The loss of Asháninkan culture is at risk.
People living in the Amazin don’t just fight to protect their rainforest home, they fight to protect their culture, dress and languages too.
Culture is being lost in the Amazon rainforest.
Despite having a large percentage of indigenous people Peru is losing its indigenous cultural heritage fast. Over the past few decades Peru has steadily lost thirty-seven native languages, out of an initial eighty-four. From teaching Spanish in Urakuza, to major road constructions near our Asháninka communities, evidence of cultural loss can found everywhere. Indigenous dress is at risk too. Children aren’t encouraged to wear traditional chumpi (an indigenous belt) and in some areas, traditional clothing has been banned completely.
What is being done to help protect culture?
Enabling people to protect the forests they have lived in and relied on for generations will help them maintain their culture and traditions as they see fit. There is a growing global movement to preserve native heritage. We see this in the UK too with the resurrection of Cornish and the expansion of Welsh languages.
The Peruvian government now publish educational materials in many indigenous languages which helps to protect them. There is an Asháninka curriculum so communities can teach their children in their mother tongue.
An Asháninka cultural champion
Meet Saul, Cool Earth’s coffee Technician and vehement protector of his Asháninka heritage. As a young adult, he moved to Lima where he was bullied for being Asháninka, however, he stood proudly and defied his tormentors by wearing traditional clothing like the cushma even more. His home village lost their knowledge of Ashaninkan 50 years ago. American mining company told his parent’s generation it was a dead language. Saul hires a teacher so his children can learn the Asháninkan language and be truly proud of their heritage.