We have just completed our first reopening retreats at the Temple and everyone is absolutely thrilled to be back and to be doing what we love!
As we finally bring our Emergency Fund for Shipibo Healers & Local Workers campaign to a close, we extend our deepest heartfelt thanks to all of you who supported us during such a challenging time.
In the past year, we received a total of nearly $180,000 from over 2,100 donations!!!
This campaign has been a life raft for so many who were out of work while the Temple was shut down, providing food and medicines in serious times of need. We have all been overwhelmed by the level of generosity that the Temple community has shown for our local staff, healers, their families and our Shipibo partners at Niwe Rao Xobo and Shipibo Rao healing centers throughout the pandemic.
Thank you – irake!
And now, our focus needs to expand beyond our staff and healers. The Shipibo people are struggling with the impacts of the pandemic and are calling for alliance and support.
Sadly, the pandemic has heavily impacted Indigenous communities in the Amazon. Many are reeling from the trauma of illness and death, from mental health and psychosocial impacts (mourning, panic, psychosocial anxiety, as well as other mental health problems), and are without adequate and accurate information on health and safety.
This is compounded by the systemic neglect of Indigenous communities by the state, which has consistently failed to prioritize the right to health of Indigenous populations. As a result, organic strategies of mutual aid and care are emerging and have become vital.
Since the onset of the pandemic, ASOMASHK (the Shipibo-Konibo Association of Onanyabo, a collective of 120 Shipibo Healers) has responded, stepping up its commitment to community health. With the support of a small grant in 2020 from our sister non-profit organization, the Chaikuni Institute, they developed and carried out a diagnostic and treatment plan – Onanyabo in Action – and traveled to reach more than 333 people in 10 Shipibo communities.
The collection of data from the fieldwork was revealing, and the treatments, which included both Western and Indigenous modalities of care, were massively welcomed. The project’s success and impact has illuminated an urgent need to further its reach to aid more communities along the Ucayali River.
The intention is to now significantly expand the initiative. This presents a profound opportunity for the Shipibo Onanyabo to strengthen their communities through the ancestral healing techniques and wisdom that originates from deep within their lineage, while simultaneously advocating for ASOMASHK’s broader goals of medical pluralism, spiritual autonomy, and the advocacy of plant spirit medicine.
We recognize a deeply meaningful and powerful opportunity for people who have benefited from Shipibo healing to stand together in reciprocity – to support a large team of Shipibo healers to regenerate and revitalize healthcare in their own communities. So many of our lives have been transformed by Shipibo healers – they now need our help to fulfil this unprecedented community mission!
In support of this initiative of the Association of Onanyabo, we have just launched a new campaign to help ASOMASHK to raise $50,000 to reach 38 Shipibo communities across the Ucayali region. This campaign is a joint effort of solidarity between the Temple of the Way of Light and the Chaikuni Institute in the Amazon, and the Shipibo Conibo Center in New York.
Objectives of the Onanyabo in Action Initiative
- Travel to 38 Shipibo communities where the most urgent need has been identified, to reach nearly 5,000 people
- Administer ancestral medicine techniques as needed; including treatment with medicinal plants and aromatherapies, energy work, tobacco blowing, the suction of negative energies, spiritual protection, energetic regeneration from trauma and fright, and healing songs (ikaros)
- Combat misinformation and promote preventive health measures, through community visits and a weekly radio program that raises awareness and promotes Shipibo culture in general.
- Collect data related to the triage, diagnosis, and treatment of patients
- Offer training to local Shipibo healers in visited communities
Under a banner of Indigenous autonomy, the work of ASOMASHK rises out of ethics, knowledge, and practices that do not separate physical health from social, psychological, and spiritual well-being. (Instead, the taxonomy of symptoms, diseases, and cures relate to their cultural context). As plants and indigenous knowledge is appropriated and repurposed for commercial medical purposes as part of a psychedelic revolution, Shipibo healers are experimenting with a protocol of reciprocal care, starting from a decolonial perspective, and serving those most affected in their communities.
While the political debate continues within nation-states as to whether healthcare is a privilege or a right, ASOMASHK understands it as a matter of reciprocal interest and of duty. The very idea of a collective ceremony is a manifestation of the belief that individual disease is something that affects the whole community and thus its treatment requires a mutual response.
Combining these principles with a vast knowledge of medicinal plants, ASOMASHK aims to elevate the collective health of the Shipibo Nation and rebuild a sustainable Indigenous network of care based on medical pluralism.
In addition, as autonomous modes of care and governance gain momentum throughout the country and current conditions favor an opportunity to claim the right to self-determination, there is the potential for ASOMASHK to gain greater institutional legitimacy, towards the possibility of collaboration with national and international health organizations within a new framework of mutual respect and advocacy.
We are deeply honored to take a stand together in support of ASOMASHK and invite you to join us in alliance with the wisdom keepers of the Shipibo People.
The Temple of the Way of Light, the Chaikuni Institute, and the Shipibo Conibo Center