Juan Kunchikuy


is of the Shiwiar Nation, one of the smallest of Ecuador’s Amazon indigenous cultures.  His indigenous name is Tzerem and he comes from the village of Cambantsa, a spread out community of approximately 1,200 inhabitants.  Juan, like most Shiwiar, lived deep in the Amazon rainforest in the southern part of Ecuador, close to the Peruvian border, where there are still no roads, running water or electricity.  Taking advantage of life’s coincidences, Juan was able to travel to other parts of Ecuador, as well as other parts of the world.  As a teenager, he started to learn other languages, and he now fluently speaks Shiwiar, Kichwa, Spanish and English.  For the last 20+ years he has applied his traditional knowledge and skills as a naturalist and indigenous guide in the Amazon region of Ecuador. He was the founding guide of the Yachana Lodge, but has also worked extensively at Lodges in the Yasuni National Park.  More recently, Juan saw the potential of further applying his traditional knowledge as an educator. He is concerned about the future of his community, as well as the future of other Amazonian ethnic groups, not to mention the prospect of thriving rainforest, and thus in addition to his guiding, he leads projects in community development and international education.  His curiosities relate to how traditional knowledge can be applied to structured community-based educational projects and environmental conservation. 

© 2014 by The Pachaysana Institute. 

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