This morning we met with Padre Edgar to discuss the possibility of a cultural center, a space where the local indigenous communities could record and preserve their heritage, culture, and traditions. The five indigenous communities include the Kichwa, Maijuna, Sequoia, Huitoto and Orejona. The recent history over the last 150 years here in the jungle is one of oppression and abuse by rubber barons. For generations local communities were enslaved and in the process the culture and spirit were altered. Today, communities choose to remember and hold on to their dear traditions, and tell stores of both good and bad times to their children and grandchildren to help them understand both the pain and strength that runs through their blood.
There are few indigenous peoples left in the world. This is very alarming being that now, in an age of global warming and environmental disaster, we are left with few cultures look to and learn from in order to live in a way that preserves the earth for both our generation and those to come. Streaks of shame run through the history of our own country, where indigenous peoples were mistreated, enslaved, and torn from the land of their ancestors. This has left a scar so deep that many only know to fill it with alcohol and gambling. Others, however, gather strength and perseverance by giving back to their communities and working against all odds to maintain their traditions and cultural identity.
In contrast, most of the Napino Peruvian Indiginous communities still live on the land of their ancestors. One community in particular, the Maijuna, were recently granted a title to their land, on which their ancestors also hunted and gathered, after a Swiss group spent 10 years working with them. Their is historic memory in the elders and right now we have the opportunity to capture it, not only for local generations to come, but to share their message with other concerned citizens of the world.
The Muyuna is the answer to this call. The space is ready. There are the beginnings of a fish pond/hachery fed by a natural stream in order to bring sustainability to the locale. There is a space to plant seedlings to be distributed to communities along the river to help with reforestation. In the actual building, we envision a documentation center which houses a research library, audio-visual archives, a GPS mapping project, and a documentation team. There will be tranquil dormitory space for visitors to rest while collaborating with the documentation project or coming to learn about a "new" ancient way of life.
We are looking for anthropologists, cultural experts, organizations and foundations to collaborate with local communities to realize our collective dream of looking to the past to heal the future.