Tsachila food preparation
Ecotourism

Preserving Ecuador’s Tsachila Indigenous Customs Through Heritage Center #WATWB

Indigenous Tsachila Tribe  

The Tsachila people are an indigenous tribe in Ecuador with under 3000 people remaining. They are located in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas (highlighted on map here). Albertina, a Shaman living in one of their communities runs a Tsachila heritage center in an effort to introduce their culture and traditions to world travelers. She is helping prevent the loss of their old way of life as technology and other cultures blend with theirs.

 

Making traditional Tsachila meal
Photo courtesy of South American Backpacker

Albertina’s Story

 

Excerpt from the story on South American Backpacker, which you can read in its entirety here:

Contently sitting next to the fire, Albertina began sharing her own story. At a young age she was married to an abusive husband and decided to separate from him in her early twenties. In the conservative, machismo culture this was highly frowned upon, and she was ostracized by the community.

Albertina left to work in the Galapagos Islands and gained experience in the tourism industry. She had a vision of opening a heritage centre where she could proudly share her culture with visitors. She claimed the land given to her by birthright, but opening the centre was met with much adversity. A single female shaman opening her own business was preposterous. Despite the lack of support from both family members and the community, Tolon-Pele has developed into a business that supports all of Albertina’s family and much of the Chiguilpe community. The next phase of development for Tolon-Pele is to become agriculturally self-sustaining, and they are currently looking to host volunteers with experience in agriculture to spearhead their new projects.

 

Performing Tsachila blessing
Photo courtesy of South American Backpacker

 

I applaud Albertina and her efforts to keep her Tsachila culture alive and plan to visit myself one day.

 

Tsachila Heritage Center on Facebook

Check their Facebook page for more photos and information.

 

Preserving Tsachila Indigenous Culture

We are the world blogfest


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This post is part of the We Are The World Blogfest. We bring you positive stories from around the world on the last Friday of each month. Thank you to this month’s co-hosts  Shilpa Garg,  Simon Falk,   Mary J Giese,  Dan Antion, and Damyanti Biswas. Please visit their blogs for more stories like the one you just read.

Want to read more positive stories from around the world? Click here to find a list of blogs participating in the We are the World Blogfest or search for #WATWB on social media.

Want to participate? Please sign up for the We are the World Blogfest in the linky list here. Guidelines can be found here. Get to know others who are spreading positive news on the last Friday of each month!

Emily is a US Expat in Ecuador. She grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. Emily's goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let Emily know what you would like to read more about!

8 Comments

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Emily – thanks for letting us know about Albertina and telling us briefly about her life … it sounds as though she is one amazing person, who has done much to help her community. An inspiration to many – and it will be so interesting to hear of your thoughts once you have been able to spend some time volunteering and visiting at the Heritage Centre … it sounds like your farming background could come to good use …

    I have been reading quite a lot recently about the indigenous peoples here in Canada as well as around the Arctic Circle … so I'll be doing some posts through the months to come …

    Thanks for sharing this – cheers Hilary

    • Emily Bloomquist

      I agree Hilary – Albertina sounds like an amazing person and an inspiration to many. Meeting and spending time with her will be amazing. I'll be sure to write about it once I've been there.

      I look forward to your posts on the indigenous in Canada and Arctic Circle. You always have such interesting information I would never think to seek out on my own.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Dan

    This is wonderful story to share for #WATWB – It's so inspiring to see a strong woman rise up against the negative aspects of her culture and to then work to preserve the history of the native people. I'm not sure we can appreciate how hard she must work. Thanks again for bringing this story to light.

  • Deborah Weber

    What an inspiring story Emily. Kudos to Albertina for her vision and dedication, and for conquering so many community and collective limitations. May she succeed in bringing great awareness and respect for her culture to a much wider audience.

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