Non Axébo Onanti
Shipibo Cultural Center

What We Do

In collaboration with local Shipibo partners, Alianza Arkana is working to facilitate the creation of the first Shipibo cultural center. We would like to open at least two satellites - one at our offices in Yarinacocha alongside our urban permaculture center, and the second in the Shipibo community of Santa Clara.

In addition to video, audio, and written archives of academic resources on Shipibo culture and tradition, we are in the process of organizing an encyclopedia of medicinal plants, collaborating with respected community healers and Shipibo advisors to guide us in the formation and operation of the centers. Alongside the creation of academic archives, we work with our indigenous partners to nourish living tradition, facilitating workshops with youth and elders on topics ranging from mythology and craft traditions to plant medicine and song.

As an additional aspect of our work on the Cultural Center project, we are supporting the creation of an updated Shipibo-Spanish dictionary. Though the Peruvian state has taken efforts to preserve the Shipibo language through the implementation of a bilingual education program in urban and rural primary schools, there currently exists no Shipibo dictionary whose grammar and spelling are consistent with modern linguistic conventions. Building on work already done by the Shipibo non-profit AIDI (in English, the ‘Indigenous Association for Integral Development’) to bolster and preserve Shipibo linguistic tradition, we are planning to coordinate a team of volunteers supporting research and fundraising efforts to make this vital resource accessible to schools, teachers, travellers, and academics.

Why is the Shipibo Cultural Center important?

Ancient Shipibo cultural traditions are being tragically eroded by processes of globalization, deforestation and modernization. The cultural spaces we are working to construct will serve a vital role for Shipibo communities in protecting and preserving their wealth of ancestral wisdom.

The initial two satellite centers are designed to serve as hubs for Shipibo youth in particular, many of who grow alienated from their heritage and traditions upon arrival in the urban centers or in communities geographically located closer to cities. In creating spaces in which these traditions are cherished and taught, we also help communities build cross-generational bonds vital to the work of cultural preservation and revitalization.

Although Shipibo culture has been heavily studied in the academic realm, the majority of this research is inaccessible to the Shipibo people themselves, as it is largely brought back upon completion to the Western universities where the studies were initiated.

At Alianza Arkana, we are committed to democratizing access to culture across linguistic, political, and cultural boundaries. Though still in its early stages, the Cultural Center collaboration will bind together our communities, serving thousands of people interested in learning from the wealth of cultural and medicinal wisdom the Shipibo have to offer.

Support Intercultural Education

Your donation to Alianza Arkana helps us provide much-needed university scholarships to gifted Shipibo students, create a cultural center, revive ancestral knowledge and empower Shipibo women and girls.