Report: 14 Shamans Killed in Loreto Region

October 5, 2011 10:24 am31 commentsViews: 2844

Peru’s government said Tuesday that 14 shamans in the country’s north-eastern jungle region of Loreto have been murdered in the past 20 months, newspaper La Republica reported.

Deputy Intercultural Minister Vicente Otta Rivera said the murders occurred in the Balsa Puerto district, near Yurimaguas in the Alto Amazonas province.

The provincial prosecutor’s office said that the murders were allegedly ordered by the mayor of Balsa Puerto, Alfredo Torres, and carried out by his brother, Augusto, locally known as “the witch hunter.”   Only seven bodies have been found, however —either shot, stabbed or hacked with machetes. The seven other shamans have been reported missing.

Rogger Rumrill, a leading researcher on Amazonian issues, said the murders are related to “protestant sects” that Torres and his brother belong to, the daily said.

“For these protestant sects, the shamans are people possessed by demons, so they have to be killed,” Rumrill said.  

The shamans, folk healers who are repositeries of ancient herbal lore, are from the Shaui community, one of the 13 ethnolinguistic groups in Peru’s Amazonia.  They had been planning to form an association to share their knowledge collectively.

Speaking on Radio Programas Peru, Torres denied any responsibility in the murders and said that the killings were revenge by families of people who the shaman had unsuccessfully tried to heal.

“For many years they have practiced the ancient custom of killing the witches, making them responsible for the death of some family member who was receiving treatment from the shaman,” said Torres.

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31 Comments

  • A University education is the answer.

  • I would believe 1 family revenge killing in say 20 YEARS…not 14 in less than 20 months. This person is guilty and will not own their crime.

  • Mathias Laubli

    This is clearly the work of a deranged, psychotic serial killer, if this were to happen anywhere in Europe or the U.S. & Canada, there would be a massive hunt on, imagine 20 catholic priests murdered with machetes, it would be front page news worldwide, but because these are ‘only’ shamans from some ‘poor country’, it is permitted. I sincerely hope that these so called protestants who are thought to be responsible, rot in the worst kind of hell that they can imagine for themselves. I hope that the Peruvian Government does what it should do, and protect its people.

  • Smoke & Mirrors, this has nothing to do with revenge or witches , this is ALL about control of the people… Alfredo Torres was threatened by these Elders… these Medicine Keepers… These Healers. His brother Agusto carried out these executions on behalf of Alfredo because if these Elders formed a Council it was almost certain the people would look to them for leadership in ALL matters which would have undermined his control.

  • hello,

    I do beleive that there is a systematic killing of indigenous healers because they can operate outside of government control systems and technology. they, the indigenous healers, are our only hope for humanity to operate independently of systems that will ultimately control everything. we must protect this knowlege.

    pink

  • Yes I believe this man is guilty as charged. This is just like when the early Christians wiped out the gnostics. Shamans have always been killed to prevent their narural knowledge being passed widely to the masses who the church want to own. It’s an absolute disgrace against humanity.

  • Oh my are we really going to play that card again, we can assume this is the act of a few radical rebels, clearly we are more intellegently guided than that, history will continue to repeat itself until we do something different. The next generation, are not the only ones that will suffer as a result of our choices. They are more than Shamans, they are our Grandmothers and our Grandfathers, they have carried forward courage, knowledge, wisdom and truths that would other wise be forgotten. I pray Creators will be done.

  • This is disgusting. A person tries to heal but cannot and you blame him? he has tried his hardest and this is the thanks he gets? I’m very very disgusting with these people who do such thing..calling themselves Protestants? this is not of God. It is unholy.

  • Everytime murder is carried out in the name of Christ His message is distorted. An education is indeed needed for this man and the sect. A shamanic healing could also help this “Christian” group.

