Comarca „Naso Tjerdi“ celebration

Here is my gratulation letter to the Naso poeple on the acceptance of their homeland as a Comarca. As of now the Unesco World heritage site „La Amistad“ is under double protection.

„Miga Naso people, dear King and General Naso Coucil, miga Comarca Naso Tjerdi,

I congratulate you with profound happiness and excitement to the inauguration of the Comarca Naso Tjerdi. 

More than ten years ago, during one of my first visits into your homeland, I remember reading the word Naso Tjerdi for the first time written on a piece of carton. At that time I was part of a street blockage of the construction road leading to the hydroelectric water dam Bonyic.

Unfortunately I am not able to travel and come join you in the ceremony. I will be with you in spirit.

I also would like to congratulate the supreme justice court of the Republic of Panama for their decision. The honorable administrator Señor Reyes proclaimed you as indigenous people carriers of the sustainable usage of our natural resources and protectors of our biodiversity. This biodiversity, the different species of plants and animals, offers the stability to live on mother earth. Accordingly there is obligation to thank you and your ancestors for guarding this ground you call home on the banks of the Tjerdi. Your home is one of the largest and last intact wildlife refuges in the americas and the world. For this reason your homeland is a world natural heritage site.

The world outside of the comarcas and national parks looks quite different. Our way of living has caused serious problems to our own survival. We are dependent on the indigenous people. I wish that this great victory today, the result of your movement, is able to fortify your belief in your traditions and culture. The comarca does not have to take the same road than the civilization on the outside. I hope that our children will be able to breathe fresh air, to drink water out of the creeks and to pick fruits from the trees. We on the outside are cutting of the branch on which we are seated. People hear run to the supermarket to look for apples. A long time ago my home country Germany was covered with forests. The forest were cut until the people living in the cities called for a halt. Ever since that time the germans as a people are in love with their forest.

Many thanks to the organization Odesen, to Enrique, Antonio, Adolfo and Alejandrina, Eduin and Karina, Orlando and Leticia, Rafael for introducing me to the natural Naso world like it always has been subject of my dreams. I will never forget my first jungle walk with Antonio Sanchez to Loma Santa. Without you the forests appeared empty to me at first.

In the year 2014 we were able to execute project „Dbon Tjang Pjak Yo“, inventoring mammal species in the comarca. It was my intention to help in your fight for a Comarca. The tapir, who will be listed as critically endangered soon, lives out here. I remember a conversation in Sieykin where I was told that tapirs are plenty out there. Well here yes and in the Darien as well but in other parts it has vanished. I am fascinated by the story of Wayram, the great spirit of the tapir. Your fairy tale contains all the instructions to protect this species. It serves a good example of how to use your traditions navigating from here forward.

We were also able to film 6 species of felids, even the rare oncilla for the first time on low level forests here in panama. The curator of the Cologne Zoo and one of the most renowned cat experts, Dr. Alexander Sliwa knows of you and sends his gratulations. The great anteater expert and book author Lydia Möcklinghoff, who has always rallied for you here, sends her blessings. Greetings and hugs from my family and friends who have been able to visit with you. Last but not least the vice mayor of the city of Cologne has sent me video message for you.

For my part it is my vision to establish an ecological research center in the comarca, where students and scientists work with you. Conservation practices and actions always have to be tied to the development of living conditions in the communities. 

Remember that there is enough of everything and enough for everyone and that one cannot eat money. 

I leave you to celebrate with a german quote and song:

“Viel Glück und viel Segen auf all Deinen Wegen. Gesundheit und Frohsinn sei auch mit dabei.“ Lots of good fortune and many blessings on all your paths, may health and happiness be participating as well.

Count on my support always,