Tribal Retreat Center
MISSION & HISTORY.
Vision of the Future .
The Sacha Wasi tribal elders want their people to get an education which will help them better face the great waves of change and the challenges posed by modern realities.
Sacha Wash Tribal Learning Center was set up in the community after many discussions with the elders who’s dream was to educate their youth without compromising their deeply rooted cultural beliefs, knowledge, and practices.
So the Sacha Wasi Tribal Learning Center was established to teach culturally appropriate and relevant courses, and empower students with knowledge and skills that are rooted in the Kichwa culture.
And they developed a vision of the future:
"It is important for us to start our own education - our indigenous education. So we are the ones who determine its methods, we are the ones who determine its contents, and all of this within our territory - Sacha Wasi... as indigenous people we have the right to decide our future!"
-Marlene Dagua, Sacha Wasi Tribal Elder
The traditional Kichwa culture of the Sacha Wasi tribe, faces extinction due to the cultural erosion that has occurred over generations.
Much of this has been caused by the expansion of the petroleum industry, forces of modernization and globalization, in addition to the position of the Kichwa on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder in Ecuador.
Indigenous peoples in the Amazon face multiple threats to their ancestral territories, cultures, beliefs, and languages.
These threats include agro-industrial developments, extractive industries, and rapid infrastructure development.
Indigenous peoples of the Amazon have been discriminated against, intimidated, criminalized, imprisoned, and even killed when they assert their rights in the face of these developments.
Many indigenous peoples are displaced from or lost access to their territories.
Indigenous peoples face great waves of change that systematically extinguish their history and destroy their relationship with their ancestors.
Preserving Traditional Ways of Life.
Though sometimes tourism is stated as a source of cultural erosion, most people with intimate exposure to the population claim that the growth of tourism in the region instead has rekindled interest in preserving traditional ways of life. Demonstrating the ways of their elders and ancestors to foreign travelers tends to generate tremendous self-pride and motivation to the younger generations to preserve their way of life.
Due to increased exposure to urban Ecuadorian culture over the last several decades, diminishing numbers of Kichwa use the traditional dress in favor of western-style clothes. Most working-age men and youth speak Spanish fluently in addition to Kichwa, whereas elders and women frequently have only basic Spanish skills and communicate primarily in Kichwa.
The modern system of education oppresses children, especially those from indigenous and other culturally-rooted communities.
Current political structures in Ecuador, corporate power, and national education systems act together to force the assimilation of indigenous peoples through cultural homogenization.
The national educational system imposes dominant languages and philosophies and tends to teach homogenous national or global knowledge. In this process, thousands of pieces of knowledge and cultures like that of the Kichwa are made invisible or described as ignorant, obsolete, or backward.
Indigenous Education is Vital.
The tribal leaders of Sacha Wasi know what school they want for their children. They know what education is needed for life to flourish and for the strength of ancestral times to be carried over to new generations.
Support for indigenous education is needed to ensure the survival of the indigenous people of the Amazon Jungle such as the Kichwa tribe at Sacha Wasi!
Contributions help ensure the successful ongoing transmission of ancestral knowledge and worldviews that uphold their shamanic spiritual rituals and traditions regarding nature, plant medicine, conservation, and sustainability.