  • The atrocities that are the eventual fallout of monotheisms (spirituality that does not allow for the possibility of alternative spirituality to itself) continue to spill forward. We have been aware from the beginning that Catholicism lacks the essential awareness that spirituality is more them one thing. And, for Protestantism to reach this is absurd, given that its entire foundation is built on the understanding that every person has immediate access to the Divine without an intermediary. Catholics are well known for resorting to countless murders to push their own agenda: such was the brutal history of spirituality across northern Europe all the way into Scotland. Fortunately, Catholics have tempered their behavior in the most recent several hundred years, and with time, many of us have forgotten their brutality. This is not just the behavior of one, or even of several persons. It is not revenge killing, nor is it Protestantism. It is the intrinsic failure of monotheisms, where only one spiritual path is allowed. It is projecting the dark side of humanity’s own bloodline onto the ‘other’ and attempting to eradicate human ignorance and darkness with its own.

  • The fear, the hate, the kill INSTEAD OF The care, the love, the life

  • This is terrible news. These shamans are the keepers of the knowledge from the Earth, working with herbs and traditional medicines. They should be protected instead of slaughtered. If this is the result of Protestant Christian Love than I rather be a pagan.

    • arturo balderrama

      Hannah you already judged and convicted my felow christian brothers without knowing any facts,

  • Is not that in San Martin, not Loreto?

  • I wonder if there’s corporate money involved, to break the local culture down. There are probably resources to be exploited if no one’s in the way. Timber, minerals, energy, or some modern agricultural scheme? The murderers should be arrested and charged accordingly. The religious groups and corporate or other political entities
    (if any) at the source of the crime should be investigated and held accountable as accomplices.

  • What a gross waste of some “good” people…

  • melisa pascale

    Humala, goverment…. where R U ???

  • I’m not so certain this is simply a witch hunt as heinous as that would be. I’m wondering if this indigenous tribe and their shamans were ‘preventing’ development of lands the government wished to use for some other purpose? Politicians like this one are shrewd enough to perhaps deflect attention away from another, more traceable motive– bribe money from developers, maybe?

  • Food for thought (more or less)…

    So often people fear what they do not understand and despise what they cannot control. Dualistic thinking (e.g., “us versus them,” “with or against us,” “good versus evil,” etc.) is a force that constricts and creates illusions (among other things).

    When the government is corrupt, the people will suffer unless or until they can unite and stand up for the greater well-being as a nation. United, people are strong; divided, they are vulnerable. It is important that the people are educated and aware of the elements in their world so that they may no long submit to the control & manipulation of elite organizations or governments. Empowerment for positive social change can only work when the masses are no long subject to “massification” (when the elite exercise manipulation and power over people using illusions to make them manageable and easy to control).

    Education for Critical Consciousness or conscientização (Paulo Freire, 1974), social Emancipation (from illusions, deceit, manipulation & control), and social Empowerment are vital components to any significant change and social action to prevent such violations to the human spirit.

    There are many possible solutions or methods to confront and prevent such crimes. There is never just one route.

    In its essence, the act of murdering Shamans is disturbingly symbolic of a multidimensional human problem. There are multiple layers to any situation (who knows how much ‘grey area’ there is)–the truth has to be sought after.

  • I had the pleasure of spending time with an amazing, open hearted Peruvian Shaman earlier this year. The healing ceremony that she lead was intended to heal not only individuals, but communities and governments around the world. Have the ceremony, she asked me to walk with her. She shared an incredible amount of wisdom and insight to help me along my journey, and I am forever grateful for the imprint she left on me. She also told me about the troubles her people, an indigenous tribe in the north east Amazon had been facing with the governments trying to push them off their land which they lived for thousands of years. She told me about the Christian Missionaries coming and setting up camps in the surrounding areas, concentrating on the youth of the tribe so that they’d leave what they’ve known behind.
    She told me that these were tumultuous times, and that things may get worse before they get better, but as people around the world begin to awaken, and open their hearts, a great shift will occur, ushering in a time of great peace, love and universal understanding.
    It is my prayer that we can all open our hearts and welcome this great shift that she spoke about. The most simple, yet profound wisdom she shared with me that evening was “Think less, feel more”

  • Cheri Lundstrom

    Why have they not hunted down the perpetrators of ths crime? I was hoping to head to Peru in 2013 for personal healing. Do I want to endorse a country that allows this without repercussion?

