Territory, Roots and Conflict: Epistemic Encounters on Sacred Plants

Conferencía de Plantas Sagradas de Las Americas

On Sunday, February 25, the closing ceremony for the for the Conference on Sacred Plants in the Americas was celebrated in the Mexican lakeside town of Ajijic, Jalisco. The conference room overflowed with an audience that anxiously awaited the keynote speakers. Lead organizer, Dr. Bia Labate, motioned that the people she had invited to the front of the room were some of the indigenous tribal representatives participating in the event: medicine women and men, lawyers, small farmers and correspondents. Leopardo Yawa Bane (Huni Kuin) had traveled from Brazil to give a talk on the globalization of ayahuasca, but, as a practitioner and the son of a traditional chief, he closed with a song. On the stage, he was accompanied by Felipe Fuentes, sipáame or Rarámuri healer; Mamma Senchina Kogi, “ancient-knower” from Colombia; Lila and Laura López Sánchez, onayas (Shipibo healers) from Perú, among others. During this closing ceremony, the calls for decolonization that several of us referred to during our talks were upheld through the songs that many of the keynote speakers shared. Furthermore, the unusual format of this closing illustrated the central relationship that both ancestral knowledge and territories have with a diversity of psychoactive plants.

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diana negrin