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Connecting Indigenous People All Around the World

On each expedition on The Healing Journey, Jon Waterhouse uses canoes to travel along rivers, recording traditional knowledge from local people, and detailed scientific readings of water conditions and quality using cutting-edge technology. This summer, he’s working with indigenous leaders in South America to kick off a new project: The Network of Indigenous Knowledge. We’re headed...

On each expedition on The Healing Journey, Jon Waterhouse uses canoes to travel along rivers, recording traditional knowledge from local people, and detailed scientific readings of water conditions and quality using cutting-edge technology. This summer, he’s working with indigenous leaders in South America to kick off a new project: The Network of Indigenous Knowledge.

We’re headed back down to South America to spend the next two weeks in remote Peru, visiting with the Machiuengan and Ashaninka people in the community of Timpia (12 04 50 S – 72 49 18 W) located on the Urabamba River. Our first visit to this vast and bio-diverse region was two years ago when we went into the Amazon to meet with these tribes and learn about their ever-changing environment. We made great friends while there and learned that these incredible people share many of our concerns for the environment and it’s future. “Something is wrong with the fish” is what we were initially told so we’re in to help them figure this out.

When we first arrived at the Urubamba River, we were told . “Something is wrong with the fish.” So we’re in to help them figure this out. (Photo by Mary Marshall)
When we first arrived at the Urubamba River, we were told . “Something is wrong with the fish.” So we’re in to help them figure this out. (Photo by Mary Marshall)

 

Our meeting with the Tribal Leadership and members from the area while there will help us lay the groundwork the official kick-off of our NIK Project – the Network of Indigenous Knowledge, which we’ll have up and operational when we return to Peru in the fall. Creating an environmental network among the people of this region and the Alaska Native and Canadian First Nations people is the start of the global connection, and the true focus of The Healing Journey. This network will ultimately combine the collection of modern scientific environmental data with Indigenous knowledge from Indigenous societies around the globe, creating an accurate, informative and colorful picture of the condition of our planet.

The cultural exchange will be phenomenal and an integral part of this process and we are simply thrilled to be so close to actually connecting via satellite and other technologies these tribes who literally are worlds away from one another, yet who often share equally impactful environmental challenges.

Beginning on 23 May, you can go to our SPOT link to follow us on this latest Journey.

A satellite view shows where the Tribes will gather for one of the Healing Journey and NIK meetings. (Map from Google Earth)
A satellite view shows where the Tribes will gather for one of the
Healing Journey and NIK meetings. (Map from Google Earth)

Watch for an update here in mid-June during the National Geographic Explorers’ Symposium on how things went in Peru and what the People of Timpia have on their minds. Also, become a part of this! Offer your suggestions, insight and ideas regarding our efforts in Peru! This is all about our connections!

As always, thanks for reading ~
Jon

 

NEXT: More From Jon Waterhouse

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Meet the Author

Jon Waterhouse
Jon Waterhouse’s destiny was foretold the moment he pushed his canoe off the bank of the Yukon River and started to paddle. That incredible 2007 canoe trip, which he christened “the Healing Journey,” began with a simple request by the native elders and tribal leaders living in the Yukon River watershed to "go out, take the pulse of the river." Waterhouse’s journey raised awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship, combined traditional native knowledge with modern science, and helped rebuild intimate connections between Yukon communities and the natural world. The journey soon stretched far beyond the Yukon and led the Native American down rivers and through cultures in distant parts of South America, Russia, Greenland, Africa, and New Zealand.