Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies between the Andes, Amazonia and Mesoamerica: Toward an Anthropological Understanding of the Isthmo–Colombian Area 9780367808099, 9781003010487

This book offers a new anthropological understanding of the socio-cosmological and ontological characteristics of the Is

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Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies between the Andes, Amazonia and Mesoamerica: Toward an Anthropological Understanding of the Isthmo–Colombian Area
 9780367808099, 9781003010487

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Part I: The Isthmo–Colombian Area in context
1 Introduction: toward an anthropological understanding of the area between the Andes, Mesoamerica, and the Amazon
Part II: Conceptualizing the Isthmo–Colombian Area from a regional comparative perspective
2 An Amerindian humanism: order and transformation in Chibchan universes
3 Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area and its southeastern borderland: Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki
4 Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy in the Isthmo–Colombian Area
5 Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia: area conceptions, chronologies, and history
6 The golden ones: the human body as reflective metallic surface in the Isthmo–Colombian Area
Part III: Case studies: change and continuity in shamanic and priestly practices and the conception of things, humans, plants, and animals
7 Parents who own lives: relations and persons among the I’ku, a Chibchan group in Colombia
8 Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”: specialists and specialized knowledge in transhuman communication among the Sokorpa Yukpa of the Serranía del Perijá, Colombia
9 The Wounaan haaihí jeeu nam ritual with the k'ugwiu: reinforcing benevolence and preventing calamity
10 Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama): talking about molagana and nudsugana inside and outside Guna society
11 Plant ontologies among the Bribri of Talamanca, Costa Rica
12 The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship among the Wayuu
13 Murderous spirits: shamanic interpretation of armed violence, suicide, and exhumation in the economy of death of the Emberá (Chocó, Antioquia, Colombia)

Citation preview


Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies between the Andes, Amazonia and Mesoamerica

This book offers a new anthropological understanding of the sociocosmological and ontological characteristics of the Isthmo–Colombian ­ Area, beyond established theories for Amazonia, the Andes and Mesoamerica. It focuses on a core region that has been largely neglected by comparative anthropology in recent decades. Centering on relations between Chibchan groups and their neighbors, the contributions consider prevailing sociocosmological principles and their relationship to Amazonian animism and Mesoamerican and Andean analogism. Classical notions of area homogeneity are reconsidered and the book formulates an overarching proposal for how to make sense of the heterogeneity of the region’s indigenous groups. Drawing on original fieldwork and comparative analysis, the volume provides a valuable anthropological addition to archaeological and linguistic knowledge of the Isthmo–Colombian Area. Ernst Halbmayer is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Institute for Comparative Cultural Research, University of Marburg, Germany.

Routledge Studies in Anthropology

Guatemalan Vigilantism and the Global (Re)Production of Collective Violence A Tale of Two Lynchings Gavin Weston Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary Christos Lynteris The Biometric Border World Technologies, Bodies and Identities on the Move Karen Fog Olwig, Kristina Grünenberg, Perle Møhl and Anja Simonsen Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies between the Andes, Amazonia and Mesoamerica Toward an Anthropological Understanding of the Isthmo– Colombian Area Edited by Ernst Halbmayer Mambila Divination Framing Questions, Constructing Answers David Zeitlyn Surfaces Transformations of Body, Materials and Earth Edited by Mike Anusas and Cristián Simonetti Suckling Kinship More Fluid Fadwa El Guindi For more information about this series, please visit: Routledge-Studies-in-Anthropology/book-series/SE0724

Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies between the Andes, Amazonia and Mesoamerica Toward an Anthropological Understanding of the Isthmo–Colombian Area Edited by Ernst Halbmayer

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Ernst Halbmayer; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Ernst Halbmayer to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-80809-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-01048-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by codeMantra


List of figures List of tables List of contributors Acknowledgments

vii xi xiii xv


The Isthmo–Colombian Area in context


1 Introduction: toward an anthropological understanding of the area between the Andes, Mesoamerica, and the Amazon




Conceptualizing the Isthmo–Colombian Area from a regional comparative perspective


2 An Amerindian humanism: order and transformation in Chibchan universes



3 Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area and its southeastern borderland: Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki



4 Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy in the Isthmo–Colombian Area



5 Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia: area conceptions, chronologies, and history C H R I S T I A N E C L A D O S A N D E R N S T H A L BM AY E R


vi Contents 6 The golden ones: the human body as reflective metallic surface in the Isthmo–Colombian Area




Case studies: change and continuity in shamanic and priestly practices and the conception of things, humans, plants, and animals


7 Parents who own lives: relations and persons among the I’ku, a Chibchan group in Colombia



8 Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”: specialists and specialized knowledge in transhuman communication among the Sokorpa Yukpa of the Serranía del Perijá, Colombia



9 The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu: reinforcing benevolence and preventing calamity







330 A N N E - M A R I E L O S ONC Z Y




2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3.1

4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2

5.3 5.4 6.1 6.2 6.3

6.4 6.5

Chibcha-speaking societies Chibchan semantic categorization Order in the Chibchan world The transformations of the cosmos The distribution areas of Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki. Map created by Arjan Mossel, based on data from Constenla Umaña (2012, 394) and Simons and Fennig (2017) Marriage path over four generations among the U’wa Marriage in different houses according to generation and direction The Circum-Caribbean Area Chiefdoms of the northern Andes, Central America, and the Greater Antilles (Steward and Faron 1959, 203); nomadic hunters and gatherers stippled, tropical-forest village farmers diagonally hatched Limits of culture areas Isthmo–Colombian region; dark shade areas show locations of Chibchan populations (left) Nose ornament, Yotoco-Malagana. AD 1–500. Museo del Oro, Bogotá. Image by Clados (right) Calima chief, Yotoco Period. AD 100–700/1000. Image by Clados (left) Galo Polychrome effigy vessels depicting an aged kneeling male; arms and legs are wrapped with discs. Guanacaste-Nicoya, AD 500–800, 14505, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. Image by Clados (right) Strands of beads cover the front of the body. Muisca, AD 1200–1600, VA 1505. Berlin. Image by Clados (left) Wrapping the neck with strands of (glass) beads as seen with the present-day Kuna. Drawing by Clados after a photograph by Jean-Philippe Soulé, 2001

40 42 44 49

61 105 107 124

125 127 130 160 160

162 162 163

viii Figures 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 6.11



6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18

6.19 6.20 8.1

(right) Wrapping the neck with strands of gold beads. Quimbaya flask, K VA 501, AD 0–600. Berlin (left) Necklaces with large animal pendants worn across the chest. Muisca, AD 1200–1600, VA 1496. Berlin. Image by Clados (right) Chief Lacenta wearing six necklaces. Drawing by Clados after Lionel Wafer’s account “New Voyage and Description” (1729) (left) Large-scale chest ornament, stela, Chontales style, El Gavilán, Nicaragua. AD 800–1200. Image by Clados (right) Plaque in form of star; star has two central holes for attachment. Pupiales, Nariño, AD 600–1700. MO 20.822. Image by Clados (left) Anthropomorphic variant of Darién pectoral, showing golden man with large-scale ornaments and weaponry, Calima region, 100 BC-AD1000. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Image by Clados (right) Alligator-headed variant of Darién pectoral, top of the domes show spout-and-bridge bottles (alcarraza). Probably Ansermanuevo, Cauca Valley, AD 0–600. MO 6031. Image by Clados (left) Tairona figure pendant, depicting master of the universe wearing headdress with semi-circles and eyeshield. Santa Marta, Magdalena, AD 900–1600. MO 22.802. Image by Clados (right) Calima diadem with zigzag line arching over an embossed face, and embossed circles. Yotoco Period, AD 100–700/1000. MO 4833. Image by Clados (left) Shipibo cosmogram. Drawing by Clados after Gebhart-Sayer 1987, 26 (right) Scepter in the shape of the world tree. CalimaMalagana, AD 1–500. MO 33396. Image by Clados (left) Effigy ocarina depicting a golden man sitting on a throne. Tairona, Gayraca style, AD 1300–1500. Image by Clados (right) Bat-masked stone figure wearing necklaces composed of a long horizontal bar with hanging vertical elements. Atlantic Watershed zone, Costa Rica, AD 700–1100. Image by Clados (left) Ceramic effigy figure showing high-ranking individual with jadeite bar pectoral. Burial XXXVII-4, Copan, AD 695. Image by Clados (right) Emberá with chest ornament similar to Classic Maya jadeite bar pectoral. Drawing by Clados after Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960 Idealized abstraction of the two manifestations of tuwancha

163 163 163 164 164



168 168 168 168 172

172 172 172 217

Figures  ix 8.2 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5

Idealized abstraction of modes of relations with the other-than-human realm A k′ugwiu from the Swedish ethnographer Erland Nordenskiöld’s 1927 trip to the Río Docordó, Colombia A k ′ugwiu hanging in a dichaardí (round house), 2003 The k′ugwiu ritual from the Wounaan National Congress in 2002 (left) and 2006 (right) A woman playing the k′ugwiu with a mallet in each hand Men playing the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual flutes

222 240 243 245 246 248


2.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 4.1 4.2 4.3 5.1

Classifiers in three Chibchan languages Formal linguistic features considered in this chapter Functional features considered in this chapter Overview of Chibchan languages. Speaker numbers from Quesada (2007, 34–35) Some lexical similarities between Yukpa and Chibchan languages Parallels between the languages of the southern Isthmo– Colombian Area: formal features Parallels between the languages of the southern Isthmo– Colombian Area: functional features Generational equations according to kinship systems The order of Kogi segmentation (from Correa 1998b: 67) The associations of original fathers, lineages, animals, and directions (from Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 213) Linguistic families and languages (except Chibcha) in the Intermediate Area (after Constenla Umaña 1991)

42 62 62 63 76 81 81 95 108 108 128


Jose Arenas Gómez, Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil Chenier Carpio Opua, President, Wounaan Podpa Nʌm Pömaam (Wounaan National Congress) Christiane Clados, University of Marburg, Germany Anne Goletz, University of Marburg, Germany Colette Grinevald, University Lumière Lyon 2, France Ernst Halbmayer, University of Marburg, Germany Rito Ismare Peña, member, Wounaan Podpa Nʌm Pömaam (Wounaan National Congress) Schabnam Kaviany, University of Marburg, Germany Anne-Marie Losonczy, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, France Alessandro Mancuso, University of Palermo, Italy Mònica Martínez Mauri, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain Sérgio Meira, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Brazil Juan Camilo Niño Vargas, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia Matthias Pache, University of Tübingen, Germany Chindío Peña Ismare, member, Wounaan Podpa Nʌm Pömaam (Wounaan National Congress) Julia Velásquez Runk, University of Georgia, USA


This book is the outcome of a Senior Fellowship of the European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS), a program of the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions that I received for the project “Amerindian Socio-Cosmologies in North-Western South America: Toward an integrated Analysis across Chibcha, Carib, and Arawakan Language Families”. The fellowship allowed me to stay at the Collegium de Lyon and work on the project during the academic year of 2015/16. With the support of the Collegium de Lyon – Institute for Advanced Studies; the French Network of Institutes for Advanced Studies (RFIEA); the Laboratoire Dynamics of Language (DDL) – CNRS‐Université Lumière Lyon 2; and the Department for Cultural and Social Anthropology, Marburg University, I was able to organize the workshop “Socio‐Cosmologies in the Isthmo–Colombian ­ Area: Toward an Understanding of Relationships among Chibchan and Neighboring Cultures and Languages”, which took place in Lyon from 25 to 27 January 2017. The first versions of the chapters in this book, except for the contribution co-authored by Christiane Clados and myself, and the one by Jose Arenas Gómez, were presented on this occasion. My special thanks go to RFIEA and the Collegium de Lyon for supporting the language editing. I am especially grateful for the long-time cooperation on the Isthmo– Colombian Area with Mònica Martínez Mauri from the Universitat de Barcelona and for the intense exchange of ideas with Juan Camilo Niño Vargas from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, during his stay at Marburg University in January 2019.

Part I

The Isthmo–Colombian Area in context


Introduction Toward an anthropological understanding of the area between the Andes, Mesoamerica, and the Amazon Ernst Halbmayer

The book investigates how to conceptualize the area between the Andes, Mesoamerica, and the Amazon in anthropological terms.1 It discusses the Amerindian socio-cosmologies typical and the historicity of regional area conceptions. Since Kirchhoff’s proposal of a “Chibcha Area” (1943) and Steward’s work on the Circum-Caribbean Area (1948a, 1949a; Steward and Faron 1959) the search for a comparative view of the region has been led by archeology and linguistics (Costenla Umaña 1991; Hoopes and Fonseca 2003; see the contributions of Clados and Halbmayer and Paché et al. in this volume). Anthropology, somehow surprisingly and much in contrast to the vivid debates on Amazonia, has hardly contributed to a renewed comparative understanding of this area.2 The book offers a first step toward filling this gap and aims to initiate a discussion about a reconceptualization of the Isthmo–Colombian Area in anthropological terms. The contributions search for the region’s prevailing socio- cosmological principles, their relationship to concepts of Amazonian animism and Mesoamerican and Andean analogism, and engage with the area’s cultural history. The volume includes comparative papers as well as specific case studies. The comparative studies focus on a specific Chibchan ontology (Niño Vargas), the wide distribution and historical persistence of the idea of shining or golden persons (Clados), central notions of kinship and clanship (Halbmayer), the area’s languages and language families (Pache et al.), and the different area conceptualizations and cultural history of the region (Clados and Halbmayer). The case studies include papers on Chibchan- (Iku, Guna, Bribri), Chocoan- (Wounaan, Emberá), Arawakan- (Wayuu), and Cariban(Yukpa) speaking Amerindian groups. Some contributions focus on the relationship of humans with ancestral or deified beings: Arenas Gómez writes on the creation and renewal of the relations with ancestral parents among the Iku of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; Goletz focuses on Yukpa specialists in transhuman communication and the transmission of knowledge in the Sierra de Perijá, and Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al. deal with the barely known haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual and the role of the sacred prayer/petition canoe k′ugwiu among the Wounaan in the Darien. Martínez Mauri reflects

4  Ernst Halbmayer on the ontological status of things, life, and humans and the role of anthropomorphic statuettes (nudsugana) and hand-stitched blouses (molagana) among the Guna, while Kaviany studies the status of plants and the agricultural ontology of the Bribri of the Sierra de Talamanca. Mancuso’s chapter deals with the place of livestock in human – non-human relations among the Wayuu, and Losonczy discusses the emergence of a new category of murderous spirits and the resulting suicide epidemic among the Chocoan Emberá. All contributions demonstrate the vitality of indigenous groups who were characterized seven decades ago in the Handbook of South American Indians as “much acculturated” or “entirely vanished as cultural entities” (Steward 1948b, 1) and consequently perceived as hardly relevant for theoretical and comparative purposes.

The historicity of areas The engagement with the Isthmo–Colombian Area points toward the obvious need to dynamize and historicize area conceptions and to strengthen our efforts to conceptually connect the archeological and historical record to contemporary anthropology. Areas are fuzzy sets based on empirical evidence that is itself co-constituted by specific forms of observation and historically changing theoretical assumptions. As middle-range concepts areas necessarily imply comparable units that stand for other regions, an internal differentiation and heterogeneity of the proposed units, including the possibility of exclaves (Halbmayer 2017). Areas introduce – conceptually and historically shifting – boundaries to an empirically continuous and gradually changing spectrum of phenomena. The area between Mesoamerica, the Andes, and the Amazon was for a long time defined by its very condition of in-betweenness, as “intermediate area” (Haberland 1957; Willey 1971) situated in between the two great cultural centers of Mesoamerica and the Central Andes, and in terms of social complexity in between these civilizations and the Amazon. Conceptions of the area range from an intermediate land bridge that enabled population movement and culture contact across the subcontinents to an Isthmo–Colombian region defined by endogenous change and a diffuse unity of common genetic, linguistic, and cultural traits derived from the Chibchan and Chocoan linguistic groups (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003; see also Cooke 2005). Defined in this narrow fashion, the Isthmo–Colombian region no longer includes the Caribbean, the languages and cultures of the Cauca region, or the Barbacoan-speaking groups of the Andean-Pacific region extending to the Ecuadorian coast. It also excludes the Arawakor Carib-speaking groups of northwestern South America as well as the Misumalpan-speakers in the north. In these terms, the region was conceptualized as “a center, characterized by endogenous change in populations of common ancestry who shared elements of cosmology, worldview, and distinctive forms of social organization” (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 50),

Introduction  5 based on a continuous long-term occupation by endogenous populations “but [with] limited evidence for migration or external control” (ibid.). Areas are historically changing in several respects: first, in terms of their empirical cultural expressions, their internal relations, and external contacts (see Clados and Halbmayer, this volume) and second, with regard to the specific forms of observation and theoretical axioms that generate distinct conceptions. Different disciplines refer to different empirical expressions such as language, archeological artifacts, or forms of socioeconomic integration and a resulting cultural core. Within the disciplines, theoretical assumptions change and compete with each other. Changing area conceptions therefore reflect not only changing empirical expressions and changing territorial boundaries through time but are co-constituted by socio-historical, political, and scientific contexts in which specific theoretical assumptions gain popularity and direct the attention toward particular empirical phenomena and conceptualizations of sameness and difference. In other words, area conceptions are historically contingent expressions. While the classical anthropological culture area concept based on environmental conditions, economic forms, and political ways of integration was typically first half of the 20th century, contemporary reflections for the Americas build on schemata of social practice and forms of perception and focus on distinct ontological principles of conceptualizing persons, human and non-human beings, the cosmos, and the relations between these elements.

Going beyond Steward’s Circum-Caribbean Area In Steward’s (1948a) cultural-ecological vision, the so-called CircumCaribbean Area was historically distinct from neighboring areas such as Mesoamerica,3 the Andean Civilizations, and Tropical Forest Amazonia and defined especially by the existence of chiefdoms. Steward assumed that an Andean Formative culture had spread northward to the Caribbean where it formed the Circum-Caribbean type of culture. While in the Central Andes the Formative cultures developed into civilizations, in the CircumCaribbean Area they remained on the Formative level.4 Steward had obvious difficulties in making the culture area concept fit this region. In his environmental-determinist conception, culture areas reflected the combination of a relatively homogenous ecological environment and associated socio-economic formations. The Isthmo–Columbian Area’s extreme geographical and ecological heterogeneity thus posed a challenge to the classical anthropological culture area concept. In this region the northern Andes meet the Caribbean Sea, the semi-desert of the Guajira Peninsula encounters the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the dense rain forests of the Darien and the Pacific Coast stand in sharp contrast to the sandy Caribbean Islands of Guna Yala or the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica.

6  Ernst Halbmayer Chiefdoms and tropical forest cultures co-existed in the area and at its borders even so-called marginal groups5 could be found (Steward and Faron 1959, 203). The notion of the Circum-Caribbean apparently referred less to a culture area rather than to a specific socio-cultural type that found its expression in chiefdoms (Steward 1949b; Steward and Faron 1959). However, these historical chiefdoms had vanished and contemporary groups “had suffered drastic changes” and “resemble the Tropical Forest tribes rather than their own ancestors” (Steward 1948a, 2). Many former complex and hierarchical social formations had become extinct and contemporary groups seemed comparatively simple in terms of their social organization. The contemporary, transformed, and reduced groups thus resembled Amazonian Tropical Forest Cultures and for this reason the theoretical framework for their study was now provided by the anthropology of Amazonia.6 Since the 16th century, the Circum-Caribbean Area was heavily affected by European colonization that imposed new economic structures like the plantation economy, slavery – soon based on African slaves –, resource extraction, animal husbandry, and new forms of governance and power relations within a transatlantic and finally global system. In the so-called “Colombian exchange”, new plants, animals, viruses, and bacteria were introduced, leading to the extinction of indigenous groups from epidemics, the radical transformation of environmental conditions, and new kinds of hierarchy, mestizaje, and creolization. More ethnohistorical research would be needed to gain a better understanding of these processes and the concomitant formation of transformed and new indigeneities. These processes finally created the contemporary small and discontinuous areas of indigenous retreat, many of which were never completely conquered and brought under continuous state control. Today many, though by no means all, of these areas are officially recognized as indigenous territories. Such processes went along with the radical loss of complexity of indigenous socio-cultural formations and led to the disappearance of raised fields, irrigation system, streets, cities, markets, exchange media, and monumental architecture (see Clados and Halbmayer, this volume). Even if contemporary groups may resemble Tropical Forest tribes in Steward’s terms, first central differences are easily visible. In contrast to Amazonia, agriculture is primarily a male activity and hunting often of secondary importance and mostly carried out in the cultivated fields and labeled animal harvesting (Linares 1976; Smith 2005); in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Kogi, Iku, Wiwa) and the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy (U’wa) vertical agricultural systems (cf. Murra 1972, 1984) may be found, and the Wayuu have adopted animal husbandry (Mancuso, this volume). The Guna live in densely populated islands, and in the Sierra Nevada, permanent villages are organized around temples and religious specialists (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975). The book’s contributions show the resilience and reconstitution of ontological principles with regard to the region’s cultural history (Clados, Clados and Halbmayer), the profound economic transformations in terms of cattle

Introduction  7 breeding among the Wayuu (Mancuso), the impact of Christianity (Goletz, Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al.), of violence in the Colombian civil war (Losonczy), and the economization of molas, and non-economization of nudsus, among the Guna (Martínez Mauri), as well as the continuing role of rituals and cosmology in the constitution of local identity (Arenas Gómez, Goletz, Kaviany, Martínez Mauri, Niño Vargas, Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al.). All contributions show that contemporary socio-cosmologies display significant differences to standard Amazonian animism. The area has obviously been difficult to conceptualize: first, with regard to its boundaries that differ in almost every account (see Figure 3 in Clados and Halbmayer) and are especially hard to define in the east and with regard to Amazonia7; and second, with regard to the socio-cultural formations that range from complex chiefdoms, some of which were even considered kingdoms or pre-modern states, to societies that largely avoid internal hierarchical differentiation. The region was also characterized by intense trans-regional trade (Kurella 1993; Langebaek and Cárdenas Arroyo 1996), contact and communication across different socio-cultural formations and polities. There is a need for new interpretations of the archeological record in terms of materials (Falchettti 2018) but also of recurring ideas across different materials or media and through time (Clados, this volume) and of pre-Colombian iconography (ibid; Karadimas 2016). Based on my own research in northwestern South America where Chibchan (Kogi, Iku, Wiwa, Ette, Barí), Carib (Yukpa), and Arawak (Wayuu) groups have met, interacted, and influenced each other for a long time, I am skeptical of a very strict delimitation of areas (Halbmayer 2017). A more flexible concept that focuses on family resemblances and accepts internal differentiation and external similarities may prove helpful for conceptualizing an “Isthmo–Colombian package”.8 Thereby the term package implies “not a single, homogeneous philosophical system for all” cultures of an area “but rather a loose pattern or set of family resemblances. Some groups feature ‘strong’ versions of the package (…), in other groups, the elements of the package appear blurred or of limited interest to people. Nothing precludes that some (…) groups simply do not feature any of these elements” (Lodoño 2017, 478). It further demonstrates that the conception of areas and regions is not only based on ethnographic, archeological, or historical facts “out there” but to an equal degree on shifting theoretical-conceptual assumptions. The book stresses the necessity to distinguish an Isthmo–Colombian package that is neither animic nor analogistic from an Amazonian package and argues that such an Isthmo–Colombian package relies on historically evolved, hybrid ontologies that have undergone substantial transformations over the last 500 years. There is a diffuse and partial continuity from pre-Colombian cultural formations in terms of general ontological principles, but the consistency of specific conceptions and their distinct expression remain to be investigated (see Clados and Clados and Halbmayer, this volume).

8  Ernst Halbmayer The Isthmo–Colombian Area was part of larger cultural-historical developments and by no means an isolated enclave. As I have argued elsewhere (Halbmayer 2019) important phenomena are shared across language families of the region and were apparently diffused through dynamics of exchange and interaction across language families. The Carib-speaking Yukpa, for example, were – like other Carib groups – latecomers to the area and are often depicted as markedly distinct from the neighboring Chibchan groups. However, when comparing them with Carib-groups from Guiana it becomes clear that the Yukpa deviate in crucial aspects from other members of their language family and have adopted certain characteristics of the regional field they live in. They exhibit several features absent among the rest of contemporary Carib-speakers, like elaborate secondary burials and an enduring relationship with the dead (Halbmayer 2013b, 2019); the absence of shamans of the classical Guianese type (Wilbert 1960; see Goletz, this volume); pictographic mnemonic systems, at least among some Yukpa subgroups (Lhermillier and Lhermillier 1982; Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle 1953; Wilbert 1960); and – typical for this northwestern area – the lack of bitter manioc and the symbolic relevance of maize9 (see Goletz, this volume). Rather than establishing fixed areal borders on the basis of genealogical, genetic, and linguistic traits, this volume searches for similarities and influences across such borders (see the contributions by Goletz, Mancuso, and Pache et al.) that are typical for the region. Costenla Umaña (1991) identifies three linguistic sub-regions of the Intermediate Area. Central to his conception is the Colombian-Central American area that corresponds to the spread of the Chocoan, Misumalpan, and Chibchan languages. It forms the area’s core and, with regard to the Chibchan and Chocoan languages, coincides with the Isthmo–Colombian Area. The papers by Arenas Gómez (on the Iku), Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al. (on the Wounaan), Martínez Mauri (on the Guna), Kaviany (on the Bribri), Losonczy (on the Emberá), and in particular Niño Vargas’s comparative study of Chibcha ontology treat groups from this sub-region. The second of Costenla’s sub-regions is the Venezuelan-Antillean area that includes the Arawakan Wayuu and the Cariban Yukpa; the contributions by Mancuso (Wayuu) and Goletz (Yukpa) focus on this region. The linguistic contribution by Pache, Meira and Grinevald deals with both of these two sub-regions. The third of Costenla’s sub-regions, the Ecuadorian-Colombian sub-area that lies outside the narrow definition of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, is treated by the comparative papers on area conceptions, chronologies, and history (Clados and Halbmayer) and kinship, clanship, and hierarchy (Halbmayer).

From culture areas to schemata of practice Our regional knowledge and the resulting areal understanding have changed tremendously in recent decades. Amazonia is an intriguing example: from a pristine counterfeit paradise (Meggers 1971) that imposed limits to cultural

Introduction  9 development due to the poorness of its soils and/or the limited availability of protein,10 it has turned into a region with a high pre-colonial population density; culturally modified landscapes (McKey et al. 2010); chiefdoms (Drennan and Uribe 1987; Redmond 1998; Roosevelt 1987, 1993; Whitehead 1998); a network of roads; and, as argued by some, even local forms of urbanism (Heckenberger et al. 2008). The small size of indigenous groups and the seemingly pristine nature of the forests that were described by anthropologists since the 19th century (Martius 1867; Whitehead 1993) are in fact the result of depopulation due to ravaging diseases and other impacts of colonization from the 16th century onward, yet they have become part of the iconic image of Amazonia. In recent decades this image was profoundly revised by research from historical ecology (Balée 1994, 1998, 2006; Erickson 2008; Schaan 2016), archeology (Heckenberger and Neves 2009; Heckenberger et al. 2003; Roosevelt 1999; Silverman and William 2008) and historical anthropology (Hill 1996; Hornborg and Hill 2011; Whitehead 1988, 1994, 2003). Not only historical ecology but also post-Lévi-Straussian structuralism offered alternatives to environmental determinism by focusing on cognitive schemata of practice. Philippe Descola (Descola 1992, 1996, 2013a) argues for the existence of a restricted number of modes of identification and modes of relations that are applied independently from environmental conditions in the conceptualization of the non-human realm in specific regions of the world. Consequently animism, one of his four modes of identification, prevails not only in Amazonia but also among North American and Arctic indigenous groups as well as in certain Southeast Asian groups (Howell 1984, 1996). Amazonia became intrinsically linked to animism and perspectivism (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 2001, 2004) as a one of its versions. Viveiros de Castro stresses predation and affinity as general Amazonian sociocosmological principles (1993, 2001). This focus on affinity is also supported by Londoño Sulkin (2017) who argues that perspectival cosmological premises and relations of alterity represent along with the human body the core elements of a dynamic “Amazonian package”. In animism collectives of different species share a similar interiority and the same culture but have distinct physicalities. In such a multinatural and monocultural world bodies become the markers of difference, and body fabrication and manipulation are of key importance (Londoño Sulkin 2017; Seeger et al. 1979; Vilaça 2005; Viveiros de Castro 1998). Animism thus inverts our own naturalistic conception of the world. In naturalism, culture is the unique property of humans and creates a humanity that is differentiated by multiple cultures and related with the rest of nature by a continuous physicality and a radically different or inexistent interiority. Besides animism and naturalism, Descola defines totemism and analogism as additional ontologies. In totemism, different beings and essences (humans, animals, plants, etc.) are connected in hybrid collectives, whose

10  Ernst Halbmayer human and non-human members share the same physicality and interiority. Analogism, by contrast, is based on graduated chains of physical and internal differences among a multitude of different beings and essences which link “the intrinsic properties of each autonomous entity present in the world” (Descola 2013b, 83), through “postulated similarities and symbolic associations” (Århem 2016a, 13). Without sharing a common physicality or interiority a cosmological unity and coherence is produced that aims to implement a “hermeneutic dream of completeness and totalization” (2013b, 84). The resulting closely related micro- and macrocosmological analogies can be affected and endangered by individual behavior. Analogic systems, therefore, produce a single collectivity, “coextensive with the world: cosmos and society become truly indistinguishable” (2013a, 88). The collective’s exterior in analogism “is not entirely ignored; it remains an ‘out-world’” where “disorder reigns, [in] a periphery” feared and despised (2013a, 88).

Toward a conceptualization of Isthmo–Colombian ontologies According to Descola, aside from Amazonian animism, analogism prevails in the Andes and Mesoamerica. He never elaborates, however, on the region between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia. Should this area be considered an extension of socio-economic and animic Amazonian logics? In how far does analogism prevail, as argued by Otaegui (2008) for the Kogi, or are rather totemic principles associated with present clans? Descola himself has recently stated that the most common situation is one of hybridity, where one mode of identification will slightly dominate over another one, resulting in a variety of complex combinations. This fourfold typology should thus be taken as a heuristic device rather than as a method for classifying societies. (2014a, 277, 2014b) His modes of identification and modes of relations should thus be considered flexible analytical and heuristic tools (see Rivière 2001) and ontological hybridity obviously exists not only between animism, totemism, and analogism but also with naturalism. Sahlins (2014) slightly reformulates Descola’s schema by distinguishing naturalism from anthropomorphism. The latter is divided into default anthropomorphism and animism, while animism is itself divided into communal (animism), segmentary (totemism), and hierarchical (analogism) forms. In a further step, Århem (2016a, 2016b) distinguishes Southeast Asian “hill tribe” hierarchical animism from the standard venatic animism and analogism, which becomes restricted to “pre-modern state formations” (2016a: 16; Mancuso, this volume). I have recently suggested that the Intermediate Area may also be marked by a hierarchical animism whose logic and generative processes, however, differ from those identified for Southeast Asian

Introduction  11 animism (Halbmayer 2019). This volume now offers additional evidence regarding this question and allows being more specific about the logic and generative processes in the area. A key question concerns the kinds of relationships between humans and other-than-human-beings that are characteristic for the area. With regard to this question, the book’s chapters address relations with plants (Niño Vargas, Kaviany, Martínez Mauri), domesticated animals (Mancuso), deified beings (Arenas Gómez, Goletz, Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al.), objects (Martínez Mauri, Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al.), and the dead (Losonczy). Thus, they complement existing studies on the physical incorporation of non-human capabilities (Velásquez Runk et al. 2019) and on the avoidance of metamorphosis and mixture between species (Halbmayer 2019; Velásquez Runk et al. 2019) and between “real” and “other” humans (Martínez Mauri 2019) or the dead (Halbmayer 2019). In his seminal contribution to this volume, Niño Vargas outlines central elements of an anthropocentric and anthropomorphic “humanist” Chibchan ontology based on the distinction between humans, plants, and a category of creatures that includes animals and things. Based on these contributions, it is possible to propose several dimensions of a dynamic and flexible characterization of the region in terms of family resemblances and a polythetic classification (cf. Needham 1975; Osborn 1988). These elements are characteristic for the region in general but not necessarily present in each single case. Each specific case illustrates the combination of a selection of these elements along with others, especially so among those groups that belong to Amazonian language families like the Wayuu and Yukpa. There is a need to engage more deeply with the internal differences of the region in the future.

Distinct interiorities of humans and animals A characteristic shared by most groups of the area concerns the conviction that other beings, especially animals, do not have the same interiority as humans. The latter are commonly seen as personalized but gradually different entities that are potentially able to enter into dialogue and exchange with humans, but rarely do so. Animal interiorities are simpler and lack aspects that are constitutional for humans (Martínez Mauri 2019; Niño Vargas, this volume; Velásquez Runk et al. 2019). They are human-like but not identical to humans as they are composed not only of different bodies and substances but also of distinct spiritual aspects (Kaviany, this volume). Among the Wayuu, animals even become subjects of exchange; they are used for payment and as sacrifice, thus acting as intermediaries between humans as well as between humans and spiritual beings (animal masters, owners, the dead, etc.; see below). As Mancuso shows, among the Wayuu “hetero-substitution” prevails, a mode of exchange where non-humans can replace humans (e.g. as bridewealth or homicide compensation payments),

12  Ernst Halbmayer “while animism involves ‘homo-substitution’, that is, a mode of exchange where only a human is a possible equivalent for another human” (this volume). However, Mancuso stresses, today’s living animals are not attributed with “real universal subjectivity and capacity for intersubjective sociality” (this volume, 321). In short, the classical Amazonian multinaturalism along with the spiritual unity and corporal diversity of animism seems absent among the groups of the Isthmo–Colombian Area. Animals are lacking the completeness of humans; they were human-like in the mythical past, but are no longer today. As Niño Vargas (this volume, 41f.) argues, there are three main classificatory orders among Chibchan-speakers: humans, plants, and creatures, the latter including “animals and things (…) linked to the concept of infrahumanity”. This implies a hierarchical relation in which “humans are superior to animals and things” (Niño Vargas, this volume).

The avoidance and irreversibility of human-animal metamorphosis Direct human-animal metamorphosis is largely absent from contemporary life (Halbmayer 2019; Goletz, this volume; Martínez Mauri 2019; Velásquez Runk et al. 2019). It may occur due to a potentially dangerous breach of norms that may afflict the totality of society and even the cosmos. Although myths often tell about inter-species relations and metamorphosis, such transgressions are understood as events from the past and the original time of creation rather than happenings in the contemporary world. The myths remind people that the transgression of species boundaries must be avoided. When it occurs, it is the outcome of unethical or norm-transgressing behavior (Velásquez 2019) and likely to produce dangerous monstrosity (Halbmayer 2019). It is understood as an irreversible dehumanizing movement that ends in disaster (Niño Vargas, this volume). Rather than humans or shamans turning into animals, animals or spirits appear in human shape to establish contact with humans11 (Goletz, this volume) or their relations are mediated by spirit helpers under a shaman’s command (e.g. among the Wayuu).

The continuing existence of the dead A third element of local ontologies is the frequent survival of spiritual, intangible, and internal principles – sometimes translated as “souls” – after an individual’s death. Such principles continue to exist as the dead’s spirit and the collectivity of the dead. Relations with the deceased and the transformation of their qualities merit special attention (Losonczy, this volume; Mancuso, this volume). They are expressed by means of secondary burials among the Yukpa, Wayuu, and Bribri (Bozzoli 1979; Halbmayer 2013b, 2019; Perrin 1987). The dead do not turn into animals as in standard Amazonian shamanism. Rather, cycles of transformation between the living and

Introduction  13 the dead establish “a highly anthropocentric view of the world, to make themselves believe that humankind is ultimately in the essence of beings and things” (Perrin 1987, 109) and an overarching idea of humanity that includes both living and dead human beings. The dead often return to their deceased relatives’ houses or villages in the afterworld and must be buried on the land (Kwaiker; Halbmayer, this volume) or in the graveyards of their families, villages (Yukpa), or clans (Wayuu). They may become highly dangerous if that transfer cannot be transacted (Losonczy, this volume). Due to the extreme violence of the Colombian civil war a new Emberá “moral economy of death” emerged that has caused an epidemic of suicide and the loss of trust in shamanism as analyzed by Losonczy (this volume).

Detachable and transferable transmissions of substances, abilities, and knowledge Moreover, relations between humans and non-humans are often conceptualized in terms of transmission (Goletz, this volume) and addition of knowledge, abilities, and substances. This may be achieved by means of songs, prayers, or objects received in dreams (Arenas Gómez, Goletz, and Mancuso, this volume), by collecting thoughts and sharing vitality (Arenas Gómez, this volume), by adding substances (Velásquez Runk et al. 2019) to the body, or the consumption of food that either establishes relations with the mythical ancestors (Arenas Gómez, this volume) or induces changes in the person and may even create new human subgroups (Halbmayer 2013a). Detachable, transferable, and incorporable elements therefore induce gradual changes in the individual’s knowledge and abilities but no metamorphosis between distinct species-collectives.

The substance’s spirit and the materialization of thought An additional element of local ontologies is the lack of a clear separation between the domains of substance and spirit or between physicality and interiority. An important avenue of research to be pursued in this area – and across indigenous America in general – concerns the spiritual materiality of life. In many indigenous groups, substances, especially bodily substances, have a subjective or spiritual dimension that must not be ignored and makes it difficult to separate interiority from physicality (Martínez Mauri, 2019; Velásquez Runk et al. 2019; see also Arenas Gómez, this volume; Halbmayer 2012a, 2012b; Kaviany, this volume). A specification of the final point concerns the importance of the continuity of substance and materiality in order to manifest the continuity of interiority. This is expressed in different ways, either in terms of the constitution and continuity of the group or clan (U’wa, Kogi, Iku; Wiwa, Bribri, Cabecares, Wayuu), or in terms of kinship or relations with the territory or the mythical ancestors.

14  Ernst Halbmayer Arenas Gómez is most explicit in this respect and states that “the I’ku assume that the vital bond with the ancestral parents exists prior to birth” (this volume, 196). Every Iku group has specific sets of belongings that were given to them by their ancestral parents, encompassed by vitality (ánugwe) and the “transmission of such a specific vitality marks the boundaries of the group and guarantees its persistence” (ibid., 189). The only way to activate such relations is to transmit vital substances that are contained in the blood ( jwa), menstrual blood and semen, but also ancestral food that establish an exchange of substance/vitality with the original owners, who are not affines but who “assume the position of mother or father” (ibid., 197). Kinship in the Isthmo–Colombian Area is fairly heterogenous but generally neither bifurcate merging nor Dravidian (see Halbmayer, this volume) and centered on a core set of relatives of three generations based on filiation. Moreover, the notion of transgenerational continuity based on alternate generations goes along with the recombination of substances among the U’wa and Kwaiker, for example. Continuity is therefore not simply created by genealogy and filiation and the identification with matrilineal clans,12 clans of double or parallel descent,13 or name groups whose origin is inscribed into the territory and thus into the relationship with land. Establishing the right relations between close and distant relatives, and thus reproducing the marriages of former generations, means either reassembling or producing the right composition of elements within the human person, and reproducing relations to land and the territory that is associated with specific clans or groups (Halbmayer, this volume). Such continuity can not only be expressed in terms of kinship and marriage but also in terms of permissions, called marunsama among the Iku. Marunsama, “a specific vitality that is contained in knowledge and practice” (Arenas Gómez, this volume, 193) is passed from one religious specialist to the next and forms a “genealogical relationship [that] extends to the very foundation of knowledge: the ancestral mother or father who own the knowledge and the object and who have shared it at the beginning of time” (ibid., 194). The groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta describe their relationship with the spiritual ancestors “in terms of consanguinity, focusing on the fact that generation after generation all descendants share the same vital substance that connects them with the ancestral parents” (ibid). Also the Ette use “the terms master and father to describe the ties that bind them to the god Yaau” (Niño Vargas, this volume). Several societies have ranked clans (e.g. Wayuu, Kogi, Bribri, Cabecares) with obvious totemic characteristics. The resulting aggregates as described, for example, among the Kogi as Túxe and Daké (see Halbmayer, this volume, 107f.), do not operate as they are supposed to. For example, marriage between the members of female and male aggregates (…) is preferred but not

Introduction  15 always observed. At baptism and throughout the life cycle, however, the mamu take the membership of the newborn to one of those aggregates into consideration for defining its name, determining its capacities and attributes, and granting certain marunsama rather than others. (Arenas Gómez, this volume, 195) The materialization of thought as a key process is not only indicative of a lack of a strict distinction between spirit and physicality and expressed in the iconic posture of the “meditative shaman” (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 65–66). It also plays a key role in the collection of thoughts (Arenas Gómez, this volume) and in relations toward spiritual entities that are described as praying, petition, or praying with the mind (Goletz, this volume; Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al, this volume) and often includes the reconnection with either the co-existent original time (of darkness) or its central actors (see below) and expresses the “power agency of thought” (Arenas Gómez). Such substances may change the physicality and interiority of persons. The practice of transferring aspects of other beings and entities to newborn humans in order to transmit abilities and capacities works in distinct ways and appears to be a substitute for the metamorphosis between different species-specific collectives. The transfer of abilities and capacities also takes place between spiritual entities in human shape and humans (Goletz, this volume). Humans also must nourish the spiritual entities (Arenas Gómez and Mancuso, this volume; cf. Halbmayer 2019 for the relation to the dead) through offerings or even animal sacrifice (among the Wayuu) that is exceptionally rare in the area. The practice of transferring substances and knowledge is obviously part of a larger logic concerning the fabrication of the person. It is expressed through the incorporation of substances, plants, or body decorations. Of equal importance is what substances must not be incorporated and rather avoided (Martínez Mauri 2019). The Amazonian emphasis on the fabrication of the body as a cosmological differentiator appears to shift, however, – due to the decreasing relevance attached to the physicality/interiority distinction – toward the fabrication of the person through the simultaneous elaboration of body and spirit. The overriding ontological principle seems to be based – quite similar to Århem’s argument for Southeast Asia – on the logic of “different degrees of spirit/potency, different bodies” that leads to “classes of people [who] are essentially different - different in spirit and therefore different in body” (Århem 2016b, 18).

Homologic, analogic, and other forms of identification The difficulty of distinguishing clearly between the physical and the spiritual, and the fact that substances have spiritual qualities, and thoughts can be materialized impact the specific figuration of what has been called analogism and totemism or, in other words, the relation between continuity (totemism)

16  Ernst Halbmayer and discontinuity (analogism) of physicality/interiority. In analogism, “resemblances become the only means of introducing order” (Descola 2013a, 205) in a world of infinite differences and produce the aforementioned hermeneutic dream of completeness and totality. The one ontology that lacks such a unity and continuity on the metalevel is totemism.14 Totemism is from the very beginning fragmented into various totems or collectives that are hybrid insofar as they assemble different kind of beings such as humans, animals, or plants. The double continuity of physicality/interiority exists on the level of different totemic collectives but not beyond them. In terms of continuity and the importance of substance, a seemingly totemic mode of identification can be identified, especially among those groups organized in clans like the Bribri, the Cabecar, the groups of the Sierra Nevada, the U’wa, and the Wayuu. Moreover, among the groups of the Sierra Nevada the explicit idea of the creation of the universe from an original being prevails. This being is conceptualized as great mother and identified with the sea and darkness; it existed only in aluna (thought) when the world was still inexistent. Everything originated from this original mother as the only existing entity. Consequently, myths provide a detailed description of the process of the materialization of thought in terms of gestation and a theogenesis of the great mothers’ sons, daughters, and grandchildren; today’s spiritual fathers and mothers; their different qualities; and their associations with places, cardinal directions, and human clans. How to conceptualize then the ontologies from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in which, on the one hand, analogistic features abound with regard to the temple, the universe, the human body, the Sierra, the loom and the universe, or the spindle and the cosmological layers. On the other hand, we find an all-integrative identity of physicality and interiority because everything emerged from the original mother, their children and children’s children, the different clans, to the contemporary inhabitants involved in a process of continuing differentiation associated with genealogical distance, while the identity with the ancestral parents is assumed and permanently recreated. I shall call an ontology that is integrated in this way homological. In his analysis of the Chinese Yi Jing Matthews makes clear that ‘homology,’ in contrast [to analogy], refers to characteristics derived from a common phylogenetic origin that may or may not demonstrate functional convergence (such as a bird’s wing and a human arm). […] Analogical pairs are necessarily ontologically discontinuous, whereas Homological pairs are predicated on ontological continuity. This does not preclude Homologist systems from creating additional systems of correspondence based on analogy. (2017, 277–228) For Matthews homologism forms the logical counterpart to analogism (2017, 279), but strangely enough he understands totemism not as a subform

Introduction  17 of homologism but of analogism (2017, 280). I would argue, by contrast, that there are two distinct principles of unity: first, ontological continuity, which may be either all-embracing (homologism) or partial, e.g. restricted to specific classes (totemism) and second, resemblance based on ontological discontinuity. Resemblance may also be either all-embracing (analogism) or partial and specific. In the first case resemblances constitute a single collective, as is the case in analogistic systems, in the second there are different collectives, as in the other ontologies (Otaegui 2008, 149), in which additional systems of correspondence based on analogy may be present. Thus identity of physicality/substance and interiority may not only be the property of specific clans (totemism) but may permeate the cosmic conception (homologism; see Kaviany, this volume) and integrate different matrilinealor parallel-descent clans on a higher conceptional or mythical level. However, this does not necessarily imply that spiritual ancestors and human clans form a common collective; spiritual ancestors may have created different things that occur together, even if they do not necessarily share the same interiority/physicality. So while there is a homological identity between spiritual ancestors or deified beings and human clans that may appear as totemic this may not establish true hybrid collectives. These clans may rather be considered specific extensions of human-centered collectives based on analogy, so that specific plants, foodstuffs, or animals resemble and are associated with the human collective. Human collectives may therefore extent analogically to disparate entities, plants, animals, abilities, and permissions (marunsama) associated with them. At the core of these systems we thus often find the continuity of one homological entity or multiple “pseudo”-totemic15 entities that were created by a deified being. This homological or “pseudo”-totemic continuity extends from the mythical ancestors to current humanity (or clans) and the (recent) dead. These entities are analogically grouped with other beings and entities, and are allocated a specific place in the overarching cosmology. Continuity within and exchange between such basically human groups form the core of a human anthropocentric and anthropomorphic collective (Niño Vargas, this volume). Plants, animals, substances, or places associated with these groups play an important role. The exterior of such a (multiple) human collective, however, is not entirely ignored. In the Isthmo– Colombian Area, relations to such “out-worlds” may even be conceptualized in terms of relations to specific collectives that are, in comparison with the relations with deified beings and the ancestors, of secondary or function-specific importance (e.g. in healing). These systems are thus characterized by a specific combination of anthropocentric and anthropomorphic human continuity (including spiritual fathers and mothers and the dead) that is perceived in terms of a homological and/or pseudo-totemic continuity of physicality and interiority that may expand analogically to other entities (plants, animals, substances) and a periphery associated with other non-human entities and beings of a subordinate position.

18  Ernst Halbmayer

Graduated forms of personhood In many of the area’s societies we find graduated forms of personhood that distinguish between different kinds of humans (see Halbmayer 2012a,b; Martínez Mauri 2019; Sprenger 2016). Such difference is often based on the distinction between persons who have or have not undergone certain rituals. Such rituals are, for example, the ombligado among the Emberá (Velásquez Runk et al. 2019), baptism among the Iku (Arenas Gómez, this volume), the children’s dance among the Yukpa (Halbmayer, forthcoming), the priestly initiation among the Kogi (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976), or the transmission of knowledge through contacts with non-human beings among the Yukpa (Goletz, this volume). Their aim is not to transform the person into an Other but to fabricate a better and more capable human by selectively incorporating aspects of the Other and/or to connect the individual to the origin. In other words, we are dealing with unequal degrees of similarity in terms of spirit/potency/capacity/bodies. Such difference may also refer to people of different clans and their forms of being. Hierarchically ranked clans (Halbmayer; Kaviany, this volume) can be observed among groups like the Bribri, Cabecar, Iku, Kogi, Wiwa, and Wayuu. Clan members may have exclusive rights to specific knowledge, specific duties, and ritual obligations, and may differ substantially in terms of wealth (for the Wayuu see Mancuso, this volume).

Humans as seeds and plants Humans are generally conceptualized as plants or as having emerged from plants (Kaviany; Niño Vargas, both this volume). Humans are often sown as seeds by gods or harvested (Bocota: Peña 1994; Bribri: Bozzoli 1979, 167, Kaviany, this volume; Ette: Niño Vargas 2008, 120; Kogi: Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 [1950–1951]; U’wa: Falchetti 2001, 115, 135, 138; Osborn 2009). The god Sabasewa, for example, harvested the first Barí from a pineapple, the Ngobe sprouted as vegetables (Niño Vargas, this volume), and the Bribri god Sibo planted humans, or rather the first six human clans, as maize kernels (ditsö) that are today’s most important clans and the central house post of the Bribri ritual house and universe. As Kaviany writes, “Bribri culture originated from the union of the corn god Sibö and the cocoa goddess Tsuru” (this volume, 284). So the Bribri identify with maize as well as with cocoa. In the ritual context the exchange of cocoa “symbolizes exogamic exchange that is equated with the exchange of blood and substance” (ibid., 290). Interestingly the term tsuru resonates etymologically with concepts like the vital substance “kuru” acquired through nourishment and contained in body fluids and secretions (Barros 1994, 269) among the Carib-speaking Baikiri and the Arara. Existing in all living beings, the /kuru/ substances circulate in the world in a very precise way: if animals have it, it is because they have gotten

Introduction  19 it from other animals or plants that have gotten it from the soil that, in turn, got the substances from the dead animals that lie directly on the earth. […] The earth is responsible for the overall processing and circulation of vital substances. (Teixeira Pinto 2004: 228) Another important dimension concerns trees, since humans may have also emerged from trees as among the Yukpa, where a mythical creator carved the first humans from a tree (Halbmayer 2016; Goletz, this volume).16 Among the Guna, trees have a special status as powerful protohuman beings. As Martínez Mauri notes, “relations of reciprocity (are) established between humans and trees. (…) Yet, like humans, they have a burba (spirit), heart and blood, and are conceived like human bodies are conceived” (this volume, 265). Between Guna and trees there exists a relationship of interdependence, and the anthropomorphic wood carvings, common among many groups of the region, “can harbor life […] [and] are not only human creations but also, at the same time, powerful trees” (ibid., 273) among the Guna. Niño Vargas and Martínez Mauri (both this volume) make reference to Pache (2016, 449) who showed that “plant-part terms being used in the derivation of body-part terms” among Chibchan-speaking groups. Niño Vargas argues that among the Chibcha “humanizing movements are thought of as vegetal germination, while dehumanizing movements are understood as animal metamorphoses” (this volume, 55).

A hierarchical symbiosis of agricultural care Agriculture serves as the dominant mode of relation that establishes a hierarchical symbiosis between the one who cultivates and those that are cultivated. Such a relationship implies central dimensions of agricultural care and includes aspects of protection (Descola 2013a, Kaviany; Martínez Mauri, both this volume), subjection (Martínez Mauri; Niño Vargas, both this volume), reciprocity (Kaviany, this volume), and nourishing/fertilizing the cultivator or the spiritual ancestors (Arenas Gómez; Kaviany, both this volume). Thus a hierarchical relation is established and the one who is cared for and protected reciprocates by caring, feeding, or fertilizing17 those who have provided care. “Thus, the ancestral parents feed and take care of the I’ku, but the latter also feed the ancestral beings and, in doing so, the world, assuring the continuity of life” (Arenas Gómez; Niño Vargas, both this volume). In this way a hierarchical relation of mutual dependence, a hierarchical mutualism is established. Gods plant humans as seeds and care for them and humans feed or fertilize the gods to be protected (Arenas Gómez; Kaviany, both this volume). Following such logic, nourishment does not rely on alterity, exo-cannibalism, or the de-subjectivation of meat. Rather, one cares for and nourishes one’s own children who are conceptualized as seeds. As Kaviany states,

20  Ernst Halbmayer the whole cosmos is conceived in agricultural terms: humans, animals, and plants are all planted as food by someone, an act involving domestication, protection, care, and consumption as well as giving and returning that is performed by the one who brings forth, the one who produces, and the one who harvests and consumes. (this volume, 295f.) The Bribri god Sibö is the master and protector of human beings who are his crop (corn). While gods care for and subject humans, humans care for and subject plants and animals. The hierarchical relationship between “divinities and humans is analogous to the asymmetrical links between chiefs and vassals, parents and children, and owners and things” (Niño Vargas, this volume, 51). The central relationship thus does not concern prey and predator, but is an asymmetrical relation between “the ancestral parents (…) and their offspring (the I’ku people)” (ibid., 198) and consequently a consanguine one, as Arenas Gómez (this volume) argues. While this relation of hierarchical symbiosis18 stands in the center of an anthropocentric and anthropomorphic cosmology, relations to other beings may be more horizontal. They are of secondary and more peripheral relevance.

Hierarchical relations with other beings Nevertheless, hierarchical relationships are also important with regard to other entities and animals, as several of the contributions show. Among them are the nudsugana of the Guna (see Fortis 2012; Martínez Mauri, this volume), carved anthropomorphic statues with a life of their own that “need to be taken care of by real human people” (this volume, 258). They protect their owners from invisible threats, but only if they are cared for properly. If the owner fails to wash and sing for them, they cause illness and become dangerous (Martínez Mauri, this volume). Shamans (nelegan) rely on trees for their healing powers. “By giving them the shape of a bird or a person, the Guna try to humanize these beings or, in other words, domesticate them by drawing them into their world and socializing them within their domestic units” (Martínez Mauri, this volume, 269). Wooden staffs may also carry curing power or house benevolent spirits among the Bribri (ibid, 259); they give strength to their owners among the Guna (ibid, 262). As Losonczy (this volume, 335) shows, Emberá shamans “imprison” jai, the spirits of the dead, in the shaman’s staff and increase their power by rising the number of jai under their command by “either baiting or battling them (… and they) are called up (…) through singing, dancing, and food offerings and serve to heal maladies” (ibid.). Upon the death of a shaman these jai are set free again. Wayuu shamans also work with spirit helpers whom they initially control but ultimately fall victim to (Mancuso, this volume). Among the Yukpa the

Introduction  21 superior spiritual beings may appear as supportive and helpful spirits in human shape that contact individual Yukpa in order to transmit knowledge and power to them (Goletz, this volume). As noted above, relations with animals are generally not in the very center of the local cosmologies. Animals are generally conceived as domesticated and subjected, either by their masters or by humans. The relationship between animal masters and game seems to be conceptualized “in terms of the latter being the livestock of the former” (Mancuso, this volume, 304). Among the Yukpa the animal masters keep their kind enclosed in corrals. Thus subjection and care apparently constitute an overarching cognitive dispositive that is expressed in agricultural terms among most groups but also applies to animals. Apparently the Bribri are more “perspectivistic” and, in certain respects, more horizontal than the region’s other groups. However, their “perspectivism is not mainly focused on animals and dominated by hunting symbolism but shows an equally important symbolism of vegetable food” (Kaviany, this volume, 298). They view animals as plants and vice versa. “Manioc, for example, is fish for the master of manioc and the manioc field is a river, whereas fish is manioc for the master of fish and the river is his cultivated field” (Kaviany, this volume, 286). This shows perspectivism not in terms of different species-collectives but a perspectivist logic concerning the animal master and his kind. Perspectivism and the shift between animals and crops apparently mask the fact that the master or father is feeding on his own kind, something that would rarely, if ever, happen in Amazonia. “So the human-plant relationship turns from a perspectivistic game of perspectives to a form of identification […] that constitutes humans as plants and plants as human like beings, or in the case of medical plants as shamans” (Kaviany, this volume, 294). Niño Vargas states that the “Chibchan version of perspectivism owes more to agricultural labor of subjection than to hunting activities of predation” (this volume, 52). Even when evidence for pre-Colombian animal domestication in the area is restricted,19 this dispositive may have supported the adoption of animal husbandry among groups like the Wayuu and, to a lesser extent, the Kogi, Ikᵾ, Wiwa, and Yukpa. Among the Wayuu (Mancuso, this volume) the ownership of livestock marks the social status of the owner and of his/her family. The transfer of animals as compensation payment in blood feuds and other kinds of disputes plays an important social role. Animals are killed in burial ceremonies in order to allow their souls to join their owner in the realm of the dead, while distant family members consume the meat. For close relatives eating the butchered livestock is considered dangerous and polluting. Animal sacrifice plays part in shamanic healing. Wayuu livestock can be considered, as Mancuso argues with reference to Århem, as “an external, socially achieved ‘body’ – […] the object-aspect of the owner’s personal and social self […and] body” (Mancuso, this volume, 313). Interestingly the domesticated areas, beings, and animals are conceived as an expansion of the

22  Ernst Halbmayer person. As Niño Vargas states in his dissertation (2018), among the Ette forests are conceptualized as the gods’ gardens and therefore hunting in these areas is perceived as a kind of robbery that must be carried out in secrecy. Fields, by contrast, are conceived as an expansion of the person or the household and are preferred places for hunting. While the importance of animal husbandry is an exception in Lowland South America and can be found especially among the Wayuu and the Mapuche, hetero-substitution of detachable components of identity seems to occur more frequently, as practices such as naveling (Velásquez Runk et al. 2019), the collection of thoughts (Arenas Gómez, this volume), the transmission of capacities (Goletz, this volume), or sacrifice (Mancuso, this volume) demonstrate. Several authors have addressed the issue of a “pastoral perspectivism” (cf. Broz 2007) or “transcendental perspectivism” (Willerslev and Holbraad 2007) that exists within a hierarchical or vertical cosmological order for other regions, like Siberia and Inner Asia. But also for Amazonia, hierarchy became an important topic (Brightman et al. 2014; Fausto 2014; Santos-Granero 2010) in contrast to the “horizontal” or symmetrical exchanges of perspectives in Viveiros de Castro’s model. The most elaborate distinction between standard venatic animism and Southeast Asian sacrificial hierarchical animism is made by Kaj Århem (2016a, 2016b). Sacrificial animism, he notes, is “fundamentally asymmetric and centered on human-spirit relations” and the “sacrificial complex in Southeast Asia, in many ways, performs the same function as shamanism in Amazonia” (2016b, 281). The sacrificial complex, by contrast, is absent in the area with regard to shamanic healing – with the exception of the Wayuu. The specific hierarchical order relies mostly on a relation of hierarchical mutuality that is commonly phrased in agricultural terms and consists in the transfer of substances, thoughts, praying/petition, dreams, and the reconnection with and evocation of the time of origin, rather than in an elaborate sacrificial complex.

The temporality of a layered universe: reconnecting with the original beings In the Isthmo–Colombian Area the cosmos is commonly conceptualized as a layered universe whose origin lies, in contrast to most Amazonian conceptions, in the time of darkness before the first sunrise in the east and the nether world. The process of creation is often conceptualized as “the coming of the sun” (Tayler 1997) at dawn and the world’s “life cycle” is conceptualized in terms of the dawn, the rising and setting of the sun, twilight, and night (Tayler 1997, 147). At dawn the elements of the universe take shape and materialize in their current form; finally humanity is created or planted by the gods or mythical ancestors. In these processes the cosmos itself may change its form and be a subject of degrading transformations (Niño Vargas 2008, 2014).

Introduction  23 In several instances, the east-west distinction is of crucial importance (Niño Vargas 2018, 64; Osborn 2009; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1984, 71f.) for structuring the cosmos in spatial and temporal terms. Niño Vargas (this volume) stresses the special temporal dimension of Chibchan cosmologies and distinguishes them from linear and cyclical conceptions of time. The human world is embedded in a general movement from an origin that is “associated with divinities” to a future that is “an impoverished reflection of present conditions” and “related with the realm of beasts” (Niño Vargas, this volume, 53). Rituals, the chanting of myths (cf. Osborn 2009), songs, dances, and offerings (among the Kogi, Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985(2), 130f), and ceremonial annual calendars serve as means to achieve the reconnection with the mythical time of origin or darkness and the mythical ancestral beings (Arenas Gómez; Goletz; Kaviany; Niño Vargas; Peña Ismare and Velásquez Runk et al., all this volume). They are intended to slow down the degenerative processes and maintain the cosmological order in order to sustain cosmological well-being. The division of the visible world in east and west and presence of the co-existent original time of darkness give rise to more complex figurations: a multiverse, a multiply layered universe of superimposed worlds, whose layers are often associated with different colors (e.g. among the U’wa and Kogi). They may also be distinguished in terms of the cardinal directions, associated with the annual cycle, solstices, and equinoxes. Such a figuration transcends dual forms of social organization and Amazonian forms of Dravidian kinship (see also Viveiros de Castro 2012) and produces highly important sets of entities of four and eight in Chibchan universes. As noted by Niño Vargas (this volume), the cosmos is often identified in agricultural terms with the tree of life20 and the supporting beam of the universe. It is associated with analogies in terms of the body, the house or temple, the mountains, wooden staffs, and ritual statuettes. The latter are regularly depicted in pre-Colombian iconography (Clados, this volume). Gods or ancestral beings either planted the original tree or emerged from it and masters of the universe are associated with it (Clados, this volume). The ancestors, ancient caciques, spiritual leaders, priests, or important clans are considered supporting beams of the universe. “While the felling of the primeval tree made the emergence of the world possible, sowing crops led to the genesis of its most important inhabitants” (Niño Vargas, this volume, 50). In other conceptions, eternal celestial and nether worlds partially overlap, and thus give rise to the temporal and terminable world where humans live (e.g. among the U’wa, Osborn 2009).

Vertical shamanism, deified beings, and the dead A broad variety of ritual specialists show a clear tendency toward vertical shamanism (Hugh-Jones 1994; Viveiros de Castro 2014, 151–158),

24  Ernst Halbmayer like the Mama of the Kogi, Ikᵾ, and Wiwa; the Usékar of the Bribri and Cabecares (Bozzoli de Wille 2006); or the Bita Wedhaiya of the U’wa. Goletz (this volume, 212f.) explicitly refers to Hugh-Jones’s (1994) distinction between horizontal and hierarchical shamans who may coexist within a single society, when discussing various forms of Yukpa tuwancha, “persons who know”. Among the Yukpa she distinguishes knowledge transmission that is initiated by spiritual beings in human guise from the classical horizontal shamanic metamorphosis and the training for vertical priesthood among the Kogi (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976). Vertical shamans (see Arenas Gómez, this volume) and powerful historical caciques are prominent in the region and reproduce the social hierarchies of subjection mentioned above that are related to the logic of ranked clans (Halbmayer; Kaviany, this volume) and the hierarchical relation between gods and humans. Viveiros de Castro gives an especially valuable characterization of vertical shamans when he writes that these “comprise the master-chanters and ceremonial specialists, the peaceful guardians of an esoteric knowledge indispensable if reproduction and internal group relations (birth, initiation, naming, funerals, etc.) are to come off properly” (2014, 154). While the “horizontal shaman’s archetypal Other is theriomorphic, the Other of vertical shamanism tends to assume the anthropomorphic traits of the ancestor” (ibid., 155, my emphasis). This difference is clearly reflected in the heterogeneity of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, where the continuous relationship to mythical ancestors is of the greatest cosmological importance at the expense of external relationship to theriomorphic others. Viveiros de Castro’s argument that “vertical shamanism can thus be linked to the separation of the dead and animals into two distinct positions of alterity” (ibid., 156) clearly applies to the region (Halbmayer 2019). Relations with deified beings and the dead are more important than those with animal spirits and the long-time dead may even mediate between the living and spirits as among the Barí and Wayuu (Halbmayer 2019). The socio-cosmologies of the Isthmo–Colombian Area concur with Viveiros de Castro’s argument that “once the split between the dead and animals was achieved, the former remained humans (or even became superhuman) and the latter slowly ceased to be, drifting into sub- or anti-humanity” (2014, 156). Whereas horizontal shamanism is “exopractical” vertical shamanism is “endopractical” (ibid.). It could also be argued that the former form of alterity is based on difference, affinity, and otherness, whereas the latter on identity, homology, and continuity. As Arenas Gómez states, there is no existence possible outside of the relationship with the ancestral parents […] being I’kᵾ is impossible […] outside of such a relationship. It is on this relationship that […] I’kᵾ sociality and […] the I’kᵾ’s construction of the person are built. (this volume, 196)

Introduction  25 For Viveiros de Castro in indigenous Amazonia, exopraxis is logically, chronologically, and cosmologically anterior to endopraxis and that it furthermore always remains operational as a residue blocking the constitution of chiefdoms or states having a realized metaphysical interiority (and this applies even to more hierarchical formations, such as those of the Northwest Amazon). (2014, 156)

An Isthmo–Colombian package With its focus on identity, consanguinity, and continuity among humans, deities, and the dead the “Isthmo–Colombian Package” focuses on hierarchy,21 hierarchical symbiosis, the transference of substances, and the materialization of thoughts. This most likely marks the northern or northwestern boundary of the “Amazonian package” which is delimited by the central Andes further south. Where are, then, the gradual boundaries of these loosely defined packages? I would argue that central cultural elements of Arawak-speaking groups and the logics of northwest Amazonia are closer to Isthmo–Colombian cosmologies than the classical predatory venatic animism. The dominant position attributed to real humans that is well documented for the Isthmo–Colombian Area may also be found in northwest Amazonia (Londoño Sulkin 2017, 485–486), “where the vertical transmission of identity is a central concern of indigenous sociocosmology” and “there is an ideal of keeping each system closed, even at the level of exogamic clans: human souls should return to their ancestors’ ‘houses’ and be reborn as the same kind of person (C. Hugh-Jones 1979, 112; Wright 1998, 200–203)” (Fausto 2007, 501). The dead turn in theriomorphic Others neither in the Isthmo–Colombian Area nor in most of northwest Amazonia. Quite to the contrary, such a change is something to be avoided. The People of the Center, among whom Londoño Sulkin works, “do seem to posit a center, a superior perspective, a ‘real’ humanity, and essential differences between the natures of species” (ibid., 480) but are still part of the “Amazonian package”. So are Arawakan groups characterized by the avoidance of internal warfare,22 the propensity for establishing political alliances with linguistically related groups, the importance of descent, consanguinity, and commensality, hereditary leadership, and religion in personal, social, and political life that is mediated by specialists “combining the functions of shaman and priest” (Santos-Granero 2002, 44–47). In the Isthmo–Colombian Area, it is not predation and metamorphosis which are at the core of symmetrical relations between species-specific collectives in the context of a perspectival cosmos in which “relations with dangerous outside others are indispensable” (Londoño Sulkin 2017, 477). The

26  Ernst Halbmayer “Isthmo–Colombian package” is based on distinct interiorities of humans and animals and the continuing existence of the dead and a basically agricultural socio-cosmological logic. Humans become conceptualized as the deities’ seeds and plants and stand in a double hierarchical symbiosis subordinated to and protected by deified beings and subordinating and protecting cultivated plants and animals.

Notes 1 I am grateful to Anne Goletz’ valuable comments on a previous version of this introduction. 2 Several important “classical” ethnographic case studies (e.g. Beckerman and Lizarralde 2013; Bozzoli 1979; Fortis 2012; Howe 1986, 2010; Isacsson 1993; Losonczy 1997; Osborn 2009; Perrin 1987; Stone 1962; Young 1971) complement older research (e.g. Bolinder 1925; Holmer and Wassén 1953, 1958; Lehmann 1920; Nordenskiöld 1928, 1932; Nordenskiöld et al. 1938; Preuss 1926; ReichelDolmatoff 1985 [1950–51]) but rarely refer to a general conception of the area. 3 Mesoamerica remained largely outside of Steward’s focus; Kirchhoff (1943), when conceptualizing Mesoamerica as an area, distinguished between the Andes, Amazonia, Mesoamerica, and the so-called Chibcha Area. 4 Archeologist questioned Steward’s Circum-Caribbean Area concept from the beginning (Rouse 1953) and instead identified a so-called “Intermediate Area” (Haberland 1957; Willey 1971) between the cultural centers of Mesoamerica and the Central Andes. 6 The indigenous groups of the northern Andes, however, remained detached from the Amazonian paradigm and were therefore either all but ignored by broader discussions or, as the Kogi and Muisca, subsumed under the Central Andean complex. 7 On the question of boundaries see e.g. Campbell et al. (1986) and Hoopes and Fonseca (2003, 54–60). 8 In contrast to the Amazonian package that is based on the importance of the body, alterity, and a perspectival cosmos (Londoño Sulkin 2017). 9 Interestingly, the southern Chibcha neighbors, the Barí, did not cultivate maize when permanent contact was finally established in 1960. Beckerman and Lizarralde argue that the cultivation of maize was given up but had still been practiced in the early 20th century (2013, 75, 218).

Introduction  27 20 This idea is also widespread among Carib-speaking (Halbmayer 2012b) and other Amazonian groups as tree. 22 The Wayuu are obviously an exception to this element of an Arawakan ethos.

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30  Ernst Halbmayer Isacsson, Sven-Eric. 1993. Transformations of Eternity: On Man and Cosmos in Emberá thought. PhD Department of Social Anthropology. University of Göteborg, Göteborg. Karadimas, Dimitri. 2016. Dieux, guerriers, parasites célestes. Perceptions, mythes et images en Amérique du Sud., Habilitation à diriger les recherche. EHESS. Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, Paris. Kirchhoff, Paul. 1943. “Mesoamerica: Sus limites geográficos, composicón étnica y carateres culturales.” Acta Americana 1: 92–107. Kurella, Doris. 1993. Handel und soziale Organisation im vorspanischen nördlichen Andenraum: Zur politischen Ökonomie subandiner Häuptlingstümer im Gebiet des ehemaligen Nuevo Reino de Granada vor der Eroberung durch die Spanier im frühen 16. Jahrhundert. Bonn: Holos. Langebaek, Carl and Felipe Cárdenas Arroyo. eds. 1996. Chieftains, Power and Trade: Regional Interaction in the Intermediate Area of the Americas. Caciques, Intercambio y Poder: Interacción regional en el área intermedia de las Américas. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes. Lehmann, Walter. 1920. Zentralamerika: Die Sprachen Zentralamerikas in ihren Beziehungen zueinander sowie zu Südamerika und Mexiko. 2 vols. Berlin: Reimer. Lhermillier, Alex and Nelly Lhermillier. 1982. “Kano or Mak’â.” Boletín Antropológico 2: 17–22. Linares, Olga F. 1976. ““Garden Hunting” in the American Tropics.” Human Ecology 4 (4): 331–349. Londoño Sulkin, Carlos David. 2017. “Moral Sources and the Reproduction of the Amazonian Package.” Current Anthropology 58 (4): 477–501. Losonczy, Anne-Marie. 1997. Les saints et la foret. Rituel, société et figures de l’echange entre noirs et indiens Emberá. (Chocó, Colombie). Paris: L’Harmattan. Martínez Mauri, Mònica. 2019. “What Makes the Gunas dules? Reflections on the Interiority and the Physicality of People, Humans, and Nonhumans.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 24 (1): 52–69. Martius, Karl Friedrich Philipp von. 1867. Beiträge zur Ethnographie und Sprachenkunde Amerika’s zumal Brasiliens. Leipzig: F. Fleischer. Matthews, William. 2017. “Ontology with Chinese Characteristics: Homology as a Mode of Identification.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7 (1): 265–285. McKey, Doyle, Stéphen Rostain, José Iriarte, Bruno Glaser, Jago Jonathan Birk, Irene Holst and Delphine Renard. 2010. “Pre-Columbian Agricultural Landscapes, Ecosystem Engineers, and Self-Organized Patchiness in Amazonia.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (17): 7823–7828. Meggers, Betty J. 1971. Amazonia: Man and Culture in a Counterfeit Paradise. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton. Murra, John. 1972. “El Control Vertical de un máximo de pisos ecológicos en las sociedades andinas.” In Formaciones económicas y políticas del mundo andino, edited by John Murra, 59–115. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Murra, John. 1984. “Andean Societies.” Annual Review of Anthropology 13: 119–141. Needham, Rodney. 1975. “Polythetic Classification: Convergence and Consequences.” Man (N.S.) 10: 349–369. Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2008. “Ciclos de destrucción y regeneración: experiencia histórica entre los ette del norte de Colombia.” Historia Critica 35: 106–129. Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2014. “El tejido del cosmos. Tiempo, espacio y arte de la hamaca entre los ette (chimila).” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 100 (1): 101–130.

