Preserving Ecology and Indigenous Culture

Cynthia Robinson
Thursday, 3rd June 2021

The Paititi Institute is motivated by the acute need in the world today for humanity to embody deeper life values and profoundly transform its relationship with the environment. Our goal continues to be one of an integral approach to environmental preservation while also protecting and uplifting the indigenous wisdom traditions that existed in harmony with the environment for thousands of years.

When my husband and I first came to Peru in 2001 we were greeted by the most loving, warmest, and down-to-earth people, who despite having very little, were able to rejoice with the simple life because of tightly knit communities and ancestral ways to relate deeply with each other. Over the years however we’ve observed that original native culture getting lost in the fast-paced modernization and consumerism overtaking their society. 

After continuously living alongside the indigenous nations for three years my husband was healed from a terminal illness in 2004. He did so with the generous support of several Amazonian elders who adopted him as their own and skillfully applied their vast knowledge of diverse medicinal plants to heal what allopathic medicine could not. While my husband was being healed we were simultaneously witnessing the destruction of the rainforest and the suffering of the native people unable to survive without their synergistic relationship with nature. We have been infinitely grateful ever since, owing the life of my husband and our children to the indigenous people and their living wisdom traditions. That was our initial genuine incentive to dedicate our lives to the rainforest and its people. Protecting the ecosystems is essential since the indigenous people thrive in their original environment. The indigenous people are some of the last remaining wisdom keepers of time-tested models that can allow the fragile ecological balance to be maintained throughout our planet earth. 

In 2010 after years of engaging and living side-by-side among several indigenous nations we co-founded our grass-roots non-profit initiative Paititi Institute for the Preservation of Ecology and Indigenous Culture. Our vision for humanity is the resolution of suffering in the world via a social regenesis of ancestral wisdom. Our social impact initiatives are focused on vulnerable native communities in the Amazon and the Andes under threat of losing their ancestral heritage. We believe that empowering the indigenous nations of the world can be the deciding factor for the ecosystems of the entire planet to be regenerated.

matilde%26Sara.png

Our Shipibo elder and her daughter, Matilde and Sara visit our mountain center from the rainforest a couple times a year to share their indigenous wisdom.

The Paititi Institute is motivated by the acute need in the world today for humanity to embody deeper life values and profoundly transform its relationship with the environment. Our goal continues to be one of an integral approach to environmental preservation while also protecting and uplifting the indigenous wisdom traditions that existed in harmony with the environment for thousands of years.

Initially we established a pilot center in the lower Amazonian basin of Peru integrating permaculture and indigenous evolutionary healing traditions, thus weaving the connection between inner and outer landscapes. Since 2010, we’ve offered permaculture projects to local Amazonian school children and communities. Our initial focus was on water catchment and purification, restoration of degraded landscapes, and nutrient dense biodiversity. 

In 2014, through many years of dedicated effort to create a positive impact of indigenous wisdom in the modern world and with the help of our global network of friends we acquired a 4000 acres of pristine land that was otherwise scheduled for deforestation via a logging project. It’s located in the Machu Picchu region of Peru, bordering the Manu National Reserve. This nature sanctuary land, which has been under our stewardship ever since, is a crucial buffer zone and a vital watershed region for the Amazon rainforest. It’s also home to incredible biodiversity across multiple climate zones, making it an ideal location for educational collaborations with indigenous people and conservation. 

Over the last 10 years we have implemented a variety of pilot projects with the objective of honoring native traditions and lineages, including natural & alternative healing clinics, earth-based education for local youth, ecosystem restoration, Amazonian watershed preservation, raising global awareness on indigenous land & healing wisdom, local food supply chains and education on the importance of organic permaculture. All of our projects are woven together by the intention to live and learn side-by-side with our native neighbors and I am proud to say we have learned as much, if not more than we’ve taught. Based on our experience, we believe that lasting change must come from the recognition of sacred reciprocity (known as Ayni in the Andes) between the people and the planet.

AccupunctureClinic.jpg

Offering Alternative Natural Medicine and TCMin Native Amazonian Village as part of our Intercultural Healing Exchange Program.

riverGarden.jpg

Planting trees in the River Garden. This is the lower elevation garden where we grow the most tropical varieties.

We’re currently developing a more accessible platform for native, indigenous voices to be heard as role models for the three ethics of Permaculture - Earth care, People care and Fair share. Our organization is also empowering the native population by developing both literal and metaphorical intercultural bridges. Our focus has been to live alongside the native people and develop life-long friendships. We have collaborated with our neighbors on essential community infrastructure, provided free, natural and alternative healthcare for remote Amazonian and Andean villages throughout the years, and more recently supported the Q’ero nation, over 600 Quechua families in the Andes as well as Yagua and Bora nations in the Amazon with essential resources during this time of planetary health crisis.

Cherymoya%20Garden.jpg

One of our three main gardens. This garden is named Cherimoya after its amazing fruit trees in abundance there.

Through our awareness raising initiatives we encourage continuously deepening environmental and socio-economic ethics such as reciprocity, compassion and earth-based spirituality. 

We are grateful to be sharing this work that has been so life changing for us at this powerful moment in time. We stand for the healing and transformation of the people and the planet while simultaneously encouraging each individual to tap into the spark of a purpose greater than oneself. While no one can help everyone in the same way, each individual can provide a unique contribution to the greater whole.

For more on Paititi Institute visit: https://paititi-institute.org

Paititi Institute is a finalist in the Permaculture Magazine Prize: www.permaculture.co.uk/news/finalists-permaculture-magazine-prize

Useful links

Pastoralists to Permaculture

Watch: Permaculture tools to transform soil

PM%20ad%20for%20online%20articles.jpg

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement