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Benki Piyako: The Dalai Lama of the Amazon

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Added by Admin in Best in Travel 2018 Adventure travel


Benki Piyãko is a respected spiritual and political leader of the Ashaninka of the Brazilian Amazon. Benki was trained by his grandfather, Samuel Piyãko, to be the shaman, Orpajé, of the community. He is the one who has deep knowledge of both traditions and medicine. Taking this role very seriously, Benki is doing a great deal to restore to his people and the indigenous people in general their traditions and their deep relationships with nature. He works tirelessly to strengthen the capacity of indigenous peoples to defend their land against external exploitation. He is the creator of the "Yorenka Atame" Center (Knowledge of the Forest) to transmit to hundreds of communities in Brazil and Peru a specific model of environmental management and indigenous ancestral knowledge. As part of his new "Beija Flor" project, Benki is working with local communities to reforest surrounding degraded areas in the border regions of Brazil and Peru, creating jobs in the region while training young community leaders in sustainable practices.

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