Explore and Collect Responsibly
The Quechua people are an indigenous group in the Andean region of South America, with a rich ancestral heritage that includes contributions to the Inca Empire and resistance to colonialism. They have developed impressive skills in agriculture, textile production, medicine, and architecture, and have maintained their cultural identity and traditions through generations. Today, the Quechua people continue to play an important role in the cultural and social fabric of Peru and other Andean countries, and offer a powerful example of the resilience and creativity of indigenous cultures.
In summary, the Quechua people are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Andean region of South America, with a history that dates back thousands of years. Despite centuries of colonization and oppression, they have maintained their distinct cultural identity and traditions, and continue to contribute to the cultural and social fabric of the region.
The Emberá people have maintained their cultural traditions, including their language, chants, dances, and respect for nature. In the last half of the century, some Emberá have migrated to the Panama Canal basin and established villages along the Chagres River and Lake Gatun. With tourism, their economy has changed, and they now depend heavily on this activity. Due to their belief that all beings in nature have a spirit, the Emberá have a special respect for their rivers and forests. When visiting an Emberá village, visitors can converse with community leaders, learn about their way of life and worldview, appreciate their traditional housing, participate in dances, and explore the handicraft market. They can also experience body painting with jagua. Local guides can take visitors through the lush nature of the Canal basin, allowing for hikes, rides on crystal-clear rivers, and visits to impressive waterfalls.
Emberá-Wounaan Collective Lands Comarca
The Guna people are an indigenous community in Panama composed of around 80,500 individuals who live along the eastern coast of the Caribbean and on 49 of the 400 islands of the Guna Yala archipelago, also known as the San Blas Islands. Their economy is based on fishing, agriculture, and handicrafts, and their economic success and self-determination are very important values to them. Guna culture is famous for its stunning “molas,” intricately woven cloth panels that adorn traditional women’s clothing. The colorful designs of the molas represent sacred animals and cosmogonic origin stories. Guna culture has a belief system based on three principles: God, Nature, and Cosmos. Tourists can visit Guna villages and purchase molas at local markets. A visit to Guna communities involves staying in thatched-roof cabins with no hot water, and an opportunity to taste their distinctive seafood-based cuisine.
The Naso or Teribe are an indigenous group in Panama with around 4,000 inhabitants in an area of 1,300 km². Their government is a mixture of constitutional and hereditary monarchy, with the King elected by the people in a vote and assisted by a democratically elected General Council. In addition to their system of government, the Naso are known for their art and craftsmanship. Teribe women are skilled in beadwork, creating necklaces, bracelets, rings, and other adornments. These beads are made from tiny beads known as chaquiras, which are strung on nylon threads to create complex designs and patterns.
The Ngöbe and Buglé speak mutually unintelligible languages, but together they constitute the largest Ngöbe population in Panama. Ngöbe-Buglé families live in houses made of sticks with grass or zinc roofs and dirt floors. Men wear homemade bell-bottom pants, straw hats, and rubber boots, while women wear brightly colored dresses with embroidered trim and ribbons around the waist and bottom. Families are often large, and women live together in groups to help each other with child care. Polygamy was common, but it is not as much anymore. Social capital and reciprocal networks formed through kinship are important in the region. Marriage and family relationships also play a significant role in determining land ownership and usage rights.
Why Care for Ancestral Knowledge
Indigenous knowledge, accumulated over centuries through experiences and traditions, enriches cultural diversity. It contributes to sustainable development, offering innovative solutions to current challenges such as climate change and biodiversity. Its preservation is crucial for cultural identity, human rights, and social, environmental, and economic benefits.
S4S has been designed to help communities capitalize on their unique strengths, without interfering with their ancestral way of life. Our initiative facilitates a harmonious encounter between the private sector and indigenous communities with the vision of promoting their empowerment, protection of cultural traditions, and inclusive and responsible economic growth.
Regarding the development of digital artifacts, our pilot project is in collaboration with ‘The Land of Yachaqs,’ an indigenous community association located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco, Peru. We are scheduled to launch the first collection during the central event of the Awake Tourism Challenge between October and November of this year, as well as to formalize it during the 2024 World Economic Forum alongside its allies from the Meta Foundation.