TRINKETS AND BEADS film 50 years ago, oil was discovered in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, home to over 20 Indian tribes. Only the Huaorani, a tribe of 1,500, have successfully fought to keep the oil companies off most of their land. This is a story of a three-year struggle between one small Amazon tribe and International oil companies. When the missionaries came, things changed. The oil companies came after the missionaries because they made it less dangerous to come and exploit the resources. The missionaries came and brought their civilization. A group of Huaorani saw their plane land on the beach and speared them all because they didn’t know who or what they were. They called the plane a “wooden culture.” A lot of deaths occurred soon after the missionaries came and a lot of diseases they didn’t know of in those times. In the 1960s, Shell Oil, Texaco, and Petro Canada began drilling on the fringes of Huaorani territory. In 1989, a Canadian oil company successfully removed one small Huaorani clan onto a reserve. The oil companies have polluted the rivers and the people are now unable to drink the water. Cofan tribe members traveled to NYC to file a lawsuit against Texaco for polluting their rivers and air and ruining their way of life. A road was built 7 -8 years ago and with it a lot of settlers came leaving the Indian’s without land. They believe the problem lies with the oil companies because if they hadn’t of come, they would still be the only people living on their land. The companies dealt with getting rid of the excess oil by dumping it onto the road. The tribal people are now experiencing skin problems or gastro-intestinal problems from drinking contaminated water. They also find respiratory problems from people breathing the gasses. In 1992, a new oil company, Maxus, planned to drill in the heart of the Huaorani territory. They offered schools and healthcare. A few people fell for it, but the majority of the communities got together to fight Maxus. In 1993, Maxus signed an agreement with the Huaorani to drill for oil throughout their territory. The area is the size of Massachusetts. Maxus immediately started building a road from Cofan land into Huaorani territory. Maxus offered education and health, but none of that ever happened. Before the oil companies came, they were organized and united. The oil that is to be extracted from Huaorani land is worth $1.5 billion, but will only keep cars in the U.S. rolling for 13 days.