ACT Raises $35,000 for The Trio Indian Shaman’s Encyclopedia

Date: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In May 2015, ACT President Dr. Mark Plotkin asked our supporters to donate to a unique project in honor of his 60th birthday.

The project—to create the Trio Indian Shaman’s Encyclopedia—is the capstone on the work Mark began with the Trio people more than 30 years ago and will serve as a guide for tribal peoples throughout the Amazon seeking to protect oral shamanic knowledge.

The Encyclopedia will be in the Trio language and only available to the Trio people, who can then share the document and their methodologies with fellow tribes. This information will not be made public or translated into any other language, thereby keeping all of the Trio's information safe and private.

Curious to know more?

Fleeing a South American civil war in December 1982, Mark paid a bush pilot to drop him on the most remote airstrip in the rainforests of the northeast Amazon. There, he met the Trio Indians, none of whom he knew and whose language he did not speak.

More than three decades later, Mark is considered one of the most innovative and effective conservationists in the world today. And his partnership with the Trio people has endured and flourished, in conjunction with the Amazon Conservation Team.

Together, Mark, ACT and the Trio tribe pioneered an approach to rainforest mapping that spread to 30 other tribes and resulted in the improved management and protection of more than 70 million acres of ancestral rainforest.

Of all his achievements, Mark is best known for partnering with the Trios to create the Shamans and Apprentices Program, in which elder shamans pass their botanical healing knowledge to the next generation of healers within the tribe (Watch the Shamans and Apprentices Program in action). ACT provides sponsorships or stipends to support this training so that shamans and apprentices can focus fully on the work. Not only has this resulted in the first book in Trio other than the Bible, but the forest communities and ACT have together created four Shamans and Apprentices clinics where traditional medicine is both practiced and taught.

The Shamans and Apprentices Are Our Key Partners For This Project.

The creation of the Encyclopedia will entail working closely with elder shamans and tribal youth, equipping them with the training and resources necessary to document this information in their own language and on their own terms. The lasting importance of achieving these goals is the creation of a template that other tribal peoples throughout the Amazon can adapt to their own needs and – in so doing – have a positive impact on saving oral shamanic knowledge in all of lowland South America.

The Money Raised Will Go Toward the Following:

  • Stipends that allow shamans and apprentices to focus fully on their work—including this project;
  • Shamans and apprentices’ gatherings for the exchange of healing knowledge; and
  • Notebooks, cameras, and other equipment and training so that apprentices can record shamanic knowledge.

Thank you so much again to everyone who donated! We could not do this without you!