Meet the Community Technicians: (3) Gonzálo Criollo
Name: Gonzálo Criollo
Role: Senior Community Technician
Gonzálo Criollo is the son of renowned Cofán shaman Rufino Criollo, and brother of Cofán musicians Silverio and Claus Criollo. Culture and arts run in his family, but Gonzalo has chosen another path: working with his hands. As a senior technician, Gonzálo brings tremendous support to ClearWater. He is strong, dedicated and a perfectionist. Seeing Gonzálo at work is like seeing 2 men at work. He is a rising leader. He is the only technician to have received formal training in construction and has worked in several community projects to date. Today, Gonzálo also works with the community’s potable water system which he manages from his home.
“I want to give my people what we need, so I’m always looking for ways to support my family and community”
Gonzálo is very concerned about the future of Cofán shamanism, a tradition that runs strong through the Criollo lineage. Gonzalo still remembers the Cofán stories told by the elders and is always present during Yagé drinking ceremonies. But Gonzálo fears that this central part of Cofán culture is disappearing with his generation. Every year, Gonzálo, Rufino and other Cofán shamans travel to Colombia to participate in seminars to share the art of shamanism with others in an attempt to keep the traditions alive.
*About the bios: These bios were transcribed and written by Adrian Schwartz: Adrian Schwartz is the ClearWater field assistant who is working closely with the community techncians to document their great work. Adrian is French Ecuadorian and is currently studying anthropology and mapping in the United States.