Firstly, we would like to thank the organisers of this conference for the honour of receiving an invitation to participate, which was sent to us through the Chamber of Ayahuasca Culture of the Municipality of Rio Branco. For us, this invitation is recognition of the work and teachings of our founding Mestres, through whom we seek to ensure that they continue to be a reference of respectability for the religious use of Ayahuasca. We also appreciate the autonomy that we have had to be able to report our experiences and present our principles and criteria, for the excellent and organised conduct of the event and the cordiality and respect we with which we were treated.
We would like to thank the representatives of the indigenous people, their spiritual leaders and communities, that are true guardians of the forest and heirs of the cultures and traditions that have developed in it since the times of their ancestors.
We also thank the other religious denominations and all the people and organisations that have Ayahuasca as a significant reference in their lives and works, for the brotherly debate and respectful conviviality, even at times when differences or disagreements were exposed.
We thank the scientists, researchers and students of Ayahuasca for sharing with us and with all conference participants the results of their studies.
During our participation at this conference, we have tried to present – clearly and simply – who we are and what we do. We understand that stating our identity and maintaining our principles does not offend the rights of any person, organisation or community. We do not consider ourselves to be superior, nor do we cultivate enmity with anyone. If we have, at any time, had any differences or disagreements, our intention has always been, and continues to be, to maintain an honest and transparent relationship, without omitting our principles and values. Our Mestres teach us consistency between words and practice, to keep us on the path of Truth.
For this reason, we reaffirm – on this occasion, as on others – the principles that govern us. And we feel the duty to warn of the risks and problems that may occur when the practices are not followed with the care that we consider necessary for the use and distribution of Ayahuasca. This care, which is recognised today and recommended by the Brazilian state in the legislation of several official organisations, was already outlined 25 years ago in the Charter of Principles of religious organisations that use Ayahuasca in 1991. Among others, we want to highlight three points:
a) The public identity of the centre or church that uses Ayahuasca, with the autonomy and self-determination to think, act and organise itself freely, without supervision or restriction. This freedom corresponds to the responsibility to assume their actions toward society, the public authorities and the laws in force in the country.
b) The exclusive use of Ayahuasca – made of cipó (Banisteriopsis Caapi), leaf (Psychotria Viridis), and water – without adding or associating any substance in its preparation and distribution.
c) No form of marketing. The members of each centre or church bear the costs of maintaining its institutions, including the preparation of Ayahuasca, without passing these costs on to non-members.
Experience has taught us that the observation of these principles reduces the risk of problems and brings benefits.
The health of our communities is proof of this. With such principles, we want to talk to everyone, especially with the indigenous communities, whose traditions claim, since their origins, similar principles of care and respect toward Ayahuasca and toward the forest in which it is born.
After decades of predatory exploitation of the two plant species that are used to make Ayahuasca, the compromise of the Amazonian Forest is obvious. This shows the need to unite with actions to protect, map the impacts already made and recover, in the short term. We call on all users of Ayahuasca, especially those who live outside Amazonia, to raise awareness of the need and importance of ethical, environmental and social responsibility in the production and distribution of Ayahuasca, in the face of international expansion and the economic pressures involved in the process.
We believe that the conquest of freedom for the religious utilization of Ayahuasca in Brazil was made possible by the existence of the communities and peoples – amongst which we include ourselves – who demonstrated balance and responsibility, credibility and social legitimacy. Other communities from other countries can conquer all this and more. Our contribution is to show our experience and the excellence of the teachings of Mestre Irineu, Mestre Daniel and Mestre Gabriel, to whom we ask to give us the light of wisdom and to bless you all.
We are grateful for the respect and attention.
Centro de Iluminação Cristã Luz Universal (Ciclu)/Alto Santo
Centro Rainha da Floresta (CRF)
Centro de Iluminação Cristã Luz Universal Juramidã (Ciclujur)
Centro Eclético Flor do Lótus Iluminado Maria Marques Vieira (Ceflimmavi)
Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (UDV)
Centro Espírita e Culto de Oração Casa de Jesus – Fonte de Luz
Centro Espírita Obras de Caridade Príncipe Espadarte
Rio Branco, 22nd October 2016
We, the undersigned, present at this conference, belong to the Yawanawa, Shanenawa, Jaminawa, Huni kuĩ, Apurinã, Manchinery, Katukina, Nukini, Puyanawa, Ashaninka, Madja, Jamamadi, Nawa, Shawãdawa, Apolima-Arara, Jaminawa-Arara and Kuntawa indigenous communities, in the State of Acre and South of Amazonia since our ancestors, are 17 indigenous communities from 36 indigenous lands recognised by the federal government, speakers of the languages Pano, Aruak and Arawa, totally an estimated population of 23,000 indigenous people, distributed across approximately 230 villages. It is worth remembering that these lands are located in 11 of the 22 municipalities in Acre.
THE II WORLD AYAHUASCA CONFERENCE was held in the city of Rio Branco, Acre from 17th – 21st October 2016, the main objective of which was: “to promote a space for dialogue, sharing and learning, synergy and collaboration, while respecting the cultural diversity of the traditions of Ayahuasca”.
However, we realise from the presentation of the first table, made up of indigenous representatives, that the “dialogue, sharing and learning, synergy and collaboration” that is the main objective of this conference, would not take place between indigenous and plenary debaters, given the short amount of time available for this purpose, envisioned by the organisers.
Thus, we express our point of view with the following questions:
1. Even though this event has a large number of indigenous participants, we are not feeling included in it’s creation and organisation.
2. Through of a largely indigenous dialogue, we the participants of this conference will not take any decision relating to the matters raised during this event, especially those of a more relevant nature, such as cultural heritage, records, without first:
A) promoting the holding of indigenous meetings in which all those with knowledge of the plants (cipó and folha) are present, with whom the sacred drink known as Ayahuasca is prepared, in the presence of the institutions, those responsible and those involved in the discussions over cultural heritage, with the aim of discussing the subject in more depth, because during their fragmented approach at the conference, it was not clear for indigenous communities exactly what this means.
B) Create a Technical Group (TG) to be coordinated and guided by the indigenous communities to carry out consultations regarding those knowledgeable about Ayahuasca and Decree no. 5.051 of 19th April 2004, which states that Brazil must respect Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization – ILO, and consult the indigenous communities before the works (in advance) so that these communities can choose to be consulted (free) and still have to take all the information that exists on the venture (informed).
C) form a board of ethics to discuss the subject of the origin and define criteria for the use and cultural heritage of Ayahuasca, and from this perspective and understanding, hold meetings with churches and other sects that use this sacred drink. In this way, we can present our position on the issues on the agenda.
D) We require a guarantee of participation of indigenous peoples in other Brazilian states that use the sacred drink in the discussion about cultural heritage;
E) We also require the right to participate in and plan future World Ayahuasca Conferences;
F) Finally, we require that the World Ayahuasca Conferences and the public and private institutions, discussing the subject should recognise the traditions for the use, healing and preparation by the spiritual leaders of the indigenous communities.
Finally, we would like to reaffirm that we are willing to build a common future with respect to the diversity of use of the indigenous peoples and to collaborate in all the processes for the progress of discussions for the use and the right to the consecration of the drink for all mankind.
In this sense, we would like to thank the effort of ICEERS, UFAC, the indigenous communities and organisations for the organisation of the II World Ayahuasca Conference to integrate and unite all the players in the Ayahuasca universe.
Rio Branco, 22nd October 2016