  • Alyce Walker, How would you like to be on the end of a witch hunt, not very nice
    just the same as the dam perposal in Brazil.
    If this government gets it’s way then most of the Amazon basin will disapear, these people who have been killed may well as likly have a cure for cancer and other ills.

  • Just another example of the church persecuting through fear instead of co-existing and spreading love throughout our history as a species. Right now our earth mother especially needs people like this for healing and knowledge. What a waste of life…. so sad, wake up people!!!

  • This is an example of the powerful and greedy wanting to remove anything in their way of obtaining even more power and dominion of everything in their path. But the path does not end and though there may be a higher purpose for these shamans exiting this realm in this manner, their lives were violently taken, the cultural treasury was robbed, and there will be a price for it. And Peru is a desolate place on this planet if it continues to allow these greedy power mongers to get away with it. Shamans have been on the planet since the beginning of time, and though it pre-dates Christianity it has not been a threat to Christianity. It is a shame that power lusty individuals would misuse Christianity in this manner to justify their horrible crimes, and shame on Christians that would allow that.

  • It’s not the mayor, dummy!
    It is Big Pharma!

  • I can’t comment…i’m struck speechless… this is a bloody travesty. I read this and my heart sank…no, no, no. The perpetrators and whoever is behind them needs to be exposed and laid bare. Their families and communities have lost precious beings and the world has lost much living knowledge. How can so many humans be so deluded into doing these kinds of things? It is beyond sad.

  • “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is a basic tenet of Christianity. The idea that anyone has the right to kill another is a violation of that tenet and one of that religion’s commandments. The people who are killing the shamans are no different than the people who urge others to strap bombs on their bodies and go to kill school children in the name of a deity. Both acts are atrocities. Both should be condemned by people of good character and conscience.

  • Becky says:
    Monday, October 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I had the pleasure of spending time with an amazing, open hearted Peruvian Shaman earlier this year. The healing ceremony that she lead was intended to heal not only individuals, but communities and governments around the world. Have the ceremony, she asked me to walk with her. She shared an incredible amount of wisdom and insight to help me along my journey, and I am forever grateful for the imprint she left on me. She also told me about the troubles her people, an indigenous tribe in the north east Amazon had been facing with the governments trying to push them off their land which they lived for thousands of years. She told me about the Christian Missionaries coming and setting up camps in the surrounding areas, concentrating on the youth of the tribe so that they’d leave what they’ve known behind.
    She told me that these were tumultuous times, and that things may get worse before they get better, but as people around the world begin to awaken, and open their hearts, a great shift will occur, ushering in a time of great peace, love and universal understanding.
    It is my prayer that we can all open our hearts and welcome this great shift that she spoke about. The most simple, yet profound wisdom she shared with me that evening was “Think less, feel more”.

    I came across this site as I was searching for some insight ….Becky I would like to hear more( and i am serious) about what this elder had to say. There is a karmic trend I am seeing here. jivasol@gmail.com Thanks!

  • unacceptable.

    Peruvian Government must take aggressive immediate action against these “witch hunters”, the information these healers have qualifies as world heritage, its an act against humanity. It must be stopped by any means.

    Identify those responsible.

    Post their names, locations, and any other available information.

    BIG PHARMA IS GOING DOWN HARD!

  • I cannot believe the killers have not been apprehended. This is a despicable act, whereby much of the knowledge of herbal and medicinal preparations will be lost. Where is the Peruvian government and why are they not acting against the suspects?! It is infuriating to anyone with some sense of spiritual enlightenment to think that crimes like these are left unpunished!! Drag yourselves out of your holes of fear and protect these peaceful people of the Amazon. They have been treating locals for centuries, much longer than any modern medicinal treatments have been available in the region and guess what, modern medicine is not fail proof either.
    C’mon Peru, this is part of your heritage – do something about it!