Nation: Kichwa

It is important that young people are always in contact with the Pachamama, with Mother Nature


Mama Josefina Lema was born in the Andes Mountains, in the community of Mojandita-Abelino Dávila. She is a medicine woman, leader of the indigenous movement of the Imbabura province in the town of Otavalo.

The strength of Josefina is the care of Pachamama, the care between women and human beings from the application of ancestral medicine, knowledge acquired from her elders.

Since she was 12 years old, instead of going to school, she began to participate in the provincial indigenous organization. At age 15, she was named vice president of the community of Mojandita. She was the coordinator of women of the provincial organization FICI,and then she became president of the Union of Indigenous Communities Eugenio Espejo for eight periods.

Between the 80s – 90s, he began to participate in politics, clandestinely organizing his companions and planning the occupation of the hacienda, recovering the property of the land that belonged to them that was in the hands of exploitative settlers. Josefina not only organized her family and community, during this process, she managed to recover 3 huge haciendas: San Francisco de Cajas, which is where she was born, fought and currently lives, and 2 other; the cooperative Justicia Social and San Clemente, where they kept enslaved hundreds of indigenous families, who worked without any payments. The result of this struggle was the liberation of more than a thousand hectares of land and around 500 families.

During the last years she has participated as representative of the woman of wisdom or “yachag”, in various international events and meetings of indigenous peoples around the world.

Mama Josefina currently lives in her community and with other women practices traditional medicine and maintains an organization that promotes ancestral knowledge. She was awarded by the indigenous movement of Ecuador for its important and historical role in the struggle for the rights of the national and global indigenous peoples.

Josefina, following the tradition of her ancestors, continues making ritual offerings to Mother Earth to thank for the generosity and fertility to achieve crops and feed. Currently, she is focused on the practice of ancestral medicine to take care of the health of the indigenous communities and the Pachamama.

In the year 2003 she continues to developing different workshops of personal self-knowledge, dance and afromandingue yoga courses. Within her knowledge quest she took different courses, workshops and seminars to know and recognize the body in all its expression, qualities, emotions and performances, through movement.