Categories Latin America, Multimedia, Panama, Video

Documentary: The situation of Majé Emberá Drua territory of life, as described by the community

A new video documentary shows how the Majé Emberá Druá people in Panama have been affected by development. Despite such injustices, their territory of life continues to be an example of biodiversity conservation and vitality

First published on 10/27/2022, and last updated on 11/07/2022

This video documentary was produced by Majé Emberá Druá, Poro Studio, CoopeSoliDar R.L., and ICCA Consortium, with financial support from the Packard Foundation.

By CoopeSoliDar R.L. (Member, ICCA Consortium)

In 1965, the Bayano artificial Lake (352 square kilometers in size) was created when the Bayano river, part of the Majé Emberá Druá territory, was flooded to construct a hydroelectric dam.

The territory was a source of land that provided food for the Indigenous People. The creation of the lake and the dam were done without their consent and without explaining to these Indigenous communities the impacts of this decision.

Fifty-seven years after the artificial flood, Lake Bayano today is essential for the lives and food security of the Majé Emberá Druá People. The lake is the primary source of food security for the Indigenous communities.

Indigenous families practice artisanal fishing in the lake; they mostly fish for tilapia—an exotic species.

But now, this territory of life is strongly threatened by deforestation and various attempts to privatize the Lake. The communities are resisting such threats in their territory.

This video shows the history of how the Majé Emberá Druá people have been affected by development without the free, prior, and Informed consent, as required by the International human rights treaties, and how, despite this type of injustice, their territory of life continues to be an example of conservation and vitality.