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ECUADOR: Shuar Indigenous students celebrated

Salesian Intercultural Bilingual Educational Unit marked the Shuara Tsawantri Cultural Day in celebration of Shuar students

Shuara Tsawantri Cultural Day is opportunity for youth to reaffirm Shuar identity


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Intercultural Bilingual Educational Unit marked the Shuara Tsawantri Cultural Day in celebration of Shuar students on Feb. 9. The Shuar are an Indigenous ethnic group that inhabits the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazonia.

The Salesian day of celebration followed Shuar People’s Day, which falls each year on Jan. 18. The day is a cultural celebration to commemorate the birth of the Shuar Federation, one of the earliest Indigenous resistance organizations in Ecuador. The federation was founded in 1964 to defend Indigenous communities from the 1964 agrarian reforms that promoted the colonization of the Amazonian region. During the first Shuar leaders’ conference, held in Jan. 1964 in which 52 Shuar leaders participated, the decision was made to form the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centers and assume self-government, a significant step that marked the beginning of a new era for the Shuar people.

Education programs provided by the federation have allowed and empowered the Shuar to reassert themselves and take pride in their culture. The celebration of Shuar People’s Day aims to instill in Shuar youth the historical value of their people as well as recognizing the role of Salesians in the formation of the federation.

A Salesian said, “Salesians have been very involved in providing support, education and protection of the Shuar and Achuar people in the Amazon. The cultural day was an opportunity for youth to reaffirm Shuar identity, promote the defense of the territory and express gratitude for Salesian support.”

Salesians provide social development and educational programs across Ecuador to help poor youth gain an education and the skills for later employment. The skills they learn ensure they are able to care for themselves and their families while being contributing members of their communities.

Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20% of the population receives almost 50% of the national income, while the poorest 20% receives only 5%. According to the World Food Program, almost 26% of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31% in rural areas and 47% in Indigenous communities.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS – Ecuador – Shuar People’s Day Celebration

Salesian Missions – Ecuador

UNICEF – Ecuador