Definition of indigenous
adjective: in·dig·e·nous | in-ˈdi-jə-nəs
1: produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment | indigenous plants | the indigenous culture
2: innate, inborn
Learn About Indigenous Life
In an effort to bring awareness to indigenous life on the planet we are offering this space for communities everywhere to share and learn. Wherever you are on your journey you can find information here, choose to be of service by volunteering your time, or give a donation to help build this future resource for all. We recognize indigenous life, both human and non-human, to be a source of wisdom from which there is much to learn.
SAVING OURSELVES FROM INDIGENOUS EXTINCTION
Conservation Efforts to Preserve Indigenous Wisdom
The same story is happening all over the globe… The story of cultures losing their traditions, their language, their wisdom, and their ways of living in direct relationship to nature.
Today, many tribes have already lost their elders and are struggling to recover and revive their ancient languages and traditions, desperately trying to keep ahold of their benevolent and sustainable ways of life. While most humans on this planet have succumbed to ‘civilized’, ‘logical’, post-industrial, and modern ways of living – and are facing the many disadvantages inherent in such an approach – there is a vital need, more than ever, to preserve, protect, and support the continuation of indigenous peoples’ and cultures – for the sake of all life on earth.
Today, 9.2 percent of the living languages have fewer than 10 speakers, 10 percent of all languages are already extinct, and as many as half of the world’s 7,000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of this century if no revitalization efforts are made.
For the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago we face a global mass extinction of wild life. Over 60% of the world’s fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles have been wiped out over the past four decades, largely because of human activity. 80% of the earth’s forests have been cut, and all in the name of profit. The abundant nature that surrounds us has been taken advantage of and studies predict that our natural resources will all be gone in this century if we continue to ignore the natural world.
Nature is deeply intelligent. Nature deserves our attention and it’s time we listen. At SOFIE we believe the knowledge that indigenous cultures have nurtured and passed on for thousands of years are our best hope to reconnect to this intelligence. And to a more prosperous way of living and being on this planet.
Get involved here.
ANIMAL AND PLANT WISDOM
There are estimated to be over 50,000 medicinal plants and over 1,500 medicinal animals medicines alive on the planet today. At SOFIE we honor the use of these plant and animal medicines when done in a respectful way, that is in no way harmful to the sentient creatures themselves, and unequivocally condemn plant and animal cruelty. For this reason, we believe indigenous peoples are the best teachers and facilitators of plant and animals medicines.
A small example of some of the medicines in the Amazon rainforest are:
Kambo — the giant monkey tree frog (phyllomedusa bicolor) — secretes, as a defense mechanism, intense medicine with very strong healing powers. The medicine, when administered, induces a powerful detoxifying effect. It boosts the immune system, enhances physical energy, and is used to cure many diseases. You can read more about Kambo here.
Ayahuasca is made the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of chacruna (Psychotria viridis). The plants are combined to make an entheogenic (psychedelic, or “mind-revealing”) tea and has been used for time immemorial by at least 72 known tribes and has over 40 known names. In some traditions the tea is made using other plants as well. This medicine has gained international recognition over the last several decades for its use in achieving mind body health.
Hapé or rapé (pronounced ha-pay) is another primary medicine of the Amazon. It is a tobacco medicine sometimes combined with other medicinal plants, including the ashes of a tree bark with strong healing powers. It is administered through the nostrils.
Sananga is made from the bark of the root of a plant called Apocynaceae. The juice of the bark is administered through the eyes. It is known to heal both the physical and energetic eyes and is used to relieve headaches.
Plants baths are a detoxification process where one steams and are washed with the leaves of different plants to detoxify the body and mind to better align with the vibration of the nature. The plants are chosen as needed to achieve a desired result.
URUCUM AND JENIPAPO
These plants are used to paint the body. They give physical protection as well as connection to the force of the different animals and elements being painted.
STEWARDSHIP OF THE PLANET
Shifts in climate are affecting agriculture, migration, human rights, non-human habitats, and almost every other aspect of life on the planet. The best way we know how to describe the urgency of the current climate crisis is to share words we received from our friends, the Yawanawá, on this very issue:
The Mutum village is located in the Rio Gregório Indigenous Land, municipality of Tarauacá, State of Acre.
Currently the Yawanawá people are around 1,500 people with 9 villages (Matrinchã, Amparo, Yawarani, Sete Estrellas, Tibúrcio, Escondido, Mutum, Nova Esperança, and Aldeia Sagrada) within the demarcated indigenous territory of 187,400 hectares, with an estimated perimeter around 245 kilometers.
In the village of Mutum there are 30 families with 200 people including men, women and children. Our livelihood has been through hunting, fishing and agricultural work. With the practice of cultivating cassava, bananas, corn, pineapples, yams, and potatoes, aldeia Mutum has been following its planting customs since time immemorial.
In the last few years though climatic changes have harmed our cultivation in the sense that, due to the constant change of weather, and according to the Yawanawá calendar, in the time we wait for the rain it does not rain, and when we wait for the sun, the rain comes, and so on. Because of this we have suffered major losses in our plantations.
To contribute to FOOD SECURITY issues we are supporting please donate here.
At this time all travel into indigenous territory should be suspended due to COVID-19. It would be unconscionable to risk traveling through airports and/or cities to indigenous territories potentially bringing the virus into the villages. This is precisely what happened in Manaus. The NY Times did an amazing photojournalism piece about the spread of the Coronavirus along the Amazon River here. Below are some screen shots from the webpage.
From the Yawanawá in Acre, Brazil:
“The year 2020 was the year that we suffered the most damage in our plantations because due to the pandemic we had no way to go out to the city to buy our work tools and it was only a few days ago that it was possible to receive tools in our villages but the summer is already ending. Also due to pandemic, we suspended all programming of experiences for visits in the village. The experiences for visits have helped a lot our commonness in the purchase of work material as well as their basic needs such as buying their personal hygiene materials. Without visits to the village, this made it very difficult for our families to work due to the lack of material such as fabrics, boots and so on.”
This is an ongoing issue on every continent across the globe, which we are watching and experiencing in real time. Please proceed with respect.