Nunkui Ecoferia Amazonia believes that living should be based in love, respect and connection with nature through creating relaxed environments where the natural biological process of being a human can thrive.
About the Nationalities that work with Nunkui
Living well depends on values such as solidarity, empathy, and connectivity. These values have been eroding over the years, just as our landscapes have been eroded by modern life. At Nunkui, we look for a return to these values to reconnect with nature and allow us to achieve harmony.
Nunkui is a Project, aiming to generate economic alternatives to the pressure of losing the natural resources of the Amazon to extractive industries. We strive to achieve this through sustainable bio-enterprises, which provide income to communities and at the same time conserve nature.
We also want to make known to the country and the world the ancestral wisdom of the native peoples in the Amazon, and the importance of conserving that wisdom created over thousands of years.
In this catalogue and in our gallery-shop in Cuenca-Ecuador, you can find handmade products from local materials collected responsibly or produced in a sustainable way in agroecological systems. The artisans are from the Shuar, Achuar, Kichwa and Waorani nationalities from different provinces of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We offer products of the highest quality which are purchased directly from the artisans in their communities, based on fair trade.
When you purchase products of Nunkui Ecoferia Amazonica, you are contributing to the conservation of natural resources, the biodiversity of the Amazon, and to the sustainable development of the largest rainforest in the world.
Nunkui Ecoferia Amazónia strives to:
- Conserve the natural and cultural resources of the Amazon through bio-enterprises of indigenous, mestizo and Amazon nationalities, as a contribution to sustainable development and an alternative to extractivism.
- Spread awareness of the Amazon identity, respecting and contributing to community organizing, strengthening local knowledge, and generating ways to commercialize products of the highest quality reflecting cultural identity, based on fair trade for the direct benefit of the Amazonia communities.
By purchasing products of Nunkui Ecoferia Amazónica, you are contributing to the conservation of natural resources, the biodiversity of the Amazon, and the sustainable development of the world’s largest rainforest.
Nunkui Ecoferia Amazonia was founded by Lucía Fierro y Paúl Sánchez who lived for 10 years in the Amazon region. They experienced life in several provinces and worked with indigenous communities on rural development, agriculture, and environmental conservation. They learned about and grew even more sensitive to the ways of life of the various nationalities of indigenous peoples, which are based on respect for and harmony with nature.
By living and working in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Paul and Lucia were able to see for themselves the social problems of the communities and the external pressures on the natural resources of this territory. There are 12 nationalities of indigenous peoples who have successfully stewarded their lands for thousands of years leading to incalculable ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants, agriculture, hunting and fishing methods, and the handcrafting of household utensils and decorative arts.
But this valuable knowledge and skill is being threatened by the intrusion of corporate industries which confine the indigenous communities to ever smaller parcels of land surrounded by forest destruction and roads which disconnect the natural migration of insects, plants and animals and so impoverish the biodiversity.
This infringement has also resulted in worrying social indicators such as an increasing poverty rate and poor access to basic services and healthcare. Social organizations have made the decision not to allow the exploitation of natural resources in their territories, but this determination is being continually undermined by corporations and government entities intent on financial gain.
Nunkui was born out of Paul and Lucia’s gratitude to the communities and nationalities of the Amazon, which have unselfishly given them their friendship, knowledge, love, food, trust and respect. Through receiving such treasured gifts from the Amazon, Paul and Lucia decided to create a gallery store where they could showcase the products of the bio-enterprises of these indigenous communities and nationalities and offer an economic alternative to extractive industries, as well as the possibility of generating sustainable development.
As most of us know, the Amazon region is a large ecosystem of global importance.
The Amazon River and its tributaries contain more than 15% of the planet’s fresh water.
The Amazon Rainforest provides water and air to one of every 10 species of plants and animals in the world and regulates weather patterns.
In the Ecuadorian Amazon there is an abundance of natural resources as well as a great cultural and anthropological wealth, due to its diversity of nationalities of indigenous peoples.
However, the entire region is under threat from the extractive industries such as oil drilling and mineral mining. With your help, we can work to defend the area and support the lives and livelihoods of the indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for thousands of years.
