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Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers

by Alianza Arkana
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers
Support Shipibo-Konibo Change Makers

During our last visit to the Shipibo community of Paohyan we held workshops with children and young people and learned together the importance of pursuing our dreams without forgetting our roots.

Approximately 30 young people between 12 and 18 years old attended. Due to the great interest generated, 15 children between 3 and 5 years old joined. We started our workshops with a little movement and dance so that they could express themselves and then each child elaborated, with their own hands, a dream catcher while they imagined all the dreams they would like to achieve. At the end of the day we saw a movie, "Moana", which is about an indigenous girl who leaves to save her community. This film discussed a relevant topic in a child-friendly format, which consisted of having dreams and expectations for oneself, all the while maintaining the connection and commitment with one's community. This brings us to the other important factor in our workshop, which was to preserve the knowledge patrimony of the community. For this reason, we sang songs in Shipibo.

We also presented to the young people our community project, "Farmacia Viva", which is being developed together with a committee of community members of Paohyan. This project seeks to conserve a territory full of medicinal and functional plants, which have an important role in the identity of indigenous people. This project not only provides the community with a source of economic revenue through ecotourism, but also helps children appreciate and revalue ancestral knowledge.

Through seemingly simple activities, such as expressing oneself through dance or creating items (such as dreamcatchers), the children learned something very valuable - the idea of developing an independent identity in cohesion with their heritage. All this was presented in a fun and interactive way.

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In the last month, Alianza Arkana has held several workshops in Paoyhan aimed at different demographic groups to enhance the skills and capacity of the community members and community organizers and empower them to make greater changes in Paoyhan:

The first workshop served a group of 35 women artesans with the dual purposes of learning new skills, and helping their artesan collective organize itself. They are hoping to formalize their group by registering publicly as an organization, which will give them access to different markets and fairs in Pucallpa, and they are eventually hoping to build a storefront location in the village focused solely on selling artesania. We will continue working with this group of women on brainstorming ideas for furthering their collective.

A hip-hop workshop we organized for youth in the community engaged over 75 people in collectively making music that highlighted pride in their indigenous language and culture, while also generating productive and impactful discussions about issues of racism, rights, and justice.

We are working closely with a group of dedicated community members who have formed a committee with the purpose of conserving their forest land, protecting it from exploitation, and generating a potentially sustainable source of income for the community through the creation of a community forest medicinal plants garden. Through a series of meetings with the committee-members and the local authorities, we have been assisting them through the process of realizing this project - the first of its kind in the community - so capacity-building for the committee members to execute a large project of this kind has been very important. The committee members are very excited about this project - please see more details here if you would like to support this project specifically: Donate Now to Farmacia Viva.

Lastly, we have been involved with several workshops and events to help get the people of Paoyhan registered with the public health insurance that they are entitled to, but many are lacking. This has also entailed educating families about what their rights are with regards to healthcare and how to navigate Peru's healthcare system, which is notoriously racist and extortionate.

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Villagers having breakfast before heading out
Villagers having breakfast before heading out

After a successful workshop about regenerative solutions in the village of Paoyhan in 2017, the community decided to form a committee to steward 5 hectares of their community forest, in order to make it a medicinal plant forest. They decided to do so in order to improve local health, to revitalize plant medicine use, and to generate sustainable incomes for themselves that would go beyond logging and forest destruction. Protecting plant medicines and develop sustainable incomes from them offer villagers an ecological alternative to logging and industrial agriculture jobs. They are based on regeneration of species and the planting of species that are not there anymore. 

This past month, the committee organized themselves to demarcate the designated land. We are proud of this team of self organizing villagers, and are happy to support them with technical assistance and initial financial support. The idea is for this project is to make it self sustainable by creating a research center for ethnobotanical knowledge and biology in the long-term. This will not only make important research happen, but also generate jobs within the community which prevents rural to urban migration. We hope this living farmacy thrives!

All pictures were taken by Segundo Franco, president of the committee. 

