“We support the conservation of Iguazu Falls by supporting it as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. For us, Iguazu Falls is the mother of all waters,” says Silvino Moreyra, chief of the Mbororé community.
Before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors, this area was inhabited by the Guarani aboriginals, which boast a unique, defined culture. Today, the rich, red earth of Misiones has a population of about 7,000 Guarani in 76 villages spread across the province. In Iguazu, the largest Guarani community is “Mbororé,” presided over by chief Silvino Moreyra.
“When we pray, we send all the bad spirits down the waterfall”
Chief Silvino is well aware of the New7Wonders competition, and that the declaration will be made in 2011. In this regard, the chief offered his particular vision of the contest: “I believe that this nomination is important for all people of the province of Misiones, as well as for the native peoples. We have our own regions within the Park and we have an Indian handicrafts market in Iguazu. But it is very important for us to conserve the site in its natural state, because our ancestors were there and because we still have rituals we hold in that specific location.”
Silvino further explained the spiritual importance of the site to the indigenous people. “The Falls are like a mother to us, every year we make our prayers there. The magnificent cascade and the force of water has a meaning for us, for when we pray we send all the bad spirits down the waterfall. Every year, as the trees bloom, we celebrate the Indian New Year on September 21. On December 15, we give our thanks to Mother Earth as she gives us all the fruits and food, and we celebrate the feast of the corn.”
The chief of the Mbororé community continues: “Iguazu Falls is a symbol of nature, the mother of water, where we once sacrificed a beautiful girl as a thank you to the water. Today, at the end of year celebration, we throw beaded jewelry and pretty things as presents for Our Mother, because we recognize that it is a privilege to have these wonderful Falls. Because we want to contribute to its conservation through the election of the Official New7Wonders of Nature, we wholeheartedly support this campaign.”