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Ayahuasca Medicine: A Pillar for Spiritual Resilience for Indigenous communities Facing Cultural Extinction with Ricardo Vitale - 55
Episode 556th June 2022 • The Psychedelic Leadership Podcast • Laura Dawn, M.Sc
00:00:00 01:50:20

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From being kidnapped in Mexico for his human rights work, to advising the largest organizations across the world and allying with the Union of Indigenous Yagé Medics of the Colombian Amazon and advocating for indigenous movements, Ricardo Vitale has had an extraordinary path. As a self-defined 'liberation anthropologist', based in Colombia. He earned a PhD from Cambridge University with a thesis about the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico. 

His expertise covers human rights, anthropology in armed conflict, social movements, indigenous politics, gender relations within social movements, sustainable development, resilience, climate change adaptations and indigenous practices of yagé medicine, spirituality, and resistance. He is a former adviser of a plethora of international humanitarian and development bodies such as: Oxfam America, the UNHCR, the Norwegian Refugee Council, ICG and GIZ, amongst others. Since 2016 Riccardo works as a full-time adviser for the Union of Indigenous Yagé Medics of the Colombian Amazon (UMIYAC). 

His tasks within UMIYAC range from fundraising to advocacy, to capacity strengthening, and non-extractive (“the-other-way-around”) anthropological research, aimed at “reinforcing indigenous communities, rather than taking from them”.

In this episode, we expand the conversation around plant medicine conservation and include the context of the symbiotic relationship between people, sacred territories, land, community, culture, and that there are people that are facing extinction who also hold knowledge. And when those cultures go extinct. Loss of knowledge is embedded in that. Part of supporting plant medicine conservation is supporting biocultural diversity. Not because we want to ensure that we can replant what we need to consume to ensure our future needs are met. But because we actually want to live in a world where indigenous peoples can be living on the land that is their birthright.

Resources Mentioned 

Episode #55 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called "Silent Voices" by Ayla Shafer .

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