Our Alliance

The word 'Arkana' comes from the Quechua noun Jark'ana: a blocking object or force, and the verb Jark'akuy: to protect oneself. The Shipibo have adopted the word 'Arkana' into their language to mean a 'protective force'. Together with 'Alianza' in Spanish ('Alliance' in English), the name of the organization, 'Alianza Arkana', expresses our vision of a protective alliance to defend and respect the extraordinary diversity, vitality and planetary importance of the Amazon by working in partnership with its indigenous peoples and other organizations.

The creation of Alianza Arkana in January 2011 came from the shared intentions of Matthew Watherston, and wanting to give something back to the Shipibo people out of gratitude for the abundance of gifts we and many others have received from the traditional healers of this culture.

Naturally, the shared intentions would have meant nothing without the collective actions of , , , , and many other concerned and integral members of the Shipibo Nation and the Alianza Arkana team. Collective intentions with collective actions by a team of equals has been our recipe for success.

We would like to thank all of our donors who have made our work possible, especially the Temple of the Way of Light, who generously provided significant funding, which successfully helped establish Alianza Arkana throughout the first three and a half years of our existence.


Orestes Rengifo Cauper

Director, Regenerative Solutions

Brian Best

Specialist, Regenerative Solutions

Marcos Urquia

Director of Permaculture

Dr. Paul Roberts

Director of Research and Organizational Development

Liz Melendez Rengifo

Director of Administration

Carolina Mahua Nunta

Specialist in Traditional Shipibo Plant Medicine

Nine Uhlich

Specialist in Holistic Health

Jane Shirley Mori Cairuna


Gilberto Nahuama Lopez

Specialist, Community Permaculture

Laura Dev

Research Coordinator

Charlotte Biren

Communications Coordinator


Diego Villegas Kau

Specialist, Agro-Social Forestry

Pilar Valenzuela Bismarck

Founder, Kano Nete

Lily La Torre

Human Rights Lawyer

Atossa Soltani

Executive Director, Amazon Watch

Ranin Koshi/Jeiser Suárez Maynas

President of AIDI

Professor Eli Sánchez

Director of Intercultural Education

Luke Smith

Ecological Designer and Educator

Dr Jacques Tournon


Thomas Younger

Ecosocial Justice Program Leader

Oscar Rodríguez Reategui

Specialist in Intercultural Health

Dr. Stephan Harding

Ecologist, Schumacher College

David Hill


Former Staff

Rebecca Melendez Rengifo

Specialist, Environmental Education

Lily Hollister

Project Director USA, SEE

India Banks

Documentary Filmmaker

Lucy O'Leary

Intercultural Education Coordinator

Soraya Bozzetto

Coordinator, Communications and Development

Michael Beljaars

IT support

Carlijn van Alphen

Grant Writer

Marcelo Gerlach

Permaculture Trainee, Workshop Facilitator

Maite Tirado


Matt Reed

Grant Writer

Taylor Reed

E-shop manager

Daniel Mathews Carmelino

Director of Eco-social Justice

Itzel Vasquez-Rodriguez

Grant Writer

Shipibo Communities

  • San Francisco de Asis
  • Santa Clara
  • Nuevo Egipto
  • Santa Rosa de Tamaya Tipishca
  • Comunidad Intercultural of Bena Jema
  • Nueva Betania
  • Nueva Palestina
  • Puerto Betel
  • Roya
  • Utucuro
  • Nueva Ahuaypa
  • Vista Alegre
  • Nuevo Perú
  • Puerto Belen
  • San Salvador
  • Puerto Firmeza

International Partners

Regional and Local Partners


Organización de Desarrollo del Distrito Indígena de Masisea

Indigenous Organization for the Development of the District of Masisea


Universidad Nacional Intercultural de las Amazonias

National Amazonian Intercultural University


Organización de Jóvenes Indígenas de la Región Ucayali

The Indigenous Youth Organization for the Ucayali Region


Organización Regional de AIDESEP Ucayali

Ucayali Regional Organisation of AIDESEP


Asociación Indígena para el Desarrollo Integral

Indigenous Association for Integral Development


Coordinadora de Desarrollo de Mujeres Indígenas Amazónicas

Coordination for the Development of Amazonian Indigenous Women


Universidad Nacional Intercultural de las Amazonias

National Amazonian Intercultural University


Universidad Nacional de Ucayali

National University of Ucayali


Red Indígena de Permaculturores de la Amazonia

Indigenous Network of Amazonian Permaculturalists


Asociación para la Niñez y su Ambiente

Association for Children and their Environment



Ciudad Saludable with funding from Global Development Network