The Ayuy Yu clan (Santi family) represents a lineage famed for their protection of sacred sites and medicine teachings. They are engendering a new model of development empowering elders and shamans to apply sacred sites to cultural restoration projects in Ecuador’s Amazon.
Much of their traditional territory was colonized in the last 70 years. Due to the family’s resistance against industrial invasion, their community was targeted by the military and their homes were destroyed. They have suffered assault and attempted murder, illegal incarceration and interrogation, the division of their community by the bribery of oil companies, and the contamination of their proud and ancient culture.
Their last remaining hunting territory was invaded in the late 1990s and exploited by the ARCO petroleum company. They were forced onto the reserve territory first created in 1947 when missionaries were given legal title to the territory surrounding the trading post of Puyo as it grew into a town, and now a city. The reserve lies downriver of the city, and is now overcrowded. Hunting is difficult, and the fishing poor, due to water pollution from the city.
The Ayuy Yu clan have received visions for many years instructing what must be done to save the culture, and the teachings of their medicine lineage. In 1993 they knew they would be betrayed by their leaders and the indigenous politicians. They began to raise funds to privately protect sacred sites, by buying them back from settlers. The indigenous uprising of the 90’s became poisoned by corruption, greed and deceit. Those leaders who vilified the family for their “backwards view of development” now repent, seeing what the Santis have achieved in the face of fearsome odds. To this date they have raised close to $1m through NGO partnerships and private relationships, and recovered 1500Ha (3700 Ac) of territory, focusing on the sacred sites used for healing ceremonies, initiating youth, and as medicinal sanctuaries.
They have recovered 80% of the land required to combat the monster of industrial colonization. After years on the front line fighting a physical battle, they have learned that the true struggle happens at the spiritual level. The visions from plant medicines have clarified their intent, and their strategies. They have been instructed to found a school formalizing the instruction of their spiritual lineage, for the benefit of their indigenous youth, and for the global community – to strengthen a unified global spiritual movement. They will found their “Wayusa School” as a spiritual embassy of land-based teachings, for the well-being of humanity, and of our planet.