Monday, April 23, 2018

Today is a good day to die: Canadian lynched in Peruvian Amazon was accused of killing Indigenous human rights defender

Olivia Arévalo Lomas
It was October 2013 when Sebastian Woodroffe decided to quit his job and leave his home in Canada to study plant medicine in Peru. A relative’s battle with alcoholism had inspired him to “fix the family’s spirit” and pursue a career as an addictions counsellor, he said in a YouTube video.

Woodroffe, then a 36-year-old father of a four-year-old boy, began raising money for an apprenticeship with traditional healers in the Amazon. He felt a responsibility to “support this culture and retain some of their treasure in me and my family, and share it with those that wish to learn,” he wrote on a fundraising page. He was particularly interested in experiencing ayahuasca, a sludgelike hallucinogenic potion used by indigenous shamans in spiritual exercises.

It’s not entirely clear what happened in the years that followed, or whether the Canadian tourist found the healing for which he was searching in the Peruvian Amazon. But late last week, this Canadian tourist’s name and face somehow landed on a wanted poster accusing him of murdering 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 lynched Woodroffe before burying him in a makeshift grave.

A 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 corpse and identified it as Woodroffe’s body, Peru’s interior ministry said in a statement Saturday, vowing to pursue an aggressive investigation into both his killing and that of the shaman, Olivia Arévalo Lomas, a respected member of the Shipibo-Konibo tribe in her 80s.  (more...)

That fascination with hallucinogenics can get you into all kinds of trouble:

You can wrap your arms around Mellon's weird family here:

All this puts me in mind of the story of a Native Elder I met several years ago in Toronto. His early years were entangled with the world of healing drugs, celebrities, and "Hollywood Indians". More significant, the story of his conversion to the Catholic faith, with that of other Elders I had known, was very formative for me. Here's a bit about Vern:

Come to these people with a pure heart and a clear mind. Drugs are absolutely not necessary.

You can ditch the costume, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment