amazon 2003 annual report
In the words of ACT supporter Harold Montgomery,
organizations either hit their stride or fail by their seventh Aritana, Chief of Yawalapiti, presents territorial map to Mark Plotkin.
year: you’ve either invented a better mousetrap or you’re
hawking the office furniture on eBay. In the NGO world, you
have either bettered the way the world works, or your time At ACT we strive to improve the overall health of the
has passed. At the ripe old age of eight, ACT is truly thriving. Amazonian forests and the people who make those forests
their home. For us, such a focus on health must always
And we’re thriving in more ways than one. Fiscally, our involve enlisting the partnership of our indigenous colleagues
operations have grown by 90% since 2002. That increase to use traditional ethnobiological knowledge in order to
has allowed ACT staff and our indigenous colleagues to promote positive change. In many cases, we collaborate
cast a wider net and replicate our successes in other parts through a series of simple, logical steps: map, manage, and
of the Amazon Basin. Of course, growth for growth’s sake protect. The ACT program that best exemplifies this approach
is not how this organization operates: we have focused is ACT-Brazil, and no project better highlights our approach
our resources on making great projects better – more than our work in the Xingu (pronounced “shing-goo”).
sustainable, more efficient, and more representative of
The Xingu River stretches over 750 miles from its source near
the needs and wants of our indigenous colleagues. the Paraguayan border to where it empties its waters into the
mainstream Amazon. Home to 14 different tribes, the region
And rest assured, I’m not the only one tooting the ACT
is the single most important biocultural conservation priority
horn. Colombia’s Academy of Sciences (COLCIENCIAS)
in the Brazilian Amazon. The ACT-Brazil team partnered
has officially received ACT’s Traditional Medicine Research
with the Brazilian government to work with our indigenous
Group, an affiliate of the Universidad del Rosario, into its colleagues to map and begin to improve management of the
program. At the World Parks Conference in Durban, South seven million acres that comprise the Xingu Indigenous Park.
Africa, a conference that convenes only once a decade, The result is a series of cultural maps — legal documents
ACT’s work with the UMIYAC indigenous association and that will help drive the management and protection of the
the creation of the Alto Fragua Indi Wasi National Park was preeminent stand of forests in the southeast Amazon. ACT
highlighted as one of the most progressive and promising has a long-term commitment to these people and their forests,
conservation initiatives in the entire Neotropics. The success and looks forward to expanding and consolidating the scope
of our ethnomedical programs in the most remote forests of these efforts for many, many years to come.
of southern Suriname was recognized by the World Bank
We here at ACT would like to extend our gratitude to all
when it decided to help ACT expand the program among of our friends and supporters who make our work possible.
two additional tribes. And the top UK science magazine ACT is a true team, combining the energies of everyone
New Scientist highlighted the achievements of our cultural from our indigenous colleagues deep in the forests of the
mapping initiative in the Northeast Amazon. Clearly, our Amazon Basin to forward-thinking officials on Capitol Hill
efforts are recognized and praised by more and more people to supporters across the globe who care deeply about saving
around the globe. our planet. We hope you’ll continue supporting our efforts
as we move forward.
Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D.
values Amazon Conservation Team
President Mark Plotkin once said to me, “When a tribal
elder or a shaman dies, we lose a library of information.”
Indigenous cultures, for generations, have disseminated
information through oral tradition and experiential learning.
We are now at risk of losing this knowledge.
ACT believes that conservation
is a moral issue. Therefore, ACT makes It is a fundamental right of indigenous people to protect
certain that all programs and projects are and preserve their environment and culture. With the
in compliance with eight Core Values: guidance of tribal elders and shamans of more than 30 tribes,
ACT facilitates inter-tribal communication and cooperation
1. CULTURE, NATURE, AND HEALTH
and ensures the preservation of ancient medicinal knowledge.
ACT promotes the development of processes of
The organization also functions as a bridge between the
research, interdisciplinary study and consensus building,
tribes and local, national and international agencies.
in the framework of a systematic analysis of life that
contemplates the integration of culture, nature, and health. The mission of ACT is to protect and preserve with honor
and respect, for without the cooperation and trust of the
2. BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY
people whom they serve, nothing of lasting value can be
ACT works for the preservation of biocultural diversity.
Melinda Maxfield, Ph.D.
ACT contributes to the strengthening of shamanic knowledge
ACT Board of Directors
systems and their transmission to the following generations.
4. TRADITIONAL HEALTH SYSTEMS
ACT promotes the study, recovery, protection, and
dissemination of traditional health systems.
5. INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
ACT’s programs are based on an intercultural dialogue
between indigenous wisdom and Western science
6. SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
ACT supports and promotes the fundamental rights
of indigenous people.
7. INTRINSIC VALUE OF NATURE
ACT does not engage in bioprospecting.
8. SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
We are responsible for our natural and social environment.
Above: Tatuyo payés, Yuruparí ceremony.
Cover main image: Fragua River, Colombia.
Cover images: Brugmansia sanguinea; Tirio child from Suriname; Benicia Queta, elder of the Kofán people;
Myiotriccus phoenicurus (Ornate Flycatcher); Ikpeng man with child, Xingu Indigenous Park.