Introduction  31 Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2018. Cosmos Ette: Ethnographie d’un univers du Nord de la Colombie. Paris: École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Nordenskiöld, Erland. 1928. Cuna Indian Conceptions of Illnesses. St. GabrielMödling: Mechitaristen Buchdr. Nordenskiöld, Erland. 1932. “La conception de l’âme chez les Indiens cuna de l’isthme de Panamá (la signification de trois mots cuna, purba, niga et kurgin).” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 24 (1): 5–30. Nordenskiöld, Erland, Ruben Pérez Kantule, Henry Wassén and Mary Frodi. 1938. An Historical and Ethnological Survey of the Cuna Indians. Göteborg: Göteborgs Museum, Etnografiska Avdelningen (Comparative Ethnographical Studies, 10). Osborn, Ann. 1988. “El multiculturalismo en los Andes Orientales.” Revista de Antropología 4 (2): 23–42. Osborn, Ann. 2009. The Four Seasons of the U’wa: A Chibcha Ritual Ecology in the Colombian Andes. Wantage: Sean Kingston. Otaegui, Alfonso Manuel. 2008. “Comparación de sistemas analogistas mesoamericanos y animistas del noroeste amazónico.” Anthropologica 26: 143–172. Pache, Matthias. 2016. “The Grammaticalization of Plant-Part Terms in Chibchan Languages.” International Journal of Linguistics 82 (4): 425–452. Peña, Enrique Margery. 1994. Mitología de los bocotás de Chiriquí. Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala. Perrin, Michel. 1987. The Way of the Dead Indians: Guajiro Myths and Symbols. Austin: University of Texas Press. Preuss, Theodor Konrad. 1926. Forschungsreise zu den Kágaba. St. Gabriel-Mödling: Mechitharisten-Buchdr. Redmond, Elsa M. ed. 1998. Chiefdoms and Chieftaincy in the Americas. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1975. “Templos kogi. Introducción al simbolismo y a la astronomía del espacio sagrado.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 19: 199–245. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1976. “Training for the Priesthood among the Kogi of Colombia.” In Encultuation in Latin America: An Anthology, edited by Johannes Wilbert, 265–288. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications (Latin American Studies Series and Latin American Studies, 37). Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1984. “Some Kogi Models of the Beyond.” Journal of Latin American Lore 10 (1): 63–85. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1985 [1950–1951]. Los Kogi. Una tribu de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Bogotá: Procultura (Nueva biblioteca colombiana de cultura, 2). Rivière, Peter. 2001. “A Predação, a Reciprocidade e o Caso das Guianas.” Mana 7 (1): 31–53. Roosevelt, Anna C. 1987. “Chiefdoms of the Amazon and Orinoco.” In Chiefdoms in the Americas, edited by R. Drennan and C. Uribe, 153–185. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. Roosevelt, Anna C. 1993. “The Rise and Fall of the Amazonian Chiefdoms.” L’Homme 33 (126/128): 255–283. Roosevelt, Anna C. 1999. “The Development of Prehistoric Complex Societies. Amazonia, a Tropical Forest.” Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 9 (1): 13–33. Rouse, Irving. 1953. “The Circum‐Caribbean Theory, An Archeological Test.” American Anthropologist 55 (2): 188–200.

32  Ernst Halbmayer Sahlins, Marshall. 2014. “On the Ontological Scheme of Beyond Nature and Culture.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4 (1): 281. Santos-Granero, Fernando. 2002. “The Arawakan Matrix: Ethos, Language, and History in Native South America.” In Comparative Arawakan Histories: Rethinking Language Family and Culture Area in Amazonia, edited by Jonathan D. Hill and Fernando Santos-Granero, 25–50. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Santos-Granero, Fernando. 2010. Vital Enemies. Slavery, Predation, and the Amerindian Political Economy of Life. Austin: University of Texas Press. Schaan, Denise P. 2016. Sacred Geographies of Ancient Amazonia: Historical Ecology of Social Complexity. London: Routledge. Seeger, Anthony, R. A. DaMatta and Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro. 1979. “A Construção da pessoa nas sociedades brasileiras.” Boletim do Museu Nacional Antropologia 32: 2–19. Silverman, Helaine and Isbell H. William. eds. 2008. Handbook of South American Archaeology. New York: Springer. Smith, Derek A. 2005. “Garden Game: Shifting Cultivation, Indigenous Hunting and Wildlife Ecology in Western Panama.” Human Ecology 33 (4): 505–537. Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales La Salle. ed. 1953. La Region de Perija y sus Habitantes. Maracaibo: Universidad del Zulia. Sprenger, Guido. 2016. “Graded Personhood: Human and Non-Human Actors in the Southeast Asian Uplands.” In Animism in South-East Asia, edited by Kaj Århem and Guido Sprenger, 73–90. Abingdon & New York: Routledge. Steward, Julian H. ed. 1946: Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. 1: The Marginal Tribes. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Steward, Julian H. ed. 1948a. Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. 4: The Circum- Caribbean Tribes. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Steward, Julian H. 1948b. “The Circum-Caribbean Tribes: An Introduction.” In Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. 4: The Circum-Caribbean Tribes, edited by Julian Steward, 1–41. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Steward, Julian H. ed. 1949a. Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. 5: The Comparative Ethnology of South American Indians. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Steward, Julian H. 1949b. “South American Cultures: An Interpretative Summary.” In Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. 5: The Comparative Ethnology of South American Indians, edited by Julian Steward, 699–772. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. Steward, Julian H. and Louis C. Faron. eds. 1959. Native Peoples of South America. New York, Toronto, London: McGraw-Hill. Stone, Doris. 1962. The Talamancan Tribes of Costa Rica. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum (Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 43, 2). Tayler, Donald. 1997. The Coming of the Sun. A Prologue to Ika Sacred Narrative. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (Monograph/Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 7). Teixeira Pinto, Márnio. 2004. “Being Alone amid Others: Sorcery and Morality among the Arara, Carib, Brazil.” In In Darkness and Secrecy, edited by Neil L. Whitehead and Robin Wright, 215–243. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Introduction  33 Velásquez Runk, Julie; Chindío Peña Ismare and Toño Peña Conquista. 2019. “Animal Transference and Transformation among Wounaan.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 24 (1): 32–51. Vilaça, Aparecida. 2005. “Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporalities.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 11: 445–464. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 1993. “Alguns Aspectos da Afinidade no Dravidianato Amazônico.” In Amazônia: Etnologia e História Indígena, edited by Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro and Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, 149–210. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo, Núcleo de História indígena. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 1998. “Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 4 (3): 469–488. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 2001. “GUT Feelings about Amazonia: Potential Affinity and the Construction of Sociality.” In Beyond the Visible and the Material, edited by Laura M. Rival and Neil L. Whitehead, 19–44. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 2004. “Exchanging Perspectives: The Transformation of Objects into Subjects in Amerindian Ontologies.” Common Knowledge 10 (3): 463–484. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 2012. Radical Dualism: A Meta-Fantasy on the Square Root of Dual Organizations, or a Savage Homage to Lévi-Strauss. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag (100 Notes-100 thoughts). Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 2014. Cannibal Metaphysics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Whitehead, Neil Lancelot. 1988. Lords of the Tiger-Spirit: A History of the Caribs in Colonial Venezuela and Guyana 1498–1820. Dordrecht: Foris Publications. Whitehead, Neil Lancelot. 1993. “Ethnic Transformation and Historical Discontinuity in Native Amazonian and Guayana, 1500–1900.” L’Homme 126–128: 285–305. Whitehead, Neil Lancelot. 1994. “The Ancient Amerindian Polities of the Amazon, the Orinoco, and the Atlantic Coast.” In Amazonian Indians from Prehistory to the Present, edited by A. Roosevelt, 33–53. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Whitehead, Neil Lancelot. 1998. “Colonial Chieftains of the Lower Orinoco and Guayana Coast.” In Chiefdoms and Chieftaincy in the Americas, edited by Elsa M. Redmond, 150–163. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. Whitehead, Neil Lancelot. ed. 2003. Histories and Historicities in Amazonia. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Wilbert, Johannes. 1960. “Zur Kenntnis der Parirí.” Archiv für Völkerkunde 15: 80–153. Willerslev, Rane and Martin Holbraad. 2007. “Transcendental Perspectivism: Anonymous Viewpoints from Inner Asia.” Inner Asia 9 (2): 329–345. Willey, Gordon R. 1971. An Introduction to American Archaeology, vol. 2: South America. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Wright, Robin. 1998. Cosmos, Self, and History in Baniwa Religion: For Those Unborn. Austin: University of Texas Press. Young, Philip D. 1971. Ngawbe: Tradition and Change among the Western Guaymí of Panama. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (Illinois Studies in Anthropology, 7). Zerries, Otto. 1973/1974. “Holzgeschnitzte Menschen Leben.” Paideuma 19/20: 365–443.

Part II

Conceptualizing the Isthmo–Colombian Area from a regional comparative perspective


An Amerindian humanism Order and transformation in Chibchan universes Juan Camilo Niño Vargas

To the memory of Adolfo Constenla Umaña

Introduction The ethnographic knowledge that has been accumulated since the mid-20th century, as well as a mode of anthropological understanding identified with the so-called ontological turn, has pointed to certain arrangements of reality that are common to vast areas of the Americas. Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations are generally associated with analogic modes of thought and a cyclical notion of time, while Amazonian peoples are identified with animistic worldviews and an ahistorical conception of time. Despite their geographically central position in the Americas, Chibchan societies have been on the fringe of these research developments. Like other groups in the Isthmo–Colombian Area, their modes of thought and action appear to be irreducible to those present in neighboring regions and resistant to the conformation of a coherent whole in and of themselves. Considering with these problems, the value that the Chibcha place on the idea of humanity is remarkable, as is the deep interest they take in processes of cosmic transformation. This essay is dedicated to studying these two features in the framework of recent progress achieved by anthropology in the field of Amerindian cosmologies. Its primary goal is to shed light on the constructions of reality and time regimes that give meaning to these traits, and by doing so to outline the general ontological schema from which they emerge. This will be accomplished by examining semantic classifications, taxonomies of the natural world, and myths and rituals related to past and future events. This exercise will enable us in the end to discern a universe both anthropocentric and anthropomorphic. Chibchan societies place humans at the center of the world and, simultaneously, at the climax of temporal processes. Given this extraordinary condition, humanness becomes a privileged point of reference for defining non-human orders and non-present

38  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas times. The truly human order gives rise to two derived human orders: one metaphorical, associated with divinities, plants, and past events, and the other metonymic, associated with demons, animals, and future events. A cosmos built on these foundations allows for the emergence of an irreversible time, marked by processes of humanization and dehumanization. The ontological schema outlined aims to contribute to the understanding of three main issues. First, it seeks to clarify the traits common to Chibchan peoples and take some first steps toward seeing the societies of the Isthmo– Colombian Area as a whole. Second, it proposes a humanistic universe for this region, explaining the features that distinguish it from the analogics and the animics present in Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Amazonia. Last but not least, it explores the relationship between configurations of reality, temporal regimes, and distributions of human and non-human entities.

The Chibchan world in the context of Amerindian universes Recent findings in anthropology regarding native ontologies have reconfigured our understanding of the Amerindian world (cf. Descola 2004; Halbmayer 2012; Kohn 2015). It is now clear that certain modes of objectification of reality are shared by peoples of very different cultures and languages. Following the pioneering work of Philippe Descola, these framing devices may be defined as collective schemas that structures skills, perceptions, and practices without mobilizing a declarative knowledge (Descola 2005, 135– 162, 2014, 274). As fields of possibility for thought and actions, they determine the identities of beings and objects, govern relations between humans and non-humans, and organize the experience of space and time. Andean and Mesoamerican civilizations seem to share an analogic ontological regime. As recently formulated, this arrangement supposes that the universe holds a multiplicity of human and non-human entities, composed of countless essences, substances, and forces (Descola 2005, 280–320). In such a heterogeneous reality, order is imposed through analogies and hierarchical and categorical distinctions. The innumerable gods and goddesses, men and women, animals and plants, minerals and objects that populate the world are distinguished with recourse to dualisms, graded scales, and macrocosmic and microcosmic correspondences. Accordingly, analogic temporal experience resembles what historians of religion call the eternal return (Descola 2011, 88; Eliade 1951). This is a strictly ordered time, constituted by periods of different ranges, subject to regular cycles and aligned with the rest of the elements that make up reality (León-Portilla 1985; López Austin 2015; Urton 1999). This, in short, is an ontology that entails the interaction of cosmocentric and chronocentric tendencies. Lowland South American societies, particularly those of the Amazon region, are representative of an animic ontological regime (Århem 1993; Descola 2004; Viveiros de Castro 1996). Echoing the 19th-century concept of animism, this reality arrangement establishes an internal continuity and an

An Amerindian humanism  39 external discontinuity between humans and non-humans. People, plants, and animals share an identical soul which makes them human, endows them with subjectivity, and allows them to embrace a way of civilized life. The differences between them are superficial and due to the possession of external bodies which are comparable to disguises. On the basis of these principles, animism makes humanness a generalized condition, embeds a belief in a mythical past when all creatures were humans, and explains current corporal diversity as the result of recent anatomical changes. As an outcome of events that transpired only a few generations ago, the present world is flat and static, untouched by the passing of time and long-term processes (Descola 2011, 88–89). Briefly, such an ontology is synchronically anthropomorphic and diachronically anthropogenic. At this point, a question arises with respect to the predominant ontological regime in the Isthmo–Colombian Area, an extensive territory situated between Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Amazonia. Although this region has traditionally been considered merely as a contact zone, a growing body of evidence confirms its independence and its stability regarding neighboring regions. The primary support for this evaluation comes from genetics (Barrantes 1993), linguistics (Constenla 1991), and archeology (Bray 1984). Anthropology is in a position to make a substantial contribution to this debate by demonstrating the existence of native ontological orders. The problems posed by the Isthmo–Colombian Area are particularly evident when examining its main inhabitants. The Chibcha are the most representative, numerous, and widely distributed ethnic ensemble of the region. Originated in southeastern Costa Rica and western Panama, these peoples spread throughout Central America and northern South America several thousand years ago and successfully adapted their way of life to highly diverse environments. The groups that survived the expansion of European colonial regimes and the subsequent establishment of Latin American states are found today in relatively isolated locations: northeastern Honduras, the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast, the Cordillera de Talamanca, the forests of Darién, the plains of Ariguani, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the eastern range of the Andes in Colombia (Figure 2.1).1 In a nutshell, the core of the problem is as follows: while the family resemblance of the Chibcha has been confirmed by biologists and linguists, it has been elusive for anthropologists (Constenla 1985; Layrisse et al. 1995; Usme-Romero et al. 2013). The diverse lifestyles led by these societies in contrasting environments seem to have obstructed the identification of common patterns of thought and action. In addition to this obstacle, only a small number of ethnographic studies have been devoted to them, and all have had to deal with the interference of interpretative models formulated in neighboring cultural areas. Given this situation, it is not surprising that comparative exercises have considered only a limited number of groups which are historically, geographically, or linguistically related (Correa 1998; Uribe 1993). It is no wonder either that some researchers have discounted

40  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas

Figure 2.1 Chibcha-speaking societies.

the possibility of finding common social and symbolic patterns altogether (Guevara 2014). Nonetheless, the restitution of an ontological schema shared by all Chibchan societies should not be ruled out. Insights provided by linguistic research can be used by anthropology to accomplish this goal. As will be demonstrated, the progress achieved in understanding semantic categorizations can provide a basis for going beyond atomistic approaches and provide conceptual scaffolding for understanding the Chibchan ensemble as a whole.

An Amerindian humanism  41 A humanist universe A promising insight to the universe shared by Chibchan peoples was noted by Claude Lévi-Strauss (1948, 185–192). In a little-known text written in his early years, he observed that many of the suffixes present in their languages pointed to the existence of a general categorization of beings and things. The morphemes that attracted the attention of the French anthropologist are known today by specialists as classifiers, particles that classify nouns according to their semantic properties (Aikhenvald 2008; Allan 1977). Several researchers have studied these particles to explore how the speakers of different languages conceptualize the world and categorize the entities present in it (Hill 2009; Leite 1998). The existence of classifiers in Chibchan languages has been confirmed for the lexical sets of numbers, nouns, and verbs (Constenla 1988; Frank 1990; Malone 2004; Murillo 2009). Numeral classifiers stand out for their wide distribution and systematic application. Up to this time, they have been reported in Bugle (Solís 1989), Bribri (Margery 2005), Cabécar (Krohn 2015), Ette (Niño Vargas 2009), Kuna (Orán and Wagua 2012, 211), Ngobe (Alphonse 1956, 12–15), and Teribe (Portilla 1999). Expressed as suffixes attached to numbers, they classify the beings and objects that can be counted. Though unobserved to this day, one of the most compelling features of Chibchan numeral classifiers is that they can be organized in a single table following the same criteria (Table 2.1). Their phonetic disparities are of secondary importance compared to their similarities on the level of semantic categorization. Bribri, Ette, and Ngobe classifiers are particularly well suited to illustrate this point. The relatively distant kinship of these languages and the isolation of their speakers in recent centuries guarantee the validity of the comparison (Krohn 2015; Le Carrer 2013; Niño Vargas 2018). Like other Chibchan languages, Bribri, Ette, and Ngobe clearly distinguish humans (class 1) from plants and their parts, which form two independent classes (classes 2–3). All other beings and things are classified according to their morphology, without regard for their origin or nature. Animals, fruits, artifacts, rocks, and body organs are arranged in categories for large, long, round, flat, concave, and container entities (classes 4–11). Two kinds of objects are assigned to special classes, presumably for historical and cultural reasons (classes 12–13). The classifiers used for sets reveal a second-order classification, since they always bundle entities of the same kind, being distinguished from one another by their positions and number (classes 14–22). Finally, some classifiers are applied to abstract realities (classes 23–26). A comparison of these three series reveals a conceptual overlap (Figure 2.2). The Bribri, Ette, and Ngobe languages organize the world in similar fashions. The human condition and bodily attributes function as axes of differentiation. Humans are clearly distinguished from non-humans, and among

Table 2.1 Classifiers in three Chibchan languages

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Semantic class


Human Plant Piece of plant Long Flat Round Big Concave Container Piece Shapeless piece Maize Money Set Enveloped set Hanging set Hanging and long set Hanging and round set Set arranged in a row Set arranged in a circle Set of five Set of 20 Types or classes Time span Days Contained liquids

-l -lka


Ngobe Examples of classified entities

God, people Tree, palm, plant Branch, leaf -töm Finger, lizard, plantain -t Teeth, axe -k Eye, avocado, tortoise Tapir, canoe, car Hammock, bags House, beehive ötoPortions of food liikriMeat kraaEar of maize mënin- Coin -yök koograFamily, handful -kua saaka- keda- Package, sack, load joorokideBunches of fruit -yuwak Bunches of plantains -sok Bunches of palm fruits kranne- jireRows of people braaConstellation of stars jattaFive animals or objects kassaTwenty animals or objects -ltê Types of animals kissaboRepetitions käbä- Days taakwaCups of coffee kujaakragrwaatiikwaawaabriikaakatti-





Long Round Flat


Animals and things Large Concave Container Plants

Whole Part

Figure 2.2 Chibchan semantic categorization.

An Amerindian humanism  43 the latter, plants and plant parts are distinguished from animals and things. All existing entities, therefore, belong to one of three major orders. The first is reserved for humans themselves; the second comprises all kinds of plant life; and the third encompasses a heterogeneous set of animate and inanimate entities. Studies on categorization devices in other Chibchan languages are limited, but similar conclusions can be drawn from the available information (cf. Constenla 2007; Krohn 2014; Solís 1989). It is true that similar categorizations can be found far from Chibcha territory. However, the significance of the opposition between humans and non-humans within these languages is striking, since it systematically diverges from that reported in neighboring areas. To the north, the human and non-human orders are fragmented into hundreds of suborders, while to the south they are eclipsed by the distinction between the animate and the inanimate. The former pattern can be clearly observed in Mayan and Uto-Aztecan languages, which have categories for deities, men, women, elders, relatives, strangers, birds, fish, plants, mushrooms, artifacts, rocks, crystals, and so on (Berlin and Romney 1964; Grinenvald 1986). The latter pattern is illustrated by Arawakan languages of Amazonia, which classify humans as part of a much larger category of animate beings (Aikhenvald 1994, 1996; Aikhenvald and Green 1998). In other words, while Mesoamerican and Amazonian categorizations, respectively, exhibit analogic and animic features, Isthmo–Colombian reveal, what may be called, humanic traits.

The order of the world The semantic categorization restituted is interesting in several respects. At the same time that it reaffirms the linguistic unity of the Chibchan stock, it sheds some light on its defining traits beyond language. While in the field of linguistics it discloses a general classification founded on the opposition between “human” and “non-human”, in the domain of ethnology it reveals a common set of ideas about the privileged place of humanity in the cosmos. A fundamental question arises regarding the scope of the Chibchan humanistic orientation. A detailed review of the linguistic and ethnographic literature will provide a reasoned response. The universes thought and lived by these peoples seem to have been organized around three orders based on the opposition between human and non-human, and to that extent homologous to those identified in the semantic categorizations. The first and most important order is reserved for men and women, has a prototypic value, and embodies the idea of true humanity. The second order is defined metaphorically, embraces all kind of plants, and supports the notion of suprahumanity. The third and last order is circumscribed metonymically; it encompasses animals and things and is linked to the concept of infrahumanity (Figure 2.3).

44  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas Humans Real humans


Metaphoric humans

Metonymic humans



Figure 2.3 Order in the Chibchan world.

The Chibchan universes turn out to be both anthropocentric and anthropomorphic, unconcerned about the external and objective domain known in the West as nature. Humanness permeates their foundations and emerges at their center as a concrete domain. Thanks to their unique condition, humans define non-humans by contrast, force them to split into two domains by metaphorical and metonymical operations, and project positive and negative values on them. The true humanity The first order is truly human. The Bribri, Brunka, Bugle, Cabécar, Ette, Kuna, Ngobe, and Teribe, among others, have a specific term for it (Bertoglia Richards 1983, 6; Constenla 2007, 267; Krohn 2014, 217; Le Carrer 2013, 83; Margery 1993, 81; Niño Vargas 2009, 83; Orán and Wagua 2012, 41; Quesada and Rojas 1999, 21). Where an explicit word does not exist, the order could be discovered in complementary named suborders, such as “man” and “woman”, or “Indian” and “non-Indian” (Malone 2004, 145; Niño Vargas 2018, 203–213; Solís 1989, 147). Although the existence of a human order is not unusual in Amerindian cosmologies, its stringent definition among Chibcha is particularly notable. The languages with categorization devices classify as “humans” only those beings that clearly display anthropomorphic features (Krohn 2014, 217; Le Carrer 2013, 93; Niño Vargas 2009, 83). Along these lines, the most representative members of the order are real men and women. They are followed by humanoid entities such as divinities, ritual statuettes, and some mythical beings. Animals, plants, artifacts, and minerals are completely excluded, even those endowed with human qualities in rites and myths. The defining feature of humans seems to be their completeness. The clearest manifestation of this trait is the unity of body and soul, which guarantees exceptional faculties such as upright posture and the ability to speak

An Amerindian humanism  45 and think. The theories of the person ascribed to the Chibcha confirm this point, since they claim that humans are unique beings, despite the countless traits shared by all living entities. The Ette would be identical to many other creatures if they did not have slender bodies and an intellectual faculty known as butteriya (Niño Vargas 2007, 137–153). The Kuna endow many beings with souls called purba, but they reserve for themselves the privilege of possessing a full set of them, which mimic the figure of a human being (Nordenskiöld 1938, 334, 355). The Kogi maintain that the close resemblance between humans and animals ends with the capacity for thought, which allows only the former to reach a sacred dimension known as aluna (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 250–251). The relevance of completeness in the definition of humanity explains two tendencies observable in the semantic classifications. The first of them is the inclusion within the human order of elements which seem indivisible, such as thought and words (Bertoglia Richards 1983, 5; Malone 2004, 188). The second is the exclusion from the order of all parts and organs of the human body when considered individually. The metaphorical humanity The second order overlaps with the kingdom of plants. Although many Chibchan languages lack a specific name to designate this order, hundreds of terms and linguistic particles reveal its presence. The Bribri, Brunka, and Cabécar have an explicit term for it, similar in use to the English word “flora” (Margery 2004, 207, 503, 2005, 53, 145; Quesada and Rojas 1999, 37). Other peoples, such as the Bugle, Ette, Ngobe, and Teribe, refer to it using specialized suffixes (Constenla 2007, 87, 205; Le Carrer 2013, 92; Niño Vargas 2018, 214; Solís 1989, 144). Languages with classifiers clearly indicate the limits of the order (Le Carrer 2013, 92; Krohn 2014, 23; 2015, 222; Niño Vargas 2009, 84; Portilla 1999, 56). It comprises all kinds of plants, including wild palms and vines, cultivated trees and bushes, and even some other minor life forms such as mosses, fungi, and lichen. In order to belong to the group, entities must be alive, grow vertically, and have some connection to the earth. This explains why felled trees and fruit off the tree are excluded. A great deal of evidence suggests that the plant order is defined metaphorically. Plants have physical forms and undergo life processes that are analogous, though not identical, to those of humans. From the Chibchan point of view, the most remarkable commonalities between the orders are their anatomical completeness and their tendency to adopt upright postures. Like men and women, wild trees and cultivated plants have long, slender bodies organized around a vertical trunk, from which a number of extremities extend. Bribri-, Cabécar-, Ette-, and Ngobe-speakers emphasize the importance of these formal attributes for humans and plants (Krohn 2014, 222, 230; Le Carrer 2013, 92, 99; Niño Vargas 2018, 213–220).

46  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas Many practices and representations make sense once the metaphorical nature of the vegetal order is recognized. Plants are “good to think with”, as Lévi-Strauss would say, not because they possess any human essence, but as the result of shared formal features that make them comparable to men and women. Bribri and Cabécar healers conceptualize the body of their patients as an inverted tree and try to cure them in keeping with that image (Bozzoli 1988). The Kuna believe that plant souls are similar to those of humans, although they rarely appear in an anthropomorphic form (Nordenskiöld 1938 344). The peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta use certain botanical species as heuristic models to interpret their territorial, demographic, and social patterns (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 155). The Ngobe draw parallels between the maturation of plants and people’s coming of age in order to perform the necessary rites of passage, which indeed receive the name of a weed (Le Carrer 2010). The metaphorical nature of the plant order allows it to embrace the notion of suprahumanity. Trees and plants are often thought of as a sacred alterity, a collective older and stronger than humanity. Hence, the divine features of flora and the floral features of divinities. The Ette and the Kuna compare the tallest forest trees to powerful entities, and argue that only the wood of these species is suitable for the carving of ritual statuettes (Martínez, this volume; Niño Vargas 2018, 399–403). According to the Bribri and Cabécar, the most important god of Talamanca, Sibo, emerged from an enormous tree (Jara and García 1997, 19). Their beliefs recall those maintained by the Kogi and the Ika of the Sierra Nevada, who identify the Universal Mother Gaulchovang with a ceiba and several great heroes as Zinkala and Nakutche with trees and forests (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 204; Tayler 1997, 130–133). The divine nature and celestial origin of the most-loved cultivated plants can be added to these examples (Constenla 1996, 28; Fortis 2012, 63–64; Osborn 1995, 131–132; Preuss 1993 (2), 26–27). The high value assigned to this order seems to be both cause and consequence of the great achievements of the Chibcha in the field of agriculture. This is not the place to elaborate on this subject, but it is worth remembering that these peoples are outstanding agriculturalists, consider agriculture the noblest of tasks, and allow both men and women to participate in it (Beckerman 1983; Morales 1975; Niño Vargas 2018, 405–600; Osborn 1995, 43–65; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1999, 28–49; Stone 1962, 11; Young 1971, 60–81). In short, they are quite different from many South American Lowland societies where the image of the male hunter overshadows that of the female horticulturist. The metonymic humanity The third and final order encompasses a great number of beings and things that are unrelated from a Western point of view: wild animals and household pets, local artifacts and foreign commodities, plant fruits, and mineral

An Amerindian humanism  47 formations. What unifies this heterogeneous set is entirely evident in the eyes of the Chibcha, as demonstrated by the existence of specific terms to designate it. Bugle-speakers call it yé (Margery 1993, 93); the Bribri íyiwak (Margery 2005, 41); the Ette kiirikragga (Niño Vargas 2018, 220); the Ngobe jadrön (Le Carrer 2013, 94, 98); the Kuna inmar (Fortis 2012, 53–54); and the Teribe zhëbó (Constenla 2007, 226, 232). For reasons that will be explained below, the English word creatures is a good candidate to refer to these entities. The etymology of the names assigned to this order offers clues to its defining characteristics. “Creatures” are conceived of as non-human entities of an uncertain nature. The Ette word kiirikragga and the Teribe word zhëbó provide insight, since they express an identical idea despite their obvious phonological dissimilarities. The particles kiiri and zhë refer to beings and things deprived of personhood and whose exact identity is unknown: they are used as interrogatives to ask “what”, as negatives to express “nothing”, and as nouns to note the existence of “something” (Constenla 2007, 226, 232; Niño Vargas 2018, 220). To that extent, they complement and stand in opposition to other expressions used to inquire “who”, to assert “no one”, and to refer to “someone”, that is to say, to talk about a real but unidentified person. Data from other Chibcha languages could provide similarly convincing evidence. The Chibchas make sense of the heterogeneous order of creatures using morphological criteria. Non-human beings are classified by their shapes, regardless of their animal, plant, or mineral nature (Krohn 2014, 218–222; Le Carrer 2013, 91–93; Margery 2004, xlvi; Niño Vargas 2009, 83–34; Orán and Wagua 2012, 211; Portilla 1999, 55–50; Solís 1989, 142; see Table 2.1). Thus, the order includes large and wide entities such as mammals, calabashes, and canoes; long and thin entities such as herons, arrows, plantains, and bones; small and round entities such as tortoises, cotton balls, papayas, and stones; and flat and slight entities such as cockroaches, papers, and ears. It should be noted that fruit and body parts excluded from other orders are welcomed here as creatures. The glue that binds this very diverse order together is metonymic. Humans and creatures seem to share a bond similar to that which connects a whole to its parts. Like components of a more inclusive unit, these beings and things do not enjoy the benefits that completeness brings. Lacking transparent anthropomorphic bodies, they are distributed among suborders on the basis of their predominantly large, long, round, or flat shapes. This helps clarify the seemingly enigmatic commingling, within a single community, of animals, artifacts, and minerals, on the one hand, along with fruit and human organs, on the other hand. All of them are perceived as component parts of a more fundamental whole. The metonymic nature of this order explains the polyvalent relationship which humans establish with non-humans, at once reflecting superiority, opposition, and contiguity. The boundary that separates humans from

48  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas creatures is diffuse in Chibchan worlds. In no case does the concession of equivalence reach the extreme of situating them on the same level in a physical or a moral sense. Several examples can be cited. The Bribri hold that people resembled animals in every sense other than the savage behavior of the latter, which is the trait that led them to stoop down and walk on four limbs (Jara and García 1997, 33). The Ette describe the bodies of beasts and artifacts as impoverished human anatomies (Niño Vargas 2018, 223–227). To the Kuna, humans are different from animal species, not because they have a particular kind of soul, but due to having a larger number of them (Nordenskiöld 1938, 338). The Uwa reject any categorical distinction between humans and animals, explaining the difference between them in terms of sexual maturity and immaturity (Osborn 1995, 219). At the other extreme from plants, creatures support the notion of infrahumanity. The metonymic process set in motion to define their order turns them into a diminished humanity, onto which negative values may be projected. Chibcha mythology makes this clear, depicting animals as beings engaged in acts that humans should never commit (Martínez 2011, 142; Niño Vargas 2018, 181). Bari, Bribri, and Ette oral traditions hold that beasts were reduced to a lesser condition due to their indecency, and specify the sins they committed in the past. A Bribri man called Armadillo was transformed into the first armadillo after having stolen a handful of sacred seeds (Jara and García 1997, 65); an Ette woman named Agouti was forced to take the form of an agouti because of her cannibalistic tendencies (Niño Vargas 2018, 961–978); the pigs kept by the Bari were turned into household pets as punishment for their slothfulness (Galvis 1995, 40).

The transformation of the universe While Adolfo Constenla (1990, 67) must be acknowledged for pointing out the diffusion of cosmic transformations among the Chibcha, Enrique Margery (1994, 25) should be recognized for noticing some of their distinctive features. According to them, the myths and beliefs maintained by these peoples were not strictly concerned with cosmogony. Far from being the result of a series of creative acts, the universe is the unfinished product of a chain of transformative processes. Although cataclysms were among the forces of change, they did not form part of a cyclical and reversible conception of time such as those found in Mesoamerica and the Andes. The ontological schema outlined above may help to clarify the motifs identified by Constenla and Margery. The Chibcha seem to have conceived of the human world as a transitory state, repeatedly attained and abandoned by means of humanizing and dehumanizing processes (Figure 2.4). The principles of order and change that govern Chibchan universes emerge from one and the same ontological foundation. Time passes and transformations occur as a result of generative and degenerative forces leading to human climax. During periods of generation, true humanities arise

An Amerindian humanism  49 Human present Real humans



zat io ni



ani z um




d e h

on ti


Metaphoric humans

Metonymic humans

Divine past

Bestial future

Figure 2.4 The transformations of the cosmos.

from metaphorical human states, while during periods of degeneration, these same true humanities sink into metonymical human states. The opening phases are associated with the domain of divinities, the order of plants, and former times. The concluding ones are related to the realm of beasts, the order of creatures, and times to come. Reality is transformed following a series of pre-established steps that engender the irreversible effects of time. The divine and vegetal past The operation used to define the plant order and the notion of suprahumanity is also applied to conceptualizing the primordial states of the cosmos. The past reflects the present without being equated to it. It hyperbolizes and inverts its features, producing an enhanced and mirrored image of current times. The worlds and beings that precede the arrival of true humanity are endowed with a predominately divine and vegetal nature. The sacred and floral aura of the past is evident in Chibcha mythology. Many actions committed by divinities in primordial times occurred in the shadow of a majestic plant. The mighty Sibo created the world by planting an enormous tree at the center of the Cordillera de Talamanca (Stone 1962, 56). The four sons of Mother Gaulchovang performed a similar act when they created the first temple at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 204). It is true that similar motifs are also known far from the Isthmo–Colombia Area. Nevertheless, it is worth noting its relevance among Chibchan speakers (Chapin 1989, 64–70; Constenla 1996, 28; Galvis 1995, 96; Guevara 2014, 99; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1945, 9). The Bari, Kuna, and Ette peoples provide another, more compelling illustration of the divine and vegetal nature of the past. Inhabitants of lowland forests, these peoples believe that they originally lived in a verdant jungle in the sky. The Bari describe it as a paradisiacal woodland that they were deprived of when they arrived on earth (Alcácer 1964, 94). To the Kuna it was a place graced with golden and silver trees from which all humans emerged

50  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas (Chapin 1989, 152). The Ette say that it was a prosperous realm where they led a delightful life before being expelled to the plains of Ariguani (Niño Vargas 2018, 148). The forces of change that abolish the past and prompt the emergence of the present must bridge a gap. The passage of time supposes the abandonment of a metaphorical human state in order to reach a truly human one. The Chibcha have taken advantage of their long experience as agriculturists to reflect on this transition. The transformative techniques of shifting cultivation seem to have helped them to envision the processes of humanization. The Chibcha compare the origin of the present world to the clearing of a field for cultivation. Although such myths may differ in hundreds of details, they concur that human existence began with the felling of the great primordial tree. According to them, people followed the advice of a deity and agreed to cut down the enormous hardwood. After a great deal of effort, the trunk finally came crashing down, shaping the surface of the earth and inaugurating the present era. The collapse of the tree produced the seas on both sides of the mountains of Costa Rica (Jara and García 1997, 51–56), the coast and the estuaries of the Panama Isthmus (Chapin 1989, 64–70), and the rivers that descend from the Serrania de Perijá (Galvis 1995, 96). The seeds that it dispersed over the topsoil introduced the Bribri to the art of agriculture (Guevara 1986 (1), 124–128), allowed the Ette to cultivate their lands (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1945, 9–10), and acquainted the Kuna with cultigens theretofore unknown to them (Chapin 1989, 65). The fall of the great tree marked the end of an idyllic vegetative existence and initiated a new one marked by the joys and sorrows of earthly human life. While the felling of the primeval tree made the emergence of the world possible, sowing crops led to the genesis of its most important inhabitants. Myths liken people to seeds and compare the rise of humankind with the process of germination. The Bribri and the Cabécar emerged from grain sown by the great Sibo (Stone 1962, 54); the Bari sprung from pineapples cut into slices by the mighty Samaydogira (Galvis 1995, 34–35); and the Ngobe sprouted from the earth in the form of vegetables (Séptimo and Joly 1986, 19). The identities of human seeds vary in keeping with the crop preferences of each people. Cacao and maize are common in Central America, sometimes within the same group (Bozzoli 1986, 30; Guevara 1986 (1), 108). As one moves closer to South America, maize becomes more important and cacao virtually disappears (Niño Vargas 2007, 90; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (2), 46–47). Analogies with other species are not unusual, but they are limited to circumscribed areas (Neglia and Bruce 1974, 81–82; Preuss 1993 (1), 94; (2), 27). The widespread motif of germination is understandable as it evokes a transition between two apparently discontinuous conditions. Recent research in linguistics has traced a path parallel to what has been opened up to this point (Pache 2016). The human body has been proven to be a priviliged semantic domain from which anatomical terms are projected

An Amerindian humanism  51 to plant parts. Chibchan languages not only don’t conform to this tendency but do just the opposite. Names for human body elements are borrowed from plant anatomy, not the other way around (2016, 449). Humans emerge from flora both linguistically and ontologically. The human and cultivated present Halfway between a divine past and a bestial future, the present is thoroughly human. The emergence of a world brimming with humanity marks the climax of transformative cosmic processes. This is a time dominated by beings endowed with personhood, populated by civilized entities, and supported by relations of subjection. The human nature of present worlds can be easily discovered in the faces of its main inhabitants. Gods and humans look alike and lead the same way of life. The architects of the Maléku universe never appear in any form other than human and always wear traditional dress (Constenla 1993, 24). A transparently male anthropomorphic deity dominates the Bari (Galvis 1995, 34), Bribri (Guevara 1986 (1), 115), Bugle (Margery 1994, 25), Ette (Niño Vargas 2007, 70), and Kuna worlds (Nordenskiöld 1938, 435). This picture acquires more nuances in the Sierra Nevada, where a complex pantheon of male divinities is organized around a great cosmic mother (Preuss 1993 (1), 95–107). The differences between gods and mortals turn out to be of degree, not of nature. United by a common human condition, they are distinguished by their hierarchical positions. The languages of politics and kinship are used to talk about their relations. The Bribri and the Cabécar bestow the title of king on the great Sibo (Jara 1993, 107). The Ette use the terms master and father to describe the ties that bind them to the god Yaau (Niño Vargas 2018, 209). The Ika, Kogi, and Wiwa live in a country covered by an intricate network of sacred fathers and mothers, many of them with kinship ties to themselves (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (2), 88–92, 113–115). As their names and titles reveal, the relationship between divinities and humans is analogous to the asymmetrical links between chiefs and vassals, parents and children, and owners and things. Like its principal inhabitants, the present reality is predominantly human. The current state of the world results from intentional actions carried out by rational beings. The Cordillera de Talamanca, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy reflect the architectural skills of the gods, who built them as temples and dwellings (González and González 1989; Osborn 1995, 74; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975). The forests of Costa Rica and northern Colombia are the product of agricultural activities conducted by divinities (Guevara 1988, 7–15; Niño Vargas 2018, 282–289). The oceans and mountains of the Isthmus of Panama are populated by spirits devoted to raising sea and land animals (Martínez 2011, 129–166; Morales 1993, 173).

52  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas As may be seen, Chibchan worlds are composed of domains civilized by gods and mortals. The former are the masters of forests and seas, and as such, they protect the wild flora and fauna. The latter are the owners of houses and gardens, controlling cultivated plants, household animals, and everyday objects. They both perceive their respective domains and treat their respective creatures from a human point of view. Bribri, Ette, and Uwa beliefs illustrate this point well, as they detail how certain deities see, think, and act as agriculturalists and artisans. The Uwa deity Ruwahama sows animal substances on the earth as though they were seeds (Osborn 1995, 172), the Bribri spirit Dwälok harvests fruits and vegetables that humans view as prey (Guevara 1988, 9), and the Ette god Yaau makes furniture and artifacts out of wild beasts (Niño Vargas 2018, 309–318). Unlike similar beliefs described in North America and Amazonia, this Chibchan version of perspectivism owes more to agricultural labor of subjection than to hunting activities of predation (Århem 1993; Fausto 2001; Surrallés 2003). The completeness that defines humans and the metonymic nature of creatures legitimizes the power of the former over the latter. Humans are superior to animals and things, and they are related to them as a whole is to its parts. This relationship of superiority and contiguity results in a mode of relation based on the notion of subjection. The inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada brilliantly describe this polyvalent bond: on the one hand, they reject any categorical distinction between them and animals, while on the other hand, they assert that those beings have always been subject to their authority (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 241). The Kuna follow similar reasoning when they say that they are very similar to the beasts, and at the same time maintain that the lot of the beasts is to serve humans (Nordenskiöld 1938, 339, 343). This being the case, the term creature seems appropriate for referring to non-humans: in addition to designating real entities without specifying their identity, it points to the asymmetrical nature of the ties that they have with superior beings. The subjection exercised by gods and mortals is precisely what makes the world a fully human domain. The divinities civilize the mountains and forests through acts of creation, domination, and protection, identical to those carried out by mortals in their fields and houses as they perform agricultural, ­ architectural, and artistic tasks. Both the possession of an anthropomorphic body and the capacity to exercise subjection would seem to distinguish humanity. The dominant position attributed to humans is well suited to the Isthmo– Colombian Area. Here, as archaeology, ethnohistory, and anthropology have taught us for decades, shamans are eclipsed by caciques (Langebaek and Cardenas 1996). Given that the former have traditionally been defined as “specialists in communication”, it seems appropriate to refer to the latter as “specialists in subjection”.

An Amerindian humanism  53 The bestial degeneration of the future The Chibcha use a metonymic operation to define the future. For them the relation between the present times and the times to come is analogous to that between an original whole and its fragmented parts. The forthcoming worlds are no more than an impoverished reflection of present conditions: decadent and infrahuman states associated with animal and inert forms of existence. The opposition between a beloved present and an abominable future is easily detected in Chibchan religious life. The fear that humanity will disappear as a result of cataclysms is ubiquitous, as are ritual mechanisms to impede such catastrophes (Constenla 1996, 24). Colombian highland societies such as the Kogi and the Uwa follow a strict ceremonial calendar intended to guarantee the succession of seasons and avoid the destruction of the earth (Osborn 1995, 132; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (2), 82, 94–107, 186). The occurrence of seemingly chaotic events induces lowland peoples, such as the Ette and the Maleku, to contact their deities and implore them to intercede for their future (Constenla 1993, 39; Niño Vargas 2008). In both cases, their efforts are focused less on altering the course of these changes than on slowing them down. The degenerative processes entailed by the passage of time explain the closeness between the order of creatures and the times to come. The Chibcha believe that current animal species descend from earlier humanities fallen from grace. The key characters of myths holding zoological names were real men and women subsequently converted into beasts (Jara and García 1997, 33, 47; Niño Vargas 2007, 301; Osborn 1995, 219, 240). The ex-human condition attributed to fauna may also extend to minerals, particularly in highland societies familiar with rocky terrain (Brettes 1903, 332; Tayler 1997, 58). The true humanity embodied by the Chibcha is condemned to becoming a metonymic infrahumanity represented by animals, artifacts, and stones. Moral perversion unleashes human degradation, which, in turn, unleashes physical corruption. Animal metamorphosis synthesizes both the moral and the physical process, generally beginning with antisocial behavior and concluding with corporal disfiguration. Indecent people are reduced to creatures through the addition or subtraction of intellectual faculties and body organs. The monkeys of the Serrania de Perijá descended from a restless and uneasy Bari man after spirits known as Chigbarí placed wild cotton on his face and pierced him with a dry branch to serve as his tail (Galvis 1995, 41–42). The armadillos of Ariguani are the offspring of a crazy Ette woman, whose head was replaced with a whistle (Niño Vargas 2018, 979–981). The evil fauna of Talamanca comes from the extremities of a wicked Bribri named Sorluka, whose body was broken into pieces as ­ a punishment (Jara and García 1997, 31). It is now quite understandable why Chibcha are so deeply anguished by their young people’s abandonment

54  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas of tradition (Beisswenger 2001, 76; Constenla 1993, 141–143; Margery 1994, 75–100; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (2), 82). The Chibcha emphasize the degrading nature of animal metamorphosis by different means. The tragedy that implies the loss of humanity is frequently expressed by descending movements. The Kuna explain the zoomorphic traits of several beings as a consequence of their fall from the great primordial tree (Chapin 1989, 68). The Ette believe that some people were converted into beasts after having been thrown to the ground from a hammock (Niño Vargas 2014, 121). The Uwa claim that some men and women acquired animal features while running down mountains (Osborn 1990, 33). Other peoples prefer to explain the same transition as a consequence of military defeats and divine punishments. Wars fought by the Ngobe at the beginning of times ended with the transformation of the vanquished into stones (Séptimo and Joly 1986, 69). The gods of the Bribri, the Kuna, and the Ette turned their opponents into animals as a response to their misbehavior (Chapin 1989, 15; Jara and García 1997, 91–96; Niño Vargas 2007, 106, 302). The degenerative processes always end disastrously. Several myths illustrate the irreversible nature of animal metamorphosis. Their human protagonists end up inexorably reduced to beasts. This was the case of the infamous Kashindua, a priest of the Sierra Nevada who engaged in cannibalism, lost his better judgment, turned into a jaguar, and was hunted down by his erstwhile peers (Preuss 1993 (2), 40–44). Other narratives dealing with animals who try to infiltrate human society have a similar moral, since these beings always fail in their attempts. Some Bugle and Ngobe tales provide good examples, telling how certain birds intended unsuccessfully to marry women because they were irresistibly driven to climb trees and eat wild fruits (Constenla 1982, 107; Margery 1994, 150). Unlike the classic shamanistic transubstantiation reported in Amazonia and Siberia, there is no way back in Chibchan metamorphosis, as other researchers have recently noted (Halbmayer 2019). The transformation of humans into animals is part of a general movement of change with a well-defined beginning and end. The abandonment of a human present for an animal future is part of an irreversible process of humanization and dehumanization. This explains why Chibchan peoples feel the need to affirm their central place in the world and preserve balance in the universe.

A Teribe afterword Part of what makes myths so compelling is their ability to communicate complex messages using simple language. A Teribe story illustrates this perfectly by synthesizing, and at the same time confirming, the principal ideas proposed up until now (Beisswenger 2001, 60–61). Long ago, so the story goes, a mysterious male, a presumed divinity, gave some squash seeds to an old woman, seeds that were expected to grow humans. Following the instructions he had given her, she planted them and two pretty girls emerged

An Amerindian humanism  55 from the ground. Even though she cared for these children as well as she could, one day they escaped to the river, where they were transformed into snakes. The two reptiles grew so large that when they slithered and swam, the river overflowed its banks and caused the earth to flood. Faced with this disaster, the people of that place saw no solution but to kill the beasts in order to avoid a catastrophe. The principles that govern Chibchan universes can be easily discerned in this short myth. The story involves entities belonging to the three ontological orders identified above. As humans, the woman and the girls are the protagonists, while plants and animals, represented by squash and snakes, play supporting roles. The plot plays out in keeping with the forces that steer the cosmos. The girls appear as a result of a divine gift and a vegetal germination, they grow under the care of humans in a civilized world, and they finally descend to the river, where they are transformed into animals and violently slain. It is the responsibility of all humankind, represented by anonymous men and women, to maintain order in the universe and prevent disasters and cataclysms. Chibchan universes and Teribe myths play out in a game of mirrors: they are reflections of a single ontological schema. Both conform to an alignment of anthropocentric and anthropomorphic principles. Humans occupy a doubly privileged position. On the one hand, they stand at the heart of the world and the climax of time processes; on the other hand, they define non-human beings and non-present times by means of a derivational operation. A primary humanity embodied by men and women unfolds to reveal two secondary humanities: a hyperbolic and metaphorical humanity, linked to the divine, to flora, and to the past, and another one that is diminished and metonymical, linked to the impure, to fauna, and to the future. Coinciding with these disparate values, transformative processes lead incessantly to the generation and degeneration of true humanities. The humanizing movements are thought of as vegetal germination, while dehumanizing movements are understood as animal metamorphoses. The idiosyncrasy of Chibchan peoples becomes apparent. As representatives of the only true humanity and inhabitants of a cosmos subjected to irreversible processes of humanization and dehumanization, these peoples are aliens to, both, the animic worlds frozen in time and the analogic universes condemned to the eternal return. True humanity is neither the underlying universal condition postulated by Amazonian societies, nor the heterogeneous domain experienced by Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations. Likewise, the present world is neither a sempiternal stage subsequent to a recent mythical period, nor an ephemeral state governed by the mechanics of cyclical calendars. The Chibcha see themselves as a humanity that occupies a central but transitory position in the universe, a humanity with divine roots but inevitably destined for animality, a humanity subject to irreversible processes but capable of delaying the calamitous changes to come.

56  Juan Camilo Niño Vargas Chibcha humanism can certainly be seen as a bridge between Amazonian animism and Mesoamerican and Andean analogism. We ought to explore this possibility, but in doing so we should not lose sight of the stability and independence of this schema. Rather than a cultural isthmus between two great land masses, it deserves to be seen as a tectonic plate, firmly anchored in that complex transformational system that we call the Americas.

Note 1 As is common in the Amerindian world, Chibchan societies have been given different names. In order to avoid confusion, the ethnonyms that will be used in this chapter are listed below, with the most common alternatives in parentheses: Bari (Dobocubi, Motilón), Bugle (Bocota), Brunka (Boruca), Bribri (Talamanca), Cabécar (Chirripo), Ette (Chimila), Ika (Arhuaco, Bintukua), Kankuamo (Atanquero), Kogi (Kagaba), Kuna (Cuna, Guna, Tule), Maleku (Guatuso), Ngobe (Guaymi, Movere, Ngäbere, Nove), Muisca (Chibcha), Pech (Paya, Seco), Rama, Teribe (Naso, Teraba, Terraba), Wiwa (Arsario, Damana, Guamaka, Malayo, Sanka), and Uwa (Tunebo).

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Languages of the Isthmo– Colombian Area and its southeastern borderland Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald1

Introduction The aim of this contribution is twofold. First, we give a brief overview of those languages and language families spoken by the indigenous peoples treated in the present volume:2 Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa (Cariban), and Wayuunaiki or Guajiro (Arawakan) (Figure 3.1). For the sake of convenience, these languages are discussed according to nine formal and three functional features. Second, we trace information on contact in the southern

Figure 3.1 The distribution areas of Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki. Map created by Arjan Mossel, based on data from Constenla Umaña (2012, 394) and Simons and Fennig (2017).

62  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Isthmo–Colombian Area between the peoples in question by comparing Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki along these lines. The features along which Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki will be presented here have already proven to be relevant in the comparison of indigenous languages of South, Central, and Mesoamerica in previous studies (e.g. Adelaar 2012; Campbell 2012; Constenla Umaña 1991; O’Connor 2014; Urban et al. 2019). While Table 3.1 shows the formal features in question, covering the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the languages in question, Table 3.2 illustrates the functional features that will be addressed. (Explanations of these features for non-linguists will be given in the subsection “Chibchan languages”.) In addition to these typological traits and wherever appropriate, we will present other coincidences between Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki, such as loanwords, which likewise bespeak contact between the respective populations. The chapter is organized as follows: we present Chibchan first, the most widespread indigenous language family of the Isthmo–Colombian Area as a whole. We then present and discuss Chocoan languages, and a Cariban language, Yukpa. We finally consider some core features of Wayuunaiki, an Arawakan language. We conclude with a short summary of the main characteristics of the languages treated, and a discussion of some differences and commonalities between them. As it turns out, Chibchan languages share several relevant formal and functional features with Chocoan languages that seem to reflect repeated periods of contact in the past, while Table 3.1 Formal linguistic features considered in this chapter Feature 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Voiced versus voiceless stops Plain versus aspirated stops Flap versus trill Nasal vowels Suffixes Prefixes Reduplication as a productive morphological device Order of possessor and possessed Constituent order in transitive clauses

Table 3.2 Functional features considered in this chapter Feature 1 2 3

Nominal classification: numeral classifiers (shape) and class terms Gender in pronouns/demonstratives Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable)

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  63 Wayuunaiki stands as an outlier in several respects among the languages of the southern Isthmo–Colombian Area.

Chibchan languages Both in terms of the area covered and of speaker numbers, Chibchan is the largest indigenous language family in the Isthmo–Colombian Area at present. Chibchan languages are spoken from eastern Honduras to western Venezuela. The family as it is known today was established by different authors, starting at the end of the 19th century (e.g. Herzog 1886; Uhle 1890) and confirmed in the 1980s (Constenla Umaña 1981; Holt 1986). Table 3.3, based on Quesada (2007, 34–35), gives an overview of the different languages, the present-day countries in which they are or were spoken, and the speaker numbers of living languages. Speaker numbers vary greatly, from some 150,000 persons for Guaymí, which has the largest number of speakers at present (Quesada 2007, 34), to Rama that is threatened with extinction (Craig 1992), with others having actually ceased to be spoken altogether. Table 3.3 Overview of Chibchan languages. Speaker numbers from Quesada (2007, 34–35) Language


Number of speakers

Atanques Barí, Motilón Bocotá, Buglere Boruca, Brunca Bribri Cabécar Chánguena Chimila, Ette taara Damana, Arsario, Sanká, Malayo, Marocasero, Guamaca Dorasque (Chumulu, Gualaca) Duit Guatuso, Maleku Guaymí, Ngäbe, Ngäbére, Move, Movere Huetar Ika, Bintucua, Arhuaco Kogi, Kogui, Cágaba Kuna, Guna Muisca, Chibcha Nutabe Pech, Paya Rama Teribe/Térraba, Naso Tunebo, Uw Cuwa

Colombia Colombia, Venezuela Costa Rica, Panama Costa Rica Costa Rica Costa Rica Panama Colombia Colombia

Extinct (?) 2,500 2,500 1 6,000 2,500 Extinct 2,000 2,800

Panama Colombia Costa Rica Costa Rica, Panama

Extinct Extinct 365 150,000

Costa Rica Colombia Colombia Colombia, Panama Colombia Colombia Honduras Nicaragua Costa Rica, Panama Colombia, Venezuela

Extinct 8,000 7,000 70,000 Extinct Extinct 600 24 1,500 1,800 (Colombia)

64  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Formal features of Chibchan languages In what follows, we will briefly describe some formal features of Chibchan. Voiced versus voiceless stops Many Chibchan languages make a phonemic distinction between voiced and voiceless stops, that is, the meaning of a word might change depending on the voiced or voiceless quality of certain consonants. This is illustrated by the minimal pair tʊ̂ ‘yes’ versus dʊ̂ ‘mud’ in Bribri (Coroma dialect) (Chevrier 2017, 69).3 The distinction between voiced and voiceless stops also existed in Proto-Chibchan (Constenla Umaña 1989; Pache 2018). In modern Chibchan languages, it does not necessarily occur in all articulation points. The Bribri and Cabécar phoneme /k/, for instance, has no voiced counterpart phoneme /ɡ/ (Chevrier 2017, 60; Margery Peña 1989, xxxix). A phoneme /ɡ/ is also wanting in Barí, Chánguena, Dorasque, Pech, Tunebo, and probably in Nutabe. Among the voiceless stops in modern Chibchan languages, /p/ is not found in Barí, Bocotá, Boruca, Guaymí, and Tunebo (cf. Pache 2018). This development may have articulatory reasons. Plain versus aspirated stops Voiceless aspirated stops contrasting with non-aspirated stops are found in Teribe/Térraba (Constenla Umaña 2007, 11; Quesada 2000, 15). The phonemic status of Térraba aspirated stops is illustrated here by the minimal pair /tɪ/́ ‘kick’ versus /thɪ/́ ‘tilled field’ (Constenla Umaña 2007, 11). Flap versus trill In terms of vibrants, some Chibchan languages make a phonemic distinction between a flap /ɾ/ and a trill /r/.4 This contrast occurs in Guatuso (Constenla Umaña 1998, 8), Damana (Trillos Amaya 2000, 750), and possibly also in Pech (Holt 1999, 16). An example from Guatuso is /uːɾo/ ‘war’ versus /uːro/ ‘buzzard’ (Constenla Umaña 1998, 10). Nasal vowels In several Chibchan languages, both of South and Central America, vowel nasality is phonemic. This is illustrated by the near-minimal pair kúʔ ‘tongue’ versus kũ̂ ‘louse’ in Bribri (Coroma dialect) (Chevrier 2017, 599, 606). Additionally, in Bribri and Cabécar, there is no phonemic nasal/oral contrast in voiced stops; their orality or nasality depends on the nasality or orality of the following vowel, for instance in Bribri (Amubre dialect) [bʊ̌ ʔ] ‘log’ versus [mu]́ ̃ ‘sister-in-law’ (cf. Chevrier 2017, 586). This latter phenomenon is a typologically marked feature which is also found in several languages

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  65 of Lowland South America (Constenla Umaña 1985), for instance in some languages of the Jê family of central-eastern Brazil (Pache 2018, 644). Suffixes Most bound morphemes in Chibchan languages are suffixes. An example is shown in (1) from Tunebo, where -ti indicates negation and -wa ̃ indicates the second-person singular imperative. Tunebo ̃

Prefixes Prefixes are fewer than suffixes in Chibchan languages. Among the prefixes are elements indicating valency or person, that is, how many and which participants are involved in the action. In the following example (2) from Muisca, the prefix indicates the passive, whereas indicates a second-person object. Muisca

Some words in Chibchan languages seem to contain fossilized prefixes that may originally have indicated a generic possessor. Examples are Boruca ɾ in ɾunkáx versus unkáʔ, which both mean ‘father-in-law’ in this language (Quesada Pacheco and Rojas Chaves 1999, 191), or Damana ni in nikuma ‘egg’ (Huber and Reed 1992, 260).5 Reduplication as a productive morphological device Reduplication seems to be quite lexicalized in most of the Chibchan languages where it occurs. It is found in Pech adjectives (Holt 1999, 27), in Teribe/Térraba color terms (cf. Constenla Umaña 2007, 53–54; Quesada 2000, 88–89), and in some Rama adjectives, color terms, and in certain nouns, especially in animal terms (Craig 1989, 61–62, 70–71). In Barí, Kogi, Kuna and Pech, reduplication occurs in certain verbs referring to specific movements implying repetition (Holmer 1946, 187; Holt 1999, 62; Ortiz Ricaurte 2000, 765; Pache 2014–2016). With nouns, reduplication can indicate notions of plural in Tunebo (Headland 1997, 173). In Bribri, reduplication in adjectives or color terms expresses a lower degree of intensity (Margery Peña 1982, xxvi). In Cabécar adjectives,

66  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald reduplication occurs as a strategy to indicate a lower or higher intensity of the property referred to. These different uses of reduplication with the same adjectives are illustrated in the following example (3). Cabécar

Order of possessor and possessed In Chibchan possessive constructions, the most widespread order is possessor– possessed; this is illustrated by the following example from Guaymí (4). Guaymí

The opposite order, possessed–possessor, only occurs in Bocotá and Chimila (cf. Quesada 2007, 79, 146). In some cases, an element indicating possession is inserted between the element referring to the possessor and the element referring to the possessed entity; it is fossilized in Rama upsiri ‘tears’ literally ‘water (ri) of the eye (up)’ (Pache 2018, 629). Constituent order in transitive clauses In transitive clauses, constituent order in Chibchan languages is mostly subject– object–verb (SOV).6 SOV order is illustrated in the following example, from Rama (5). Rama

Functional features of Chibchan languages In what follows, we will briefly describe some functional features of Chibchan. Nominal classification: numeral classifiers (shape) and class terms The shape of a referent may be indicated by different devices in Chibchan languages such as numeral classifiers (prefixes or suffixes) and noun class markers (suffixes) (e.g. Grinevald 2000; Pache 2016a). Productive numeral classifiers

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  67 indicating the shape of the counted objects occur in several Chibchan languages of Costa Rica and Panama; among the Chibchan languages of Colombia, Kogi, Kuna, and Chimila are the only Chibchan languages with productive numeral classifiers (cf. Holmer 1946, 189–190; 1953, 328–329;). Chibchan numeral classifiers are often derived from terms ‘stick, bone, tree’ for one-dimensional objects, ‘leaf’ for flat, two-dimensional objects, and ‘seed’ for round objects. An example from Chimila, illustrating the use of the prefixed numeral classifier for corn cobs, is given in (6). This numeral classifier ultimately derives from Proto-Chibchan *kand- ~ *kat- ‘stick, bone, tree’ (Pache 2018, 205; more examples may be found in Pache 2016a). Chimila 6 cl-two ‘two corn cobs’ (Niño Vargas 2009, 87) Some Chibchan languages have fossilized, suffixed numeral classifiers. An example is Muisca in ‘seven’ (cf. González de Pérez 1987, 162), derived from Proto-Chibchan *kwa ‘seed, fruit’ (cf. Constenla Umaña 1988; Pache 2016a). Cognate classifying elements are also attached to noun roots in other Chibchan languages; in certain instances, they may likewise relate to the shape of the entity referred to and have a derivational function. Examples from body parts in Rama are kiːŋ-kat ‘neck’, literally ‘head-stick’ and kwiːkakat ‘arm’, literally ‘hand-stick’ (Grinevald 2000, 60). Rama kat derives from Proto-Chibchan *kand- ~ *kat- ‘stick, bone, tree’ (Constenla Umaña 1988; Pache 2018, 206). Gender in pronouns/demonstratives Gender is not encoded in Chibchan pronouns or demonstratives. Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) Some languages differentiate between alienable and inalienable possession. Body-part or kinship terms for instance may fall into the category of ­inalienably possessed nouns, that is, they refer to entities which are obligatorily possessed. Bocotá seems to be the only Chibchan language to express this alienable/inalienable distinction. In the context of inalienable possession, the Bocotá possessive marker is combined with the root referring to the possessed entity as in (7). Bocotá ͡

68  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald But in the context of alienable possession, an element -ia or -ã is attached to the noun referring to the possessed entity, as in (8). Bocotá ͡ ͡

Alternatively, the element indicating the possessor follows the element indicating the possessed entity in the context of alienable possession (9). Bocotá ͡ ͡ 9 tʃuˈdu ˈtʃa no pig 1sg gen ‘my pig’ (Quesada 2007, 80) Loanwords and other parallels with surrounding languages Only a few examples of loanwords may be mentioned here: Pech and Rama share some lexical elements with the neighboring Misumalpan languages (Craig 1989, 272; Lehmann 1920, 426–457; 649–652), for instance Pech ‘sun’, which is a borrowing from Sumu, a Misumalpan language (Lehmann 1920, 650). Among the Chibchan languages of the southern Isthmo– Colombian Area, we may mention the Tunebo term for ‘bow’, ʃimaˈra. This form may be compared with Yekwana (Cariban) ʃimaːda ‘arrow’ (cf. Hall 2015) and Island Carib (Arawakan) ‘bow’ (cf.  Breton [1665] 1999, 80). Urban (2018, 41) identifies some lexical parallels of Kuna and Chocoan languages: Kuna esawala ‘iron point or harpoon (fish spear) with an iron point; heron’s beak’ was borrowed ͡ into Panamanian Emberá, where we find tʃaˈwala ‘harpoon’; another lexical parallel is Kuna kammi ‘paddle’, Northern Emberá kamisu ‘paddle; kitchen implement’.

Chocoan languages Chocoan languages are spoken in an area extending from eastern Panama to western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. At present, this language group consists of two members, Wounaan meu (Waunana) and Emberá. Wounaan meu has some 8,000 speakers living in the Colombian department of Chocó (Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 85), plus some in eastern Panama. Emberá has some 60,000 speakers and forms a continuum of different dialects mainly spoken in the Colombian departments of Chocó, but also in Antioquia, Risaralda, Córdoba, Cauca, and Nariño (Aguirre Licht 2006; Hoyos Benítez 2000, 73). In Ecuador, the Río Verde dialect of Emberá is spoken by some 1,000 people (Hoyos Benítez 2000, 73). An extinct Chocoan language from eastern Panama is Cueva ( Loewen 1954, 4–5).

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  69 Formal features of Chocoan languages In what follows, we will briefly describe some formal features of Chocoan. Voiced versus voiceless stops All Chocoan languages make a phonemic distinction between voiced and voiceless stops. An example for this phenomenon is the near-minimal pair ˈhapa ‘canoe’ versus ˈaba ‘one’ (cf. Harms 1994, 12, 53). This example is from the Epena Pedee dialect, also known as Saija, spoken in the Colombian departments of Nariño, Cauca, and Valle. In terms of Proto-Chocoan stops, Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña (1991, 166) reconstruct /*p/, /*t/, and /*b/ and /*d/, but only /*k/. In this respect, the Proto-Chocoan consonant inventory resembles that of several Chibchan languages that likewise do not have a voiced velar stop ɡ with phonemic character (see above). Wounaan meu is the only Chocoan language that has a phoneme /ɡ/ (Adelaar 2004, 58); it has a restricted distribution and does not occur word-initially (Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 87). Plain versus aspirated stops Aspirated voiceless stops have a phonemic status in Wounaan meu (Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 87) and in some Emberá dialects (Saija, Lower Baudó) (Harms 1994, 4; Pardo Rojas 1985, cited in Aguirre Licht 2006, 373). A minimal pair illustrating this phenomenon is Epena Pedee to ‘to drink’ versus tʰo- ‘to burst’ (cf. Harms 1994, 38, 156). No distinction between plain and aspirated voiceless stops has been reconstructed for Proto-Chocoan (Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña 1991, 166). Flap versus trill The opposition between the flap ɾ and the trill r is phonemic in Chocoan languages (Aguirre Licht 2006, 373); it is found in syllable-final and intervocalic position (Adelaar 2004, 58). The phonemic character of flap and trill in Epena Pedee (Saija) is illustrated by the near-minimal pair aˈwaɾa ‘other’ versus ˈwara ‘son’ (cf. Harms 1994, 59, 64). Nasal vowels Mejía Fonnegra (2000, 86) argues that there is one set of oral vowels and one of nasal vowels in Wounaan meu; a minimal pair illustrating this opposition in Waunana is /hoon/ ‘to cook’ versus /hõon/ ‘to suck’ (ibid.). Nasal vowels also exist in Emberá (cf. Aguirre Licht 2006, 373–374; Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña 1991, 142–143). For Proto-Chocoan, Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña (1991, 161) reconstruct six oral vowels (/*a/, /*e/, /*i/, /*o/, /*u/, /*ɯ/), but no nasal vowels.

70  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Suffixes Chocoan languages have several suffixes, but only few prefixes (Adelaar 2004, 59). Verbal person is indicated by unbound forms. Examples for suffixes in Epena Pedee are -pa ergative and the past tense marker -ˈhi, illustrated in (10). Epena Pedee Oblique case in Chocoan is indicated by postpositions or suffixes, for instance locative -de in Epena Pedee (Harms 1994, 72). This case marker is probably related to Proto-Chocoan ‘house’, reconstructed as *de by Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña (1991, 175). Prefixes Among the few Chocoan prefixes is ne- which can be attached to nouns and verbs and allows it to omit a direct object or possessor which is unknown or irrelevant. This element ne- can only be combined with a limited set of nouns. For instance, ne-ˈʔɨmɨ ‘egg’ and ne-ˈphono ‘flower’ are grammatical forms, whereas ne-ˈkhiɾu* ‘leaf’ is not (Harms 1994, 42). The latter examples are from the Saija variety of Emberá, Epena Pedee. The use of generic ne- with verbs is illustrated in (11), where the object which is eaten is not mentioned. Epena Pedee If the consumed object is specified – it is phata ‘plantain’ in example (10), repeated here as (12) – the generic object marker ne- is not attached to the verb ‘to eat’. Epena Pedee Reduplication as a productive morphological device Reduplication plays an important role in Epena Pedee, where it can be used as a device to indicate higher or lower degrees of intensity of a quality

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  71 referred to by an adjective. In the context of a monosyllabic word such as ˈpia ‘good’, a more intense quality is indicated if the first vowel is reduplicated and a glottal stop is inserted in-between: piˈʔia ‘very good (pretty)’. Instead, in order to indicate a lower intensity of the quality referred to, the whole stem is reduplicated, for instance in thoro-thoˈroo ‘offwhite’, derived from thoˈroo ‘white’ (Harms 1994, 39–40). This is reminiscent of what has been observed for the Chibchan language Cabécar above. Order of possessor and possessed In Chocoan possessive constructions, the order is possessor–possessed: Compare ‘language of the Waunana’ ( ‘tongue, language’), ‘my younger brother’ ( ‘younger brother’), and ‘his/her food’ ( ‘food’) in Wounaan meu (Holmer 1963, 103, 113). The Wounaan meu possessive marker is used in combination with elements indicating person (Holmer 1963, 113; Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 91).7 Constituent order in transitive clauses In Epena Pedee and in Wounaan meu, the preferred constituent order in transitive clauses is agent–object–verb (AOV) (Adelaar 2004, 59; Harms 1994, 11; Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 89). Functional features of Chocoan In what follows, we will briefly describe some functional features of ­Chocoan languages. Nominal classification: numeral classifiers and class terms (shape) There are no numeral classifiers relating to shape in Chocoan languages. However, class terms with a derivational function do exist (similar to what has been described for some Chibchan languages, see above), for instance in Emberá (Chamí): compare dau-ˈɓa ‘tear’, literally ‘eye-liquid’, or eoɾo-ˈɓa ‘mud, swamp’, literally ‘earth-liquid’ (Aguirre Licht 1999, 75). Gender in pronouns/demonstratives Gender is not encoded in Chocoan pronouns or demonstratives. Instead, Wounaan meu has specific copula verbs indicating the referent’s gender, either feminine or masculine (Mejía Fonnegra 2000, 91; Sánchez and Castro 1977, 24–25, 139). In Epena Pedee, honorific forms are generally used for masculine referents, whereas a copula verb indicating notions of diminutive

72  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald is often chosen in the context of for feminine referents (Harms 1994, 32). ͡ in Epena Pedee is illustrated in (13). The use of honorific tʃEpena Pedee ͡ Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) In Wounaan meu, Holmer (1963, 112–113) observes the following tendency: in possessive constructions that involve kinship or body-part terms, the possessed noun is frequently preceded only by the pronoun without any genitive marker. This is illustrated in (14). Wounaan meu By contrast, with alienably possessed nouns such as ‘machete’, an element is often attached to the personal pronoun, as in (15). Wounaan meu This suggests a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession in Wounaan meu. However, there seem to be exceptions, as illustrated by the form ‘his arm’ (Holmer 1963, 113), which is the same construction as in (15), although we are dealing with a body-part term which should fall into the category of inalienably possessed entities. Loanwords and other parallels with surrounding languages Different authors have remarked upon coincidences, possibly due to language contact, between Chocoan and the Barbacoan languages of southern Colombia and northern Ecuador (Adelaar 2004, 57; Lehmann 1920, 95). Parallels in basic lexicon and morphology suggest a genealogical connection between Chocoan and Yaruro or Pumé, a language of the Apure State of Venezuela (Pache 2016b). In the context of indigenous languages of the southern Isthmo–Colombian Area, Chocoan languages seem to have been donors of loanwords in several cases: the Bribri (Chibchan) term [tɛ] ‘house’ has no Chibchan etymology but derives from Proto-Chocoan *de

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  73 ‘house’; this Bribri term is used in ritual speech and shamanic chants only (Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña 1991, 139). This loan is also remarkable since the present area of distribution of the Bribri language is quite distant from the areas where Chocoan languages are presently spoken. In Chibchan, the Kogi genitive marker -ci (Ortiz Ricaurte 2000, 772) and the fossilized element si in Rama (eastern Nicaragua) upsiri ‘tears’ (see above; literally ‘water (ri) of the eye (up)’) are most reminiscent of in Wounaan meu ‘my younger brother’ (see above); the same is true for Damana (Chibchan, northern Colombia) ni in nikuma ‘egg’ (Huber and Reed 1992, 260) that may be compared, in Chocoan, with the Epena Pedee generic prefix ne- in ne-ˈʔɨmɨ ‘egg’ (see above; Pache 2018, 577).

Cariban: Yukpa This subsection deals with Yukpa, a Cariban language with several dialects, spoken by some 15,000 Yukpa, including 200 Japreria, in the Sierra de Perijá, on both sides of the Colombian–Venezuelan border (Halbmayer 2013, 228; Meira 2006; Oquendo 2004).8 The vocabulary of Japreria differs to a certain extent, even in the domain of some body-part terms (cf. Oquendo 2005); the Yukpa inventory of animal and plant terms contains several items that have no cognate counterparts in other Cariban languages (Meira 2003, 135). Formal features of Yukpa In what follows, we will briefly describe some formal features of Yukpa. Voiced versus voiceless stops There is no phonemic distinction between voiced and voiceless stops in Yukpa (cf. Robayo Moreno 2000). Plain versus aspirated stops Consonant aspiration is not phonemic in Yukpa (cf. Robayo Moreno 2000). Flap versus trill There is no phonemic distinction between a flap and a trill in Yukpa. In the Yukpa variety described by Meira (2003, 117), the only vibrant phoneme of the language is a flap /ɾ/; it is never pronounced as a trill [r]. In the context of Yukpa rhotics, it is interesting to note some correspondences between ͡ corresponds to ɾ or ɽ in different dialects: the Iroka retroflex affricate ʈʂ ͡ the Sokorpa dialect – compare Iroka woʈʂepa ‘woman’ and Sokorpa woɽepa ‘woman’ (Robayo Moreno 2000, 712–714).

