The Storytellers

The singing and storytelling of the Matsigenka represent their people and their art. It is a fundamental part of their cosmovision and way of understanding life. At Xapiri Ground, we intend to convey this project, which unites ancestral indigenous wisdom with their present reality, that we may proliferate the roots of their cultural identity.
Jack Wheeler
April 2, 2020


Through the documentation of their oral traditions, we focus on the arts to promote sustainable economy and a global awareness of their culture.

Together with our allies séPerú, we seek a more profound reflection on the Matsigenka identity.


Cultural identity in Amazonian communities is a consequence of a long-term accumulation of knowledge and practices evolving over many generations. Since the primary means of communication within their culture is through oral transmission in their native tongue, much of their ancestral knowledge and traditions are in a state of vulnerability.

In the Comunidad Nativa Shipetiari, located in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, few people remember the traditional songs, which are often used during specific moments in their daily lives. For example, Flora, a master craftswoman in textile works, sings a song she learned from her grandmother only when spinning cotton to produce the yarn she will use for her fabrics.

As well as the singing, the Matsigenka people have many stories rooted in their beliefs and mythologies that narrate how the world works. Each of these stories varies according to the region, the person telling them, or even external influences. Like their culture, their storytelling is always in movement.


"The ancients did not know about yucca, but only ate the soil they cooked. The sun did not exist either, but only atunkariite, evil spirits that manifested themselves as shining stars. They only gave light for a while and soon they were gone again"’ - Kashiri (The Moon).

Fragment of Kashiri from the book Okenkitsagetaganirira Pairani, Cuentos Tradicionales Matsigenka Nº2, Pereira Pareni, José Epifanio; Chávez Pereira, Irene; Snell, Betty A.

The Project

The Matsigenka people are well known for their storytelling and are aware of the importance of keeping this cultural practice alive, along with their language, art, culture and territory.

The motivation for “The Storytellers” project is focused towards the self-evaluation of Matsigenka cultural practices of oral transmission on behalf of the Comunidad Nativa Shipetiari.

From Xapiri Ground, we intend to engage the Matsigenka community through the registration and documentation of their oral traditions as they relate to their indigenous art. We believe these to be valuable tools in increasing global awareness of their culture, enabling us to cultivate economic sustainability through artistic trade. Our main activities will focus on:

With this, we hope to contribute to the increase of intergenerational sharing of traditional practices and knowledge based on orality within their community.

Together with our allies séPerú, we are developing a long-term project that seeks a deeper reflection on the Matsigenka identity. To know the different stages of the whole project, see diagram below:

Support this project so that we can continue nourishing the ancestral knowledge of the Matsigenka people.