With NCI’s support, the indigenous communities that work with us are empowered to sustainably utilize and preserve the natural resources around them that enrich their own lives as well as ours. We provide extensive technical and legal support that make their goal of protecting their ancestral homeland attainable. Over the past 20 years, Nature and Culture International has worked with over 60 indigenous communities that are deeply committed to the protection of their land. Nature and Culture International believes that local and indigenous people are key to conservation success and are the best guardians of the forest.

The Indigenous Communities We Work With



In Ecuador, we work with the indigenous Shuar to protect their ancestral homeland and create sustainable development projects so they can thrive culturally and economically. The Shuar culture is characterized by strong traditions and a unique vision of the universe, manifested through their language, food, myths, music, and dance.


Saving ecosystems in Peru

The Awajun have been stewards of the rainforest for thousands of years. Now, with our support, they have obtained the legal right to manage a large swath their ancestral territory, which includes pristine Amazon rainforest. The conservation of their land will help to preserve their traditional way of life. With nearly 250,000 acres protected to date, we are now working with the Awajun on sustainable development projects such as organic cacao and coffee.



In Ecuador, we work with the Sápara to protect their ancestral territory in the Amazon rainforest. UNESCO has deemed the Sápara nation of Ecuador an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, due to the fact that their language and culture are in danger of disappearing. Just 200 Sápara people remain in Ecuador, and 100 in Peru, of whom only five still speak the Sápara language. Protecting their land is critical to their cultural survival.


Maijuna man

For eight years, we worked closely with the Maijuna to create a reserve larger than California’s Yosemite National Park. Now, the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area protects nearly one million acres of Amazon rainforest, as well as the Maijuna’s ancestral homeland. Numbering fewer than 590 people, the Maijuna are one of Peru’s most vulnerable groups.


Projects - Shawi Escalera Reserve

For centuries, the indigenous Shawi have lived in Peru’s Paranapura basin. At their request, we are working with them to protect 91,000 acres of ancestral homeland – a high priority for biodiversity and an important watershed for the inhabitants of the Mayo and Paranapura river basins. These lush forests and jagged mountains hold countless undiscovered species that could yield new medical and agricultural products.



We work with the indigenous Achuar to protect over 200,000 acres of Amazon rainforest – “alfombra verde con rios” – a carpet of green with rivers. With an ancient culture deeply rooted in the forest, the Achuar have many traditions that speak to their spiritual relationship with nature. One is a ritual they perform at waterfalls, which the Achuar consider sacred.