A Canadian allegedly “lynched” after being sought for murder of a popular 81-year old Amazon shaman and native rights activist
Native justice can be swift and final. You kill someone. You get killed. The natives act as prosecutors, judge, jury and executioners.
In the West, people call it lynching. The liberal media certainly do. But in the Wild West, it was also a form of native justice. You kill someone. You get killed.
Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, a Canadian whom the local witnesses accused of murdering a popular 81-year old Peruvian shaman, just found that out.
Ricardo Franco, Arévalo’s nephew, described her to a Peruvian TV station as “the mother that protects the Earth in the jungle” and “the most beloved woman” in the tribe.
Here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post account of what happened:
Late last week, his name and face appeared on a wanted poster that accused him of killing a beloved shaman and indigenous activist in a remote rain forest in northeastern Peru.
Enraged members of the indigenous community appear to have taken matters into their own hands. Peruvian authorities say a mob of locals in the Amazonian region of Ucayali killed Woodroffe before burying him in a makeshift grave.
A gruesome cellphone video that emerged in local news outlets shows a man — later identified by officials as Woodroffe — being dragged through the mud by a cord wrapped around his neck. He moans and pleads for mercy before lying motionless in the dirt.
Police found the buried body and identified it as Woodroffe’s, Peru’s interior ministry said in a statement Saturday, vowing to aggressively investigate his killing and that of the shaman, Olivia Arévalo Lomas, a respected member of the Shipibo-Konibo tribe who was in her 80s.
The Ayahuasca Connection
Ayahuasca, a powerful hallucinogen ic drug that is legal in Peru, has become immensely popular among foreign tourists. Each year, thousands of people travel to the Peruvian Amazon to experiment with the hallucinogenic brew, also known as “yage,” a potion that contains dimethyltryptamine, to which some locals refer as “the sacred vine of the soul.”
Tourists from the United States, Australia, Canada and beyond flock to these jungle villages to participate in ayahuasca rituals in the hopes that the treatment might heal anything from depression to childhood trauma. These ayahuasca “retreats” have created a booming tourism industry in the region.
But as always, drugs bring money, and money ushers crime into the once peaceful indigenous Amazon communities.
Woodroffe was one of a growing number of tourists in the town who added to mounting frustrations that a double standard exists in the way indigenous people are treated in the criminal justice system, local residents told Peruvian news broadcasters.
“There is justice for those with money,” one local resident, Alder Rengifo Torres, told TV Peru.
“A foreigner can come and kill us, day after day, like dogs or cats, and nothing happens. The state does nothing,” one local woman was captured on television telling a Peruvian vice minister who visited the indigenous community over the weekend.
My personal connection to Peru, ayahuasca
The story was brought to my attention this morning by a longtime business friend from Texas. My friend wrote, tongue-in-cheek:
On this very beautiful day in Frisco, Texas, I want you to know that if some “Devil-like man” kills you like the article indicates happened to another shaman, I will be joining the mob to hunt them down Have a super day!
At first, I chuckled at my friend’s sense of humor. But after reading several media reports on what happened this weekend, I realize it is yet another example of tragedies that befall the indigenous people when they get in touch with western “culture.” \
Specifically, I was thinking of how the natives of Hawaii have been virtually exterminated – by disease and bullets – after the Americans arrived there in the 19th century, Today, native Hawaiians account for less than 10% of the population of these beautiful Pacific isles that were home to Elizabeth and me until not that long ago.
Back to Peru, here’s what I replied to my Texan friend:
Thanks for that interesting story and for your concern about my well being as a shaman.You don’t need to worry nor organize a posse. I never touch that shit – Ayahuasca – which has become a recreational drug for western tourists in Peru. The one time I was planning to try it with the help of a local Amazon shaman, I got slapped around by my spirit guides. They literally brought down a mountain to stop me. Of course, the thought of using the ayahuasca never crossed my mind since then.You can read about how they stopped me in this story: Day 4: Vilcabamba, Part 2: Morning at Rosaspata & Nusta Hispana, Harrowing Return from Vilcabamba, Trip to Ancient Past – Turning the clock back 500 years was easier than coming back from the past; Spirit lays roadblocks and detours enroute to Quillabamba-Santa Teresa (2nd Spirit message, Dec 16, 2012)
Enjoy the rest of your day.BobPS: By the way, I have met people in Peru like this Canadian from British Columbia, who are about as spiritual as were the hippies in the 1960s. But I have never met one who had turned violent like this Woodroffe character. Under the influence of drugs, however, anything is possible. I am thinking of your namesake Manson, for example. Thank God he is off this planet finally.
And thank God, for saving me from Ayahuasca in 2012!