A unique school located in the Amazonian rainforest is attempting to save the ancient culture and wisdom of shamanism from extinction through a course that passes on traditional indigenous knowledge and practices to its students.
In the native tribes of the Northwestern Amazon, shamans have long played a central role as spiritual leaders and experts in natural medicine. However since the twentieth century, their way of life, knowledge and practices have been under threat, often due to persecution from Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries.
In the village of Cachoeira Uapui in the Brazilian Amazon, the Malikai Depan school is passing down ancient shamanistic arts to its students with the support of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies in California. The course is designed to teach the principles of natural medicine and skills in cultivating plans and medicinal herbs, with a focus on educating young people and training health workers. The course aims to explore how western biomedical knowledge and the metaphysics of shamanism can benefit each other.
The school currently enrolls twelve students, but the founders hope that the number of interested students will grow so that the traditions, culture and ancient local customs of the shamanistic arts may be saved from extinction.