Water water everywhere: Shamanism, sanitation and development among indigenous communities of the Pe

The Amazon basin is the world’s largest source of fresh water. Yet as indigenous communities there have developed and their populations have become concentrated around government and missionary school houses, their traditional health and social systems have been overwhelmed by a series of challenges including parasitic, gastrointestinal. respiratory and other contagious illnesses as well as patterns of social conflict that have resulted in a virtual epidemic of witchcraft accusations. This lecture by medical anthropologist Glenn Shepard, who has worked in the Peruvian Amazon for over 25 years and made the Emmy Award-wining Discovery channel film “Spirits of the Rainforest,” discusses how traditional medical and shamanistic concepts have evolved in response to new health and social conditions. He also presents results of an innovative project funded by the non-government organization “Rainforest Flow (House of the Children)” that works within the local cultural and ecological context to provide clean water and sanitation projects to improve the health of children in remote indigenous communities.