Dear Friends of Whole World Botanicals,

October 11th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and to commemorate this important day, we’d like to introduce you to our friends in the Shipibo community in Peru who supply our Cats Claw.

In the photo above, you can see our co-founder, Elena Rojas Martinez, surrounded by indigenous Shipibo people. They wear distinctive and beautiful clothing, and freely speak their Shipibo tongue, the language they were born into. There is even a political movement to bring autonomy to the Shipibo people as their own nation.

Most of our Shipibo friends live in remote rainforest settlements – areas where the only electricity comes from a single generator, used only for special circumstances. With no restaurants or movie theaters – or even television – the social life and entertainment for Shipibo young people centers on fútbol (known as soccer to Americans!).

Local boys’ and girls’ teams regularly play spirited games, almost always barefoot. But every few years, the “Rainforest Soccer Olympics” are held. For this major sporting event, players travel by river to Pucallpa, a bustling city located on the Ucayali River, a tributary of the Amazon. There, they compete with teams who come from other small river towns, located on tributaries of the Ucayali.

The Rainforest Soccer Olympics is very important to the young athletes, and they are eager to represent their communities in proper style. Whole World Botanicals is proud to have outfitted the team with uniforms and helped them put a best foot forward – in this case spiffy new running shoes for the women’s and men’s teams – for several of these major sporting events.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is also quite personal to us because we are a rare company in the United States — an herbal company that not only works with several indigenous communities in the rainforest and in the high Andes of Peru, but has an indigenous co-founder, Elena Rojas Martinez. Elena’s mother was a Quechua-speaking descendant of ancestors who were native to Ayacucho, an Andean area of what is now Peru.

“The social mission of Whole World Botanicals with our indigenous botanical suppliers is at the heart of our company,” says Elena. “It is so beautiful to see the unity in their families. Whenever the community has a meeting, the women as well as the men are present. The elders are there, as well as the children. There is so much we all can learn from them.”

Our company is built on a foundation of respect for the history, knowledge, and traditions of indigenous people, who consider land to be sacred. Pachamama, called Sachamama by Peruvian rainforest native people, is revered as a living being, a giver of great gifts to human beings, who must be both honored and protected.

Our Whole World Botanicals family hopes you will join us as we honor all indigenous people – whose wisdom is so essential – and make a commitment to protect Sachamama-Pachamama, our sacred earth – from the ravages of our global climate crisis.

~ Viana Muller, PhD
Co-founder, Whole World Botanicals