An interview with Amasina, a shaman in the Amazon rainforest
MongaBay – 28 July 2008

PARAMARIBO, SURINAME: Deep in the Suriname rainforest, an innovative conservation group is working with indigenous tribes to protect their forest home and culture using traditional knowledge combined with cutting-edge technology. The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) is partnering with the Trio, an Amerindian group that lives in the remote Suriname-Brazil border area of South America, to develop programs to protect their forest home from illegal gold miners and encroachment, improve village health, and strengthen cultural ties between indigenous youths and elders at a time when such cultures are disappearing even faster than rainforests. ACT is providing the Trio with equipment and training so that “indigenous park guards” can map — and thereby someday gain title — to their lands. The Trio use GPS units to document geographic features as well as the location of hunting grounds, places of spiritual significance, and sites rich with medicinal plants and other important resources. Key to the process is bridging the generational gap between indigenous elders and youths: the shamans provide the younger rangers with the historical and cultural information needed to add critical details to the maps. In addition to mapping, the indigenous park guards patrol forest areas for illegal activities, including mining and collection of wildlife for the pet trade. Read the article…