About Shipibo Joi
Shipibo Joi (she-PEE-bow HOO-ee) is helping to raise awareness and bring together allies and support for the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo Nation (She-PEE-bow, Koo-NEE-bow, SHEH-teh-bow) and their homelands in the central Peruvian Amazon. We work in collaboration with communities, elders, leaders and youth, and provide professional guidance for ally NGOs and community-based projects.
History of Actions from 2011 – Present
Since Shipibo Joi’s inception in 2011, we have committed over $150,000.00 to numerous projects and volunteered countless hours. Our Amazon Awakening program has generated over $20,000 additional funds directly donated to programs administered by our ally Alianza Arkana. Read more…
About the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo
The Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo are the third largest Indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon with a population of approximately 34,152 (INEI-Peru 2018). Their ancestral territory lies north and south of Pucallpa, the capitol of the Ucayali Department, on the banks of the Ucayali River. The Ucayali River originates at the confluence of the Tambo and Urubamba rivers, which flow from the Andes Mountains in the Amazon basin. Eventually the Ucayali joins with the Marañon River to become the Amazon River in Northern Peru. There are more than 153 officially recognized communities (ibid.) along the Ucayali River, its tributaries and oxbow lakes. Communal living in extended and multi-family groups is the traditional way the Shipibo have lived for many generations.
In the past, the three groups; the Shipibo, the Konibo, and Xetebo, were considered separate clans or tribes. They share the same Panoan linguistic family roots and similar cultural traditions. Today they are fused into one ethno-linguistic group, officially known as the Shipibo-Konibo by the Peruvian state, but are often referred to as the Shipibo after years of intermarriage and colonization. Their traditional self-identiying term in word for ‘person’: joni, and would use the term jonikon or ‘true person’ when differentiating themselves from other ethno-linguistic groups.
Who We Are
Mershona Parshall LCSW, LISW, ATR-BC
Shipibo Joi Director, Founder
Mershona began traveling to the Peruvian Amazon in 2007. In 2009 she became involved with the newly created Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo council, COSHIKOX, as their International Coordinator. As her relationships with the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo deepened, she initiated Shipibo Joi in 2011.
Since then, Shipibo Joi has been involved in many collaborative projects with the Shipibo Konibo people and has provided support to projects that benefit the Shipibo Konibo directly. Shipibo Joi will continue this tradition of listening and responding to contemporary needs. The driving force of Shipibo Joi, as ally and bridge with the Shipibo Konibo people, has always been about reciprocity and right relationships.
In the USA, Mershona is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice, artist, and art therapist living in Arizona. She also provides plant medicine preparation and integration coaching.
B. R. Best NAMA
Shipibo Joi Development Director
Brian is a linguistic anthropologist and an ecological sanitation specialist. His studies led him to the Ucayali River region where he has been sharing and learning with the Shipibo-Konibo since 2003. In 2016 he began focusing on Shipibo-Konibo language revitalization and received a master’s degree in Native American Languages and Linguistics in 2019.
His thesis, Jakón Jói, examines the links between Indigenous language dictionaries and Indigenous Decolonization, and describes an ongoing project to create a culturally appropriate online Shipibo-Konibo dictionary.
Brian’s expertise and years of experience living with the Shipibo-Konibo enable him to be a bridge builder between our project partners and the outside world. He also continues to provide assistance to the NGO Alianza Arkana that he helped found in 2011, while serving as an advisor and interim administrator for Asociación Jakon Rate.