74  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Nasal vowels There is no vowel nasality in Yukpa (cf. Meira 2003, 115). Suffixes Several categories are indicated by suffixes or enclitics in Yukpa. In example (16), progressive aspect is indicated by an element -po, negation is indicated by a suffix -pra. Yukpa Prefixes As in other Cariban languages, prefixes may indicate notions of person or valency in Yukpa, both on nouns and verbs. The use of a third-person prefix s- is illustrated in (17). Yukpa The use of a third-person reflexive prefix tɨ- together with a noun is illustrated in (18). Yukpa According to Niño Segovia (1999, iv) there is also a valency-reducing prefix ot-, ut-, et-, or at- in Yukpa. Reduplication as a productive morphological device Reduplication is attested in Yukpa (Anne Goletz, p.c.). For instance, reduplication occurs in the animal term kekeke ‘lizard’ (cf. Meira 2003, 121). The role of reduplication as a morphological device in Yukpa needs further investigation.

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  75 Order of possessor and possessed In possessive constructions, the order is possessor–possessed (Largo 2011, 90; Niño Segovia 1999, 23). An example is ‘man’s cloak’ ( ‘man’) (Jahn 1927, 344). Constituent order in transitive clauses In Yukpa, subject–object–verb (SOV) is the preferred constituent order in transitive clauses (Largo 2011, 88; Niño Segovia 1999, 91). In Japreria, Oquendo (2005, 194) observes that OVS and VSO are the preferred constituent orders in elicited utterances, whereas in spontaneous speech, there is more flexibility. Functional features of Yukpa In what follows, we will briefly describe some functional features of Yukpa. Nominal classification: numeral classifiers and class terms (shape) There seem to be no productive numeral classifiers or class terms in Yukpa. However, the Yukpa numerals ˈkosa ‘two’ and koˈseɾa ‘three’ (Huber and Reed 1992, 182–183) suggest the former existence of classifying prefixes in this language – the corresponding numerals in the Cariban language Carijona sakaˈnarɯ ‘two’ and seˈraurɯ ‘three’ show no traces of corresponding prefixed elements (cf. ibid.). The prefixed ko in these Yukpa numerals are formally reminiscent of Proto-Chibchan *kwa ‘seed, fruit’, the reflexes of which are used, in certain Chibchan languages, when counting small, roundish entities (see above). Gender in pronouns Gender is not encoded in Yukpa pronouns; the same forms may be used for male and female referents. Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) There seems to be a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession in Yukpa. Example (19) illustrates a case of inalienable possession in Yukpa. Yukpa

76  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Table 3.4 Some lexical similarities between Yukpa and Chibchan languages English




(Ernst Halbmayer, p.c.) , a frog or toad (Ernst Halbmayer, p.c.) (Ernst Halbmayer, p.c.)

Ika ˈaʒu, Damana aɲu, Kogi hahiˈu (Huber and Reed 1992, 172) 18th-century Barí frog (Rivet and Armellada 1950, 36) Ika məruˈkonɨ (Huber and Reed 1992, 113)

Frog Turtle

Instead, (20) illustrates a case of alienable possession, where a suffix is attached to the noun referring to the possessed entity. Yukpa 20 you car-psd ‘your car’ (Niño Segovia 1999, 23) Loanwords and other parallels with surrounding languages Yukpa shares some loanwords with surrounding languages. The Yukpa term for ‘maize’, meʔ, is reminiscent of Proto-Chocoan *ˈbe ‘maize’ (cf. Constenla Umaña and Margery Peña 1991, 181; Huber and Reed 1992, 162). Some lexical parallels with Chibchan languages are shown in Table 3.4. Whereas the ‘coca’ term may be a borrowing from a Chibchan language from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Ernst Halbmayer, p.c.), the borrowing direction is more difficult to determine for the other two terms shown in Table 3.4. The same is true in the case of Damana (Chibchan) ͡ ͡ ɨttɨna, Ika (Chibchan) aʔtʃəna, Epena (Chocoan) tʃona, and Yukpa aˈtune ‘old man’ (cf. Huber and Reed 1992, 47).

Arawakan: Wayuunaiki Wayuunaiki or Guajiro is a language spoken on the desert-like Guajira Peninsula in northeast Colombia and northwest Venezuela. It belongs to the Arawakan or Maipuran language family. Together with Lokono, an Arawakan language from the Guianas, and extinct Caquetío from the Venezuelan coast, Wayuunaiki is among the languages that are most closely related to the Arawakan languages formerly spoken on the Caribbean islands (Adelaar 2004, 116–117). The closest living relative of Wayuunaiki is Paraujano, the highly endangered language of the Añu people, some of whom still live on the western shore of Lake Maracaibo, near the city of Maracaibo and in adjacent areas (Álvarez 2009; Pérez van Leenden 2000, 791). Unlike Paraujano, Wayuunaiki has many speakers – estimations ranging from about 100,000 to more than 200,000 – which make it the most important

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  77 indigenous language of the southern Isthmo–Colombian Area in terms of speaker numbers (cf. Mansen and Captain 2000, 795; Pérez van Leenden 2000, 793). Whereas wajuː means ‘people, person’, wajuːnaiki means ‘language of the people’ (Pérez van Leenden 2000, 793). As to the etymology of a term which is frequently used to refer to the Wayuu, ‘Guajiro’, Mancuso (this volume) proposes a connection with Wayuunaiki ‘of high status, rich’. Formal features of Wayuunaiki In what follows, we will briefly describe some formal features of Wayuunaiki. Voiced versus voiceless stops The Wayuunaiki voiceless stops /p/, /t/, and /k/ have no voiced stop counterparts (cf. Mansen and Captain 2000, 796). Plain versus aspirated stops There is no contrast between plain and aspirated stops in Wayuunaiki (cf. Mansen and Captain 2000, 796). Flap versus trill Wayuunaiki makes a phonemic distinction between a flap and a trill. The quality of the flap is difficult to determine (Holmer 1949, 48); it is produced through first folding backward the tip of the tongue and then projecting it against the upper alveolars (cf. Álvarez 1994, 61–62). Nasal vowels Vowel nasality is not distinctive in Wayuunaiki (Mansen and Captain 2000, 796). Suffixes Suffixation is the main morphological device in Wayuunaiki. An example is the suffix -juː which derives groups and thereby expresses the notion of plurality. This is illustrated in toːlo-juː ‘men’, derived from toːlo ‘man’ (Mansen and Captain 2000, 797). Prefixes As in several other American Indian languages (see also above), person markers or elements encoding a generic object are among the few prefixes in

78  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Wayuunaiki: compare ekaː ‘eat’, ekiʃi ‘he eats’ and nikɨin ‘he eats it’ (Mansen and Captain 2000, 802); this element is reminiscent of the generic prefix nein Epena Pedee (Chocoan, see above). In transitive constructions, subject person may alternatively be indicated by a prefixed element or by an unbound pronoun. In the latter case, a socalled ‘zero person prefix’ a- is attached to the verb (Adelaar 2004, 122). This is illustrated in example (21), where the second person singular subject is indicated by the unbound form pia ‘you’. Wayuunaiki ͡ ͡ Instead, in example (22), person of the subject (p ɨ- ‘you’) is indicated by a verbal prefix, and there is no zero prefix. Wayuunaiki ͡ ͡ kaːʔula-ka-i 22 pɨ-jaʔla-h-eː-tʃi tʃi the.m goat- ‘You will buy the he-goat.’ (Álvarez 1994, 115) Reduplication as a productive morphological device Reduplication is found in some Wayuunaiki animal terms, for instance in aˈlaʔala ‘howler monkey’ (Huber and Reed 1992, 106) and kaˈlekale ‘parrot’ (ibid., 131). When reduplication occurs in verbs, it is iconic, for instance in sese-ta ‘to become winded’ (Ehrman 1972, 56). Order of possessor and possessed If in a possessive construction, the possessor is expressed by a noun, the latter follows the noun referring to the possessed entity, which results, for example, in the construction her-house (the) old woman, as illustrated in example (23). Wayuunaiki

Constituent order in transitive clauses The constituent order in a transitive Wayuunaiki clause is verb–subject– object (VSO). This is remarkable in the context of other Arawakan

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  79 languages, but also in the context of other indigenous languages of South and Central America which often prefer an SOV word order (cf. Adelaar 2004, 119; Campbell 2012, 272–274; Wise 1991).9 Functional features of Wayuunaiki In what follows, we will briefly describe some functional features of Wayuunaiki. Nominal classification: numeral classifiers or class terms (shape) Wayuunaiki has no system of numeral classifiers or class terms (Aikhenvald 1999, 83). Gender in pronouns Natural gender – masculine versus non-masculine – is indicated in several unbound and bound morphemes (cf. Mansen and Captain 2000; Regúnaga 2012, 84–91). The use of different elements encoding gender in Wayuunaiki is illustrated in (24). In this example, masculine gender of the boy is indi͡ cated three times, namely on the verb (-ʃi), on the demonstrative (tʃi), and on the noun, through masculine -i. Wayuunaiki ͡ 24 aːpaː-ʃi tʃi hintɨː-ka-i ti kaliːna-ka-t the.m boy- the.nm chicken- ‘The boy grabbed the chicken.’ (Mansen and Captain 2000, 804) Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) Possessive classification is a central category in Wayuunaiki, that is, the distinction between alienable and inalienable possession plays an important role in this language. Morphologically speaking, alienable possession is expressed as follows in (25). Wayuunaiki 25 su-wajuː-se10 3 nm-man-psd ‘her husband’ (Mansen and Captain 2000, 798) In (25), the term for ‘man’, wajuː, combines with an element -se, indicating the possessed status (cf. Mansen and Captain 2000, 797). In other cases, possessed forms may differ in a more unpredictable way from their non͡ ‘house’, the possessed form of relational counterparts, as for instance in piːtʃi which is -pia (cf. Adelaar 2004, 121). Forms like the latter may go back to

80  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Proto-Arawakan, given that similar alternations in cognate ‘house’ terms are largely attested in other languages of the family (cf. Aikhenvald 1999, 81). In other instances of alienable possession, generic nouns are used, leading to a construction such as ‘my-pet dog’ for ‘my dog’ (cf. Ehrman 1972, 33–34), a kind of construction which is also found in several other Lowland South American languages (Campbell 2012, 283). In inalienable possession, in contrast, the possessive marker is prefixed to the bare root, as for instance in ta-wala ‘my hair’ (Mansen and Captain 2000, 796). Remarkably, arrows seem to fall in the same category of inalienably possessed entities as body-part terms in Wayuunaiki, as illustrated by the forms hatɨ ‘arrow’ and ta-hatɨ ‘my arrow’ (cf. ibid., 798). Loanwords and other parallels with surrounding languages Few lexical parallels have been identified so far between Wayuunaiki, on the one hand, and neighboring Chibchan, Chocoan, and Yukpa, on the other hand. A possible lexical coincidence with Chocoan languages is Wayuunaiki kaˈlekale ‘parrot’, which seems to be related to ˈkhaɾe, khaˈɾe and related forms for ‘parrot’ in Chocoan languages (cf. Huber and Reed 1992, 131). Nevertheless, this Wayuunaiki–Chocoan parallel should not be over-interpreted, since similar words may also be found in geographically more remote languages such as Taruma (isolate; Brazil–Guyana border area) kariˈkari ‘parrot’ (Meira 2015). According to Uricoechea (1878, 45), lexical parallels of Wayuunaiki with other indigenous languages include Wayuunaiki ‘manioc’ (“casabe”), Cumanagoto (Cariban) ‘maize’ (cf. Spanish arepa, which refers to a kind of cornbread), and Wayuunaiki ‘sea’, Guaraní (Tupí–Guaraní) ‘sea’.

Conclusion With the overview above, we hope to have provided the reader with a first idea of some characteristics of the languages spoken by the peoples dealt with in this volume: Chibchan, Chocoan, Yukpa, and Wayuunaiki. Table 3.5 summarizes the commonalities and differences of the language groups that have been discussed above, in the domains of phonology, morphology, and syntax. Table 3.6 illustrates the functional features that have been addressed here. Some of the typological similarities observed between the languages discussed here – for instance, the distinction of flap and a trill in Chocoan, Wayuunaiki, and some Chibchan languages – may reflect local contact. The same is true for lexical parallels, such as those between Yukpa and certain Chibchan languages of Colombia (see Table 3.4 above). Other characteristics  – such as prefixes indicating verbal person or valency, or the distinction between alienable and inalienable possession – are more generally shared with languages of eastern South America: Yukpa and Wayuunaiki, for instance, indicate alienable possession in a similar way, namely by a prefixed or proclitic

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  81 Table 3.5 Parallels between the languages of the southern Isthmo–Colombian Area: formal features

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9



Chocoan Yukpa


Voiced versus voiceless stops Plain versus aspirated stops Flap versus trill Nasal vowels Suffixes Prefixes Reduplication as a productive morphological device Order of possessor and possessed Constituent order in transitive clauses





Some Some Some Yes Yes Some

Several Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Noa No No Yes Yes No

No Yes No Yes Yes No

Mostly pr– pd SOV

pr– pd

pr– pd

pd – pr




a Aspirated stops occur in some cases, but aspiration is not distinctive in Yukpa (cf. Robayo Moreno 2000).

Table 3.6 Parallels between the languages of the southern Isthmo–Colombian Area: functional features

1 2 3



Chocoan Yukpa


Nominal classification: Numeral classifiers (shape) and class terms Gender in pronouns/ demonstratives Possessive classification (alienable/inalienable)













element indicating person of the possessor and a suffix which indicates the possessed status of the possessed entity. This bracket, as it were, marking the entity in question as alienably possessed seems to be relatively widespread in South American languages, occurring in Cariban, Arawakan, Arawan, and Candoshi (cf. Payne 1990, 80–83). This coincidence is therefore not indicative of recent contact between Yukpa and Wayuunaiki. Another case is the parallel between the Muisca (Chibchan) valency-reducing prefix (related forms are widespread in Chibchan languages) and Yukpa (Cariban) valency-reducing ot- (related forms are widespread in Cariban languages). The similarity of this affix concerns form, function, and position in the verb. This parallel, however, is not indicative of recent contact between Muisca and Yukpa, since similar elements can be reconstructed for Proto-Chibchan and Proto-Cariban alike (Pache 2018, 589).

82  Matthias Pache, Sérgio Meira, and Colette Grinevald Among the languages discussed here, Wayuunaiki stands somewhat apart for some peculiarities in word order, in transitive (VSO) and possessive constructions (possessed–possessor). Also, Wayuunaiki is the only one of the languages discussed here that indicates referents’ gender in third-person markers/articles/demonstratives. Whereas the latter feature is generally shared by Arawakan languages (Aikhenvald 1999, 83), the order of constituents in the Wayuunaiki possessive constructions, which is of the type ‘his/ her-noun1 (the) noun2’, resembles possessive constructions in Mesoamerican languages (cf. Campbell et al. 1986, 545; Dakin and Operstein 2017, 3). Likewise, the VSO word order of Wayuunaiki is reminiscent of Mesoamerican languages (cf. Campbell et al. 1986, 547–548). The fact that Japreria, a Yukpa variety, shares VSO word order with Wayuunaiki may reflect relatively recent contact. A number of specific features and elements are shared by Chibchan and Chocoan languages, and within the languages of the southern Isthmo– Colombian Area, both seem to share more features and elements than any of them does with either Yukpa or Wayuunaiki. Among these are the possessive markers si and , which are reflected in Rama (Chibchan) upsiri ‘tears’ and Wounaan meu (Chocoan) ‘my younger brother’ and ni or ne-, as in Damana (Chibchan) nikuma ‘egg’ and in Epena (Chocoan) ne-ˈʔɨmɨ ‘egg’ and ne-ˈphono ‘flower’ (Pache 2018, 577–578). The parallels of Chocoan languages with Kuna (such as Northern Emberá kamisu ‘paddle; kitchen implement’, Kuna kammi ‘paddle’), Bribri (Proto- Chocoan *de ‘house’ and Bribri [tɛ] ‘house’, used in ritual speech and shamanic chants), Cabécar (reduplication of adjectives as a strategy to indicate a lower or higher intensity of the property referred to), and Teribe/Térraba (plain versus aspirated voiceless stops) may originate in a relatively recent contact situation between single languages. In the case of Bribri, Cabécar, and Térraba, this is remarkable, given the distant areas where these Chibchan languages and Chocoan languages are spoken at present. Instead, the parallels in the context of possessive markers in Chibchan and Chocoan seem to have a different origin which remains to be determined in future studies.


2 For an overview of all the language families in the area see Clados and Halbmayer, this volume.

Languages of the Isthmo–Colombian Area  83 asterisk following a word indicates an ungrammatical form. The following symbols and abbreviations are used in the glosses: -, unknown segment (in reconstructed forms), morpheme boundary; =, clitic; ., division of a gloss relating to a portmanteau morpheme; 1, first person; 2, second person; 3, third person; a, agent; aux, auxiliary; cl, classifier; def, definite; erg, ergative; fut, future; gen, genitive; gp, generic prefix; hon, honorific; imp, imperative; m, masculine; neg, negation; nm, nonmasculine; o, object; pass, passive; pd, possessed; pfv, perfective; pl, plural; poss, possessive; pr, possessor; prog, progressive; psd, possessed; pst, past; refl, reflexive; s, subject; sg, singular; ts, thematic suffix; v, verb; zp, zero person. 5 The element kuma in Damana nikuma ‘egg’ may be cognate with Boruca kúp ‘egg, testicle’ (cf. Quesada Pacheco and Rojas Chaves 1999, 153, 193). 6 In the domain of verbal person marking, SOV, OV-s or o-V-s are the most frequently attested patterns in Chibchan (Pache 2015, 83); o- means that object person is indicated by a prefix, while -s means that subject person is indicated by a suffix. 7 in Holmer’s transcription of Wounaan meu data corresponds to ɕ in Mejía Fonnegra’s (2000) analysis.

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Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy in the Isthmo–Colombian Area Ernst Halbmayer

Systematic comparative conceptualizations of kinship and clanship in the Isthmo–Colombian Area are still lacking. Data on kinship for many indigenous groups of the region are rudimentary, often inconclusive, and even contradictory. The few systematic studies that were undertaken include Young’s and Le Carrer’s work on Ngobe kinship (Le Carrer 2010; Young 1970, 1968), Margiotti’s (2009) study of Kuna kinship and, more recently, Niño Vargas’s (2017a, 2017b) still mostly unpublished research on Ette (Chimila) kinship.1 This chapter makes comparative use of existing information on kinship terminologies and marriage practices of a larger number of groups. It aims to draw some preliminary conclusions and to instigate further research on the status of kinship in the area. Among the groups under consideration are 11 contemporary Chibchan groups; the Chocoan Emberá; as well as groups associated with the wider Intermediate Area, such as the more southern Nasa (Paez) and the Barbacoan Kwaiker. First attempts to compare Chibcha kinship relied on information about Kogi, U’wa, and reconstructed Muisca kinship, as well as on axioms derived from Dravidian kinship terminologies, and the notion of cross-cousin marriage as a general principle. From such a perspective Correa (1998a) focuses on the oppositions created by the distinction between generation and relative age, between affines and cognates, as well as the role of gender. He identifies the “transformation and terminological collapse of distinct generations as expression of more inclusive social units”2 (Correa 1998a, 6). For him, the collapse of generations, the extension of more inclusive categories for consanguinity and affinity across generations, the ‘consanginization’ and terminological actualization to specify kinship are, as it seems, traits that allow us to specify the forms of social classification of these Chibcha speakers (ibid., 17) Londoño focuses on the notions of lineages and marriage circles among the same three groups and notes that the Kogi and U’wa have “moieties,

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  89 marriage alliances, and Dravidian kinship terminology” (1995, 87). He interprets the available data on descent in terms of alliance theory and marriage classes. Like Correa, he draws on the concept of Dravidian kinship when it comes to the reconstruction of Muisca kinship. Explicit references to Dravidian kinship are also found in the studies of other authors like Lizarralde and Lizarralde (2015, 842) in their description of the Barí and Osborn (2009, 228) concerning the U’wa, whereas others explicitly state that Guna (Margiotti 2009, 151) and Ette (Niño Vargas 2017a) kinship is non-Dravidian. With regard to moieties, some argue in favor of their existence (Correa 1998b; Bozzoli 1972, 1979; Osborn 2009), others against it (Guevara Berger 1986; Lizarralde and Lizarralde 2015). This chapter asks, by contrast, in how far local systems of kinship and marriage may – based on the information available – be considered as Dravidian (Dumont 1953) or, more specifically, Amazonian Dravidian (Viveiros de Castro 1993). From this perspective, a spectrum of kinship logics becomes visible. One end of the spectrum comes close to Dravidian logics involving the marriage of a category of affines that include the bilateral cross-cousins (Bribri); at the other end, local principles of kinship follow quite different logics. We find cases where not only the principle of generation is absent, but even the bifurcate merging distinction in G+1 (F=FB≠MB; M=MZ≠FZ), common to Dravidian, Iroquois, Australian, Crow, and Omaha systems, gives way to lineal and generational configurations. Thus filiation; sibling sets; and even forms of descent and genealogy, for example of priestly lines among the Kogi, may achieve importance.3 In the second part of the paper, I illustrate different ways in which kin terminologies are related to logics of marriage, to the relations of houses, clans, and the territory. Furthermore, many of the local kinship systems recombine classificatory logics that are generally associated with different kinship terminologies (see Figure 4.1). Therefore these terminologies alter the classical typology based on the following four different types (see Godelier 2012, 194f.). These are 1


bifurcate collateral systems that combine the criteria of collaterality and bifurcation and lead to Sudanese Terminologies based on the equations G+1: F≠FB≠MB; M≠MZ≠FZ≠FBW≠MBW; G0: B≠FBS≠MBS; Z≠FBD≠MZD≠FZD≠MZD; G-1: S≠BS≠DS; D≠BD≠ZD≠WZD≠WBD bifurcate merging systems that are bifurcate but not collateral and may be further differentiated into Dravidian, Iroquois, Australian, Crow, and Omaha systems All these systems rely on the following equation: G+1: F=FB≠MB; M=MZ≠FZ. Dravidian, Iroquois, and Australian systems rely additionally on the equation G0: B=MZS=FBS≠MBS=FZS; Z=MZD=FBD≠MBD=FZD.

90  Ernst Halbmayer Crow and Omaha4 terminologies, by contrast, introduce different forms of skewing of generations. In these systems paternal and maternal crosscousins are distinguished and fused differently with ascending and descending adjacent generations so that B=MZS=FBS≠MBS≠FZS Z=MZD=FBD≠MBD≠FZD. In Crow systems one refers to all females on the father’s side (an “aunt”, a “grandmother”, a “cross-cousin”, and a “female cross-cousin’s daughter”) by the same term and the category “father” expands to the FZS and the FZDS. Consequently, in Crow systems, a male Ego finds in his own generation “brothers” (B=MZS=FBS), “sisters” (Z=MZD=FBD), “aunts” (FZD[=FZ]), “fathers” (FZS[=F=FB]), “sons” (MBS[=S]), and “daughters” (MBD[=D]), and, in the generation of his children, “sons” (S=BS=MZSS=FBSS[=MBS]), “daughters” (D=BD=MZSD=FBSD[=MBD]), “nephews” (ZS=MZDS=FBDS), “nieces” (ZD=MZDD=FBDD), “grandsons” (MBDS, MBSS), “granddaughters” (MBDD, MBSD), “brothers” (FZSS), “sisters” (FZSD), “fathers” (FZDS), and “aunts” (FZDD) (see Trautmann und Whiteley 2012, 4). In Omaha systems, one refers to males on the mother’s side (a “grandfather”, an “uncle”, a “cross-cousin”, and a male cross-cousin’s son MBSS=MBS=MB) by a single cross-generational term and the category of “mother” extends to the MBD and MBSD.5 Consequently in Omaha systems a male Ego finds in his own generation “brothers” (B=MZS=FBS), “sisters” (Z=MZD=FBD), “mothers” (MBD[=M=MZ]), “uncles” (MBS[=MB]), “nephews” (FZS[=ZS]), and “nieces” (FZD[=ZD]) and in the generation of his children, “sons” (S=BS=MZSS=FBSS), “daughters” (D=BD=MZSD=FBSD), “nephews” (ZS=MZDS=FBDS), “nieces” (ZD=MZDD=FBDD), “grandnephews” (FZSS, FZDS), “grandnieces” (FZSD, FZDD), “brothers” (MBDS), “sisters” (MBDD), “uncles” (MBSS), and “mothers” (MBSD) (see Trautmann and Whiteley 2012, 5). As we will see, there are different forms of skewing in the Isthmo– Colombian Area, especially among the Barí, Iku, Kogi, and Ngobe, as well as a repetition of generations among the U’wa and Ngobe. Dravidian and Iroquois systems are distinguished by different types of crossness of secondary cousins and cross-cousin’s children (Godelier et al. 1998a; Lounsbury 1964). Trautmann and Barnes (1998) distinguish between “Type A” (Dravidian)6 and “Type B” crossness (Iroquois). Since the publication of Transformations of Kinship (Godelier et al. 1998b) it has been suggested that Dravidian and Iroquois systems distinguish not just two different types of crossness, but two opposed points in a space of 24 possible transformation paths between 16 theoretically possible variants of crossness that were conceptualized as hypercube by Tjon Sie Fat (Godelier

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  91 et al. 1998a). One variant that is situated between Dravidian and Iroquois is the system of the Chibchan Ngobe,7 in which crossness gets lost in G0 and which therefore corresponds to variant 3 of type B crossness of Trautmann and Barnes (1998, 33). The variations of Iroquois terminologies prohibit the repetition of close marriages to different degrees, which affects the terminologies in terms of the extension of the sibling category (erroneously – so Godelier – called “Hawaiization”) in G0. Godelier and Tjon Sie Fat speak of Iroquois terminologies that are generational in G0 (Godelier 2012). Such terminologies can be found in the Upper Xingu (Coelho de Souza 1992, 1995) among the Candoshi (Taylor 1998) and in the Isthmo–Colombian Area among the Ngobe (Young 1971, 1970).8 As we will see, however, the extension of the sibling category in the Isthmo–Colombian Area is not restricted to G0 but may extend to other generations and does not always occur together with more distant marriages of second or third cousins.9 Due to the rudimentary character of regional kinship studies, but also to the specific characteristics of kinship in the Isthmo–Colombian region, it is frequently impossible to situate the area’s kinship systems exactly within such a differentiated spectrum of crossness. Certain strategies among the indigenous groups, as Margiotti (2009) has shown for the Guna, make more collateral kinship ties “become ‘pale, blurred, distant’ (pollekwat)” (2009, 158) and consequently hard to remember. Secondary and tertiary cousins often remain unspecified in genealogical terms and simply become “nonkin” or strangers. Besides bifurcate collateral and bifurcate merging systems there are 3


lineal systems that are collateral but not bifurcate leading to Eskimo systems that rely on the following equations: G+1: F≠FB=MB; M≠MZ=FZ G0: B≠FBS=MZS=FZS=MBS; Z≠MZD=FBD=MBD=FZD G-1: S≠BS=ZS; D≠ZD=BD. Finally, generational systems leading to Hawaiian terminologies are built on the following equations: G+1: F=FB=MB; M=MZ=FZ G0: F=FB=MB; M=MZ=FZ=FBW=MBW G-1: S=BS=ZS

The area’s kinship terminologies combine in rather unusual ways equations that theoretically belong to different of the systems mentioned above. We find, for example, systems that combine a bifurcate collateral or Sudanese classification in G+1 with a generational or Hawaiian classification in G0. We thus enter an area where transformations or the metamorphosis of classical kinship terminologies (Godelier et al. 1998b; Godelier 2012) become important. While the transformations within bifurcate merging systems

92  Ernst Halbmayer have been a major topic in anthropological literature, transformations between the four basic systems, originally distinguished by Lowie (1928) and Kirchhoff (1932), are rarely addressed.10 In this respect we are, according to Godelier, “somewhere between so-called ‘elementary’ systems and ‘complex’ systems. (…) The CrowOmaha systems are merely a special case of these restricted exchange systems with numerous prohibitions and a long cycle” (2012, 210f.).11 In certain ways Isthmo–Colombian kinship systems are also in between “complex” and “elementary” systems. They generally do not prescribe whom to marry, but marriage practices are still not completely detached from kinship. We find several cases of non-prescriptive logics that allow alternating between close and distant marriages in various combinations. Nevertheless, as the first comparative studies on the area have stressed the Dravidian character of local kinship systems, let us first address the question in how far kinship systems in the region can indeed be considered Dravidian.

Kinship terminologies in the Isthmo–Colombian Area Does the existing information on kinship in the region correspond to basic aspects of a Dravidianate logic? Are the kinship systems based on a bifurcate merging logic? To answer these questions I have systematized information for the following 11 Chibcha-speaking groups: the Barí (Beckerman and Lizarralde 2013; Jaulin 1965; Pinton Solange 1965; Sarmiento 1969), the Boruca (Constenla Umaña 1977), the Bribri (Bozzoli 1972, 1979; Cervantes Gamboa 1993; Guevara Berger 1986; Stone 1962), the Buglé (Murillo 1988), the Cabecar (Hernández Poveda 1992), the Ette (Chimila) (Niño Vargas 2017a, 2017b), the Iku (Arenas Gómez 2016; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1991; Tayler 1997); the Kogi (Gawthorne 1985; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985), the Guna (Holloman 1976; Howe 1976, 1985; Margiotti 2009), the Ngobe (Le Carrer 2010; Young 1968, 1970), and the U’wa (Chaves Mendoza 1979; Osborn 2009). Additionally, I will include information on the Chocoan Emberá (Stipek 1976), the Nasa (Paez) (Bernal Villa 1955), and the Barbacoan Kwaiker (Osborn 1969–1972, 1974, 1991). I will look at the terminological equations in the three central generations. G+1 Interestingly, of the 1312 examples, a maximum of two and a half (Ngobe, Bribri,13 and U’wa for male relatives)14 show a bifurcate merging pattern in the first ascending generation. In contrast to such a bifurcate merging logic, we find a generational logic for U’wa female relatives. The Ngobe, described in the literature as Iroquois, are an especially interesting case. As Le Carrer (2010, 116f) shows, the Ngobe use the so far neglected suffix reda, across the central generations for kin that is not “clean” or “true” in order to mark

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  93 collaterality. “Thus a nucleus emerges that consists of a man, a woman, and their ‘their own children’ (monsodre kwe henie) and grandchildren. This kernel is the only one not to be called reda. Thus, the family unit has three generations” (ibid., 117). While the basic kin terms are bifurcate merging in G+1, the suffix reda thus introduces a lineal criterion that shifts Ngobe kinship in G+1 toward a bifurcate collateral classification. Among the Barí, Buglé, Cabecar, Ette, and Nasa (Paez) a bifurcate collateral logic prevails that establishes a kin term for every kin class (F≠FB≠MB and M≠MZ≠FZ). By contrast, lineal Eskimoan logics, where F and M are distinguished from aunts and uncles (F≠FB=MB and M≠MZ=FZ), occur in five of the 13 kinship systems, namely the Boruca, Guna, Iku, Kogi, and Emberá. We actually find more cases of lineal Eskimo (5) and bifurcate collateral classifications (5[6]) than bifurcate merging ones (2,5 [1,5]), so that the principle of linearity appears in 11 of the 13 terminologies. Linearity is obviously much more important than in Amazonian systems. G0 According to a bifurcate merging logic in Ego’s generation, in Dravidian systems we should expect the fusion of siblings and parallel cousins, as well as the distinction between younger and elder siblings. In our sample, however, only the Bribri and Cabecar distinguish cross-cousins from a category of “siblings” that includes parallel cousins. Moreover, the U’wa do so for same-sex relatives, while for relatives of opposite sexes, a generational principle applies. While in Amazonia sometimes – i.e. in about 10–12% of cases – Hawaiization or the extension of the sibling category takes place in Ego’s generation,15 in the Isthmo–Colombian Area it occurs with a significantly higher frequency. Generational equations in Ego’s generation are most common, occurring in seven of 12 cases. The generational principle and the resulting terminological indifference between siblings and parallel- and cross-cousins are generalized among the Boruca, Buglé, Ette, Guna, Ngobe, Kogi, and Nasa (Paez). As mentioned above, according to Le Carrer and in contrast to Young’s description of Ngobe kinship, the suffix reda differentiates the generational kin terms in G0 and establishes a lineal differentiation and among the Ette the adjective antari‘, meaning separated or apart, has a similar function (Niño Vargas 2017b: 3–4). Among the Kogi, Iku, and Emberá we also find lineal Eskimoan equations that distinguish siblings (Z, B) from cousins. So, we find in Ego’s generation 6,5 generational equations, 4 lineal ones, and just 2,5 bifurcate merging ones. In this context three aspects deserve further elaboration: first, the somewhat complicated case of the Barí who were not included among the groups just mentioned; second, the question of relative age; and third, a closely related issue, namely the fusion of generations. Let us first take a look at the general patterns in G−1, however.

94  Ernst Halbmayer G−1 In G−1 Dravidian and Iroquois systems fuse own children according to the speaker’s sex. While male speakers fuse their children with the classificatory brother’s children (S=BS≠ZS and D=BD≠ZD), female speakers fuse them with their classificatory sister’s children (D=ZD≠BD, S=ZS≠BS). Dravidian and Iroquois systems differ concerning the classification of cross-cousin’s children. Same-sex cross-cousin’s children are cross in Dravidian and parallel in Iroquois and cross-sex cross-cousin’s children are parallel in Dravidian and cross in Iroquois. If we look at our sample, we find two groups without any trace of crossness in G−1. These are the Nasa (Paez) and the Kogi, who distinguish only according to sex in G−1 and therefore show a generational equation. Moreover, we find a rather large number of groups with exclusive terms for own children. Among them are the Barí, the Emberá, the Boruca, the Ette, the Guna, the Iku, the Buglé, and, according to Le Carrer, at the suffix-level the Ngobe. All the groups that set their own children apart have – as has been shown – in G+1 either a bifurcate collateral or a lineal terminology, so that a lineal principle is present among these groups in G+1 and G−1. This lineal principle is part of both lineal and bifurcate collateral equations. Among the Guna and the Emberá, we find a lineal equation: all relatives in G−1 besides own children are distinguished only by sex, and among the Boruca, a single term without any differentiation of sex is applied. By contrast, among the Buglé, Ette, and Barí a bifurcate collateral equation can be found. The Buglé and the Ette use, besides the terms for own children, terms for same-sex siblings’ sons and daughters and for cross-sex siblings’ sons and daughters. Female speakers fuse cross-sex siblings’ children under a single term (Bch) among the Buglé.16 The case of the Barí is more complex and will be treated below. In all the above three cases, a bifurcate collateral distinction in G+1 is repeated in G−1. So, only the following two groups are described as showing bifurcate merging equations in G−1: the Bribri and Ngobe at the level of basic kin terms. Same-sex cross-cousin’s children are cross in Dravidian and parallel in Iroquois and cross-sex cross-cousin’s children are parallel in Dravidian but cross in Iroquois. According to these criteria, the Bribri would be Dravidian17 (Cervantes Gamboa 1993, 38, 40) and the basic Ngobe terminology would be Iroquois (Young 1968, 126f.), but with an additional suffix to mark collaterality. The available information for the Cabecares and the U’wa is inconclusive.18 In the first descending generation we thus find just one Dravidian classification (Bribri) and one described as Iroquois (Ngobe). There are 2,5 generational terminologies (Kogi, Nasa, and Cabecar female speakers), three lineal ones (Guna, Emberá, Boruca), and bifurcate collateral ones among the Buglé, Ette, Barí, and Cabecar male speakers – this category includes the Ngobe if we consider the suffixed indication of collaterality. To sum up: in none of the three central generations we find a predominance of bifurcate merging principles and the only kinship system that is

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  95 close to Dravidian is that of the Bribri. U’wa male relatives in G+1, samesex relatives in G0, and relatives in G−1 for male speakers are classified according to a Dravidian logic, while female relatives in G+1 and cross-sex relatives in G0 are classified according to generational principles. However, the Bribri have matrilineal clans. While in G+1 we have equations that resemble a Dravidian logic the MB is member of ego’s clan and therefore a cognate – definitely not an affine. As the MBch belong to their mother’s clan, the cross-cousins are marriageable and affines. FB children are – in the rather formalist Dravidian interpretation of Cervantes Gamboa – also classed as siblings, even if they may be from a different clan. However they belong to the same Ego clan due to the fact that ideally they will also be the children of a maternal aunt (…) Therefore, the parallel cousins will always (ideally) be from the same Ego clan, and for this reason they are called by the same terms as the brothers. (…) The terms él, kutá, and aké simply refer to relatives of the same generation of Ego that belong to their own clan. (Cervantes Gamboa 1993, 39) Thus, there is no convincing overall evidence that the kinship systems of the region can be labeled Dravidian. Mostly lineal principles prevail in the first ascending and descending generations, either in form of collateral bifurcate (1) or lineal classifications (3), while in G0 there is a preference for generational classifications (4) that may extent in some cases to G−1 (Kogi, Nasa). The terminological equation in G−1 is in accordance with the one in G+1. The only exceptions are the Kogi and Nasa. Overall, we find bifurcate merging classifications (2) only among the Bribri, the Ngobe, and partly among the U’wa, as Table 4.1 shows. Due Table 4.1 Generational equations according to kinship systems (1 – bifurcate collateral, 2 – bifurcate merging, 3 – lineal, 4 – generational)

Barí Cabecar Bribri Ngobe19 Buglé Ette Nasa (Paez) Guna Boruca Kogi Iku Emberá U’wa




1 1 2 2 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 3 m2/f4

1 or 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 ss2/cs4

1 1m/4f 2d rav. 2i ro. 1 1 4 3 3 4 3 3 m2

96  Ernst Halbmayer to the suffixed indication of collaterality, Ngobe kinship shifts toward a bifurcate collateral logic. As mentioned above, I will elaborate on the case of the Barí in more detail and add the cases of the Kogi and Iku to reflect on the question of relative age and the fusion of generations.

Barí kinship terminology as non-expression of marriage According to Lizarralde and Lizarralde (2015), Barí equations in G0 are bifurcate collateral. Pinton Solange (1965) stresses the existence of multiple forms of classification, so that besides bifurcate collateral equations, male parallel cousins (FBS and MZS) may be called brothers (sarida) or, rather descriptively, parallel cousins. Sarmiento (1969) distinguishes brothers (sarida) and sisters (áshira) from (parallel and cross-) cousins who form part of an overarching category of non-marriageable sagdójira. In the latter interpretation the equation would be lineal and the first cousins non-marriageable. By contrast, Lizarralde and Lizarralde claim: “The inheritance of the sadodyi (=sagdójira, my addition) relationship is patrilineal. Hence, for a man, his brothers’ daughters and all his parallel cousins cannot be wives; but his sisters’ daughters and his cross-cousins are potential wives” (1991, 457). Beckerman and Lizarralde also state that cross-cousin marriage is considered the ideal type of marriage. At the same time, they show that only nine of 282 marriages, or 3.2%, were of this type, and nine marriages of this sample occurred with the ZD. They suspect that second-cousin marriages are quite common but – as already mentioned above for the Guna – could not be detected due to short genealogical memory (Beckerman und Lizarralde 2013, 165). Among the Barí only a small set of basic kin terms (B=FB, Z=FZ, M, F, MZ, MB, gF, gM) is in use, while fairly exact descriptive composite terms are used for other relatives.20 This leads to rather long composite terms, which to my understanding are quite unlikely to be applied as address terms in daily interaction. Nevertheless, they describe central kin types fairly exactly and often with single composite kin terms (see Lizarralde and Lizarralde 2015, 845f.). Jaulin (1966) provides the following characterization of Barí kin terminology: The descriptive, non-classificatory nature of kinship terms reflects the lack of interest in them from the point of view of marriage (…) The terms of Barí kinship do not suffice to distinguish possible spouses from those who are not, that is to say the parents’ allies. Every Indian must have an effective knowledge of the network of persons to which he is bound, to add, to many of these kinship terms, the ‘qualifier’ of ‘parent’ - sadodira - or ally – ogybado. (Jaulin 1966, 598) So, for Jaulin, the kinship terminology is not an expression of marriage, since the terminological classification and the logic of marriage, which is

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  97 based on the two classes (sadodira and ogybado) and the belonging to certain houses, are not co-terminus (1965, 1966). There is also an uncommon intergenerational fusion between G0 and G+1 among the Barí. Father’s siblings are classified as Ego’s siblings and Ego’s brother children (see Beckerman and Lizarralde 2013, 163). This in its consequences unexplored form of skewing is neither Crow nor Omaha, but a cross-generational vertical expansion of sibling categories that is reported for Chibchan-speakers of the Sierra Nevada and the Barí. Here a “not strictly observed” (Pinton Solange 1965, 312) logic of elder and younger siblings plays an important role. “The elder/younger distinction, whose meaning is valid within a given generation, is equivalent to that of higher/lower generations. Not only the elder brothers, but the grandfathers are fathers” (Jaulin 1966, 598).

The collapse of generations and the extension of sibling terms: Kogi and Iku The terminologies of the Kogi (Gawthorne 1985; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985) and the Iku (Arenas Gómez 2016; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1991; Tayler 1997) fuse parallel and cross-cousins.21 While the Iku distinguish between lineal and collateral kin, Kogi kinship does so only in G+1 but is generational in G0 and G−1. Both terminologies are marked by a strong principle of relative age that even overrides the generational distinction. While we have seen an uncommon intergenerational fusion among the Barí, where father’s siblings are classified as Ego’s siblings and Ego’s brother children (see Beckerman and Lizarralde 2013, 163), we find a similar principle applied for fathers’ and mothers’ siblings among the Kogi. The Kogi equate aunts and uncles with elder brothers and elder sisters. So there are fathers and mothers and elder and younger “collateral kinsmen” that fuse siblings, parents’ siblings, cousins, nephews, and nieces according to sex (Gawthorne 1985). Reichel Dolmatoff (1985) adds that grandparents’ siblings are also classified as elder brothers and sisters or as parents.22 Therefore, Kogi terminology is not simply generational in G0 and G−1 but fuses central generations and creates a basic distinction between elder and younger brothers and sisters. This distinction is even applied in relation to other groups. The Kogi refer to themselves as duwékue, older brothers – and to all others – indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike – as nanikue, younger siblings (Gawthorne 1985, 36). Among the Iku there is also a distinction between younger and elder siblings and additionally a principle of relative age with regard to the question if father’s or mother’s siblings are younger or older than Ego’s father or mother. Father and mother’s elder siblings’ children are classified with the same terms as aunts and uncles. According to Tayler (1997, 170) this is also the case with grandparents’ elder siblings’ children and great-grandparents’ siblings. Children of a parent’s younger siblings are, by contrast, fused with brothers’ and sisters’ children and with grandparents’ younger siblings’ children.

98  Ernst Halbmayer It is this tendency to fuse aunts and uncles with elder siblings and siblings’ children with younger siblings that Correa (1998a) has called consanguinization and mayorazgo. A certain echo of such a fusion of generations may also be found among the Cabecares, where a male speaker fuses the FB with the FBSch, MZSch, and the Bch (♂Dabaí). However, in contrast to the above-mentioned examples, this does not include Ego’s generation but only G+1 and G−1.

Generational cycles There are other forms of generational alternation and repetition of terms. Male speakers among the Cabecares apply the term tachi to grandfathers (+2), to grandchildren and nephews or nieces (G-2). Female speakers use the same term for grandmother and for their grandchildren, while brothers’ and sisters’ children and their children are classified as children23 (Hernández Poveda 1992). A repetition of terms across generations can also be found among the Bribri. Here male speakers repeat the terms of own clan members in G+2 (MM, MMB) in G−2 for classificatory Sch,24 while female speakers repeat the term of female members of a different clan (FM) in G+2 for classificatory Sch.25 Moreover, male speakers repeat the term for bilateral cross-cousins in G−2 for classificatory daughter’s children (Cervantes Gamboa 1993, 38, 40). A repetition of generations may also be found among other groups like the Ngobe, the U’wa, and the Kwaiker. Young states that Ngobe “siblings” terms (edaba and ngwae) repeat in cyclical fashion every third generation, f.e. people separated from each other by two intermediate generations who are recognized as being related would be terminological siblings should they live so long. This is from the male point of view. From the female viewpoint, there is an alternate generation repetition of terms in some instances, e.g. a woman refers to her brother’s grandchildren by the term, which includes siblings. This comes about because a woman refers to her brother’s children as “grandchildren” (Young 1968, 300; see also Le Carrer 2010, 462f) The Kwaiker have a system of alternating generations between grandparents and grandchildren (Osborn 1969–1972). The U’wa establish a generational cycle and repeat the father and mother terms in G−3, where the cycles begin again. People in G−2 are referred to by G+2 terms and Ego “regards a particular grandson as being his grandfather’s replacement, or tana26: ‘following’ child” (Osborn 2009, 233). The U’wa thus expect a great-great-grandfather to be reincarnated in his great-great-grandson (Londoño 1995, 92). Repetition goes hand in hand with a notion of transgenerational continuity or replacement – an idea that may be related to the Emberá’s idea that there is only a fixed number of identities (see Losonczy, this volume).

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  99 Homology (see introduction) rather than genealogical continuity is created by establishing the right relations between close and distant relatives. So far, we have noted three important things: first, besides the collateral expansion of the sibling category in Ego’s generation there is a tendency to expand it across generations. Second, among many groups the kinship terminology, as discussed so far, is not an expression of marriage. Third, there is a lineal core of three generations and often a cyclical repetition of marriages from more distant generations.

Non-marriageable kin, houses, clans, and the territory Kinship, however, is not only the result of a terminological calculation, but to a much greater extent related to a logic of houses, to overarching groups defined by siblingship, filiation, or clans connected to the cosmological order and specific parts of the territory. Marriageable (non-)kin is defined in complex ways, with the spectrum of marriage prohibition ranging from first cousins (parallel and cross) among the Ngobe, Guna, Emberá, and probably the Wounaan,27 to clan or class exogamy (Bribri, Barí), to groups that practice marriages within and outside the clans (U’wa and possibly Kogi, see below), and to those groups that restrict the prohibition to lineal kin and allow close marriages even with parallel cousins among the Ette (Niño Vargas 2017a), the Kwaiker (Osborn 1969–1972), and the Iku (Taylor 1997, 173, 182). An astonishing flexibility is exhibited with regard to the co-presence of close and distant marriages within a single group. While among the groups practicing distant marriages, close first cousin marriage may under certain conditions be legitimate (see the case of the Guna below), among other groups marriages are both endogenous and exogenous to the clan (see U’wa). One generation marries out while the following one marries close (see below for the Kwaiker), or one part of a sibling set marries close parallel cousins and others distant strangers (see below for the Ette). There are groups without lineages or clans that prohibit the marriage with first (parallel and cross-) cousins. Here Young’s studies (Young 1968, 1970, 1971) of the Ngobe represent the most quoted work on kinship in the area, especially with regard to its model of symmetrical marriage exchange with secondary patrilineal and matrilineal cross-cousins (FFZDD, MMBDD). Young’s studies serve as an explicit example for a restricted exchange with numerous prohibitions and a long cycle. However, the model is a theoretical “inference” for which empirical evidence could only be found in a single, not perfect, case, as “no (…) perfect examples were available from the genealogies” (Young 1970, 88). Moreover, the structural model is not in accordance with the local perception. Young states clearly that “a man may marry either a yawraw or an unrelated woman” (1968, 299). Yawraw are potential marriage partners specified as BW, WZ for male speakers (ibid., 127),28 and “the only class of affines that a Ngawbe may marry; no people formally recognized as

100  Ernst Halbmayer consanguines are marriageable” (Young 1970, 87). To establish a model of marriage exchange he nevertheless had to express it in consanguine terms as marriage to FFZDD and MMBDD. In reality the marriage of these persons relies on the fact these very consanguineal links are erased. In both instances (FFZDD and MMBDD marriage) the Ngawbe disregard or take no cognizance of consanguineal links. If the links were recognized, the women would be classed as ngwae by the men, and vice versa, and would therefore be in a non-marriageable category. (Young 1970, 91) The Ngobe logic therefore calls for marrying someone of a deconsanguinized class of real affines and their kin – a class that is independent and purified from any virtual or consanguine affinity (e.g. being a second cross-cousin). In contrast to a kin-integration system in the Guianas (Rivière 1984; Schwerin 1983–1984), here consanguinity tends to be erased and a parallel universe of real affines established. Only nonconsanguines are marriageable and the collateral calculation of consanguine links is generally restricted. Therefore, most groups have – in contrast to Dravidian terminologies – elaborate terminologies that cover the universe of real affines.29 An unrelated woman, by the act of marriage (…) becomes nawmugo (wife) to the man and yawraw to the man’s edaba (real and classificatory brothers); and her edaba (real and classificatory sisters) become yawraw to the man and his edaba. In the Ngawbe view it is as though the affinal links between groups which result from the marriage of two unrelated individuals had always existed. Young (1968, 299) concludes that “Ngawbe marriage system cannot be labeled prescriptive” but rather are proscriptive. One might argue that in the case of the Ngobe we are dealing with a complex system of “non-kin” marriages between ideally virilocal caserios, or hamlets of two to six houses “composed of a single kin group made up of a core of consanguineally related males plus in-married females and unmarried children” (Young 1968, 123). These caserios are the “the largest permanently functioning corporate groups in Ngawbe society” in which membership “is determined not by descent but by locality and bilateral filiation” (ibid.). Similar tendencies have been documented for the Guna. A Guna “does not deduce his/her potential matrimonial partner terminologically”, “marriages are not prescriptive” (Margiotti 2009, 145). The terminology “presents a specific vocabulary for affinity, used when a marriage has been agreed and strictly for addressing purposes” (ibid., 151). For addressing real affines, including parents-in-law, however, consanguinal terms are used.

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  101 One should marry pamala, persons outside the circle of close kin, “those of another kind”, “those who are different”. “Pamala are people with whom Ego has no intimate relationships”; they are “nothing to Ego”; the category “includes people in the genealogical position of second cousins” (Margiotti 2009, 151–152). While anmala are those of “a kind with Ego, his/her egocentered kindred”, second and third cousins are possible spouses, and all people aside from Ego’s siblings (real and classificatory, including all first cousins) are marriageable as “distant kin and non-kin are equipollent categories where potential spouses can be found” (ibid., 152). At the same time, older informants attested to the possibility, although rare, of marriages between partners classified as close kin (first cousins) in the past. This received a pragmatic explanation: in some circumstances, these marriages acted as a device to guard cultivable land attached to one house and to “prevent ‘a garden from going away’ (mer nainu nae)” (Margiotti 2009, 158f). In contrast to the Ngobe, marriages are uxorilocal and establish relations between matrifocal houses (Howe 1985), conceived as consubstantial units among which men circulate. There is a preference for village endogamy and men prefer to marry into the house to which their close kinsmen (e.g. siblings and first cousins) are already married. According to Margiotti (2009) this leads to the “valorisation of the synchronic repetition of marriages between houses” and the “the diachronic reduplication of marriages between houses (or villages)” (ibid., 158). Such a tendency to follow the marriage paths of siblings may also be found among the Kwaiker. The Emberá also “have no prescribed marriage rule. There is no one category that they should or must marry into, and they express no ideal in the choice of a marriage partner except that of personal appeal” (Stipek 1976, 77f.). Marriages are mostly matrilocal but there is no formal post-nuptial residence rule. The one rule that the Emberá do have and to which no exceptions were found is that one must not marry into the chapakau – the Emberá’s exogamous kindred, which is a bilaterally organized ego-centered group with a generational depth extending from grandparents to grandchildren and a collateral range extending to first cousins. To marry into the chapakau is considered an incestuous act. (ibid., 79) The Emberá rather “prefer to marry an individual just outside of their kindred”, a special category of persons who are not considered kinsmen yet somehow are not strangers and for whom no special linguistic category

102  Ernst Halbmayer exists in Emberá. Stipek considers the chapakau as corporate group (ibid., 133–139). As among the Ngobe and the Guna, there are no descent groups based on a common ancestor (ibid., 98). Among the Barí we find a rigid dual system of – according to Jaulin (1966, 600) – two classes, or better relations that distinguish marriageable from non-marriageable relatives. The term ogdibara is used for affinal terms based on realized marriages as well as for the affines of kin and “means to say non-kin” (Sarmiento 1969, 25), while sagdojira is used for kin with whom the exact genealogical relationship can be traced. Marriage is only possible with ogdibara or unknown Barí (Sarmiento 1969, 44). This distinction is also religiously respected because, as Sabaseba noticed, a marriage (…) between consanguines would be incestuous and (…) expose the group of that couple to all kinds of fatal accidents: the flash of lightning, the sting of sebakangba (the mapanare snake), the attack by laaba (the jaguar) and by karima (the water monster), and diseases caused by labiddú (nocturnal malignancy). (Lizarralde and Lizarralde 2015, 843)30 Jaulin (1965, 142) states, The two ‘Barí’ classes do not correspond to two subsets of society that were each generated from a vertex – a common ancestor – but are always characterized by a double relationship - to the father and the mother. One is the class of the father, the other that of the mother. Barí marriage thus entails that the man moves spatially away from his mother but remains attached to her in classificatory terms, while the woman moves away from her father in classificatory terms - her husband is an ally and not a relative of her father and herself - and remains attached to him in spatial terms (ibid., 140) This is also expressed terminologically: A man calls his mother and his wife by different terms; their houses are different but not their classes. A woman will call her father and her husband by the same term, because they share the house but their classes are different. (ibid., 141) This is also an expression of uxorilocality, which may take place among hearth groups within the longhouse, between houses of a local group, and even between the four local groups (Lizarralde and Lizarralde 1991).31 Men thus marry into the group the mother belongs to, but not the mother herself. Therefore, the system appears to have an “incestuous” bias. There is one’s own class or kin (the father’s group) and the group of father’s and

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  103 own real affines, to which the mother and Ego’s wife belong. Such a distinction between kin and real affines referred to by specific affinal terms recalls Sarmiento’s (1969) description that the marriageable ogdybara are all real affines. The following statement by Beckerman and Lizarralde points in the same direction: Sagdodyira was the category that focally included one’s father, one’s siblings, and one’s children if one were male. (…) Okdyibara was the category that focally included one’s spouse, one’s brother- and sisterin-law, one’s father-in-law, and one’s children if one were female. It also included one’s mother. (2013, 161) Thus both men and women (…) classified the social universe in the same way as their fathers. This rule required that one’s classification of others be the exact opposite of one’s mother’s, because one’s mother and father had to be okdyibara to each other (ibid., 162) According to these authors the Barí have a patrilineal bias. All these authors agree that the system of two classes or lineages does not constitute a true socio-centered moiety system (Beckermann and Lizarralde 2013; Jaulin 1965, 1966; Lizarralde and Lizarralde 2015). A third category of distant people exists to whom no exact kin relations can be traced. Jaulin calls them Obaïna, the “I-do-not-know” or “nothings” and Sarmiento mentions the term mírgbara for this group. As Jaulin shows, even within a collective longhouse persons from subgroups of distant houses are not clearly identified. This social distance makes some of them parents, while they are “in theory” allies, and through such classification, the closure and delimitation of the house are assured (Jaulin 1966, 614). Each longhouse must consist of the same number of sagdodyira and okdyibara and each household had opposite-sex sagdodyira and same-sex okdyibara as neighbors. In contrast to the above-mentioned groups, the Bribri have a large number32 of matrilineal exogamous clans associated with specific places of origin and, according to their bifurcate merging system, a strong preference for cross-cousin marriage. As Guevara Berger notes, “cross-cousins in the Talamanca kinship system are not considered to be cognates; they are, so to speak, ‘strangers’” (1986, 318, see also 1986, 305). Some authors (Bozzoli 1972, 1979; Stone 1962) have argued that the clans are organized in moieties and each clan of the first half would have a preferential clan in the other to establish marriage relations. Guevara Berger, by contrast, argues that “it is the logic of the kinship system that governs the exchanges and not the system of clans itself” (1986, 307). It is not important to know which the preferential clans are but rather “who the cross-cousins of such person and what their clans are” (ibid.). When the creator God Sibö

104  Ernst Halbmayer arranged the original clans two by two, who emerged from maize seeds,33 he also established single clans without pairs that are “the basis of contradictions in the dualistic system” (Guevara Berger 1986, 313). There are thus no socio-centric moieties, but a logic of ranked clans34 prevails, which are hierarchically ordered. Some are more important or central than others according to local cosmology, because some groups of clans were created prior to others. Among the Bribri the clan tsëbLëwak occupies a prominent place. God Sibö created the world in the shape of a “house” around a central pillar and men from maize seeds (see also Kaviany, this volume). In fact he placed six clans – corn kernels – in the middle of his house where the central pole was, and arranged all others around them. /tsëbLëwak/ was one of those central clans, as its name indicates: /tsëbLë/ (…) corresponded to the central pillar of the former house. (Guevara Berger 1986, 314) Therefore there is a specific hierarchy between different clans. Kirchhoff distinguished between clans whose members are of equal standing and conical clans where “every single member, except brothers or sisters, has a different standing” so that “some are members to a higher degree than others” (1955, 266). In what I call ranked clans, by contrast, there is no hierarchy among clan members but a structural hierarchy between different clans, as some rank above others according to local cosmology35 and have the privilege to occupy specific offices (see Kaviany, this volume). Beyond this structural hierarchy people are differentiated according to their personal abilities and the status they have achieved through rituals where they acquire specific capacities and knowledge. The clans in the middle are non-tapir-eating clans (Guevara Berger 1986), while the “peripheral” clans in myth correspond to tapir-eating clans. Non-tapir-eaters occupy a privileged place in the hierarchy. Guevara Berger (1986) states, The tapir is the sister of /Sibö/ and the eating clans are her /düwöpa/, her cross-cousins. (…) These clans are neither relatives of /Sibö /nor the tapir. On the other hand, (…) non-eating clans, who are not /düwöpa/, consider the tapir as their sister. (…) The non-eating clans are thus kin of tapir and /Sibö/. It seems normal that they consider themselves superior, at least on a mythological level. (1986, 318) However, “tapir-eating and non-eating clans do not represent exogamous halves, couples may be found in all sorts of possible combinations: eaters/ eaters, eaters/non-eaters, non-eaters/non-eaters. (…) There is therefore a contradiction between the level of reality and the mythological level” (ibid.). The U’wa have a terminology that is bifurcate merging for male alter’s (G+1; G−1) and same-sex relatives (G0) and generational for female

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  105 alters and cross-sex relatives. The U’wa stress the idea that a great-greatgrandfather is reincarnated in his great-great-grandson. To achieve such a reincarnation it is necessary to recombine the great-great-grandfather’s components, “which have become dispersed through the latter’s descendants over four generations” (Osborn 2009, 41). “(T)he marriage path from Ego to his own great-great-grandson has to be such as to combine his great-great-grandfather’s oka and bita36 components from all three sections” (ibid., 42). Therefore, it is important that Ego’s descendants look for a wife in the correct “houses” and that “his children ‘are on the way’ to reproducing Ego in their great-grandchildren” (ibid., 41). We are thus dealing not just with lineal succession or transmission, but with the right composition of differently distributed elements that are waiting to be interwoven in a correct manner. Marriages form – as (Londoño 1995) argues – unions at different levels: between groups or clans, between “houses”, and between cross-cousins. The “houses” are matrifocal among the U’wa (Osborn 1995: 257), and the marriage path is conceived as passing through different houses (Figure 4.1). Formerly there were eight different clans among the U’wa, which became reduced to three that live at different ecological levels.37 These clans refer to one another as teba or house-posts. The concept of teba makes direct reference “to the fact that each clan is seen as a house and as one of the eight house-posts which support the entire universe” (Osborn 2009, 38). House 2 House 3

House 1

Ego Thaka




Tana Great-great-grandson

House 4

Figure 4.1 Marriage path over four generations among the U’wa. Source: Osborn (2009, 42).

106  Ernst Halbmayer This recalls the Bribri concept of the central house pole mentioned above and that of the first fathers and mothers inscribed in the architecture of Kogi temples38 (see Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975). The term teba is equivalent to “raba, which means sibling of the same sex or parallel cousin” (Osbor n 2009, 38), while other tribes, Whites and rikuma animals (which include maneating creatures such as the jaguar and the bear as well as snakes and harmful insects) as well as the U’wa clans with which there is no marriage interchange, are ‘beyond the limit’39 and shara or bilateral cross-cousins. (ibid., 38) These clans had exogamous relations and traditionally exchanged specialized goods40 (Osborn 2009, 33–40). Marriage exchange created complementary relationships – called uwbohiná – between moieties of neighboring groups. Besides the formal matrimonial alliances between three groups, “there were also extra-marital alliances with members of other groups, when men traveled and exchanged goods” (Osborn 1988, 36). Marriage is both endogamous and exogamous to the clan (ibid., 38). The Kubaruwa clan, for example, is divided into two halves “east and west, or upper and lower, which also relate to each other as Kubina-Ruya” (ibid., 36). While Ruya is associated with the West, female attributes, the sunset, and the lower world, Kubina is related to the East, male attributes, the sunrise, and the upper world.41 The basic principle of marriage alliances is that same must not be combined with same, but with opposite. Men must marry out of the section they were born into. It follows that “if a man is born in the east (…) he should marry, in principle, a woman born in the west” (Osborn 2008, 42, 1988, 38). Loñdono states (Figure 4.2), Osborn mentions a preference for taking a matrilateral cross-cousin (MBD) as wife. If we draw the diagram of this marriage between four lineages and for four generations, we see that in effect the son of the son of the son of the son would belong to the same lineage of his great-greatgrandfather and acquire the same (matrilineal) knowledge as him. (Londoño 1995, 93) There are male and female raba groups made up of brothers and parallel cousins (male raba) or sisters and parallel cousins (female raba). Both are corporate groups and inherit “property” as a group; in the case of women it is land, which is cared for and passed from sister to sister down to the last surviving sister and then to a sister’s daughter. In the case of men, knowledge and the position of chanter or shaman are passed from brother to brother and then to a sister’s son (ZS). (Osborn 2009, 231)

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  107 A







G0 -1


-2 -3 -4=0 tana


Figure 4.2 Marriage in different houses according to generation and direction. Source: Londoño (1995, 94).

The relationship between the maternal uncle (aya) and sister’s son (ruka) is very close due to this training. The transmission of knowledge excludes a son who is trained in the knowledge of another raba group. Among these interrelated groups each unit is considered a center. They “see themselves as links in a chain: linked to the neighboring links, something related to the neighbors of the neighbors and totally foreign to the companies outside the chain” (Londoño 1995, 89, Osborn 1985, 1988). Osborn’s ethnographic data thus support Bray’s (1984) chain model (see Clados and Halbmayer, this volume). Reichel-Dolmatoff describes a complex system of ideally exogamous intermarriages among the Kogi, yet he makes it clear that kinship terms “are not in accordance with the person’s conduct of the persons they refer to, and that neither the terms nor the actual conduct are in line with the system of Túxe y Daké” (1985 (1), 201). Túxe and Daké are male and female “totemic” clans that should govern marriage. The Kogi recognize themselves as hukumeiji. From this original group other units have separated successively. From the hukumeiji separated the hukukui; these two are associated with the East and West,42 which could indicate an old organization in moieties (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 181); from the first separated the hankua and from the latter the kurcha (Table 4.2). In turn, each of the last four units is segmented into two categories of people recognized as Tuxé and Daké. The first category designates a group of men linked through filiation to their father; the second category encompasses a group of women linked through filiation to their mother; this corresponds to a system of double or parallel descent (Table 4.3). The Kogi society represents a system of double descent, i.e., patri- and matrilineages in which the offspring is traced from father to son and

108  Ernst Halbmayer Table 4.2 The order of Kogi segmentation (from Correa Rubio 1998b, 67) hukumeiji hukumeiji hankua Kogi or “hukumeiji”

hukukui hukukui kurcha

from mother to daughter. Each lineage is associated with a certain animal, be it ‘male’ or ‘female’ according to Kogi classification. The ‘male’ animals are the jaguar, the puma, the owl, and the marsupial, while the animals designated as ‘female’ are the deer, the peccary, the snake, and the armadillo. The marriage rules require a man to marry a woman whose clan is associated with an animal that is the natural prey of the animal associated with the man’s clan. For example, a jaguar man must marry a deer woman, a puma man a peccary woman, an owl man a snake woman, and a marsupial man an armadillo woman. The following table (see 4.3) shows these associations between the four original fathers, their respective patrilineages and matrilineages, and their corresponding directions and fires (within the Kogi temple). (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 213) Table 4.3 The associations of original fathers, lineages, animals, and directions (from Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 213) Original fathers



Matrilineage Animal

Sehukúkui Seižánkua Kunčavitabuéya Aldauhuíku

hokúkui hánkua kurča hukuméiži

Owl Puma Marsupial Jaguar

mitamdú huldáke nugénake seináke

snake deer armadillo peccary

Direction northeast northwest southwest southeast

Each of these four units is localized and associated with places (rivers) or cardinal points; the four fires in the temple are centers of the original founding groups. In mythology the four fathers married four women “whose descendants later gave origin to the four Tuxé and four original Daké” (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 160). However, all fathers and mothers (see Arias, this volume) are descended from the same original Mother, thus recalling the theme of original incest. The members of a Túxe or a Daké are considered classificatory “brothers” and maintain a totemic and “magical” relationship with specific animals

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  109 and plants. They have certain privileges, statuses, particular functions, and magical attributes (sewa); they are also owners of specific songs and dances (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 158, 180f.). The clans are ranked in a hierarchical order that reflects the sequence of their respective origin and its geographical location. Thus, the first clans that, according to the mythical traditions, were created at the sacred sites are more important than those that were created later. These original groups (clans) are linked to the law of origin and certain fixed territories. New lineages branch out to occupy different territories, a factor that explains that there are now many more Túxes and Dakés than the original eight (cf. Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 158–159). According to the rules, marriage among members of such a unit is prohibited and the members of a certain patriline must marry women whose matriline is associated with an animal that is the natural prey of the man’s animal. However, these “marriage rules are no longer observed between the determined Túxe and Dáke because, simply, it would be impossible for a man to find an eligible woman in the vicinity” (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 197). Consequently, marriage is no longer considered a prerequisite for a sexual and economic union. “A wife of at least 40 years may have lived with five men or more, before she is definitely considered married with the last one” (ibid.). As it proves impossible to find a spouse of the right clan, the Mamas, the spiritual religious leaders, allow temporal forms of conviviality but do not approve them as marriages. If a misfortune happens to the family, such as disease, crop failure, or the death of an infant, the Mamas may “blame the husband and tell him that the misfortune took place because he married a forbidden woman” (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985 (1), 182). Reichel-Dolmatoff also claims that “a form of preferential marriage between maternal cross-cousins” (1985 (1), 203) is practiced. Marriage includes bride service and a period of uxorilocality but may, based on the availability of land, become virilocal or neolocal. Reichel-Dolmatoff explicitly states that the Kogi did not marry first cousins in the past, and he interprets the change as the result of the breakdown of the clan system (1985 (1), 214). Incest is a major mythological theme among the Kogi, as all original fathers and mothers originated from the Great Mother. Available information on the social relevance of the incest taboo is highly ambivalent. On the one hand, Reichel-Dolmatoff argues that “unions between parents and children and between brothers and sisters are strictly prohibited”43 (ibid.), but on the other hand he writes: “Cases of incest are also frequent and occur between mother and child, father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, brother and sister, as well as sexual relations between father-in-law and daughter-in-law or mother-in-law and son-in-law” (1985 (2), 245). Incest “exists not only in a sphere of imagination but it is very real; yet it ‘cannot be good’ and (is) condemn(ed)… very emphatically” (1985 (2), 254). According to Uribe (1993), the system of parallel descent may work on the mythological level for the children of the Great Mother, but not in the real

110  Ernst Halbmayer life of the Kogi. He argues that all considerations concerning exogamous descent groups were abandoned when land became transformed to a commodity and each domestic group tried to retain access to their land at any price. Among the Ette relatives include all persons that are recognized as yaggriri. The yaggriri category usually extends to “the descendants of the grandparents’ siblings; the descendants of first-degree cousins; and the descendants of nephews. People outside of these limits are generally not considered as yaggriri” (Niño Vargas 2017a, 5f.), but co-residence, spatial proximity, and the density of social interactions are also relevant for the definition of relatives. The closest circle of relatives is called kejme yaggriri, “little family”, and includes parents and children and depends on residence. It is the minimal economically relatively autonomous social unit that inhabits a single house jaataka’ (Niño Vargas 2018, 647); it may also include widowed parents; unmarried brothers; children in law; grandchildren; and, in some cases, adopted children. There is no prescriptive marriage rule among the Ette. The complex structure defines only who must not be married. This category includes “the members of the nuclear family and their respective ascendants and descendants: parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren” and extends “to the spouses of the parents and children of the spouses” (ibid., 7). Marriages with parents’ siblings and children of siblings’ children are also prohibited, although the latter “can be tolerated according to the genealogical and spatial closeness of the people involved” (ibid.). No marriage prohibition affects first-degree cousins. First cousins are valued marriage partners and parents even state a preference for their children marrying siblings’ children. Actual marriages range from first (15%) to second cousins (17%) to non-relatives (35%) and non-indigenous persons (31%) (ibid., 9). Some children of the same couple may marry close and others very distant. Close marriages are highly valued, since they “guarantee a better understanding between the spouses and act in favor of the perpetuation of traditional culture” (ibid.), while distant marriages with non-indigenous settlers and peasants are “rarely defended in public” and “associated with conjugal conflicts and processes of mestizaje” (ibid.). Despite a “high esteem” for endogamous marriages two third of the alliances are conducted outside the limits of first grade cousins (ibid.). The first cousin marriages include parallel cousin marriages that comprise 9% of the total sample of 712 marriages documented by Niño Vargas (ibid., 10). These are however especially important for the reproduction of residential groups formed by siblings and the “molecules” of Ette society (Niño Vargas, personal communication 27.7.2019). Niño Vargas states that brotherhood and sisterhood play an important role in marriage practice. Men and women feel closer to same-sex classificatory siblings and the etymology of their terms “refers not so much to the idea of consubstantiality, but to the notions of companionship and complementarity” (ibid., 4). “The Ette associate the highest virtue with the bond of siblinghood in general and relations between siblings of the same sex in particular” (ibid., 11).

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  111 Therefore siblinghood may even become “the prototype of affinity”, as “relations of solidarity between same-sex siblings in childhood should ideally be restored among grown-up affines” (ibid.). The most highly valued and most common marriage of this type involves two groups of siblings of the same sex and its valuation increases, when newly married couples settle in neighboring houses or on lands next to one another, so that the old relationship with their siblings is not interrupted or weakened. Marriage between (groups of) siblings and a shared residence result (…) in the reassertion of localized nuclei of siblinghood and affinity. (ibid.) Whose relations are locally expressed in terms of consanguinity. Aside from the perpetuation of a line of filiation or the transmission of a form of alliance, the reproduction of fraternal solidarity seems to be important. Consecutive marriages between groups of siblings of the opposite sex are not only socially valued in the present but also “found in practically all the stories related to the ancestors” (ibid., 12). While neolocal residence is valued, it is difficult to practice due to the limited access to land and therefore “an ambilocal pattern that allows settling near the most convenient relative” (ibid., 7) of either the husband or wife is practiced. Also among the Kwaiker, sibling groups are of great importance, even more so than the relations between parents and children or within the nuclear family (Osborn 1969–1972, 251). Sibling groups form so-called structural unions, “where two brothers establish a union with two sisters, or a brother and a sister establish a union with a sister and brother of another sibling group” (ibid.). These are the preferred and – like among the Ette – central types of alliances that form “the basis of the settlement’s structure in social, internal political kinship and land inheritance terms” (ibid., 291). They enable pairs of siblings to remain close, and “involve exchanges of land and of other members between the two sibling groups who have made the structural union” (ibid., 252). Kinship is cognatic and residence preferentially virilocal (Osborn 1974, 263). Filiation is only traced back to “grandparents, and grandparents and grandchildren identify kinshipwise and grandparents are expected to protect the land rights of their grandchildren” (Osborn 1969–1972, 252). A cycle of alternating generations forms across these structural unions. While one generation “will marry and move out of their settlement” (ibid.) to cultivate new land, the next “will endeavor to remain in their natal settlement” (ibid.) and its members are likely to “be born, make unions and die” (ibid., 249) in the same settlement. In such a generation, “most marital alliances (are) between cousins” (ibid., 252), including parallel cousins, especially among “children of siblings who did not enter structural unions” (ibid.). Through these close marriages “land rights are tied up: unions are between people

112  Ernst Halbmayer who have rights to each other’s land” (ibid., 293). In the case of sibling sets that marry out, relationship is not a close one. Often, although there may be a kinship tie, it is not regarded as being significant. It will be a link which is affinal, and with groups which have not been tied too closely and repeatedly by various alliances over the generations. (ibid., 292) There is thus a generational shift between endogamous and exogamous marriages. Unions with close kin are not repeated for “more than two generations” (ibid., 283) and “to ‘marry back’ continually into the preceding generation is inadvisable” as “it brings no new alliances” (ibid., 292). There is rather “a tendency for grandchildren to follow the types of marital alliances that the grandparents made: the pattern is to follow grandparents, not parents” (ibid., 287). Moreover, “the combination of plots inherited by the third generation most closely approximates to that belonging to the first generation” (ibid., 288). Marriage decisions among the Kwaiker “are always made in reference to those made by his or her own siblings. Siblings will always endeavor to make alliances in the same direction” (ibid., 287) and “never (…) move into, a new settlement alone” (ibid., 255). There is a system of eight name groups (clans?); each settlement has two dominant name groups and one or two of “in-marrying affines, that is, people without land in the settlement” (ibid., 238). These name groups “basically control the territorial movement of the people” and “their rights to the lands” (Osborn 1974, 262), since a name group never leaves their land even if the individuals leave. Through the “repeating cycles of three generations (…) their lands are always in their hands”, and there is “a movement of name groups in fixed directions” (ibid., 265). Each Kwaiker community has partnerships with mostly three other communities of the same river valley. There are four river valleys in their territory and contact and exchange are limited to these areas and groups. The same name groups appear in each river valley, “but the combinations are not the same and a dominant group in one valley is not necessarily dominant in another region” (ibid., 270). The Kwaiker “emphatically deny that people who carry the same name but who live in one of the other geographical divisions are related” (ibid.). For Osborn, the name groups are “the most inclusive mechanism of kinship and ecological organization” (ibid., 271), and “all Kwaiker territories are associated with defined name groups associated with defined communities” (ibid.). There is no dichotomy between the Kwaiker and the land as Osborn states, they are both mutually interdependent realities. The Kwaiker think of themselfes (sic!) as part of their surroundings, as the non-human

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  113 surroundings are part of them. I am tempted to say that it is as if the Kwaiker regard themselves as an extension of their surroundings. (1969–1972, 298) Land must therefore be seen as part of the social structure and is “the foundation on which this unity (of sibling groups) is founded – both collaterally and over the generations” (ibid., 292). Land also forms “the principal link between past and future”. If the relationship to land is disrupted, “the thread of past, present and future would be endangered” (ibid., 238). A Kwaiker aims to have the family buried on his land or on the land of his fathers: if they die when living away (…) their bodies are brought back (…) for burial or, in the absence of a body, the ‘soul’ is brought back.44 This religious force which land has to a Kwaiker derives from the ‘souls’ of the ancestors buried there, and through this the ancestors ‘breathe’. This force concerns only the name group which occupies this land. (ibid.) If a person’s body or soul is not returned to the land “the person is lost or wanders about molesting people” (ibid., 260). Land which belongs to Indians other than kinsmen is dangerous. To take possession of, or to till, or even to walk over, land which belongs, or once belonged, to unrelated people would be to place one’s whole family and group in great danger. (ibid., 238) Osborn therefore argues45 “that kinship (…) should not be treated as ‘a thing in itself’” (ibid., 298) but in terms of property relations and access to land, as “all the alliances made have been attempts to keep land within the sibling groups”46 (ibid., 286). Land is the only inheritable property and “the land-owning and controlling group is the sibling group” (ibid., 209). Although “ownership of land was never a fixed concept, (…the Kwaiker) wish to return to the natal settlement at the end of their lives” (ibid., 257).

