On February 11, 2015, the shaman Korotai Puumona escorted sixth-grade students from the public school in Kwamalasamutu into Suriname’s deep rainforest interior. During the walk, Korotai–an active participant in ACT’s “Shamans and Apprentices” program–introduced the students to a range of medicinal plants. They learned about their forests’ rich ethnobotanical wealth as Korotai pointed out species that are used to disinfect wounds, stem bleeding, treat snake and spider bites, and more.
The students, clearly impressed, peppered him with questions throughout the excursion, and Korotai answered them all patiently, gratified by their sincere interest.
This is the goal of the Shamans and Apprentices program—to allow elder healers to transfer their knowledge to the youth. In this way, indigenous and tribal peoples ensure that this information is not lost and that they cultivate the next generation of forest stewards who understand the environmental and cultural significance of the land.
ACT’s other forest conservation efforts in Suriname include the Indigenous Park Guard program, sustainable income generation through the cultivation of non-timber forest products, and ethnographic mapping. To read more about these efforts, visit https://www.amazonteam.org/programs.
Dutch version can be read on the ACT Suriname website.
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