Indigenous Leadership

Matsés Community Members Spearheading Acaté Field Operations

Acaté is an on-the-ground conservation organization that maintains an uncommonly close partnership with the indigenous elders and communities. Our staff can usually be found in the field directly working with the Matsés on our programs. In fact, Acaté’s field coordinator, Dr. Dave Fleck, lives in one of the most remote Matsés villages and is an integrated member of their community. Dave has written over 30 scientific publications on the Matsés culture, language, and ethnobiology. But Acaté also has a daily presence in the Amazon gateway city, Iquitos, working with the Matsés that come into the city, thereby providing a much-needed link for their communities to the outside world.

All of Acaté’s field projects are led, coordinated, and undertaken by the Matsés people themselves. Our team is here to provide support and strategy to help the Matsés protect their independence, livelihood, and ways of life as they see fit. The Matsés are an extremely proud people, and are, in the words of Bill Park, Acaté’s co-founder, “the most independent people I have ever encountered.” We hold dearly their trust in us to deliver on our word. The development and implementation of each field initiative of Acaté is guided by an Advisory Board comprising the current head chief of the Matsés people, former chiefs on the Board for continuity, and democratically-elected representatives.

Meet the People of Acaté!

Harvesting copaiba resin

Urbano is one of the Matsés leading our renewable resins program to bring non-destructive economic opportunities to their villages.