The Achuar are an Amazonian indigenous group who live in Ecuador and Peru. In Ecuador, they form the Achuar Nationality of Ecuador (NAE), which owns more than 700,000 hectares of tropical rainforest in the provinces of Pastaza and Morona Santiago. The Achuar maintain their beliefs, rituals and traditions.
For the Achuar, life unfolds in the jungle and is in constant interaction with nature. It is nature that provides them with raw materials, food, work, medicine and shelter. There is a close relationship between the people and the environment, which manifests itself in every day life and is reinforced through a variety of rites and traditions.
They live in one of the regions of the Ecuadorian Amazon with the least amount of external contact. They are geographically isolated from roads and other access routes. The only way to access the Achuar communities is by small planes operated by Tame Amazonia or the Instituto de Ecodesarrollo Amazonico (ECORAE).
The Achuar are connected with nature and learn from it through dreams and visions. These dreams guide them in their daily lives. There are several rites and traditions that allow the Achuar to connect with Nunkui, the goddess of the earth, to ask her for bountiful harvests or to Arutam, god of the jungle, to learn the secrets and the messages of the Amazon rainforest.
The rainforest, water, trees, plants, wind and seasons are strongly related to the worldview of the indigineous people of the Ecuadorean Amazon region. This is the thought of the shamans (spiritual healers), who have practiced rituals from ancient times to the present time. Shamans perform their rituals publicly at tourist sites, whether in the interpretation centres of eco-hotels or in their own communities.
The Achuar culture is closely linked to the tropical rainforest and is one of the most important assets that Ecuador has. Tourism as a leading method of sustainable growth is necessary in order to help maintain the natural and cultural heritage of the Achuar people as evidenced by projects like the Kapawi Ecolodge or the Tiinkias Ecotourism Centre. These projects allow us to discover, learn and enjoy the richness of Achuar culture responsibly and support sustainable development. Indigineous groups like the Shuar, Kichwa, Zapara, Siona, Cofan, Secoya and Huaorani also have extensive ancestral knowledge about the secrets of the forest, their gods and their relationship with the ecosystem.
When indigeneous people dream, they usually take the form of snakes, dolphins, alligators, spiders or fish. They interpret and relate these dreams with their daily life in the forest. Shamans from Ecuadorean Amazon region clean people’s energy upon request. It is part of the indigeneous people’s world view. They think that people have to be in a good state of mind.
All you need to know: Sirens or “yakurunas” might be seen deep in the rainforest. It is an indigenous myth that says that sirens reward or punish people, according to their attitude on behalf of nature protection or not. It is a popular myth.