As Indigenous medicine women and men from the Colombian Amazon we have a statement concerning our sacred medicine known as Ayahuasca, Ambiwaska or Yagé.
Thanks to the sacred plants and our ancestral knowledge, the indigenous peoples have managed to resist the colonial genocide and the repeated and violent exploitation of Amazonian resources such as: quinine, rubber, oil, and coca.
We have also resisted the pressures exerted by the armed conflict and the multinationals of hydrocarbons and mining that come to our territories imposing a development model based on extractive practices.
The international community says that the DMT, present in our sacred brew ayahuasca is a forbidden chemical molecule. At the same time, the ceremonies of yagé, ambiwaska or ayahuasca are a fundamental component of indigenous spiritual and health practices.
With yagé, our medicine men and womrn cure spiritual, mental and corporal diseases.
We reject this prohibition and reiterate that our knowledge is the cultural and scientific heritage of the indigenous peoples. Thu, we appeal to international conventions, the Vienna Declaration and the Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous peoples to legitimize our practices and our use of sacred plants.
We conclude with a call about the danger posed by the misuse of our plants by merchants and so called neo-shamans. Ayahuasca ceremonies are part of our ancestral science and can only be practiced effectively and safely by traditional medicine people from lineages recognized by our communities. I thank you, Mr. President.