In early October, the Foundation learned of the reported murder of 14 Peruvian shamans in the northeastern jungle region of Loreto. The Foundation called for action (see thread below) from its constituents to contact officials to demand that these atrocities be addressed. Your response was tremendous. The Peruvian government sent a team to investigate–still in progress. A December 12th article in Truthout interviewing Alberto Pizango, Peru’s top indigenous leader and president of the country’s most powerful indigenous organization, the Interethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Rainforest (known by its Spanish acronym, AIDESEP), places the killings in a complex context of politics, territorial disputes, and poaching of the natural resources of indigenous peoples, including timber, oil, and illegal drugs. The article also contains an analysis of the situation by anthropologist Jeremy Narby (author, The Cosmic Serpent and Shamans Through Time), who talks about the history of persecution of shamans and the cultural loss. The Foundation is seeking “on the ground” information from local sources and will keep you advised if further information is forthcoming. In the meantime, we are advised that continued public pressure on authorities is important to keep this tragedy in the spotlight and to prevent more killings. Please see the entries below for a list of authorities to contact. Thanks to Timothy Flynn (California), Dolly Lizarraga (Peru), and numerous others.

Editor’s note: This situation is not, unfortunately, an isolated incident. We also received word that Brazilian shaman Nisio Gomes, a Guarani leader, was recently murdered in a territorial dispute (submitted by Kevin Turner, Kyoto, Japan). In addition, a battle for sacred land, “the birthplace of the sun,” is taking place between the native Wixarika of Mexico, better known as the Huichol, and a pair of Canadian mining companies interested in its resources of precious metals. (Submitted by Meg Beeler, California.) On the positive side, there are many human rights organizations, local and international, working on behalf of indigenous rights in South America. The Foundation will continue to help preserve shamanic knowledge through its Living Treasures program and indigenous assistance projects, such as the Baniwa shamanic revitalization.

October 19, 2011 UPDATE

Response to the initial email sent on October 7 about the 14 shamans murdered in Peru’s northeastern jungle region of Loreto has been tremendous. We have been informed by a Peruvian citizen of an additional important government body to contact, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture (see below). To view the original email, including contact lists, please click here.

According to The Guardian, the Peruvian government has sent a team to the remote Amazon region to investigate the killings.

We will keep you informed when we learn of further developments.

Take Action

We have been advised by Ms. Dolly Lizarraga, a Peruvian national who is very concerned about the shamanic traditions in her country, that there is an investigation being carried out. However, she states, pressure is still necessary.

According to Ms. Lizarraga, the Ministry of Culture should be addressed on the subject, as this situation falls directly under its mandate. In fact, the Vice Minister of Interculturality, Mr. Vicente Otta, recently travelled to the area.

Contact the Ministry of Culture:

Ministra de Cultura
Sra. Susana Esther Baca de la Colina
Phone: (511) 6189393 Anexo (2502)

Vice Ministro de Interculturalidad
Sr. Clemente Vicente Otta Rivera
Phone: (511) 224 2495
(Secretary Ms. Jazmine Soria)


Ministerio de Cultura
Av. Javier Prado Este 2465
San Borja, Lima 14 – Peru
Contact form on website (Google translate tools can be used to view in your language)

Please let your voice be heard.

Thank you.

Susan Mokelke
Executive Director

October 7, 2011

We have just learned that over the last 20 months 14 shamans have been murdered in Peru’s northeastern jungle region of Loreto.

According to the newspaper La Republica: The provincial prosecutor’s office said that the murders were allegedly ordered by the mayor of Balsa Puerto, Alfredo Torres, and carried out by his brother, Augusto, locally known as “the witch hunter.” Only seven bodies have been found, however – either shot, stabbed or hacked with machetes. The seven other shamans have been reported missing. Roger Rumrrill, a leading researcher on Amazonian issues, said the murders are related to “protestant sects” that Torres and his brother belong to, the daily said. “For these protestant sects, the shamans are people possessed by demons, so they have to be killed,” Rumrrill said. More details from the Peruvian Times.

Take Action

Please ask authorities to immediately address these atrocities and prevent further murders. Contact one or more of the following:

Office of the President of Peru
President Ollanta Humala
Secretary General Luis Chuquihuara Chil
Minister of Justice Francisco Eguiguren Praeli
Email: ep.bo1721771482g.aic1721771482nedis1721771482erp@l1721771482arene1721771482gaira1721771482terce1721771482s1721771482

The US ambassador to Peru in Lima
Her Excellency Rose M. Likins
Embassy of the United States
Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n
Surco, Lima 33, Peru
Phone: (51-1) 618-2000
Fax: (51-1) 618-2397
General email: vog.e1721771482tats@1721771482SCAam1721771482iL1721771482

The Peruvian ambassador to the US
His Excellency Harold W. Forsyth
Embassy of Peru
1700 Massachusetts Ave., N.W
Washington D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 833-9860 to 9869
Fax: (202) 659-8124
Email: su.ur1721771482epfoy1721771482ssabm1721771482e@nim1721771482dabew1721771482

Assistant to the Ambassador
Ms. Sara Barboza
Phone: (202) 833-9860
Fax: (202) 659-8124

Political Department
Head of Department
Mr. Pedro Bravo
Telephone: (202) 261-0269
Fax: (202) 659-8124

The Peruvian ambassador to the United Nations
His Excellency Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel
820 Second Avenue, Suite 1600
New York, N.Y. 10017
Phone: 212-687-3336
Fax: 212-972-6975
Email: gro.u1721771482repnu1721771482@repu1721771482no1721771482

United Nations Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
High Commissioner Ms. Navanethem Pillay
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: gro.r1721771482hcho@1721771482kseDo1721771482fni1721771482

Amnesty International
Secretary General Salil Shetty
Phone: +44-20-74135500
Fax: +44-20-79561157
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW, UK (contact form on their website)

Please let your voice be heard.

Thank you.

Susan Mokelke
Executive Director

On behalf of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies