On September 17th, 2003 Chief David Simon of the Pakuri Arawak territory signed the Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act making the entire territory, of some 240 sq. miles, safe for parrots. The national government of Guyana now allows for the export of 30,000 parrots from this nearly pristine ecosystem and is now threatening the survival of many species of parrots with extinction. This act is the first of it's kind to become law on an indigenous reservation in all of Latin America & Chief David Mark Simon becomes the first indigenous leader to make this noble first step.
Nancy Lewis Cullity
Parrot Protection Act
Pakuri Arawak Nation, Guyana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2003
USA: Marc Johnson, Foster Parrots Ltd. (781) 878-3733.
Barbados: Damon Gerard Corrie Fifth Hereditary Paramount
Chief of the Eagle Clan,
Arawak Nation, Guyana (246) 228-0227 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic wildlife protection
model is created for Indigenous communities worldwide as Guyana's
Arawak Nation takes first step to preserve native parrots
Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act signed
into law by Arawak Nation of Guyana.
On September 17th, 2003 Chief David Simon of the Pakuri Arawak
territory signed the Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act
making the entire territory, of some 240 sq. miles, safe for parrots.
The national government of Guyana now allows for the export of
30,000 parrots from this nearly pristine ecosystem and is now
threatening the survival of many species of parrots with extinction.
This act is the first of it's kind to become law on an indigenous
reservation in all of Latin America & Chief David Mark Simon
becomes the first indigenous leader to make this noble first step.
This courageous and ground breaking step was initiated by Barbados
born Damon Corrie, heir to the hereditary Chieftaincy (now ceremonial)
of the Eagle Clan of the Arawak nation. Mr. Corrie's desire to
protect the natural balance of his people's territory was reinvigorated
after a visit to the village by Brian and Nancy Cullity in 2000/1.
While visiting, Nancy's love for parrots and the need to protect
them meshed with Damon's own respect for his birthright and for
the desire to encourage eco-friendly tourism to Guyana. Nancy's
untimely death of cancer served as the impetus for Brian to establish
a continuing relationship with the Arawak people and he and Marc
Johnson of Foster Parrots revisited the village in 2002/3. While
there the need for international support for an effort to save
the dwindling parrot populations led Damon to petition the elected
Chief David Simon to enact a law, drafted by Foster Parrots Ltd.,
protecting the parrots of their territory from hunting, for food
and for the pet trade.
Foster Parrots hopes to enlist the help of other like minded
individuals and organizations to assist in the tree planting,
captive breeding program and artificial nesting site construction
needed and it is hoped that this act will serve as an example
to the other clans of the Arawak to follow suit and set their
native lands aside as preserves.
For more information about the Pakuri Arawak Amerindian nations
please visit: www.GuidedCulturalTours.com
A Courageous Effort
On September 17th of 2003 an historic and unique
event took place to begin the effort of establishing an oasis
of safety for all parrots within the 240 square mile territory
of the Pakuri Arawak Amerindians. This journey began in December
2000 when Brian and Nancy Cullity, board members of Foster Parrots,
visited this natural and beautiful land. Guyana is one of the
few nations on earth today that is largely unspoiled. With a population
of under 800,000, most of whom live on the coast, it still offers
the traveler a unique and rugged view of the rainforest. If one
looks at a map of projected rain forest destruction, Guyana and
its neighbor Suriname are two of the few places that will be left
with the potential of seeing any of this endangered ecosystem.
