21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Ghosts of Yasuni | Story of Huaorani People

Portrait of Huarani in the background of ancestral tree. The Huaorani are Ecuador's most recently contacted Indigenous group. They were first approached in the late 1950s by US missionaries and oil workers, ultimately leading to ongoing oil exploitation, territorial displacement, and cultural colonization. The Yasuní Biosphere is one of the areas with the most extraordinary biodiversity per square meter on the planet. 99.73% of the biosphere reserve consists of original natural vegetation. Yasuní has been undergoing radical change for many years as the exploration of the region's oil reserves threatens many native species and habitats and the lifestyle of the Indigenous Huaorani. The latest referendum halted the development of all new oil wells in the Yasuní, bringing hope to preserving the unique culture of Huaorani and their home.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2023
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Bameno Community, Ecuador
Copyright: © Aga Szydlik
Photo of the Day: 05.17.24