Following page: Rainforest, Suriname.
suriname & colombia
Suriname, that small, unique country
in the Guianas heartland, possesses some of the most intact
across generations. In December, ACT began the final stages
of the processing and analysis of three years of clinic-driven
tropical forest on the planet. It is in these forests that ACT data, and the World Bank awarded its prestigious Development
President Mark Plotkin made his initial forays into the world of Marketplace grant to ACT’s integrated medicine project, the first
ethnobotany. The 25 years of relationships that Mark has built such award made for a Suriname-based initiative.
with the Indians of southern Suriname and the leadership of
our Program Director Neville Gunther drive the successes of Also in 2003, ACT-Suriname office was selected as the field
our Suriname program. The team operates out of our Suriname implementing agency for a three-year collaborative sustainable
headquarters in the capital of Paramaribo, and the Trio village development and biocultural conservation project between the
of Kwamalasamutu serves as our field base in the forest. governments of Suriname and Brazil to be sponsored by the
Organization of American States. This project will work toward
The Suriname team continues to advance the frontiers of increased native land rights, the promotion and integration of
ethnomedicine. Our bi-cultural western/traditional medical traditional medicine, monitoring and protection of indigenous
clinics continue to serve as focal points that provide medical areas, and conservation training and capacity building of
care to some of the most isolated communities on the planet native groups.
and are centers of transmission of ethnobiological knowledge
The Colombian Amazon is
where ACT got off the ground as an organization and was the
over 2,000 indigenous families. Also, the Ingano indigenous as-
sociation Tandachiridu Inganokuna completed the final draft of
stomping grounds of the grandfather of ethnobotany, Dr. Richard a management plan for the Alto Fragua Indi Wasi National Park.
Schultes, Mark Plotkin’s mentor. Dr. Germán Zuluaga has been This document, published in Spanish and Ingano, serves as the
the director of ACT Colombia (in-country, the Instituto de cornerstone of management and protection for the 168,000-acre
Etnobiología) since 1996. His team, in full partnership with park. To carry out the management and surveillance of the Park,
10 tribes of the Northwest Amazon, has championed a broad seven “park ranger” families were trained and settled at critical
range of projects ranging from ethnomedicine to biocultural posts along the Park’s borders. In collaboration with the
conservation aimed at the implementation of community- indigenous yagé healers’ association UMIYAC, ACT Colombia
designed development plans. Our Colombia headquarters, sited also completed biological and cultural inventories of the
outside Bogotá in the town of Cota, and a well-staffed field biodiversity-rich territory known as the Predio UMIYAC. Cultural
office in the Amazon town of Mocoa, serve as operation bases. maps were produced, boundaries of the protected area were
demarcated, and legal steps were taken to ensure the area’s
For 2003, ACT Colombia counts among its advances the public recognition. Plans for the expansion of the Predio are
incorporation of the ethnoeducation school Colegio Yachaicury slated for 2004. This fieldwork is being carried out almost in its
and the expansion of a traditional agriculture project benefiting entirety by a thriving Shamans and Apprentices Program.
Nahtahlah, Trio Shaman with medicinal plants; Beverly de Vries with shaman’s apprentices in South Suriname; ACT staff and UMIYAC’s Territory Committee.
& new initiatives
ACT’s Brazil program was
incorporated in 2000 and, since that time, has been directed
work in the Tumucumaque Indigenous Reserve and our bi-
national programs with Suriname.
by Vasco van Roosmalen. Vasco and his team operate in four
local field offices to maximize the efficiency of implementing The big news in Brazil this year was the culmination of mapping
projects over a huge country. From Brasilia, the capital, a central within the Xingu Indigenous Park. The seven million acre park is
office manages administration and finances, serves as the link the single most important biocultural conservation priority in the
to headquarters in Virginia, and develops the indispensable Amazon. Years of work on the mapping project were finalized in
relationships with government ministries and other NGOs. late 2003 and celebrated in early 2004. It was one of the most
In Canarana—a small town in the southern state of Mato challenging, most rewarding, and most important projects ACT
Grosso—a small technical team coordinates our work in the has ever undertaken. It is also just a start. ACT is committed to
nearby Xingu Indigenous Park. In Manaus, the bustling turning these maps into a baseline for managing the Park’s
capital of the central Amazon, another small team coordinates resources and fending off illegal loggers, miners, and settlers
all the mapping work and the program in the Uwasu Reserve. that threaten the ecological and cultural integrity of the region.
And finally, up north in Macapá, an ACT team coordinates
ACT’s long-term vision includes
the better management and protection of an enormous
In 2003, ACT began developing a biocultural conservation
program with the Hotï based on successful models developed
corridor of tropical wilderness covering 3/4 of a million square by ACT in Brazil, Colombia, and Suriname. Central to this
miles in the northern Amazon, stretching from the Atlantic program is the urgent need for sustainable and culturally
Ocean to the foothills of the Northern Andes. Reaching that appropriate healthcare delivered to remote Hotï groups with
goal will involve working in the forests of Venezuela and will high disease burdens in the setting of extremely limited or
require building partnerships with the Hotï, a tribal group of non-existent access to medical services. Like all our other
hunters in the region. Located in the Sierra Maigualida region of efforts, this will be a long-term process based on developing
southern Venezuela, the Hotï continue to persist as one of the the trust and cooperation of the Hotï peoples.
least acculturated peoples in all South America.
