaves go to cocaine production), eager to make the road a reality so that they can transport their produce easier, and eager also to produce more coca leaves, as the areas where they grow coca are small already, are blocking the road to La Paz and threaten to physically terminate the indigenous march. And these peasants are known for their violent way of terminating opposition.

Daniela is there. Reporting, helping, walking with them. Here is one of her comments in the facebook page “Friends of TIPNIS” (Amigos del TIPNIS), where she posts the news:

“Sept. 22nd: The cute note???: yesterday I cooked with Nazareth, a woman leader.. every time she sings she moves my heart in an inexplicable form, yesterday… she sang the “Courage” song (see link below) while we were making the food. Today I have touched beautiful necklaces made of wairurus (a local red and black seed used for beauty purposes), I have seen and heard the chiquitano brothers and sisters making them and have one in my neck already… INTERCULTURALITY IS BEAUTIFUL… today I had buñuelos (local fritters) in the CONAMAQ (indigenous from the opposite side of Bolivia, supporting the march) and because of the sun I have taken two cups of chivé (local drink)… at nights in the vigil we hear the tamborita (small local drum) and then the targas (local musical instrument)… we make puppet shows for the kids at night…THE BROTHERHOOD AND PACIFIC STRUGGLE IS IN THE AIR ALL THE TIME.

You can watch the song "Courage" here:

The original comment in Spanish is:

La nota bonita ??? : ayer he cocinado con Nazareth , mujer dirigente ...cada vez que ella canta me conmueve el corazón de una manera inexplicable, ayer ...ella ha cantado coraje mientras haciamos la comida....Hoy he tocado collares lindos de wairurus, los he visto y escuchado hacerlos por los hermanos chiquitanos ya tengo uno en el cuello.....LA INTERCULUTURALIDAD ES HERMOSA ...hoy he desayunado bunuelos en la CONAMAQ y ante el sol me he tomado dos jarritos de chivé ....en las noches de vigilia se escucha la tambora y luego las tarqas ....les hacemos show de titeres a los niños en las noches.....LA HERMANDAD Y LA LUCHA PACIFICA ESTA EN EL AIRE TODO EL TIEMPO

If you want to join Daniela in her struggle to make this March visible, please sign the petition to save the TIPNIS here:


You can choose your language to see the petition in the upper right corner of the page.

We already have 112,000 signatures, and we need to get to 150,000. Please share with your friends.

You can follow the news every minute at:


This is the official webpage of the Committee for Escorting the Indigenous March.

A webpage informing directly from the Amazonian basin in Bolivia.

You can join the diverse groups that have been created by Bolivian people in facebook, just type "TIPNIS" in the search box in facebook, and you will be able to join every group. Or become my friend in facebook: Jacqueline Patiño and I will add you to the groups.

Let us raise our voices. This movement is proudly created by young women, led by young women and will be successful because young women, and women of all ages really, are involved.

Thank you.

Comments 1

Log in or register to post comments
Jacqueline Patiño
Sep 23, 2011
Sep 23, 2011

While writing this article, and watching the song "Courage" , I could not help shedding tears my friends. Not just because of a road, but because I feel terribly impotent. My sisters in the TIPNIS, marching in the sun of the Amazon river, with a temperature of 110 degrees, have been stopped by the police and are not allowed to get near the river. They don´t have water or food because the truck carrying these items has been removed by the police, who follow the orders of the government. Every minute that passes, their lives are in danger.