Acaté is an ethnobotany organization that is focused on supporting the struggling indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon.
As most folks are aware, indigenous people living in the Amazon rain-forest are pressured and threatened by extraction industries such as petroleum, timber, and bio-piracy. Acaté seeks to provide sustainable alternatives to these ecologically and socially damaging industries.
Acaté is currently working directly with the Matsés people. The Matsés are one of the largest indigenous populations in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Acaté is attempting to implement strategic programs that provide much needed revenue for the Matsés without destroying their land and chosen way of life. Among other things, this Matsé and Acaté collaboration seeks to:
- provide programmatic support for elder tribal shamans to teach and impart the knowledge of the rain-forest to younger generations of Matsés
- document and preserve the use of medicinal plants for the benefit of future generations
I became aware of Acaté when I read an article on the Mongabay website. The story recounts how elder shamans had come together from the deepest regions of the Amazon rain-forest to create a record of their ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants.
After two years work, this collaboration ‘culminated in the first encyclopedia of indigenous knowledge written by Amazonian tribal shamans.’ That is quite an awesome achievement. If you’d like to stay posted on this group’s adventures, here is their latest field update.