Currently the national government allows the exportation of some
30,000 parrots from its shores destined for the European and Asian
markets. It does not take any imagination to see that before long
there will be no parrots left here unless something is done to
save them now.
| ||Brian gives a scratch to a Black headed Caique
while Nancy serves as a perch to a Brown Throated Conure, just
two of the more than 30 species of parrots found in Guyana. |
Brian and Nancy were two of the first people
to adopt a parrot, a Senegal parrot named Sebastian, from Foster
Parrots back in 1993. Brian and Nancy had made many trips to South
and Central America and they had a deep understanding and love
for the people and the unspoiled lands they visited. They also
had a deep appreciation for the wildlife which led them to seek
an adoptive relationship with a parrot here in the US. Sebastian
left them both with many battle scars but the importance of their
relationship was much deeper than just this one bird. While spending
time with Damon, Barney, Gal and others in the village Brian and
Nancy impressed Damon with the need to preserve the natural wildlife
if there was ever to be any hope for an eco-tourist business that
would bring some financial gains to this community. Their deep
love of the birds of Guyana made an impression on Damon and he
began a tortoise preservation effort, buying tortoises from vendors
in Georgetown and thus saving them from the fate of being eaten.
Damon Gerard Corrie, Fifth Hereditary Paramount Chief of the
Eagle Clan, Arawak Nation, Guyana.
Below, inspecting the tortoise pen.
Similar efforts are planned for the iguanas
sold in the markets for food and it is hoped that these species
among others will be reintroduced into the village.
Brian and I revisited this village in December
of 2002 and we had the opportunity to talk with Damon at length
about the need to start the preservation and reintroduction process
now, while there were still wild parrots in the area and while
there was still time. Fully realizing that for the eco-tourism
potential to be realized something more than just giving the potential
visitor something to look at was vital. Damon realized that he
needed to show the world the depth of the commitment by this village
in preserving the "wild" life of the land around them.
Damon convinced the elected chef that this was a road to be traveled
by the entire community and perhaps the entire indigenous nation
of the Arawak people. To this end the following act was written
by Foster Parrots and signed into law by Chief David Mark Simon
on September 17, 2003.
OFFICIAL TRIBAL COUNCIL LAW
OF PAKURI ARAWAK TERRITORY
Nancy Lewis Cullity Parrot Protection Act
I, David Mark Simon, duly elected Chief/Captain of Pakuri
Arawak Territory, St. Cuthbert's Mission do, on this 17th day
of September, 2003; hereby decree that all hunting of parrot
/macaw species for ornamental uses, food, re-sale or export from
the 240 Sq. miles of Pakuri Territory/St. Cuthbert's Mission
reservation lands will henceforth be illegal and deemed
contrary to the values and our spiritual link to the land that
has sustained our people since the dawn of time. Further, for
each parrot/macaw captured by or sold to non-residents or deliberately
killed the offender/s will be subject to a fine determined by
a judicial sitting of a majority of the Tribal Council members.
I further proclaim that we should consider this protection of
parrot & macaw species to be part of our inheritance and
thus we should all do our part to promote the successful re-introduction
of parrots & macaws to ensure their survival among us. Towards
this goal I encourage all residents to cultivate food sources
such as the Ite' palm and to refrain from disturbing parrot/macaw
feeding, nesting and roosting areas. To assist us in these noble
efforts we shall enlist the spiritual and financial support and
alliances of like-minded people around the world who believe
they share the responsibility of restoring the natural balance
of our lands and Guyana's fragile ecosystems.
Exemptions to this law will be made for:
1. Those actively involved in the captive-breeding of parrot
& macaw species for re-release of the offspring back into
2. Those who wish to keep a parrot/macaw as a companion with
the provision that these captive specimens will be given a semi-free
existence and the freedom to wander among the trees and in our
Any and all parrot/macaw feathers used in tradition/non-traditional
crafts or for ceremonial purposes MUST be either naturally molted
feathers by living specimens or from naturally deceased specimens.
Signed into Official Tribal Council Law,
Date: September 17,2003 Signed: David Mark Simon
Now, it is time to put our money where our
hearts are. For the parrot guardians and conservation groups here
in America that wish to be able to visit a place where they can
experience the freedom of parrots and also be moved by the experience
of being in one of the worlds last wild places. We hope that we
will be joined by anyone who understands the need for parrots
to be preserved in their natural environment, wild and free.
Please visit www.CorrieBusinessGroup.com/productions for
more information on how you can help.
Click on picture to zoom in on
this Greenwing Macaw.