Oral Heritage and Cultural Manifestations of
the Zápara People
Zápara people of the Amazon rainforest are inhabitants of one of
the most bio-diverse areas of the world. Their intimate knowledge
of the rainforest is of global significance and is expressed
through their language, rituals, mythology and arts, as well as
traditional medicine. Despite the adverse impacts of conquest,
forced conversion to Christianity, enforced labour, disease, as
well as wars and impending deforestation, over the past four
centuries, the Zápara have fought to preserve their ancestral
knowledge and way of life in the rainforest.
As the surviving bearers of a cultural heritage that
included some 39 other populations before the Spanish conquest, it
is of crucial importance that they are able to transmit this
heritage to future generations.
Zápara population is estimated at less than 300 people, with only
five fluent in the language.
An estimated 200 Zápara live in Ecuador, and 100 in Peru.
and Peru propose to revitalize the language, protect the cultural
heritage, study and preserve shamanism and traditional medicine,
strengthen the Zápara communities and encourage connections
between the Záparas of Ecuador and Peru.