Secoya people live in the province Sucumbíos, near or inside of the National Reserve Cuyabeno, which is a forest paradise located right on the equator. Originally they were around 8,000, but their population was decreased due to western diseases such as measles and mumps. In 1970, they counted only 120. Some say that now there is no more than 500 of them. During the rubber boom, many were used for forced labor. Since the oil reserves have been found in Ecuador, oil companies have had a significant cultural impact on their way of their lives.
Secoyas call themselves airo pai, people of the forest. They are known for having incredible knowledge of hundreds of medicinal plants, including Ayahuasca vine. One of the reasons for the consumption of yahé (as they call Ayahuasca) is the purification of the soul. Another may be: Seeings where the animals are, control over dark beings and have the help of celestial ones. Participants of the ritual usually lay in their hammocks and the shaman (payé) often sings until the morning. Their yajé strong, preferably thick like honey, and they like drinking another cup of the brew as soon as the visions start to diminish. In the old days Secoyas had very strict yajé customs, such as not entering the yajé house unadorned by painting, or not cooking the brew if the weather is too rainy. Some taboos survived until the present times. Secoyas may also use uhahai (Brunfelsia grandiflorae) in their Ayahuasca. Separately, shamans might use pejí (Brugmansia sp., related to datura) in the process of the shamanic apprenticeship to become stronger and to know how to lead ceremonies well.
Recommended reading on the Secoya shamanism: The Yage Drinker