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.
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