Ecuador Tour - Meet the Indigenous Shuar Tribe of the Amazon
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Meet the Indigenous Shuar Tribe of the Amazon
After discovering vast quantities of oil under the land where the Shuar tribe of Ecuador in the Amazon, they were offered 1.5 million EUR for their land. They did not give up their land to anyone. Instead, they strived for greater efforts in the conservation and the reforestation of the Amazon. They aimed to plant two million trees by 2020 and to this point, they have already planted 500,000 trees. Donations and visits from tourists brought in by Galapagos PRO help to fund this project.
Tzamarenda Naychapi, also known as Tzama, is the chief of the Shuar tribe of Ecuador and he is in charge of 18 communities. Tzama’s father is called Shamane, which translates to “someone who knows all secrets”, and like his father, Tzama is also a healer. All knowledge and wisdom were passed down to him from his forefathers, and he was trained as a child to be a leader. Tzamarenda is willing to share his culture and land to those who are eager to listen. His garden is filled with medicinal plants which provide remedies for almost every illness out there. With his strong healing powers, Tzama is a true spiritual leader to the Shuar people. During traditional ceremonies, Tzamarenda leads the tribe with cleansing rituals, a celebration of natural medicine and meditations such as ‘the sleep on the foot of the Jungle giant’.
It is essential to safeguard their customs and traditions such as music, dance, handicraft, jungle sports and competitions and notably, their affinity for their land and nature.
The Shuar tribe are people with a strong fighting spirit. Over the past decade, they have fought successfully against big oil corporations as well as the Ecuadorian government. They work with the CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) and are very active politically. They are a respectable and robust community who take full responsibility for their land and environment.
The inhabitants of Tawasap live off selling sugarcane and their unique handicraft. Visitors can accompany Tzama as he forrays through the Rainforest and observe the traditional way of fishing in Rio Pastaza. Visitors will also have a chance to savour dishes and food with ingredients that are locally sourced.
Living with the Shuar
Beate, the founder of Galapagos PRO and Tzama met in 2004 and had since developed a long-standing friendship. Ever since Galapagos PRO was founded in 2015, the Shuar tribe has been opened to visitors.
Visitors can choose to spend time with the tribe from a day up to a week. A guest house was built by Tzamas’ Family, where guests could fully immerse themselves in the daily life of the Shuar people.