Amazonian plants are only useful when they come paired with the indigenous knowledge holders who remember their vital combinations and uses. With each generation we are losing more and more plant wisdom as young people move to urban environments. We’ve reached a point of serious crisis as this generation of elders is one of the last to remember local plant methods and uses. When this generation of elders is gone, it’s as if an entire library disappears.
The Shaman’s apprentice program provides funding for young men and women to study with their elders for regular periods of time weekly. They are provided with basic school supplies to record and document their studies. Our apprentices also have the opportunity to work in LAB Gardens propogating, sourcing and building relationships with the plants along side global researchers. The program endeavors to make indigenous plant knowledge a source of pride for young people which maintains their connection to nature and their communities.
The young apprentices also become the interface between elders and new forms of technology and data entry. They are the bridge which both preserves and shares knowledge in the wider community by recording what has essentially been an oral tradition.