Conclusion The kinship terminologies in the area are generally not Dravidian and rarely based on a bifurcate merging logic. Much more frequently, we find a lineal principle that delimits the core family of generally three generations and leads to both lineal and bifurcate collateral terminologies that are often generational in Ego’s generation. This goes along with a tendency of collateral amnesia and the de-consanguinization of collateral relatives, who tend to become distant non-kin and to be subsumed under a category of real affines. Each group has a number of terms for real affines, who, in several

114  Ernst Halbmayer cases, are highly differentiated, i.e. there are 15 different terms for real affines among the Barí, 14 among the Ette, and 11 among the U’wa and Ngobe. Among some groups, especially the Barí and those living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta the terms for elder and younger siblings extend into other generations and this expansion of close consanguine terms leads to a terminological collapse of different generations. There is also a tendency to repeat terms of same-sex grandparents or great-grandparents at the level of grandchildren or great-grandchildren. All these tendencies may lead to the apparent arrangement of kin terms in concentric circles. Kinship is not an inclusive system of relationships where all persons subsumed under an ethnonym are included. There is always a category of others or non-kin. Marriageable are kin of real affines, non-relatives, or persons with whom no direct genealogical link can be established. However, there are also cases where marriage prohibitions are limited to the core family and close marriages may be established even among parallel cousins. Kinship terminology is not a reflection of marriage practice. Aside from a terminological specification, a logic of houses, of overarching groups defined by filiation, of clan membership or siblingship, and/or a relationship to the territory are likely to play an important role. Consequently, a Dravidian kin-affine logic is absent and affinity is not the overarching value of relatedness. It is rather sibling sets, filiation, and forms of descent and genealogy in terms of clans that play a dominant role, but also the repetition of marriages from the grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation. Marriage is not expressed in terms of preferred marriage categories but rather of non-marriageable kin. Kinship and marriage decisions are therefore not things in themselves but tied to economic and socio-cosmological calculations and a specific relationship to land. On the one hand, a principle of homological continuity that goes beyond filiation exists that establishes identifications with (totemic) clans or name groups whose origin is inscribed into the territory and thus into the relationship with land. On the other hand, there are different ways how such lines of homological continuity are intertwined and, consequently, different ways of reproducing the marriages of former generations, to reassemble, or produce the right composition of elements within the human person and reproduce relations to land and the territory associated with specific clans or groups. The forms and norms of intertwining seem flexible and subject to historical change. They may focus on endogamous forms to secure physical reproduction and to keep land together or establish or re-establish external relationships through distant marriages. An alternation between or the co-presence of close marriages and an openness to new alliances seems to be common. This openness leads to potentially expansive settlement systems based on both, the establishment of new relationships and close marriages to retain land, property, and knowledge, and pass it on within the group. Marriage decisions are generally made with regard to inheritance of cultivable land and/or the inheritance of ritual knowledge that play – in contrast to much of Amazonia – a key role in marriage decisions.47 Ranked clans are either matrilineal or have been described, as in the case of the Kogi, as double descent with matri- and patriclans. Their hierarchy

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  115 is mythologically legitimated as some were created prior to others; it often goes hand in with a functional differentiation of offices and specialization regarding the production of and access to goods, food, and especially mythological and spiritual knowledge. What was described as class differences in the older literature may have its origins in the structural distinction between differently ranked clans, the most important of which are conceptualized as central pillars that support the universe, which is imagined as a house. The geographical location of such clans and name groups is reflected in a strong relationship to territory and notions of inheritance. In contrast to the duality and ternarity48 established by Dravidian kinship systems, in the Isthmo–Colombian region, groupings of four or eight (central) clans, name sets, and/or territorial groupings can frequently be found that seem highly significant for Chibchan-speaking groups, not least regarding their cosmology in regard to cardinal directions and ideas about layers of the world. Despite the radical changes that these societies experienced, it may be worthwhile to consider the possibility that the specificities of kinship, which allow both small-scale reproduction and the establishment of external relations, reflect the fact that these groups were not integrated in overarching polities in the past, but rather connected by chains of relations established by exchange; trade; and, in some areas, even markets. The logics of marriage may have played an important part in these external relations as those of ranked clanship may have played in the hierarchical structure of regional chiefdoms and still play in the internal hierarchies of groups such as the Bribri, the Kogi, the Iku, and the Wayuu.

Notes 1 I am grateful to Juan Camilo Niño Vargas, who provided access to the drafts of two manuscripts under preparation (2017a, 2017b) and for valuable comments on a previous version of this paper by Alessandro Mancuso and Juan Camilo Nino Vargas. 4 Oblique Crow and Omaha systems are found in South America especially among Gê speakers. Also the matrilineal Wayuu have a Crow terminology (Mancuso 2008), while Omaha terminologies are commonly associated with patrilineality. 5 A skewing of generations and adjacent and alternate generation marriages may also be found in Dravidian systems due to common ZD marriage (Henley 1983–1984). 6 Within Dravidian terminologies an additional distinction between the classical Dravidian A and the Dravidian B has been established. In Dravidian B the difference between cognates and affines extents to the generations G+2 and G−2, while in Dravidian A the kin terms for grandparents and grandchildren are only distinguished by sex. Therefore Dravidian B resembles an Australian Kariera terminology, but is – as Viveiros de Castro (1998) has shown – not identical with it.

116  Ernst Halbmayer

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  117   If the information provided by Hernández Poveda (1992) for the Cabecares is correct, we would have to conclude that the male speakers apply a bifurcate collateral distinction in G−1, while female speakers apply a generational one. Male speakers distinguish own children, first from Bch, FBSch, and MZSch without distinction of sex and second from Zch, FBDch, and MZDch, distinguished by sex. There is a fourth category without sex distinction that applies to all children of cross-cousins. Female speakers, by contrast, apparently apply the term for children of the whole first descending generation. It must be noted that marked differences between male and female terminologies seem to occur with some regularity in the area, a fact that has sporadically been mentioned in the literature (e.g. Reichel-Dolmatoff 1991, 75). 20 The same is the case among the Ngobe where there are only four terms of address (F, M, stepfather, stepmother) and “outside these categories, anyone can talk about a parent through an analytical expression: ‘ngobogre nin edaba reda’, children of the half-brother of the father” (Le Carrer 2010, 116). 22 He also states that despite this fusion sometimes terms are applied that isolate aunts and uncles (sa, kukuí). The “adjectives dueba ‘older male’ or wezhu ‘older female’ can be added to elder sibling terms, resulting in duwe dueba ‘old elder brother’ and nu wezhu ‘old elder sister”; optionally “nauwa a ‘little bit’, can (…) be added (…) ‘a little bit my brother’ nauwa nattuwe” (Gawthorne 1985, 37f) for second and third cousins. 24 BSch, ZDch, FBDDch, FBSSch, FZDSch, FZSSch, MZSSch, MZDDch, MBSDch, MBDSch. 26 This term (tána, sana) may also be found among the Kogi and Iku and refers to the clan.

28 Young writes: Determining who is yawraw, who is ngwae (real or classificatory sister), and who is not related in any way is complex. An extended explication would involve consideration of some of the unsettled questions in studies of cognatic systems which, I feel, are beyond the scope of the present study. The way in which the Ngawbe choose spouses does deserve some discussion, however, even if, in the present context, this amounts to more assertion than proof. (1971, 176f.)

118  Ernst Halbmayer the Buglé (Murillo 1988), Nasa (Bernal Villa 1955, 170f.) and Boruca (Constenla Umaña 1977) have nine terms, the Guna eight (Margiotti 2009, 146), and the Emberá (Stipek 1976, 101) and Kogi (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985, 206f) seven. 30 If the sun rises in a sky polluted by distant refinery smoke, the Barí say that “the sun rose dirty in these days because young people had sex with their sagdodyira” (Beckerman and Lizarralde 2013, 164). 32 Fifty different clans and more are mentioned in the literature.

34 Such ranked clans may also be found among the Kogi, Bribri, Cabecares, and Wayuu, for example.

(Osborn 1988, 35) 44 Among the Wayuu secondary burials also take place in the clan’s territory and in clan-specific graveyards. 46 The relationship between kinship and land is also important for other groups of the region (see below).

48 See Viveiros de Castro (1993).

Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  119

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Kinship, clanship, and hierarchy  121 Lounsbury, F. G. 1964. “The Structural Analysis of Kinship Semantics.” In Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguistics, edited by Horace G. Lunt, 1073–1093. London, The Hague, Paris: Mouton & Co (Cambridge, MA. August 27–31, 1962). Lowie, Robert H. 1928. “A Note on Relationship Terminologies.” American Anthropologist 30 (2): 263–267. Mancuso, Alessandro. 2008. “Descent among the Wayú: Concepts and Social Meanings.” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 94 (1): 99–126. Margiotti, Margherita. 2009. Kinship and the Saturation of Life among the Kuna of Panamá. PhD, University of St Andrews, St. Andrews. Murillo, Carla Victoria Jara. 1988. “Análisis componencial del parentesco en Bocota de Chiriquí.” Revista de filología y lingüística de la Universidad de Costa Rica 15 (2): 131–142. Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2017a. Apuntes sobre la terminología de parentesco y la organisación social Ette. Bogotá: Unpublished Manuscript. Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2017b. Terminología de parentesco Ette (Chimila). Un sistema sudanés generacional del norte de Colombia. Bogotá: Unpublished Manuscript. Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo. 2018. Cosmos Ette. Ethnographie d’un univers du Nord de la Colombie. Paris: École des hautes études en sciences sociales. Osborn, Ann. 1969–72. “Alliance at Ground Level. The Kwaiker of Southern Colombia.” Revista de Antropología 17/20(2): 209–315. Osborn, Ann. 1974. “Nomenclatura y Parentesco Kwaiker.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología XVI: 259–271. Osborn, Ann. 1988. “El multiculturalismo en los Andes Orientales.” Revista de Antropología 4 (2): 23–42. Osborn, Ann. 1991. Estudios sobre los indígenas Kwaiker de Nariño. Bogotá: Colcultura. Osborn, Ann. 2009. The Four Seasons of the U’wa. A Chibcha Ritual Ecology in the Colombian Andes. Wantage: Sean Kingston. Pinton, Solange. 1965. “Les Bari.” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 54 (2): 247–333. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1975. “Templos kogi. Introducción al simbolismo y a la astronomía del espacio sagrado.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 19: 199–245. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1985. Los Kogi: una tribu de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia (1 & 2). Bogotá: Procultura (Nueva biblioteca colombiana de cultura). Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1991. Los Ika, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Notas etnográficas, 1946–1966. Bogotá: Centro Editorial, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Rivière, Peter. 1984. Individual and Society in Guiana: A Comparative Study of Amerindian Social Organization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sarmiento, S. Yolanda. 1969. Sistema de parentesco de los indios Motilón-Bari. Tesis de Grado. Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá. Schwerin, Karl H. 1983–84. “The Kin-Integration System among Caribs.” Antropológica 59–62: 125–154. Stipek, George. 1976. Sociocultural Responses to Modernization among the Colombian Embera. PhD Thesis, State University of New York, Binghamton. Stone, Doris. 1962. The Talamancan Tribes of Costa Rica. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum (Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 43, 2).

122  Ernst Halbmayer Tayler, Donald. 1997. The Coming of the Sun. A Prologue to Ika Sacred Narrative. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (Monograph, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 7). Taylor, Anne-Christine. 1998. “Jivaro Kinship: “Simple” and “Complex” Formulas: A Dravidian Transformation Group.” In Transformations of Kinship, edited by Maurice Godelier, Thomas R. Trautmann and Franklin E. Tjon Sie Fat, 187–213. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press (Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry). Thomas, David J. ed. 1978. Social Correlates of Kin Terminology. Bennington: Bennington College (Working Papers on South American Indians 1). Tjon Sie Fat, Franklin E. 1998. “On the Formal Analysis of “Dravidian”, “Iroquois”, and “Generational” as Nearly Associative Combinations.” In Transformations of Kinship, edited by Maurice Godelier, Thomas R. Trautmann and Franklin E. Tjon Sie Fat, 59–93. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press (Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry). Trautmann, Thomas R. and R. H. Barnes. 1998. ““Dravidian”, “Iroquois”, and “Crow-Omaha” in North-American Perspective.” In Transformations of Kinship, edited by Maurice Godelier, Thomas R. Trautmann and Franklin E. Tjon Sie Fat, 27–58. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press (Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry). Trautmann, Thomas R. and Peter M. Whiteley. 2012. “A Classic Problem.” In CrowOmaha: New Light on a Classic Problem of Kinship Analysis, edited by Thomas R. Trautmann and Peter M. Whiteley, 1–27. Tucson: University of Arizona Press (Amerind studies in anthropology). Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 1993. “Alguns Aspectos da Afinidade no Dravidianato Amazônico.” In Amazônia: Etnologia e História Indígena, edited by Eduardo B. Viveiros de Castro and Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, 149–210. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo, Núcleo de História indígena. Young, Philip D. 1968. The Ngawbe: An Analysis of the Economy and Social Structure of the Western Guyami of Panama. PhD Thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana. Young, Philip D. 1970. “A Structural Model of Ngawbe Marriage.” Ethnology 9 (1): 85–95. Young, Philip D. 1971. Ngawbe: Tradition and Change among the Western Guaymí of Panama. Urbana: University of Illinois Press (Illinois Studies in Anthropology, 7).


Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia Area conceptions, chronologies, and history Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer “The Intermediate Area is one of the most difficult cultural areas” Haberland 1991, 128

The chapter asks how the area between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia has been conceptualized in disciplines like anthropology, archeology, and linguistics. It focuses on area conceptions and archeological chronologies of the region and gives an overview of its main culturalhistorical developments. Area concepts of the region refer to pre-Columbian cultural developments and a geographical space of variable size. The area is conceptualized in its broadest sense as the geographical space situated south of Mesoamerica, north of the Central Andes, and north or northwest of the Amazon Basin. In the classical anthropological conception of South American culture areas, Steward (1948, 1949; Steward and Faron 1959) proposed a geographically even more extensive Circum-Caribbean Area1 that also included the Antilles. It included Central America, Colombia-Venezuela, and the Antilles but excluded the Muisca and Tairona, who were considered Andean and therefore treated in the volume on “Andean Civilizations” of the Handbook of South American Indians (Steward 1946)2 (see Figure 5.1). The Muisca were later, along with groups from eastern Bolivia, included under the label “Sub-Andean” and became part of the Circum-Caribbean Culture Area (1949), whereas the Tairona were no longer explicitly mentioned. Steward proposed the following re-classification based on a rather inconsistent terminology: All tribes are called ‘Circum-Caribbean,’ but the designation of ‘Northern Andean’ is used to distinguish certain tribes of Ecuador and Colombia from the other Circum-Caribbean peoples, because they had a considerable number of specifically Central Andean culture elements (…) Circum-Caribbean are the following: the peoples of Central America south of the Maya frontier (Handbook, 4, 26–28), of the northern Colombian Lowlands (4, 329–338), of the Highlands of  western Venezuela (4, 469), of portions of northern Venezuela (4, 22–23), and the Arawak of the Antilles (4, 507–546). The additional

124  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer name, ‘Sub-Andean,’ is applied to the Chibcha (Handbook, 2, 887–909), the peoples of the southern Colombia Highlands (2, 915–960), of Coast and Highlands tribes of Ecuador (2, 785–821), and, in eastern Bolivia, the Mojo and Bauré (Handbook, 3, 408–424), the Paressí (3, 349–360), the Manasí (3, 389–393), and the Paunaca (3, 396–397). (Steward 1949, 714f) In the culture areas’ final version of ten years later (Steward and Faron 1959), the notion of chiefdoms assumed the role of key characteristic, thus integrating the chiefdoms of the Circum-Caribbean Area and eastern Bolivia. Areas that lacked chiefdoms, such as the Chocó (Emberá, Wounaan), the area West of Lake Maracaibo (Yukpa, Barí), or the eastern part of Honduras, Nicaragua, and northeastern Costa Rica (Pech-, Rama-, and Misumalpan-speakers) were excluded, while Mesoamerica west of Nicaragua and Costa Rica (Nicoa) was included (see Figure 5.2). A major distinction was drawn between the socalled militaristic or warring chiefdoms (seven, Figure 5.2) of the northern Andes of Ecuador and Colombia; many societies of Central America; and the so-called theocratic chiefdoms (eight, Figure 5.2) of the Greater Antilles, Venezuela, and eastern Bolivia (Steward and Faron 1959, 177).

Figure 5.1 The Circum-Caribbean Area. Source: own elaboration after Steward (1948, xx).

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  125

Figure 5.2 Chiefdoms of the northern Andes, Central America, and the Greater Antilles (Steward and Faron 1959, 203); nomadic hunters and gatherers stippled, tropical-forest village farmers diagonally hatched.

Seven. The chiefdoms of the northern Andes and Central America. 2. Ecuador and southern Colombia 3. The Chibcha proper or Muisca 4. Western Colombia 5. North Colombia lowlands 6. The Cuna and their neighbors of Panama 7. The southern Caribbean lowlands 8. The Meso-Americans 9. The Lenca Eight. The chiefdoms of northern Venezuela and the Greater Antilles. 1. The Cordillera Oriental and Venezuelan Andes 2. Northern Venezuela 3. The Arawak of the Greater Antilles

126  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer Chiefdoms, Steward and Faron argue, serve to distinguish “a culture type characterized by small, class-structured states from the lineages and bands of nomadic hunters and gatherers, the independent villages of the tropicalforest riverine and coastal people, and the irrigation states and empires of the Central Andes” (ibid., 176f.). They further state: To understand why these chiefdoms developed, it is more important to know how these features interacted in each locality to form total cultures than to trace the origin and diffusion of each element or complex of elements. (…) Each chiefdom occupied a rather small area, which was often an enclave among coastal horticultural villages. Some even adjoined hunting-and-gathering nomads. The cultural diversity of the chiefdoms paralleled the environmental diversity, and it contrasted sharply with the cultural and environmental uniformity of the Central Andes. (ibid., 178) As Weiss (1980) has shown, there is an inconsistency in Steward’s writing concerning the notion of culture area, which is essentially determined by an ecological-geographical area, and that of cultural type, which “consists of core features that, first are determined by cross-cultural regularities of cultural ecological adaptation and second represent a similar level of sociocultural integration” (Steward 1955, 89). The problem of the Stewardian conception of culture areas is that in the region between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia ecological conditions are extremely varied and do not form a more or less homogenous ecological geographical area. Marked differences are likely to occur within a rather small geographical space. It is thus not surprising that different cultural types lived side by side, ranging from chiefdoms to tropical-forest farmers, and even huntergatherers (see Figure 5.2). Other authors have conceptualized the area in relation to neither Mesoamerica or the Central Andes, which were considered as nuclear areas of cultural innovation and diffusion, nor chiefdoms as a specific form of socio- cultural integration but in terms of the area’s core or most representative cultural-linguistic expression. Here the Chibcha play an important role. They were first defined as language family by Max Uhle (1888), and a “Chibcha Culture Area” was already described by Wissler (1917). His idea was later picked up by Kirchhoff (1943) who defined Mesoamerica and south of it a “Chibcha Area”. Since the 1990s this idea became further elaborated under varying labels: “Chibcha Historical Region” (Fonseca 1992, Fonseca and Cooke 1993), “Región Histórica Chibcha-Chocó” (Cooke 1992), “Área de Tradición Chibchoide” (Fonseca Zamora 1994), and “Área Histórica Chibchoide” (Fonseca Zamora 1997, 1998). In linguistic terms it was defined by Constenla Umaña (1991, 2012).

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  127 Scholars looking from a Central American perspective introduced the term “Lower Central America” (Baudez 1963; Helms and Loveland 1976, Lange and Stone 1984; Linares 1979, Lothrop 1966, Stone 1966) for the northern part of the area. This notion excluded South America on geographical grounds and “failed to account for specific cultural continuities with Colombia until Warwick Bray’s ‘Across the Darien Gap3’ (1984)” (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 51) (Figure 5.3).

Figure 5.3 Limits of culture areas. Source: Rojas and González (2009, 41).

In archeology, Wolfgang Haberland (1957, 1959) and Gordon Willey (1959) set the “Intermediate Area” or “Zwischengebiet” apart from Mesoamerica and the Central Andes and accorded to it a specific significance in the development of the Americas (Haberland 1957). Rouse (1962) also made use of the term “Intermediate Area” and stressed the similarities within the area, but it was not until 1971 that Lower Central America and northern South America were considered a single entity in archeology in Willey’s (1971; Willey and Sabloff 1974) area-wide chronology and concept of the Intermediate Area. For the first time this paradigm shift granted to the area its own dynamic (see below). Constenla Umaña (1991) first specified Willey’s Intermediate Area in linguistic terms. Aside from the Chibcha, who are central in terms of languages spoken, he identified the following languages and language families in the region (Table 5.1) Constenla Umaña concluded that the Intermediate Area is not a unified linguistic area and distinguished between three linguistic sub-regions (1991, 122). In the center of his conception stands the Colombian-Central American Area that consist of the Chibchan, Jicaquean, Lencan, Misumalpan,

128  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer Table 5.1 Linguistic families and languages (except Chibcha) in the Intermediate Area (after Constenla Umaña 1991) Lenca Hondurian Lenca (extinct?) Salvadorian Lenca (extinct) Jicaque West Jicaque (extinct) East Jicaque Misumalpan Misquito Sumo Matagalpa (extinct) Cacaopera (extinct) Choco Wounaan (Huaunana) Emberá Yurumanguí (extinct) Arawak Goajiro Paraujano Caquetío (extinct) Achagua Carib Yukpa Opon-Carare (extinct) Timote Cuica Timote (extinct) Cuica (extinct) Jirajara (extinct) Jirajara (extinct) Ayamon (extinct) Gayón (extinct) Betoy (extinct) Barbacoan Guambiano Kwaiker (Cuaiquer) Chachi (Cayapa) Tsachila (Colorado) Páez Camsá Cofán Quechua Esmeraldas

and Chocoan4 languages. It forms the Intermediate Area’s core and includes neither the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua nor the Nicoya Península. The second of Constenla’s sub-regions is the Venezuelan-Antillean Area that includes the Arawakan and Cariban languages, which are basically Amazonian but extend to the Caribbean. The third is the Ecuadorian-Colombian sub-area. Constenla Umaña thus identified two regions of the Intermediate Area as linguistically belonging to other culture areas in Willey’s terms.

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  129 The Ecuadorian-Colombian sub-area belongs to the Central Andean Area (Willey’s Peruvian Area) and encompasses the cultures and languages of the Barbacoan language family5 as well as Páez, Camsá, Cofán, Quechua, and Esmeraldas, whereas the Venezuelan-Antillean Area forms part of Willey’s Caribbean Area and includes the Arawak, Cariban,6 Timote-Cuica, and Jirajara language families. Recently Constenla Umaña (2012) has presented an updated classification of Chibchan languages.7 A more recent proposal for the conception of the area is the so-called Isthmo–Colombian Area as defined by Hoopes and Fonseca (2003). They criticize Willey’s Intermediate Area for its “implicit diffusionist and evolutionist connotations, given its position between Mesoamerica and the Andean area as a raison d’etre—the explanation that eventually defines it” (ibid., 51) and stress that the notion of Lower Central America continued to define the region not as a center but as a periphery, ‘lower’ in a cultural evolutionary sense and ‘intermediate’ in a geographical sense relative to the areas of ‘high’ cultures and state societies to the north and south. (ibid.) Hoopes and Fonseca, by contrast, suggest conceptualizing the region as “a center, characterized by endogenous change in populations of common ancestry who shared elements of cosmology, worldview, and distinctive forms of social organization” (2003, 50). The area’s population is confined to Chibchan- and Chocoan-speakers, excluding all other groups. Hoopes and Fonseca’s concept thus revives the older, more restrictive Chibcha area concepts mentioned above. However, the authors avoid the term Chibcha and argue that “although Chibchan populations—defined on the basis of linguistic and genetic evidence—were central to the area’s character, there are problems with terminology linked to specific linguistic or ethnic terms” (ibid., 52). The concept builds upon the idea of a continuous, long-term occupation of the area by endogenous populations that share common genetic and linguistic traits, and that there is “limited evidence for migration or external control” (ibid., 53). It thus recalls Fonseca and Cooke’s earlier studies. In reality, however, the area was obviously shaped to some extent by exchange and the diffusion of ideas and innovations. Hoopes and Fonseca acknowledge that population movements took place, when the area was first occupied in Paleoindian times, when Mesoamerican groups settled portions of Nicaragua and Costa Rica during the Epiclassic8 (Constenla Umaña 1994; Fowler 1989), when Carib populations began to occupy parts of northern Colombia (Constenla Umaña 1991), and when Chocoan Emberá and Waunaan populations moved from Pacific Colombia into the Darién (Herlihy 1985; Pardo 1987) (ibid.)

130  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer Already Willey had noted that in the Intermediate Area “there are no horizon styles comparable in scope to those of the Peruvian area. The closest approach to such horizontal phenomena is seen in the gold work of Colombia and Lower Central America” (1971, 278). Nevertheless, as Hoopes and Fonseca argue, “shared worldviews were one feature of a ‘diffuse unity’ that conditioned the structuring of power among Chibchan-speaking peoples from the first centuries B.C. until the sixteenth century” (2003, 52.). The area constitutes (Figure 5.4) an interaction sphere within which populations were specifically related through genetic descent over time and distinguished by shared elements of a common linguistic and ethnic heritage in a context of diffuse unity,

Figure 5.4 Isthmo–Colombian region; dark shade areas show locations of Chibchan populations Source: Hoopes (2005, 4).

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  131 but which also had elements conditioned by a geographical cline distinguishing east from west. (ibid., 54) In contrast to other characterizations of the area, the notion of a “diffuse unity” of the Isthmo–Colombian Area entails a focus on the core of Chibchan and Chocoan groups at the expense of the area’s other language families and on a supposed cosmological unity rather than connections and networks across different cultural types or even a fragmentation or ­balkanization (Fonseca and Cooke 1993, 248) of the area. From a Caribbean archeological perspective the Isthmo–Colombian Area concept has been scrutinzed as too narrow and as based on questionable assumptions about similarity. A more inclusive and holistic concept of a Greater Caribbean Area has been suggested instead (e.g. Geurds and Broekhoven 2010, Hofman  et  al. 2010, Ramos 2010). The following review of cultural historical developments in the area between Mesoamerica, the central Andes and Amazonia, will focus on the Isthmo–Colombian Area in its broader context. Thereby it will especially include developments in the southern Colombian-Ecuadorian subarea of the intermediate Area and the Nicoya Peninsula and Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. In some occasion reference to more general developments in and relations with the central Andes and Mesoamerica will be made.

Archaeological beginnings As noted above, archeological chronologies have always focused on the distinction between Lower Central America and northern South America. Both regions were seen as “intermediate areas”, as a kind of younger brothers of the two large, well-known cultural areas of Mesoamerica and the Andes. Amazonia, by contrast, was considered hardly relevant in this respect, because it was for a long time understood as something like a counterfeit paradise (Meggers 1971) whose environmental conditions were imposing strict limits on more complex cultural developments.9 Although both Lower Central America and northern South America have always been considered a “cultural backwater” (Willey 1971, 297), it is worthy to note that one of the earliest archaeological excavations in the area was undertaken in Costa Rica by C. V. Hartmann (1901, 1907). He conducted grave lot seriation and stratigraphy even before Manuel Gamio used the stratigraphic method in the Valley of México in 1913, and about the same time as Max Uhle developed his chronology of pre-Inca Peru at the site of Pachacamac. In those early years of northern Isthmo–Colombian Area research, however, there was little interest in developing a coherent chronology. Hartmann’s work was followed by MacCurdy’s study (1911) on Chiriquían antiquities. MacCurdy, at the time assistant professor of Archaeology and curator of the Anthropological Collection at Yale University, analyzed stone art (arrow-points, spear-points, celts, polishing stones, pestles,

132  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer metates, stools, images, ornaments, petroglyphs, and sculpted columns), ceramic art (painted and unpainted ware, armadillo and alligator ware), and gold objects. He focused on style and iconography, and, like Sigvald Linné in his archaeological monograph Darien in the Past: The Archaeology of Eastern Panama and North-western Colombia (1929), paid little attention to chronology. These two works were followed by Samuel K. Lothrop Marion Hutchinson’ and H.B. Roberts’s pioneering study on Coclé – which likewise neglected chronology (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937). The chronology gap was filled by Gordon R. Willey and C. R. McGimsey (1954), who developed the first serious modern chronology on the base of the Monagrillo culture (Panama). Since this first chronology the interest not only in sequence-building and relative chronologies but also in linking the sequences through ceramic typological cross-matching has seen a marked increase. Willey’s work thus initiated certain continuity in developing chronologies of the region. Nevertheless, the initial distinction between Lower Central America and northern South America remained unchallenged for a long time. Prominent studies by Michael D. Coe (1962), Claude Baudez (1966, 1967, 1976), and Doris Stone (1963, 1976) reveal an explicit Mesoamerican perspective on Lower Central America. Even Willey left Lower Central America for the Maya region in 1952, thus strengthening the tendency to theoretically link Mesoamerica and Lower Central America. This tendency remains visible in some studies even today. In Colombia, archaeological, anthropological, ethnohistorical, and linguistic research on indigenous people by European and US American academics began in early 20th century. German archaeologist and anthropologist Theodor Konrad Preuss and North American archaeologist John Alden Mason conducted the first systematic investigations. In 1938 Colombian archeologist Hernández de Alba developed one of the most important chronologies. He provided the first classification of San Agustín ceramics to determine external influences on the site. Since 1954, Gerardo ReichelDolmatoff and his wife Alicia Dussán de Reichel conducted large-scale excavations in an area extending from the Lower Magdalena to the Gulf of Urabá. In 1997 Reichel-Dolmatoff established the basic framework of Colombian archaeology (Oyuela-Caycedo 2008, 405) and divided Colombian prehistory into three periods. Since then some tentative efforts to establish an area-wide chronology for northern South America were made. Perhaps the most comprehensive is Bruhn’s (1994) summarizing statement that integrates the data on ancient Colombia into a chronological scheme for the whole of South America. The linking of the Intermediate Area to either Mesoamerica or the Central Andes is sometimes even reflected in the names of time periods. Although Willey (1982) explicitly denied that concepts from Mesoamerican cultural development could be extended to Lower Central America, there were repeated attempts to borrow terms from Mesoamerican, as well as from Central Andean chronology. For example, Willey (1971, 278) concluded

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  133 that in the Intermediate Area there are no style horizons (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 51) comparable to those described by John H. Rowe (1962) in his chronology of the Central Andes. In Willey’s opinion, the area is “lacking unifying, Formative ‘great styles,’ such as those of the Olmec or Chavín” (1971, 278). Nevertheless, Willey (1971) stated that gold jewelry in a distinctive style range serves as a horizon marker for Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia from about AD 700 onward (Quilter 2003, 2). He was contradicted by Frederick Lange (1992, 5) who argued that based on currently available sequences the cultural development of the area cannot be easily divided on a broad geographical scale. Borrowings from chronologies of Mesoamerica and South America can also be found in the use of the term “Florescence Period” (Guerrero Miranda et al. 1997; Wingfield 2011) that was created in analogy to the Central Andean term “Early Intermediate Period” to refer to a period of master craftsmanship.

Early agriculture and the development of ceramics A “curriculum vitae” of the Isthmo–Colombian Area starts with the rise of the earliest known ceramics of the Americas, which, in contrast to other parts of the world, were not always associated with the development of agriculture and a sedentary way of life. Fiber and sand tempered ceramics were found in shell middens at sites like Monsú, Puerto Hormiga, and Puerto Chacho that date to 3100 BC (Peregrine and Ember 2001; Piperno and Pearsall 1998, 285; Walthall 1980, 81–83). Ceramics at Monsú were dated to 5940 radiocarbon years before present. Ceramics found on the banks of the Magdalena River on the Caribbean coast of Colombia date back to 3490 BC. The San Jacinto 1 site from this area is believed to have been occupied for long periods by human groups that subsisted on wild seeds, small game, and deer. In Panama, pottery was also produced long before yearround settlements were established (Raymond 2008). The Monagrillo ceramic, which was found near the modern shoreline of Parita Bay (Willey and McGimsey 1954), first appeared around 2500 BC (Cavatrunci 2015; Iizuka 2017) and is associated with a form of occupation that was not initially year-round. In Ecuador, by contrast, Valdivia ceramics co-occur with permanent settlements (Raymond 2008). The Valdivia culture emerged from the earlier Las Vegas culture, a large number of Holocene settlements that flourished from 8000 BC to 4600 BC on the Santa Elena Peninsula of Ecuador (Stothert 1985). One of the best-studied sites is the ceremonial center of Real Alto, where early Valdivia pottery was dated between 3500 BC and 2700 BC. In addition to ceramic production and sedentism, early manioc and maize agriculture has been discussed (Cooke 2005, 131). At some sites, there is clear evidence for the consumption of manioc and maize. Manioc starch grains from central and western Panama date to ca. 4400–5600 BC (Dickau et al. 2007; Piperno et al. 2000; Sheets 2012). In the Monagrillo site edge-ground cobble contained maize and starch grains resembling manioc

134  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer (Piperno and Holst 1998, 767–776). In the lower Calima River Basin of Colombia, archaeologists found vestiges of the earliest hunter-gatherers that lived along the Cauca River. The archaeological record shows that by 5000 BC these societies already practiced simple agriculture, cultivating maize and probably other crops (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 16). Contemporary sites like Sauzalito and El Recreo have grinding stones and hoes associated with remains of plants like avocados and palms. In the Magdalena valley, clearances and maize pollen from the Paramó de Peña Negra site date to ca. 6000 BC (Barker 2009, 263). Precise archaeological data are scarce in many areas for the period between 3000 BC and 1500 BC, but ceramic production very likely often appeared long before the first agricultural–pottery societies in 1500 BC. With few exceptions (Cooke and Ranere 1992) complete cultural sequences are lacking for Costa Rica and Panama. Nevertheless, a fairly coherent line of development can be traced. Around 10,000 BC tiny groups of huntergatherers arrived at Costa Rica and started exploiting their environment (Fonseca and Cooke 1993). The first pottery in northwestern Costa Rica probably appeared in Period III (Snarskis 1978, 25). Around 2000 BC when the so-called Formative Period began, incipient forms of agriculture started to be practiced, with bitter yucca as the principal cultigen (Cavatrunci 2015; Young-Sanchez 2008). In the Costa Rican Cordillera, an Early to Middle Formative ceramic complex called Tronadora was found in association with evidence of early horticulture and sedentism (Quilter 2003, 3). Because of the sophistication of vessel forms and decoration, Tronadora pottery apparently evolved from an earlier antecedent (Hoopes 1994, 25).

Farming communities Between 1500 BC and 1000 BC, many parts of the Isthmo–Colombian Area apparently underwent major cultural changes. By 1000 BC small farming communities organized in a tribal social structure formed in Costa Rica. The cultural development in Panama followed a similar path. People probably entered a phase of full-fledged agriculture based on tubers and maize, supplemented in the coastal areas by maritime resources (Cavatrunci 2015; Peregrine and Ember 2001, 55). Important transformations during the first millennium BC that were made possible by advanced farming techniques included the construction of villages, administrative centers, and specialized craft production. Also in many regions of Colombia societies had become sedentary. The Ilama culture, the first agricultural pottery society, appeared along the Calima River at about the same time as the middle Tronadora ceramic complex in Costa Rica and the middle Chorrera culture. This last formative tradition of Ecuador flourished along the southern coast and covered parts of the contemporary provinces of Guayas, Manabí, and Esmeraldas. The earliest Ilama pottery dates to the first millennium BC and its diffusion culminated around AD 1. Considering the existence of wealthy endowed graves and representations of elaborately dressed men seated on

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  135 stools, Ilama society of the first millennium BC was highly stratified and may have been a chiefdom (cacicazgo). Ilama artists produced ceramics, – among the best of its kind at the time – with paint application and incisions representing humans and supernatural beings. Human figures on canasteros (seated figure vessels) are depicted in great detail regarding hairstyle, ornaments, and textiles, the latter of which are usually not preserved in their material state (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 41). The great number of depicted supernatural beings indicates a large pantheon. Late ceramic representations of villages with houses with rectangular plans and two-pitch roofs resemble those of the La Tolita-Tumaco culture (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 27) which flourished along the north coast of Ecuador from 500 BC to AD 300. Here, the Chorrera culture contributed new ceramic techniques regarding the vessels’ forms and decoration. Hollow figurines were made by hand or with molds. Complex vessel forms representing humans, plants, and animals – even indicating the domestication of dogs – were apparently inspired by the natural environment. The Chorrera culture’s interrelated local styles, which came from various groups who had common cultural elements spread across most of Ecuador (Bouchard 2015).

The rise of ranked societies By 500 BC a trend toward increasing size and complexity of sites combined with extensive cemeteries with differential mortuary goods can be observed, which implies a ranked social structure (Snarskis 1981, 26). The accumulation of wealth and the emergence of highly individualistic regional elites (Langebaek 2003, 266) are documented for various regions of the Isthmo– Colombian Area, anticipating what Langebaek (2003, 248–249) calls a period of “early chiefdoms” or “pristine chiefdoms” in the case of Colombia. According to David Anderson (1994; cf. Bender 1985; Langebaek 2003), early chiefdoms are characterized by non-institutionalized leadership based on an ideology grounded in the community’s beliefs, as well as a great diversity in material culture. These characteristics are matched by the archaeological record. In Ecuador, after the demise of the Chorrera, culture socio-cultural differentiation set in that initiated what is known as the Regional Development Period, with the rise of several regional cultures with highly individual styles from 500 BC to AD 300: Bahia de Caraquez, La Tolita-Tumaco, Teaone, Jama-Coaque, Guangala, Tejar-Daule, Jambeli, Narrio, Panzaleo, and Tuncahuan. La Tolita-Tumaco on the northern Ecuadorian coast is the earliest gold-working tradition of the Intermediate Area. Knowledge of gold-working had spread from Peru where the earliest discovery, a necklace from the Jiskairumoko site in the southwestern Lake Titicaca Basin, was dated from 2155 BC to 1936 BC (Aldenderfer et al. 2008). Llamas had been introduced to the southern highlands of Ecuador by this time and spread as far north as Imbabura by the Late Period. The presence of dogs is also documented.

136  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer Blacksmiths of the late Ilama culture had mastered gold-working by 100 BC, and produced burial paraphernalia like gold masks and necklaces (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 51; Pérez de Barradas 1954) that anticipated the wealthy burials of the following Yotoco Period. At the same time, societies of the Greater Nicoya Region of northwestern Costa Rica and part of the Pacific region of Nicaragua produced elegant ceramics in the Rosales Zoned Engraved style to be placed in the graves of chiefs. These ceramics, which show a possible influence from Mesoamerica’s Izapan style rather than the Olmec style, mark the beginning of a long-lasting tradition of producing artistically excellent ceramics (YoungSanchez 2008). To the south, the inhabitants of the cultural area of Gran Coclé produced the still poorly studied La Mula pottery by 200 BC (Cooke 2011, 130), which is the earliest antecedent of the Cubitá, Conte, and Macaracas polychrome styles of the Gran Coclé tradition.

Early chiefdoms From about AD 1 to 800 many, although not all, regions of the Isthmo– Colombian Area experienced agricultural and population growth, and the intensification of craft production. Archaeologists consider it as a period of master craftsmen. Notwithstanding Langebaek’s (2003) reasonable criticism of evolutionism in chronological schemes and his conclusion that the mere existence of finely crafted gold objects is not sufficient to consider a period as a time of florescence, this period nevertheless shows a general appreciation for well-crafted objects, which cannot be found in later times in most regions of the Area. Like in the Early Intermediate Period of the Central Andes, such evidence may imply a direct dependency of the workshop on the chief, and a trade pattern that focuses on chief-to-chief-exchange of luxury goods. Maybe it cannot be called florescence in all respects but definitely in terms of crafts, their institutional context, and their trade. This period has different names from one region to the next. An overall term has been avoided since researchers agree on the non-existence of “horizons” like those in the Central Andes (Rowe 1962; Willey 1971). The question whether a “gold horizon” existed has been controversial (Lange 1992; Willey 1971). In contrast to other countries, Ecuadorian archaeology considers the development of regional cultures as a consistent process called the “Regional Development Period”, a term inspired by the Early Intermediate Period of the Central Andes. There have been repeated efforts to create a single term for general cultural developments. Terms like “early chiefdoms” and “late chiefdoms” (Langebaek 2003) describe sociopolitical developments in the Colombian part of the Isthmo–Colombian and ­Intermediate Area quite well, even if these trajectories did not always affect all regions to an equal extent or at the same time. Early chiefdoms in Colombia are characterized by high-status grave offerings, sometimes associated with monumental sculptures (Langebaek 2003). Fine craftsmanship is highly valued, traded, and regarding gold objects even imitated, the latter

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  137 were understood as reflecting the leaders’ desire to act as intermediaries with the outside world (Helms 1981; Langebaek 2003, 267). The chiefdoms of ancient Colombia show evidence of emergent regional elites with individualistic characters (Langebaek 2003, 266). Some media and certain artifacts within them are more embedded than others as far as this can be concluded from the archaeological record. In the Greater Nicoya Area and in Central Costa Rica such a medium was greenstone, preferably jadeite from the Motagua Valley. It was replaced by gold around AD 700/800 because of the exhaustion of jadeite sources (Snarskis 2003) and the disruption of trade routes with the Classic Maya centers and Teotihuacan (Hoopes 1985, 1992; Snarskis 2003). For the dissemination of gold objects the polities of the Atlantic Watershed in Costa Rica played a crucial role (Graham 1996). In the lower Isthmo–Colombian Area gold was the preferred material for manufacturing ornaments, ritual objects, and grave goods, although it never completely replaced the use of greenstones like serpentine, emerald, and malachite. In jewelry from the Ilama and Yotoco cultures, and especially from the La Tolita-Tumaco culture on Ecuador’s north coast ceramic figurines with green (for greenstone) and yellow (for gold) painted ornaments suggest that both materials were considered equivalent. Both greenstone and gold were used for the same purpose, to meet the needs of the elites to parade their insignia of rank. The knowledge of metallurgical techniques was probably limited to a class of specialists. In Carchi Nariño smiths used an innovative wash-gilding technique that is unlike the techniques used in Peru or elsewhere in Colombia (Peregrine and Ember 2001, 158). The use of gold and the mastering of metallurgical knowledge by chiefrelated workshops has been documented for the whole Isthmo–Colombian Area. Bray notes: “From the early centuries A.D. until about 900, the vast region from central Colombia to northern Costa Rica (a straight-line distance of about 800 miles) was one metallurgical province” (1992, 39). Along with the production and trade of gold objects developed a specific iconography, as the manifestation of a certain ideology. This so-called “International Style” as first defined by Richard Cooke and Warwick Bray (1985) “was ideologically non-aligned and therefore more widely acceptable…” (Bray 1992, 39). It may be described as a pool of standardized artistic conventions and iconographic elements that are employed in not too rigid order. As conceptualized by Hoopes and Fonseca, the shared forms express a diffuse cosmological unity based on genetic descent and a shared linguistic and ethnic heritage in the area (2003, 63). The diffuse unity of the International Style is characterized by the use of a limited number of main iconographic themes: Meditative Shaman, Bat Man, Double-Headed Saurian, Beak Birds/Spread-Eagled Birds (Cooke 1985), and Crocodile Man (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 63–77). It is difficult to say whether a theme is one and the same entity in all instances, whether a supernatural being with two heads should be distinguished from one with one head, or whether a double-headed saurian with a serpent’s body should be distinguished from a bat-headed one holding two saurian heads in its claws. However, the

138  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer Meditative Shaman-Crocodile Man relation (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 73) and the Complex Combinations category and its emanations (Graham 2003) clearly show that a set of standardized elements are handled flexibly and that certain elements such as bean-shaped eyes and spirals, and gestures such as sitting on a chair are not exclusively typical of one character. The versatility within the main themes is also explained by the moment of transformation, which causes variation of the main theme. As this directly concerns the definition of diffuse unity, future studies need to unambiguously determine the visual conventions of the process of transformation. The chiefdoms of Costa Rica and Panama of that time are also associated with impressive investments in mortuary practices. Before the arrival of gold, high-status grave offerings of the Greater Nicoya are characterized by a distinctive constellation of finely crafted objects. Graves goods include jade pendants, decorative ceramics, three-legged grinding stones (metates), and stone mace-head finials (Young-Sanchez 2008). Social distinction is not only expressed by rare luxury materials like jadeite, but also by the fact that some metates could have served as stools for chiefs. Farming became increasingly complex, population and settlements continuously grew, and villages began to show more complex architecture (Cavatrunci 2015; Snarskis 2003). Like the inhabitants of the sites of San Agustin and Tierradentro, people of Costa Rica’s Central Regions excelled in stone carvings like elaborate “flying panel” metates and free-standing sculptures. Jadeite, mostly imported from Honduras’ Motagua Valley, was the most valuable material for the manufacture of jewelry and portable ritual objects until the first finished gold objects began to arrive around AD 500 (Bray 1981, 154: Young-Sanchez 2008). In addition, mace heads, flutes, drums, rattles, textiles, and bone artifacts point to a highly stratified society with musicians, priests, administration officials, and warriors (Snarskis 2003). The arrival of gold seems to have coincided with an increased cultural influence from the south (Snarskis 1981, 54–72; Young-Sanchez 2008). In the Greater Nicoya Area, the famous Guanacaste-Nicoya Polychrome-Pottery traditions began to flourish (Snarskis 1981, 31) with first Carillo Polychrome and then Galo Polychrome as two of the most representative ceramic types. With their bright burnished surfaces Galo Polychrome ceramics, one of the finest ceramics from the period AD 500 to 800, are technically unsurpassed and closely related to the Ulua Polychromes found in western Honduras and El Salvador (Salgado González 1996; Snarskis 1981, 31). Drastic changes in almost all aspects of Costa Rica’s prehistoric life took place between AD 700 and AD 800: the import of jadeite stopped, a local gold working industry arose, and circular structures in settlements like La Fábrica became frequent. In the Chiriquí Phase of the Diquis region (ca. AD 600), earthen mounds and monumental sculptures like large stone spheres and stone sculptures of humans and supernatural beings recall the early chiefdoms of the Upper Magdalena region. They impressively demonstrate the existence of complex societies in the Diquís Delta, an important center

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  139 of the production of power symbols in terms of stone sculpture and metallurgy (Fernández and Quintanilla 2003, 230; Fonseca and Cooke 1993, 243; Thiemer-Sachse 2005). In the Central Pacific sub-region the consolidation of chiefdoms also occurred in this period (Corrales and Quintanilla 1996). In Panama, inhabitants of the Gran Coclé region produced magnificent objects made of tumbaga, a copper-gold alloy, whose iconography shows strong ties to the Veraguas region to the north and the Quimbaya, Calima, and even La Tolita regions to the south. Gold works from burials at Sitio Conté are associated with highly refined polychrome pottery (Cooke 2011, 134; Helms 1979; Lothrop, Hutchinson, and Roberts 1937) whose elaborateness competes with the Guanacaste-Nicoya polychrome traditions. Archaeological finds from Sitio Vidor (Guanacaste), Cerro Mangote (Panama), and Sitio Conte (Panama) attest to the domestication of the dog (canis familiaris) in that area (Fonseca and Cooke 1993, 251).

The late chiefdoms: from elite wealth to public infrastructure The period around AD 900 saw the institutionalization of leadership and economic differentiation in the Upper Magdalena (Drennan 1995) and in other parts of Colombia (Langebaek 2003). The circulation and administration of goods were based on reciprocity, redistribution, and exchange (Fonseca and Cooke 1993, 265). The control over production and labor became a key issue for chiefs to maintain power and to control social relations. This marked the beginning of the period of late chiefdoms (Langebaek 2003). In many regions, it is the last archaeological period before the Spanish invasion, often characterized by less diverse and less lavish grave goods and, regarding gold work and sometimes ceramics, a decline of technical skills. However, as Langebaek points out, this must not be in itself considered as decline, since the chiefdoms put considerable effort into the expansion of the road network in order to strengthen trade, and into the construction of terraces and irrigation and drainage systems for the intensification of agriculture. Less labor was invested in the construction of “private” monuments to chiefs, as to the Regional Classic period of the Upper Magdalena region (Duque 1966; Duque and Cubillos 1979). The way how gold work was used also changed: instead of a small number of impressive ornaments worn by a few chiefs large quantities of adornments were now available to a large proportion of the population. In the Calima region this period is called Sonso and saw the intensification of landscape transformation for food production, concomitant to the decrease in the quality of gold work (Langebaek 2003, 257). In the Tolima region in the middle Magdalena River Valley, terraces were built and large quantities of low-quality ceramics were deposited in shaft tombs with up to 60 burial urns. Population growth and agricultural intensification are also documented for the Tairona Period of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which dates from AD 800 to AD 1500. Abundant evidence exists of public works. A network of roads connected

140  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer main settlements like Buritaca (Ciudad Perdida) and Pueblito that are characterized by terraces, circular stone-faced house platforms, agricultural irrigation (Cadavid and Herrera 1985; Groot 1985), and cobbled causeways. In the Tairona and Muisca regions gold work (Quintana 1979) and pottery remained of high quality. With some modifications, these developments seem to be consistent with archaeological zones to the west and north of Colombia. Fonseca and Cooke (1993, 263), Snarskis (2003, 187), and Bray (2003) already noted that sites like Guayabo de Turrialba, Las Mercedes, Cubujuquí, and many others in Costa Rica’s Central Atlantic Watershed, Central Valley, the Central Pacific region, and the Diquís sub-region shared a common mental template for architecture and site organization with Tairona sites like Buritaca, suggesting a widely shared worldview. According to some authors this type of site corresponds to the spread of gold-working (Aguilar Piedra 1972; Bray 2003; Fonseca Zamora 1979, 1981; Snarskis 2003) in Period VI when jadeite had almost completely disappeared. In Ecuador the last pre-Hispanic period is known as the “Integration Period” and dates between AD 700 and AD 1532. By then, ancient Ecuadorians had formed complex chiefdoms with principal and secondary chiefs, who controlled more or less unified territories without building real states, although Cook (2005, 130) suggests that a few special centers may have reached a state-like level. Like in Colombia, earlier art traditions continued but were less lavish and complex. In the Late Period of the Imbabura-Pichincha region in northern Ecuador, public works, such as mounds, terraces, and irrigation systems, indicated the existence of a centralized organization. Contemporaneously to sites like Guayabo de Turrialba and Buritaca, the center of Cochasqui, one of the most important sites in northern Ecuador, was built around AD 1000: it had monumental architecture in the form of rectangular platform mounds which, like their circular counterparts, served as elite residences (Oberem and Wurster 1989). This site shows clear evidence of planning and was the product of cooperative labor by hundreds of individuals under the control of a leader (Peregrine and Ember 2001, 158). Similar to other regions of the Isthmo–Colombian and adjacent Areas, the loss of metallurgic techniques can be noticed. Although the work of the Nariño smiths still showed a high quality, the technique of working with platinum that was typical of the La Tolita-Tumaco culture had become lost. Cañar/ Azuay metallurgy was less innovative and owed much to Peruvian models. On Ecuador’s central coast the Manteños-Huanacavilcas, known for their impressive painted stone thrones, ceramics, and golden burial masks, were powerful seafaring merchants who sailed along the Pacific Coast on rafts equipped with sails. Trading textiles, metals, pearls, jewels, and Spondylus shell, they reached the coast of Peru to the south and possibly the coast of Mexico to the north. In Oaxaca a strong influence of Panama showed in Mixtec jewelry when pendants like the famous dead god pendant of tomb 7 at Monte Alban were combined with the flat appendages typical for the

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  141 frog pendants of the Veraguas style (Wardwell 1968, 146). Apparently this “exotic” feature made this type of pendent ideal as gift for lords, as documented on page 47 of the Codex Nuttall. In central Panama there are not many well-documented finds for the period preceding the historic period. After the International Style (Bray 1992; Cooke and Bray 1985) disappeared, new styles like the Parita Assemblage emerged that combined features of the earlier Veraguas-Gran Chiriquí and Conte styles (Bray 1992, 44) and dates between 1395 BP and 1660 (415+−) BP (Cooke 2011, 164; Ladd 1964). The Veraguas-Gran Chiriquí Group that dates between AD 900 and AD 1520 (Bray 1985, 45) showed a preference for the spread-eagle-bird motif, flange-footed frogs, jaguars, crocodilians, and animal-headed human beings (Bray 1985, 44–45). Although late in time, the Parita Assemblage demonstrates a high technological level – in contrast to some aspects of the Parita and El Hatillo ceramics which are well shaped but often lack the quality of fine-line painting that characterized the former Conte and Macaracas styles of the Gran Coclé tradition. While in many, though not all, regions a decline of craftmanship can be noticed, the Great Nicoya region continued to produce sumptuary polychrome pottery. The time of greatest diversity and the production of polychrome ceramics (Snarskis 1981, 35) was AD 800–1200, reflecting the existence of a well-established trade network with Mesoamerica (Healy 1980, 236; Cook 2005, 135) and South America (Schott 2009). Papagayo Polychrome ceramics from Nicaragua added new forms to the Nicoya Polychromes, which resemble those of the Mesoamerican Early Postclassic like Tohil Plumbate. Themes also reflected the influence of Mesoamerica, as motifs like Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl and Fire Serpent were common (Snarskis 1981, 35; Stone 1972, 171). After AD 1150–1250, Papagayo Polychrome graded into a white-slipped pottery called Pataky. Luna Polychrome (Day 1984; Healy 1980; Knowlton 1996; Wyckoff 1971) or Lunoid (Lange 1976; Sweeney 1975), by contrast, superficially resemble the Late Polychrome pottery from Marajó Island in Brazil (Bransford 1881, 21; Snarskis 1981, 38), although Knowlton (1996, 153) argues that the style evolved locally. There is an emphasis on white-slipped polychrome pottery like Jicote Polychrome or Vallejo Polychrome, the latter of which incorporates Postclassical Mixteca-Puebla motifs.

The colonial period At the time of European contact many groups of the Isthmo–Colombian Area were connected through a wide-ranging trading network that linked parts of Mesoamerica, Amazonia, the Caribbean, and the northern Central Andes. In fact, emeralds (qetzal-itzli) were obtained by the Aztec pochteca merchants of Central Mexico from the mountainous areas of Colombia, around Chivor and Somondoco in the Tenza Valley in the eastern part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense (Hagen 1958). This region, which was ruled by a Muisca cacique, was probably also the source of the emeralds for the large

142  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer burial masks of the Sican lords of the Peruvian North Coast. A close contact of the Diquis sub-region to the south has been established. According to Snarskis (1981, 220, cat. no. 240) the people of the Diquís were so strongly oriented to the Andean area that even lime flasks for coca chewing were known. Moreover, the Panamanian chief Tumaco told the Spaniard Vasco Nuñez de Balboa about the people of a southern region who used longnecked creatures – camelids – as beasts of burden (ibid.). Ceramics found in burials close to the Bayano at Chepillo on Pearl Island show a strong resemblance to those of Santarém in Brazil (Stone 1972, 129). Agate pendants manufactured on the Azuero Peninsula of Panama were traded to Oaxaca in Mexico. Many other features of the material culture of the various ethnic groups point in a similar direction. They are expressions of a far-reaching exchange system that can even be described as global in certain ways. There are many reasons to believe that when the Spaniards established their own global trading network in the Isthmo–Colombian Area and beyond, they did so at the expense of an already existing Amerindian network. In the first post-contact years the indigenous trading network continued to function in many regions. Spanish trade goods like glass beads and iron tools entered into the trade and were deposited in graves, for example in the Diquis sub-region, where iron tools appear together with Alligator Ware (Stone 1972, 200), or at Curré in southern Costa Rica, where large numbers of polychrome ceramics were found along with glass beads (Fernández and Quintanilla 2003). However, the network that had organized the exchange of manifold products for centuries now carried dangerous side-effects. After the arrival of the Spaniards deadly diseases were also transferred through the network. They caused severe population losses and weakened indigenous political, social, and religious structures long before the first Spaniard entered a region (Cook 1981; Fonseca and Cooke 1993, 218). Around 1527, the Inca Huayna Cápac and many of his troops were struck by smallpox or a similar disease while campaigning in present-day Colombia. Huayna Cápac himself and his favorite son and successor Ninan Cuyochi both died of the disease. The resulting unclear succession is considered the primary reason for civil war and the ensuing destabilization of the Inca Empire. A similar situation was reported for parts of Costa Rica and Panama. The first Spanish visitors to Greater Nicoya found large parts of the region “empty”, probably due to European-induced diseases. The extinction of the Cueva of eastern Panama shortly after contact (Romoli 1987) was probably also caused by diseases that preceded the actual arrival of the Spaniards. In the Muisca territory disease appeared long before Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada entered the area. Pathogens reached Colombia via the trade routes after the first smallpox epidemic in Peru. Shortly after the expeditions of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in 1519 and Gil González Dávila in 1522, contact with the Europeans developed in other ways. The northern neighbors, the Maya, who had trading links with the Taino on Cuba and probably knew of the latter’s fate, reacted to the Spanish

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  143 advance with fierce resistance. Yucatec Maya attacked Hernández de Córdoba in 1517, and the Chontal Maya of Potonchán in Tabasco fought the troops of Hernán Cortez in 1519, obviously not seeing him as a god. Although the Spanish chroniclers described the Potonchánians as defeated, they apparently caused Cortez to leave and sail off in the direction of Veracruz. Also the Nicarao of the region close to Lake Nicaragua mounted a fierce resistance when first encountered by Gil Gonzales in 1522. Seven years earlier, in 1515, Parita (also called Cutatará or Antatará), a Guaymí leader and cacique of the lower La Villa valley on the Azuero Peninsula of Panama, had defeated Gonzalo de Badajoz (Cooke et al. 2003, 120). Since looting and the search for slaves, gold, pearls, and emeralds were the main goals of the Spanish expeditions, violent conflicts were a logical consequence. Other strategies to get rid of the Spaniards were also used. The indigenous people quickly realized the greed of the Europeans for precious metals and often told them about faraway kingdoms full of gold. The Panamanian chief Tumaco pointed to the Andes in the south and told Vasco Nuñez de Balboa that much gold was to be found there. In 1537, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada received information from the local population at La Tora about the rich and powerful Muisca kingdoms, as did Nicolaus Federmann from people of the lowland plains (Bray 1978, 16). In 1512 an expedition under the leadership of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa set out to find the territory of a chieftain named Dabeida (Dabeiba, Dobaybe) who, according to indigenous informants of the coast, provided all the gold that reached the Gulf of Urabá (Bray 1978, 11). By directing the Spaniards’ greed toward that first Eldorado (Trimborn 1948, 157), the coastal inhabitants caused them to leave quickly. In some regions the first contact resulted in a lively trade. During their voyage from Guajira to the Isthmus of Panama, Rodrigo de Bastidas and Juan de la Cosa traded with the chiefs of the Sinú region (Bray 1978, 11). The Tairona chieftain of Bonda also established close ties with the Spaniards through trade. Such visits often passed peacefully, with no attempts at looting or colonization. Since 1503 the Spanish had planned to establish settlements on the mainland, and in 1508 Ferdinand II authorized the plan. The first permanent Spanish settlements in Colombia were Panama, founded in 1519; Santa Marta (1526); and Cartagena (1533). These three Caribbean settlements constituted the centers from which Spanish parties set out to raid the interior of Colombia. Santa María la Antigua del Darién that had been founded in 1510 on the western shore of the Gulf of Urabá was abandoned in 1523 because the local indigenous people could not be forced to work without resistance and diseases had decimated their population. In their entradas, the Spaniards depended not only on indigenous informants. They also needed indigenous allies as troop reinforcements. The history of American colonization has countless examples of indigenous chiefs providing large troop contingents. In a recurring pattern, the Spaniards used age-old enmities among the indigenous peoples to mobilize the rival parties for their

144  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer own support. The most prominent examples for this strategy lie outside the Isthmo–Colombian Area, like the cases of the Totonacs and Tlaxcaltecas who were used to overthrow the Aztecs, and the Chanca, Wanka, Cañari, and even Inca troops who helped to defeat the followers of Inca Atahualpa. There are also numerous examples from the Isthmo–Colombian Area, however, which are rarely mentioned. Gamboa Mendoza (2016) notes the lack of information on indigenous groups and leaders who supported the Spaniards. The cacique of Guatavita, for example, is described as an enemy, although he allied himself with the Spaniards. Moreover the hostile attitude of the Muisca is called into question, because sources indicate that they were merchants rather than warriors. In 1538 Sebastián de Belalcázar was supported by 5,000 indigenous soldiers, including Quechua from Peru, when moving against the Muisca zipa of Bacatá (Bogotá). Pedro Cieza de Leon (1537) mentions that the Picaras and Carrapas helped the Spanish to fight the Pozos. The Tolima (Panche), a Cariban-speaking indigenous group inhabiting the southwest of the department of Cundinamarca and the northeast of the department of Tolima, were defeated by a combined force of Spaniards and 12,000 to 20,000 guecha, mercenaries and elite soldiers of zipa Sagipa, in the Battle of Tocarema on 20 August 1538. Despite his loyalty, Sagipa was tortured by the Spaniards and died in 1539. The capture and murder of rulers and their potential successors are a common feature in the colonization of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, as well as Peru and Mexico. The aim was to gain control over an entire indigenous society and preclude possible resistance. The Muisca were particularly affected. Because of his valuable cloak the captured zipa Tisquesusa was murdered by one of Belalcázar’s soldiers on 15 July 1537 in Facatativá (Funza?) that the Spaniards raided at night. Tisquesusa’s son Hama and his daughter Machinza had to hide the zipas’ sister Usaca. In August 1537, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada entered the territory of the zaque Quemuenchatocha of Hunza who was taken to Suesca, tortured, and died shortly after. In Costa Rica, chief Camaquiri (or Camaquire) and chief Cocorí, both of them possibly Huetar lords, met with Diego Gutiérrez y Toledo, the governor of the Province of Nueva Cartago and Costa Rica. The governor, possibly inspired by the precedent of Atahualpa and Francisco Pizarro, took both lords captive, had put a chain around their necks, and demanded a ransom. Both captives managed to escape when the governor was killed by the Huetar a few weeks later (Fernández Guardía 1975). In 1562 the mayor of Nuevo Cartagena and Costa Rica, Juan de Cavallón y Arboleda (1561–1562) failed to take the powerful Huetar chief Guar-Abito hostage. As a substitute, the Spaniards took one of his wives, two of his sons, and other family members (Sáenz Carbonell 2016, 93). The Spaniards of coastal Colombia also strove to eliminate the indigenous rulers and members of their families. When the coastal town of Santa Marta was founded in 1526, the contact between Spaniards and the Tairona also changed due to the Spaniards’ economic and religious pressure. Punitive expeditions against the Tairona and the defeat of rebellion in

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  145 1559–1560 did not result in the permanent conquest of the region. However, after another rebellion in 1602, the chiefs of Chengue and Bonda were captured and executed. European diseases decimated the indigenous population across the Americas. As Alfred Crosby (2003) argues, it was disease rather than Spanish steel or horses that led to the conquest and colonization of great parts of the Americas. Linda Newson (1993) points out that the largest concentrations of Spanish settlements were in those regions where the indigenous population was most affected by disease. The demographic collapse in the Muisca area closely resembled that of the Nahuatl of the central Mexican highlands. Between 1537 and 1636 at least seven major epidemics occurred. On 15 September 1559, Juan Penagos, the magistrate of Santa Fe de Bogotá, mentioned in a letter to the Consejo de Indias a major epidemic (“the black death”) to which succumbed more than 40,000 indigenous people (Audiencia de Santa Fe 188, carta de Juan Penagos, folio 226v). Other epidemics (smallpox, measles, influenza, yellow fever, bubonic plague, cholera, typhoid fever) followed (Francis 2005, 76). Between 1635 and 1636, Juan de Valcárcel reported that a plague killed about 80% of the indigenous population of Tunja which, according to Crosby (2003), once counted 50,000–200,000. Infectious diseases also hit the Quimbaya region. Three well-documented examples from southwestern Colombia – the middle Cauca Valley, Almaguer Province, and Nariño – that are described by Faust and Gnecco (2006, 4) illustrate the magnitude of the disaster. Friede (1982) reports that about 1604 the Quimbaya from the middle Cauca Valley, who were listed as 15,000 tax payers in 1539, had declined to 140. The indigenous population of the Almaguer Province in the Colombian Massif numbered some 40,000 people in 1552 and had almost disappeared by 1588 (Faust and Gnecco 2006; Romoli 1962, 1987). The Abad from Nariño, near the current border with Ecuador, lost twothirds of the population between 1558 and 1570 (Calero 1997). The Cauca Valley was almost depopulated, five years after the arrival of the Spaniards (Kurella 1994). In Panama, by the 1630s and 1640s the shores of the Chiriquí and the offshore islands were apparently already depopulated (Künne 2003). By the mid-16th century, some indigenous groups had weathered the first wave of invasion and come to terms with the new situation. The reason for this development lay not only in the relocation of Spanish activities to Mexico, Peru, and the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, but also in the fact that the tendency toward urbanization decreased. Aside from the decentralized settlement pattern there was no “supreme leader” (Gallup-Diaz 2003) like the Huey Tlatoani in Mexico or the Sapa Inca in Peru that allowed the Spaniards direct control over the whole population by taking hostages, and the social organization was based on clans supporting a more equally distributed power across the regions. After the first contact the number of indigenous people in Costa Rica greatly declined, mostly from disease and because of the inhuman conditions many indigenous people were forced to work (Daling 1998). Forced trade (repartos) led to impoverishment, and

146  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer forced resettlement (reducciones) to the loss of indigenous identity. By 1561 the Huetar chieftain Guar-Abito became one of the most important leaders of the Costa Rican indigenous guerrilla resistance against the Governors Juan de Cavallón y Arboleda (1560–1562) and Juan Vázquez de Coronado (1562–1565) (Sáenz Carbonell 2016, 116). Along with the Bribri leader Pablo Presbere (ca. 1670?–1710) (Solórzano Fonseca 2011) he mounted an obstinate resistance (1709–1710) to the Spanish conquest. In post-contact times major population shifts occurred when groups sometimes retreated to areas that were difficult to access. In 1574 GuarAbito withdrew to the jungle (Sáenz Carbonell 2016, 116), as did the Tairona after their 1602 rebellion. The inhabitants of the Chocó Peninsula escaped from the Spaniards to the Darien Province, driving the resident population, the Guna (Kuna or Tule), to the Caribbean coast (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler 1992). In Panama, in the highland area around Caldera, Boquete, and on the slopes of the volcano Barú, lived groups of Dorasque and Zurie next to the Ngöbe (Linares 1968, 79). Linares believes that in the 16th century, the highlands population remained relatively untouched (1968, 78). Lehmann (1920), by contrast, assumes that the Ngöbe originally settled as much farther west as the villages of Coto and Turucaca in the Valle de Guaymí (Valle de El General) and only migrated to the Pacific Coast area of Chiriquí in colonial times. According to Lehmann the Dorasque (Dorace), who lived in the region of Bugaba until the end of the 19th century, originally inhabited the shores and islands of the Bahía de Almirante on the Caribbean coast of today’s Bocas del Toro Province. After 1600, a highly heterogeneous picture emerged. The political situation changed as other colonial powers like England, France, and Scotland entered into competition with Spain. This situation makes it possible for the historian to draw on contemporaneous sources other than Spanish. Many different reports refer to the Guna (Tule) whom the Spanish administration was apparently unable to control. Whether their organization had always centered on a super chief (Helms 1979) or must rather be understood as a loose alliance of chiefdoms from which super chiefs emerged through the colonial encounter (Gallup-Diaz 2003), the colonizers relied in their dealings with indigenous groups on individual chiefs. They expected that by gaining an agreement with such a chief a whole population would be subjugated (Gallup-Diaz 2003, 91–92). Such misconceptions made it possible for “false chiefs”, who were not the regional leaders they purported to be, to conduct negotiations with the Spaniards. One might even say that in this phase it was the Europeans who were integrated into the indigenous system and not the other way round. For example, in 1676 Luis Carrisoli had to offer the Guna leaders valuable trade goods like paniquiris and moras, the present-day molas, in order to strengthen their friendship, so that they would fight the British pirates and send contingents of archers for the defense of Panama. Only about 1,400 of a total of 20,000 people could be relocated to reducciones. It is also interesting to note that new towns had to be

Between Mesoamerica, the Central Andes, and Amazonia  147 described as “future towns” (Gallup-Diaz 2003) because people refused to be relocated. In the report by Lionel Wafer (2010 [1934]) from 1680, a largely unchanged way of life was described with regard to chief Lacenta, including his royal garb, palace, and landholdings. Apparently the Guna switched between alliances with several Europeans powers. Chroniclers on pirate ships, such as Basil Ringrose and Bartholomew Sharp, mention agreements with the Guna that guaranteed the pirates access to food, guides, information on Spanish troops, and military support. Some of these sources testify to the Guna’s great skills with regard to trade and medicine (Drake manuscript, ca. 1586; Ringrose 1680). In Colombia, the cultural interaction of Muisca elites and Spaniards apparently became closer at that time, resembling the relation of indigenous people and Spanish in Peru. The Muisca elite quickly adopted alphabetic writing and sued the Crown for land and the reduction of tribute (Rappaport and Cummins 2012). Like their counterparts in Peru, Muisca cazciques became sponsors of churches, where their portraits decorated the interior walls. The best known example is the portrait of “la cacica” in the church of San Juan Bautista in Sutatausa in Cundinamarca, where the patrons are represented in a pictorial narrative dating to about 1620. Despite such continuities in the 16th and 17th centuries fundamental transformations of indigenous society and their accelerated integration into the colonial – and later national – society took place. By the mid-20th century Julian Steward described the indigenous groups of the Circum-Caribbean Area as culturally if not racially (…) long extinct (…) all that survive today were dislocated from their aboriginal habitats to new and often dramatically different regions. (…) All but the very backward and isolated tribes have suffered drastic changes. Gone are the intensive horticulture, the dense population, the large villages, the class- structured society, the mounds, temples, idols, and priests, the warfare, cannibalism and human trophies, the elaborate death rites, and even the technological and esthetic refinements evidenced in the early metallurgy, weaving, ceramics, and stone sculpture. (1948, 1–2) The contemporary groups “resemble the Tropical Forest tribes rather than their own ancestors” (ibid., 2). Thus the framework for conceptualizing the contemporary groups of the area in terms of Amazonian anthropology was officially established. Over 70 years later it is time to critically review such narrative of assimilation and to inquiere the formation of new indigeneities and contemporary indigenous modernities (Halbmayer 2018) in the Isthmo– Colombian Area in their own terms. This implies a critical evaluation of imposing theoretical concepts from Amazonian Anthropology w ithout detailed prior empirical examination and revision.

