Justice for María Taant

Original artwork by Saskia Deschan for Pretty Deadly Self Defense © 2021; used by Mujeres Amazónicas with permission by the artist

If you follow Pretty Deadly Self Defense on social media, you already know that every week we celebrate #WarriorWomenWednesday : we post original portrait illustrations by independent female artists, along with a bio of our weekly Warrior Woman’s life, work and legacy, whether it’s part of ancient history or still in the making. We define “warrior women” as battlefield warriors, social justice warriors and gender pioneers — anyone who defies, redefines and advances what it means to be a woman.

We’ve had some amazing results since we launched this series in 2019: Ananya Rao-Middleton, our first artist, has launched a full-time illustration career; Miwa Nishiji, our second artist, does storyboard work for movies. Des Natural, the third artist in our series, wove some kind of powerful magic into her portrait of jailed activist Loujain al-Hathloul who was released from prison the very next day (! Ok, maybe it was coincidence, but still).

Our current artist Saskia Deschan created a beautiful portrait of Amazonian activist María Taant in May of this year, and was approached on social media by Mujeres Amazónicas asking to use the portrait in their campaign demanding justice for Taant’s untimely death. Of course she said yes; all of us at Pretty Deadly Self Defense are honored to aid this important campaign for justice in every way we can.

Here’s the original story, and the call for justice by Mujeres Amazónicas below:

Saskia Deschan © 2021


María Taant (b. 1971, d. 27 March 2021)⁠

⁠María Taant, a Shuar leader from Ecuadorian Amazon, ⁠was a widow and mother of four children.⁠

⁠In Taisha, María’s community in Ecuadorian Amazon, there are no roads or drinking water. María spent much of her time cultivating a farm, exchanging seeds with other women. ⁠

⁠Meetings between the women became the root of a movement, as their conversations about their own lands grew to include the 15,800 barrel oil spill in 2020 that poisoned the rivers, the oil lagoons and poverty were destroying their communities. ⁠

⁠María became a leader of a movement of Amazonian Women as they organized and marched in protest, creating a show of force in collective and political organization that organizations around the world have recognized as the true defenders of the jungle. María herself was one of the women that handed over the Mandate to the President of Ecuador to demand the destruction of the Amazonian lands be stopped.⁠

⁠On 27 March 2021, María and 46 other Amazonian women were honored in a ceremony in the town of Puyo, recognizing and celebrating their resilience and empowerment in the face of corporate forces destroying the rainforest and surrounding lands.⁠

⁠That same evening as she made her way home from the ceremony, she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. ⁠


On March 26th, María Taant dear friend, sister and defender of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, member of @mujeresamazonicas, was run over by a car and killed while returning home from an event organized by the Ombudsman’s Office. Since then, not a single investigation has been carried out to bring justice for Maria. Unfortunately, impunity is all too common when it comes to Indigenous women defenders in Ecuador and we’ve had enough!

We’re demanding that the Ecuadorian prosecutor’s office launch a transparent investigation monitored by the Ombudsman’s office! Justice for Maria Taant and protection for Indigenous women defenders!

Please sign the petition, and support the Legal Fund for Indigenous Women in the Amazon.

Please give this article a clap or a share so more people can help. Our planet depends on it.




Founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense @ prettydeadlyselfdefense.com // Former producer of art podcast Artipoeus: art you can hear @ artipoeus.com

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Susie Kahlich

Susie Kahlich

Founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense @ prettydeadlyselfdefense.com // Former producer of art podcast Artipoeus: art you can hear @ artipoeus.com

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