The Tsonkiri Expedition - a preparatory spiritual and environmental pilgrimage of the Ashaninka
This video follows a small group of Brazilian and Peruvian indigenous Ashaninka people as they visit various sacred places associated with their histories and spirituality. For many of them it is the first time they have been to places they heard about from their grandparents, some others went as children, while others are thrilled to share their stories of the places they know. They recover and share spiritual knowledge associated with these sacred places. This was a preparatory journey in 2015 to make preliminary contacts; a larger group is expected to undertake the Yorenka Tasori Expedition ("Knowledge of the Great Sprit") spiritual and environmental pilgrimage in 2016.
The Ashaninka explain the ways in which their access to these places has been restricted (for example, sacred springs being turned into Christian shrines; a salt mountain, associated with rich cultural practices and beliefs, taken over for commercial salt extraction; and attempts to build a logging road over the place a river bursts out of a mountain). They discuss strategies for protecting these places and the beliefs associated with them, and hold the first binational congress of Peruvian and Brazilian Ashaninka.
This spiritual and environmental journey is one of the many ways in which the Ashaninka are working to secure rights over traditional lands; the Brazilian Ashaninka also carry out community-based forest monitoring in the Kampa do Rio Amônia Indigenous Territory, described here.