148  Christiane Clados and Ernst Halbmayer

Notes 1 A term coined by Kirchhoff (Steward and Faron 1959, 174). 2 Kirchhoff also excluded “those who have Andean cultural affinities, like the Muisca” (1943, 100) from his Chibcha Area. 4 For a possible link between Chocoan languages and Pumé, see Pache (2016). 5 For a recent evaluation of the Barbacoan language family in the history of area concepts, see Ventura i Oller (2018). 6 On the difference of Chibchan and Chocoan languages in relation to Wayuu (Arawak) and Yukpa (Carib), see Pache et al. (this volume). 7 A map and classification of Chibchan languages according to Quesada (2007) is provided by Pache et al. (this volume). 8 The Chorotega-Mangue entered the region during the Classic, the Pipil during the Epiclassic. 9 Such assumptions were seriously challenged (e.g. within regard to protein as limiting factor, Beckerman 1979) and Amazonian history has been substantially revised in recent decades (see e.g. Balée 1998; Clement et al. 2015; Erickson 2008; Heckenberger et al. 2003; Roosevelt 1987, 1999; Saunaluoma and Schaan 2012).

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The golden ones The human body as reflective metallic surface in the Isthmo–Colombian Area Christiane Clados

The European conquerors’ attitude toward indigenous gold work since first contact was essentially condensed in the legend of El Dorado (Bray 1978; Jones 1974). The first reference to the “golden man” can be found in the Historia general y natural de las Indias in which Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1535) reported the existence of a “golden king”. According to Juan Rodriguez Freyle (1979[1638]), who compiled accounts of earlier chroniclers, this was the new zipa of the Muisca, the heir to the chieftainship who covered his body with gold dust and jumped into Lake Guatavita accompanied by gold objects and emeralds as offerings to the gods. In the following, the “golden man” came to be exclusively associated with the Muisca. Efforts to make the body appear golden, however, can also be found in the material culture of other pre-Hispanic indigenous people of the Isthmo–Colombian Area. The means by which this was achieved differed markedly from the Muisca chiefs, but were no less effective. In this chapter I will demonstrate how a “golden look” was achieved by means different from gold dust. I will do so by discussing some case studies from the Cauca Valley and the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia, as well as from the Panamanian province of Coclé and the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. I will describe the occasions when a body was covered with gold and discuss the cosmological concept and the material properties involved with reference to an anthropology of metal ornaments which in this context is defined as the relationship between metal, technique, and visual and physical effects, on one hand, and aesthetic and socio-cultural purpose, on the other hand. Such a concept, manifested in many ways and in different places (Bray 1978; Falchetti 2003; Saunders 2003, 2012), was materialized to its fullest extent in metal-based costumes that spread from the Isthmo–Colombian Area in the first centuries AD (see Clados and Halbmayer, this volume). The case of the new Muisca ruler who was anointed with gold dust (Rodriguez Freyle 1979 [1638]) is the most prominent example of a Golden Man. Found in 1969 by three farmers, the El Dorado raft is to this day the most reliable proof of the existence of the ceremony of El Dorado as described by Spanish chroniclers (Bray 1978; Duque Gómez 1979a, 7). The  Spanish chronicles indicate, however, that there were other rulers who were called “golden”. In 1534, Belalcázar’s men (probably his native allies) captured a

The golden ones  159 chief they called “el indio dorado”, whose kingdom was said to be located somewhere in southern Colombia (Bray 1978, 17). Although the report does not mention why the ruler was described as “golden”, it can be assumed that his golden appearance was not achieved by a covering of gold dust which, following the logic of the ceremony at Guatavita, was used only to be washed off as soon as the ruler immersed himself in the lake. Rather, it can be assumed that his “golden look” was achieved by wearing golden (or gilded) objects as body ornaments. Archaeological evidence and ethnohistorical sources indicate that the concept of a golden man was known far beyond Guatavita. But what ornaments were used to achieve a golden look, when was such attire worn, and what was the wearer supposed to represent? In what follows, some selected case studies are discussed regarding how and on what occasion the “coating” of the body with metal ornaments was performed and what meaning the practice was supposed to convey. I argue that such coating was achieved by (a) large-scale objects, (b) large amounts of small-scale objects, and (c) by metal applications.

“Coating” by large-scale objects Several pre-Columbian societies are characterized by the use of metal ornaments with a large surface area. These include in particular objects in the styles of Calima and Malagana, Gran Coclé, and Diquís. Calima metal work is extraordinary for its size. The gold work of the Early Calima style seems to be some of the oldest in Colombia (Bray 1978, 64). During the Yotoco-Malagana period (AD 1–500) (Plazas 1996), the upper and middle regions of the Calima River, and the fertile plains of the Cauca River were populated by farmers whose leaders had specialists at their command who manufactured elaborate metal objects commonly found in shaft graves. The gold objects were made by hammering and casting. In contrast to other regions, where tumbaga, a gold-copper-silver alloy, is preferred, these gold items are characteristically made of relatively pure gold (Bray 1978, 63). Pectorals of the Yotoco Period with human faces in high relief can reach a diameter up to 36 cm and bracelets had a length of 22 cm. Some pectorals of composite form (pectorales de forma compuesta) (Plazas 1996, 73–75) reach more than 40 cm in height.1 Pairs of concave ear pendants (colgantes de orejera circular cóncavo) approach diameters up to 19.5 cm (Plazas 1996, 83).2 Alligator-headed variants of Darién pectorals (Falchetti 1976, 133–174, 1979) show that the mouth was hidden by a large mask (Bray 1978, 160) or nose ornament, similar to those of the Malagana region.3 Feline nose ornaments (narigueras en forma de felino) of the same region that have been preserved to this day can be up to 28 cm in height (Figure 6.1) (Plazas 1996, 60, 82). The metal ornaments of a Calima chief of the Yotoco Period, as found in the burial of La Grecia (Community Restrepo, Cauca Valley) (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 104–105), would have covered a substantial part of the body surface in “full dress” (Figure 6.2: simulation).

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   Figure 6.1 (left) Nose ornament, Yotoco-Malagana. AD 1–500. Museo del Oro, Bogota. Image by Clados. Figure 6.2 (right) Calima chief, Yotoco Period. AD 100–700/1000. Image by Clados.

Further to the north, the same practice of achieving a golden appearance by using large-scale objects can be observed. In the cultural region of Gran Coclé, which more or less coincides with the modern-day Panamanian province? of Coclé, goldsmiths are thought to have begun practicing their craft during the fifth century AD and are known to have practiced it at the time of contact (Bray 1992; Cooke et al. 2003; Wardwell 1968). The largest ornaments of this area come from the Sitio Conte site and include helmets, cuffs, and large disc pectorals (patenas, chaguales) (Cooke et al. 2003; Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937, vol. 1, figs. 91, 92, 95, 100, 107, 142). Disc pectorals reach a diameter of up to 27 cm. Bracelets are up to 16 cm long and reach from wrist to elbow. Again, the scale of these metal ornaments indicates the intention to cover a large part of the body surface. Even today, a tendency to cover arms and legs can be observed. The Kuna, for example, who are considered to be descendants of Gran Coclé, still use great quantities of bracelets to cover lower arms and legs. The multiple perforations of the circular plaques of hammered sheet metal indicate that they were originally attached to cloth and part of larger ensembles (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937, vol. 1, figs. 91, 92). In the late period of the Diquís and the Quimbaya region, circular plaques of hammered sheet metal also functioned as pectorals.4 Such pectorals were still in use when Christopher Columbus sailed along the coast of Central America from present-day Honduras south to Darién in 1502 on his forth

The golden ones  161 voyage. He and his men traded with the indigenous people for “mirrors” of gold, which, according to the Spanish, were worn around the neck. In some regions of Costa Rica, they were also worn around arms and knees as can be seen in two Galo Polychrome effigy vessels depicting an aged kneeling male (14505, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica) (Figure 6.3) (Snarskis 1981, cat. no. 83). Concerning the practice of wrapping legs with metal plates, Gaspar Espinosa (1913[1519]) wrote in the description of his journeys along the northern Pacific Coast of South America: He [the chief] was covered with gold – a large helmet on his head… four or five necklaces…. They were all dressed in this armor and had many pieces of gold attached to their chests and backs. They also wore gold belts … and many plates of gold were also attached to their legs. (quoted in Enslow 1990, 61) In the Peninsula Azuero region, twin figure pendants and ceramics show that circular plaques were worn on both sides of the hip, as part of a belt, or functioned as back mirrors (Benson 1992, 30; Bray 1992). Many metal plates of unknown function were probably originally part of belts and served as belt attachments or back mirrors, alongside back mirrors of pyrite like those excavated from grave 26 at Sitio Conte (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937). From the regions of Malagana and Calima (Colombia) and La Tolita and Nariño (Ecuador) come forehead ornaments which are among the largest ornaments in the Isthmo–Colombian Area. Those from the Malagana region are H-shaped, reach a width of up to 44 cm, and resemble ornaments on stone statues of San Agustín (Plazas 1996, 58; Duque Gomez 1993).5 From the border region between the Departments of Magdalena and Cesar (La Mesa), which was part of Tairona territory, come gold belts made of a single sheet that reach a length of more than 50 cm. They are reminiscent of the gold belt of chief Parita, Sitio Conte, Panama, as described by the Spanish (Cooke et al. 2003, 122). As we shall see, both types of ornaments are depicted in Darién pectorals that help to identify of the wearer.

Large amount of small-scale objects Another way of covering a large part of the body with metal ornaments was the use of long strands of beads that were wrapped around it. This method of dress has never been discussed in depth, but representations in ceramics and gold suggest a multifunctional use of long strands of beads. Long strands of beads are documented in particular for the Cauca Valley (Colombia) and the archaeological site of Sitio Conte (Panama). The longest necklace found to date at Sitio Conte reaches 165 cm in circumference (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937, vol. 1, 157).6 Ceramic

162  Christiane Clados

   Figure 6.3 (left) Galo Polychrome effigy vessels depicting an aged kneeling male; arms and legs are wrapped with discs. Guanacaste-Nicoya, AD 500– 800, 14505, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. Image by Clados. Figure 6.4 (right) Strands of beads cover the front of the body. Muisca, AD 1200– 1600, VA 1505. Berlin. Image by Clados.

and gold effigies show a similar use in the Quimbaya region. In the case of some Muisca ceramic figurines, it can be assumed that the strands of beads completely covered the front of the body and probably reached lengths of several meters (Figure 6.4: E.M. VA 1505) (El Dorado 1994, 227, fig. 202). But strands of beads were not just worn as necklaces. Ceramic vessels and urns in the Chimila style from the Tairona territory show them wrapped around the wrist and ankles (indicated by rows of incised dots on band applications), a way of wearing also documented by the stone sculptures of San Agustín (Duque Gómez 1979b, 1993). Some ceramic figures from the Tairona region suggest that paired strands of effigy beads were worn across the chest, a way of wearing still found today in some regions. The wrapping of strands of (glass) beads around the neck among the present-day Kuna or Emberá (Nonoamá) of Colombia, for example, represents a modern version of this ornamentation and probably has its origin in pre-Columbian times, albeit with a substantial change of material (Figures 6.5 and 6.6). Necklaces with large animal pendants known from the Tairona and Muisca regions served similar purposes (Figure 6.7: E.M. VA 1496) (Fischer 1994, 231, fig. 208) as they formed a continuous mobile surface adapting to the body shape. Some Tairona II style burial ceramics show individuals wearing several different necklaces, a mode of attire that corroborates the account of Gaspar Espinosa (see above) and John Savage’ engraving in

The golden ones  163 Lionel Wafer’s New Voyage and Description (1729), the latter showing chief Lacenta wearing six necklaces (Figure 6.8). In the northern regions of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, some chest ornaments were composed of great numbers of platelets as can be seen on a stela from the Chontales style from the El Gavilán site (Figure 6.9).

   Figure 6.5 (left) Wrapping the neck with strands of (glass) beads as seen with the presentday Kuna. Drawing by Clados after a photograph by Jean-Philippe Soule, 2001 ( Figure 6.6 (right) Wrapping the neck with strands of gold beads. Quimbaya flask, K VA 501, AD 0–600. Berlin.

   Figure 6.7 (left) Necklaces with large animal pendants worn across the chest. Muisca, AD 1200–1600, VA 1496. Berlin. Image by Clados. Figure 6.8 (right) Chief Lacenta wearing six necklaces. Drawing by Clados after Lionel Wafer’s account “New Voyage and Description” (1729).

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   Figure 6.9 (left) Large-scale chest ornament, stela, Chontales style, El Gavilán, Nicaragua. AD 800–1200. Image by Clados. Figure 6.10 (right) Plaque in form of star; star has two central holes for attachment. Pupiales, Nariño, AD 600–1700. MO 20.822. Image by Clados.

Applications A third way to create a golden surface was by using sets of plaques. They were found throughout the Isthmo–Colombian Area (Plazas 1998, 10–11, figs. 3, 4; 46, fig. 26).7 The plates and plaques have multiple perforations that indicate that they were sewn onto a textile. Archaeological evidence shows that sleeveless vests and loincloths were covered with golden plates and plaques of various shapes and sizes. The most important finds with secured provenience come from burials of the Gran Coclé area in Central Panama (O’Day 2014; Benson 1992, 29–31; Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937, 123–129), and from Hacienda Malagana in the Cauca Valley of Colombia (Plazas 1996, 37, 1998, 26–27). Iconographic evidence suggests that goldcovered sleeveless vests were widespread in the cultures of Tumaco-La Tolita and Jama-Coaque and in the Chiriquí region.8 This is not surprising as trade contacts between Panama and coastal Ecuador are corroborated by archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence (Cooke et al. 2003, 115;

The golden ones  165 Ichon 1980, 197, 321; Kurella 1994; Rappaport 1988; Salomon 1986). Many ceramic figures from Tumaco-La Tolita and Jama-Coaque show seated chieftains wearing vests covered with flat platelets and three-dimensional metal applications in the form of shells, snail shells, and heads of supernatural characters.9 The use of plaques covering textiles is also corroborated by several chroniclers. In the first part of his Crónica del Perú from 1554, Pedro Cieza de León, for instance, notes when writing about the province of Carrapa in the middle Cauca Valley that the cotton cloaks (mantas) of certain groups were “chapadas de unas piezas de oro hechas a manera redonda y otras como estrelletas” (“plated with pieces of gold made in a round way and others like stars”) (Cieza de León 1962 [1554]). Plaques in the form of stars are known from the Nariño region (Figure 6.10). Gold-covered textiles are also well-known from the neighboring cultures of Moche10 and Sican11 of northern Peru, with whom the people of ancient Ecuador maintained trade relations as well (Salomon 1984). Plaques and plates were also sewn on other types of garments. Some Tumaco-style ceramics indicate that headdresses were covered with square plaques forming a continuous surface.12 Gold discs were sewn on a cap covering the chief’s headdress in deposit XVI of grave 26 of Sitio Conte in Panama (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937).

Identity and occasions It is quite difficult to determine the occasions when individuals were dressed as golden men. The majority of them were apparently men, although gold helmets of the Quimbaya and Azuero Peninsula regions (Cooke et al. 2003, 120), and large-scale breastplates from the Sinú region with raised bosses, like those from the funerary mound at Ayapel (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1958, 81), Córdoba,13 were found on women’s torsos (Plazas and Echeverri 1995, 143). When found undisturbed, as was the case in some burials of Hacienda Malagana (Plazas 1996), the ornaments cover the buried person, producing the effect of a golden surface. Cieza de León’s description of a Sinú burial in 1554 suggests this effect was intended: The Indians were buried with as much wealth as possible…, believing that the more of the metal they carried away with them the more esteemed they would be in the places and regions to which they imagined their souls would go. (Cieza de León 1962 [1554], vol.1, 60) In life, certain ornaments were combined to form costumes that were worn on specific occasions and to represent certain supernatural beings. In order to elucidate this aspect of a golden appearance we must refer to depictions in iconography, to descriptions in Spanish accounts, and to ethnographic evidence.

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The Darién pectoral complex and lords of the universe Darién pectorals (Falchetti 1976, 133–174), for example, depict individuals often described as golden men, since enormous diadems and nose ornaments conceal the identity of the person who uses them at the moment of the ritual transforming him into a “golden man” (Botero et al. 2007, 70). The iconographic significance of Darién pectorals lies in the fact that the depicted ornaments have their counterparts in reality. Anthropomorphic variants of the Calima region (Figure 6.11)14 generally wear large-scale Calima-Malagana nose ornaments, Calima pectorals with a human face, and ear plugs of the “cogged wheel” type (Bray 1978, 130, fig. 131).15 Darién pectorals from the Quimbaya region16 depict persons who wear wide mouth masks with “whiskers” that imitate the mouth and teeth of a supernatural alligator or saurian character and resemble Calima-Malagana nose ornaments (Figure 6.12).17 With these ornaments identified, what can be said about the identity of the golden men portrayed in the Darién pectorals? Are there hints concerning the occasions when such a costume was worn? The primary function of the enormous ornaments was to hide the human nature of their wearer. In the case of Calima-Malagana narigueras, the lower part of the face was covered, obscuring the movements of the mouth when speaking. This caused a mythical elevation of the wearer. The same intention is suggested by the observation that in the case of Darién pectorals

   Figure 6.11 (left) Anthropomorphic variant of Darién pectoral, showing golden man with large-scale ornaments and weaponry, Calima region, 100 BC-AD 1000. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Image by Clados. Figure 6.12 (right) Alligator-headed variant of Darién pectoral; top of the domes shows spout-and-bridge bottles (alcarraza). Probably Ansermanuevo, Cauca Valley, AD 0–600. MO 6031. Image by Clados.

The golden ones  167 from the Quimbaya and Sinú region it is unclear whether the wide mouth with its whisker-like elements is a mask or part of the facial anatomy. The limits between Western categories of real and supernatural become fluid. Crucial hints regarding the identity of the depicted persons are provided by the headdress and the pair of cylindrical objects held in the hands. The headdress of the alligator-headed variants incorporates three-dimensional objects shaped like mushrooms (Bray 1978, 160; Schultes and Bright 1979, 113–141), sometimes with overhead spirals and spout-and-bridge bottles (alcarraza) (Figure 6.12). To the Western observer it may be seductive to interpret these domes as mushrooms, especially as a potential drug for shamans in mind; however, these elements turn out to be something more universal. Darién pectorals are related to some Tairona figure pendants that, although later in time and very different in style, show persons wearing similar headdresses (Figure 6.13).18 These headdresses incorporate, like their Darien precursors, a pair of domes, but in a two-dimensional manner, showing two crescent elements that are separated by a staff with double spirals (Hoopes and Fonseca 2003, 67). Each semicircle shows a row of minute spherules. This combination of semicircle and staff reoccurs in Calima diadems of the Yotoco Period (Figure 6.14). Here, the Tairona-style staff with double spirals defined by Graham (2003) as “spiral emanations” is replaced by feather-like projections, and the minute spherules by embossed circles set between a zigzag line and arching over an embossed face. The zigzag line is a common motif in the Isthmo–Colombian Area representing the body of a serpent. The same configuration – an arched serpent, staff, and circles – is still in use, as Gebhart-Sayer’s chapter (1987, 26) of Shipibo cosmology shows. The Shipibo, who speak a Panoan language, imagine their universe as dome-shaped, with the stars of the Milky Way arching over the flat earth (Figure  6.15). In the pre-Hispanic ornaments the stars are represented by spherules and embossed circles. In the Shipibo cosmogram the earth is surrounded by the serpent Ronin whose body is – as in pre-Hispanic depictions of serpents  – marked by a zigzag line. In the middle of the earth rises a huge tree, an axis mundi that in the pre-Hispanic version is represented by a staff with double spirals or feather-like projections. As in the Shipibo version of the universe, some domes of Darién pectorals even show a horizontal zigzag line on the bottom symbolizing the serpent coiled around the earth (Falchetti 1976, fig. A3). Contemporary indigenous groups see the ceremonial house with its posts as a representation of the dome-shaped universe with its axis mundi/world tree (Halbmayer 2010, vol. 1, 111), which implies that the domes of the Darién-style figures represent both the universe and ceremonial houses. Attention to the pair of cylindrical objects also leads toward understanding the identity of the golden men of the Darien pectorals. The objects often end in knobs or spirals, elements shared with the Tairona figure pendants. The staffs with double spirals recall an object held in the hand by the corpse that was recovered from a burial in the Malagana region

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   Figure 6.13 (left) Tairona figure pendant, depicting master of the universe wearing headdress with semi-circles and eye-shield. Santa Marta, Magdalena, AD 900–1600. MO 22.802. Image by Clados. Figure 6.14 (right) Calima diadem with zigzag line arching over an embossed face, and embossed circles. Yotoco Period, AD 100–700/1000. MO 4833. Image by Clados.

   Figure 6.15 (left) Shipibo cosmogram. Drawing by Clados after Gebhart-Sayer 1987, 26. Figure 6.16 (right) Scepter in the shape of the world tree. Calima-Malagana, AD 1–500. MO 33396. Image by Clados.

(Figure 6.16).19 The artifact was identified by Clemencia Plazas as a pin, with the additional remark that it was possibly held in the hand as an emblem (1996, 78). Taken together with the iconographic evidence, this information suggests an interpretation as scepter, probably depicting the cosmic tree. This interpretation fits with Elizabeth Benson’s (1992, 30)

The golden ones  169 interpretation as staffs of office that like the post of a ceremonial house, itself a symbol of the world tree as suggested in this chapter, may symbolically connect the upper, middle, and lower worlds. Other ethnographic sources give clues to the ancient meaning of the depicted individual. In the case of the Tairona pendants, some individuals wear a cap with a sickleshaped eye shield reminiscent of the detailed description of Seizánkwa, master of the universe and the rising sun, who, according to modern Kogi mythology, wears a cap with an eye-shield made from a turtle shell. Further elements pointing to the interpretation as master of the universe are the bats (Legast 1987) attached to the semicircles that recall Máma nyui, another master of the universe, who is associated with bats and darkness (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1996).

War and rituals Archaeological, iconographic, and ethnographic evidence supports the idea that gold work from Central Panama refers to special occupations like shamans, warriors impersonating “hunter-heroes” (Helms 2000, figs. 5.9, 5.11), and paramount or supreme chiefs (sacos or quevíes). Only the latter were allowed to wear a large number of metal ornaments (Cooke et al. 2003, 119). The iconographic evidence for the lower Isthmo–Colombian Area points to a limited number of occasions when individuals became golden. Some anthropomorphic variants of Darién pectorals apparently show persons holding weapons like a shield in the shape of a lizard and a lance (Cardale de Schrimpff and Gähwiler-Walder 1992, 99) (Figure 6.11). An association of the golden look with war is corroborated by several Spanish accounts. Gaspar de Espinosa (1913[1519]) tells of one chief, Cabaco, who wore a thousand castellanos of gold when raiding other tribes (quoted in Saunders 2012, 109). Fernandez de Oviedo reported that it was the custom in those parts of the chiefs and important men to bring to battle some gold jewel on their chest or head or arms in order to be known to their own and also by their enemies. (Oviedo 1853, 118) Cieza de León provides the information that “cuando ellos iban a la guerra llevaban coronas y unas patenas en los pechos, y muy lindas plumas, y otras muchas joyas” (Cieza de León 1962 [1554], 15). In contrast to the anthropomorphic variants of the Darién pectorals, the alligator-headed examples show individuals holding two identical cylindrical objects (Figure 6.12). The ones that end in knobs are reminiscent of clubs with egg-shaped heads like the ones known from the Atlantic-Pacific watershed in Costa Rica.20 Though weapons like spears were carried in pairs (Oviedo 1853, 118)21 and indicate a context of war, the gesture of the person allows a different interpretation. The same ritual gesture is known from

170  Christiane Clados figural depictions on Quimbaya lime flasks22 that show figures with double spirals, the insignia of power, offering or receiving lime flasks or scepters. Some of these individuals are sitting on a stool, a key symbol of power, a fact that may indicate that the gesture is linked to rituals of succession. The connection of a golden look and a stool can also be found in Tairona iconography. Apart from gold works like the aforementioned pendants, the Tairona of the contact period produced figurative ceramic representations that illustrate well the use of golden and gilded body ornaments. Several ocarinas (silbatos) in the Gayraca style (AD 1300–1500) depict anthropomorphic figures, sometimes described as chieftains (Ayala and Gamboa 1975, 415; Townsend 1992, 253) (Figure 6.17). As in the case of the Darién pectorals, many of the components of the depicted costume mirror objects in reality which were mostly made of gold or tumbaga. When adorned as shown by the effigy ocarinas, the person looked like a golden being covered with large-scale ornaments like patenas, belt, and long strands of beads wrapped around arms and legs. Even the hands are covered with what Ayala and Gamboa (1975, 415) describe as sleeves (mangas) and what appear to be cuffs with long metal pendants. The person is dressed with a skirt and enormous headdress and seated on a throne in the shape of a two-headed serpent (Ayala and Gamboa 1975, 415). Although there are shared elements, like throne, collar, skirt, and headdresses, features of the facial anatomy vary greatly, suggesting that different protagonists are depicted. For this reason, interpreting all figural ocarinas as Hiséi (Bray 2003; Preuss 1993; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1990, 2005), the master of diseases and human sexuality according to modern Kogi mythology, must not be done carelessly. Nevertheless, figural ocarinas clearly demonstrate the close connection between a golden look, supernatural beings, and thrones.

Sensing the brilliance, reading the costume Recent publications that discuss metal objects of the Isthmo–Colombian Area focus not only on aspects of technology but also on what Saunders (1998, 2003, 2005, 2012) calls the “aesthetic of brilliance”. This concept implies that shiny objects, and especially those made of gold or tumbaga, materialize native worldviews, philosophies, and identity. Following Gell’s (1998) idea of “enchantment”, it can be assumed that high-status individuals sheathed in gold advertised both their physical access to and ritual control of the supernatural energy manifested in shiny objects. They “dazzled their audiences in brilliant costumes, paraphernalia and rituals. They fascinated, compelled, entrapped and delighted spectators…” (Gell quoted in Saunders 2012, 95). But was it only the glitter, understood as cosmic energy in material form, that “dazzled the audience”, or was the complex iconography also crucial “in order to be known to their own and also by their enemies” (Oviedo 1853, 118)? Enchantment certainly was an important factor but,

The golden ones  171 without doubt, the iconography of the objects also mattered. Otherwise design of any kind would have been unnecessary. When, for example, it was worn while impersonating one of the lords of the universe, the costume signaled the political and religious power of the wearer and made the relation between the own and the other. Sacred knowledge not only endowed glitter with a philosophy but also with the association with different supernatural characters. Any golden man carried not just cosmological energy in general, but a specific form of energy that came with the supernatural being he represented.

The green look and changing media Before gold work was practiced in the Isthmo–Colombian Area in the first five centuries AD (Cooke et al. 2003; Plazas 1996; Snarskis 1981), other shiny materials like greenstones (jadeite, nephrite), agate, amber, crystals, pearls, shells, emeralds, carnelian, walrus teeth, feathers, polished ceramics, and black wood were particularly valued (Helms 1993; Kensinger 1991; Saunders 2012, 92–95). These materials were seen as charged with cosmological energy and considered as statements of “social being” that “define and manifest the relationships between human and supernatural forces” (Saunders 2012, 80). In the northern Isthmo–Colombian Area and the Caribbean, the practice of covering large parts of the body with shimmering objects had existed long before gold and tumbaga came into use. The Isthmo–Colombian shift from greenstone to gold can be illustrated by the serpentine crocodile pendants, nose rings, and curly tailed animal pendants from Sitio Conte (Lothrop, Hutchinson and Roberts 1937, 140–141, 169–170, 181–182; Snarskis 1978) in the Panama Province that were initially made of serpentine, but, with the spread of gold, increasingly made of metal (Bray 1981). A “green look” pre-dating the golden look spread from the southern regions of Mesoamerica. Its origin lay in the Olmec (1200–200 BC) and Classic Maya (AD 200– 800) cultures, where lords were dressed in costumes covered with jadeite. In the Atlantic Watershed region of Costa Rica monumental sculptures were discovered that show large-scale chest ornaments made of jadeite. Although they seem to postdate the period of lapidary work (Snarskis 1978, 212, figs. 196–198), bat-masked stone figures of the Atlantic Watershed region wear necklaces composed of a long horizontal bar with hanging vertical elements (Figure 6.18) (Geneviève 2005, 154). They correspond to the tubular jadeite beads found in the Atlantic Watershed and Bagaces regions in Guanacaste (Graham and Jones 1998, 88). This type of ornament is reminiscent of several ceramic and stone figures from Lowland and Highland Mayan burials like Copán and Kaminaljuyú that show high-ranking individuals wearing jadeite bar pectorals with hanging spheres. They confirm the widespread use of large-scale ornaments to reflect the sunlight, in these cases by using jadeite (Figure 6.19).

   Figure 6.17 (left) Effigy ocarina depicting a golden man sitting on a throne. Tairona, Gayraca style, AD 1300–1500. Image by Clados. Figure 6.18 (right) Bat-masked stone figure wearing necklaces composed of a long horizontal bar with hanging vertical elements. Atlantic Watershed zone, Costa Rica, AD 700–1100. Image by Clados.

   Figure 6.19 (left) Ceramic effigy figure showing high-ranking individual with jadeite bar pectoral. Burial XXXVII-4, Copan, AD 695. Image by Clados. Figure 6.20 (right) Emberá with chest ornament similar to Classic Maya jadeite bar pectoral. Drawing by Clados after Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960.

The golden ones  173 The shift from greenstone to gold and tumbaga was not the last instance of change in the Isthmo–Colombian Area. The next substitution of one shiny material by another took place at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. Various chronicles report the exchange of glass beads for avidly sought gold. Viewed from an indigenous perspective, glass beads had supernatural qualities similar to jadeite and gold as they reflected the sunlight. That glass beads were highly valued is best illustrated by the fact that they functioned as grave goods, for example at the site of Curré in southern Costa Rica (Peregrine and Ember 2001). The process of material replacement continues to the present day. A photo taken by Reichel-Dolmatoff in 1960 shows an Emberá (Noanamá) man from the Río Docordó on the southern Pacific Coast whose chest ornament consists of silver coins (Figure 6.20). The chest ornament is in fact quite similar to that of Classic Maya sculptures (Figure 6.19). This fact supports the theory of a strong influence of the Isthmo–Colombian ­ Area on its northern neighbors.

Conclusions Following in the footsteps of studies of the symbolic meaning of golden and gilded ornaments of the Isthmo–Colombian Area, the present chapter argues that such ornaments were used to coat the body to create a golden look. The case studies presented here provide some examples of how this was achieved, whether by large-scale ornaments or a large amount of small-scale applications. In the time before contact, the multifunctional use of strands of beads apparently was a central cultural feature of the Isthmo–Colombian Area. The comparison with the neighboring culture areas of Mesoamerica and the Central Andes shows that wrapping with long strands of gold beads is rare or virtually non-existent in these regions. A golden appearance conveyed a supernatural cosmological association and the golden men acted as a highly public display of power and identity. On the basis of Darién pectorals, it can be assumed that the depicted persons wear ornaments that make them appear as supernatural beings. Their identity is primarily indicated by their headdress that in many cases represents nothing less than the cosmos. The persons apparently impersonate different supernatural beings, but at least some of them can be identified as what present-day Kogi mythology describes as masters of the universe. Future studies on the complex iconographies of the Isthmo–Colombian Area are likely to identify impersonators of other supernatural beings and cosmological components. Besides being connected to war, a golden appearance seems to be linked to mythical and political events. Previous interpretations of the gold- covered persons often ignore elements like scepters or stools, widespread symbols of political authority in the Isthmo–Colombian Area. Taking this fact into account, the scepter-holding or seated golden men can also be linked to an

174  Christiane Clados occasion with clear political meaning, for example a ritual of succession such as that of the El Dorado of Guatavita. This chapter confirms the assumption of different authors that in the Isthmo–Colombian Area creating a shiny surface was of great importance. But the golden look was probably predated by a green look, at least in the northern regions of the Isthmo–Colombian Area that was achieved by the use of ornaments made of jadeite and other greenstones. The shift from jadeite to gold was not only caused by changes in social relations and the replacement of jadeite as an “exotic” material (Helms 1979; Quilter 2013, 10); the metal also facilitated the coating of the body with a shiny material. Gold was easier to shape and to adjust to the body and weighed less since it could be hammered into thin sheets. The shift from greenstone to gold also affected the color of the shimmer that took on a different symbolic connotation. Step by step gold, which emphasized the solar aspect, seemed to have replaced a “green” water-maize-fertility aspect. One wonders why, during the Muisca ritual at Lake Guatavita, gold dust was used instead of the widespread practice of covering the body with gold ornaments. The answer seems to lie in the fact that dust washes off when a person jumps into the water, while metal ornaments would drag the person under. Another explanation may be that the ritual was a re-enactment of a myth in which the supernatural solar-celestial association of the main character is replaced by a more human, non-golden, non-shiny one. Being a golden man was, of course, more than being covered with metal ornaments. It implied a sacred knowledge combining aspects of craftsmanship with philosophy. As gold and technical know-how became more easily accessible, the golden look was widely established. El Dorado of Guatavita was not the exception. Once there were many golden men.

Notes 3 MO 3065, MO 6031, MO 351, Museo Del Oro. 4 Banco Central de Costa Rica 516, 521; Museo Del Oro, Bogota, MO 21.789, 66, 68, 002797, 004688; Museum of Mankind, British Museum London, MM 96.2–3. 5 MO 33335, Museo Del Oro. 6 Compare a Calima necklace (Museo del Oro, Bogotá, 26.752) made of beads that are formed by small granules fused together. 7 MO 23.841, a set of plaques found in the Tairona region; MO 10.095 found in the Muisca region. 8 See a broken plumbate vessel found in this region (Lothrop 1937, fig. 143).

The golden ones  175 20 Snarskis 1981, 202, fig. 141. 22 MM 89.10–1.1, MM 1940 Am 11–2, UMP SA 2751, UMP SA 2752.

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178  Christiane Clados Salomon, Frank L. 1986. Nature Lords of Quito in the Age of the Incas: The Political Economy of the North Andean Chiefdoms, 274. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (In Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology 59, 6 tables, 14 figures). Saunders, Nicholas J. 1998. “Stealers of Light, Traders in Brilliance: Amerindian Metaphysics in the Mirror of Conqest.” RES 33: 225–252. Saunders, Nicholas J. 2003. “Catching the Light”: Technologies of Power and Enchantment in Pre-Columbian Goldworking.” In Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, by Jeffrey Quilter and John W. Hoopes, 15–48. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington D.C.: Harvard Trustees. Saunders, Nicholas J. 2005. The Peoples of the Caribbean. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio. Saunders, Nicholas. 2012. “Shimmering Worlds: Brilliance, Power and Gold in Pre-Columbian Panama.” In To Capture The Sun. Gold of Ancient Panama, edited by Jeffrey Quilter and John Hoopes, 78–113. Tulsa: Gilcrease Museum. Schultes, Richard Evans and Alec Bright. 1979. “Ancient Gold Pectorals from Colombia: mushroom effigies?” Botany Museum Leaflets 27 (5–6): 113–141. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Shimada, Izumi. 1995. Cultura Sicán: Dios, Riqueza y Poder en la Costa Norte del Peru. Lima: Edu-Banco Continental. Snarskis, Michael J. 1978. The Archaeology of Central Atlantic Watershed of Costa Rica. Dissertation. New York: Columbia University. Snarskis, Michael J. 1981. “The Archaeology of Costa Rica.” In Between Continents/Between Seas. Exhibition Catalogue, edited by Elizabeth P. Benson, 15–84. New York: Harry N. Abrams, The Detroit Institute of Arts. Townsend, Richard F. 1992. The Ancient Americas: Art from sacred landscapes. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago. Wardwell, Allen. 1968. The Gold of Ancient America. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, New York Graphic Society.

Part III

Case studies Change and continuity in shamanic and priestly practices and the conception of things, humans, plants, and animals


Parents who own lives Relations and persons among the I´ku, a Chibchan group in Colombia1 Jose Arenas Gómez universidade de brasília

I still remember the dramatic color of the sky that afternoon. It was so colorful that I did my best trying to capture the ambiance in a picture. Sadly, none had the deep orange of the rainy days in the mountains of Colombia’s Caribbean. There we were, a group of men gathered to drink beer and chirrinche, a homemade fermented beverage, after finishing some activities. Among us, one man was senior, but our age difference was not that great. The real difference was our status: I was the only non-indigenous person, and just two of us were single. All the others were married, which put the singles in a secondary place. One of the I’ku people’s requirements for being a “complete person” is to be married. We all were friends and we were talking about anything. Sometimes the others showed their curiosity about my life in another country, recalling with grace the time I met three I´ku people in Brasília (Brazil). That day, the “random” questions gave way to a more specific discussion, one that became a debate without us noticing. Two close friends argued about the ownership of a piece of land. The family of one of the men, the younger, was involved in a dispute over the land with another family, and apparently the other men engaged in the debate agreed that the second family had the right over the land. The younger man argued that he and his family always helped the community, suggesting that their support was more important than that of the others. The older man did not deny the importance of their help. However, he pointed out that the right to the land depends more on the Sein Zare, the law of the elders, or original law. The younger man tried to prove how he followed the elder’s law, but the older man put forward two solid arguments. Years ago, the younger man had received knowledge about some ritual practices and, with that knowledge, gained permission to perform them. Nevertheless, he stopped performing these practices some time ago, thus breaking the elder’s law. The second argument applied to both men when the older man pointed out that both he and his young friend’s ancestors were a mix of indigenous and non-indigenous people. Rising up, the younger replied immediately with sarcasm that in this case neither had any rights at all. The older man gave a half smile and maybe thought for a second before

182  Jose Arenas Gómez responding that maybe they were not even I´ku. The younger man looked for a tree to relieve his bladder and the random conversations continued into the night. To our surprise, the younger man never came back. The next day he left town. The original debate was not about whether or not they were I´ku. Instead, what was up for debate was some degree of truthfulness of being I´ku. The elder’s argument pointed toward two important facts that sometimes seem to be contradictory, facts that I will address here in the opposite order as they appeared just for the sake of my argument. First, being I´ku is marked by the relationship with the ancestors. Second, being I’ku is a matter of following a set of rules, the elder’s law, on a daily basis. By conforming to both aspects, an I’ku becomes a “true I’ku”.

People of the mountain and the Caribbean As among most Amerindian groups, ethnonyms like I’ku are a way to say “the people” and therefore the I’ku use that word as self-reference when speaking in I’kun, a Chibchan language (Constenla Umaña 1995; Trillos 2005). They are better known as “Arhuacos”2 not just in academic circles but also by the majority of Colombians.3 The I’ku number more than 20,000 people living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s major coastal mountain range located in Colombian’s Caribbean region. They occupy two indigenous territories (resguardos), established by the Colombian state in the 1980s that they share with three other groups of Chibchan-speakers known as Kankuamo, Kogi, and Wiwa. These groups share a common system of thought, mythical narratives, ceremonial and territorial practices, aesthetics, and the importance of chewing coca leaves as a feature of masculinity. They recognize common ancestors, places, and origins, as well as the dominant position of ritual specialists (mamu 4), and make offerings to other beings (Arbelaez 1997; Cárdenas-Tamara 1989; Ferro 2012; Horta 2015; Loaiza 2013; Morales and Pumarejo 2000; Morales 2011; Orrantia 2002; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1991a, 1950, 1978, 1984; Rocha 2010; Tayler 1973, 1997; Uribe 1990; Villegas 1999; Zapata 2010). The four indigenous groups demand an original territory larger than the one recognized by the state that comprises the whole Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. They argue that the “línea negra” demarcates the boundaries of their original territory, an invisible line that surrounds the base of the mountain range and represents a chain that connects places of high ritual importance because they are designated as sites of interaction between the people of the Sierra Nevada and other beings of the world. These spaces, the “dots” on the “línea negra”, are also interconnected with hundreds of other spaces in the indigenous territory, thus creating an extended web centered on the highest peak of the Sierra Nevada, named Chundwa (over 5,700 meters above sea level). After difficult negotiations, the Colombian State recognized the “línea negra” in 1973 but sadly reduced it to a symbolic boundary.5

Parents who own lives  183 Like the other groups of the Sierra Nevada, the I’ku have a social hierarchy where the most prominent place is taken by the mamu, the ritual specialist, followed by the elders. Although the mamu is usually male, some women can occupy this role (Arenas 2016). However, women have recently claimed a more active participation in the decision-making, since their opinion is often not taken into account. There also are the institutions of “cabildo” and “comisario”, creations of colonial control that were adopted by the I’ku with some changes for dealing with “civil” and non-indigenous actors rather than ritual ones.

Making connections The I’ku always stress the importance of being a “true I’ku” as a goal to pursue in life. However, being a “true I’ku” encompasses different levels such as being born, being raised, and living inside the territory, following the guidance of the mamu, speaking the language, and wearing the clothing. Failing to observe any of these or other elements not mentioned does not immediately imply that the person is not I’ku since the fulfillment of the other elements always adjusts the place of the person with respect to the ideal. Even if it is not explicit, being a “true I’ku” is a discourse about the  person (Taylor 2012) that can be summarized in one principle, the ultimate I’ku goal: to live according to the ancestral law or Sein Zare. This ancestral law or “original law”, as the I’ku usually call it, is a set of rules stipulated by the ancestral parents, invisible beings who created the world and own everything in life. As I have stated elsewhere (Arenas 2016), being I’ku is a process of transformation that involves the acquisition of attributes and capacities related to knowledge and practices. These attributes allow the person specific agency with regard to the community and the world. While these attributes do not create social distinctions as described for other regions like the Northwest Amazon, where different specialists hold different hierarchical positions (dancer, healer, warrior, etc.; cf. Andrello 2006; Cayón 2002, 2005, 2013; C. Hugh-Jones 1979; S. Hugh-Jones 1979; Jackson 1983), they apparently entail specialties in ritual and nonritual spheres. These specialties include, for example, burning the clay for the cookware used in rituals, selecting a place to live, gathering certain seeds, and tending the ritual fire in the ritual men’s house (kankurwa). Among the group of mamu, these attributes also determine specific kinds of agency, like clearing a garden, healing seeds, or performing the ritual when someone dies. The process of transformation begins at the very moment of birth, or even earlier, and involves four critical moments in life when the person experiences significant changes: the birth-baptism when the newborn is socialized into the world ( jwa’n’kusi), puberty when the bodies of girls and boys acquire fertility potency, marriage ( jwa’n’gawin) when the vitality of the couple is linked, and death, when the person’s invisible shape departs from the

184  Jose Arenas Gómez visible world toward a nonvisible other one (eysa).6 Such crucial changes do not just affect the I’ku as persons but also objects and animals. New houses, new gardens, and new settlements must also be baptized. Lack of space prevents me from addressing each of these moments, but I will highlight some of the main points of baptism that also apply to the other life course ceremonies. Baptism is the first moment of transformation; the mamu is here the protagonist of a complex process of mediation that establishes relations between different beings in order to create a space to place the newborn inside an extensive web of relationships. Before a person’s birth the I’ku make preparations to place the newborn inside a large web of relations – with the territory, the family, people of the settlement, and more importantly, with the ancestral parents. The process is always mediated by the mamu. During marriage, pregnancy, and before birth, the i´ku parents ask the ancestral parents for a healthy pregnancy and safe parturition. The couple is guided by the mamu who heals their bodies collecting their thoughts, desires, faults, dreams, and feelings, transmuting them to a set of things – seeds, food, beads, raw and dyed cotton – that the couple should hold in their hands. These materials include cotton with different organic secretions upon it such as menstrual blood, semen, sexual fluids of the couple, as well as the first secretions of the baby after delivery (skin grease, urine, excrements, etc.), the umbilical cord, and the placenta. Part of the secretions is given to the ancestral parents while the rest remains to be used for curing disease of the baptized person in the future. The collecting of intentions, fears, faults, dreams, and the past in various materials is a common practice among all indigenous groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It forms a central part of both ceremonies and everyday routines (cf. Arbelaez 1997; Cordoba 2006; Ferro 2012, 2015; Loaiza 2013; Morales 2011; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1950, 1984, 1991b; Tayler 1973, 1997; Villegas 1999). Most importantly, the collecting process is crucial for regulating and renewing the relationship between the i’ku and the other beings that inhabit the world.

Collecting the vitals: the beginning of a generalized exchange I was lucky enough that in one of my first interactions with an i’ku ritual specialist the mamu was a woman. Like in the case of male mamu, at first glance almost nothing distinguished her from the other women. She asked my interpreter, another woman, to take me to a special place that was marked by a group of medium sized flat stones. Later, I understood that it was “her place”, one of the multiple dots in the vast web that connects places of high ceremonial importance. I was there because, as an outsider, I wanted to introduce myself to the territory and the different beings that occupy it. We sat down, and she asked me personal questions, gave me some collar beads and cotton, and asked me to think about my past and my family while I held these materials in my hands. While I held them, she asked me to visualize

Parents who own lives  185 my life, my actions, my thoughts, and the people important to me. She gave me some other material and asked me to think about the time my mother had been pregnant. Then she took that material away and gave me some threads or seeds and asked me to visualize my childhood and my sicknesses at that time. With a new set of objects in my hand, she asked me to think and visualize more things than I can remember. Later, she requested me to think about my present and my reasons for being here, which opened a space to visualize my future. All the time I held some small objects in my hands and moved them in small circles at the level of my head, chest, genitals, or feet, depending on what she would ask about. Each time she gave me different objects, small pieces of paper with my drawings of myself and my wife, beads, or cotton that she took carefully, distinguishing between the things I held in my left hand and those I held in my right. With the last material she asked me to make small circles from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head and to visualize removing my clothes, an act of cleansing and healing. On this day, like on all our subsequent meetings, she took a small bag and shook it, making its contents, mostly small seeds, stones, and beads, rattle. She paid close attention to the sound and movement of the bag. She listened to the sounds; she felt the vibration, felt how the content moves, and on that grounds, she determined the color of the beads for the next step, their number, and the reason for using another material. The device transmits the message of the ancestors conveyed by the semaneros, the invisible messengers. As all I’ku people do, I met my mamu several times for different reasons: to heal sickness, cure food, interpret dreams, and help to obtain good luck. They give objects for protection on a dangerous journey or to protect the animals and the garden. The mamu determines where a new house or a new settlement can be built and act as judges when someone has broken the law. Last but not least, the mamu performs the ceremonies that accompany the passage between vital cycles, baptism, puberty, marriage, and burial. This is why the relationship between a person, the family, and the mamu is essential and represents an axis of the I’ku socialization process.7 Over time I had the opportunity to interact with different mamu, either for personal or professional reasons, either by myself or in a group or helping government delegations that arrived at the settlement to discuss a particular subject. Regardless of the purpose, the collecting of the thoughts, desires, and actions marked every ceremony. It was the opening and closing of the house baptism, the clearing of a garden, or an important meeting. This process appears as the central axis of the I’ku’s ritual life and the mamu always pays attention to the materials for a ceremony. These can range from simple things like beads, leaves, seeds, or objects of personal use to more specific things like parts of animals, seeds or plants that grow in remote places, objects from white people, or rare minerals. Among the most important materials are minerals used for the burial of ancestors and elements related to organic substances like the first menstrual blood, saliva, semen, sexual fluids from a couple, the fluids of a newborn baby, and so on.

186  Jose Arenas Gómez When the materials have been processed during the ceremony and the thoughts, desires, dreams, and actions of the people collected in them, they are usually called a´buru. According to the I’ku explanation, this conjunct of immaterial “things” deposited upon the objects is labeled thought, one of the most powerful forces in the I’ku world. The thought has agency, is powerful, creative, and fertile. As some I’ku explained to me, “thinking” is doing something in the nonvisible sphere, and “doing” is the visible manifestation of such thought. The thought holds creative power and one of its major capacities is that it can engender life in the same way that it can destruct it. Overall, the thought has a primary goal, to fertilize the world. It is the central axis of the I’ku ceremonies –as well as among the other Sierran groups– to the point that all four groups assume that their goal in life is to fertilize the world with their thoughts. The I’ku’s power of thought mirrors the power of ancestral beings that thought the world and in doing so, created it. In fact, the narratives about the origin of the world tell that in the beginning the ancestral being was thought itself. The I’ku word for the thought, in this complex dimension, is ánugwe, which has often been translated as spirit, even when it exceeds the semantic field of the respective Western concept to encompass the feelings, desires, capacities, and action of thinking but in particular fertility and vitality. Because of its character as great fertile force, thought or ánugwe must be understood as a vital force, since it creates life. From now on, I will refer to the ánugwe either as thought or as vitality, placing emphasis on the latter. I’ku people focus not only on the power agency of thought but also on its transmissibility, describing it as a substance that can pass from one object to another through contact. Being easily transmissible, anyone and anything can be affected by other’s ánugwe, either positively or negatively. When a being touches or manufactures an object, it transmits its ánugwe to that object. Following this principle, people transmit their vitality, their ánugwe, to the objects they are holding during consultation with the mamu. Since the ánugwe is the being’s thought, and one of the person’s invisible components, there is a bond between the person and the materials they have prepared during the consultation with the mamu: these materials contain an extension of the person’s thought-vitality. What the I’ku give to the ancestral parents is their own vitality. When the consultation with the mamu ends, they or their apprentices pick up all the materials (a’buru) and the mamu places them on the spot destined for the beings she or he dealt with. As previously mentioned, throughout the Sierra Nevada there is an extensive web of interconnected places or “dots” designated for communication and interaction with all invisible beings. Sometimes these places are mountains, lakes, caverns, or swamps that are not just places or portals for the communication with the invisible beings but also the beings themselves in one of their shapes. Inside these places, one finds several other smaller places where the mamu deposits the collected material. Each place has a history and represents the link to specific beings,

Parents who own lives  187 so the mamu must know the places where to deposit the materials in order to be in contact with specific beings and to be able to recognize them in order to efficiently communicate. These beings can fool the unprepared. The I’ku explained that depositing the materials in the wrong place does not work because “the ancestral parents will not receive the message”. Correct delivery of the message is crucial since the world is inhabited by a multiplicity of beings with human capacities that have the power to interfere with the I’ku’s life to different degrees. Similar to other Amerindian groups, the I’ku world is inhabited by a plethora of beings that may be either invisible or visible and take the shape of animals, objects, or places. From the I’ku’s point of view, these beings have kinship relations, intentions, conscience, language, and agency, as well as other features that Western thought assumes as exclusive to the human species.8 Many indigenous groups describe these other humans or “other than humans” (De la Cadena 2015) as animals or “spirits”; however, the I’ku people extend the category to objects and places, which is reminiscent of Amerindian contexts in the Andean region (Allen 1998, 2015; Bray 2015; De la Cadena 2015). Among the plethora of beings that inhabit the i’ku world, some are just messengers that may take the shape of animals, climatic phenomena or sounds (wind, rain, etc.), but others are on a higher hierarchical level because they are the creators and owners of everything in life. The I’ku refer to them by the kinship category of parents from the position of a male ego: they name these master beings fathers (Kaku) and mothers (Zaku) which I refer to as “ancestral parents”. Since they own everything in the world, whatever is necessary for the I’ku’s life comes from these masters.9 On the first level, the I’ku talk about the vitality-thought (ánugwe) collecting ceremony as compensation for everything they take from the ancestral parents. This description has found a niche in the Sierra’s anthropological tradition where the word “pagamento” is a common name for this process. Even when the I’ku do not use the word “pagamento” and rather speak in terms of “going to the mamu” or “doing traditional work”, sometimes they refer to the vitality collection as “zasari”, which can be translated as “to pay” or “to compensate”. Even if this level of compensation is crucial in the life of the I’ku, I want to show that the process goes beyond compensation. That further purpose is implicit in the word that the I’ku more commonly use for labeling the vitality collecting process. The word is gun’gawun and can be translated as “to feed”.

Transforming the person, creating life Now that we know that collecting vitality is central in the I’ku’s life, I want to take another look at what happens at birth since at this moment several actions that are crucial for the future of the newborn coincide, and all are marked by the collection of vitality in its two dimensions, compensation (zasari) and feeding (gun’gawun). As mentioned earlier, in the course

188  Jose Arenas Gómez of pregnancy and birth several materials are collected in the ánugwe of the progenitors after numerous long sessions when the progenitors think and visualize their past, their parents, their ancestors, their territory, their food, their dreams, their actions, and their intentions. In the first place the progenitors aim to compensate the ancestral parents for giving the life of the newborn. Second, they ask for a good gestation and parturition. According to the I’ku’s theory of the body, the ánugwe is its invisible component that exists prior (logically and chronologically) to its visible component, commonly called guchu. The same theory holds that each thing and being already exists in its invisible shape or in an invisible sphere and that the physical or visible manifestation of the newborn is produced through the encounter of the vitalities of the mother and the father, embodied in two substances: the menstrual blood before flowing out of the body and the semen. Both substances are called blood or jwa by the i’ku and are described as vital substances. However, the essence of the invisible vitality of the newborn comes from the ancestral parents. In other words, the newborn is the embodiment of a pre-existing vitality. When this invisible vitality takes on a visible shape, like in the case of a newborn, it is necessary to introduce or present it to the other beings to assure that neither the ancestral parents nor the other beings disavow and reject the baby, causing disease or even the death of the baby and the progenitors. Such “introduction” or “presentation” generally occurs during the first days of the new baby’s life; on some occasions, however, the family waits for months or even years to do it. The introduction ceremony is called baptism in Spanish by the i’ku people, a clear influence of Catholicism. The I’ku term for this process opens its meaning to a bigger dimension: it is jwa’n’kusi, a composite word that literally means “sharing with” or “introducing to” blood or vitality.10 Once birth takes place, the mamu performs one or several gun’gawun to clean and heal the new child and the progenitors from the invisible forces that they may carry. Once the birth has been healed, the “introduction” follows. As mediator, the mamu uses all the material (a’buru) collected during the pregnancy to show the other beings that the newborn has I’ku vitality and therefore should be recognized as such. Since the material contains the interiority of the newborn, its vitality or ánugwe, what the mamu does is make explicit for the other beings that the baby is the physical manifestation of a pre-existing vitality. The mamu synchronizes both manifestations, the visible and the invisible, and shows it as a unity to the other beings. In the same way, the newborn should be presented to the territory through the burial of the placenta in a place determined by the mamu alongside the ancestral fathers. The place where the placenta is buried is one of the most important places for every i’ku person, because it is the locality that connects a person to the territory; in other words, this is the way the person receives a place in the territory. Commonly, the I’ku refer in Spanish to the placenta’s burial as “ser sembrado”, to be planted or to be registered.

Parents who own lives  189 The I’ku’s linguistic categories give even better clues about what is implied in the placenta’s burial process. The process is called “ka isun”, referring to sewing and writing (isun) in the earth (ka). Since sewing is a process of writing thoughts, the story, and the vitality (the ánugwe) into the fabric, to sew is a logical way to register (Cárdenas-Tamara 1989; Ferro 2012; Giraldo 2014; Murillo 1996; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1950; Tayler 1973, 1997; Torres  & Torres 2005; Villegas 1999). However, sewing is always a relational process, not just because the Sierran indigenous women tend to sew the mochila bags when gathering, helping each other, but also because sewing literally connects several threads in an extended web. Thus, burying the placenta connects a person to a particular place, and because that place is connected to hundreds of other places in the vast web, the person is connected to the whole territory. If the healing of the birth and the “presentation” to the other beings focus on the ancestral parents, establishing a bond between the newborn and the sphere of the invisible existence, sewing accomplishes the same in the sphere of visible existence. The baptism ritual also involves food preparation and sharing. The feast’s timing and the selection of the food to be cooked and shared are elements that the mamu must decide upon, together with the ancestral parents. The decision is based on the degree to which the family has observed the original law (Sein Zare) and on the ancestors of the progenitors. When the family fails to follow the elders’ law, does not speak the indigenous language, does not wear I’ku clothing, or consumes food from outside the group (that is, non-indigenous food), the mamu includes non-indigenous food and objects into the ceremony. Similarly, when one of the parents comes from another group or is a nonindigenous person – both quite uncommon due to group endogamy – the mamu also includes objects and food from these other contexts.11 In any case, all aspects of feasting have a common core that includes the preparation and sharing of specific foods that the I´ku consider their own. Like the other indigenous groups of the Sierra, the I´ku claim that the four groups are the “elder brothers” of humanity and non-indigenous people are their “younger brothers”. The latter are unable to control knowledge, misbehave, disobey rules, and fail to listen to the elders. In terms of this theory, each group, indigenous or non-indigenous, has specific sets of belongings that were given to them by the ancestral parents. Such belongings include territory, knowledge, and practices like chants, songs, and shamanic systems.12 They also define the language, the architecture, the things each group can produce and use, the clothing, the seeds, and the food to be consumed. All these specificities are encompassed by the notion of ánugwe, the vitality that sparks the life of everything. As I’ku say, each group has received its own vitality, its own ánugwe, and thus its own belongings. The transmission of such a specific vitality marks the boundaries of the group and guarantees its persistence. The notion of having a set of own belongings that define the space of the group is expressed by the I’ku with the word “kia”, an adjective that characterizes any substance as exclusively i’ku.

190  Jose Arenas Gómez Remaining inside the ancestral law means keeping one’s own vitality flowing and nursing everything in life. One of the most important moments of sharing the specific I’ku vitality is to cook and share food at the baptism ceremony. The parents of the newborn or the mamu collect food that has been grown from seeds that have passed through generations and that were given to the i’ku by the ancestral parents. Either the newborns’ mother or the mamu’s wife cooks the food in special clay pots and during specific hours of the day on a fire of particular wood or coal, both distinct elements that belong to i’ku people. The food includes corn, beans, roots, beef, and – although hunting does not play a large role in i’ku’s daily life – venison. This practice is informed by the idea that the newborn should have contact with all the food that it will consume in the future, focusing on the zamu kia or “I’ku’s own food” since through its consumption the special I’ku’s vitality will nourish the newborn being. For the I’ku, all such food always transmits vitality regardless of the situations. They are concerned that due to years of increasing consumption of non-indigenous food, they have incorporated other kinds of substance, an ánugwe that does not belong to the I’ku. Besides the importance of receiving the I’ku substance through food, sharing those foodstuffs strengthens a special relationship, that of the newborn with the progenitors and the mamu. This relationship serves to strengthen the most important bond between the newborn and the ancestral parents, as the vital substance nourishing the newborn belongs to the ancestral beings. The sharing of food as a means to create, renew, and consolidate social relationships is not exclusive to the I’ku people. Throughout Amerindian societies it has been documented that sharing food and culinary codes generate identity-creating groups of familiarized subjects either by sharing time and affection (Londoño Sulkin 2004; Overing & Passes 2000), or by predation, be it real or symbolic (Barcelos Neto 2009; Fausto, 1999, 2001, 2002; Lima 1996, 2005; Viveiros de Castro 1996, 2002b). After a long and strenuous time of cooking and sharing various foods, the baptism ritual reaches the point when a name and a set of important objects are given to the newborn that the person must keep throughout her/ his lifetime. Just as the baptism ( jwa’n’kusi) establishes a relation between the newborn and the ancestral parents by sharing the ancestral food, and with the territory by the burial of the placenta, the name and the objects that the newborn receives at this moment establish a relation with the group. They increase the newborn’s capacities and skills by granting permission to perform specific activities.

Living objects that give a place In a world where everything belongs to an ancestral parent, every human action has a consequence. If an action does not conform to the will of these masters, they may take revenge. One of the main reasons for ancestral parents to take revenge is that a person acts without their permission. The

Parents who own lives  191 I’ku’s life is governed by the ancestral law (Sein Zare) and failing to follow the law requires compensation; this fact recalls the “payment aspect” or zasari mentioned earlier. To avoid retaliation, the I’ku consult the mamu who negotiates with the ancestral parents about all kinds of permissions, regarding activities like traveling to a forbidden region, building a house, killing animals, or taking sand and rocks from a river bed. Some activities require only a simple procedure to obtain permission, and the person must return to the mamu each time the respective activity is to be carried out. When the activity has a more profound impact in both ritual and nonritual spheres and is related to a person’s capacity, however, the permission, commonly called marunsama,13 is longer-lasting and has different implications. The marunsama has different levels of agency that run from something relatively simple like planting and harvesting coca plants14 to more complex things like shamanic practice. Not all actions in the I’ku world require the ownership of a marunsama, but the I’ku assert that those who own marunsama perform better and the outcome of their activity is considered the best. Sisal fiber is fundamental for construction; weaving; and, in historic times, clothing. Obtaining sisal fiber is an exclusively male activity. Men use a long hardwood stick to scratch the long leaves of the agave plants that can cause a highly uncomfortable itchy reaction. Men begin to extract the sisal as teenagers, often being taught by their fathers or close male relatives. At some point the mamu teaches some specific techniques and talks about the owners of the sisal, that is, their mothers and fathers. The mamu stresses the importance of the sisal and tell myths about the agave plant, the sisal fiber, the tree used to produce the hardwood stick. Possibly the mamu tells stories about ancestral beings, fights, reconciliations, or marriages – things that may not make sense to the young people, but connect the simple task of extracting sisal to cosmological and ancestral ties between different elements. Besides the teaching and myth-telling, the person must collect the ánugwein a gun’gawun ceremony where the mamu presents him to the owners of the elements connected to sisal extraction, that is, the ancestral parents of the agave and hardwood. Finally, the young man receives a small object that the mamu has prepared during the ceremony. Once a man has passed through the whole process, he knows how to extract sisal; the ancestral parents grant him permission, and therefore his body adapts to the process. Many men claim that after having received the marunsama they never feel an itchy reaction anymore. Activities related to the shamanic mediation of the mamu require the most complex marunsama. Some mamu train since childhood, others learn at an older age but, in any case, they pass through multiple rituals in order to obtain different kinds of marunsama. The latter include ways to interpret the messages of the parents, to carry out the baptism of houses, and, more importantly, to perform the I’ku life cycle rituals and the tane, ceremonial dances on the occasion of the solstice that express the most powerful exchange of vitalities between the I’ku and the ancestral parents.

192  Jose Arenas Gómez Notwithstanding differences in complexity, time, place, and materials used, the process of preparing and granting a marunsama is fairly uniform. The apprentice hears long stories about the relations between the owners of the things connected to his training and repeatedly passes through sessions of collecting the ánugwe, learning the required techniques, and long periods of vigil, fasting, sexual abstention, and the abstention from salt.15 After having received each marunsama, the mamu’s body is to be finetuned, their senses are sharpened and open to feel and interpret the signs of the invisible beings. The mamu is able to interpret the singing of particular birds, the involuntary contraction of their muscles, the sounds of the stones and seeds inside the small bag that some of them use for communicating with the invisible beings, the presence of a particular animal, or weather phenomena. In other words, the marunsama acts as a body alteration device, adding or enhancing specific abilities. The process of transformation begins at baptism, when the I’ku receive their first objects and, with them, their first permissions. Depending on the newborn’s genealogical connections; the time, place, and circumstances of delivery; and the newborn’s family environment, the mamu determines in consultation with the ancestral parents what objects should be given to the baby. Since every newborn is different, the objects given by the mamu also differ. However, some are common to most cases. Boys, for example, receive small pieces of wood, most likely the kind used by adults to extract sisal; girls receive a small mochila-bag and a small spindle, a model of the one that all women use to spin the threads for weaving. It is a model of the spindle that was used by the original mother to spin and create the world. Every newborn also receives some stones, seeds, small woodcarvings, feathers, or shells, or, in case the progenitors, have strong genealogical connections outside the I’ku world, a small object from the white world or another indigenous group. One of the most important objects they receive is the jwa’viku (hearth) that, in the I’ku’s words, contains all the ánugwe of the child. Each of these objects remains hidden from view by the progenitors until the newborn is mature enough to take care of them. Together with the set of special objects, the newborn also receives a name. Most I’ku have in fact two names: one common name, usually taken from the white world, and another in the i’kun language. This name works as an identity marker within the complex web of relations between the beings in the world, a capacity that the “white” name does not appear to have. The I’ku name refers principally to ancestral beings, capacities, places, ritual specialties, and potential agencies in the invisible world. As I have noted elsewhere, we may think of the i’ku names as elements describing possible actions in the world, and a potential position within the group. The ancestral parents, for example, change their names depending on their appearance (animal, object, or person) and the actions they perform (Arenas 2016, 390–391). As with the marunsama, the name contains attributes and agency that are now properties of the person, at least in their potential. Something

Parents who own lives  193 similar to what happens among the Tukano, where giving a name confers power because each name incorporates qualities that are incorporated by whoever carries the name (S. Hugh-Jones 2002, 2006, 50–51). After several days of cooking and sharing food, collecting their own vitality in different materials, and receiving several objects, the family returns to the routine of daily life. However, they are not the same; their bodies are different; the newly created relations have transformed them. A new life has arrived in the visible world, and now their vitality is connected not only with the progenitors and the mamu but also with the other beings inhabiting the world, in both its visible and its invisible dimensions. Such connections have become possible through the process in which all beings have shared vitality and thus activated and renewed social relations with “other-than-human” beings. These relationships inscribe the newborn into a set of new places, making the baby the member of a family and a group and the inhabitant of a territory. The newborn experiences a transformation process, just like the parents, a transformation that nourishes the new being with a specific vitality, the I’ku’s ánugwe, whose visible manifestation is the marunsama. I have focused on the baptism because it is the starting point in a cycle of bodily transformations. These transformations are related to critical moments in the life cycle, activating relations with humans and “other-thanhumans” and receiving other objects in the process. At puberty girls and boys receive some of the same objects as they did at baptism but with a different charge of vitality, because in the new cycle they embody the potency of fertility. At marriage, the objects the new couple receives (for example, stones and fire) activate other relationships: first, the synchronization of the couple’s vitalities to achieve compatibility and unity; second, the presentation of this new unity before the other beings. When a person dies, the mamu strives to sever some of the relations between the deceased and the living family members. It is important to note that the marunsama activates connections on different levels. Marunsama is the conjunction of having specific knowledge, practicing this knowledge, and having the ancestral parents’ authorization to perform that practice.16 It also refers to the object that is given to the person who receives the permission that is also called marunsama: the devices used by the mamu to establish communication with the ancestral parents during the gun’gawun are the “mamu’s marunsama”. The object, which I have called “object marunsama” (Arenas 2016, 305–308), is described by the I’ku as endowed with intentions, needs, and agency; a being that may become jealous if not used, it may help the person to pursue what they desire, or it may act against owner’s will if used improperly. Only when a mamu has a particular marunsama, he can give it to someone else. This does not necessarily mean that the mamu himself stops using his marunsama. The marunsama gives a specific vitality that is contained in knowledge and practice. Only those who have this particular ánugwe can pass it to another person as a substance. This also means that any

194  Jose Arenas Gómez marunsama is a derivation of the marunsama of the mamu who granted it. That mamu’s marunsama is also a derivation of another mamu’s marunsama that is an extension of another one from the previous generation and so on. This genealogical relationship extends to the very foundation of knowledge: the ancestral mother or father who own the knowledge and the object and who have shared it at the beginning of time. The person who receives the marunsama acquires special knowledge that conveys specific agency. The marunsama is a body alteration device that also transforms and enhances relationships: those between the person (who receives the marunsama), the ancestral parents (who own the knowledge and grant the marunsama), the mamu (who mediates between the ancestral parents and the person), and the territory (where the marunsama has agency). The object-marunsama thus also embodies relationships. There is a set of “basic” marunsama: all I’ku receive predetermined objects that embody specific relations. Women, for example, receive needle and spindle as objects that mark specific female attributes, whereas men receive a gourd that marks a male attribute since only men use a small gourd to carry cooked and pulverized mussels that are consumed when chewing toasted coca leaves. The mamu also receives some predetermined objects related to their mediation attributes, such as small bags full of stones and pebbles or a bowl and stones. A large number of marunsama are still highly specific and can only be received by a few people. In adulthood mamu and non-mamu have different permissions and therefore, different capacities and agencies. Which marunsama is granted to a person depends not only on the relationship with a particular mamu but also, and most importantly, on the person’s genealogical relations with the ancestral parents. Everything in life has specific mothers and fathers. Since the vitality of the marunsama derives from these ancestral beings for generation after generation, the genealogical link with the owners defines the spectrum of marunsama available to a person. Similar to what has been described for groups of the Sierra, the I’ku argue that they are the daughters and sons of the first mothers and fathers that became the ancestral couples by marriage.17 Either of these ancestral parents is the owner of different things, knowledge, capacities, and attributes. Thus, his or her descendants inherit the particular rights over the acquisition of knowledge, the use of specific items, and so on. The marunsama defines a set of capacities and attributes that transform the body and embody the relations between a person and the ancestral parents. This relation has a particularity, however: the I’ku and the other indigenous groups of the Sierra describe their relationship in terms of consanguinity, focusing on the fact that generation after generation all descendants share the same vital substance that connects them with the ancestral parents. Another specificity of the descent model as described by the I’ku is the fact that the women are linked through the mother’s line and the men through the father’s, thus forming female and male aggregates through parallel filiation.18 It is generally assumed that such aggregates no longer operate among the

Parents who own lives  195 I’ku (Ferro 2012; Tayler 1997). During my fieldwork it appeared to be in disuse. Even when people knew about the basics, they always avoided talking about it and claimed not to know much about it. These aggregates do not operate as they are supposed to. For example, marriage between the members of female and male aggregates mirroring the marriage of the ancestral parents that created those lines of descent is preferred but not always observed. At baptism and throughout the life cycle, however, the mamu takes the membership of the newborn to one of those aggregates into consideration for defining its name, determining its capacities and attributes, and granting certain marunsama rather than others. The permissions that every I’ku obtains depend mostly on their place within a genealogy that can be traced to the original times. The existence of non-I’ku people in the genealogies influences the attributes, capacities, and permissions that the person may receive to a substantial degree. It is the mamu’s duty to reconstruct the genealogies and consult with the ancestral parents in order to determinate the attributes and permissions that a person may receive. I opened this text with a specific case, a small conflict between two friends about their membership in I’ku society. Although both have non-indigenous ancestors their position as I’ku was never questioned by others, at least not openly. Despite partial genealogical connections with the white world, both friends received some marusnama for performing shamanic practices, so they were technically mamu. They neither considered themselves as such, however, nor were they recognized by others beyond the assertion that “they knew”, that is, they had a more profound knowledge. Even when this conflict seemed to be really mild, it made me understand that it was their position, within the I’ku group but also within the I’ku’s sociality with other beings, that was at stake. The right of another family over the young man’s interest in a specific tract of land, which was based mainly on the genealogical link of that family to the ancestral parents, highlighted how the descent model operates in terms of land ownership. The conflict also shed light on another important aspect, the need to continually activate the relations with the “more–than-human” beings that are embodied in the marunsama. The lack of recognition by the other I’ku of the fact that these friends were mamu was most likely due to their having stopped practicing their knowledge and using the permissions they received. The older man had in fact serious trouble in his marital life and with regard to the health of his children, because his marunsama to consult the ancestral parents was taking revenge on him for having been abandoned. Since he had received this marunsama on the occasion of his first marriage, the marunsama recognized his first wife but rejected his second and their sons. As noted above, jwa’n’kusi means “sharing blood/vitality” or “introducing vitality/blood”, which can also be understood as the sharing of substance and creation of consanguinity. Such an interpretation would be consistent with claims by Brazilian anthropologists that consanguinity must be

196  Jose Arenas Gómez produced rather than taken for granted (Viveiros de Castro 2002a, 2007). This proposition applies to a multiplicity of Amerindian contexts. The I’ku case, however, does not fit so well. First, it is impossible to disregard the focus on the model that defines the relation between humans and “more-thanhumans” at the transmission of substance (the thought-vitality or ánugwe). Do I´ku people consider consanguinity as a given? Not in the strict sense, although it is not created from scratch during the baptism either. The I’ku assume that the vital bond with the ancestral parents exists prior to birth. They aim to make these relations effective in the new dimension where the child arrives that is usually called tina or “visible dimension”.

Owners of life: some final notes I have focused on the relation between the I’ku people and the ancestral parents, even when in the I’ku world there are other beings, such as the messengers or semaneros with whom the mamu communicates. The latter carry messages from the ancestral parents and deliver charges or punishments in their name. Although deliberate my focus is not fortuitous. It shows the way I understand the I´ku’s world based on the emphasis placed by them regarding both practice and discourse. As I have stressed repeatedly, the reason for this emphasis is that there is no existence possible outside of the relationship with the ancestral parents. More precisely, being I’ku is impossible to conceive outside of such a relationship. It is on this relationship that the boundaries of the I’ku sociality and, therefore, the I’ku’s construction of the person are built. The great importance of the ancestral parents is based on the fact that they are the owners of the objects, the land, the sky, and the air: they are the masters of life. This ownership is an essential quality in the I’ku world. Its importance shows not only on the cosmological level, where the ancestral parents are the key actors, but also in the level of I’ku everyday life (if such a clear-cut distinction between two levels would be possible). Let us remember that the I’ku person is transformed, changed, and built from the accumulation of marunsama, that is, through the ownership of knowledge and permissions to act in the world. By owning marunsama, a person becomes part of a large web of relations that differs from all others since the marunsama creates specific bodies and, in doing so, specific places for the person. Despite the importance of ownership as a stimulus of social production, little attention has been paid to it by anthropologists, not only in the case of the I’ku. This lack of attention in Amerindian anthropology may be due to the belief that indigenous people lack a sense of property that is compatible to our own (cf. Locke 1988 and Steward 1948, quoted in Brightman et al. 2016; Fausto 2008; S. Hugh-Jones 2015). Recent studies have shown, however, that ownership is not just generalized, at least in Amazonia, but also operates as a mode for the relation between “more-than-human” beings, between humans, between humans and “more-than-human” beings, and between these two and objects (Fausto 2008, 330).

Parents who own lives  197 As pointed out by Carlos Fausto, ownership transcends property relations and involves two positions or categories: that of the master and a reciprocal one that may vary from “son” to “pet”. Despite Fausto’s focus on Amazonia, his original work (2008) and subsequent analyses provide a base for thinking about ownership in contexts beyond Amazonia (Brightman et al. 2016; de Matos Viegas 2016; Santos-Granero 2016), even if with a certain amount of care to avoid transference. The I’ku’s world is one of owners/ masters whose role is not simply a composite of magnified relations but also a model of persons and relations that have agency in the world. Ownership implies an asymmetrical relationship (Fausto 2008, 333). As mentioned earlier, in the case of the I’ku such asymmetry becomes manifest in the interaction between the ancestral parents, creators, and owners and the I’ku themselves that is based on the notion that the latter must compensate the former and are under their power and control. So far, the ethnographic and theoretical bases of the description of the mastery-ownership as axis of the sociability have focused on prototypical Amazonian modes of relation such as war, cannibalism (real or symbolic), and hunting. What has been highlighted is thus the transformation of predatory relations into asymmetric relations of control and protection. The I’ku do not emphasize such relations. If in Amazonia the capture of enemies or pets is a way to replicate the master, to feed or take care of someone or something, in the I’ku case the only way to take the place of the owner is to assume the position of mother or father. The only way to activate such relations is transmitting vital substances that are contained in the blood ( jwa) in their female (menstrual blood that is still inside the body) and male manifestations (semen). In Amazonia feeding involves predation (Costa 2016)– in the Sierra, and specifically, among the I’ku, it involves conviviality and sharing (cf. Overing and Passes 2000). Feeding creates familiarization in both cases, but by different mechanisms. What the i’ku see as a prototypical mode of relation is exchange, even if it involves an immense asymmetry. María del Rosario Ferro (2012) has shown that exchange (called makruma by the I’ku) is one of the essential elements of I’ku sociality. One of the most common requests I heard during my stay with the I’ku was “makruma na besi”, give me makruma. When you visit someone’s house, you must bring something to give to the owner. Otherwise, one would be considered stingy. Men always offer coca leaves as a greeting and also to show respect for an authority. When the I’ku visit the mamu, they always take “good makruma”, that is, something that may be hard to obtain or something that the mamu really like. The makruma can take different forms; it is necessary to give something to others as a way to start a conversation. As pointed out by Ferro, the makruma activates a triple obligation – to give, to receive, and to give back – reminiscent of the Maussian theory of the gift (Mauss 1925). As I have noted elsewhere, the gun’gawun is the manifestation of the social imperative of giving, receiving, and giving back, yet in the sphere of cosmological relations (Arenas 2016, 288–294). Makruma and

198  Jose Arenas Gómez gun’gawun are both correlating manifestations of a principle of social production that is based on exchange as a system of mediation between persons and groups in a context where everything objects, persons, and groups – is produced through the control of the means of production and the subjectivities (Almeida 1988, quoted in Fausto 1999, 265). During the gun’gawun, ánugwe (thought-vitality) is transmitted between two asymmetrical positions: the ancestral parents (Zaku and Kakujina) and their offspring (the I’ku people). As described by the I’ku and other indigenous groups of the Sierra, the relationship between these poles is marked by the transmission of substances, which represents the production or rather the renewal of consanguine relations. For the I’ku, the ancestral parents do not appear as hunters; they picture themselves not as prey but as offspring. Thus, the ancestral parents feed and take care of the I’ku, but the latter also feed the ancestral beings and, in doing so, the world, assuring the continuity of life. The ánugwe, thought-action-vitality, is a component of the person that, when extended to and contained in an object, is transformed by the mamu into food for the ancestral parents. Like at baptism, this feeding process, activates, creates, and renews relations between the participants at a communal event that produces specific bodies and persons.

Notes 1 The chapter is based on my PhD dissertation “Sembrando vidas: la persona i’ku y su existencia entre lo visible y lo invisible” (2016). 4 Identical in singular and plural. 5 The struggle for the ancestral territory continues, exacerbated by other conflicts over the years. There were several attempts at colonization (Blanco 1996; Duque 2012; Mora et al. 2010; Reclus, 1947; Rodríguez et al. 2012). In more recent times, drug trafficking in the region increased when outsiders use the land to grow first marihuana and later coca. Capitalist enterprise has been present in the Sierra Nevada in different shapes: fruit monoculture, intensive cattle breeding, and, more recently, mining. The Sierra Nevada was also hit by the civil war, with guerrilla and paramilitary groups using the mountains as an escape region and threatening and persecuting the indigenous and non-indigenous population, leaving behind a trail of blood and terror. The conflicts of the early 20thcentury had led the I´ku to ask the Colombian State for education, thus opening the doors to Capuchin missionaries (Rodríguez et al. 2012). Although the I´ku expelled the missionaries in the 1980s, their impact is still visible in the behavior and customs of some indigenous people. 6 There is no homogenous categorization of these ceremonial processes. Differences in terminology are more frequent for baptism and marriage. Sometimes people use the term for marriage to designate baptism and vice versa, probably because both processes aim to create bonds between beings. I use the most common set of terms I encountered during my fieldwork. 7 I use the term “shamanism” to describe the mamu’s actions-capacities, since that what is called priesthood (in opposition to shamanism) is better described as

Parents who own lives  199 “vertical shamanism” (S. Hugh-Jones 1996) or as a manifestation of a principle described as “transversal shamanism” (Viveiros de Castro 2008). 8 This scheme corresponds partially to what has been long defined and redefined as animism in anthropology (cf. Descola 2005; Frazer 1894) and to the perspectivism and multi-naturalism described by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (1996, 2002b) and Tania Lima (1996, 2005). Nevertheless, the I’ku’s case shows also analogism (Descola 2005).

200  Jose Arenas Gómez

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204  Jose Arenas Gómez Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2007. “Filiação intensiva e aliança demoníaca.” Novos Estudos 77: 91–126. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2008. “Xamanismo Transversal: Lévi-Strauss e a Cosmopolítica Amazônica.” In Lévi-Strauss. Leituras Brasileiras, edited by Ruben Caixeta and Renarde Freire, 87–136. Belo Horizonte. Editora UFMG. Zapata, Jair. 2010. Espacio y territorio sagrado. Lógica del ordenamiento territorial indígena. Bogota: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.


Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows” Specialists and specialized knowledge in transhuman communication among the Sokorpa Yukpa of the Serranía del Perijá, Colombia Anne Goletz

Introduction August 2014. It is a very hot summer. For months it had not rained. The community members are worried about their harvest. They organize a ritual to bring rain and begin with the lengthy preparation of corn beer. Meanwhile, they start to dance in honor of Osema and Aponto. A tall man speaks repeatedly. He speaks to Aponto and asks him to send rain. He also speaks to the ritual participants. He admonishes them to observe Aponto’s words, not to steal, not to fight, and not to covet another one’s wife. He also reminds them of Osema’s teachings, the importance of planting corn, organizing rituals, and making cornballs and corn beer. As he speaks, he holds a corncob in his hand. Then he distributes corn kernels among the ritual participants and they, in turn, distribute them among each other. The tall man who plays the most prominent role in the ritual is a tuwancha, a specialist in transhuman communication. The creator god Aponto initiated him a few years ago. During nocturnal visits, Aponto transmits knowledge on mythical and biblical doctrine to this man and charges him to preach to the community. The tuwancha, in turn, organizes collective rituals to induce Aponto and Osema to cause rain and ensure a good harvest. The tuwancha reflects both Yukpa and Christian-inspired aspects of Sokorpa specialists, including the appropriation of biblical elements and the worship of the mythical owner of corn Osema. I will explore this issue in more detail below. The Sokorpa Yukpa are a Colombian subgroup of the approximately 15,000 Yukpa people who live in the Serranía del Perijá, a mountain chain in the Colombian and Venezuelan border area. In the Sokorpa resguardo1 (indigenous territorial unit) about 2,500 people live in 15 mostly remote

206  Anne Goletz mountainous communities. Most Sokorpa Yukpa, however, regularly visit the towns at the foot of the mountains and are mostly bilingual in Yukpa and Spanish. This is due to the presence of missionaries in their territory since the 1950s, the introduction of the national school system, and the selective adoption of elements from knowledge systems dominant in the national context. The Sokorpa are aware of such theories and concepts and familiar with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The sisters of the Catholic order Las Lauritas teach in the school and organize weekly services, annual baptism parties, and events with visiting priests on Christian holidays. In the lowlands, the Jehovah’s Witnesses pitch for attention and have translated parts of the Bible and promotional videos to the Yukpa language. Such interactions with people who try to impose their beliefs on the Sokorpa continue to influence the configuration of certain socio-cultural and socio-cosmological aspects. The Sokorpa integrate aspects that seem useful and abandon others that are no longer suitable to their mode of life, which is shaped by constantly changing sociopolitical and environmental conditions. The same was most likely also true for past interactions between the Sokorpa and non-indigenous and indigenous people inside and outside their geographically changing habitat. In the Isthmo– Colombian Area, the Yukpa – as the only Cariban-speakers – occupy a marginal position, not only geographically but also in socio- cultural terms. They are the northwestern offshoot of the Cariban language family that lives mainly in the Guiana region and along the Rio Xingú (Halbmayer 2010; Meira 2006). When the Yukpa’s predecessors reached the Isthmo–Colombian Area more than a thousand years ago, they most likely encountered Chibchan groups (Wilbert 1960, 82). Even today their closest indigenous neighbors are Chibchan-speakers: the Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa, and Kankuamo in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Chimila in the northwestern lowlands, and the Barí to the south. To the north and east live the Wayuu, a large, but also the only Arawakan-speaking group in the region. This chapter aims to analyze Sokorpa specialists in transhuman communication and the socio-cosmological aspects underlying this communication. In a first step, I describe the initiation of the specialists and their duties in society on the basis of empirical material. The material was collected through participant observation, informal conversations in Spanish and Yukpa, and extensive conversations about narratives, songs, and linguistic data with local experts between 2014 and 2017 in the Sokorpa resguardo.2 In a second step, I rely on previously published material on Yukpa specialists and use Hugh-Jones’s (1994) distinction between vertical and horizontal shamanism to consider key aspects of Sokorpa specialists and propose a specific dual conception of tuwancha. Then I turn to underlying sociocosmological aspects and analyze the transmission of knowledge from the other-than-human realm as the key feature of Sokorpa specialists. Furthermore, I consider the differences in the transmitter-receptor relation that go

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  207 along with the proposed dual conception. In the final section, I discuss the coexistence of different tuwancha as a manifestation of coexisting sociocosmological principles and different relational modes that are, among other things, the result of socio-cultural change and concomitant negotiation processes.3

Tuwancha, the one who knows Among the Sokorpa, every person has a specific field of knowledge. The ability to prepare corn beer, to hunt, to fish, to serve meals, to tell mythical stories, or to produce handicrafts is considered just as important as special knowledge for healing, the leading of ceremonies, and singing, which have been mentioned for other Yukpa subgroups (Halbmayer 1998; Wilbert 1974). Every form of knowledge involves a certain engagement with the other-than-human realm, as every activity may cause interference by other-than-human beings when people disregard socio-cosmological rules. In general, the Sokorpa avoid interaction with other-than-human beings. Nevertheless, there are people that possess an extraordinary knowledge in dealing with the other-than-human realm and the ability to use this knowledge for the benefit of the community. The Sokorpa call these people tuwancha, literally meaning “one who knows a lot/has plenty of knowledge”.4 The term’s radical wano means knowledge or wisdom and is neither exclusive to specific people nor to specific forms of knowledge. There is no canonical knowledge or institutionalized function of specialists in transhuman communication. The ascription of being tuwancha is no social role or office but a personal quality.5 The recognition of a person as tuwancha is no matter of consensus, but of personal conviction. The Sokorpa rarely talk about tuwancha either in everyday conversations or in a sociopolitical context. They do not associate the tuwancha with the mama, the spiritual leader and “cosmic care-taker” (Parra Witte 2018, 25) of the Kogi,6 who have assumed a prominent spiritual role in local indigenous sociopolitical structures, or with other spiritual specialists of neighboring indigenous groups with whom they have recently come into contact (e.g. the piache of the Wayuu). Some people connect the tuwancha to the sabios (sp.7 wise ones), non-indigenous healers in the lowlands. Most tuwancha are older people who in addition to their specialized knowledge know mythical narratives, songs, and medicinal plants, and are proficient in handicrafts. They are mostly, but not exclusively, male.8 Tuwancha, those to whom the knowledge came in a dream In contrast to the general areas of knowledge (e.g. narratives, songs, handicrafts), people cannot become tuwancha at their own request by learning from parents or other community members. The tuwancha status is not automatically inherited. It is likely, however, for a tuwancha’s child

208  Anne Goletz or grandchild to become one, because they often have a broader knowledge about transhuman communication and are attentive to communication from the other-than-human realm. There is no institutionalized form of knowledge acquisition comparable to the training of novices among the Wayuu (Watson-Franke 1975, 198) or the particularly standardized training in seclusion among the Kogi (Parra Witte 2018, 23–26; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976). For the Sokorpa, the contact with other-than-human beings is not the result of training but, to the contrary, premised on being tuwancha, as the other-than-human beings transmit specialized knowledge only to expectant specialists. A local expert explained to me: It is not everyone that they [the other-than-human transmitters] give to. That is to say, the wise ones [tuwancha] come into being when they are very spiritual, not licentious, not quarrelsome. They are the ones to whom the spirits, whether of nature, of a deceased family member, or Aponto or Unano [Osema]9 himself, or the spirit of the star […], come and give, [or] the owner of the animals, give to the person. In a dream they tell you, ‘You are like that. So, I give you this for you to work with it’. (AP 17.05.30)10 These other-than-human transmitters, as explained by the local expert, may be of different kinds. In my research context, they were either the spirits of deceased ancestors who had been tuwancha in their lifetime or animal masters, or the creator god Aponto, or the owner of corn Osema.11 The first contact usually takes place in a dream. A local expert accordingly defined tuwancha as “those to whom the knowledge came in a dream” (DB 18.02.16). This contact is often unexpected and hence surprises or even frightens the person. Some other-than-human transmitters therefore offer proof of their authenticity. They invite the chosen individual to a lonely place where they manifest themselves. A local expert told me about the calling of a community member by the creator god Aponto: “Suddenly the sky became black, clouds appeared. Suddenly, when he already heard his [Aponto’s] voice, he saw clouds and felt a thunderbolt” (BP 16.07.13). Other specialists told of tracks on the ground, a bloody tree trunk, or a small figure of Christ that fell from the sky. Some tuwancha are prepared. A local expert spoke about his father’s calling by a deceased tuwancha: They [tuwancha] told him, ‘We have already taught you the most fundamental things. When we die, you keep what we have taught you, both the spiritual and the material part. […] You will always have those dreams throughout your life.’ […] Well, one of them died and in a dream appeared to my father. (LL 17.06.06)

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  209 Previous training notwithstanding, the transmission of the specialized knowledge in a nocturnal visit during a dream is the decisive factor in the final calling of a tuwancha. The expectant tuwancha must also prove their potential. Many designated specialists fall ill shortly after the first contact. This initial sickness is a widespread element of becoming an expert in transhuman relations across South America and elsewhere (Harvey 2003, 27). The expectant tuwancha suffer from fever, diarrhea, dizziness, and headache. Local experts explain that the owner of corn Osema causes this sickness. He is of prime importance for Sokorpa transhuman specialists in general. Even after having overcome the initial disease, many tuwancha remain sickly throughout their lifetime and suffer from headaches, particularly when people prepare cornballs or beer without informing and serving them. The most common duties associated with tuwancha are the curing of disease and the influence on weather and harvest. Curing disease and influencing the weather and the harvest The Sokorpa know various methods of curing disease: with medicinal plants, by the laying on of hands, and by praying to god Aponto. Local experts explain that people customarily cure by the use of medicinal plants. Healing by the laying on of hands and with the help of the god Aponto are treatment methods they have developed in recent times in response to new diseases (e.g. influenza, pneumonia) for which there are no herbal cures. People prefer to treat diseases that are considered ordinary (e.g. envy or fright) with medicinal plants. Healing with plants, which is widespread in the Andean region (cf. Schweitzer and Wörrle 2003), is apparently rarely practiced in the immediate vicinity of the Sokorpa. An exception are the Wayuu, who in contrast to the Sokorpa, use their pharmaceutical expertise exclusively for diseases that are not caused by spirit affliction (Rincón Soto 2006, 24–26). Basic knowledge about medicinal plants is widespread among the Sokorpa and not exclusive to specialists. The treatment is most effective, however, when the healer knows how to use the spiritual forces of the plant, as the tuwancha do. They talk – aloud or spirituality – to the plant’s spirits while gathering the empirical plants and convince them to come along: “You are here. That one [the sick person] has become thin. Let’s go!” (DR 16.06.03) or, “I come for you. I take you in order to cure”. (AP 17.05.30). When the spirit of the medicinal plant appears in its human form to the tuwancha, it has activated its healing powers and starts to fight the spirit of the disease-causing force. Previously unknown diseases, for which the Sokorpa have no herbal cure, require alternative methods. The Sokorpa often take people, especially children, who suffer from influenza or pneumonia, to the hospital in the nearest town. There are also tuwancha, however, who treat these new diseases. One woman is known for her ability to cure children. The master of armadillos

210  Anne Goletz has visited her in her dreams and transmitted to her a song and the knowledge to heal children. The song goes as follows: Nanarhʉ sa ona nan kas na mitapo amorh anipapi. Otashi kachash ima tan sayak imash tk. Ona yon sayak. Nanarhʉ nana karh yʉtawo nanarh towishi otakat ona. Ona karh minat yukpash yayi yayino ona sitakʉ amorh mitana ona nanarhʉ ona ipayi. We tell you: if you record this [song] forever how many children in your hands you will put. Just place your hands on them. We were the ones who were with him [Aponto] over there [in the time of the creation of the world]. Just as you see Yukpa people and listen to them, you listen to us. (DR 16.06.03) In her curing ritual, she runs her hands over the sick child’s body, blows or spits in her hands, and sometimes sings the song the armadillo transmitted to her. Some people consider her healing power as a gift of the god Aponto. Other tuwancha cure by praying to the god Aponto. A local expert told me about her deceased husband: “With praying. He did not use plants but his mind. He prayed and prayed, but with his mind” (LC 17.05.28). The Sokorpa frequently refer to praying by the inflected Spanish loanword rezarpok (sp. rezar = to pray).12 While praying, the specialists lay their hands on the afflicted areas. Today many specialists apply this method. However, some people criticize it as not original to Yukpa culture. Sanación (sp. healing) through faith in god is also a common technique in the Evangelical churches (e.g. Pentecostals) in the lowlands. During the service the priest lays his hand on the afflicted body parts of a sick person and makes prayers. It is possible that sanación has given rise to this new healing practice among the Sokorpa, as it has been the case for the Wayuu (Rincón Soto 2006, 29). However, rezarpok is not necessarily a loud recitation of prayers, but refers to the establishment of a mental connection to Aponto or any other-thanhuman transmitter, or the spirit of a medicinal plant. Tuwancha also influence the weather, cause rain, or calm storms. The knowledge to cause rain is of particular importance in extended dry periods. A local expert remembered her knowledgeable grandfather: when the rainy season was delayed, people became concerned about their crops and approached him. He gathered the community and led them to the river where they danced until it started to rain. The ritual described in the initial vignette was also meant to cause rain. It was successful as on the second evening of the dance it started to rain in torrents. The organizing tuwancha and the ritual participants were satisfied. The tuwancha known for curing children has also specialized knowledge of influencing the weather. Her transmitter, the master of armadillos, gave her the ability to calm storms. She remembered what he told her: “If you really listen to us, we will be with you. You only do like this [arm movement] to calm the wind or thunder. This [knowledge to appease] will stay with you forever.” (DR 16.06.03)

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  211 The movement of pushing the arms skyward is a common technique among the Yukpa to calm rain and storm (Bolinder 1917, 47–48; Ruddle 1974, 93). Some people additionally blow in the direction of the thunderstorm or say “pshh”, a spell frequently cited in mythical narratives and used in transhuman communication to influence the other-than-human realm. When pushing their arms skyward, some people call upon imanta, an otherthan-human being associated with heavy rainfall.13 The tuwancha’s influence on the weather is used in particular for creating good weather conditions for cultivation and harvesting. Tuwancha supervise the agricultural activities, especially concerning the cariaco corn mish, a corn variety of particular cultural importance.14 They maintain a spiritual bond with the owner of corn Osema. People consult tuwancha before sowing, harvesting, and processing cariaco corn. A local expert explained to me: A person must take a small handful of seeds and say, ‘I’m going to start sowing.’ […] Then he [tuwancha] blesses it [the seeds] in religious or Catholic terms; however, he does not bless it like that but with words, he says, ‘Churh sha minin’ [You showed me]. Unano [Osema] will be with you’ (LL 17.06.06) When the corn has grown a little bit, people bring sprouts to the tuwancha. They examine them, boil them in hot water, and speak to them. Thus they encourage the sprouts in the fields to grow faster. Some specialists have the additional ability to cure worm-infested fields of corn or other crops. A tuwancha told me that she treats leaves of affected crops with spit and a spicy plant.15 According to local experts, in the past tuwancha also used their knowledge to destroy the harvest of others. When the harvest is near, people again consult the tuwancha and bring them corncobs. With their permission they begin the harvest and celebrate a harvest feast.16 Nowadays, people celebrate with their immediate family and not in public and in the ritualized manner described by local experts anymore. They still pay attention to Osema’s rules, however: they eat meat or fish with the first corn product of the new harvest; they prepare corn beverage and cornballs, and distribute them among nearby households and, most importantly, among the specialists. The tuwancha play an advisory role in these processes, but they remain in the background and only occasionally on request teach their knowledge to a wider audience. Some tuwancha, however, gather people to pray and proclaim the teachings received from their other-than-human transmitter. Sometimes they invite the community to sing and dance or perform collective rituals in honor of Aponto or Osema, like the rain ritual in the initial vignette. These “tuwancha-who-preach” receive their knowledge either from the creator god Aponto or the owner of corn Osema. They are met with both admiration and skepticism. They have a small but faithful group of followers who ask them to speak about Aponto’s teachings and express their gratitude with offerings of crops. Others doubt the fact that they hear Aponto’s

212  Anne Goletz voice and treat their teachings with skepticism. Despite such skepticism, many people believe in their ability to heal and influence the weather and the harvest. The tuwancha-who-preach are no competitors or rivals of other specialists. Praying and preaching are merely additional knowledge areas transmitted by their other-than-human transmitters, Aponto or Osema.

Shamanism and Sokorpa Specialists The Sokorpa Yukpa language makes no conceptual distinction between different types of tuwancha. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to differentiate the concept’s versatility on an analytical level. Taking Hugh-Jones’s (1994) concept of dual shamanism as a starting point, I conceptualize distinct manifestations of tuwancha and point out possible transformational processes. In my analysis I integrate Wilbert’s (1960, 1974) and Halbmayer’s (1998, 2010) material on Yukpa specialists in order to identify nuances and shifts that determine Sokorpa tuwancha.17 Vertical and horizontal shamanism In his chapter on shamanic phenomena among Arawakan and Tukanoan peoples in Northwestern Amazonia, Hugh-Jones (1994) refers to two standard categories of religious specialists – the shaman and the priest. The shaman, who obtains powers through direct contact with the other-thanhuman realm, acts alone and concentrates on curing the sick; the priest, by contrast, whose knowledge is inherited or achieved through a standardized training, conducts public and calendrical collective rituals (Lessa and Vogt 1958, 411–412; Turner 1972). Hugh-Jones reframes this classification that is traditionally ascribed to different kinds of societies by shifting the focus to different cosmological principles that may coexist within one society.18 He distinguishes between a horizontal and a vertical manifestation of shamanism and defines the horizontal one as follows: [… s]ecular power is often separated from sacred power, and shamans are morally ambiguous and may have relatively low status and prestige. Shamanism is individualistic, open to all adult men, frequently involves widespread and relatively free use of hallucinogenic substances, and is only peripherally involved in the ritual reproduction of society. (Hugh-Jones 1994, 33) Vertical shamans, by contrast, are […] morally unambiguous, enjoy high prestige and status, and play a key role in social reproduction through elaborate ancestor-oriented life crisis rituals involving bullroarers or sacred flutes and trumpets. Their knowledge is relatively closed and is founded on an elaborate, dogmatic

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  213 mythological cannon. No trance or possession is involved, and where hallucinogens are used, the shamans typically give them to others rather than using them themselves. (Hugh-Jones 1994, 33) Hugh-Jones associates horizontal shamanism with “more egalitarian, forest-oriented societies with an ideological emphasis on warfare and hunting” and a rather idiosyncratically elaborated canon of myths; vertical shamanism, by contrast, with “more complex, ranked societies, often characterized by an Amazonian version of descent, and with less emphasis on warfare and hunting” (1994, 33).19 Vertical and horizontal shamanisms are not mutually exclusive, but may coexist. This assumption is of special significance for my own argument. Horizontal shamanism predominates in many Amazonian societies. Yet there are also societies that combine both manifestations, either within a single individual or divided between different individuals that are associated with “different activities, functions, spheres of competence, and sources of power that are ascribed to different shamans and to dualistic cosmological principles to which they relate” (1994, 36). Hugh-Jones suggests that the coexistence of vertical and horizontal shamanism and concomitant cosmological principles is not simply an expression of the antithetical and ambivalent nature of Amerindian shamanism, but the result of social change, interethnic contact, tensions, and contradictions. Dual conceptions of shamanism may thus be understood similar to Northwest Amazonian crisis cults, as a “manifestation of a working out of these contradictions” (Hugh-Jones 1994, 34). In my analysis of Sokorpa specialists, I want to address this idea – cautiously advanced by Hugh-Jones – and make it useful for the analysis of my own material. Tomaira, tuano, tupiacha, and tijisnocha: Yukpa specialists On the basis of his short field research among the Venezuelan Parírí and Wasama Yukpa in 1959, Wilbert (1960, 132–139; 1974, 48–51) distinguishes between two kinds of specialists to whom he attributes a special status in society: the priest-like religious leader and singer tomaira and the herbalist/ medicine man tuano. The former is characterized by the fact that he – it seems to be an exclusively male office – receives a song in a dream. If it is possible for him to reproduce this song, he is recognized as tomaira. From now on, he and other tomaira carry out rituals and determine the sequence of songs and dances. His counterpart, the tuano, is characterized by his knowledge of medicinal plants that is passed from father to son. His wife assists him, focusing especially on female issues. While knowledge of medical plants is widespread, the tuano differs from ordinary people because of his “ability to turn magical potential of each substance to his own use” (1974, 50), as I have noted for the Sokorpa tuwancha as well.

214  Anne Goletz Wilbert’s classification is – as he himself emphasizes (1960, 139) – reminiscent of dualistic attributions that have been made for priest and shaman. While the tomaira acts as ritual specialist, performing collective ceremonies and featuring canonical and verbal knowledge, the tuano is specialized in individual curing and maintains direct contact with the other-than-human realm. Similar distinctions are reported for other Cariban-speakers. The Yekuana distinguish between the ritual specialist and owner of chants edamo ademi, who can understand and recite the secret language of the creation myth, and the shaman huhai who specializes in curing (Civrieux 1980, 13). The Akuriyo differentiate between an alemi-singer, who cures illnesses caused by animals through songs, and a püjai who recovers lost souls (Halbmayer 2010, 218–222). Ritual and song specialist have also been reported among the Kalapalo, Pemon, Trio, and Wayana (Halbmayer 2010, 165; Jara 1991, 59). The importance of songs in Cariban shamanism is also evident in a song complex known particularly in the Guyanas under the name ademi/alemi, but also among the Yukpa (ira. irimi) as a means to communicate with the other-than-human realm (Halbmayer 2007, 160–162; 2010, 561).20 Wilbert (1962, 863) distinguishes the tomaira from other Cariban shamans. He emphasizes his priest-like qualities and assumes that the origin of the tomaira-complex lies in the contact with Chibchan groups (1960, 83). He (1960, 139; 1974, 19) also classifies the tuano as non-Cariban and associates him, due to his expertise in medicinal plants, with Central Andean healers.21 Based on his fieldwork among the Irapa Yukpa in 1991/1992, Halbmayer (1998, 245–255; 2010, 558–565) takes up Wilbert’s distinction between singer/ religious specialist and healer. He replaces the term tuano with the term tupiacha (ira. tupiato = to heal) and states that tomaira and tupiacha are not – as claimed by Wilbert – offices but rather individuals with specific kinds of knowledge and skills that they use situationally. They have no special status in society. Their knowledge is appreciated but its loss represents no immediate threat to the community. Halbmayer (2010, 563) juxtaposes these specialists with the tijisnocha who influence the natural environment by their spiritual abilities – the weather, the growth of crops, and the behavior of animals. Tijisnocha are directly connected to economic resources and may threaten to withhold them. Halbmayer met no tijisnocha during his fieldwork, but many local experts remembered such people with spiritual abilities that could influence the weather with the smoke from their pipes and the harvest by means of round stones and make crops wither. He translates the term tijisnocha as “those who command the food” (1998, 252). An alternative term is mi watupe (ira. master of corn). This designation indicates the relation between tijisnocha and the owner of corn Osema. Halbmayer (1998, 247) calls Osema the “idealistic embodiment and implicit role model” of the tijisnocha. His capacities are not inherited or learned but acquired individually. Halbmayer (1998, 246; 2010, 558, 573) distinguishes the tijisnocha, as well as the tomaira and tupiacha, from ideal typical shamans with reference to the absence of the journey to the otherworld, collective healing rituals, and spiritual warfare.

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  215 Tuwancha-who-act and Tuwancha-who-preach: two manifestations of Sokorpa specialists Many of the characteristics described by Wilbert and Halbmayer can be found in my material on the tuwancha, but they take on different forms and meanings. My data support Halbmayer’s and Wilbert’s proposed distinction between Yukpa specialists and ideal-typical Amazonian shamans. Tuwancha are not characterized by trance and transformations nor by the use of hallucinogenic substances, nor do they primarily specialize in healing. However, they also bear little resemblance to Chibchan priests – as noted by Wilbert (1960, 139) with regard to the tomaira – or the priests described by Turner and Hugh-Jones. Tuwancha do not receive special training that forms part of an institutionalized and dogmatic cosmological knowledge system and do not organize regular rituals. Tuwancha have no special social status, and their role and actions are hardly standardized, not least because of the lack of institutionalization. Among the Sokorpa expertise in medicinal plants or songs and dances does not manifest itself in different types of specialists as portrayed by Halbmayer and Wilbert for the tuano/tupiacha and tomaira but rather in different methods of fulfilling the tuwancha’s duties. Medicinal plants, songs, and dances represent common knowledge areas and are not exclusive to tuwancha. To be able to influence the other-than-human realm it is not considered sufficient to acquire the song repertoire or the pharmaceutical knowledge through training. This ability is premised on a communicative relationship with the other-than-human environment. The curing of disease – ascribed by Wilbert and Halbmayer to the tuano/tupiacha – is one of the integral duties of the tuwancha aside from the ability to influence the weather and the harvest, which Halbmayer ascribes to the tijisnocha. The ability to influence the behavior of animals seems to play a minor role compared to agricultural activities, even among those tuwancha whose transmitter is an animal master. To pray and preach the teachings of Aponto and Osema is considered an additional duty of a tuwancha. This only applies to those tuwancha, however, who received their knowledge from Aponto or Osema. For analytical purposes, I have called the latter category tuwanchawho-preach. These specialists are distinguished from other tuwancha by the fact that they pray, preach, and organize rituals. In their role as ritual leaders they resemble the priest-like tomaira. However, their focus is not on life-cycle rituals, but on harvest-related rituals in honor of Aponto and Osema. Unlike the priest described by Hugh-Jones (1994, 37) they are morally ambiguous, a quality usually ascribed to the shaman. Just as the shaman-prophets described by Hugh-Jones (1994, 69), they are met with doubt and skepticism. In general, the tuwancha-who-preach are no priest-like figures but rather resemble prophets as defined by Turner (1972). The prophet’s position is acquired by following a calling and the bestowal of charisma by a supreme

216  Anne Goletz being with whom he maintains a personal relation. He follows a mission and announces divine orders. He is an innovator and reformer, qualities that are at odds with those of the priest, who aims to ensure continuity. The innovative and reformative quality of the tuwancha that preach becomes particularly evident with regard to the syncretistic merging of Yukpa mythology and biblical elements. The syncretistic aspect is further expressed in terms of the characters of the creator god Aponto and the owner of corn Osema, who is sometimes depicted as Aponto’s son and messenger. Osema is not only a potential other-than-human transmitter but also plays a significant role for the specialists in transhuman communication in general. Osema is the – quoting Halbmayer (1998, 47) – “implicit role model” of the tuwancha, and respectively, the tuwancha are mundane representatives of Osema. In this regard and also in terms of their election by a personal calling, Sokorpa specialists resemble the tijisnocha described by Halbmayer. A connection with Osema apparently characterizes all tuwancha, regardless of whether he is the actual transmitter or not. This connection manifests itself on a physical rather than communicative level and is expressed in particular through headaches and by a specific relationship to corn. The personal calling by an other-than-human being, similar to the reception of songs in dreams during the calling of a tomaira22 as described by Halbmayer and Wilbert, is the foundation of knowledge acquisition for every tuwancha. A relationship with other-than-human transmitters is therefore the most fundamental feature of Sokorpa specialists. By the respective transmission of knowledge, the former shape the individual qualities of each tuwancha. Figure 8.1 shows an idealized abstraction of key aspects of Sokorpa specialists and features that I identify as crucial for distinguishing between the two manifestations of tuwancha: those who implement the received knowledge by acting and those who do so by (acting through) preaching. As noted earlier, these distinctions and terminology do not correspond to local conceptions, but have an analytical purpose. In practice, the two manifestations and related features are not strictly separate and may be combined in a single individual. Unlike Hugh-Jones’s dual shamanism and traditional distinctions between shaman and priest, the dual conception of tuwancha, does not correspond to different duties in society or different forms of knowledge acquisition, but to different types of other-than-human transmitters – either animal masters and ancestor spirits or Aponto and Osema – and to different qualities of knowledge transmitted – either incorporated or verbal knowledge. These different qualities of knowledge, in turn, require different forms of practical implementation and influence the other-than-human realm either directly through individual or indirectly through collective action. The differences are responsible for the dual manifestation of tuwancha in Sokorpa society and, as I will demonstrate below, are interwoven with different relational modes in the Sokorpa sociocosmos.

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  217 tuwancha-who-act

tuwancha-who-preach healing diseases influencing in weather and harvest

+ praying and preaching

corn owner Osema as role model vocation thourgh transmission of knowledge in dream animal masters, ancestor spirits (averted collectives) transmitters

creator god Aponto, owner of corn Osema (deified individuals) transmitters

incorporated knowledge

verbal knowledge

direct influence

indirect influence hierarchical transmitter-receptor relation

individual cooperation ontological identification

conditional collective relation ontological dissimilarity

Figure 8.1 Idealized abstraction of the two manifestations of tuwancha.

Transmission of knowledge as the foundation of Sokorpa transhuman communication Now I take a closer look at the terms and aspects of the transmitter-receptor relation and the transmission of knowledge. I adapt Descola’s (2013) concept of transmission to the analysis of my own material. Other-than-human beings as active interlocutors It is the reserved manner in dealing with the other-than-human realm what distinguishes the tuwancha from other specialists in transhuman communication. The tuwancha are no “trans-specific beings” (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 471) or “shape shifters” (Århem 2015, 294) as stated for Amazonian shamans who strategically use their ability to transform themselves and travel to the otherworld. Many Cariban-speakers, especially in the Guyanas, have multiple souls located in different parts of or even outside their body that may go on a journey and act as a person’s double (Halbmayer 2010, 586), mirror, or shadow (Basso 1977, 16) in the otherworld. The Sokorpa, however, have just one yokarh (sok. life force, soul, spirit)23; when it leaves the body, this is neither voluntary nor temporally, but means death. Transformation appears in mythical stories and rarely in everyday life; however, it is never a strategy to communicate with the other-than-human realm, neither in ritual nor in shamanic contexts.24 Among the Sokorpa it is not the specialist but the other-than-human transmitters that act as “active interlocutor[s] in transspecific dialogues” (Viveiros de Castro 2004, 468). They approach the

218  Anne Goletz human realm, contact, initiate, and transmit knowledge to the tuwancha. The human receptors may receive or reject the transmitted knowledge and its concomitant duties, but they themselves are neither able to establish the contact by themselves nor to set the rules of the transhuman relationship. The tuwancha’s passive and somewhat subordinate role does not involve possession, however, as has been described elsewhere for such an unequal kind of relation (Århem 2015, 294; High 2012, 135). If tuwancha experience physical changes, at the time of their calling or later on, these are caused by their transmitters. But, these other-than-human beings – or more precisely, their spiritual force – do not enter the tuwancha’s bodies, in order to take possession of them, just as diseases caused by spirit affliction are believed not to enter the bodies.25 The transmitter-receptor relation is thus based neither on possession nor on voluntary temporal transformation, but on nocturnal visits by the other-than-human being and the transmission of knowledge. Transmitting knowledge from the mythical past The transmission of knowledge through an act or relationship involving ontological different beings – either in combination with or, as in the case of the Sokorpa, unconnected to transformation and possession – has received little attention from anthropologists and remains undertheorized. Yet it plays a crucial role for the understanding of transhuman communication and the role of transhuman specialists among the Sokorpa. In his study on modes of identification and relation and their association with four kinds of ontologies, Descola (2013, 329–335) identifies transmission as a central mode of relation. He characterizes the transmitter-receptor relationship as hierarchical, univocal, and based on temporal connection. Descola associates transmission with filiation and genealogical relationships and ascribes it particularly to societies practicing ancestor worship. He identifies material goods as well as intangible assets, functions, responsibilities, and certain forms of knowledge as transmitted elements. As I have already stated with reference to my empirical data, other-thanhuman transmitters are active interlocutors in Sokorpa transhuman communication, whereas tuwancha have a passive and rather subordinate role. The relation between transmitter and receiver is apparently characterized by unidirectionality and hierarchy and thus corresponds to Descola’s concept of transmission. The second characteristic noted by Descola, the temporal connection, is defined by a genealogical relation between transmitter and receptor, like tuwancha receive knowledge from ancestor spirits who have been tuwancha in their lifetime. The knowledge applied by the deceased ancestors in their lifetime is transmitted to their descendants. What about other transmitters then, animal masters, the owner of corn Osema, and the god Aponto that have no direct genealogical bond with human receptors? Multispecies socio-cosmologies that take humanity as the point of departure of all social beings, as it can be found among the Sokorpa and other

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  219 Amerindian societies, require us to rethink the concept of genealogy (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 472). The Sokorpa sociocosmos is composed of distinct beings many of whom have emerged from a common human existence. In a mythical past they were yukpapi, (like) Yukpa – that is to say, (like) human beings26 – and became transformed because of their moral misconduct, the violation of social rules, or mere clumsiness. In the mythical canon this transformation is most evident in the case of animals. A story tells how the creator god Aponto transforms his misbehaving children into certain animal species (e.g. birds and mammals). The transformation is considered not so much a loss of human qualities, as Viveiros de Castro (1998, 472) states for Amazonian creation stories, but as an endowment with species-specific characteristics: Aponto attaches wings and beaks to the birds-to-be, claws to the sloth-to-be, etc.27 In their human existence these beings contributed to the state of the world of today. Their actions play an important role in collective memory and are inscribed in the mythical canon and the repertoire of songs. By the act of transmission these past events and the knowledge of the formerly yukpapi beings are remembered and repeated. Hence, the transmitters of knowledge among the Sokorpa are not only close ancestors but also those “distant and more or less mythical figures” that are marginalized in Descola’s (2013, 330) concept of transmission. These mythical figures exert influence on the contemporary world, not only through their past activities but also because of their present-day relations with individual tuwancha. The fact that knowledge on how to influence the weather is transmitted can be explained by considering the role of the armadillo in the mythical past. The armadillo is the owner of calabashes filled with clouds and cold. In the mythical past he handed them over to a man who opened them and thus brought night and daytime into the world. The knowledge the armadillo master transmits to the tuwancha is the same that he himself once possessed during his yukpapi existence. The transmission of knowledge about the growing and processing of corn by the owner of corn Osema recalls mythical events as well. A story tells about the introduction of corn to the world by the owner of corn Osema. After having been turned away by various communities because of his foreign appearance, Osema and his companion, the squirrel, were finally welcomed in a Yukpa settlement. He gave the people corn kernels that he carried on his head and explained to them how to cultivate and harvest the corn and how to prepare corn beverage, corn beer, and cornballs.28 As worldly representatives of Osema, tuwancha perform this task in the present. I see a similar logic concerning the transmission of curing knowledge by Aponto. A tuwancha recalls what Aponto told him: “Look. In those times I healed the sick. Now, you. If you really listen to my words, I give you faith and you will heal the sick” (BP 16.07.27). In this case the knowledge is not based on mythical, but rather on biblical events and reminds of Jesus’s miracle healings. Some Sokorpa, however, view this miracle healings in terms of their own socio-cosmological knowledge, as

220  Anne Goletz they have integrated and redefined certain biblical contents into the local knowledge system – and to some extent even into their mythical canon. This holds especially true for tuwancha with Aponto as transmitter. Transmitting knowledge from “Outside” In her chapter on the syncretistic faith of Hallelujah among Caribanspeakers in the Guianas, Butt Colson (1985, 142) notes that the prophets “adopted and adapted information from ‘outside’ and brought it within their own boundaries – geographical, social, and conceptual” and thereby “created a bridge for understanding the incoming and so cushioned the impact of an increasing clash of different structures”. This statement also seems to be true for the Sokorpa specialists, especially for those who preach. The specific form of knowledge acquisition through transmission from the other-than-human domain enhances the acceptance of the incoming and legitimates its integration. Let us consider a local expert’s statement about the association of a tuwancha’s teachings with the Christian Bible: He [tuwancha] tells about the book of the Catholics. Everything that he dreams, look for it in the book, that of the Catholics, and you find what he says. As he speaks almost no Spanish and is not studied, he says nothing more than what he [the creator god Aponto] says. This is why we have faith in him, because it is with a book, he does not just speak like that. Aponto is a Catholic. So about this he [Aponto] is telling him [tuwancha]. (BP 17.05.28) She makes clear, however, that it is only the content of the teaching, not the tuwancha himself that is associated with the Catholic Church. It is not the Bible or the services and sermons of the local missionary nuns or visiting priests, but the god Aponto who transmits the biblical elements to the tuwancha and thus legitimates its integration into the Sokorpa knowledge system. The legitimation of new knowledge by its transmission from the other-thanhuman domain also applies to new methods of curing such as the laying on of hands and prayers to the god Aponto. The integration of new knowledge is not exclusive to the tuwancha-who-preach and their deified transmitters, however. The armadillo master, aside from the myth-anchored knowledge of how to influence the weather, also transmits knowledge on how to heal children by the laying on of hands. I conclude that knowledge used in the past by the transmitter in his former yukpapi-existence (or in another human-like existence as in the case of Osema/god’s son) constitutes the base of the transmission. The knowledge transmitted often goes beyond the myth-anchored knowledge, however, and includes new elements. Due to their personal relations to human receptors, the other-than-human transmitters are generally instrumental in

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  221 influencing the other-than-human environment. The influence seems to follow a centralized logic. This logic becomes most evident with regard to tuwancha that have a transmitter relationship with Aponto, who is the intermediary for all socio-cosmological tasks: curing disease, influencing the weather and the harvest, teaching mythical and biblical doctrine. Concerning agriculture however, the responsibility is shared with the owner of corn Osema.

Modes of transhuman relations While transmission of knowledge is the basic foundation of beneficial transhuman communication, the quality of this knowledge differs and generates different kinds of Sokorpa specialists. In this section I examine the distinction between tuwancha-who-act and tuwancha-who-preach in terms of incorporated vis-à-vis verbal knowledge and direct vis-à-vis indirect influence on the other-than-human environment. I then analyze the distinct relational modes that shape the Sokorpa sociocosmos. Incorporated and verbal knowledge Let us look at my field data concerning the different qualities of knowledge transmitted. In his nocturnal visits the armadillo master transmits tools and abilities that enable to influence socio-cosmological events: an arm movement to calm storms, or a song to cure children by laying on hands, spitting, and blowing. I characterize this knowledge as incorporated, as it enables the tuwancha to directly influence the other-than human realm by the use of body, voice, and breath. The same applies to specialists with a deceased tuwancha as their other-than-human transmitter. Because of the direct and embodied manner of influencing the other-than-human realm, I  call this kind of specialist tuwancha-who-act. Tuwancha whose actions focus on preaching, by contrast, receive the tools and knowledge to teach Aponto’s and Osema’s words to the community. Their knowledge consists of mythical stories and biblical doctrine. This kind of knowledge is verbal and its influence indirect. The wife of a tuwancha commented on a song her husband received as follows: Pʉkat ahí mash kasʉy un canto vino wat. Patumshonsh prhak na canto wat. Sa prhak na ya: ‘Llegamos a padre nuestro dios. Llegamos a padre nuestro dios. Ha llegado padre nuestro dios, padre nuestro señor dios.’ Ka prhak na. In the end, there came a song. The song is very beautiful. It went like this, ‘We have arrived at our father god. We have arrived at our father god. Our father god has arrived, our father, the lord god.’ It was like this. (LC 17.05.28)

222  Anne Goletz other-than-human realm weather, harvest, diseases

averted collectives

ancestor spirits

deified individuals

direct influence

indirect influence transmission of verbal knowledge

transmission of incorporated knowledge

avoidance punishment

punishment or reward gratitude and request cooperation

conditional relation

tuwancha ontological identification

creator god Aponto

owner of corn Osema

animal masters


human realm

ontological dissimilarity

Figure 8.2 Idealized abstraction of modes of relations with the other-than-human realm.

Like the song, verbal knowledge does not confer the ability to influence the other-than-human realm directly, but is directed at the community. It serves to persuade the people to have faith in Aponto’s words, follow them, and join in the performance of rituals. The distinction between incorporated and verbal knowledge is to a certain degree reminiscent of the distinction between power and knowledge taken up by Hugh-Jones (1994, 35)  – with the important difference, however, that in the case of the Sokorpa specialists both qualities of knowledge are transmitted by an other-than-human transmitter: incorporated knowledge by ancestor spirits or animal masters and verbal knowledge by Osema or Aponto. Figure 8.2 shows an idealized abstraction of the manners of transmission and influence in the other-than-human realm and the underlying relations to two types of otherthan human beings – averted collectives and deified individuals – that I will discuss below. Averted collectives: avoidance, punishment, and cooperation In their daily lives, the Sokorpa try to avoid transhuman communication with the ancestor spirits and the animal masters, because they fear that the segregation of different beings introduced by the creator Aponto would be undone. The Sokorpa origin story tells how Aponto organized the world in different spatial, temporal, and social levels in the course of certain transformational processes.29 These distinctions created livable conditions and produced the current status of the sociocosmos, a “multiverse of co-existing and multiply connected worlds” (Halbmayer 2012, 120). In this multiverse, formerly yukpapi beings, today separated into “autonomous

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  223 isomorph collectives” (2012, 109), inhabit different worlds that are similar to the Sokorpa world but tailored to their species-specific needs. This idea has been theorized as Amazonian perspectivism by Viveiros de Castro (1998, 2004). For the Sokorpa the notion of perspectivism becomes most evident concerning the world of the dead, but also in the mythical canon regarding species-specific otherworlds.30 The different worlds overlap temporarily and partially and thus enable communication between the different species. For the Sokorpa, transhuman communication has mostly negative connotations and is considered potentially dangerous as it bears the risk of dissolving established distinctions. Such dissolution may lead to undesired interactions that can cause corporeal deformations, disease, or death. For this reason, the Sokorpa make great efforts to avoid transhuman interactions and put great value on the cohesion of their own collective. They avoid the risk of transhuman encounters by observing manifold taboos and prohibitions (in terms of places, food, and behavior), showing respect, and following prescribed rules of behavior (e.g. not to overexploit a territory). Transhuman communication is usually involuntary and results from the violation of socio-cosmological rules. If, for example, hunters hunt too much, the animal masters may appear in their dreams and punish them with minor or major physical impairments and even with death. I suggest understanding this act as punishment. Such a punishment, however, is not predation in terms of a general predatory logic between animals and humans, as has been claimed for Amazonian animistic socio-cosmologies (Fausto 2007; Viveiros de Castro 1998), but a possible reaction to disrespectful behavior. The respectful killing of animals in accordance with socio-cosmological rules is therefore important. The human-animal relation is characterized by the hunting of animals as animals – not as humans – and respectful behavior that averts punishment by the animal master. This relational mode changes when an individual transmitter-receptor relation is established. In this case, an avoided and potentially dangerous relation is transformed into one based on support by the other-than-human beings and on mutual cooperation. This fact became evident in a tuwancha’s story about her transmitter’s comment: “He says ‘You are very participating with us […] you will keep working […], but we will help you” (DR 16.03.25). The transmission of knowledge is not considered a service that demands compensation, but is conferred along with a task. This task usually fits the needs of the tuwancha and the community. In contrast to verbal knowledge, incorporated knowledge can be implemented directly and independently of the community. The influence on the other-than-human realm rests solely with the individual specialists and their willingness to receive and use the knowledge transmitted. By incorporating the knowledge they are able to exert a direct influence on the other-than-human realm – the weather, the harvest, and disease. As stated earlier, at the time of the initiation of the relationship between transmitter and receiver a hierarchy is established. The other-than-human beings take charge as interlocutors, whereas the tuwancha behave in a

224  Anne Goletz reserved manner. This applies to all transmitter-receiver relationships. The subsequent relationship between transmitters that belong to the usually avoided collectives and their human receptors, however, follows a more fundamental logic based on ontological identification. In their nocturnal visits the other-than-human transmitters appear to the tuwancha as humans. The above-mentioned song of the armadillo master addresses this ontological identification: “We were the ones who were with him [Aponto] over there [in the time of the creation of the world]. Just as you see Yukpa people and listen to them, you listen to us” (DR 16.06.03). This human appearance in the dream is due to the common origin of today’s diverse species and the perpetuation of the human-like quality in the species-specific worlds. The ontological identification is peculiar insofar as for non-tuwancha the contact with animal masters or the spirits of deceased ancestors in their human guise is dangerous and can cause illness and death. The transmitter-receptor relationship enables tuwancha to interact with the other-than-human transmitter without negative effects. The ontological identification also involves certain restrictions. A tuwancha with the armadillo master as her transmitter told me that she refrains from eating armadillo meat. Halbmayer (1998, 253–254) also mentions taboos concerning food with which a spiritual relationship has been established. He tells of a tijisnocha who refrains from consuming corn. Among the Sokorpa, I have not encountered the taboo of eating corn among the tuwancha who have a spiritual bond with cariaco corn. To the contrary, these tuwancha even show a great preference for it. Deified individuals: punishment or reward, depending on faith and gratitude The relationship between tuwancha and deified other-than-human transmitters is of a different quality. It only concerns two beings, the creator god Aponto and the owner of corn Osema. It is characterized by a clear hierarchy and corresponds to Rosengren’s (2006, 805) mode of human subordination in human-spirit relation where “humans are depicted as subordinate with significant spirits requiring propitiations and offerings to be persuaded to act favorably and to fulfill their supplications”. Their relation is based on different interests: while Aponto – through his mouthpieces, the tuwancha, calls for faith, moral reflection, and a change of behavior in the community, the tuwancha ask for good weather conditions and a good harvest in the name of their community. The specialists organize collective rituals in order to demonstrate the people’s gratitude and persuade Aponto and Osema to grant their requests. If Aponto is satisfied, he reacts with reward and – as in the initial vignette – causes the rain to fall. If not, he punishes the people with drought or heavy rainfalls, storms, and crop failure. This belief is echoed in the comment of a local expert: “Look how the weather, the summer, the rain has damaged the harvest, the wind. It is Aponto who has sent it, because nobody believed [a tuwancha]” (BP 16.07.27).

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  225 The relation with the owner of corn Osema is also conditional: violations of Osema’s rules, which are included in the mythical canon or occasionally transmitted by Osema to a tuwancha personally, lead to a poor harvest. Compliance with the rules of cultivation and harvest, including the rituals in honor of Osema, by contrast, is rewarded with abundance. The relationship with Osema has a more individual character than that with Aponto, since each family is individually responsible for its agricultural activity. Today the formerly community-wide harvest rituals take place at the family level. Moreover, the tuwancha who have a spiritual relationship with Osema are affected by the misconduct of any member of their community. When people fail to respect the tuwancha in the cultivation process and to serve them corn from their first harvest, the specialists suffer from severe headaches. These are the consequence of instructive dreams, as a local expert explains with regard to his father: Dad got sick often, but spiritually. He dreamed about mish [cariaco corn] and the next day he would wake up as if he was drunk. And he said, ‘Somewhere there is surely someone drinking corn beer without having complied with the procedure. He divined it [the misconduct] in his dreams. […] and the weather is like this [with thunderstorm] because Unano [Osema] caused it. (LL 17.06.06) Osema is generally associated with earthquakes (Halbmayer 1998, 252; Wilbert 1960, 132). He becomes angry when people ignore his rules, appears as thunder, and collects the corn kernels. The relation between the tuwancha and the deified other-than-human transmitters is not self-contained but dependent on the faith and the collective involvement of the community. Aponto and Osema transmit knowledge in terms of mythical and divine teachings to the specialists. To make it beneficial for the community, however, the latter must lead their community to act in accordance with the teachings. The dependence on the community’s cooperation became evident in the attitude of the tuwancha of the initial vignette, who resigns his duty to make rain because of the lack of faith and cooperation of the community members. Their mistrust reminds of the mistrust and the rejection Osema encountered in the mythical past when he and his companion squirrel wandered around and tried to join Yukpa communities. The knowledge of the tuwancha-who-preach is expressed verbally. When preaching on behalf of the creator god Aponto, they act as his messenger. “This is not my word but Aponto’s” (FC 17.05.29), explained a tuwancha to me. However, as already noted, they are not possessed by Aponto. Like all other specialists, they do not serve as medium of outside forces. They hear Aponto’s voice either in their dreams or more rarely in the daytime. In contrast to transmitters from the avoided collectivities, deified beings do not appear in human shape to their receptor, but make themselves visible in

226  Anne Goletz dreams, for example on the abundance of corn or other crops. This quality illustrates the ontological dissimilarity of tuwancha and the deified transmitters. Because of his deification, the people no longer conceptualize Aponto as a former yukpa, but as a supreme being. The same hierarchically superior position applies to Osema. Osema’s identity in the mythical past, however, is not clear. He is no yukpa, but a stranger who in some versions of the myth even speaks a foreign language.

The rise of agriculture and the deification of the owner of corn Osema In this section I discuss the coexistence of different relational modes in the Sokorpa sociocosmos as the outcome of historical processes and social change. I want to exemplify these processes with reference to the increasing socio-cultural importance of agriculture and the cariaco corn mish. Mish has become a key element of transhuman communication. Like in the ritual described in the initial vignette, it is present on various levels – as a cherished kind of crop and food, as a sacred item, as a deified being that stands beside the creator god Aponto, as an other-than-human transmitter, and as role model for tuwancha. Among the Sokorpa, the specialist’s activities do not focus – as in ideal-typical Amazonian shamanism – on hunting (Århem 2015, 280; Viveiros de Castro 1998, 472) but rather on agricultural activities around the cariaco corn. One wonders, how has the corn after its introduction to Yukpa culture become such a central element in the sociocosmos? The cultural relevance of agriculture and corn and the deification of the owner of corn Osema recall the importance of agriculture among Chibchan-speaking groups. Wilbert (1960, 83) states that the Yukpa most likely even adopted the cultivation of corn from Chibchan groups when they arrived in the Isthmo–Colombian Area. Among the Cariban-speaking groups whose diet is generally based on bitter manioc, the Yukpa stand out because of their cultural identification with and the nutritive importance of corn (Basso 1977, 13). The worship of corn gods is also widespread among Chibchan groups and especially well known for the Mesoamerican area. Osema’s appearance with corn kernels or cobs on his head even reminds of an Aztec or Mayan maize god, as Halbmayer (1998, 249) and Wilbert (1974, 31) have noted. Among the Bribrí and Cabecar of Costa Rica, the culture hero and creator Sibö is associated with corn (Kaviany, this volume; Peregrine and Ember 2002, 243). Among the Chibchan-speakers of the Colombian Sierra Nevada, corn plays an important role in mythology. The Kogi recognize the father of corn Êibi-ci háte, who is also the master of the southwestern regions, of animals, the fire, and the dry season. He is one of several masters worshipped in rituals and through sacrifices (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1985, 122, 244). In contrast to other corn deities, Osema is not part of a pantheon but the only deified master/owner of an other-than-human species and, aside from Aponto, the only deified figure in the Sokorpa pantheon.

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  227 The deification of the corn master Osema is closely related to the creator god Aponto. The contemporary figure of Aponto is the product of the merging of the biblical God as portrayed by local missionaries and other Christian interlocutors (e.g. Roman Catholics, Adventists, Trinitarians, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses) and the creator Aponto. The creator Aponto conceived the world in its contemporary complexity, created livable conditions for humans, and carved the Yukpa from a tree. He is also called Papsh Aponto (sok. diminutive form of papá) or tios (sok. modified Spanish loanword for god dios). Today Aponto is conceptualized as the sole (sok. kumarhko = just one) and universal god. His universality is also expressed by his multilingualism. A local expert told me: “God hears Yukpa, German, Spanish, English language, everything” (AG 17.05.28). In the Christian-influenced version of the creation myth Aponto is changed from a mundane actor that squabbles with the woodpecker to a divine being that gives advice and watches the Yukpa from above. After Aponto carved the Yukpa from the manᵾrhacha tree31 with the help of the woodpecker and made them move and speak, he said farewell and told the Yukpa to behave themselves, as he would be watching over them. The deification of Aponto becomes especially apparent when today’s Sokorpa versions of the myth are compared with older versions from other subgroups. In the latter the creating actor is depicted as the first Yukpa, a demiurge or culture hero (Halbmayer 1998, 273).32 The owner of corn Osema also underwent deification. Today the Sokorpa often associate him with Aponto and conceptualize him as either identical to Aponto or as Aponto’s son sent to earth to bring the cariaco corn mish to the Yukpa. A local expert explained to me: “Unano [Osema], we say, is the son of the Lord. Just as the watiya [non-indigenous people] say that God sent his son, for us it is Aponto that sent Unano” (SP 15.12.29). The equating of Osema and Christ is also expressed in the mythical canon. Just like Jesus in the feeding of the multitude, Osema multiplies the corn kernels to feed the participants of the harvest ritual. The miraculous multiplication is said to happen still today if people closely follow the rules taught by Osema. Cariaco corn mish has gained other symbolic functions that go beyond the ritual context. Some people use corn kernels as charms or give them to people as a greeting. Moreover, mish has an important function in creating cultural identity. The Sokorpa distinguish between proper corn mish and the standard corn cultivated and eaten by non-Yukpa people and – due to the decreasing availability of cariaco corn – increasingly by the Sokorpa as well. There are other functions of the corn and its crucial role in the Sokorpa sociocosmos is probably due to a combination of all of them.

Conclusion To summarize by way of a conclusion: Sokorpa specialists are characterized by little standardization and institutionalization and by their reserved way of dealing with the other-than-human realm. Their relationship with the

228  Anne Goletz other-than-human realm is determined by neither trance nor possession but by the transmission of knowledge in dreams. In nocturnal visits the otherthan-human transmitters approach the human domain, contact, and initiate the expectant tuwancha through the transmission of specific knowledge. This knowledge is based, on the one hand, on knowledge that was used in the mythical past by the transmitters in their former yukpapi-existence and, on the other hand, on new elements. The transmitter-receiver relationship with an other-than-human being is the key feature of Sokorpa specialists. The relationship is hierarchic and unidirectional, since it is determined by the other-than-human transmitter. Depending on the kind of other-than-human transmitter, however, it takes on different forms. While the relationship with animal masters or ancestor spirits is generally avoided and communicative interaction primarily occurs in the form of punishment for human violations of socio-cosmological rules, the transmitter-receiver relation with other-than-human beings is based on support and mutual cooperation. The relation between tuwancha and animal masters or ancestor spirits as transmitters rests upon ontological identification. Relations with the creator god Aponto and the owner of corn Osema, by contrast, have been modified by the Christian context and are now based on ontological dissimilarity and hierarchy. The relationship with deified beings is contingent on faith and collective gratitude and characterized by either reward or punishment. The coexistence of these relational modes is the result of historical processes and social change, in particular in terms of interethnic contact with Chibchan groups, the increasing importance of agriculture, and Christian missionary work. Regarding transhuman communication and its specialists, this has led to a cultural focus on agriculture, the deification of the owner of corn Osema, and the concentration of socio-cosmological responsibility on the creator god Aponto. These shifts caused concomitant modifications in the socio-cosmological structure: the change of ontological attributions, particularly concerning Osema and Aponto; the integration of new elements, like the symbolic meaning of cariaco corn; new curing methods; and parts of Christian doctrine as well as the abandonment of aspects that did not seem appropriate anymore, like the use of specialized knowledge to harm others. The dualistic conception of the tuwancha is not only a manifestation of distinct relational modes but, in fact, the expression of transformations and processes of negotiation between the familiar and the incoming shaped by the specialists and their community. The transmission from the other-than-human realm, the key feature of Sokorpa specialists, constitutes the central element of legitimizing the integration of new knowledge and changing socio-cosmological logics.

Notes 1 The Sokorpa resguardo with a size of 250 km 2 belongs to the municipality of Becerril in the Department of Cesar in northern Colombia. On Colombian territory there are six self-administered Yukpa territories (resguardos): Sokorpa, Iroka,

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  229 Menkwe, El Koso, Caño Padilla, and El Rosario. On Venezuelan territory, the subgroups of the Irapa, Shaparrú, Parirí, Wasama, Rio Negrinos, Macoita, and Japreria are organized in a variety of so-called pilot centers (centros pilotos). 2 I would like to thank Esneda Saavedra Restrepo, as the head of the resguardo, and the entire population of the resguardo Sokorpa for their support of my research. The material presented here focuses on six tuwancha and tuwancha-like (tuwanchip) individuals, some of them still alive and others deceased. I dedicate this chapter to a wise woman who unexpectedly passed away during the writing and whose knowledge has made a big impact on my research, Diocelina Restrepo. 3 I would like to thank Ernst Halbmayer, Michaela Meurer, Silvana Saturno, and Stefanie Schien for comments and suggestions. 4 The word consists of the impersonal possessive prefix t-, the radical wano = knowledge/wisdom, and the superlative suffix -cha. Similar designations exist among other subgroups: twanono among the Iroka-Yukpa, translated as specialist (Wilson Largo, personal communication; for grammatical details see Largo 2011); tuano/tuwano among the Macoita-Yukpa, “mago, hechicero, brujo; el diestro o docto en algo” (Hildebrandt 1985: 15, 70, 81); tuano among the Irapa Yukpa, “herbalist or medicine man” (Wilbert 1974, 50).

6 The Kogi, Arhuaco, Kankuamo, and Wiwa view each other as brothers. They all respect the spiritual authority of the mama (e.g. Reichel-Dolmatoff 1991, 96–97). 7 The abbreviation sp. marks Spanish terms. The abbreviation sok. marks Yukpa terms of the language variant spoken in Sokorpa; ira. Irapa; iro. Iroka. 8 While Wilbert’s (1974) description suggests that traditionally specialists were mostly male, Halbmayer (1998, 253–255) and Armato (1988, 31–32) also report female specialists. 9 Unano is an alternative and very popular name for the owner of corn Osema in Sokorpa. However, local experts stress that Osema, Mi Osema, or simply Mi(sh) are the correct terms.

230  Anne Goletz (1960), though provisionally, have been the basis for later publications (cf. Ruddle 1974, Ruddle and Wilbert 1983, Wilbert 1962). 20 The Sokorpa Yukpa also have a rich canon of animal songs called irhimi, isirhi, or omaikᵾ. However, while singing them they do not aim to contact the respective animals but to recall the time when these animals were still yukpapi.

22 The term tomaira is absent in Sokorpa. People, however, frequently use the term tomairhip, either as a situational attribution (singing) or as a general characteristic (knowing many songs). People who are tomairhip fill a similar role in ritual leadership as the tomaira among the Irapa and Paríri Yukpa. However, these people do not necessarily own their own songs; that is to say, they have not necessarily received songs through transmission.

Tuwancha, “the One Who Knows”  231

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The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu Reinforcing benevolence and preventing calamity Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk,1 Rito Ismare Peña, and Chenier Carpio Opua

Introduction As Alcida Ramos (2012) and Laura Rival (2012) have noted, many studies of indigenous ontology make little reference to indigenous practice and performance. Shamanism is the obvious exception since many studies use it to explore indigenous reality. In the Darién-Chocó region of Panama and Colombia, research on the Guna, Emberá, and Wounaan has focused on shamanism from this perspective. For the Wounaan, however, this focus seems somewhat misplaced as it draws attention to shamanism at the expense of their foundational ritual, known as haaihí jëeu nʌm. In this chapter, we attempt to rectify this oversight and bring to light this unique Wounaan musical ritual that was, until recently, removed from the gaze of outsiders. The ritual instruments were the first items that Panama’s Wounaan Podpa Nʌm Pömaam (Wounaan National Congress) submitted in 2017 for indigenous intellectual property rights (under Law 20 of 2000). Musical ritual is emblematic of the difficulty of the anthropological endeavor: it is vitally important to cultures that continue to perform rituals, but rituals often remain opaque to outsiders in spite of their intrinsic cultural value. Rather than considering music as a primarily aesthetic and incidental activity (Seeger 1979), over the last three decades anthropologists have given attention to what indigenous peoples have long known: music is integral to ritual and performance, often used in concert with language and dance to emphasize fundamental concepts of reality. A growing body of literature addresses musical ritual performance in Amazonia and the Isthmo– Colombian Area. Our focus on haaihí jëeu nʌm coincides with the increased scholarly attention paid to musical ritual performance in ontology. Before this background we describe the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu, the prayer/petition2 canoe that is central to Wounaan. When the Wounaan speak of the k'ugwiu, it is often used as shorthand for referring to the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual to communicate with the creator, Hẽwandam. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is composed of many elements: the community coming together, an individual beating the k'ugwiu (a stroke idiophone)

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  235 with mallets and leading the prayer/petition in song, women singing and dancing, and men playing three flutes (aerophones, the use of which is restricted to the ritual) and dancing. The k'ugwiu ritual is a metonym for the Wounaan; it stands for foundational Wounaan beliefs and identity. The k'ugwiu and the ritual flutes are so important that they are first and second items that the Wounaan Podpa Nʌm Pömaam, the national Wounaan authorities, are registering with the Panamanian government as collective indigenous intellectual property rights. Nonetheless, the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is little known, because as late as the 1990s non-Wounaan were not permitted to observe it. This stands in marked contrast to shamanism, which has been well documented among the Wounaan since the days of the earliest ethnographers (e.g. Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960; Torres de Araúz 1966; Wassén 1933, 1935). Nowadays when the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual can be observed by outsiders, it is held infrequently since Wounaan ritualized prayer often takes place in church. The ironic consequence is that the Wounaan and the neighboring indigenous group the Emberá are often considered to be the same, since much of the two groups’ shamanism and material culture appears similar. However, the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual significantly evidences fundamental differences between the two groups. With this chapter, we explore the ritual and explain how the Wounaan communicate with the creator (Hẽwandam) in order to avoid calamity and reinforce benevolence and morality in the world.