Vasco van Roosmalen addressing the assembled leaders of the Xingu; Germán Zuluaga and taita Laureano Becerra; Chris Herndon examining a Hotï child.
revenue 2003 2002
Grants $1,336,395 $598,537
Grants (Government) $492,946 $44,802
Contributions $1,405,113 $1,043,400
Investment Income $2,365 $4,261
Sublease Income $7,579 $17,064
Other Income $4,583 $689
total revenue $3,248,981 $1,708,753
expenses 2003 2002
Biodiversity $650,853 $598,971
Health $602,457 $267,032
Culture $711,630 $581,027
General and Administrative $308,496 $180,601
Fundraising $67,526 $82,838
total expenses $2,340,962 $1,710,469
For a complete financial report, audited by Berry Group, P.C. Certified Public Accountants,
contact the ACT Headquarters office.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS ARLINGTON HQ OFFICE SURINAME
Robert Boykin, Chairman, Boykin Lodging Company Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D. Neville Gunther, M.Sc., Director
Rachel Albright President Beverly de Vries
Stephen Altschul, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health Liliana Madrigal Romana Emanuels
Gibson Anderson, Echelon Corporation Executive Director Reshma Hanoeman
Margaret Clark, J.M.R. Barker Foundation Juan Carlos Riascos de la Peña Christopher Herndon, M.D.
Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group Vice President for Projects Bruce Hoffman, M.Sc.
Addison Fischer, Zenerji, LLC Shayne Gardner Jeetendra Jitan
Thomas Lovejoy, Ph.D., The Heinz Center Director of Finance and Administration Angela Monorath
Melinda Maxfield, Ph.D., Angeles Arrien Foundation Matt Bidwell Henk Schoonhoven
Todd Oldham, Todd Oldham Studio Chief Technical Officer Frits van Troon
Susan Sarandon, actress and activist Charelle Eastman Kenneth Wongsonadi
David Stoup, Trilogy Ventures Accountant
Ward Paine, Emeritus Yan Goldshmidt COLOMBIA
Paula Sculley, Emerita Graphic Design Germán Zuluaga, M.D., Director
Adam Albright, Advisor to the Board Susan Gurney, M.L.S. Carolina Amaya, M.A., M.D.
Media Assistant Silvia Amaya, M.Sc.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE David Stone Juan Guillermo Buenaventura, M.F.A.
Jeff Bridges, actor Editor Claudia Cabanzo
Jim Hills, Native and Nature Elizabeth Wuerker Elsa Cadena, J.D.
Andres Isaza, M.D., Universidad del Rosario Communications Coordinator Alcira Cao
Michel Nischan, Miche Mache, LLC Harry Rijken Maria del Carmen Castro, CPA
Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora and Asia Nora ACT Holland Ricardo Contreras
Rebecca Rose, The Columbus Zoo Camilo Correal, M.D.
Miranda Smith, Miranda Productions BRAZIL Ignacio Giraldo
Heather Thomas-Brittenham, actress and activist Vasco van Roosmalen, M.Sc., Director Felipe Henao
Andrew Tobias, author Marcos Sebastião Ataide Julia Edith Hernandez
George Tobolowsky, Capitol Entertainment José Carlos Avellar Luciano Mutumbajoy
Ivana Burgos Patricia Navarrete, M.Sc.
PARTNERS Rodrigo Del Monte Veludo Antonio Páez, M.Ed.
Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition Michelle Lehnen Fabio Quevedo
and Environment (CINE), McGill University Aline Neves Marta Rosero, M.Sc.
The Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio Arlison Nogueira Henry Salazar
Instituto de Etnobiología, Cota, Colombia Jefferson Nogueira Iván Sarmiento
Medical Mission of Suriname, Paramaribo, Suriname Silvana Oliveira Adriana Suárez
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona Wesley Pacheco
Panda Foundation, Paramaribo, Suriname Dario Dias Peixoto CONSULTANTS
Tandachiridu Inganokuna (United Organization Edwilson Pordeus Carolina Alcover
of Ingano Peoples), Caquetá, Colombia Lenira Cecilia Schmitt Cynthia Frisch
The Tirio Communities of Kwamalasamutu Marcelo Segalerba Hugh Govan, Ph.D.
and Tepu, Suriname Marilia Viotti Laurie Monti, Ph.D.
SPONSORS Abigail Wright
Casual Adventure CD CardX
ESRI Ex Officio
Kiehl’s Nature’s Path
Left to right: Robert Boykin; Juan Carlos Riascos with Ikpeng colleagues; Rachel Albright, Mama Lola Mutumbajoy, Melinda Maxﬁeld, and Liliana Madrigal;
David Stoup with Chief of the Mehinaku tribe, Xingu.
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