Sacred Sites: Biodiversity and Andean Spirituality

A Conference organized by Yachay Wasi in the Andean village of Acopia, Dept of Cuzco, Peru - 5 thru 11 April 2009

Speakers QerosCoca

Highlights of Conference during side events of 8th and 9th sessions of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

22 May 2009 - Programme - Photos

22 April 2010 - Programme

These events were sponsored by Yachay Wasi and were hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) NY Office.



DVD first excerpt (7.04 min.): Spanish and Quechua (with Spanish subtitles)

DVD second excerpt (9.43 min.): Spanish and Quechua (with Spanish subtitles)

DVD third excerpt (5.48 min.): Spanish and Quechua (with Spanish subtitles)

THEME: Indigenous Spirituality at the Core of Andean Conference Acopia


Petuuche Gilbert, Acoma, NM, USA (Spanish) Statement

ORGANIZER: Yachay Wasi, Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, associated with the UN Department of Public Information and in Operational Relations with UNESCO.

Yachay Wasi (Quechua: House of Learning) is based in New York, NY, USA and in Cuzco, Peru.

Some background: Because of funding problems, the scope of Yachay Wasi April 2009 Conference in Peru had to be converted from International to local, and its location moved from Cuzco to the Andean village of Acopia.

Two hours drive from Cuzco, Acopia is located at a higher altitude (3,600 meters- 11,800 feet) than the ancient capital of the Inkas. Transportation by bus from Cuzco to Acopia and back was provided.



. 2006

19 May 2006: Panel Discussion entitled “Sacred Sites and the Environment from an Indigenous perspective”, hosted by UN Environment Programme at UN Hqrs, with the participation of Indigenous representatives, a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and an officer of the Secretariat for the Convention on Biodiversity.


. 2003

5 - 9 November 2003: Second “Encounter of Indigenous communities in the High Andes and Amazon” in the Andean village of Mosoqllacta, Peru. Main speaker for the event was Mr. Ole Henrik Magga, Sami from Norway, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.



15 May 2002: Panel Discussion entitled “Cultural Heritage and Sacred Sites: World Heritage from an Indigenous perspective” at New York University School of Law, with the participation of Indigenous representatives and officers of UNESCO NY office and World Heritage Centre, OHCHR and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biodiversity.


. 2001

17-21 June 2001: First Encounter of Indigenous Communities in the High Andes in the Andean village of Acopia near Cuzco in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which sent a representative.

During this First Encounter, Yachay Wasi faxed a letter signed by Andean participants to UNESCO World Heritage Centre protesting the September 2000 chipping of the Intiwatana (sundial) by a falling crane during the filming of a beer commercial in Machu Picchu. As a result, Yachay Wasi was invited to participate in the UNESCO WHIPCOE Workshop in Winnipeg, Canada (5 - 8 November 2001)


Prompted by a NY Times article May 8, 1996 “Archeologists in Peru oppose loan of Inca Mummy to US” announcing the May 21- June 19, 1996 exhibit of a 500 years old Inca young girl’s remains at Washington DC headquarters of National Geographic Society, Yachay Wasi started its Inka Challenge Campaign against desecration of Indigenous remains with a petition against the exhibit and a media campaign. This continued during other USA exhibits featuring pre-Columbian human remains such as the 1998 Florida Museum exhibit.