Musical ritual performance: integrating sound, language, aesthetics, and dance Musical ritual performance has been a topic of growing interest among anthropologists of Latin America, who strive to understand music beyond descriptive ethnomusicology in terms of its role in ontology. Anthropologists have long observed music and ritual, but, as Anthony Seeger (1979) notes, often failed to understand what they were hearing or what the music was about. It is not coincidental that some of the early studies on the meaning of music, language, and ritual were undertaken in the time of comparatively small and cheap recording equipment.3 Careful musical transcriptions have revealed, for example, that what appears as repetition is a variation in sound that may be unperceived or dismissed as accidental by non-indigenous listeners (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013, 273). Such research suggests, as recently stated by Bernd Brabec de Mori and Seeger, that “ritual music is the still missing link to understanding lowland indigenous cosmologies” (2013, 277). Sound is an important characteristic of ritual. Sound, that is, energy emitted by vibrations through a medium, fills a space and also carries across distance (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013). Thus, both music and language as sound facilitate ritual by creating an encompassing atmosphere and enabling participation regardless of where a listener is looking (Brabec de Mori

236  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. and Seeger 2013). Because sound is not often visible, smoke (from tobacco, a cacao brazier, etc.) may function to materialize it (Menezes Bastos 1999; Brabec de Mori 2015; Hill and Chaumeil 2011a; Piedade 2013). Whether invisible or visible, the importance of sound is revealed by the alterity of language in shamanic rituals, such as the verbal masks of Shipibo healers (Brabec de Mori 2012), the unintelligible words of a chanting Suyá shaman (Seeger 1979), or the ritual language of Bribri chants (Cervantes Gamboa 2003). In such rituals, it is the sound itself or language as musical sound, rather than the words uttered, that is critical. Scholars are increasingly recognizing that ritual sound also relates to the vitality of many beings. Brabec de Mori has noted that “indigenous thought ascribes a ‘sonic quality’ to many perceptions that are not understood as hearing in Western thought”, such as animals’ or spirits’ songs (Brabec de Mori 2015, 31). The result is that active monitoring of the environment is chiefly auditory (Brabec de Mori 2015; Lewy 2012; Menezes Bastos 2011; Santos-Granero 2006; Walker 2013), the extent of which is indicated by the suggestion to use “world hearing” rather than “world view” among the Kamayurá (Menezes Bastos 1999). Acácio Piedade (2013, 318) has made a similar argument concerning Waujá rituals, describing male and female leaders as “clairaudient” instead of “clairvoyant”. “They have the capacity to hear clearly and their greatest attribute is memory”(Piedade 2013).4 For the Pemón, it is sound that transcends, defines, and structures the interaction between all entities of the multiple layers of the cosmos (Lewy 2017). Working with the Arawakan-speaking Curripaco, Jean-Michel Beaudet has interpreted rituals with hidden sonorous sources as rituals for the sexualization of the cosmos that create affinity and fertility (Beaudet 2011, 388). Musical sound serves as means of communication between humans and other-than-human beings. Musical ritual can be considered as metacommunication (Hill 1979) with non-humans that may manifest themselves through sound and execute their agency by means of musical performance (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013, 282). This is a well-known fact in the context of shamanism, where musical chanting, singing, and sound (e.g., by drums or rattles) are integral to the curing process (Osborn 2009). Among the Chibchan-speaking Guna of Panama, therapeutic practice involves healing chants that re-enact the great mythic events (Velásquez 2004). Music is not simply helpful for curing but the medium of communication itself among shamans and spirits. Among the Chibchan-speaking Bribri of Costa Rica, for example, ritual language sounds like music to outsiders and is the language of spirit beings, the language that existed in the universe before the creation of the indigenous world (Cervantes Gamboa 2003, 100). Similarly, for the Chibchan U′wa of Colombia chanted myth is the language of the deities (Osborn 2009). For the Arawakan-speaking Waujá of the Upper Xingu kawoká music is the speech of the spirits, and shamanic ability relies on the translation and delivery of the spirits’ words that also cure through their

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  237 beauty (Piedade 2013). Ellen Basso notes that “when people perform music they have the ability to move powerful beings because the latter can thereby most clearly recognize something of themselves in humanity” (1985, 310). Among the Cariban-speaking Pemón sound re-animates souls into bodies (Lewy 2017, 18). Music as communication transcends the permeable boundaries of humanness, as non-humans understand music and even provide musical motifs or songs (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013, 270, 281). Among the Gê-speaking Suyá song is melodious and fixed by a non-human source (Seeger 1987). In addition, sound has been found to be the crucial link not only between humans and spirits but also between male and female social domains (Franchetto and Montagnani 2012, 352). Brabec de Mori and Seeger summarize: “auditory perception and music performance seem to be intrinsically connected to instances where the frontiers of humanness are explored and crossed intentionally, in Lowland South America and elsewhere” (2013, 280). The integration of sound, music, and gendered performance is well-known with respect to the so-called sacred flute complex in Amazonia. Three components characterize the sacred flute complex: (1) aerophones played exclusively by men, (2) an origin story of these flutes, establishing that they were originally the property of women and men stole them, and (3) the prohibition of women from seeing the flutes and/or the musicians in action (Piedade 2013, 307). Various groups (e.g., Waujá, Kuikuro, Kalapalo) have complementary rituals of men’s sacred flutes and women’s singing mimicking the flutes (Basso 1985; Franchetto and Montagnani 2012; Hill 2013; Mello 2011). In her early work, Basso (1985) explored the reinforcing nature of language, myth, and ritual among the Kalapalo, a Cariban-speaking group in Brazil. Her focus on the women’s yamurikumalu singing and men’s kagutu flute rituals directs linguistic attention to gendered performance. Working among the Kuikuro, Bruna Franchetto and Tomasso Montagnini (2012) describe how the men’s flutes and women’s singing constitute symmetrical and complementary relationships: the men’s kagutu ritual is private, closed, and carried out mainly in the darkness, whereas the women’s tolo is choral and realized in open, public spaces. Moreover, there is a large repertoire of kagutu music with only a few musicians mastering its totality, and tolo songs are widely known to be associated with master singers (Franchetto and Montagnani 2012, 349, 352). In recent years, scholars have also paid attention to the symbolism of the instruments themselves. In particular, the contributions to the edited volume Burst of Breath bring together different perspectives on how breathing into or playing flutes symbolizes the giving of vitality (Hill and Chaumeil 2011).5 In that volume various authors explain how wind instruments are cultural tools for channeling such a life force (see also Hill 2013, 324). Flutes may also be the voices and bones of ancestral spirits (Chaumeil 2001). This becomes particularly explicit when Waujá flautists say that the flute music is the speech of the most powerful and dangerous spirit, kawoká. When

238  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. the flutes are blown, it gives voice to his spirit (Piedade 2013, 311). Among the Arawakan-speaking Baniwa it is believed that the breath through flutes brings the great spirit Kuwai back to life (Wright 2012). Among the U′wa, flutes and conch shells are blown and the sound is considered a kind of speech (Osborn 2009, 82). While flutes represent vitality and give voice to spirits, ceremonial wind instruments are related to natural processes of regeneration (Hill 2013, 325). The symbolism of instruments in Central America is not as clear. Among the Guna panpipes are played by men on ritual occasions and the maracas by women (although both may play the panpipes in secular contexts; cf. Velasquez 2004). In comparison to the symbolism of flutes, little is known about the role of log drums. These are hollow or hollowed tree trunks that are beat with an external striker to produce sound and are classed as stroke idiophones (Izikowitz 1935). Erland Nordenskiöld (1930) distinguished between simple, split, and teponaztli log drums, with simple log drums belonging to eastern and southeastern Amazonia, split drums to northern Amazonia, and teponaztli to Mesoamerica and the Caribbean (Izikowitz 1935, 17). The Waujá use a log drum in their sacred flute rituals, the trocano pulupulu, which is now rare (Piedade 2013, 309). Similarly, the Kamayura use the warayumi'a slit drum in their sacred flute rituals (Menezes Bastos 2011). Some log drums can be described as signal drums for encoded language and are also known for their use, if ambiguous, in traditional celebrations (Wojtylak 2016). Pairs of masculine and feminine log drums suggest their gender complementarity (Izikowitz 1935, Wojtylak 2016). Drums in general are described as uniting the masculine and the feminine (Hill and Chaumeil 2011). Dance seems to be a less studied aspect of musical ritual. In her early work, Ellen Basso (1985) addressed the integration of language, music, attire, and dance via performance among the Kalapalo. She notes how the music and dance enact mythological events, bringing them into being. Dance expresses the music, marks musical changes, and underscores ritual spatiality (Basso 1985). Among the Bribri, dance relates to the origin of the Bribri world. After Sibö, the creator, finished arranging the universe for the arrival of the Bribri, a great feast was held during which animals danced in the same way as the sorbón is danced, which is why all sorbón dances have native names that refer to animals (Cervantes Gamboa 2003, 90). Scholars have become attentive to the ensemble of sound, music, instruments, and dance in order to understand the meanings of musical ritual and performance. Among the Kalapalo, music is used “to charm and soothe powerful beings by engaging them in a performance that temporarily controls their ferocity, enticing them into forgetting for the moment their antipathy toward the performer” (Basso 1985, 245). Jonathan Hill (2013) has reached a similar conclusion about ritual. Drawing on Robin Wright’s (2011) work, he found that music and ritual can transform or domesticate otherness, what results in the creation of a shared social space of humans and other-than-human beings in order to promote harmonious conviviality,

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  239 emotional intensity, and the collaborative making of history (Hill 2013, 340). For the Arawakan-speaking Wakuéna, musical performance is a privileged practice, since through the historical figure Káali’s invention of ceremonial dance music unceasing cycles of violence, fear, and hostility were transformed into respectful, reciprocal relationships between communities of people (Hill 2013, 338). The balancing nature of music is also highlighted in Piedade’s work on the Waujá sacred flute performance that strives to achieve perfection in musical motifs and form “to guarantee the beauty and acuity needed to maintain cosmic balance” (2013, 217). When working with the Waujá, Maria Mello placed the sacred flutes more generally in ritual that is “based on the political sphere and has a regulatory role in cosmological terms, ruling in the world of curing and beauty, of ethics and aesthetics” (2011, 261).

The Wounaan and the ritual with the k′ugwiu The Wounaan are an indigenous group of Panama and Colombia. The most recent censuses list 7,279 adult Wounaan in Panama and 9,066 in Colombia (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística República de Colombia 2005, Dirección de Estadística y Censo 2012). The Wounaan speak the Wounaan meu language, one of two language groups in the Chocó language family (Constenla Umaña 1991). Wounaan meu is mutually unintelligible with the Emberá languages, the other language group in the Chocó language family, and yet the Wounaan are frequently confused with the Emberá. Particularly in Panama, where the two groups are much more proximate than in Colombia, outsiders fail to recognize the differences between the groups, but rather observe similarities concerning dress, shamanism, and house construction. Differences between Wounaan and Emberá become apparent in terms of behavior, history, myth, objects, dress, and ritual (Peña Ismare 2009, Velásquez Runk 2017). For the Wounaan, a fundamental marker of difference is that they celebrate the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu prayer/petition canoe, both of which define and symbolize Wounaan identity and being. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual has long remained relatively unknown, because it is a highly sacred event in all its expressions and, until recently, was forbidden for outsiders to witness. For this reason, ethnographers have described the prominent objects of the ritual, such as the k'ugwiu, or even collected the k'ugwiu and its flutes without having witnessed the ritual itself or have only described it in very general terms on the basis of Wounaan accounts. For example, as early as 1927 the Swedish ethnographer Erland Nordenskiöld traveled to the Río Docordó in Colombia and noted the k'ugwiu as a “signal drum” (Nordenskiöld 1927) or “gong” that was beaten with two wooden mallets (Nordenskiöld 1979 [1930], 45). In the photo that accompanied the original article, a k'ugwiu seems to have been taken outside from the dark interior of a house and partially strung up and

240  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. a Wounaan man is straddling it,6 mallets in hand (Figure 9.1). About the same time, Nordenskiöld’s compatriot Henry Wassén (1935, 69) stated that the “canoe-shaped wooden gong” had been collected by Nordenskiöld and was called a “kúgio”. In his detailed work on musical instruments of South American indigenous groups, Karl Izikowitz called the k'ugwiu a split log drum and cited Nordenskiöld’s observation that it was exclusively a magical instrument, beaten when earthquakes occur to scare away the evil spirit that caused them (Izikowitz 1935). In Colombia and Panama, anthropologists and missionaries later made references to the k'ugwiu and its rituals, but most do not seem to have observed the ritual. The missionary linguist Jacob Loewen (1961, 113) states that a ceremony of beseeching was directed toward Ewandama [sic] and it was conducted in “utter Indian privacy”. The presence of a foreigner, he continued, “is said to rob it of its efficacy”, although he and fellow missionary David Wirsche were invited to witness the ritual (Loewen 1961, 113). The Panamanian anthropologist Reina Torres de Araúz (1966, 126–127)

Figure 9.1 A k'ugwiu from the Swedish ethnographer Erland Nordenskiöld’s 1927 trip to the Río Docordó, Colombia. The caption from the 1930 publication reads “Wooden gong resembling a clumsily made canoe. From the Nonama [sic] Indians in Colombia”. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of World Cultures, Världskulturmuseerna, Göteborg, Sweden

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  241 revisited Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff’s discussion of the ritual (see below). Based on her 1964–1966 doctoral fieldwork on Colombia’s Río Siguirisua and Río Docampadó, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy states that the Wounaan pray to ewandam [sic] when needed, and the ritual does not follow any calendar (Lapovsky Kennedy 1972). She told us that the Wounaan explicitly asked her not to attend the ritual, because the world might end if she and her husband saw it. On the lower San Juan’s Río Taparal, ethnographers J. Robinson and A. Bridgman (1969) made note of an enormous drum in the shape of a canoe for use during special parties (Robinson and Bridgman 1969). In 1976 Luz Lotera Villa indicated that a special house with a conical roof was destined for habitation and to pray to Ewandama [sic] (Lotero Villa 1972), 70). The passage was later cited in discussing differences with the neighboring Embera from Colombia and black populations (Losonczy 2006). Sven-Erik Isacsson refers to the huge canoe drum with “unmistakable vulviform features”, but does not appear to have witnessed the ritual (Isacsson 1993, 124). In the entry on the Wounaan in the series on human geography of Colombia, author Alvaro Chaves Mendoza (1992) explains that the Wounaan direct songs of prayer to Ewandama [sic] by dancing around a wooden drum in the form of a canoe. The Wounaan, he continues, ask for the creator god’s help to obtain good harvests, an abundance of animals, that the land doesn’t change, that people be good, that there are no floods, that no hail falls, that no plagues come, and to keep them in good health so they are able to work. (Chaves Mendoza 1992, 171) In 1992 missionary nuns wrote of the Wounaan’s religion, yet only refer vaguely to gatherings and well-adorned people going to a party where a small wooden canoe was hung (Gaviria et al. 1992, 27, 36). Until recently only two descriptions from Colombia’s lower San Juan River indicate that outsiders like ethnographer Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff (1960) and British sound recorders Brian Moser and Donald Tayler (1965) witnessed haaihí jëeu nʌm rituals. Reichel-Dolmatoff witnessed what he referred to as an agricultural ceremony with a great canoe drum that he called a “kugío” and collected (1960, 140). Suspended above the k'ugwiu were “two baskets with ears of corns, various sugarcanes, an infructescence of peach palm, a cast net, a bow, and various arrows” (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960, 141), so that all subsistence activities would benefit from the ceremony. He also collected a flute, which he was told was only used in the agricultural ceremony to “call Ewandáma” [sic] (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1962, 177). Moser and Tayler (1965) witnessed the prayer to Ewandama [sic] with a ritual canoe. However, the Wounaan were clearly not pleased with their presence at the ritual. “They [Wounaan] did not wish to talk to us, nor did they like us to see the procession around the ritual canoe. They tried to ignore us” (Moser and Tayler 1965, 27).7 Notably, missionary linguists Ron and Kathy Binder

242  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. saw k'ugwiu rituals during the 20 years they lived in Panama, but have not written about it. Wounaan perform a shortened version of the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual at the opening of the Wounaan National Congress in Panama, a meeting of all Wounaan that is held every other year8 since 1998. All authors have witnessed the truncated, more symbolic ritual at multiple congresses. Additionally, the authors, with the exception of Velásquez Runk, have participated in multiple, longer haaihí jëeu nʌm rituals. The most recent long ritual that we have seen was held 20 years ago. Together the authors combined those observations with Wounaan oral histories on longer haaihí jëeu nʌm rituals for a description of their cultural importance.

The ritual haaihí jëeu nʌm and the k′ugwiu The ritual frequently shorthanded as “the k'ugwiu” is more accurately known in Wounaan meu as haaihí jëeu nʌm. That term is usually translated as “rogatismo” in Spanish, which we translate as prayer or prayer/ petition, but for which there is no good equivalent in English as it means beseeching, prayer, petition, and calling for. Haaihí combines the word for father (haai) with the indicator of authority or tradition (hí), thus referring to “our Father” or the creator Hẽwandam. Jëeu is to ask or pray and nʌm is the auxiliary verb for to be. The overall sense of the word is to pray/ petition to Hẽwandam, but it is more than that, as it means recognizing that Hẽwandam is the creator of everything that exists and that one must obediently enact what he imparted as a mandate when he lived with his people after creation. For outsiders, the k'ugwiu is the most prominent part of the ritual, particularly because it is visible when not in use, hanging from the rafters of a dichaardí (a round house) (Figure 9.2). Thus, it is possible to learn about the ritual by simply inquiring about the k'ugwiu (rather than watching the ritual). Haaihí jëeu nʌm refers to the entire ritual: the community coming together to participate and share food, an individual using mallets to play the k'ugwiu, a circle of women singing in chorus and dancing around the k'ugwiu, and a circle of men dancing around the women and playing the three types of flutes that are only used in this ritual. Haaihí jëeu nʌm encompasses the ceremony with all its instruments and the people as principle actors in the execution of the music, as in the dancing and the choral singing (Peña Ismare 1997). It is a form of communication with Hẽwandam, but one in which none of the elements must be missing. In Panama, the long version of the ritual is very infrequent and is most visible in the opening of each of the three days of the Wounaan National Congress meetings. One Woun9 explained that this is the result of missionization. “Why should I get all prepared and wear a loincloth to use a k'ugwiu when I can just go to church and pray to Hẽwandam?” (Velásquez Runk 2017, 87). In Panama, non-Wounaan are permitted to witness the

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  243

Figure 9.2 A  k'ugwiu hanging in a dichaardí (round house), 2003. (Photo: Julia Velásquez Runk) It is stored overhead in the rafters when not in use. Note the centipede design, painted on the k'ugwiu with genipap. This is the same k'ugwiu as in Figure 9.3 on the left.

abbreviated rituals that open the Congress meetings. In 2017, national authorities abolished the Christian prayer that complemented the k'ugwiu on that occasion. Today, the Wounaan place increasing value on the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual.

The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual as ordered by Hẽwandam The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is included in the Wounaan creation story and is described in detail in a book about Wounaan music by author Chindío Peña Ismare (1997). The story goes as follows: after first telling the Wounaan to make a k'ugwiu (explained below), Hẽwandam says: When you worship me, do so only until noon or a little after noon. If you do it after that hour, in the afternoon hours, the worship will not be for me but to Dösẽt [the trickster]. When comments or strange appearances and disturbances crop up among people, if you ask me for this not to happen, I will answer your requests. Or when diabolical manifestations are noticed that spread panic among the people, ask me to repel those

244  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. diabolical manifestations and I will make them disappear, sending them to the farthest ends of the earth. If what you sow does not do well and you ask for a good crop, I will make everything that you sow do well. In short, I will do what you ask of me in response to your requests. (Peña Ismare 1997, 188) Later Hẽwandam says: “If you worship me or ask something from me and follow all my instructions, you will live very well” (Peña Ismare 1997, 190). It becomes apparent that the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is used any time the Wounaan seek Hẽwandam’s support and protection (and not just for an annual agricultural ceremony as Reichel-Dolmatoff reported). This includes curing. People who are seriously ill and believed to be the victims of demonic attacks may sit beneath the inclined k'ugwiu. When all pray/petition to Hẽwandam, the sick person will be freed from that malevolent spirit (Peña Ismare 1997, 192). The k'ugwiu was built on direct order from Hẽwandam shortly after he formed his people the Wounaan. They say that these were his instructions: Build yourself a k'ugwiu, like a small canoe, from the t'aik'ierrp10 tree. Once finished, get genipap and annato and paint it with the centipede design. Then you must hang it with the front facing east, towards where the sun rises. As you play, you will worship and ask things from me through songs according to your needs. The material to be used to hang the k'ugwiu must not be just any vine, but k′ũrrk′ão, the bell vine. The stick that is used for playing must not be just any stick, but the branch of achiote, genipap, or the same t'aik'ierrp. (Peña Ismare 1997, 188) The k'ugwiu must be built in one day. If the k'ugwiu is left in the forest to be brought the next day, Dösãt may play it and prayers/petitions will not reach Hẽwandam but be directed to Dösãt (Peña Ismare 1997, 191). Hẽwandam also specified what the Wounaan should wear for the ritual (Figure 9.3). He stated that “the adornment with body paint to play the k'ugwiu must look like that on the instrument, depicting the centipede. Only the right side of the face must be painted” (Peña Ismare 1997, 188). In another passage, he continued: When you are going to do the prayer/petition to me, all women must wear a white muslin (called “lienzo” in Colombia) hapk'ajũa11 [sarong]. And when they are painted with genipap, do not paint straight across the lips, because that way of painting is of Dösãt. To the contrary, they must be painted with the same design as the k'ugwiu. Men must use mojarr hajũa (a square loincloth) when they worship me. (Peña Ismare 1997, 189)

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  245

Figure 9.3 The k'ugwiu ritual from the Wounaan National Congress in 2002 (left) and 2006 (right). (Photos: Julia Velásquez Runk) In each event, the k'ugwiu was played in a small round house (dichaardí), built next to the communal meeting house for the Congress. Left: a woman plays the k'ugwiu surrounded by two circles: the inner circle of women singing in chorus and dancing, and the outer circle of men playing flutes and dancing. Right: a woman plays the k'ugwiu; and the women’s circle is to the left, and the men’s is to the right. In the photo, a Wounaan journalist records the event for a weekly Wounaan program on the regional radio station.

The Wounaan say that this plain clothing and asymmetrical body painting allow Hẽwandam to distinguish them from malevolent spirits. People must, in sum, present themselves in the best way they can. This also usually means that men and women wear traditional silver and bead jewelry, which rattle when one dances.12

Music and dance in the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual The large k'ugwiu is at the center of the ritual that is performed in a dichaardí (round house). The person who teaches how to dance has received instructions from Hẽwandam in dreams. This person tells the others what Hẽwandam has told them, teaching others the songs that they heard in those dreams (Peña Ismare 1997, 190). Any Woun, not just a shaman as erroneously reported by Reichel-Dolmatoff (1960), can receive Hẽwandam’s message for the singing prayer in dreams. The k'ugwiu is often, but not always, played by women (Figure 9.4). Hẽwandam ordered: Using the right hand, a person will play the inside of the k'ugwiu beating rhythmically on the sides. At appropriate times of the song, the dancer will occasionally simultaneously strike the side with the stick held in the other hand. (Peña Ismare 1997, 188)

246  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al.

Figure 9.4 A woman playing the k'ugwiu with a mallet in each hand. (Photo: Julia Velásquez Runk) Note the centipede design of the k'ugwiu and the women’s white hapk’ajũa (sarongs). From the opening of the Wounaan National Congress, 2002.

A Woun thus rhythmically plays the k'ugwiu by beating the inside from side to side and occasionally using the left hand to beat the left outside edge of the k'ugwiu, thus creating something of an integrative beat. Hẽwandam continued: “Initially young orphaned women are allowed to play and later those who are married will play” (Peña Ismare 1997, 188). Hẽwandam also told the Wounaan that the person who plays the k'ugwiu cannot have had sexual intercourse the night before, nor committed incest or have had sexual relations with a non-Wounaan individual (Peña Ismare 1997, 189). Sex is considered a hot activity that can have a negative influence, and incest and sex with non-Wounaan are strictly prohibited. The person who plays the k'ugwiu sings to Hẽwandam, asking that he not send (that is, as Wounaan say, refusing), the things that one never wants to happen (Peña Ismare 1997, 193). One refuses all the difficulties and pains that will come at the end of the world. At that time the sun will darken and in the darkness the malevolent spirits will come to the houses and take many people to turn them into spirits; in the last days when men go hunting they will not return, because the malevolent spirits will take them away; there will be strong earthquakes to the point

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  247 that the earth will swallow people; trees will fall in a thunderstorm and kill many; a lightning storm will destroy many people; there will be many devastating floods; when you sow bananas or other food, everything will turn into heliconias13; by the malevolence of the people themselves their own pets will eat their masters or others of the house; women will give birth to children in the shape of animals because of the malevolent spirits. (Peña Ismare 1997, 193) The main song, then, does not directly thank Hẽwandam, but asks him not to allow bad things to happen. Women form the inner circle around the k'ugwiu, holding hands (Figures 9.3 and 9.4). When there are enough older girls, they form the inner circle closest to the k'ugwiu; the next circle is formed by the adult women and the outermost one by the men (Peña Ismare 1997). The women dance by stepping from side to side and respond in chorus to what the k'ugwiu player sings. Hẽwandam ordered: The women will respond in chorus at the end of each phrase sung by the one who is playing the k'ugwiu. At the same time they will be circling the k'ugwiu. The men will also dance in a circle and play the flutes. (Peña Ismare 1997, 188) The men play the three ritual flutes in a circle behind the women. As they play, they mark the steps by raising and lowering the body a little bit. After a time, the man at the head of the line stops and emits a long tone until he has pushed all air from his lungs (Peña Ismare 1997). This is to fill them again with air, a sign to the others to do likewise by stopping for a few moments. Next the line turns around, so that the one who was first is now last, and changes direction. The women turn around likewise, without letting go of their hands, and follow the rhythm of the men to circle in the opposite direction (Peña Ismare 1997). The flutes are played only by men and never used for any other occasion (Figure 9.5). There are three kinds of ductless flutes of different sizes for use in the k'ugwiu ritual prayer and petitions: one called hʌrrdagsĩe, the largest ̈ of the three, another called chi padap, which is played sideways, and the small panpipes, called tokeemie, that consist of tubes (usually two or three) of different lengths, each giving a different tone (Peña Ismare 1997). Each flute plays two tones. The well harmonized tones sound very pleasant, and Peña Ismare states that they often produce certain feelings of sadness for the monotony that results when mixing the music of the flutes with the women’s voices as they respond in a chorus of song to the last part of the supplications that the [k'ugwiu] player makes. (1997, 193)

248  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al.

Figure 9.5 Men playing the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual flutes. (Photos: Julia Velásquez Runk) Left: men playing; first in line is the hʌrrdagsĩe, followed by a man ̈ playing chi padap, 2002. Right: author Rito Ismare Peña demonstrating the tokeemie, just after playing in the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual for opening the final day of the Wounaan National Congress, 2017.

Traditionally much food is shared among participants at the haaihí jëeu nʌm celebration. As Peña Ismare (1997, 195) states, “[people] are aware of this need”. He continues: “Each family brings what they can, and when it is over, they return to their farms in search for more provisions. The same goes for meat, fish, and another round of plantains… no one is left without food” (Peña Ismare 1997, 195). While food is not brought to the ritual at the opening of the Wounaan National Congress, most food for the remainder of the Congress is provided this way, with the host community providing the bulk and the participants bringing along additional food to share.

Reinforcing the world’s benevolence and avoiding calamity The Wounaan consider the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu, flutes, singing, and dancing as fundamental to their conceptions of the world and how to be in it. The ritual was handed down by the creator, Hẽwandam, in the oral tradition about the world’s creation, and Hẽwandam gave it to Wounaan to pray/petition to him. The Wounaan have always believed in the instructions given by Hẽwandam that had to be performed exactly as they were received. The ritual shows the importance of continued communication with the creator and how the creator will respond by improving

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  249 the Wounaan’s life. It is not only the instrumental music itself that mediates this communication, but the singing by the person playing the k'ugwiu who explicitly asks the creator for good fortune and to prevent bad things from happening. The power of this communication is so strong that Hẽwandam can cure a person’s illness through the ritual. According to Hẽwandam’s instructions, the sick can be cured at the direct request of people. Their recovery is attributed to the force of Hẽwandam. Thus, the individual and collective behavior of the Wounaan in the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual serves to reinforce and renew the cosmological well-being with reference to Hẽwandam. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual expresses Wounaan conceptions of benevolence (as represented by the creator, Hẽwandam) and malevolence (as represented by the trickster, Dösãt) that date back to the world’s creation. Hẽwandam’s instructions about the k'ugwiu were given much earlier than the appearance of Dösãt among the Wounaan. Hẽwandam departed from the Wounaan when Dösãt, the trickster, arrived with axes and machetes and lured them away from Hẽwandam’s power and support (Peña Ismare 1997). Dösãt and the malevolent, sickness-causing spirits mepeen are linked to shamanism, whereas Hẽwandam is associated with benevolence (Velásquez Runk 2017). The difference between the two is indicated by the way their ceremonies are performed.14 The haaihí jëeu nʌm ceremony is performed publicly, in broad daylight. This contrasts with shamanic ceremonies that are performed exclusively at night. In haaihí jëeu nʌm everyone participates; people come together bringing food, some play flutes, others answer the refrain, and one makes the k'ugwiu emit the music creating echoes that carry messages to the forest (Peña Ismare 1997). Only those who have been in an incestuous relationship or in a relationship with non-Wounaan cannot participate. In shamanic rituals, only the bënk'ʌʌn chants – except for the apprentice at his teacher’s command – and the other people are mere spectators. In haaihí jëeu nʌm the ritual is always ordered and everything is shared. In shamanism, participants may get drunk and there may even be fights (Peña Ismare 1997). In the haaihí jëeu nʌm there is a ritual break for about an hour, when all go to the river to bathe in order to wash away past wrongdoings. Haaihí jëeu nʌm thus reinforces and renews benevolence and highlights foundational Wounaan beliefs of cooperation, participation, beauty, order, and morality. Shamanic ceremonies (most of which are referred to as dödöjö p'ie nʌm) are intended to control malevolence and highlight a more individualistic way of managing disorder. Together, these characteristics help explain why the Wounaan entertain ambiguous thoughts about shamanism and are perplexed by the ethnographic attention paid to shamanic rituals rather than to the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual testifies to a religiosity among the Wounaan that the Emberá lack. As Anne-Marie Losonczy (2006) notes, both Emberá and Wounaan have traditional stories in which the creator has a rival that is responsible for the shamanic spirits (the figure known as Dösãt, the trickster, among the Wounaan). The creator was with the people, but after he had

250  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. distanced himself, only the Wounaan continue to pray to him (Losonczy 2006). Considering the benevolence, order, beauty, and morality of the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual, the Wounaan tend to consider the Emberá as deficient in these very qualities. Unlike many other musical rituals performed in Amazonia and the Isthmo–Colombian Area, the Wounaan do not conceive of haaihí jëeu nʌm as shamanic breath of mythical creation or as the re-enactment of myth. It is Dösãt’s enticement that perpetuates the Wounaan’s moral imperative to pursue benevolent reinforcement and renewal by means of haaihí jëeu nʌm’s prayer and petitions to Hẽwandam. Thus, the Wounaan ritual is a far cry from the shamanic breath of Amazonia’s sacred flute rituals (Hill and Chaumeil 2011; Robertson 2004). Although the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual follows the instructions by Hẽwandam during the world’s creation, the Wounaan do not conceive of it as the re-narrating mythical narratives, as the revival of mythical times, or as the re-enactment of mythic events, as many Chibchan-speaking groups in the Isthmo-Colombia Area do regarding their rituals (Cervantes Gamboa 2003; Giraldo Jaramillo 2014; Niño Vargas, this volume; Osborn 2009; Velasquez 2004). However, like among those groups and among the Iku (Giraldo Jaramillo 2014), such ritual practice legitimizes the system of authority that sustains it, reaffirming roles and social differences. The Wounaan conceive of the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual as praying and petitioning to the creator Hẽwandam in order to prevent calamities and to promote the order, beauty, health, and morality of the world. Much attention has been paid to ritual as a means to prevent calamity. Juan Camilo Niño Vargas has noted that for Chibchan-speakers the creation of the world was a series of catastrophes remembered in myth, and humanity was “a transitory condition, reached and abandoned by humanizing and dehumanizing forces” (this volume, 14). If the U′wa “did not perform the chanted myths, the various conditions of disorder described at the beginning of each myth would return”, including the disappearance of the beings celebrated in the myths and of the U′wa themselves (Osborn 2009, 216). Among the Ette, another Colombian Chibcha group, the elders strive with their prayers to keep the heavens from collapsing (Niño Vargas 2014, 105), although it is not clear to whom their prayers are addressed. In the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual, the Wounaan clearly ask Hẽwandam to prevent calamity in its many manifestations. At the same time the Wounaan ritual is linked to other musical rituals that promote cosmological order. Similar musical chants, although shamanic, for insuring successful hunting, inaugurating a newly built house, to divination, and other aims not related to curing are performed – only infrequently today – by the Costa Rican Bribri (Cervantes Gamboa 2003, 87). For the U′wa, “the meticulous and exhaustive way in which the Kubaruwa [an U′wa clan] extend the benefits of their chanted myths to all corners of their universe gives some idea of the importance of these myths within their cosmic order, as well as their view of the central position they occupy in

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  251 that order” (Osborn 2009, 69). Such a notion of order is perhaps most well established among the Chibchan-speaking Kogi, who effect an ordering at a broader scale of landscape. Among the Arawakan-speaking Wakuénai, ceremonial dance music created order, transforming unceasing cycles of violence, fear, and hostility into relationships of respect and reciprocity between communities (Hill 2013, 338). Similarly, the Bribri’s traditional songs date back to the mythical time of creation and their current performance recalls the time when the Bribri’s musical events were part of “a social life more closely resembling native social organizations” (Cervantes Gamboa 2003, 89–90). The Waujá believe that their sacred flutes rule and regulate the world in terms of curing, beauty, aesthetics, and ethics (Mello 2011: 261) in order to maintain the cosmic balance (Piedade 2013, 317). An aspect of cosmological order that is striking about the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is the highly visible and audible union of men and women that it creates. The ritual demonstrates the beauty of coming together, of men and women working together and contributing in different ways, but in unity. In this way, the ritual recalls the gendered complementarity of sacred flute rituals (Basso 1985, Franchetto and Montagnani 2012, Hill 2013), yet simultaneously underscores an egalitarianism of men and women performing together. Unlike among other Chibchan groups like the Bribri, Guna, or Kogi, where men are the ritual specialists in charge of songs and chants, the haaihí jëeu nʌm represents the integration of men and women as holders of common knowledge about a moral existence. Among the Guna the complementarity of male and female is only symbolically represented in musical ritual by the pairs of musicians who alternate and combine pitches with a set of male and female panpipes while dancing (Velasquez 2004).15 The k'ugwiu and flutes may indeed represent that symbolism, but the Wounaan do not directly speak about it but rather focus on the composition of the multiple instruments for the ritual to be complete. For the Wounaan the k'ugwiu is just that. It is not a drum. Nor is it used for signaling, so it is not a signal drum (Wounaan used a shell trumpet for long-distance calling). Although it has some similarities to the slit log drums of Amazonia, particularly with its slanted way of suspension facing toward the sun, it is quite distant from their region of prominence. More importantly, the k'ugwiu plays a specific role for communicating with the creator. The flutes do the same. The union of men and women in ritual demonstrates morality in terms of their joint pursuit of collective well-being. The rhythmic beauty of the dancing, the call and response of the singing, the sound of the flutes, and the incorporating beat of the k'ugwiu likewise emphasize unity and a morality of the individual as part of that collective. Movement helps to potentiate the praying and morality, embodying them with the physicality of dancing. The rules concerning who is allowed to sing, play, and dance at the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual also underscore morality. Wounaan who have transgressed the cultural norm against incest (defined as marrying anyone with your parents’ four surnames, from each parent’s

252  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. mother and father) may sing and dance, but must touch the k'ugwiu. Those who have transgressed the norm by sexual relationships with outsiders must not sing or dance and must remain distant from the k'ugwiu. Everyone may bring food to share with the others and thus participate through food sharing. The emphasis on morality in ritual recalls the Kogi, among whom the priests are guardians of the moral order (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976). Not only does the Kogi’s attention to morality include collaboration, food sharing, and respectful behavior toward elders and authorities, it also involves a feeling of responsibility for the moral conduct of all (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976, 284). The training of novices is therefore a necessity for the whole Kogi society and “the maintenance of the wider moral order” (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1976, 284). The ritual is also reminiscent of the regulating, ethical, curing, and aesthetic roles of Waujá rituals (Mello 2011). The role of beauty in the morality of the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual must not be overlooked. The ritual is comprised of multiple components that define humanness and also uses music as communication to transcend the permeable boundaries of humanness (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013, 270). The beauty lies in the complementarity of the ritual’s multiple components. The Wounaan also pay much attention to aesthetics in everyday material objects (Tayler 1996; Velásquez Runk 2017). The ritual highlights not just the beauty of the extra-ordinary ritual objects, but of people themselves as part of that world, the way how clothing, body paint, and jewelry distinguish humans from other beings. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual offers a ritual prayer and petitions to Hẽwandam, thus underscoring that visual and auditory aesthetics are important to the way the world is, and the way the Wounaan want the world to be. Unlike the Chibchan-speakers, the Wounaan have not been abandoned by the creator’s humanizing forces. Instead, through the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual they renew their ties to Hẽwandam, prevent calamity, and reinforce the benevolence of order, health, beauty, and morality. We encourage scholars to pay more attention to musical ritual performance as a means of understanding Isthmo–Colombian ontology. The sacred haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu is uniquely Wounaan. It is possible to analyze the ritual as evidence of analogistic chains of relation, in which individual and collective behavior is linked to cosmological well-being (Descola 2013). For the Wounaan, the haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual is about preventing an analogistic calamity and renewing well-being and convivial benevolence, the same characteristics that facilitated Christianity among the Wounaan. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual shows significant differences from other musical rituals among the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. The haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu represents what the Wounaan are and what they want the world to be. For these reasons, they would like the Panamanian government to grant them collective indigenous intellectual property rights for the k'ugwiu and its ritual flutes.

The Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual with the k'ugwiu  253

Notes 1 Lead authors Chindío Peña Ismare and Julia Velásquez Runk are listed in alphabetical order. 2 Wounaan translate the word k'ugwiu as “piragua de rogatismo” in Spanish. The verb “rogar”, the base of “rogatismo”, has no one-word equivalent in English, as it means to beseech, pray, petition, call for. It is important that the Spanish words “oración”, prayer, or “orar”, “to pray” are not used. 3 In the past it was often difficult to record music and performance together, as consumer film movie cameras did not, in their early versions, record sound, the film itself was problematic in the humidity of long-term tropical research, equipment was bulky and expensive, and audio recorders quickly exhausted batteries in areas without electricity (Brabec de Mori and Seeger 2013). 6 It is never played this way, but rather by a person standing beside it. Given the temporary way the k'ugwiu is strung up in the photo, straddling it seems to have been the only way to imitate playing while standing. 8 Until recently, Panama’s Wounaan authorities held positions for five years, which occasioned a congress after one held the previous year. With the reduction of terms to four years, the costly fifth year congress was eliminated.

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256  Chindío Peña Ismare, Julia Velásquez Runk et al. 265–289. Los Angeles: University of California Los Angeles Latin American Center Publications. Rival, Laura 2012. “Animism and the Meanings of Life: Reflections from Amazonia.” In Animism in Rainforest and Tundra: Personhood, Animals, Plants and Things in Contemporary Amazonia and Siberia, edited by M. Brightman, V. E. Grotti and O. Ulturgasheva, 69–81. Oxford: Berghahn Books. Robertson, Carol. E. 2004. “Myth, Cosmology, and Performance.” In Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History. Volume 1. Performing Beliefs: Indigenous Peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico, edited by M. Kuss, 7–24. Austin: University of Texas Press. Robinson, J. W. L. and A. R. Bridgman. 1969. “Los indios noamaná del río Taparal.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 14: 177–220. Santos-Granero, Fernando. 2006. “Sensual Vitalities: Noncorporeal Modes of Sensing and Knowing in Native Amazonia.” Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America 4 (1): 57–80. Seeger, Anthony. 1979. “What Can We Learn When They Sing? Vocal Genres of the Suya Indians of Central Brazil.” Ethnomusicology 23 (3): 373–394. Seeger, Anthony. 1987. Why Suyá Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Tayler, Donald. 1996. Embarkations: Ethnography and Shamanism of the Chocó Indians of Colombia. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum of University of Oxford. Torres de Araúz, Reina 1966. Estudio etnológico e histórico de la cultura chocó. Panamá: Centro de Investigaciones Antropológicas de la Universidad de Panamá. Velásquez, Ronny 2004. “The Fundamental Role of Music in the Life of Two Central American Ethnic Nations: The Miskito in Honduras and Nicaragua, and the Kuna in Panama.” In Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History. Volume 1. Performing Beliefs: Indigenous Peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico, edited by M. Kuss, 193–230. Austin: University of Texas Press. Velásquez Runk, Julie 2017. Crafting Wounaan Landscapes: Art, Identity, and Environmental Governance in Panama’s Darien. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Walker, Harry 2013. Under a Watchful Eye: Self, Power, and Intimacy in Amazonia. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wassén, Holmer 1933. “Cuentos de los indios Chocós recogido por Erland Nordenskiold durante su expedición al istmo de Panamá en 1927 y publicados con notas y observaciones comparativas de Henry Wassén.” Journal de la Societé des Américanistes XXV: 105–137. Wassén, Holmer 1935. “Notes of Southern Groups of Chocó Indians in Colombia.” Etnologiska Studier 1: 35–182. Wojtylak, Kasia 2016. “Traversing Language Barriers: Murui Signal Drums from Northwest Amazonia.” Creativity in Language: Secret Codes and Special Styles (Special workshop). Language and Culture Research Centre, James Cook University: North Queensland, Australia Unpublished manuscript. Wright, Robin M. 2012. “Fixed Forms and Fluid Powers: Intersubjective Cosmos and Personhood.” Anthropology and Humanism 37 (2): 156–176. Wright, Robin. 2011. “Arawakan Flute Cults of Lowland South America: The Domestication of Predation and the Production of Agentivity.” In Burst of Breath: Indigenous Ritual Wind Instruments in Lowland South America, edited by J. Hill and J. Chaumeil, 325–353. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

10 Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama) Talking about molagana1 and nudsugana2 inside and outside Guna society3 Mònica Martínez Mauri Over the last two decades, material culture studies that stress the agency and affective power of objects (Gell 1998) have become a thriving research area (Miller 2005; Tilley et al. 2006). These studies view materiality from a perspective that differs from that of classical anthropology inasmuch as physical artifacts are seen not only as targets of human appropriation but also as social objects invested with agency (Santos Granero 2009). As Arjun Appadurai (1986) has famously argued, given the social nature of objects, their biographies may help us to explore and understand the ideas and actions of those who interact with them. Among the Guna – a well-known Chibchan-speaking group from the Isthmo–Colombian region – birds, different kinds of wood carvings, trees, and the mola (hand-stitched blouse) have a material dimension but are also seen as subjectivities that possess a social life (Santos Granero 2009). In this chapter I focus on the role played by some things – or beings – in social interaction in order to understand local ontologies. I explore how the Guna envision the life of carved wooden figures (nudsu, pl. nudsugana; suwar mimmi, pl. suwar mimmigana; and uggurwar,4 pl. uggurwargana) and the communicative capacity of molagana today. With reference to previous contributions to this particular research field (Chapin 1983; Fortis 2010, 2012a, 2012b, 2014; Nordenskiöld 1929; Nordenskiöld and Pérez 1938; Perrin 2007; Taussig 1993), I will describe the process of fabrication of these special things and how they come alive or acquire agency in the Guna world. In order to understand the meaning of animate things in the Guna social universe, it is pertinent to analyze the forms of circulation of nudsugana and molagana inside and outside the Guna world. Although I would not go so far as to say they are like human beings, these objects with both material and social dimensions do require attention and signal the need to think more deeply about the ontological system of the Guna and other indigenous societies of the Isthmo–Colombian region.

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Things, agency, and healing processes in the Isthmo–Colombian region In recent decades, ethnographic studies carried out in lowland South America have shown that indigenous societies recognize some objects’ capacity for autonomous action. From this recent interpretive viewpoint, some ethnographers, Peter Gow (1989, 1999) among them, have established ontological analogies between objects and humans in order to investigate the relationship between the body and the production of images, as well as between body and artifacts in the Amazon region. The fabrication of human bodies is seen as analogous to the fabrication of artifacts. Examples of this view include the studies by Els Lagrou on the mediating power of artifacts among the Kaxinawá (1998) and on the relevance of designs and images for the development of human bodies and those of some objects (2007), the studies by Harry Walker (2009) of hammocks that protect and permit the growth of bodies of Urarina babies, and Cecilia McCullum’s research (2001) on the correlation between “making artifacts” and “making babies” among the Kaxinawá. In such situations, fabrication or parallel development requires the establishment of very strong social ties between human being and object and these may even entail forms of kinship and extend beyond death (Orobitg 2016). In contrast to the proliferation of studies on the body and artifacts in the Amazon, few researchers of the Isthmo–Colombian region have shown interest in investigating the complex relationship between human beings and animate objects. This omission should not be understood as resulting from the lack of animate objects with agency, life, and special connections with human beings. Among many of these societies relations between humans and objects are highly significant and are, in fact, established with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures carved in wood. This material reality contrasts with the scant production of tangible anthropomorphic images in the societies of the Amazon lowlands (Taylor and Viveiros de Castro 2006, 150). The Guna have a large variety of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures carved in more than 20 kinds of wood. For example, the nudsugana, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, which are from 10 to 30 cm tall, may represent either male or female humans in an upright position with a covered head or birds. These figures are owned by individuals and help the nelegan (shamans) in their negotiations with the burbaled (intangible, invisible, spiritual) world. For most inhabitants of Guna Yala the nudsugana are alive, but they need to be taken care of by real human people, which is to say the Guna. If they are not well treated they can be very dangerous and cause illness. Taking care of them means they must not be sold to foreigners and must be fed, washed, and sung to regularly. Besides the nudsugana there are other long-lived animate figures like the suwar mimmigana, carvings of 2–6 cm in height, set in a necklace or placed at one end of a hammock to counter the influence of bonigana (sicknesses,

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  259 invisible malign beings) while sleeping or traveling. Then there are large anthropomorphic carvings of more than 50 cm in height, made from balsa wood and painted in black and red natural dyes for ceremonies conducted by an absoged. These uggurwar figures are disposed of after the ceremony in an isolated place on solid ground. Among the Bribri people of Talamanca (Costa Rica), another group from the Chibchan language family, chiefs and shamans have wooden staffs that incorporate zoomorphic figures which help them in their healing work. In the words of Doris Stone, “there is a mystical connection between the medicine man and his staff which is supposed to carry his curing power as well as contract benevolent spirits who help him cure” (1962, 42). The power of the Bribri medicine man resides in his ability to communicate with spirits through healing sticks (also known as “chiefs’ staffs”), rattles, drums, sacred fire, and magical stones (Aguilar Piedra 1986, 34). Another wooden object used for healing is a balsa log (urú) that the shaman (awá) carves with a knife or makes crude drawings upon depicting spirits called miku (Stone 1962). The balsa wood log may be from 0.75 to 1.5 meters long and is divided into three parts regarding its decoration (Bozzoli 1982, 85–86). After its therapeutic use, the urú must be buried or left in a place not frequented by humans so that they will not be infected by the diseases it has absorbed (González and González 1989, 105–108). Even today,5 painted balsa logs evoking the spirits of plants and animals and sticks containing the spirit of the staff (kéköl) are used for healing. Also in Costa Rica, the use of a balsa log painted by shamans ( jawa) has been documented among the Cabécar people. This ritual object, decorated with natural dyes in red and black, enables the shaman to go into trance by means of chants and to communicate with a deity called Sibú (Salazar 1980, 27 cited in: González and González, 1989, 106). In the 1960s Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff documented the presence of anthropomorphic carvings in healing rituals and in various everyday contexts, among them watching over children’s lives by means of guardian spirits, among the Emberá people of Colombia. At the age of about one year a child receives from the shaman a small, anthropomorphic figure made of unpainted balsa wood and some 30 cm in height that will provide protection on the way to adulthood. This figure is not given any special treatment or regarded with reverence and is nothing but a toy for the child, although adults are aware of its supernatural power (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960, 115). In adult life, the Emberá establish contact with representations of their ancestors that are contained in an anthropomorphic wooden figure in order to protect themselves from malevolent ancestral spirits. Following instructions from a shaman, they go into retreat, fasting and staying awake at night, until an ancestral appears to them. The spirit remains housed in an anthropomorphic figure of some 30–50 cm in height that is carved in keeping with instructions from the shaman. The figure “requests” charcoal or human blood and, in

260  Mònica Martínez Mauri order to establish the magic relationship between individual and spirit, the figure’s owner must make small offerings of charcoal, chicha, and food. Aside from these figures that accompany people in their everyday lives, shamans have carved wooden staffs with small human figures at the top (Vasco 1985). Once a shaman has been initiated, he receives two staffs from his mentor. These contain a hai (spirit) that has been enclosed in it by the shaman ( jaibaná). The new shaman becomes identified with the staff and must never be separated from it. A jaibaná might die if the staff is broken (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960). Besides these long-lived figures, balsa wood carvings of 10–80 cm in height and decorated with jagua and bixin dyes are used for healing purposes. Once they have served their purpose, these figures are disposed of (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1961). The Emberá also make balsa wood boats complete with crews and also boards decorated with black and red drawings that remain with future shamans during their novice period (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960, 125–128). In 1962 Reichel-Dolmatoff complemented his documentation of ritual paraphernalia among the Emberá with the finding of an anthropomorphic balsa wood figure with articulated extremities in the Nauca River. The figure is 68 cm tall and was found near the house of a shaman who said it protected his home from evil spirits. Reichel-Dolmatoff testifies to the use of guardians (large anthropomorphic figures) for houses of indigenous people left uninhabited for short periods of time (1962). In the 1990s the anthropologist Anne Marie Losonczy (1990) also documented the use of balsa wood figures carved by Emberá men of Colombia in the shamanic ritual known as nenëddoi. The ritual is the culmination of restorative ceremonies seeking to strengthen the spirit of an ailing person and of the jaï spirits that have effected the cure. In this case, the ceremonial site is decorated with carved balsa wood figures of reptiles, aquatic animals, or birds (Losonczy 1990, 92). Staffs with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures containing guardian jaï were still in use at the time (1990, 93) and anthropomorphic figures were made of balsa wood and painted in red and black to be used as receptacles for the evil extracted from the sick person (1990, 80). In the Isthmo–Colombian Area, the Pumé of Venezuela still use subjectivized objects but instead of having human or zoomorphic forms it is maracas that are identified with a human being (Orobitg 2016). In this cultural setting, the production of a maraca is a process similar to the creation of a human body. The steps involved are different but the aim can be said to be identical: to produce a good body (ikhará) that is well prepared to receive a vital essence (pumethó). The Pumé maracas are dangerous creatures because they are delicate, must be treated with great respect, and handled with utmost care. If they are made for a non-indigenous person or as a plaything for a child their features change so that they are not subjectivized. Their coexistence with a human being transforms maracas into powerful objects

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  261 and, since a maraca’s identification with the human being is what gives it power, when the human owner dies it is buried with its owner. Like the human body, the maraca must be well cared for on a daily basis so that it can be a receptacle of life (pumethó). As all this ethnographic work on societies of the Isthmo–Colombian Area shows, subjectivation of objects made from vegetable materials is not unusual. Moreover, in many of these societies, subjectivation concerns anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures with similar characteristics: they are created, given life, and cared for by humans with the aim of procuring their protection and help in healing processes.

On the origins of anthropomorphic figures: African influence or endogenous creation? There are significant differences between the Amazon region and the Isthmo–Colombian Area with regard to the origins and conception of these special objects. Unlike what happens in some Amazon societies, where some objects were people in ancestral times (Barcelos Neto 2008; Lévi-Strauss 1969), the objects that are given life in the Isthmo–Colombian Area apparently were never people. Although there is little evidence as to the age of these figures, experts believe that the anthropomorphic wooden sculptures are relatively recent. In the case of the Bribri figures, Stone (1962) states that in Talamanca staffs of chiefs and medicine men were carved as late as the 19th century. Guna figures date back to the 18th century. The earliest written sources on Isthmus societies, for example that of the English surgeon Lionel Wafer (1681), make no mention of them. As for the Emberá, and even Guna wooden staffs, some researchers have suggested that they might have been created as a result of the influence of African societies in the wake of Spanish colonization of the Darién Province of Panama. The Swedish anthropologist Henry Wassén (1940, 76), while noting that relations between the African and indigenous populations of Darién were never harmonious, nevertheless drew attention to the close resemblance between the staffs used by the Emberá jaibaná and a collection of staffs from Central Africa (what are now the borderlands of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in what was then the Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography. Two decades later, he asserted that African influence – the Yoruba of Nigeria, the Bakuta of the Congo, and the Mandinka of western Sudan – is also evident in Chocó Indian societies (Emberá and Wounaan) in other elements of material culture: Wounaan baskets with three handles, houses of painted board used in rituals carried out by the jaibaná, and ceramics (Wassén 1963, 55–60). This African influence on Emberá ritual material was said to extend as far as Panama and the Guna communities as a result of relations of reciprocity between the two peoples. According to the Colombian historian Patricia

262  Mònica Martínez Mauri Vargas (1993, 54–59), these exchanges could have given rise to shared systems of shamanic healing and myths. The hypothesis of the African origins of indigenous carving has recently been taken up once more by the Colombian researcher Martha L. Machado Caicedo (2007, 2011). Analyzing an Emberá tutelary staff with two human figures joined at the back and thus looking in opposite directions, she finds so many ethnomorphological similarities with pieces from Central Africa that she concludes that the carving shows African roots and vestiges of Bantu aesthetics. She argues her case by referring to a long African presence in the Pacific region of Colombia as a result of colonial slave trading, interethnic relations in the area, and the preeminence of this type of sculptural representation among present-day Africans and their descendants in America (Machado Caicedo 2007, 534). Although Machado Caicedo does not suggest that relations between the Guna people and African populations in Darién are of the same import as Emberá-African ties, she does indicate that, aesthetically speaking, the Guna sculpted figures resemble those of the African peoples.6 Referring to a collection in what is now the Gothenburg Museum of World Culture, she points to similarities between African figures and staffs that are said to have been used by Guna shamans (Machado Caicedo 2011, 119). Having shown that the present discussion is almost certainly not about a cultural feature peculiar to the Guna but, rather, about one common to several indigenous societies in the area, I shall now proceed to discuss wood carvings from the standpoint of my own more than 20 years of ethnographic experience in the Guna Yala region. For my Guna informants, the origins of the nudsugana or staffs with animal or human figures are completely unrelated to the coming of Africans. According to their rich oral tradition, they were brought by Ibeorgun. It was Ibeorgun who taught the Guna to make the wooden figures and use them in healing rituals in the struggle against the bonigana (Nordenskiold and Pérez 1938, 345; Perrin 2007). Ibeorgun also told the dubibed (keepers of order in the islands)7 that they should adopt a staff and call themselves suwaribed (lit: possessors of the staff). The staffs were decorated with the figure of a bird, snake, or squirrel, and their task was to give strength to their possessors. In the past, as the argar (interpreter) Inaiduli of Myria Ubigandub recalls, an argar had a shorter staff than those of the sagla 8 (political and spiritual leader), but nowadays, only the suwaribed is used. When discussing the question of the origin of the staffs and nudsugana with my informants, it became clear to me that these objects are not the product of an ontological transformation or, in other words, they were never people in the past. Trees, the raw material from which they are made, were always there, and they underwent no change in substance with the coming of Ibeorgun. He simply showed the ancestors how to carve the objects, give them shape, and use them for healing. Hence the wood carvings are, first of all, the result of a learning process. Then again, with regard to possible African influence, there is no mention in the Ibeorgun story of any outside

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  263 (i.e. African) origin of this figure from the past. If one bears in mind the considerable animosity among the Guna toward the populations of African origin on the fringes of their territory, it is difficult to imagine that they could include any cultural borrowing of this nature in their myths. There are not enough elements to confirm the age of the wood carvings that have been brought to life, and neither is it possible to verify any supposed African influence, either aesthetic or functional. I can only state on the basis of my ethnographic data that the Guna claim it was a Guna named Ibeorgun9 who taught the people about the nudsugana. Hence it appears certain that in the origins of the nudsugana, suwar mimmi, and uggurwar the human role is essential.

Mission, function, and use of wooden figures As Taussig has noted, the ethnographic literature on Guna wood carvings, while abundant, does not answer such basic questions as what their healing function is, why they exist, and why they are used (1993, 9). Two decades later, these questions still remain unanswered by recent ethnographic studies of the Guna and the available literature on other groups in the area that use comparable figures. I will attempt to respond to the challenge by analyzing the role of materiality, form, and internality in the life of these beings; interpretations of what they represent; the relations they have with human people; and their position in healing rituals. Thinking about the place occupied by such objects in the ontological system of these groups may shed some light on their use and meaning and help to understand the conception of life – physical and spiritual – in these societies. What is most important in a nudsu: spirit, shape, or materiality? While the literature on anthropomorphic wood carvings recognizes the importance of the material medium, most analyses surprisingly concentrate on the form, the symbolic dimension, and the spiritual principle of the animate object. Almost all researchers who have studied the wood carvings have stated emphatically, like Nordenskiöld did, that “the important thing about these figures is the kind of wood of which they are made and not the carving” (1938, 345). Mac Chapin holds that “the magical properties of nuchukana are determined more by the type of wood from which they are carved” (1983, 95). For James Howe, “the active principle in each carving derives, not from its outward form, but from the virtues of the wood from which is fashioned” (2009, 259 n. 41). And, as Michel Perrin (2007, 92) states, the nature of the wood is more important than the form of the nudsu, and the figures are characterized by the kind of wood from which they are made. Such ethnographic corroboration regarding the importance of the raw material notwithstanding, in a monograph about Guna art and shamanism, Paolo Fortis (2012a, 67–92) analyses nudsugana carving and shows that this

264  Mònica Martínez Mauri activity is linked to the fertility of Guna elders and their ritual skills in dealing with ancestral tree entities. Through the mastery of wood carving, a senior Guna man can influence the powerful fertility of trees by transforming his own fertility and giving shape (life) to primordial entities. According to Fortis, a carver, conceptualized as a kind of male midwife, transforms part of a tree into a person, extracting a baby nudsu from its arboreal mother. Fortis studies the connection between carved figures and alterity, focusing on myths about alliances between humans and animals as a source of power against enemies. He argues that, in the Guna case, these alliances ended with the transformation of animals into their current shape and their separation from human beings. He describes nudsugana as the instantiation of primordial beings in present-day Guna life. For him, wood carving is linked to the mythological attempt to bring the dead back to life. Seeking to understand what a nudsu is for a Guna, he considers the connection between “double of the dead” and “soul of the dead”. The significance of carving a nudsu lies in its role of mediating between human beings and primordial souls. The carvings, Fortis claims, represent the first people living on earth, who were transformed into trees before today’s Guna appeared. As such, they are the exemplification of primordial entities in the present-day world in which the Guna live. They are generic images of a person and a body endowed with subjectivity (Fortis 2012a, 175–192). I leave aside this interpretation based on the importance of the image and its connection with the world of the dead for now. Focusing on my own ethnographic data, it seems that for the Guna specialists with whom I have worked in the Gardi area of Guna Yala, speaking of nudsugana means speaking of trees. Why is the materiality of the nudsugana so important? What is the role of trees in Guna life? When I spoke with Gilberto Arias10 about these questions, he insisted that not just any tree can be used for carving an animate figure. Only the strongest kinds and those with certain characteristics are suitable. The trees are used because they are medicine and they make human life possible on earth. On this point, not only Arias but also Inaiduli,11 the other specialist I consulted on this matter in 2016, referred me to a story on the origins of life. Both men said that when humans came, the trees were already there. Baba and Nana, the creators, had planted them before the earth started moving, when it was cold and its surface covered by mist. In this primordial moment, the trees came under the protection of a being, also a tree, named Ologunadiler, whose mission was to prepare the world for the arrival of humans by offering them the materials with which to build their houses and giving them medicines. But as the trees grew, they quarreled and Baba punished their leader – who then adopted the name Olobengeggaliler – by sending him to Sapibenega (at the fourth level, in the mother’s belly). After Olobengeggaliler’s departure the trees kept growing and were classified in accordance with their qualities. The oldest ones were used to give strength to men and fortify their spirit (burba ebied).

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  265 In stories like this, reference is always made to the relations of reciprocity established between humans and trees. Without trees, the Guna would not have been able to inhabit the earth and, in turn, humans were sent by Baba to care for his work (trees, plants, animals, rivers, hills, and so on). Trees are indispensable for life. They receive the winds, make breezes, and cool the environment. Yet, like humans, they have a burba (spirit), heart and blood, and are conceived like human bodies are conceived (Inaiduli, personal communication). Between humans and trees there is a relationship of interdependence. When speaking of trees, both Arias and Inaiduli cited another myth, namely the story of Nele Gubiler, one of the great nelegan (shamans) of the past who specialized in the ever-deepening knowledge of plants, trees, and reeds. Gubiler told the ancestors that, like humans, these were beings that breathed, ate, sweated, suffered, and felt pain. They formed an organized community led by their father Olobengeggaliler. Their resemblance to humans obliged the Guna to respect them. When someone is going to cut down a tree, even today it is considered necessary to alert it so that it is prepared and does not cause harm. Such ideas about the connection between humans and trees, as described in myths, correspond to some of the conclusions reached by linguists specializing in Chibchan languages like Paché who discusses some elements that are based on the Proto-Chibchan terms *kuā “seed”, *kadá “stick”, and *ká “leaf” (2016, 429). Paché observes how some numeral classifiers in Chibchan languages originate in plant-part terms, and notes to what extent there exists a similarity between the part–whole relationship of body parts and a body, and of plant parts and the entire plant. He also points out that by means of semantic extension, several body parts in Chibchan languages are referred to in ways that resemble the mention of plant parts. The Proto-Chibchan plant-part term for “stick” has reflexes in case-marking and derivational morphology of several Chibchan languages. Accordingly, he claims, this reflects the general importance of plants and their parts in the culture and physical world surrounding speakers of Chibchan languages (Paché 2016, 449). Such matches extend to other languages of the area that are not of Chibchan origin, such as Wounaan meu – of the Chocoan linguistic family – in which “the lexicon for parts of the body is also used for trees” (Velasquez-Runk 2017, 95). In Guna mythical history the nudsugana do not appear in the Bab Igar stories until the appearance of Ibeorgun, who taught the Guna to use them in healing processes. After the teachings of Ibeorgun about shape, size, and the tree from which the wood is to be taken, a certain kind of being is mentioned. It is a specific figure that shelters auxiliary spirits and protects the human people with whom it establishes a relationship, while also helping shamans (nelegan) in their healing procedures. If the figure is made of hard wood and is of medium size, it is called nudsu. This kind of figure cohabits with people in their everyday lives and is not very mobile. If it is small and

266  Mònica Martínez Mauri made of hard wood, it is called suwar mimmi. If it is large, made of balsa wood12 and its existence limited to a ceremony performed by an absoged, it is called uggurwar. One feature that is shared by these figures and distinguishes them from other anthropomorphic carvings in the area is that the head is covered (a sign of humanity). They are sculpted in observance of the rule that the head must be carved from the part of the tree trunk that is closest to the roots. And according to Arias, covering the head to protect the brain was one of Ibeorgun’s teachings. None of these figures takes on life when they are given their shape, but they do become animate through a song chanted by a person who knows the language of the spirits (Perrin 2007, 92). This process is called oduloe (“animate”, “bring to life”). Once animated, the nudsu or suwar mimmi is given to its owner and this is the moment when the individual and the nudsu enter into a relationship of reciprocity. With day-to-day contact the nudsugana draw increasingly closer to humans to the point of being able to protect them. This process entails some highly specific types of care. The nudsugana must be washed with aromatic plants and smoked with cacao, chili pepper, or tobacco to ensure their good health. The air these beings breathe is very important for them. A personal anecdote illustrates these points. Some years ago, in 2004, there was a serious outbreak of malaria in Guna Yala. In its attempt to limit the epidemic, the Panamanian government started a campaign of spraying the whole area. While I was working in the field, on Gardi Sugdub Island, government officials came to spray the house of the family with which I was staying. I could see that the women were very concerned about their domestic animals (parakeets, parrots, iguanas, cats, puppies, chickens, and the like), children, and nudsugana. They did not know what they should do to remove them from the influence of the spraying equipment. After a few tense moments, they decided to put them all in a canoe and send them out to sea, far from the shore, for long enough to make sure they would not breathe the contaminated air. This anecdote illustrates the great significance of the material medium and its care in the life of wood carvings. Although they are beings with an internality that is not visible, their materiality is so important that a crack, a break, or any other kind of physical damage marks its end, its death. Do nudsugana represent “European types”? Materiality is a highly significant feature in the life of the nudsugana but not the only one. A large part of the literature on the subject has focused on their form and the human images represented by the nudsugana. The first scholar to show an interest in this question was Nordenskiöld who, although recognizing that the nudsugana “are all named according to the kind of wood” (Nordenskiöld and Pérez 1938, 345), asserted that “all these wooden figures represent European types, all from the eighteenth and possibly seventeenth

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  267 century” (1938, 345). In keeping with what he was told by his local assistant, a literate Guna named Rubén Pérez Kantule, he believed that none of these figures represented a Guna man or woman. In a posthumous book published in 1938, Wassén agrees with this idea. The evidence remains contradictory, however. Although Nordenskiöld and Pérez Kantule claim that none of the figures represents a Guna, Wassén includes a photograph of a nudsu,13 donated by Mrs. Dove L. Prather to the Gothenburg Museum in 1935, which clearly shows a Guna woman with “a ring in the nose” (illustration shown in Nordenskiöld and Pérez 1938, 278). It is surprising to see that many of the nudsugana in the collections of the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, some of which were collected by Nordenskiöld himself in 1927, represent human figures that could very easily be Guna. Some of them have the shape of women with their heads covered by a scarf (just like those used by the Guna today) and others represent men dressed in a hat, shirt, tie, and long trousers (like those that used to be, and still are, worn by male authorities in the communities). In Perrin’s view (2007, 103), the hypothesis of Nordenskiöld and Pérez has never been verified, yet has been repeated by most anthropologists. To Perrin, it is clearly incorrect. Having taken photographs on ten different islands of more than 800 nudsugana, he demonstrates that only ten of them represent outsiders, and that these were not made by Guna carvers, and concludes that the nudsugana do not represent white people. Nordenskiöld’s mistake has had many repercussions for subsequent academic production. It inspired the interpretations of Taussig (1993) regarding “the magic of mimesis” – the idea that the making and existence of an artifact that portrays something gives one power over what is portrayed – and more recent readings of indigenous appropriation of symbols of western military power (cf. Fortis 2016). It has even given rise to the fact that, to this very day, the curators in the Gold Museum of Bogotá say the nudsugana are “Scots” (escoceses). Considering nudsugana as reproducing “European types” is not the only error committed by anthropologists who have studied their shape. Since 2000, many of my Guna informants have told me that the nudsugana do not only have the shape of anthropomorphic figures but they may also have animal shapes, especially of birds.14 While this type of figure is not very common today, there is one in the Gold Museum of Bogotá, and I was able to admire a similar figure in the museum of culture of the Davies family in Gardi Sugdub. As Inaiduli and Arias remarked to me, the shape is important because the bonigana (illnesses that befall us that we are unable to see) are very cunning and the nele must resort to intelligent methods to overcome them. One such strategy is to disguise helpful spirits by decorating them with strange hats, eye-catching clothing, uniforms, by putting them on horseback, or giving them western accessories. Finally, it should be noted that not all the wooden figures fashioned by the Guna are animated or have life. Men may carve figures for children to

268  Mònica Martínez Mauri play with, or to offer as a memento to a foreign friend, and even to sell to tourists who come to the islands on cruise ships. In 2004, a friend of mine, Claudio López, gave me a balsa wood carving which, while it looked like a nudsu, had only one function. It was to be a toy for the daughter he said I would have one day. What is the relationship between the nudsugana and human beings? Among the Guna, animate wood carvings do not affect the identification of subject and object. The nudsu, suwar mimmi, or uggurwar is made animate by the human being and is looked after by a human, but it has an independent life. Despite the fact that mechanisms of reciprocity are developed in their everyday relations, identification does not occur. The nudsu does not die with the person who looks after it but survives the death of its caregiver and is inherited by the people closest to this person, who has very often decided while still alive who the nudsu will go to. One might say that this is in keeping with the logic applying to a domestic animal. It is inherited by a trustworthy person who will ensure that it gets the best possible care. This fact contrasts with the treatment given to other personal items after the death of their owner. When people in the Guna Yala region die they are even today buried in the cemetery15 with all their clothes and accessories (earrings, necklaces, and nose rings).16 The hammocks in which they have slept are used instead of a coffin. Ritual specialists like gandur are buried with their flutes (gammu) and maracas (nasis). In general, personal objects are not kept by the family but accompany the body on its long journey to Baba’s dwelling place. Even the cups from which they drank coffee or cocoa are placed on top of the tomb. Only a few items – for example, documents and plastic buckets for storing water or washing – survive the death of an individual and join the other possessions belonging to family members. What are nudsugana used for? Materiality, shape, and internality are important factors for the Guna wood carvings’ ability to carry out their mission, namely, to help healing specialists to combat the incursion of harmful bonigana that constantly threaten the Guna (Chapin 1983, 95). They are made of organic material, shaped by human hand, and shelter a spiritual being that must be cared for by the humans with whom it lives. The life contained in a nudsu is like a fire. In order to light it, material is required, and to keep it burning it must be constantly tended. Nudsugana depend on human beings for their existence but they are not humans. They are another kind of being, one that thinks quite autonomously but is cared for and watched over by humans, a being that can be dangerous if neglected or abandoned although, in essence, it is not regarded as human.

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  269 Nudsugana are not humans but they share some cultural traits with humans, among them the forming of societies. They are usually not individualized and their power depends on their unity (Perrin 2007, 92). However, this does not mean they are all equal. In a specialist’s collection the more important nudsugana frequently have different names that the specialist uses to address them (Chapin 1983, 95). Nudsugana, suwar mimmigana, and uggurwargana are used to protect people from invisible threats,17 fight bonigana, and serve as a reminder that the world has two dimensions, one material (sanaled), the other invisible (burbaled). These dimensions do not stand in opposition to each other but act more like two sides of the same coin. The bonigana belong to the invisible world and their origin is not comparable with that of humans. Like trees and plants, the bonigana were created by Baba and Nana independently of humans and animals. They are anti-human beings. This gives rise to a further difference. Some beings, like trees, were created to make the Guna’s life on earth possible, while others, the bonigana, strive to terminate it. Another distinguishing element is that communication with bonigana is not possible. In order to drive them away, nelegan must resort to other non-human entities, namely trees. By giving them the shape of a bird or a person, the Guna try to humanize these beings or, in other words, domesticate them by drawing them into their world and socializing them within their domestic units. The Guna call themselves inaibgan, masters of medicines. If they occupy a central position in the cosmos, it is not because they were created first since, as I have noted, trees and plants were the primordial beings. If the Guna’s cosmology is anthropocentric, it is because they possess and master medicines. They are able to fight the bonigana through their control of plants and trees in their physical and spiritual dimensions. Apart from wood carvings other non-human beings with life are a common feature in the area’s healing rituals. Guna, Bribri18 (Aguilar Piedra 1986; Stone 1962, 42), and Yukpa19 shamans enter into a dialogue with a certain kind of stones – rounded and polished – and ask for their help in expelling the beings that are harming sick people. Among the Guna these stones are called aggwanusa or aggwanele (aggwa = stone and nele = shaman). Gilberto Arias reported that they are highly mobile. Sometimes they appear in one place and on other occasions somewhere else. They are very powerful and must not be dropped on the ground because the person who drops a stone is likely to become sick. Besides communicating with their human owners, the aggwanele have healing powers when they come into contact with the affected part of the body. They are powerful medicine.

Inanimate objects mediating between worlds Animate wood carvings and stones that harbor life belong to a category of beings that mediate between the Guna and the bonigana. This category also includes molagana, textile compositions made by Guna women, and

270  Mònica Martínez Mauri omegiids20 to give tangible form to geometric, anthropomorphic, or other kinds of designs. Although these creations are inanimate, they must be taken into account in any discussion of objects and human destiny. If the conventional notion of the object is called into question and materiality left aside, then mola designs can also be seen as objects.21 The origin of the mola is very similar to that of nudsugana. Both are the result of teachings given to women by Nana Giggadiryai – a contemporary of Ibeorgun – when she taught them how to cook, work with clay, spin, weave, and dye cloth for hammocks and dresses. Thanks to her teachings, men and women of these long-ago times could shed their feathers and animal skins and dress like people. Later on, a powerful female nele, Olonagegiriyai, became a specialist in cotton, mola designs, and fabric-dyeing techniques after having traveled to a place named Galu Dugbis, which is located in another dimension of space and time. Thanks to her knowledge, women could improve their mastery of the art Nana Giggadiryai had taught them. There is great variety in mola designs produced by women and omegiids today. They are drawn on paper (either by inventing or copying a pattern), after which the cloth is cut and stitched and layers of different colors are superimposed over one another in order to achieve the desired effect. This may be the reproduction of an old design (sergan mola), a naturalistic composition, or a version of some contemporary theme (for example, the latest hit from the Disney production line). Molagana occupy a large part of women’s creative energy, are used by them on a daily basis, and are part of their bodily adornment. Women also use body paint and wear wini (strings of beads), a gold nose ring, and a headscarf for decorating their bodies and giving them human identity. When they die they are buried with all these accessories. Molagana accompany the body to the great beyond as they have no independent life apart from the woman. Although it has been in contact with her body, the mola is not a living object. A mola does not become animate through chanting and its materiality (a piece of cloth made in distant China and bought in some city store) does not harbor life. Besides being among the items of clothing used as a sign of identity (Sherzer and Sherzer 1976), some mola designs can express intentionality. They might serve as a means of protection22 or as a way of communicating with the dead. If a woman starts having nightmares, she is advised to sleep with a mola of the old type (sergan). Pregnant women are encouraged to use certain mola designs. Thus, the mola is used in an effort to keep the effects of bonigana at bay. Molagana also allow communication with the deceased – beloved but dangerous beings. When someone dies, women tend to bring small molagana they have made themselves to the cemetery and bury them with the deceased. It is said that when someone dies, the souls of dead relatives gather at the burial ground and hence can see the messages sent by living family members. Sometimes, these molagana represent things the women have dreamed, or they reproduce designs that have appeared in

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  271 the earth of the tomb (frequently traces left by small animals or insects). The mola provides material support for this communication with the great beyond; the most important thing, however, is not its materiality but the message it conveys.23

The circulation of objects with life or agency outside the Guna world If molagana, wood carvings, and aggwanelegan are objects that share some characteristics – like being under human control or being used to influence the action of invisible beings – they also establish a major difference, as only aggwanelegan, nudsugana, suwar mimmigana, and uggurwargana harbor life and only Guna can take proper care of them. This means that these objects, which are exotic and aesthetically appealing to foreigners, cannot be circulated outside the local sphere. Apparently there are no ethnographic studies that address the interesting issue of objects with agency in non-indigenous settings, especially in art and handcraft markets. In the Amazon area, studies on this topic have documented that objects that possess life and could be dangerous are transformed before they are to be commoditized. Vander Velden (2011) analyses the circulation of Karitiana (Tupi-Arikém, Rondônia) bows and arrows outside their cultural boundaries. Since they are deemed to be dangerous and unpredictable, these artifacts require the observance of a series of precautionary measures, such as their reduction in size, and the use of certain materials if they are going to leave their villages. In other words, the Karitiana people do not sell their traditional bows and arrows but make special models for tourists. Should the genuine articles leave the communities they could cause problems, because they become more powerful if they come into contact with human blood. Once they have tasted blood, they become dangerous and unmanageable and must be abandoned in the forest. Similar observations concerning Waujá masks were made by Barcelos Neto (2002, 2009). Endowed with “artifactual subjectivities” (2009, 128), they are considered to be dangerous creatures requiring constant care and monitoring. Hence, if they are to be sold, their predatory potential must be removed by making copies of them without eyes or mouth (2009, 148). Among the Guna, two clearly distinct situations can be found. First, the nudsugana, suwar mimmigana, uggwruargana, and aggwanelegan are not commoditized because they are considered dangerous beings. Second, since the 1960s considerable quantities of molagana have been sold on craft markets in the capital and in communities that are visited by tourists (Tice 1995). The fact that some designs serve to protect women from bonigana does not restrict their circulation. Wood carvings that have been made animate must not be sold to outsiders. Members of the community are reminded by a sagla (chief), a nele, or other ritual specialists that selling a nudsu can cause many problems for

272  Mònica Martínez Mauri the seller and can also have negative effects for the community as a whole. There are many stories about how dangerous nudsugana can be. One, which I have heard on more than one occasion in urban settings, concerns a Guna man who goes to Japan with a nudsu and forgets it in a hotel. After a series of mishaps, the owner of the nudsu decides to go to a nele for help. Once he has managed to communicate with the nudsu, the nele tells him that all his misfortunes are the result of his having abandoned it. After he left it in the hotel, it was apparently discovered by the cleaning staff, taken to a flea market, and sold to a gringo who took it home. Nobody looked after the nudsu. No one washed it, fed it, or sang to it. It felt so forsaken that, instead of protecting its owner, it brought calamities upon him. Chapin alludes to a comparable story, told to him by James Howe in 1977. Some years ago, a girl from Gardi region had a dream in which she talked with a group of nudsugana that had been sold to some Europeans who had passed through San Blas. “They were being kept in a museum on a mountain top in Europe, where they were starving and in rags, because no one knew how to take care of them” (Chapin 1983, 95). This latter story opens up some intriguing questions. If nudsugana must not be sold, how can it be that ethnographic museums have them in their collections? And how is it possible that they can be bought on some websites? As I was able to confirm in 2016, when I witnessed the sale of a nudsu for barely five dollars to an American collector of indigenous antiques, wood carvings can be sold as long as they either have not been made animate (Perrin 2007, 92) or if some irreparable damage, like a crack or break, occurred while they were being made. Those that were made animate and have died must be deposited in a special place by the river, in their own cemetery. Most nudsugana one sees in museums are likely inanimate. Regarding the ones he acquired for the Gothenburg Museum in 1927, Nordenskiöld wrote: “Those (wooden figures) that I have acquired were probably all of them out of commission for some reason or other when sold to me” (1938, 350). Indeed, when I saw these pieces in the Museum of World Culture in May 2017, I was able to confirm that many of them showed production flaws like cracks or broken parts. The circulation of molagana is completely different from that of wood carvings. There are no restrictions impeding their commoditization. In the course of the 20th century, the mola went from being an object closely tied to the protection of the body to being one of the main sources of income for Guna families. On many occasions the molagana that have ended up being sold were previously used by Guna women (Salvador 1978, 49). Sometimes they are sold because they are worn out, because women tire of them, or simply because the owner needs money. It is no problem to sell a mola. Although their designs can serve to protect women from bonigana attacks, they can be destroyed once they have been used. In fact, in the past old molagana were used as diapers.

