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Lehigh Valley

Member of Achuar Tribe visits Allentown on a mission

Member of Achuar Tribe visits Allentown on a mission

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A member of a remote tribe from the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador has come to the Lehigh Valley to share a very important message.

Mateo Shakai, 31, is a member of the Achuar tribe located deep in the Amazon rain forest in the eastern Ecuadorian provinces of Morona and Santiago.

"In our territory, there is no television, there aren't any phones, no electricity....we're only plugged into the forest," said Shakai.

Sam Crothers, of Allentown, met Shakai in one of his visits to Ecuador.

He helped Shakai come here to share with us the way of life of the Achuar people and to stir up a passion for nature and the rain forest.

"First, I want to help people get interested in getting to know and coming to see for themselves the Achuar culture. We want to demonstrate and impart to them our way of life and the connection we have to nature," he said.

Following a decade long project with a business concern, the Achuar now own and operate an award-winning Eco lodge called Kapawi Lodge nestled deep in the rain forest.

Shakai says his people now want to expand their vision and create a museum all with the aim to help the rest of the world understand and appreciate the importance of maintaining the rain forest.

"We the Achuar are aspiring to create an ethnographic and cultural museum of our territory and our community. We need people's help who have a love of nature to spread that connection and that relationship with the rest of the world," he said.

Shakai will be speaking Saturday at the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

He'll also be at the Nuture-Nature Center in Easton August 21 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission is free.

For more information on Shakai and his visit, contact Sam Crothers at

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