Villagers demarcating their territory
Villagers demarcating their territory
Working in the field
Working in the field
Hugging trees!
Hugging trees!
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Meet the Axenon Ikanwe Team
Meet the Axenon Ikanwe Team

As we enter 2018, we are excited to announce that we will continue our campaign to support indigenous rights in the Peruvian Amazon and want to share that this campaign will be focusing on support indigenous rights through working on Shipibo language revitalization and sovereignity.

This year, we will work closely with our partner organization ARIAP (Association of Amazonian Indigenous Roots). We have established a relationship where we will support language revitalization efforts through a radio program and  producing intercultural bilingual educational materials. 

The radio station, Axenon Ikanwe, has been on air for the past three months and has received much interest from a diverse, intergenerational audience of Shipibo folks. Axenon Ikanwe is the first radio program done entirely in Shipibo and focuses on creating a space for Shipibos to hear, practice, and experience the pride of speaking Shipibo. 

Everyday, Axenon Ikanwe shares news, traditional Shipibo stories, ancestral knowledge, music, jokes, and more. This year, the producers plan to tackle the themes of health, gender, education, and family structure in Amazonian indigenous communities. We are excited to see this program grow and encourage you to learn more here.

We were also present for Intercultural Billingual Education week at the end of November/beginning of December. Our volunteer English teachers in Bena Jema were part of a panel and members of Alianza Arkana were invited to a comprehensive presentation on the need for bilingual education. The presentation not only included members from Alianza Arkana, it also included members from ARIAP, other Shipibo educators, and the students of the school.

Bilingual education is a big focus for us this year and we are looking forward to supporting ARIAP with the production of bilingual educational materials for primary school students in Shipibo communities. 

We thank you for your continued support and are confident that focusing in language revitalization will be a critical component to advocating for indigenous rights here in the Peruvian Amazon.

Axenon Ikanwe in action
Axenon Ikanwe in action
Intercultural Bilingual Education Panel
Intercultural Bilingual Education Panel
Presentation on Shipibo Language History
Presentation on Shipibo Language History
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Sunset in the native community of Paohyan
Sunset in the native community of Paohyan

Following up on our commitment to Paohyan:

On Friday, September 8th, 6 volunteers from Alianza Arkana returned to Paohyan, a 1,000 person Shipibo community 5 hours away by fast motor boat. As promised, the volunteers returned to continue their collaboration with the community on climate change education. Arriving in Paohyan on Friday afternoon, they began preparations for the two-day workshop, on climate change and alternative sustainable sources of income.  Alianza Arkana’s Director of Permaculture, Marcos Urquia, joined the volunteers and played a critical role in inspiring the participants to think of creative local solutions to combat climate change.

This workshop was what volunteer Karl Vikat called, a “response to a demand.” After the leader of the community, Limber, attended an impactful workshop on climate change put on by the USAID, he called upon Alianza Arkana to provide the community with a similar educational workshop. Limber noted, "the community does not have access to this information or news on the dramatic global effects of climate change. We need this knowledge."

On Saturday, 30 to 40 men, women, and youth came to learn about the local and global impacts of climate change. Participants watched video clips, engaged in small group discussions, and got to talk openly about how climate change impacted their day to day lives and long standing cultural traditions. One of the community leaders reflected on the day saying, "I never knew about these things happening all over the world, and it makes me fearful for my children, grandchildren, and future generations to come."

Feeling motivated on Sunday, the community picked up where they left off and talked about creating their own solution to the local effects of climate change-- a botanic garden. Marcos presented the Permaculture project in Santa Clara, focused on the three goals of the garden. First being reforestation and protection against fire. Second being food security and nutrition. Third being preservation of plant knowledge. Marcos inspired the community to focus on what garden could bring to the community in terms of income and agricultural education for youth.

After seeing the excitement and motivation to collaborate with Alianza Arkana, the volunteers agree this was the beginning of a new relationship with the community of Paohyan.

Marcos talks local solutions to climate change
Marcos talks local solutions to climate change
Modeling the science behind climate change
Modeling the science behind climate change
Engaging Paohyan's men, women, and youth
Engaging Paohyan's men, women, and youth
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Organization Information

Alianza Arkana

Location: Yarinacocha, Ucayali - Peru
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Macarena Arias
Yarinacocha, Ucayali Peru

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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