#182 | Death Of A Healer: The Ayahuasca Industry & The Shadow Of Colonial Violence w/ Kevin Tucker

In this episode, I speak with Kevin Tucker, author of ‘The Cull of Personality: Ayahuasca, Colonialism and the Death of a Healer’ — the subject of this episode. The book takes a deep dive into the reality of the ayahuasca eco-tourism industry, and places it within the centuries-long history of colonialism and resource extraction in the Amazon Region, in particular Peru, where much of narrative of this book is centered.

The book begins with the description of the murder of 81-year-old Indigenous rights activist and healer Olivia Arevalo, a member of the Shipibo-Conibo people in Peru, by Sebastian Woodroffe, a Canadian man seeking to extract the methods of the Shipibo-Conibo practice of administering the psychedelic brew ayahuasca for healing purposes. On April 19 of last year, Arevalo was killed in her home in the Ucayali region in Peru. Records show Woodroffe purchased a gun from a local police officer, and was the individual that confronted Arevalo at her home, subsequently leading to her death. Several days after this occurred, Woodroffe was subsequently lynched by several members of the community, after his image was posted around the region by relatives of Arevalo. Woodroffe’s lynching was documented in a shaky cellphone video, which ultimately led to this story gaining international media coverage after it was share online.* It was the death of Woodroffe, not Arevalo, that led to this becoming an international story.

These events, while often discussed and framed in isolation by the Western press, fits within a far larger and richer context — expressed vividly in ‘The Cull of Personality.’ The extractivist and appropriative nature of the ayahuasca industry that has emerged and grown over the past several decades is embedded within the centuries-long colonization and exploitation of the Amazon Forest and its Indigenous inhabitants. In whatever form it comes in, Indigenous societies have been deeply traumatized through hundreds of years of enslavement, mutilation, and torture. How does the commodification and appropriation of Indigenous healing practices by Westerners in the modern era fit into the long and bloody history of the conquest of the Incan Empire in the 16th century, the vulcanization of rubber in the 19th century, as well as the subsequent enslavement of the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon under a debt-peonage system in order to extract rubber for Western markets? We answer this question in this episode.

Kevin Tucker is a primal anarchist, writer, and publisher. Kevin is the author of  numerous books, including ‘The Cull of Personality,’ ‘Gathered Remains,’ ‘For Wildness and Anarchy.’ He the host of Primal Anarchy podcast, the co-founder of the Black and Green Network and Black and Green Press, and is the founder and co-editor of 'Wild Resistance: A Journal of Primal Anarchy.'

* http://bit.ly/2TTkrni

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about Kevin's work: https://www.kevintucker.org

- Purchase ‘The Cull of Personality’: http://bit.ly/CullOfPersonality

- Listen to the Primal Anarchy podcast: https://primalanarchy.org

- Subscribe to the journal ‘Wild Resistance’: https://www.wildresistance.org

- Audio featured in the introduction can be found through these links: https://youtu.be/m28Kslrs9is / https://youtu.be/xyFI4wgdd0E / https://youtu.be/VE4AlwWcYwA