Telling the Siekopai Story with Jimmy Piaguaje Part 6
How did you grow up in your community and learn the ways of the Siekopai after the influences of the Missionaries?
'This is an interesting personal story because I have lived in two different worlds, with a culture that arrived and tried to destroy our millenary knowledge.
That’s what happened. I grew up with my Dad, he is one of the last shamans, one of the great wisdom keepers of the Siekopai nation, but he is currently not drinking our medicine, he goes to church. He told me about his grandparents, how they had a deep connection with the spirits of the forest, of heaven, of the underworld.
I started to become curious about how my father would talk to me in such glowing terms about his grandparents but didn’t practice himself.
This caused me confusion when I was a child. Later on, my Dad wouldn’t let me drink ayahuasca, he told me that it’s from the devil. When the missionaries arrived, they put in people’s heads that all our ancestral knowledge, our traditions, ayahuasca, was from the devil.
At 16 I started to prepare ayahuasca with my cousins, with my nephews, we went by ourselves to look for this sacred plant.
The elders were not drinking it. I asked my grandfather if we could drink ayahuasca and he said that we could prepare it ourselves. When I started drinking it, I had a deep connection with my ancestors.
That’s how my struggle started, how I started seeing things very differently from what my Dad had told me and from the society in which we currently live. I started to think about how we could wake up the resistance of my people.
I started to wonder, why our millenary culture that has survived for so long, has survived so many pandemics, is currently dying? That’s how the struggle started, with videos, with everything that we have done until now to recover oral memories.' Jimmy Piaguaje