Alianza Arkana

The Arkana Alliance is committed to raising awareness about the current environmental and social crises in the Amazon; supporting the creation, connection and strengthening of strategic networks and regional and community-based alliances; and inspiring positive change at local, national and international levels to protect and preserve the people, environment, and ancient traditions of the Amazon Rainforest.
Dec 1, 2016

Supporting Ecotourism and other Developments

Shipibo welcome music
Shipibo welcome music

Dear all

As always many thanks for your support.

The last three months have been uncharacteristically very hot in Pucallpa, in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. Usually these months are cooler as the rainy season approaches. Sadly, I think this is climate change really starting to bite here. As always the people most affected are the indigenous and other vulnerable populations.

If you have not already seen it, please look at our new video of the work in Santa Clara. It was made by a highly professional videographer who has just finished working with us for three months.

I have just come back from a two day visit with 25 people from the Universeum of Gothenburg, in Sweden, to the Shipibo community of Santa Clara. This was their second visit in two weeks and is part of our support to the community alongside the permaculture/intercultural education project we have there.

The visit was a great success - see the photos, where the Swedes also shared aspects of their culture (¡like Papa Noel!). Also see more photos on our Facebook site:

The other really good news from the community is that the young people there are increasingly taking intiatives and breaking out of the cycle of dependency on external help. They have recently formed an association and want to talk to us about their ideas for creating sustainable livelihoods in the community, which could include further development of ecotourism in the community and the cultivation and sale of medicinal plants.

Our intercultural book for Shipibo primary school children continues to progress well. We now have all 30 paintings of plant spirits from Shipibo artist Lastenia Canayao (see photo for another example of her work) and also 30 botanical drawings of the plants. These will now be sent to New York City, where we are working with the Shipibo Conibo Center for Contemporay Arts there, who are helping us design and produce the book.

We have also created a strategic plan to increase the number of Shipibo people working in Alianza Arkana. This can be viewed in the accompanying document. We have already appointed one talented young Shipibo woman to work with us - first as an apprentice in the work in eco-social justice and with young people and then to take on a key role in one of these areas.

Finally, we had a very successful staff retreat last Friday focussed on funding and the future of the organization. We continue to attract high quality volunteers and researchers, including more Peruvians who can stay much longer term with us as they do not have issues with visas to be able to stay in Peru.

Any questions/comments please contact me at: paul@alianzaarkana.org

Best wishes

Dr Paul Roberts

Director Intercultural Education

Alianza Arkana

Shipibo girls dancing
Shipibo girls dancing
Papa Noel all the way from Sweden
Papa Noel all the way from Sweden
Small trees ready to be planted for reforestation
Small trees ready to be planted for reforestation
Lastenia
Lastenia's painting of plant spirit of Maranon
Photo from staff retreat
Photo from staff retreat

Attachments:
Oct 30, 2016

Engaging in Intercultural Education

Welcome outside school at Bena Jema
Welcome outside school at Bena Jema

We have recently hosted a visit of Swedish kindergarten and primary teachers in Pucallpa. Five Swedish kindergarten teachers spent four days working with the kindergarten school in Bena Jema. Three primary school teachers visited the primary school in Bena Jema for three days and had a one day visit to the school in Santa Clara, where they saw the permaculture project we have established in the community.

The Swedish teachers visit was part of a program of intercultural exchange. Next year, there will be an opportunity for three Shipibo teachers to visit Sweden to continue exchanging ideas about educational practice.

Our intercultural book on plant medicines for Shipibo primary school children continues to develop well. We now have all 30 plantings of plant spirits commissioned from Shipibo artist Lastenia Canayo. Additionally, we have most of the botanical drawings from another artist in Pucallpa that will also be part of the book.

The paintings and drawings will soon be shipped to New York where a professional photographer will photograph them. We will be working with the Shipibo-Konibo centre for contemporary art, also based in New York City, on the book design. We plan to publish the book in the early New Year.

Swedish teachers singing
Swedish teachers singing
Meeting at Santa Clara
Meeting at Santa Clara
Lastenia
Lastenia's painting of plant spirit of Bobinsana
Oct 25, 2016

Groundwork: Enabling Change To Emerge

Leaders of tomorrow in Santa Clara de Uchunya.
Leaders of tomorrow in Santa Clara de Uchunya.

With Alianza Arkana, we always strive to work in ways which are shaped by collaboration and participation. The diversity of people involved not only allows for new approaches and projects to emerge; it makes us more resilient and better-able to adjust to change. This point has been driven home to me in a particularly personal way during the last few months, as sadly I had to leave Ucayali at the end of August, to return to Scotland because of a family illness. Even as we look for new people to build upon and develop this work - including a young Shipibo apprentice, who will be able to assume leadership of this work in the future - the Ecosocial Justice Program continues to evolve in new and promising directions, thanks in particular to the efforts of my fellow volunteers, Macarena and José.

We continue to support the local indigenous federation, FECONAU, with their work in the community of Santa Clara de Uchunya. The community is currently leading a land-titling process by demarcating their own traditional territory as a way to gain recognition of their land rights over their ancestral lands. This is a community-led alternative to the more commonplace procedure, which is to wait for the regional government to demarcate the community's territory; a procedure which often results in the community only gaining rights over part of their territory. Self-demarcation is a recent practice and not many communities know about it, which is why FECONAU, together with Alianza Arkana, are producing an educational video about the process of self-demarcation to be screened in other communities which are yet to have their lands titled. In order to produce this video, Alianza Arkana and FECONAU have worked with the community of Korin Bari. This pioneering community has successfully completed the process of land-titling for themselves using self-demarcation. It is our goal to produce a video which will enable other communities to learn from and adapt both Korin Bari and Santa Clara de Uchunya's experiences with this process.

 

Simultaneously, Alianza Arkana is seeking to develop a youth leadership training program in order to empower youth with the tools to be agents of change in their own communities. As Santa Clara de Uchunya is a community which is currently facing a situation of environmental conflict, due to deforestation and the expansion of an oil palm plantation within their territory, we see it as very fitting to provide these kinds of workshops in this community in order to equip youth with more tools for participation and organising.
Finally, I invite you to read this blog, in which I reflect upon my experiences coordinating the Ecosocial Justice Program during 2016 and analyse the implications of oil palm expansion for the Ucayali region and especially its indigenous peoples. As I draw this report to a close, I am filled with gratitude for your support and all who have collaborated to help make ecosocial justice a reality in Ucayali, as well as a sense of hope for the positive changes which can emerge from sharing our learnings, weaving solidarity and placing community at the heart of social transformation.

Links:

 
   

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