Huaorani

Huaorani are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador (Napo, Orellana and Pastaza Provinces). In traditional animist Waodani worldview, there is no distinction between the physical and spiritual worlds, and spirits are present throughout the world. The Waodani once believed that the entire world was a forest (and used the same word, ömë, for both). The rain forest remains the essential basis of their physical and cultural survival. For them, the forest is home, while the outside world is considered unsafe: living in the forest offered protection from being attacked and enslaved by Spanish Conquistadors, cultural deprivation from Jesuit and Franciscan Missionaries and Inquisition tribunals. Plants, especially trees, hold an important interest for the Huaorani. Their store of botanical knowledge is extensive, ranging from knowledge of materials to poisons to hallucinogens to medicines. The Waodani notion of time is particularly oriented to the present, with few obligations extending backwards or forwards in time. Their one word for future times, baane, also means “tomorrow”.

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