Newsletter: Recent Studies Show Unprecedented Levels of Contamination

Alianza Arkana Quarterly Newsletter

It’s the first newsletter of 2013, and we have had quite a busy start to the year. But first, we ask that you extend your thoughts to the indigenous people of the Pastaza River Basin in the Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon. After 40 years of oil contamination and being all but ignored by the Peruvian government, recent soil and water tests show that chemical and oil contamination levels exceed national water quality standardsby up to 382 TIMES – an environmental and human rights atrocity.

The people of the area, who have been drinking this water, eating those fish, and growing crops in that soil for the last 40 years, are devastated by this news. Alianza Arkana is raising funds for FEDIQUEP, the indigenous federation of the Pastaza area, to ensure environmental clean-up and just compensation for the people of the Pastaza. FEDIQUEP has been fighting for years to gain national awareness for the injustices brought upon their people, and finally they are succeeding!

Combining Permaculture and Indigenous Knowledge

“I have enjoyed learning new things, or things we (Shipibo) did before but no longer practice. Before we knew how to live off the land, but now we’ve lost so much of that. It is important to know these techniques and use them to produce our lands.”

— FelipeTananta Vasquez, Community Leader

Alianza Arkana hosted a permaculture workshop in the Shipibo community of San Salvador from February 12-14. During the three day course, participants learned techniques to manage a plot of landsustainably, control pests and make fertilizers using organic methods.

The First Floating Compost Latrine!

In December, Alianza Arkana worked with the Shipibo community of Royato create the first-ever floating compost latrine in a Shipibo community.The community of Roya suffers from flooding every year, and the rising water causes health problems related to contact with untreated human waste from latrines, which is washed into the water when the river rises. Our design uses plastic bottles to create a floating latrine that rises with flood waters and reduces water contaminationin the community.

Girls for the World

“I am Somebody; You are Somebody; We are Somebody.”

After a lifetime of being told they are not good enough because they are indigenous, women, and economically poor, a group of 15 Shipibo girls heard new messages of leadership, empowerment and love in a 5-day empowerment program made possible by a partnership between Girls for the World, Shipibo Joi and Alianza Arkana. Read more in this blog by an Alianza Arkana staff who participated inthis powerful program.

Brian BestCommunity Based Solutions Director, Brian Best, Finalist for Social Justice Prize!

Wonderful news! Alianza Arkana’s own, Brian Best, is a finalist for the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize for his 9 years of dedication to waste management and permaculture programs in Shipibo communities.Thank you for all that you do, Brian, and best of luck!

Supporting Indigenous Women Leadership

“Male organizations always talk about defending our territories, but they never talk about producing. As women, we want to produce our territories and bring health and sustainability to our communities”

– Cecilia Brito Vasquez, President, CODEMIA

Alianza Arkana recently helped to support the second organizational meeting of CODEMIA, the first female indigenous federation in thePeruvian Amazon. From January 19-20, approximately 30 women representing 8 different ethnicities across the Amazon met to approve the constitutional statute of the organization, develop organizational objectives, and participate in information exchange. Congratulations to the women at CODEMIA for their trail-blazing work!

IMG 0506Creating Markets for Indigenous Artisans

Alianza Arkana is helping to build a partnership to increase market opportunities for Shipibo artisans. We have connected A Rum Fellows, a socially responsible business in England, and an artisans cooperative in the native community of San Francisco to produce throw pillows out of Shipibo designs. This partnership not only increases economic opportunities for the artisans, but also helps to preserve and promote Shipibo culture.

Turning Trash into Treasure with Eco-Yarn!

Alianza Arkana has been working to expand our Eco-Yarn activites among indigenous women–offering a way to use plastic bags to make creative artisanal products and provide income for women artists. We just hosted three more Eco-Yarn workshops for indigenous artisans in the Shipibo communities of Dinamarca, Junin Pablo and Santa Clara.

Online Petition Goes Viral in Support of the Shipibo of Canaan!

Alianza Arkana’s petition in support of the Shipibo people of Canaan has over 20,000 signatures. We will be working with our indigenous partners in developing advocacy methods so that the people of Canaan get justice after 40 years of oil contamination.

midwife workshopSupporting Traditional Midwife Knowledge

As part of our mission to honor traditional wisdom, Alianza Arkanaand Shipibo Joi, hosted a second 3-day workshop for Shipibo midwives from February 7-9. The workshop served as a platform for sharing wisdom as well as gaining new knowledge about nutrition, hygiene and complications in the birthing process.

Thank you Lush Cosmetics!

Alianza Arkana has just earned a $15,000 award from Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot for our work with Environmental Justice in Peru. Funds will go to support the people of the Pastaza River who have just found out that they have been living with dangerously high levels of contamination, as well as continued capacity building and advocacy around indigenous rights and communications along theUcayali River. Thank you to Lush Cosmetics for your support!

Did you know?

While the prevalence of diabetes in 2011 was 8.3% worldwide, it has reached levels of up to 44% in some indigenous peoples. Many experts contribute this to forced urban migration and the substitution of traditional crops with packaged goods. This is why Alianza Arkana is collaborating with indigenous communities on nutrition and permaculture programs that renew the use of traditional, high-nutrient crops. Please consider supporting these programs!

Words from the Forest

“When the Earth is ravaged, and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the Earth from many colors, classes, and creeds, and who by their actions and deeds, shall make the Earth green again. They will be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow.”

–Native American Prophecy

Deborah Rivett, Wednesday, 19 June 2013

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