About the nationalities that work with Nunkui
The Shuar nationality has a presence between Ecuador and Peru.
On Map: provinces of Morona Santiago, Pastaza and Zamora Chinchipe, there are other settlements in Sucumbíos and Orellana in the Amazon and in the Litoral Region in Guayas.
The Shuar territory has 900,688 hectares. Its population is 110,000 inhabitants (1998), settled in approximately 668 communities.
The Ecuadorian government has declared part of the territory as the Sangay National Park, a protected territory, as well as the Podocarpus National Park and the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. (MAP)
The Shuar are grouped into community centers, overseen by a Trustee, that are incorporated in federations. Here, the highest authority is the Assembly, which is directed by a board, elected every three years, that is chaired by a President. There are three federations in this nationality: FICSH, FIPSE and FINAE, an organization that is overseen by an inter-federal coordinator. The main objective of FINAE is to coordinate actions in defense of the rights of nationalities under pressure from oil companies.
Shuar community life focuses on agriculture, fishing, and hunting. Agriculture is extensive and they grow cassava, plantain, papachina, sweet potato, papaya and peanuts. Fishing and hunting are a traditional activity, but have decreased due to being confined by the external industrial activities in the forest. Women dedicate themselves to making handicrafts, products that they make with seeds and other elements from the jungle.
The Shuar use natural medicine. They are defenders and connoisseurs of the healing benefits of the plants that exist in their territories. This knowledge is held by all the people and is transmitted from generation to generation, both through oral tradition and through young people learning and applying this knowledge during the daily living activities of the community.
The Shuar nationality has its own dances, songs and musical instruments like the (Tampur) drum, (Pinkui) flute, (Shacap) rattlesnake and (Nampet) music.
Its symbolic structure has very clear principles: respect for the elderly, honesty, work and respect for what another person has. These principles are taught by example, with daily work planning and the wisdom of listening to the jungle. According to this worldview, God is Arutam, who manifests himself in a wide range of superior beings, the main ones are:
- Etsa: The Sun, creator of animals that live on earth.
- Tsunki: Owner of the water animals who teaches everything related to fishing and health.
- Nunkui: Deity of the orchards, crops, home and ceramics. She is the carrier of the knowledge of the feminine world.
- Shakaim Creator of the jungle: Represents the strength and ability for men’s work. However, there is an influence of the Catholic and Evangelical Church. Its most important symbols are the jaguar, representing the masculine sphere of protection and the snake representing the feminine sphere.
In the year 2019, in the province of Morona Santiago, the organization “Pueblo Shuar Arutam”, with a territory of more than 230 thousand hectares and 13 thousand inhabitants, elected for the first time in history a Shuar woman as its president of the Council of Government, Josefina Tunki.
The Achuar Nationality has a presence in both Ecuador and Peru.
The Achuar live in 56 centers, with around 5,440 people in 830 families. The Achuar houses can each accommodate up to 20 people. They are made of pambil, guadua, palm leaves, vines and tree bark.
Traditionally, the Achuar have had a scattered settlement pattern in the jungle. Each house was occupied by an extended family, organized under the practice of polygamy and levirate (the brother of the childless man who married the widow). Each house had a basic and self-sufficient quantity of production and consumption. The Achuar had no leaders, except in case of war.
For the past 20 years, influenced by missionaries and indigenous organizations, the Achuar have adopted the modality of communities. Their economy is based on hunting, fishing, horticulture and gathering. These activities today are accompanied by agricultural production of fiber and ungurahua palm fruit and raising livestock.
One of the differences between the Achuar and Shuar is in the traditional drink. Unlike the Shuar, the Achuar drink guayusa water every morning to remove impurities from the spirit. In the ceremonies they drink chicha de yuca and guayusa, performed by the women. The Achuar also keep the symbolic paint on their faces.
The Achuar people fight, like the other native groups of the Ecuadorian jungle, to achieve their survival and social self-determination with self-sustainable projects such as ecotourism
The Kichwa Nationality is located in the north-western part of the Ecuadorian Amazon region.
