Voces Indígenas

Voces Indígenas


Local communities and indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts because they rely on fragile ecosystems for their livelihoods, but they also hold many of the solutions to the climate change crisis. Despite this fact, mainstream media under-represents Indigenous communities reproducing stereotypes and ignoring unique knowledge.

Lack of representation in media production results in reduced diversity of ideas and perspectives in the media. This often results in manipulation, lack of political participation and knowledge about rights. It lessens opportunities to engage in politics or to assume responsibilities in government. Indigenous people or underrepresented groups (ie refugees, Roma, immigrants, etc) who are denied their voice will find it difficult to fight oppression, work with allies, or maintain their culture.

Without the means to make their voices heard, communities become atomized within themselves and invisible to the outside world. Aid and development efforts in these communities often fail for lack of appropriate problem/need identification. Specialized traditional knowledge can be lost and the value of modern experience in combatting climate change may never be shared.

Voces Indígenas is the first step towards empowering underrepresented voices. As a pilot project, Voces Indígenas – Peru, will give a voice to indigenous youth and bi-lingual teachers of the Peruvian Amazon Region/Loreto through training in indie documentary filmmaking.




For 10 days, 15 passionate writers, artists and filmmakers will be submerged in the density of the Peruvian Amazonas and the lives of the local Shawi. Guided by a diverse Team of acclaimed international creatives and Peruvian indigenous leaders, participants will be exposed to the raw nature of the rainforest, conflicting forces impacting indigenous communities and sustainable activities to address climate change.

Each participant will develop a short provocation/artwork under the guidance and supervision of the Team. Unlike other workshops, the local inhabitants will not be mere characters in these stories but will serve as mentors, project collaborators and cultural mediators. The process of creation will require some form of partnership between local and international storytellers in defining, style, method, message and culture.

The workshop will take place in various setting including the urban river-based culture of Iquitos, the tropical rainforest surroundings of the Tambopata National Reserve, and the facilities of Formabiap’s indigenous bi-lingual education centre at Zúngarococha. Due to the geographical characteristics of the zone, mobility is made exclusively in motorboats and by foot to delve into the tropical jungle.

All accommodations, meals and logistics are included in the workshop enrollment fee and arranged by the Team. Given the diversity of locations, accommodation will range from comfortable river lodges to rough field camps in the rainforest itself. Transportation will be predominantly by canoe and participants should carry daily essentials/equipment in the dry bags provided as part of the Field Kit.

The workshop is eminently practical, so it is essential that participants are autonomous and have knowledge of their own artistic process as well as have access to their own necessary tools and equipment.

The fieldwork will be enriched with daily Master Classes and dialogues concerning the principal challenges that the storyteller has to face in various phases of creation. Each mentor will share his/her own method of working, style and technique with the writers, artists and filmmakers of the workshop.

For participants to take full advantage of the ten days, they will be provided with a workshop field kit for them to familiarize themselves prior to arrival. The Field Kit, that comes with a dry sack to protect essentials during fieldwork, includes equipment, materials and all the basic information needed to allow participants an easy plunge into creation and inspiration.

To protect the well being of the participants and the conservation of the wide array of fauna and flora, daily destination groups of 3 – 5 participants, freely chosen, will be constituted. Each team will be accompanied by a local guide.

“The people’s gestures are unfamiliar, gentle and lovely; they move their hands like orchestral conductors in time with a soft, shy melody that emanates cautiously from the depths of the forest, like wild creatures that emerge from the sheltering leaves now and then to go down to the rivers”

Werner Herzog
Rafael Chanchari Pizuri

Rafael Chanchari Pizuri

Shawi teacher, shaman & philosopher | Peru

Born in the Peruvian Amazon, Rafael Chanchari Pizuri is a philosopher and Amazonian from the Shawi ethnic group. His spiritual ecological discourse, rooted in indigenous cosmovisions of the indigenous cultures of the Peruvian Amazon, foregrounds the current environmental challenges and complex symbolic narratives of indigenous Amazonians.

He is also a shaman and a teacher, who has contributed a great deal to the education of indigenous bilingual teachers of many ethnic groups in the Zungarococha FORMABIAP-AIDESEP Educational Center in Iquitos, Peru.

Featured in award-winning documentaries and feature articles, Rafael is uniquely able to transmit a holistic cosmology of the Shawi people, changing eco-system and traditional mythology with an ease of storytelling that captivates his listeners.

The Peruvian Filmmaker

Whoever sees the Amazon from the perspective of Amazonians will understand that our stories work as “seeing instruments” that help us develop an understanding of the larger physical and spiritual world and entire bioregions. These are not just stories for entertainment.

Leoncio Ramírez Vásquez

The Shawi Shaman

The river is life. We are aware that spirits live in the river. There is the mother of the deep pools, the Yakuruna and the pink dolphins. There is also the Yakumama, which is the mother of water. You have to be careful with these spirits when you go to the river.

Rafael Chanchari

The Nomad Storyteller

You have to actually experience something before you have a story to tell. Arrive, sit, and experience the moment using all five senses. What defines this place, this time, these people…this story?

Mark Abouzeid

The Shawi Way

The Shawi Way

The most important thing for us is the land where we were born and the rivers where we get our water. A Shawi child or adult can be happy where they are if the land provides them with everything. The earth is like a mother who gives you food and things to drink.

Rafael Chanchari, Shawi teacher, shaman & philosopher

Rainforest Gateway

Rainforest Gateway

Located at the intersection of three rivers, the city of Iquitos vibrates culturally with a variety of Indigenous people and riverine peasants from the entire Peruvian Amazon.