Today, many of us are seeking answers to life’s challenges.
We have looked toward other cultures to find yoga, meditation, herbalism, spirituality and healing.
We have been going to the same wells over and over again and still find something missing.
There is a lot to learn. Our mission is to listen to the wisdom of hidden tribal elders, share their knowledge and preserve these ancient cultures before they are lost for all time.
It is said that the Ma’anyan people arrived and settled on Madagascar island in 945 to 946 AD, sailing through the Indian Ocean on 1,000 leeboard sailboats. Their language, Ma’anyan Dayak is an Austronesian language belonging to the East Barito languages. It is spoken by about 150,000 Ma’anyan people
(subgroup of Dayak people) living in the central Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is closely related to Malagasy languages spoken in Madagascar.
The village of Terunyan is squeezed tightly between the lake and the outer crater rim of Lake Batur, an almighty volcano in Kintamani. Descendants of the original Balinese, predating the arrival of the Hindu Majapahit Kingdom in the 16th century, inhabit this Bali Aga village. Terunyan people live in ways that are vastly different from other Balinese. In the subvillage of Kuban, which lies close to Terunyan, there is a mysterious cemetery separated by the lake and accessible only by boat; there is no path along the steep walls of the crater rim. The temple in Terunyan is called Puser Jagat, meaning ‘Navel of the Universe’. Its architecture is highly unusual, and stands in the protective shade of a massive banyan tree.
Unlike Balinese from the south, Terunyan inhabitants do not cremate or bury their dead, but just lay them out in bamboo cages to decompose. However, this custom is unusual and many of the less isolated Bali Aga communities follow conventional Balinese Hindu religious practices. A macabre collection of skulls and bones lies on the stone platform and surrounding areas. The dead bodies do not produce any foul odour because of the perfumed scents from a huge taru menyan tree growing nearby. Taru means ‘tree’ and menyan means ‘nice smell’ and in fact, the name of Terunyan was also derived from these two words.
The village of Terunyan itself is situated at the edge of Batur Lake. This location is inaccessible except by boat, and it takes around half an hour across the calm waters. Terunyan is home to 760 families and presently only a handful of tourists visit the village each day. The Bali Aga people speak a dialect of the Balinese language that is entirely their own, dating back thousands of years. And the language spoken in Terunyan village is quite different to one spoken in Tenganan.
-Polly Christensen, Bali Advertiser
Shuar, in the Shuar language, means “people.” The Shuar of Morona Santiago speak the Shuar language and live in the tropical rainforest of Ecuador near the border of Peru.
Shuar generally do not believe in natural death, although they recognize that certain epidemics such as measles and scarlet fever are diseases introduced through contact with Europeans or Euro-Americans. They fought primarily with spears and shotguns, but—like many other groups in the region—also believed that they could be killed by tsentsak, invisible darts.
Any unexplained death was attributed to such tsentsak. Although tsentsak are animate, they do not act on their own. Shamans (in Shuar, “Uwishin”) are people who possess and control tsentsak. To possess tsentsak they must purchase them from other shamans; Shuar believe that the most powerful shamans are Quichua-speakers, who live to the north and east.
To control tsentsak Shuar must ingest natem (Banisteriopsis caapi). Many Shuar believe that illness is caused when someone hires a shaman to shoot tsentsak into the body of an enemy. This attack occurs in secret and few if any shamans admit to doing this. If someone takes ill they may go to a shaman for diagnosis and treatment.
They have many plants that they use for common everyday illnesses. Most people know these plants and how to prepare and use them. Occasionally, an older woman will be asked for advice or help especially with fertility control, childbirth and new infants. “Piripiri” (Cyperus species) are used for a variety of ailments. The Shuar are also known for the process of shrinking heads of their foes.
Angel Antun, serves as the promoter and coordinator of the rescue and re-learning project of the Shuar language.
Angel Antun is tirelessly fighting for the Shuar community. He is working with several villages to help ensure the survival of the Shuar language, culture and people.
Shuar, in the Shuar language, means “people.”
Isabel Taant is the Women’s Group President of the Shuar Santiago Association.
She is working toward protecting the Shuar land from outside forces and actively teaching the youth the language, organic gardening and culture. Isabel is respected amongst the community as a matriarch of wisdom.
The Shuar people are formed by four groups: Ashuar, Aguaruna, Huambisa and the Shuar (all these tribes belong to the Jivaroan people, but popularly are known as Jivaros). Their lands extends along the Amazon, northern Peru and southern Ecuador.
Of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, nearly half are in danger of extinction and are likely to disappear in this century. In fact, they are now falling out of use at a rate of about one every two weeks.
-New York Times
For thousands of years they have lived in harmony with the Earth. However, when their language is gone so is their culture and generations of hard-earned wisdom.
They possess the answers that might save us all.
Number of spoken languages on Earth today 7000.
Humanity today is facing a massive extinction: languages are disappearing at an unprecedented pace. And when that happens, a unique vision of the world is lost. With every language that dies we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most importantly, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life. In short, we lose the testimony of centuries of life. -The Endangered Languages Project
“We don’t know what we don’t know.” -Maurizio Gnerre. Professor of Linguistics, Rome, Italy.
Maurizio Gnerre is an anthropological linguist who teaches ethnolinguistics at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Naples in Italy. Most of his ethnolinguistic research has been carried out in Southern and Central America, since his main interest is in Amerindian languages. He spends considerable periods of time each year visiting Indian tribal societies in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil to expand his studies of linguistic change and development in everyday contexts. Maurizio began working with The Answers Project in 2017 during the first expedition to visit The Shuar of Morona, Santiago in Ecuador.
“Many of the children I work with are resistant to learning their native language and culture. They may learn the word “tree” but have no idea which tree produces which medicine as their grandparents did. By sitting back and allowing these cultures to die off we are losing something precious. We simply don’t know what we don’t know.”
– Maurizio Gnerre
Increasingly, medicinal species that reside in natural areas have received scientific and commercial attention. In the United States, of the top 150 prescription drugs, at least 118 are based on natural sources. A child suffering from leukemia in 1960 faced a 10 percent chance of remission; by 1997, the likelihood of remission had been increased to 95 percent thanks to two drugs derived from a wild plant native to Madagascar.
Already, about 15,000 medicinal plant species may be threatened with extinction worldwide. Experts estimate that the Earth is losing at least one potential major drug every two years.
In the United States, of the top 150 prescription drugs, at least 118 are based on natural sources: 74 percent come from plants, 18 percent from fungi, 5 percent from bacteria, and 3 percent from vertebrate species such as snakes or frogs.
– Center for Biological Diversity
Already, about 15,000 medicinal plant species may be threatened with extinction worldwide. Experts estimate that the Earth is losing at least one potential major drug every two years. In the United States, of the top 150 prescription drugs, at least 118 are based on natural sources
– Center for Biological Diversity