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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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!
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.
Thanks for mentioning how hard she must work, Dan. Overcoming negativity from her community to succeed is inspiring. Thanks for co-hosting #WATWB this month!
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.
I couldn't agree more, Deborah! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Love this. Adversity leaved to strength, and when someone can stand on their own two feet despite strong winds, they become an example to us all.
You summed it up well, Crystal! Thank you for your comment.
I loved your read your experience!
So happy you shared it.
We are heading to Ecuador in July and look forward to meeting Albertina.
Are intention is spreading her message she sounds incredibly special.
Heidi from Canada
I am so glad you are visiting Ecuador, Heidi – hope your trip is fabulous! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!