The spirit of the jungle lives in each of the children that Pachamama has given birth to, and in this filial relationship all the inhabitants of the Amazon region live in harmony with Nature: ancestral spirits, mountains, trees, plants, rivers, lagoons, animals, men and women coexist with the protective spirit of the living forest, building a relationship of interdependence and interconnection that leads them to understand each other as a single being. From this wisdom, the Uyantsa is born as a festival that makes an offering of thanks to the Pachamama, summoning all the children of the Original Sarayaku People.

 This celebration entails a great preparation that, as a sacred ritual, each one of the aycha22members of the Sarayaku people, this is how all the members take an active part in the preamble to the party. In this case, the men are in charge of providing the people with food for the festival, then, flooded by the spirit of the Jaguar, the men enter the bowels of the jungle for a period of 12 days.

 This time of hunting is a space where men are tested in their character and in their mettle as warriors, since it is clearly known that immersing yourself in the depths of the Amazon jungle carries a high dose of courage and courage that the men of the town They know how to unite with respect for the jungle, respect that is part of the wisdom that has been instilled in them since time immemorial by their ancestors.

Now the men return to the womb of the Pachamama and accompanied by her wisdom, they begin the ritual of the hunt. Divided into communities of approximately 20 to 30 companions, they spread out along the river, organize the land, build a hut and a campfire next to it, the latter being of great importance as it will be essential to keep the meat in good condition. of the prey that are winning day by day. Once the place is ready, the men, with their sober provisions, go in search of their prey.


 At first glance it seems supernatural that the hunters enter the jungle barely accompanied by a bodoquera, a shotgun, a machete, a flashlight and the inevitable chicha (food that gives them strength in this great work). The sun has not yet given signs of lighting up the new day a little, when the men already begin their march towards the hunting places, they walk for hours, stopping from time to time just to observe their future prey, and continue their road. The night comes and they stoically wait for their nocturnal spoils, since there are many animals that must be hunted under the complicity of the night.


So that at the end of the day, the bags woven by themselves rest on their tired shoulders, which contain the loot of the day, prey such as: the precious toucan, the monkey, Sagino, Paufil, Partridge, etc. In addition, one of the days is dedicated to fishing, which begins with the preparation of barbasco, a plant that dulls the fish, bringing them to the surface so that the men can catch them with their harpoons. On the indicated day, the root was thrown into the river, but luck did not accompany the hunters and few fish come to the surface; The men, however, grabbing their good humor, make funny comments, but their faces cannot hide the disappointment when they see that the river hides their precious loot.







After a long itinerary with the arrival of the first hours of the new day, the exhausted men arrive at the camp, and are received by the cook, who welcomes them with a brief meal, since the main part of the hunt must be kept for the people.


In this way, men not only refrain from being with their wives during this long period, but also from adequate food and proper rest, which as the days go by gains its value in the health of these trained hunters and Warriors.

On the other hand, it should be kept in mind that the Sarayaku people, being aware of the ecological impact of hunting, have implemented provisions in order to regulate this practice, for this reason it has been agreed that the celebration be held every 2 years as a favorable time. so that the animals and the jungle regenerate and can feed their people; Consistent with the foregoing, the hunting of species that are in danger of extinction, such as the tapir, has been prohibited. This is a clear example of the respect that the indigenous profess to their creator mother.


Another element of great importance in the development of the festival and at the time of the hunt, is the transmission of knowledge that the elders inherit to their children. Education, contrary to Western approaches, is part of daily living in community and has strong moments in events such as the Uyantsa. This is how some children and young people are chosen to accompany the Prioste (chayuk) in this task. So the teaching-learning process is not lived only in theory but in practice, children are exposed to knowledge with their own flesh and spirit and in this way they appropriate the wisdom of their people.

In conclusion, the moment of hunting as a prelude to the great festival of the Uyantza, plays an important role in many aspects of the life of the Sarayaku people, some of them, as we have seen, are: giving continuity to ancestral practices, trying the courage and courage of the male community, the education of young people and, in general, summons the people so that they never forget that they are part of a great history and therefore have a great legacy to share and make known.



In collaboration with German Moreno

This article has been read 739 times


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Puyo Office: Francisco de Orellana and General Villamil Telephone +593 32 896 999  ©2022  Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku

contact us

If you wish to contact us please complete the following form. We will reply to your message shortly.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account