Agricultural production includes growing cassava, plantain, coffee, cocoa, and corn. Planting is planned according to the lunar phases and specific days to obtain good results in the harvest. Hunting is done with spears and traps. Fishing is done with cast nets in the big rivers, and in the small ones they use the ishinga and the barbasco. Kichwa also raise cattle.
Handicrafts are very important to their economy. The Kichwa make fans with feathers of birds, chambira shigra, wooden spoons, whisks to prepare chicha, baskets, necklaces, guadúa flutes, and drums.
Their original clothing was made with local materials and animal leathers. Women wear a skirt made of lanchama, pita, and men wear deer leather with long pants with wide ankles. They do not wear shoes.
Also central to Kichwa production are plant medicines including the use of python bark to purify the blood during postpartum; boa butter for ankle twists, fractures or for the flu; verbena to cure various diseases such as vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, including the virus contracted by domestic birds; tobacco to cure flu and bruises, a product used mainly by shamans, healers, and midwives; ginger to cure stomach pain and flu is also used in food as a condiment; cat’s claw for muscle aches and heart disease; guayusa is used as coffee to eliminate laziness, and muscle aches.
It is customary in the garden before planting cassava to perform a ceremony. The women perform preparatory rituals that include the use of facial paints, made with the plant called manduru, in order to enlist the help of natural forces, such as the chakra amu, for the sowing of a good harvest.
Symbolic communication in the daily life of the people include “the scream,” or breath of the snail. The cry is made when a leader returns from a commission or when the hunters arrive at the farmhouse with plenty of meat. This cry is used with different tonal varieties, in one case the tone represents the death of a member of the community, another tone represents the call to minga, assemblies and ceremonial acts.
According to Kichwa legend on their origin, they descended from the union between the moon, being masculine, and the Amazonian Runes (people), their sister.
The Waorani Nationality has approximately 5,000 people in the Pastaza, Napo and Orellana provinces, living in 24 communities, of which 12 are in Pastaza. Traditionally the Waorani nationality was nomadic. Currently, temporary population migrations still persist and other communities are sedentary.
They are called Wao, which means “the people”, as opposed to Cowode, the “not people”, which are all other people. They are divided into several subgroups: Toñampare, Quenahueno, Tihueno, Quihuaro, Damuintaro, Zapino, Tigüino, Huamuno, Dayuno, Quehueruno, Garzacocha (Yasuní river), Quemperi (Cononaco river), Mima, Caruhue (Cononaco river) and Tagaeri.
Its traditional territory stretched over an area of approximately 200,000 hectares between the right bank of the Napo river and the left of the Curaray. They maintained the independence and defense of this territory through warlike actions. The first contact with the outside is in 1958 with the creation of the Summer Institute of Linguistics. For centuries the Waoranis defended their ancestral territory from indigenous and colonial enemies, but today it is threatened by oil exploration and illegal land registration practices.
The traditional domestic group is the “Nanicabo”, made up of extended or multiple families made up of six to ten families living under the same roof or “maloca.” These groups are self-sufficient, autonomous and are organized around an old man or woman from whose name the name of the domestic group is derived. The territorial unit or local group is called “Huaomoni,” which is the union of several “Nanicabos.
The Waorani use temporary orchards, in addition to hunting, fishing and fruit gathering. The natural environment provides them with resources for housing construction, crafts and food.
In Tits territory the State has declared the Yasuní National Park (1979). The Tagaeri territory was declared an Intangible Zone. In Waorani territory there are the following oil blocks: PETROECUADOR, Block 14 of Vitage; Block 16 of Repsol-YPF; Kerr MacGee Block 21; Block 31 by Pérez Companc.
The Waorani nationality is the one with the greatest presence of oil companies within its territory, which makes its survival very fragile, especially since it was isolated until permanent contact with the outside world has only occurred since the 1960s. This pressure by the State and companies, has demanded that the Waorani Nationality, as well as two National and International organizations, interpose legal actions against the State, due to the unconstitutionality of the oil concessions, since they have not complied with the prior, free and informed consultation process.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Amazon nationalities are at risk, there are infections in different Nationalities and an elderly Waorani has died with symptoms of COVID-19. Due to the vulnerability of these peoples, the local and National Peasant Organizations have demanded a greater presence from the State, and a specific emergent plan for the Nationalities.