The Siekopai once had an immense territory that stretched an estimated 7,000,000 acres between the Putumayo and Napo rivers from Ecuador into Colombia and Peru. They are renowned for their shamanic acumen and knowledge of medicinal plants, with traditional uses for over 1,000 different plant species. The Siekopai now number around 600 people in Ecuador and around 900 in Peru. Missionary activity, rubber extraction, colonization, palm oil production, petroleum activity and a decades-long civil war between Ecuador and Peru have resulted in a greatly reduced and fragmented territory on both sides of the border. In Ecuador, the Siekopai currently have no legal title or recognized rights over their ancestral territory and have been corralled into a much reduced territory of 50,000 acres situated over 100 miles from their ancestral territory and surrounded by oil fields, large-scale African Palm plantations and a network of roads that accelerate illegal logging and land invasion. The parallel impacts to Siekopai culture and traditional way of life have been distressing.
Digital Democracy is supporting and strengthening the work and evidence of the Siekopai guardia in Cuyabeno. The guardia is using Mapeo to gather evidence of new poaching activities, or other land invasions or illegalities.