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Story Publication logo February 2, 2021

Dialogue With Plants: The Shipibo-Konibo Confront a Virus (Spanish)

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A young boy lies down on the dirt ground with arms outstretched. He is wearing a white surgical mask, black shorts, and no shirt.
English

Addressing the use of traditional plant-based medicine is a gateway to the diverse flora that the...

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During the pandemic, Indigenous groups in the Amazon isolated themselves in their communities and attempted to find refuge through the plants of the vast forest. This is what the Shipibo-Konibo aimed to do, using their knowledge of both the forest and the medicinal uses of various plants. The global crisis caused by the pandemic has endangered this traditional knowledge of biodiversity, threatening the longest-existing communities.

Shipibo-Konibo communities are located primarily along the sides of the Ucayali River, which is one of the most important tributaries in the Peruvian Amazon and originates in the Andes Mountains. Of the 51 Indigenous groups that live in the Peruvian Amazon, the Shipibo-Konibo represent one of the largest, with around 32,964 members organized into 140 communities along the Ucayali.

To view the short documentary, listen to community stories, and read the full story in Spanish, please visit Ojo Público.


Celinda Cahuaza, who is knowledgeable about medicinal plants, on the shores of Lake Cashibo, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Gabriel Senencina, member of the Comando Matico, crossing the oxbow lake of the Calleria community, Ucayali, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Anita Mori with a picture of her husband who recently died from complications of COVID-19, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Isaí Senencino, with symptoms of COVID-19, being treated by the Comando Matico, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Adventist Church in the community of San Francisco, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

An evangelist preacher giving mass in the port of the city of Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Carlos Guimaraes, a Shipibo-Konibo elder with strong symptoms of COVID-19, lies under a mosquito net, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Rosa Silvano Barbaran and her daughter Luzmery Buenapico Silvano, observe their home community of Calleria, Ucayali, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Jorge Soria, one of the founders of Comando Matico, attends to his sister Jessica Soria who has just suffered a respiratory crisis due to COVID-19, Pucallpa, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

Roger Mondaluisa, a Shipibo-Konibo man with COVID-19 symptoms and respiratory problems, is being treated with steam by Comando Matico, Ucayali, Peru. Image by Florence Goupil. Peru, 2020.

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