Sapara Clothing: A Tradition in Danger

Threatened Traditional Clothing of the Amazon

Ecuador

Duration: 10:09


Available in 5 languages


Released: February 2019

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For centuries, the Sapara people of the Ecuadorian Amazon made their clothes from the resistant and natural fabric that the forest grows for them. As people have become more used to commercial clothing, this tradition has been increasingly neglected.

By stripping the bark from the tree and beating it to soften the fibres, they tame the hard cortex of the llanchama tree and transform it into a textile material. It seems simple but requires a team of people and several days of work to develop this product that is currently undervalued in the market.

Arturo Santi from the Jandiayaku community, inheritor of this millenary knowledge, passes it on to young people so that they can preserve this ancient technique that may offer a sustainable alternative for the future and exemplifies their community’s historic and deep connection to their forest home. 

Recognition to Land, Territories and Resources

Communities need ownership over their ancestral land in order to protect forests. With no formal land title traditional communities often face serious conflict when trying to evict illegal loggers, poachers and land grabbers. Who will believe their claims without precise maps and legal title deeds?

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