'I'm here to tell you my story, which is also the story of my people and the story of this forest.'
Born into the Waorani tribe of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, Nemonte Nenquimo was taught about plant medicines, foraging, oral storytelling, and shamanism by her elders. Age 14, she left the forest for the first time to study with an evangelical missionary group in the city.
Eventually, her ancestors began appearing in her dreams, pleading with her to return and embrace her own culture. She listened.
Two decades later, Nemonte has emerged as one of the most forceful voices in climate-change activism. She has spearheaded the alliance of indigenous nations across the Upper Amazon and led her people to a landmark victory against Big Oil, protecting over a half million acres of primary rainforest. Her message is as sharp as the spears that her ancestors wielded – honed by her experiences battling loggers, miners, oil companies and missionaries.
In this astonishing memoir, she partners with her husband Mitch Anderson, founder of Amazon Frontlines, digging into generations of oral history, uprooting centuries of conquest, hacking away at racist notions of Indigenous peoples, and ultimately revealing a life story as rich, harsh and vital as the Amazon rainforest herself.
Nemonte Nenquimo, a Waorani leader, was born in Ecuador's Amazon, one of the most bio-diverse and threatened rainforests on the planet. She is the co-founder of both the Indigenous-led non-profit Ceibo Alliance and its partner organization, Amazon Frontlines. Nemonte led her people in a historic legal victory against the oil industry, protecting half-a-million acres of rainforest and setting a precedent for Indigenous rights across the region. Her leadership has been widely recognized; in 2020, she won the Goldman Environmental Prize for Central and South America and was named to the BBC 100 Women and TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Mitch Anderson is co-founder and Executive Director of Amazon Frontlines, a non-profit organization based in the Upper Amazon, which defends indigenous peoples' rights to land, life, and cultural survival. In 2011, he moved to Ecuador's northern Amazon to start a grassroots clean water project with Indigenous communities living downriver from contaminating oil operations. Through building more than 1,000 clean water systems in over 70 villages, Mitch supported the formation of the Ceibo Alliance, an Indigenous-led non-profit that won the prestigious UN Equator Prize and whose victories for the Amazon rainforest have inspired millions worldwide.