The Amazon Fortnight in Paris

The Amazon fortnight has just finished in Paris. Presented by Akiri, the event offered a Parisian immersion in the heart of the Amazon with the presence of three exceptional Indian leaders: Benki Piyâko Ashaninka (BRAZIL), Puwê Luis Puyanawa (BRAZIL) and Walter Lopez Shipibo (PERU) who were gathered around several events.

This invitation to travel, organized by the association Coeur de Forêt, was the opportunity to discover this unknown and mysterious region, through conferences, the exhibition of the photographic work of Anouk Garcia about “The Spirit of Origins”, or even concerts and tales for children.

Benki Piyâko is an Ashaninka guide and local coordinator of the Pur Projet in Brazil, Povos da Floresta. From an early age, Benki Pyianko was raised to become a shaman. He now organizes the ritual ceremonies for his community and opens its practice at all. Both entrepreneur – he has bought several locations to develop agricultural activities – and spokesman for his people to national and international institutions, Benki as well as other tribes are seeking to follow the example of the Ashaninka. Within the Povos da Floresta project, this shaman guides young people working with him and share with them his determination, energy and ethics. He is a key player in the development and strengthening of indigenous culture.

The Povos da Floresta project is located in the state of Acre, in the extreme southwest of the Brazilian Amazon. It shares a common border with both Peru and Bolivia. This very remote area (“where the winds turn around ” according to the Brazilians) is threatened by the development of road infrastructure (BR 364). In addition to the threats posed by oil exploration and extensive cattle ranching, illegal extraction of timber also endangers the activities of hunting and gathering upon which depends indigenous peoples.

Since the beginning of the reforestation project in 2012, 19,407 trees were planted. Providing the indigenous people with new trees in order to densify their forest fruit and increase their local resources and income is essential. Indeed, through the plantation of these fruit trees, Apiwtxa, Raio and Yorenka, the deforestation process is halted. Moreover, it enables the production of fruits and to enjoy the shade and fertilization of the trees of the forest. The project’s economic benefits will come from the sale of fruit to a small scale: 1000 trees produce 1 ton of fruit per year. Trees planted in 2013-2014 will begin to bear fruit in the next 2 to 3 years.

If you would like more information about this project, you can check the progress reports available here on the project page, Povos da Floresta.


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