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  273

Conclusions Humans, thanks to cultural processes, order things according to different criteria but are also categorized in relation to objects (Miller 1994), as they suppose an otherness that places the humans in a central position. The dualism that opposes things to people, on the one hand, and the materiality of things, on the other hand, is just one of several problems that anthropological approaches to the world of artifacts have to face (Miller 1994, 399). In this chapter I have attempted to show that in the Isthmo–Colombian Area – in contrast to Amazonia – it is not possible to draw analogies between the creation of human bodies and that the creation of certain artifacts, especially animate wood carvings. Considering the examples of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures made by the Guna, humans and the trees that are used as the raw materials for these creations do not have the same origin. They are alike, they have blood, a heart, they breathe, they feel, and they think, but they do not occupy the same position in the ontological system. Trees were created before humans in order to make human life possible on earth. They are allies of the humans and human beings use them as medicine to fight against other, anti-human beings called bonigana. The beings that are carved from wood are conceptualized neither as ibmar (things) nor as dulegan (human people), but as nelegan (shamans), which is to say beings that can help the Guna in healing processes. The close relationship between Chibchan-speakers and the vegetable world, which has also been observed by linguists like Paché (2016) and noted for societies of the Isthmo–Colombian Area of the Chocoan linguistic family (Velasquez-Runk 2017), is based on the place occupied by humans and trees in the world. Both were created by Baba and Nana, both live in community, feel and think, but human people, the Guna, do not occupy the central place of this universe. Trees were created so that the Guna could inhabit the world and humans are the inaibgan (masters of medicines) who must take care of the work of the creators. The relationship between humans and trees is one of interdependence. In the Guna context, an object can have life and agency (nudsu, suwar mimmi, uggurwar, aggwanele) or agency but not life (mola). Materiality is important when it comes to understanding why wood carvings can harbor life. The nudsugana are not only human creations but also, at the same time, powerful trees. By cutting them down and using them for sculpturing anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms, the Guna aim to humanize them, but not to change their nature. Like Juan Camilo Niño Vargas (this volume), I would like to claim that in the Guna ethnographic context a relational model becomes apparent that is based on subjection. Vegetable beings (plants, trees) would be metaphorical humans, while animals and lifeless objects (ibmar, things with an owner) would be metonymic humans. Bonigana would occupy the position of anti-human beings.

274  Mònica Martínez Mauri In today’s Guna Yala, only real humans can subject animals and things, and only they can use trees to fight anti-human beings. As in the Amazon area, animate objects can play a major role in this context by defining what is human. But they are not important in terms of being part of the human person through incorporation, depredation, or accumulation, or as the result of the process of identification. Subjectivized objects in this relational and procedural context serve to confirm the true humanity of the Guna. They testify to their position as custodians of the work of Baba and Nana.

Notes 1 In many English language studies and websites the blouse is referred to in the singular as mola and, for the plural, the English “s” is added (molas). However, the plural form in the Guna language is molagana. 2 Also spelled nuchukana, nuchugana, or nuchus and also named suarnergan or sualluchu. 3 Fieldwork in Panama was conducted under the research projects: “Estudio antropológico comparativo de las nociones de ser humano” (HUMANT) (Ref. HAR2013-40445P), founded by the Spanish Government (I+D+I Proyectos de investigación fundamental) and “Etnicidad material: expresiones culturales tangibles y propiedad intellectual” founded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref. CSO2015-62723-ERC). In Panama, as always, I am grateful to my Guna friends of Gardi Sugdub, Gilberto Arias, Inaiduli and Congreso General Guna. At the Museum of World Cultures (Gothenburg) I would like to thank Adriana Muñoz. Last, but not least, thanks are given to James Howe, Ernst Halbmayer, Julia Velasquez-Runk, Juan Camillo Niño Vargas, and Schabnam Kaviany for their useful inputs. 4 Uggurwar literally means balsa wood. 5 Personal communication from Schabnam Kaviany, 6 May 2017. 6 Machado Caicedo compares a purportedly nele staff adorned with a figure of a bird with an a-Tshol figure of the Baga people of Guinea’s Atlantic coast. 7 In old times, the dubibed were people who, enforcing and maintaining order, made wrongdoers appear before the assembly (onmagged). This function is now carried out by the suwaribed. 8 Also spelled saila. 9 Ibeorgun arrived in the company of Giggadiryai and Wikundun.

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  275 see the World Trade Center site and when we began to recall the events of 11th September 2001, he showed me the suwar mimmi hanging from his collar, telling me that he was not afraid as he was protected.

20 Omegiids are people who, born as males, take on female roles as adults. They constitute a third gender. 22 Castaño Carvajal and Santacruz Aguilar (2016) state that in the Guna communities of Colombia there are molagana for protection that are associated with the stories of the origin of the Gunadule people, express ancestral knowledge and have special names like Yala Burba Mola, Nibali Mola, and Naggurus Mola. This kind of mola is used in female rites of passage.

References Aguilar Piedra, Carlos 1986. Religión y magia entre los indios de Costa Rica de origen sureño. San José de Costa Rica: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Appadurai, Arjun ed. 1986. The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Barcelos Neto, Aristóteles 2002. A arte dos sonhos. Uma iconografia Ameríndia. Lisboa: Museu Nacional de Etnologia/Assírio and Alvim. Barcelos Neto, Aristóteles 2008. Apapaatai. Rituais de Máscars no Alto Xingu. Sao Paulo: EDUSP. Barcelos Neto, Aristóteles 2009. “The (De)animalization of Objects: Food Offerings and Subjectivization of Masks and Flutes among the Wauja of Southern Amazonia.” In: The Occult Life of Things: Native Amazonian Theories of Materiality and Personhood, edited by F. Santos-Granero, 128–151. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Bozzioli, Maria Eugenia 1982. Especialistas en la medicina aborigen bribri: informe preliminar. San José, Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica. Castaño Carvajal, Ruth Virginia and Milton Santacruz Aguilar. 2016. “Ibisoge yala burba mola ¿Qué nos dicen las molas de protección?” Boletín Museo del Oro 56: 290–313. Chapin, Mac 1983. Curing among the San Blas Kuna of Panamá, PhD thesis, University of Arizona. Fortis, Paolo 2010. “The Birth of Design. A Kuna Theory of Body and Personhood.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N. S.) 16: 480–495. Fortis, Paolo 2012a. Kuna Art and Shamanism: An Ethnographic Approach. Austin: University of Texas Press.

276  Mònica Martínez Mauri Fortis, Paolo 2012b. “Images of Person in an Amerindian Society. An Ethnographic Account of Kuna Woodcarving.” Journal de la Societé des Americanistes 98 (1): 7–38. Fortis, Paolo 2014. “Artefacts and Bodies among Kuna People from Panama.” In Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts, edited by E. Hallman and T. Ingold, 89–106. Farnham: Ashgate. Fortis, Paolo 2016. “General MacArthur among the Guna: The Aesthetics of Power and Alterity in an Amerindian Society.” Current Anthropology 57 (4): 430–451. Gell, Alfred 1998. Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press. González, Alfredo and Fernando González. 1989. La casa cósmica talamanqueña y sus simbolismos. San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Gow, Peter 1989. “Visual Compulsion. Design and Image in Western Amazonia.” Revista Indigenista Latinoamericana 3: 19–32. Gow, Peter 1999. “Piro Designs: Painting as Meaningful Action in an Amazonian Lived World.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 5 (2): 229–246. Halbmayer, Ernst 2018. “Fabricando el mundo. Objetos íntimos y la agentividad de los diseños entre los yukpa.” In Objetos como testigos del contacto cultural. Perspectivas interculturales de la historia y del presente de las poblaciones indígenas del alto río Negro (Brasil/Colombia), edited by M. Kraus, E. Halbmayer and I. Kummels, 319–338. Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag. Lagrou, Els 1998. Cashinahua Cosmovision: A Perspectival Approach to Identity and Alterity. PhD Thesis, University of St. Andrews. Lagrou, Els 2007. A fluidez da forma: arte, alteridade e agência em uma sociedade amazônica (Kaxianawa, Acre). Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks editora. Levi-Strauss, Claude 1969. The Raw and the Cooked. New York: Harper & Row. Losonczy, Anne Marie 1990. “La maîtrise du multiple. Corps et espace dans le chamanisme embera du Choco (Colombie).” L’Homme 30 (114): 75–110. Machado Caicedo, Martha Luz 2007. “Un rastro del África Central en el Pacífico colombiano: tallas sagradas entre los indígenas Chocó y su legado africano (Congo y Angola). In Afro reparaciones: memorias de la esclavitud y justicia reparativa para negros, afrocolombianos y raizales, edited by C. Mosquera and C.L. Barcelona, 531–555. Bogotá: Centro de estudios sociales (CES) de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia y Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano. Machado Caicedo, Martha Luz 2011. La escultura chocó en el contexto de la memoria de la estética de África y su Diáspora: Ritual y Arte. Amsterdam, Colombia: University of Amsterdam, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and National Institute for Study of Dutch Slavery and its Legacy. Martínez Mauri, Mònica (dir), George Angehr, Daniel Buitrago-Rosas, Euclides Campos, Igua Jiménez y Grupo Wagibler 2016 (2014, first edition). Una guía ornitológica y cultural a las aves de Gunayala/An ornithological and cultural guide to the birds of Gunayala. Panamá, Editorial Novo Art. McCullum, Cecilia 2001. Gender and Sociality in Amazonia: How Real People are Made. Oxford: Berg. Miller, Daniel 1994. “Artefacts and the Meaning of Things.” In Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by T. Ingold, 396–419. London: Routledge. Miller, Daniel ed. 2005. Materiality. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Nordenskiöld, Erland 1929. “Les rapports entre l’art, la religion et la magie chez les Indiens Cuna et Choco.” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 21: 141–158.

Things, life, and humans in Guna Yala (Panama)  277 Nordenskiöld, Erland and Rubén Pérez Kantule.? 1938. An Historical and Ethnological Survey of the Cuna Indians. Göteborg: Etnografiska Museet. Orobitg, Gemma 2016. “A vida dos maracás: reflexões em torno de um instrumento ritual entre os Pumé da Venezuela.” Revista de Antropologia de São Paulo 59 (1): 180–200. Paché, Matthias 2016. “The Grammaticalization of Plant-Part Terms in Chibchan Languages.” International Journal of American Linguistics 82 (4): 425–452. Perrin, Michel 2007. “Réveiller les figurines. Les nuchu des Indiens kuna.” In Voir les yeux fermés. Arts, chamanismes et thérapies, edited by M. Perrin, 89–105. Paris: Le Seuil. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 1960. “Notas etnográficas sobre los Indios del Choco.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología 9: 75–158. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 1961. “Anthropomorphic Figurines from Colombia: Their Magic and Art.” In Essays in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology, edited by S. K. Lothrop, 229–241. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 1962. “Contribuciones a la etnografía de los indios choco.” Revista Colombiana de Antropología XI: 171–185. Salvador, Mary Lyn.? 1978. Yer dailege! Kuna women’s art. Albuquerque: Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. Santos Granero, Fernando ed. 2009. The Occult Life of Things: Native Amazonian Theories of Materiality and Personhood. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Sherzer, Dina and Joel Sherzer.? 1976. “Mormaknamaloe: The Cuna Mola.” In Ritual and Symbol in Native Central America, edited by P. Young and J. Howe, 21–42. Eugene: University of Oregon Press. Stone, Doris 1962. The Talamancan Tribes of Costa Rica. Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum. Taussig, Michael 1993. Mimesis and Alterity. A Particular History of the Senses. New York, London: Routledge. Taylor, Anne-Christine.? and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.? 2006. “Un corps fait de regards.” In Qu’est-ce qu’un corps?, edited by S. Breton, 148–199. Paris: Musée du Quai Branly, Flammarion. Tice, Karin 1995. Kuna Crafts, Gender, and the Global Economy. Austin: University of Texas Press. Tilley, Christopher, Webb Keane, Susanne Kücheler, Mike Rowlands and Patricia Spyer.? eds. 2006. Handbook of Material Culture. London: Sage. Vander Velden, Felipe 2011. “As flechas perigosas: notas sobre uma perspectiva indígena da circulação mercantil de artefatos.” Revista de Antropologia, Sao Paulo 5 (1): 231–267. Vargas Sarmiento, Patricia 1993. Los Embera y los Cuna: Impacto y reacción ante la ocupación española. Siglos XVI y XVII. Bogotá: CEREC, Instituto Colombiano de Antropologia. Vasco, Luis Guillermo 1985. Jaibanás: los verdaderos hombres. Bogotá: Biblioteca Banco Popular. Velasquez-Runk, Julia 2017. Crafting Wounaan Landscapes: Identity, Art, and Environmental Governance in Panama’s Darién. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Wafer, Lionel.? (ed. E. Restrepo Tirado) 1888 [1681]. Viajes de Lionel Wafer al Istmo del Darién. Cuatro meses con los indios. Bogotá: Imprenta de Silvestre y Cia. Walker, Harry 2009. “Baby Hammocks and Stone Bowls: Urarina Technologies of Companionship and Subjection.” In The Occult Life of Things: Native Amazonian

278  Mònica Martínez Mauri Theories of Materiality and Personhood, edited by F. Santos-Granero, 81–103. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Wassén, Henry 1940. “An Analogy between a South American and Oceanic Myth Motif and Negro Influence in Darien.” Etnologiska Studier 10: 69–79. Wassén, Henry 1963. “Estudios chocoes. Etnohistoria chocoana y cinco cuentos waunana apuntados en 1955.” Etnologiska Studier 26: 9–78.

11 Plant ontologies among the Bribri of Talamanca, Costa Rica Schabnam Kaviany

Introduction The cultural diversity of the Isthmo–Colombian Area has not yet been fully explored in recent debates on Amerindian ontological principles. Moreover, this debate has tended to focus on human-animal relations, whereas human-plant relations have, with few exceptions (e.g. Daly 2015; Rival 2016; Zent 2009), only been of marginal concern. This chapter, by contrast, addresses traditional plant conceptions and the relations between humans and plants among the Chibcha-speaking Talamancan Bribri. The study’s theoretical background is provided by two concepts: first, animism (Descola 2013) and perspectivism (Viveiros de Castro 1998), especially identified with South America, and second, analogism that is particularly associated with Mesoamerica. More recent theoretical developments that expand standard notions of animism to so-called hierarchical or sacrificial animism (Århem 2016a) are also taken into consideration. Since plant utilization and its conceptualizations are diverse and contingent phenomena, the chapter explores three different key areas of plant use in terms of everyday and ritual activities. To shed light on the emic perception of the local flora and its underlying ontological principles I outline how Bribri people appropriate and interact with their plant environment with regard to wild plants, agriculture, and shamanism in order to consider the morphological and etiological conceptualizations of plants. The three categories provide ideal-typical analytical tools, but in practice the different sections overlap and cannot be entirely separated from each other. Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) plays an important role in Bribri culture and serves as an example to illustrate central cosmological ideas. People’s relationship with the cocoa plant exemplifies the way how plant-associated beings are identified and how the Bribri interact and communicate with them. The cocoa plant serves as example for ways of engaging with both wild and cultivated plants. The relevance of cocoa for analyzing Bribri plant ontologies becomes especially apparent with regard to the planting ritual (Btsök) that demonstrates a specific logic of interaction between humans and non-humans. The harvesting of wild and cultivated plants is connected

280  Schabnam Kaviany with certain rules that show a specific logic of interaction between humans and non-humans. Finally, I focus on human-plant communication in shamanic rituals in order to analyze Bribri plant personhood and highlight fundamental aspects of Bribri plant ontology. Shamanic practice represents a highly specialized form of profound plant knowledge that involves the spiritual realm and philosophical notions with regard to it. Thus, human-plant communication in shamanic rituals offers a deeper insight into the Bribri’s understanding of non-human plant beings. The study shows that multiple beings from different temporal and spatial dimensions are associated with plants. The Bribri maintain diverse context-related patterns of interaction with them. Aspects of different ontologies with regard to plants apparently coexist among the Bribri and establish an ontology that defies standard categories of Amerindian studies.

Bribri indigenous territories The Bribri, Costa Rica’s largest indigenous group, live on the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca in southern Costa Rica. They inhabit the Indigenous Territories1 of Talamanca, Kékoldi, Cabagra, and Salitre. The major part of the population lives in the canton of Talamanca in the province of Limón (INEC 2013), where I conducted 18 months of field research from 2015 to 2017. The indigenous Bribri territory in Talamanca is part of the biosphere reserve of La Amistad that was declared UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1983 (UNESCO 2014). In the lowlands I spent most of the time in the villages of Kachabri and in Bajo Coén. In the highlands I carried out research primarily in Alto Coén and San José Cabécar. Additional data were collected in the surrounding villages of Amubri, Bris, and Orochico, where I stayed for several weeks. While in the lowlands agriculture is part of a commercial economy and organic and non-organic products are sold to international customers, in the highlands people live quite isolated, almost without any connection to the market, and agriculture serves exclusively for subsistence. In general terms, the influence of the national society is felt more strongly in areas that are closer to cities. The presence of tradition in everyday life is stronger in areas where a large number of old people live, among them traditional healers and other cultural specialists. Many healers reside in the lowlands.2 Hence, rituals are practiced with regionally varying intensity. The inclusion of different regions in my study was therefore required in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of Bribri plant ontologies.

Agriculture and plant use Today the indigenous villages in the lowlands of Talamanca are surrounded by banana and cocoa plantations formerly owned by banana companies.

Plant ontologies  281 Bribri families nowadays use most of them as gardens, where many different plants are grown between the banana and cocoa trees. Agriculture and other kinds of plant utilization go beyond the interaction of people with what we would term the “botanical environment” and are part of a specific ontology that transcends naturalism. Shifting cultivation and polyculture characterize traditional Bribri agriculture. For establishing forest gardens they clear only secondary forest (Patrocionio Sánchez)3 and their planting systems imitate the wild forest architecture (Posas 2013, 51). The Bribri tell that they have received the knowledge about planting and the mixed fields from their god and culture hero Sibö in order to preserve nature.4 To increase the plantings’ growth and yield they pay attention to lunar periods and observe ritual practices in planting and harvesting, to which I will return below.

Cosmology A brief explanation of some Bribri cosmological notions highlights the conceptions that underlie the traditional practices concerning plants. In Bribri cosmology analogies serve to explain a variety of phenomena from plant signatures5 to micro-macrocosmic symbolisms. According to Bribri cosmology the universe has a conical shape. The whole universe, including humans and the botanical environment, is imagined as a house in which everything has a mythical explanation and is interrelated. The conical upper world is reflected in inverted fashion in the underworld. The upper and underworld are each divided into four levels that are inhabited by different mythical beings. While the former is the home of the god Sibö, the latter is the home of the god(-dess) Sula’ – both considered as creators (cf. Bozzoli 1979, 231; González and González Vásquez 1989). The Bribri themselves are located in the middle world, between the upper and the underworld. Here their identity emerges from the union of the two other worlds. The persistence of Bribri identity in the world of the living is compared to a seed that is protected and cared for. At the same time, life in this world is linked to mortality. The Bribri’s place of origin in the underworld to which they return after death is, by contrast, associated with social continuity and immortality (Jara Murillo and García Segura 2011, xiii). As some Bribri shamans state, the plant masters dwell mostly in the second uppermost layer of the cosmos. The houses of the masters of plants are also located in the mountains of the middle layer, where human beings live as well. Other shamans, by contrast, do not place the plant masters at a particular layer. Spiritual beings that are connected to plants, the “shadows” of the plant people, are localized in the middle layer, the human world. As the Awá (shaman) Justo Torres explained with reference to medicinal plants, The medicinal plants were human beings in the past and were transformed into plants by Sibö [the Bribri god]. He left their shadows. All

282  Schabnam Kaviany the plants were shamans in the time of darkness, great shamans. Sibö left a small reflection of them, but the major part he took with him. (Field recordings6 Amubri, brackets added) There are thus different temporal and spatial cosmological dimensions or worlds that are able to communicate with each other. The order that governs the spiritual world is called the time of origin or darkness. It is associated with the underworld and complementary to the order of the human world, the time of light. These worlds interact and influence each other. The visible world is regarded as the inverted reflection of the mythical world. Thus, phenomena of the former are linked to various equivalents and symbols in the latter (García and Jara 2011, xii–xiii). The Bribri perceive the visible world only as the projection of its real but invisible counterpart. As mythical and present times coexist, the Bribri use the same word for time and space (Ká) (2011, xii, xvi, 198). In the time of darkness all humans, plants, and animals were like human beings of today and spoke the language of origin or darkness. Today only the Bribri shamans still know this language and only speak it at night. In dreams all people may receive messages from the world of darkness – what they call the “real world”– by one of their souls7 that lives outside of the body, but these messages can only be interpreted by shamans. To fully know a plant it is not sufficient to know its characteristics in the visible world, but also its being and its history in the time of darkness (García and Jaén 1996).The mythological creation provides the foundation of Bribri cosmology and their social structure that is based on matrilineal clans (Sault 2010, 292). Some of these hierarchically ranked clans (see Halbmayer, this volume) have exclusive rights and capacities to carry out specialized, e.g. priestly,8 duties. In terms of a totemic logic (cf. Descola 2013), clans are associated with different plants and animals that are regarded as relatives of the clan members who, in turn, are considered as human representatives of the respective plant species’ master or protector. They must protect these species and their consumption is subject to certain rules. Maintaining of a balance between the spiritual and the material world is an important principle of the Bribri’s belief system. People’s actions are believed to have a direct impact on the spiritual beings’ actions and vice versa. Concerning the relationship between the components of the world, Cayon (2001) distinguishes between a concept of balance, which he attributes to the Chibcha-speaking Kogi, and of order, which he attributes to the Amazonian Tukano. Otaegui (2008), with reference to Cayon and Descola, elaborates these ideas in terms of a circular causality of varying intensity based on the concepts of either equilibrium or stability that go along with either analogism or animism. To analogism, exemplified by Mesoamerica, he assigns a system of equilibrium. It is composed of one particular collective where beings differ from one another in terms of their interiorities. The components of the world are interconnected so closely

Plant ontologies  283 that imbalances on the individual level can unbalance the entire cosmos. All forces within the body, the microcosm, must be kept in balance by conformity to the socio-cosmological rules in order to keep the macrocosm in balance. When a certain margin is exceeded, the whole system is compromised. The end of the world may impend as the result of the misconduct of a single person. Animistic systems, by contrast, exemplified by the Northwest Amazon, are based on the notion of stability that allows more room for change. The world is divided into different species-specific collectives and changes can be compensated locally and do not endanger the totality. Analogical patterns are not of the same intensity as in analogism. The relations among the components of a system are not infinite, as in analogism, but are mainly constituted by a life force that circulates among the living beings according to a certain pattern. The exchange of energy with non-humans follows a model of reciprocity, making human action relevant to the life cycles of non-humans.9 Although humans have numerous obligations in order to sustain the persistence of the world, the system is never in danger of collapsing (Otaegui 2008, 158, 165). It is not autonomous and cannot persist without human intervention. In this context, the human being is described as a “catalyst” for the functioning of the other or as “manager of the biosphere” (Otaegui 2008, 166f.; cf. Reichel-Dolmatoff 1996, 32). The Bribri see their own named concept as a principle of balance or harmony which has to be maintained and was controlled by the former priests. At the same time it is an order of relative stability established by their god. As with animism, the entities of the cosmos form various collectives, but are connected through a variety of analogies. Inappropriate behavior on the level of the individual may entail serious consequences for the whole system, including natural disasters. The Bribri priests of the past were able to either cause or prevent such consequences. Thus, the priests were important mediators between humans and non-humans and were responsible for safeguarding the system against collapse. Although Bribri mythology refers to cataclysms in the mythical past, the threat of the end of the entire world at present, like among the Kogi or Nahua, is apparently absent. Consequences of individual actions may extend beyond the local level, but can be controlled by mediators – to a limited extent by the shamans. The Bribri cosmic order thus appears to be relatively stable. On the one hand, the Bribri maintain a reciprocal exchange relationship with their non-human environment, including a flow of energy in terms of a life force that circulates among different collectives and the Bribri see themselves as protectors of the environment. On the other hand, they do not understand themselves as an essential element for the functioning of the biosphere. Rather, they are an integral, active part of the ecosystem and conform to a code of conduct that guarantees their own survival and their coexistence with others within this ecosystem.

284  Schabnam Kaviany

Human–plant relationships Human-plant relationships among the Bribri differ according to context. The cocoa plant will serve as example to illustrate the human interaction with the “plant environment”. Cocoa is a culturally important plant for the Bribri, even if its cultivation is no longer as important as it was in the past. The economic importance of plantains and bananas and the loss of cocoa production due to the plant disease monilia (Moniliophthora roreri) have contributed to a decline of its value. However, cocoa still plays a significant cultural and ritual role and illustrates important aspects of the Bribri’s plant ontology. The Bribri distinguish among different species of cocoa that are used for different purposes. The most important one is Theobroma cacao. It not only is a source of food and medicine but also has important ritual functions. When I asked the Bribri about the significance of the cocoa plant, two answers were most common. The first was, “Cocoa is a woman, she is a human being”. In mythology the cocoa tree emerged from a woman (Tsuru’) who is identified with the cocoa plant. Sibö, the god and culture hero, gave this woman the seeds from which the Bribri emerged. Bribri culture originated from the union of the corn god Sibö and the cocoa goddess Tsuru’ (Ferreto 1982, 18–19; Rojas Conejo 2007, 92). Hence cultivated maize and cocoa are considered of highest importance for the origin of Bribri culture. For this reason the Bribri identify with maize as well as with cocoa. According to mythology, Sibö’s wife, who is also associated with the earth, materialized in the cocoa plant in order to feed her children (the Bribri) with her fruits. Consequently, cocoa trees must be cultivated for their own sake. It is traditionally forbidden to burn them, to use them as firewood, or to cut them down (Acuña Sossa 2007, 86, 91). Not only the cocoa plant but plants in general are conceptualized as human beings. The second answer concerning the significance of the cocoa plant was “Cocoa is our blood, the Bribri are cocoa”.10 This identification with cocoa relates to a form of perspectivism (Viveiros de Castro 1998) in Bribri ontology: different beings have different perspectives on the world. As Bozzoli states, all “supernatural” beings, both friendly and hostile, perceive the Bribri as cocoa and feed on their blood (1989, 46). Nevertheless, there is a difference between potentially dangerous beings, like predatory animals and spirits, and rather benevolent non-predatory beings, like the protector god Sibö or the spirits and masters of plants. While the latter do not consume cocoa, as far as I know, Sibö does, and this may manifest itself in the human world as a death by accident or by snakebite (ibid., 36). According to Viveiros de Castro (1998), in Amazonian Amerindian perspectivism animals and spirits see themselves as humans and their food as human food. Among the Bribri the bodies and the blood of Bribri supply the necessary nourishment for “supernatural” beings and represent cocoa to them (Bozzoli 1989,

Plant ontologies  285 46–48, 33). While the cocoa plant is associated with a human being, the Bribri themselves are associated with the cocoa plant. Within Amazonian animism different perspectives prevail, whereas in Bribri ontology the connection between cocoa, blood, and food applies to the Bribri, to predatory animals and to the god Sibö. Even the Bribri themselves make a connection between cocoa and their own blood, so that cocoa can be seen as integrating element within this cosmic logic of exchange that goes beyond perspectivism. At the same time, depending on the context and on the perspective of the particular being, human blood/humans are not only seen as cocoa but also as different kinds of food (cf. Jara Murillo and García Segura 2011, 44–45). The creator Sula’, the god(dess) of the underworld, sows the Bribri as corn and perceives them as her/his plantation (cf. García and Jaen 1996, 20). In any case the Bribri are perceived as fruits cultivated by the gods. The difference between Bribri plant animism and Amazonian venatic animism thus becomes evident. In the change of positions “prey” is not conceptualized as animal, as Viveiros de Castro (1998, 472) states for Amazonian perspectivism, but as the “fruit” of a cultivated crop. Interaction between the human and the botanical environment is characterized by great respect in Bribri culture. When I was traveling during my fieldwork with a Bribri colleague from the highlands to a powerful place where plants are said to grow in overabundance, he warned me, If someone approaches the sacred place Kátsipatsipa disrespectfully, the old woman of the powerful Usékar clan turns into a wild beast and sucks him like a bat sucks the cocoa fruits and then spits him out, leaving only his empty shell.11 This should be understood as a warning and expressed the ever present danger of being punished for misbehavior by non-human beings. On the one hand, my Bribri colleague relied on an analogy – “like the bat sucks the cocoa fruits”. On the other hand, his statement refers to the above-mentioned change of perspective, according to which sanctions from the spiritual world manifest themselves in the way that the non-human beings feed on cocoa, that is, on the blood of the Bribri. For both humans and non-humans blood is life energy and spirit. The Bribri pay attention to the manner how plants are consumed: All plants are cooked; they are not eaten raw, only prepared. We can eat nothing raw, everything we eat must be cooked (…). For example, the meat we eat does not have the spirit, but the blood does. This is why it has to be purified, the blood is like spirit. With plants it is just the same, since at first they are raw and then they transform themselves into foodstuff, then we take in the substance in form of food that purifies our body and our blood.12

286  Schabnam Kaviany Animistic aspects of kinship, the identification and social relation with plants, particular perspectivistic elements, and the careful handling of substance transfer all become evident in the context of human-plant relationships. In the following, they will be examined in more detail.

Harvesting plants The connection between cocoa and blood is not the only perspectivist element of Bribri cosmology. There is a complex system in which the appearances of this world are perceived as different phenomena by the mythical beings of the other world. This is the case not only with animals, as mentioned in the literature (cf, Guevara 1988), but also with plants. Thus, what is perceived as a certain fruit in this world can be seen as an animal in the other world that feeds on the respective fruit. Or manioc, for example, is fish for the master of manioc, and the manioc field is a river, whereas fish is manioc for the master of fish, and the river is his cultivated field. Squash is paca in the other world, and so on. This system is important because many Bribri still refer to it in their everyday interaction with the non-human environment: for instance, when they harvest plant resources. When they collect yucca, they say, “I go fishing”; when cocoa is harvested, they say, “I go acting like a squirrel”. Naming the appearances of things as they are perceived by the respective owners in the invisible world is understood as a form of respect or affection for the cosmic order and the spiritual world. In other words, to show sufficient respect and affection for the spiritual beings and the cosmic order when harvesting natural resources, it is necessary to refer to the corresponding action as perceived in the mythic world and as defined in the cosmic order.13 If this rule is not respected, sanctions may follow: the plant owners may hide the resources, or poisonous snakes may be sent to their location. Another behavioral rule for the harvesting of plants is to keep quiet about one’s purpose. Some young people, for example, who are no longer familiar with the “code language” (Gonzáles and Vásquez González 1989, 58), prefer not to call the plants they intend to harvest by their common names. When I asked the Bribri where certain plants grow and where I could find them, they often did not tell me and pretended not to know, although they showed me the plants afterward. These rules apply to the harvest of both wild herbal plants and agricultural products. Another rule, especially regarding the collection of wild plants, is never to take more than is needed for personal consumption. Usually the Bribri harvest only as much as they and their relatives immediately need and try not to “kill” the plants they harvest. This behavior differs from the hunting of animals as plants do not necessarily “die” by harvesting. For harvesting wild cocoa permission from the master of cocoa is traditionally required; the latter also determines the approved quantity. As it is told, in the past only the healers knew where to find wild cocoa; they did not tell where to find it and always collected it alone. Today, however, some Bribri hide from the plant owners what they intend to harvest, as a Bribri colleague told me:

Plant ontologies  287 You must never take more than four of anything you do not own, for example wild cocoa in the mountains, otherwise it may become dangerous. (…) You must not pick more than four, unless you smoke a large cigar, so that the master of the plant cannot see who took it.14 Even if such strategies exist, people are aware of the spiritual beings’ omnipresence and accord them great respect. The laws of the invisible world play an important role for them, as they regard it as reprehensible to exploit natural resources beyond one’s immediate personal needs. This notion was expressed by the Awá (shaman) Matheo as follows: Sibö says, care for the plants as I gave them to you. There is living space for every living creature. If people cut down the trees and the animals die, they will be punished for it another day, a big tree will fall and kill them. And this happens because the law has been violated; this is the [law of] social coexistence with nature. For example, the masters can mete out punishment or withhold fruits; they work together with Sibö. The plants are all peaceful, but the masters of the plants may be annoyed.15 Among the Bribri the harvesting of plants establishes and maintains different forms of interaction with the vegetable world and its masters. In exceptional cases these can be predatory – especially with regard to wild plants – and potentially dangerous. Usually, however, behavior toward natural resources is respectful and interaction is principally considered as a kind of exchange or an act of generosity on the resources’ part, especially regarding agriculture. Nature gives and humans show appreciation for it. Although respect is considered important for avoiding sanctions, this does not imply a direct and obligatory exchange relationship as described by Descola.16 The prevailing mode of relation may be characterized as giving and reciprocity (cf. Descola 2013, 314f, 334). One of the most essential values among the Bribri is generosity and giving. As expressed by a Bribri companion, “everything is giving”. In order to demonstrate this attitude a prestigious shaman of the highlands sang to me three songs in ritual language – of the beginning, the present, and the future – and explained that generosity was established at the beginning of the world as part of the cosmic order, must be observed in this life, and will be judged in the future after death.17

Btsök,18 an agricultural ritual When planting maize and beans on her field, Sebastiana Segura once told me: The white people are rich and therefore have to work a lot. Us indigenous people god has created like this. We do not become rich and we do not have to work much. We have everything we need to live. All the food we need he gave to us in abundance.19

288  Schabnam Kaviany The importance of giving and returning becomes clearer in the context of agriculture. The earth cares for humans and humans care for plants “like for their own children”, as the Bribri say. Besides, not only planting but also harvest and consumption are understood as forms of giving back to nature. Agriculture is interpreted as mutual giving. Planting is considered as giving back to the earth in return for the crop that was harvested. According to the Bribri, harvest and consumption ensure that planting has fulfilled its purpose. Otherwise, it is said, the plant masters would not produce anything anymore. The connection between the consumption of plants and exchange thus becomes evident. Again the adherence to the cosmic order, a form of respect, is understood as reciprocal behavior. Hence, returning such a gift also ensures protection of the coming generations. Bribri agriculture is also a system of mutual giving in economic terms that promises the reciprocal access to labor in the future. Recognition, prestige, and power are traditionally defined by the gesture of giving, for example a “shared”20 harvest (Súarez Garces 1983, 32–33). Systematic generosity and reciprocity strengthen the unity of society (Descola 2013, 351). This brings us back to the cocoa plant, since both giving and exchange stand in a symbolic relationship to cocoa and the continuity of Bribri culture. Cocoa as key element is linked to generosity and reciprocity on several levels that find their expression in various rituals. In rites of passage such as funerals, shamans’ initiations, or marriages cocoa is ritually consumed (Bozzoli 1979, 89). The Awá Justo Torres explained: Cocoa is the sacred beverage of us indigenous people. It is the beverage that is present at every moment of the Bribri’s life as human being. (…) Cocoa must not be lacking in any ceremony (…). When there is no cocoa, the ceremony cannot be conducted.21 The ritual exchange of cocoa emphasizes both giving and exchange between different groups (Bozzoli 1989). It symbolizes giving and reciprocity in order to ensure cultural continuity and simultaneously generates an exchange between different entities or groups. However, there are also occasions when the consumption of cocoa is prohibited. This is the case during the rites of seclusion (Btsök), practiced for example during the clearing of a field. On this occasion cocoa is not only a symbol, as Bozzoli argues (1989), but also a substance that either establishes or prevents exchange and the relationship that is initiated by that exchange – not only between human beings but also between humans and non-humans. On the occasion of clearing a field, the ritual of seclusion may traditionally last up to three months and is performed to ensure the success of the undertaking. During seclusion the consumption of various kinds of food such as cocoa is prohibited, since these are, as Bozzoli (1989) notes, embodiments of the reciprocal exchange with others. The ritual fasting on the occasion of planting can thus be understood as a culturally legitimate ritual liberation from reciprocal bonds in terms of agriculture. At the same time it

Plant ontologies  289 is described by Bozzoli as the separation from “culture”, which is defined by exchange, and thus as a union with “nature” and the “supernatural” world (1989). To avoid the binary of nature and culture, Bozzoli’s interpretation may be formulated as the separation from cultural standards that denote the contemporary state of the world and as union with the world’s origin, the time of darkness and the spiritual world. On the other hand, ritual fasting can also be linked to a logic of exchange: when in mythology the daughter of Mother Earth (associated with the cocoa plant) was killed and the plants sprang from her blood, this was the beginning of Bribri culture and also of agriculture (Rojas Conejo 2007, 92). In return for the death of her child, the mother decided that from now on she and other spiritual beings that sprang from her would consume cocoa – that is, the Bribri who have been mortal since then. This means that in mythical terms the “cannibalistic” exchange of blood between different entities, represented by the consumption of cocoa in each world, began with the differentiation of the world and with the introduction of agriculture. This predatory exchange sustains the connection between originally connected entities; yet, at the same time, it is a feature of the differentiated world. While the Bribri consume “the earth” (plants) and bring new plants to life, ‘the earth’ consumes the Bribri and new Bribri emerge from seeds out of the earth. Cocoa is a symbol of the process of becoming in terms of a dialectic; while exchange (of substance) is constituted as necessary condition in human life, it does not only imply the becoming of something new, as result of this exchange, but also the passing along of something given. Cocoa serves to define Bribri identity according to social context. During the ritual humans are identified with Mother Earth, the cocoa goddess who cares for the birth of her children (plants) and in this sense they are closer to the potentially hostile non-human spiritual beings. Hence during the ritual the exchange of cocoa is prohibited and may even be dangerous. The state of origin, before exchange was established, is a state of liminality and vulnerability (cf. Turner 1969). Exchange in this situation would not only imply cannibalism between closely related entities but also increase the danger of counter-predation by dangerous entities.22 In the planting ritual a rapprochement or identification with the plant world and the creative force of the earth takes place.23 Identities are subject to ritual transformations and can be considered flexible to some degree. When referring to food consumption, Franklin Morales stressed the analogy between the planting ritual and human birth: Without the adherence to the diet, the plants die, become infested with pests, or do not germinate. As the Bribri are seeds and were born from seeds, this is a birth. Everything they plant grows from seeds. The mythology says that Sula’, the Lord of the Underworld, has ruled that the Bribri must observe their diet so that the earth becomes fruitful and that which is sowed will be born.24

290  Schabnam Kaviany From Constenla’s (2006, 78) quote of a traditional song (Fernández 1976, 281) the identification of planting with human birth becomes clear: Men clear and prepare the fields for planting and only the women sow corn and bring in the harvest. They say, as only women give birth, only they are the ones who sow the seeds and make them sprout and to harvest what grows.25 The prohibition of cocoa as substance and symbol in the planting ritual functions not only to separate humans from the present world and from related reciprocal obligations but also to get closer to the earth, the origin, and the spiritual world. At the same time it illustrates a mode of exchange between humans and non-human entities. As Halbmayer (1999, 67) emphasizes for Amerindian cultures further south, such exchange or avoidance of exchange opens up a multivalent logic that allows distinguishing between relationships among “the identical and the other”, each implying specific forms of interaction. Among the Bribri this logic works as follows: plants are considered as human-like beings, but there is still a difference between humans and plants. Yet, there is no dualistic opposition between humans (the identical) and plants (the other), and their gradual difference may be overcome in ritual practice. Exchange must take place between different groups in order to avoid incest. Similarly, exchange with the spiritual world is part of daily life and takes place under particular precautions. So the Bribri are in continuous connection with their origin, thus bridging the gap between the time of origin and the actual time and establishing reciprocity and union between the two. In the ritual context exchange of cocoa is more than just the exchange of nutrients. It symbolizes exogamic exchange that is equated with the exchange of blood and substance. During the planting ritual the difference between humans and plants is abolished and consequently the exchange of cocoa becomes forbidden. Since during the ritual the Bribri become identical to the earth, in this way they avoid an exchange of “blood” with their own. At the same time they are more exposed to the spiritual world and thus avoid the exchange of “blood” with the dangerous other – harmful spiritual beings. The relationship between humans and the environment is constituted in terms of social categories as exchange between different collectives, which is either avoided or stimulated depending on the degree of relationship and on intended alliances.

Shamanism Among the Bribri humans apparently maintain social relations with plants. Nowadays, however, only the Awápa,26 shamans or healers, can enter into direct communication with the masters and spirits of plants. They possess

Plant ontologies  291 vast knowledge and skills of herbal medicine and plants used in ritual contexts. Many plants only grow either in the forest or in the mountains and healers must collect them there. Bribri myths tell that medicinal plants once appeared on earth to support people in their struggle with evil spirits. Thus they play a protective and supportive role for humans. As the Awá José Ackson27 explained to me, medicinal plants are in fact shamans who have the capacity to heal and act through the medium of the Bribri shaman. Shamans and plants work together to combat disease. The Awápa consult the masters and spirits of plants not only for the purpose of curing but also for the diagnosis of diseases and to negotiate about the use of resources. They use plant and animal substances or bodies as intermediaries to invoke spirits and to access the power inherent in these entities. In order to establish contact they use sacred stones and songs in ritual language as a medium of direct communication. In a state of deep concentration the shamans can make direct contact with the beings of the time of darkness.28 They then pass on the information from the spiritual world to the people. The Awá Ricardo Lopez29 told me the following: Everything has a spirit. On the basis of this knowledge we work in harmony with nature. Sibö (the Bribri god) gave this knowledge to us (…) [He transmitted] to the first Bribri, the first traditional Awápa all this knowledge about the plants’ spiritual world before he brought light into the universe (…). He made a ceremony and assembled all plant spirits and shamans (…) and he gave a stick and a sacred stone to the plants and to the shamans. He said to the plants, “So that the Awápa are able to communicate with you and me.” (…) He also made a law for the traditional healers to leave the knowledge in the dark, always in the dark. (…) When the night returns, it is the moment to share and spiritually communicate with him (Sibö). (…) At night the shaman asks about the nature and cause of the illness. The spirit of the sacred stone, Sibö, and the plant spirits tell him, so he can cure the patient. During the nocturnal rituals the borders between time and space become blurred, the healers revive the mythical time to contact the non-human beings. Just as in the planting ritual, the reconstitution of and reconnection with the mythic origin seem to be a central element in ritual, reminiscent of the rituals of the Chibcha-speaking Kogi of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (cf. Fischer 2009). The Awá Justo Torres further explained: Every being has its own energy; every plant, every element of our life, every animal down to the smallest one owns and gives energy. And when we know how to capture this good or bad energy, we use it to cure. It’s all different energies, good ones and bad ones.30

292  Schabnam Kaviany Hernán Segura said on the same topic: “Everything has energy; plants have energy, this is like a power, we say (…). This energy permeates me (…) like a power. This refers to the relation between plants and the other level [of the universe] – they heal me”.

Plant personhood How can the personhood of the plant people be understood? Sebastiana Segura explained her image of plants to me as follows: All plants have life. They are not alive like humans or animals, they do not move like we do, but they have a spirit, a human being. They get their life from the earth, without the earth there is no life. All life originates from the earth; Iríria [Niña Tierra] is the mother of everything. If a plant dies – if it is rotten or dried up – it is only its body that dies but not its spirit, just like the human spirit after death. But the plant spirits can travel around freely and go to different places like into a shamans’ magical paraphernalia or where they are called to – according to the song of [Awá] Don Francisco.31 In the light of the Bribri concept of plants as animated persons, an ontological explanation based on the Bribri numeral classification system that suggests a distinction among plants as “alive” when “standing” and “nonalive” when already harvested (Krohn 2014) seems to be grounded more in a naturalistic dualistic scheme than actually reflecting Bribri ontology. Interior similarities and physical differentiation of humans and nonhuman beings remind of animistic features. After explaining that all plants are people in the time of darkness, just like human beings, however, many Bribri shamans specified, “but not exactly the same as human beings”. In response to my question if plant people possess the same constellation of souls as human beings, some stated that they did not. Hernan Segura said: Everything has its owner, the animals and plants have their owners, but we indigenous people have another owner (…). And we indigenous people have three spirits (souls)32 (…). Plants do not have three, they have one part in this world and one in the second level. In general the Bribri conceptualization of the human person refers only to themselves. It not only excludes non-human beings but also other-thanBribri human beings. While the Bribri originate from and return to the underworld, white people, as they call for instance the Europeans, originate

Plant ontologies  293 from the upper world. This finds its expression in a Bribri statement quoted by Bozzoli: The white people say that we are all brothers, that God told them this, and that they are brothers in God. To us Indians, God told us that we were a different class of people, we were cocoa. He sees us like that, we are not brothers of God, we are chocolate for Him.33 On the one hand, the conceptualization of a human person is thus highly specific, since every human as well as non-human being has its special function and thus its special physical shape. Every human being or human seed that the Bribri originate from is a composition of different energies or souls. The souls are regarded as beings with ambivalent characters that determine the behavior of the human being (García and Jaén 1996, 4–5, 8–9). These soul beings, however, do not act independently and are neither seen as part of an infinite chain of analogic relations nor as a microcosm within the human body that deprives people of all control over themselves, as has been stated for the analogistic Nahua (Descola 2013, 307f.). The human person is rather seen as a conglomerate of energies. This notion does not lead to a hierarchy as presumed for analogism, but puts all human and non-human beings on the same level, all composed of creational energies. Such a conceptualization is not used by the Bribri – as in typical analogistic ontologies as described by Descola – primarily to refer to a fragmented world connected by analogies and to distinguish between different beings (Descola 2013, 201f.). Instead, it serves to underscore their very equality and the necessity of respect toward all beings as well as to stress their interdependence (García and Jaén 1996, 4–5, 8–9). Referring to the equality of all beings, Hernán Segura explained: For us indigenous people everything is alive, we know everything is alive. (…) Nature and culture are the same; everything came from the time [of darkness]. Everything that is nature came into existence like this. Sibö has created it. The indigenous person has his culture, his tradition – everything came from the remote time, everything is nature, everything is born in this world. (…) We are born from a seed but Sibö has determined that this one will become human.34 Therefore plants are persons and human-like beings; they are simultaneously equal to and different from Bribri humans. Cocoa is the culture and blood of the Bribri, distinguishing them from others but also connecting humans, plants, and other life forms with each other in terms of an all-encompassing spiritual life force of the earth (Iríria). Physical aspects (cocoa/blood) are interwoven with interior aspects (composition of substances/souls/energies) and interiorities cannot be strictly separated from physicalities in terms of

294  Schabnam Kaviany a binary contrast. Likewise physicalities are not reducible to material qualities but are marked by relational properties (cf. Ingold 2011).

Ontological considerations For the Bribri humans and non-humans are part of the same socio-cosmic realm. Both have originated in an undifferentiated mythical time and plants are perceived as human-like persons, reminiscent of Amazonian animism. While all non-human beings are anthropomorphic in the other world and plants originate from people, the Bribri originate from vegetable seeds. Not only are plants constituted as human in the other world, but humans are plants for Gods. While humans have been planted as food for the mythical beings, some animals and plants are considered to be divine or ex-human beings that became differentiated out of a common past humanity. The concomitant interiorities of humans and plants are hardly differentiated and the latter are defined in anthropomorphic terms. Non-human persons are human-like but not exactly identical to humans. Both are composed of different bodies, substances, and various spiritual aspects or souls in terms of an “internal multiplicity which is generally not reducible to a binary distinction” (Halbmayer 2012, 111). Physicalities imply particular perspectives and dispositions regarding the world. Distinct forms of being have specific perspectives and the world is dependent on that perspective. This is an important part of Bribri sociocosmology that suggests a kind of animistic perspectivism. Classical Amerindian perspectivism stresses a “venatic ideology”; yet there are also examples when the prey is construed as vegetable nourishment (e.g. blood as manioc beer) (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 470). Among the Bribri “perspectivism” is clearly more versatile and cannot be reduced to hunting symbolism and the animal realm. It can be described by modifying Århem (1996, 188) as a “cosmic food web of ‘eaters’ and (cultivated) ‘food’”, where plants are peacefully inclined toward humans. Gods and predatory beings perceive humans as crops, and masters see plants frequently as animals and animals as plants. In the case of so-called “cannibal counter-predation”, the “inversion of perspectives” does not necessarily “transform the human into an animal” (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 472) but mostly into a plant. Humans are conceptualized as plants not only from different points of view but also in terms of their true origin and in shamanic discourse. Thus the human-plant relationship turns from a perspectivistic game of perspectives to a form of identification. The connection of cocoa, corn, and humans represents an integrating element in this cosmic logic of exchange that goes beyond perspectivism. The personification of plants obviously also plays an important role, especially in shamanism. Thus the spiritualization of plants does not appear to be “secondary or derivative” as Viveiros de Castro claims for animistic perspectivism (1998, 472) but a primary form of identification that constitutes humans as plants and plants as human-like beings, or in the case of medical plants as shamans.

Plant ontologies  295 Even if giving and exchange are of particular value among the Bribri, predatory relations to the non-human plant environment are, depending on the context, also maintained. Unlike in the Amazonian logic, predation among the Bribri does not form the main mode of interaction. It only happens in exceptional cases, when exchange cannot be accomplished. To prevent predation, action outside of the norms of exchange and reciprocity is hidden or disguised as respectful behavior. It has become clear that there can be different kinds of relations that may be interpreted in terms of kinship and alliance but that are not necessarily linked to conceptions of self and other. Plants that are closely related to one’s own clan have nevertheless a special status and notions of danger and caution are especially stressed with regard to the owners of wild plants. Traditional forms of interaction with the vegetable world among the Bribri are evidently characterized by a respectful attitude, what has been identified as a crucial feature of animistic cultures in general (Harvey 2006, 12). The Bribri show appreciation toward the vegetable world not only to avoid sanctions from the spiritual world and because of their close relationship to the environment, but also because of respect for all species they coexist with. The earth is understood as a mother nourishing her children and maintaining a relationship that is based on trust. At the same time, people as part of the ecosystem maintain a dynamic network of exchange relationships with the non-human environment. Human-plant relations are morally grounded reciprocal relations among the different domains of the cosmos. According to the Bribri worldview everything is interdependent and the world’s leading principles and logic are kinship and interaction. The most important modes of interaction among the Bribri are reciprocal giving, exchange, and protection. On the one hand, the dominating modes are giving and reciprocity: life and death are integrated in a logic of giving and taking. Three kinds of gifts can be distinguished – verbal/chanted, symbolic, and material – that serve to show concern for the non-human environment. On the other hand, a concept of owner/master (cf. Fausto 2008) pervades the whole cosmos. The god Sibö is master and protector of human beings who for him are his crop of corn. The earth also has a parent-like protective position toward humans. Human beings are masters and protectors of their clan-specific plants, of their own crops, and of the natural environment in general. In addition there are non-human masters of plants who protect the plants – often perceived by them as animals (and animals as crops). This protective role is an ambivalent one. Crops – including humans – serve as vegetable sustenance for both humans and non-humans. The Bribri feed on plants, while the non-human and mythical beings feed on the Bribri. The relations of Sibö, the Earth, and the former priests toward humans simultaneously involve all three modes of interaction – reciprocal giving, exchange, and protection. The owner/master concept is reproduced in several kinds of relations. The whole cosmos is conceived in agricultural terms: humans, animals, and plants are all planted as food by someone, an

296  Schabnam Kaviany act involving domestication, protection, care, and consumption as well as giving and returning that is performed by the one who brings forth, the one who produces, and the one who harvests and consumes. Different entities have different ways of interacting and communicating with one another by means of signs, substances, or ritual language/ songs. When humans intervene into the environment and enter the habitat of non-human beings, they establish contact with them. For sustaining and controlling these relations and interactions, various rules of behavior must be observed that include avoidance, fasting, taboos, respect, or ritual transformation. The ritual practices concerning the cocoa plant represent a symbolic system that codifies the dialectic relations between one’s own needs in contrast to obligations toward others (Bozzoli 1989, 41). Yet cocoa is not only a symbol that can signal generosity, closeness, openness, or distinction; it is also a vegetable substance that can generate exchange, affiliation, or avoidance between different entities. Its value exceeds a mere “representational and metaphoric” realm and it is considered a substance of “constitutive and literal” perspectivistic (Viveiros de Castro 1998, 474) and integrating significance. Appearances, identities, and relations are volatile and contextual rather than fixed and definite. The mythical time represents a parallel universe in terms of a “multiverse of coexisting worlds”, as Halbmayer (2012, 103, 105) notes for Carib-speaking Amerindians. As among Chibcha-speakers, in human-non-human interaction the borders between past, the time of darkness, and present blur. In rituals the present and mythical time coincide and humans establish contact with the mythical time, even identify with certain mythical beings and come close to other mythical beings, some of them dangerous. In contrast to Amazonian animism and perspectivism, among the Bribri transformation is primarily part of the mythical creation; it does not constitute a central element of the present time or dominate the whole ontological system. It does exist, but in the animistic sense of changing the bodily appearance it only concerns the former priests, the usékolpa who are not classified as normal Bribri people. Traditionally daily life is marked by ritual acts that regulate the coexistence of humans and non-humans, connect humans with their origin, and maintain the balance of the universe. A partly hierarchical social structure prevails, especially with regard to the superior position of the former priests. Thus communication with plant spirits and even more the ability to transform are, beyond the mythical past, restricted to particular individuals. Direct communication between humans and non-humans is reserved for powerful religious experts like the Awápa. This communication stabilizes the human-nature relation and constitutes the cosmos as a social field. In so-called transcendent or hierarchical animism, a reinterpreted type of what Descola calls “analogism”, spirit or power is “the integrator but also the differentiator – by degree rather than kind” and the body is only the physical expression of the differentiated spirit (Århem 2016, 26). The

Plant ontologies  297 composition of different energies or souls constitutes the physicality and the resulting perspective on the world among the Bribri as well. Moreover, “degree” also seems to matter: the former priests and the gods Sibö and Sula’ hold superior positions. Plant masters and medicinal plants, as well as the human shamans, are endowed with special power and plant spirits are mostly mentioned in connection with medicinal plants. Nevertheless, the Bribri rarely refer to a vertically graded cosmos or emphasize the “degree of power and agency” (2016a, 26) in this context. Besides, as I have elaborated with regard to shamanism, physicalities are not merely expressions of interior difference but also carriers of different capacities. Situating Bribri perspectivism within a broader context gives rise to interesting questions concerning Bribri ontology and highlights further contradictions to established categories. Sprenger distinguishes between “counter predation or counter sharing” in venatic animism and sacrifice in hierarchical animism with reference to a “principle of replacement”. Sacrificed animals replace humans in the interaction with spirits, and thus establish a hierarchy between human and non-human victims (2016, 34). Although the Bribri do not practice animal sacrifice,35in the past they used plants as replacement exchange goods in the context of hunting rituals in order to avoid counter-predation (Bozzoli 1992, 48). However, in contrast to the described phenomenon in hierarchical animism, this does not imply a hierarchy between humans and plants or an asymmetrical exchange (Howell 1996, 21), but, to the contrary, a symmetrical exchange, since particular plants are regarded as spiritually equivalent to particular animals. Likewise, the cocoa plant has more than symbolical value. Regarding the offering of cocoa as a “thing” (beverage) that stands for “persons” (Bribri) in ritual context, this gesture may be interpreted as “an inversion of predatory cannibalism” (Hugh-Jones 2013, 271–272), the offering of a body part (blood) rather than a “sacrificial substitute”. The Bribri cosmos is characterized by differentiation, hierarchy, and analogies as well as by equality and interior similarity. A concept of natural dispositions that make different bodies into expressions of interior differences, the idea of entities endowed with different powers and a complex system of analogies are evident. These go with the idea of (limited) transformation, an understanding of equality of all inhabitants of the cosmos to whom are attributed animation, agency, and intentionality and a universalist anthropomorphism as well as a specific perspectivism. On the one hand, the whole Bribri cosmos is pervaded by analogies and features of an analogistic ontology; on the other hand, key elements of an animistic ontology are also in evidence. It is neither about analogism nor animism in the classic sense of Descola, however. Important aspects of analogism and animism are absent or less distinct than, for example, in Mesoamerica, among the Chibcha-speaking Kogi, or in Amazonia. At the same time it must be noted that in this chapter the focus is on plants rather than animals.

298  Schabnam Kaviany

Conclusion Among the Bribri of Talamanca, aspects of different ontologies with regard to plants appear to coexist. Aspects of an animistic ontology are situated within a cosmic order characterized by elements of an analogistic logic. Plants are identified as human-like beings of human origin and humans are identified as originating from plants. The discontinuity between humans and plants is not of a hierarchical nature and dates back to a common origin. Unlike in prevailing ontological schemes, the concepts of interiority and physicality cannot be treated as completely separate. Even if a binary distinction between interiority and physicality is inappropriate, it is less about interior and physical discontinuity than about the continuity of interiority and physicality – a mode of identification that is not part of Descola’s concept at an all-inclusive scale. “In the only mode of identification with double continuity – totemism – this double continuity applies only within each totemic class and not across the totemic system as a whole” (Scott 2014, 15). Among the Bribri, by contrast, this double continuity concerns humans and plant-associated beings in general. The continuous reference to the time of origin and the ritual reconnection to the mythical past are central features that characterize Bribri identity and human-plant relations. The key aspect of transition in connection with substances like blood and cocoa, based on a multivalent logic, represents a striking aspect of Bribri culture. Patterns of interaction between humans and plant-associated non-humans show an agricultural logic that contradicts the ontological debate’s classical modes of predation and exchange: the Bribri ascribe a signification of giving and exchange to activities, such as planting, harvest, and consumption. Human-non-human relations are linked to the concept of a mutual owner/ master that corresponds to the ambivalent relation between cultivator and crop. Likewise, perspectivism is not mainly focused on animals and dominated by hunting symbolism but includes the equally important symbolism of vegetable food. The most striking feature of the Bribri plant ontology is a logic based on agriculture. This specific ontology defies established categories of Amerindian studies and challenges the existing understanding of indigenous cosmologies of the Isthmo–Colombian Area.

Notes 1 According to the law of 1977, Indigenous Territories are reserves located on the traditional lands of the legally recognized indigenous peoples of Costa Rica (cf. Schliemann 2012). 2 Field recordings, Kachabri. The following observations focus on concepts included in the Bribri concept of ‘tradition’. 3 Field recordings, Bajo Coén. 4 The Bribri use the Spanish word naturaleza (“nature”) for the whole environment, including humans. They also use it as synonym for (mother) earth. In the following I will use the term “nature” as analytical tool, conscious of the fact that its Western definition differs from that of the Bribri.

Plant ontologies  299 5 The doctrine of signatures, a principle that underlies a variety of traditional healing systems, states that the appearance of plants mirrors their medicinal purpose (cf. Müller-Jahncke 2005). 6 All quotes are translations from Spanish (in some cases from Birbri to Spanish first). 7 For the Bribri a human person is composed of four (García and Jaén 1996) to eight souls (Cervantes 1993, 214). One exterior soul circles the human body and protects it or, if it is “broken”, exposes it to disease. The soul of the bones is buried with the bones after death. One of the eyes, a person´s shadow, allows that person to see; it does not like the human world and tries to return to the underworld. The soul of the liver or the interior is part of the human body; it remains in the human world after death and is associated with emotions and wishes (García and Jara 2011, 250–251). 8 Clan members may also vary in their social status depending on their profession. 9 Among the Makuna, for example, the liberation of the respective soul is required before the consumption of plants or animals in order to avoid counterdestruction (cf. Århem 1996).

20 Although sharing as defined by Widlok (2017) is also an important component of Bribri modes of interaction, in this context “shared” is defined in terms of reciprocity. 22 If they consume prohibited food, they may become ill, i.e. the spiritual beings consume their blood. 24 Field recordings, Kachabri.

26 Sg. = Awá, pl. = Awápa. 28 Field recordings, Amubri.

300  Schabnam Kaviany 30 Field recordings, Amubri.

34 Field recordings, BajoCoén.

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Plant ontologies  301 Daly, Lewis. 2015. “What Kind of People Are Plants? The Challenges of Researching Human-Plant Relations in Amazonian Guyana.” Accessed 05.03.2018. www. Descola, Philippe. 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Fausto, Carlos. 2008. “Too Many Owners: Mastery and Ownership in Amazonia.” Mana, Rio de Janeiro 14 (2): 329–366. Fernández, León. 1976. “Colección de documentos para la historia de costa rica, Volumen II: Encomiendas y Reducciones, Indios no sometidos, Matina.” In Constenla Umaña 2006, 78. Editorial de Costa Rica. San José. Ferreto, Adela. ed. 1982. La creación de la tierra y otras historias del buen Sibú y de los bribris. San José: Editorial Universidad Estatal a Distancia. Fischer, Manuela. 2009. “Der lange Weg der Masken durch Raum und Zeit. Deutsche Blicke auf Lateinamerika – Miradas alemanas hacia América Latina.” Ausstellung und Themenportal des Ibero-Amerikanischen Instituts, Berlin. Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Berlin und Auswärtiges Amt. Accessed 01.03.2018. García Segura, Alí and Alejandro Jaén.1996. Ies Sa’ Yilite: Los ojos del alma. San José: Centro Cultural Español/ Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional. González Cháves, Alfredo and Fernando González Vásquez. 1989. La casa cósmica talamanqueña y sus simbolismos. San José: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Guevara, Marcos. 1988. “Ética del cazador y tabúes alimenticios entre los talamancas.” Vínculos. Revista de Antropología del Museo Nacional de Costa Rica 14: 7–15. Halbmayer, Ernst. 1999. “Nahrung und Sexualität als Kommunikationsmedien des Identischen, des Sozialisierten und des Wilden bei den Yukpa NordwestVenezuelas.” In Von der realen Magie zum Magischen Realismus, edited by Elke Mader and Maria Dabringer, 67–90. In ¡atención! Jahrbuch des Österreichischen Lateinamerika Institutes. Frankfurt/Main: Brandes und Apsel. Halbmayer, Ernst. 2012. “Amerindian Mereology: Animism, Analogy, and the Multiverse.” Indiana 2012 (29): 103–125. Harvey, Graham. 2006. Animism: Respecting the Living World. New York: Columbia University Press. Howell, S. 1996. “Introduction.” In For the Sake of Our Future: Sacrificing in Eastern Indonesia, edited by S. Howell, 1–26. Leiden: Research School CNWS. Hugh-Jones. 2013. “Bride-Service and the Absent Gift.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19 (2): 356–377. INEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Census). 2013. Censo nacional de población y VI de vivienda: territorios Indígenas. Costa Rica: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Census. Ingold, Tim. 2011. Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. London: Routledge. Jara Murillo, Carla Victoria and Alí García Segura. 2008. Cargos Tradicionales del Pueblo Bribri: Sĩõ’tãmĩ – Óköm – Awá. San José, Costa Rica: ICE. Jara Murillo, Carla Victoria and Alí García Segura. 2011. Diccionario de mitología bribri. San José: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica. Krohn, Haakon Stensrud. 2014. “Semántica de los clasificadores numerales en el bribri de Coroma.” Estudios de Lingüística Chibcha 33: 209–239.

302  Schabnam Kaviany Margery Peña, Enrique. 1982. Diccionario fraseológico bribri–español español– bribri. San José, Costa Rica: Editorial de la Universidad de Costa Rica. Müller-Jahncke, Wolf-Dieter. 2005. “Signaturenlehre.” In Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte, edited by Werner E. Gerabek et al., 1331. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter. Otaegui, Alfonso Manuel. 2008. “Comparación de sistemas analogistas mesoamericanos y animistas del noroeste amazónico.” Anthropologica, año XXVI, 26: 143–172. Posas, Paula. 2013. “Shocks and Bribri Agriculture Past and Present.” Journal of Ecological Anthropology 16 (1): 43–60. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1996. The Forest Within. The World-View of the Tukano Amazonian Indians. Dartington (UK): Themis Books. Rival, Laura. 2016. “Botanical Ontologies.” Journal of Ethnobiology 36 (1): 147–149. Rojas Conejo, Daniel. 2007. Indigene Kulturidentität im Spannungsfeld zwischen Tradition und Moderne: der Fall des Bribri-Volkes in Costa Rica. Marburg: Curupira (Curupira, 23). Sault, Nicole. 2010. “Bird Messengers for All Seasons: Landscapes of Knowledge among the Bribri of Costa Rica.” In Ethno-ornithology: Peoples, Culture and Society, edited by S. Tidemannand and A. Gosler, 291–300. London: Earthscan. Schliemann, Christian. 2012. “La autonomía de los pueblos indígenas de Costa Rica una contrastación del estándar internacional con la legislación nacional y su implementación.” Revista Latinoamericana de Derechos Humanos 23 (1): 145–185. Scott, Michael W. 2014. “Book Review: Anthropological Cosmochemistry.” Anthropology of this Century (11). Accessed 12.05.2018. anthropological-cosmochemistry/. Sprenger, Guido. 2016. “Dimensions of Animism in Southeast Asia.” In Animism in South East Asia, edited by Kaj Århem and Guido Sprenger, 31–51. Abingdon, New York: Routledge. Stone, Doris. 1961. Las tribus talamanqueñas de Costa Rica. San José: Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. Súarez Garces, G. O. 1983. “Estructura de Poder en la communidad de Amubri, Talamanca”. América Indígena 43 (1): 25–37. Turner, Victor. 1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago, IL: Aldine. UNESCO. 2014. “World Network of Biospheres.” Accessed 05.01.2017. http://whc. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo B. 1998. “Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism.” Journal of the Royal anthropological Institute (N.S.) 4 (3): 469–488. Widlok, Thomas. 2017. Anthropology and the Economy of Sharing. New York: Routledge. Zent, Egleé L. 2009. “We Come From Trees: The Poetics of Plants among the Jotï of the Venezuelan Guayana.” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 3 (1): 9–35.

12 The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship among the Wayuu Alessandro Mancuso

Introduction In this chapter, I explore the place of livestock in the concepts and practices regarding the human-non-human relationship among the Wayuu who live on the Guajira Peninsula, at the northern border between Colombia and Venezuela. Several Lowland South American indigenous peoples, especially in the Gran Chaco and the Chilean and Argentinean pampas, adopted the raising of horses and donkeys for transport and military purposes in the colonial period (Combés et al. 2009; Mitchell 2015; Renshaw 2002; Schindler 1985). However, the Wayuu are, like the Mapuche, one of the very few groups that also adopted the breeding of livestock, sheep, and goats1 under conditions of territorial and political autonomy. Before 1980, the Wayuu – the name means “human person” or “human people”2 – were known in the ethnographic literature as Guajiros or Goajiros. The term Guajiro is probably derived from the Hispanicization of words that in some Northern Arawak languages refer to persons of high status (Jahn 1927). Indeed, in wayuunaiki, an Arawak language itself, washirü (pl.: washinnu) means “of high status, rich”. The Wayuu who live in a rural environment consider washinnu the owners of large herds of livestock. These people are said to be kojutshii, that is, “of high value” and opposed to mojutshii wayuu, that is, poor people, literally “without value” (ojutü: “value”). As mojutshii are considered those who do not own livestock or whose herds consist only of a few goats and sheep. Similarly, the Wayuu called apalaanshii, “those who live near the sea”, who mainly support themselves by fishing, are generally considered mojutshii (Guerra Curvelo 1990, 2015). In rural areas, livestock still marks the social status of the owner and of his/her family. It forms the most important part of bridewealth and compensation payments that are delivered in order to resolve blood feuds (which are still common) and other disputes over offences, injuries, and homicides. Moreover, the offering and butchering of livestock occupy a highly important place in funeral ceremonies. Even in shamanic healing rituals for illness

304  Alessandro Mancuso caused by wanülüü, a spirit predator that attacks humans or by yolujaa, a ghost of a dead, at least one animal is requested as remuneration (and as recompensation for his/her spirit helpers) by the shaman. Rather than speaking of the rural Wayuu as a “pastoral” people, Saler (1988, 44) refers to their “pastoral propensity” that has manifested itself above all in the complex of values, symbols, and social meanings attached to livestock and its ownership. This is not to say that livestock husbandry is not economically relevant for many Wayuu. Among close relatives, however, livestock husbandry represents just one of several subsistence strategies for obtaining cash, besides temporary or permanent salaried labor, for example. Cattle herds represent first of all a capital reserve on which to fall back on at specific occasions such as bridewealth and dispute payments, as well as burial ceremonies. They may also be used to compensate for the lack of cash to buy foodstuffs or meet other expenses. In spite of the changes introduced by the presence of extractive mega-companies and state institutions, the situation today is still similar to that described by Saler. According to Perrin (1996, 14; see also 1987, 12) this “pastoral propensity” coexists, notwithstanding the almost total disappearance of hunting activities (but not of fishing) and of game species, with a “hunters’ ideology” that pervades important aspects of Wayuu cosmology and ethos. This ideology can be detected, for example, in the ways of conceiving the relationship between the hunter or fisher and Pulowi, the mistress of all non- domesticated beings and places, or in the hunting imagery of oral narratives about meetings with superhuman beings and in shamanism. At the same time, the relations between Pulowi and non-domesticated animals are very often represented in terms of the latter being the livestock of the former, according to a perspectivist configuration that is often found among people of North and Southeast Asia, where hunting and herding coexist (Århem and Sprenger 2016; Broz 2007). In several publications Perrin (1987, 1988, 1996) devotes special attention to how both livestock and “white” foreigners (alijuna) were incorporated into the Wayuu’s conception of the world, preserving the symbolic logic of “mythical thought” that is structured by binary oppositions which, he argues, are synthetically expressed in the cosmology by a “superhuman” couple, married to each other but in perennial conflict. These beings are the hyper-feminine Pulowi, associated with the otherworld of wildness and death, and the hyper-masculine Juya, “Rain”, seen as the “father” or “grandfather” of the Wayuu, whom he provides with wealth and well-being by means of the rain necessary for the growth of domesticated plants and pastures. Although both are considered to have a fundamental influence on people’s existence and ritual life is organized according to the symbolic equivalences and oppositions condensed by their coupling, no cult, sacrifice, or prayer are directly addressed to them (Perrin 1996, 203). Through a rereading of the ethnographic literature and my own field research3 on the offerings of livestock and the conceptualization of

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  305 relationships between human and non-human beings, my aim is to consider Wayuu cosmology and sociality from the angle of the current debate on ontological typologies.

Livestock husbandry, ontological types, and their correlates Hunting and herding have recently been explored as modes of relating to non-human animals associated with different ontological concepts and/or ethical values that shape wider relational fields in the sociality of people. Ingold (2000) has phrased the difference as one between the preponderance of humans’ dispositions of “trust” (which does not exclude uncertainty and anxiety in face of the behavior of others) in engagement with animals and the establishing of relationships of “domination” concerning both humans and animals.4 Starting from Viveiros de Castro’s theory of “Amerindian perspectivism” that is related to a “metaphysics of predation” (2014, 2015) which encompasses hunting, some scholars have developed the concept of “transcendental perspectivism” (Holbraad and Willerslev 2007, see also Brightman et al. 2012) to explore human-non-human relationships among peoples of Northern and Inner Asia where herding coexists with or has supplanted hunting. These peoples are presented in terms of the transformation of the immanent and “horizontal” character of “Amerindian perspectivism”, which would account for the frequent hierarchical ordering of both beings and “perspectives” in their cosmologies. Similarly, Broz (2007), referring to Altaian people, speaks of a “pastoral perspectivism” in which perspectivist configurations are not tied to the positional dialectics of prey/predator but to the relationships between livestock and its owner. Noticing the peculiarity of the Wayuu and the Mapuche in indigenous Lowland South America, Descola (2001, 113; 2013, 428) has argued that the adoption of livestock fueled broader processes of change that brought their “socio-cosmologies” to diverge from “standard” Amazonian “animist” indigenous models. Whereas in Amazonian societies animals are considered persons endowed with subjectivity that form social collectives, the adoption of livestock husbandry established “an entirely novel way of objectifying animals, no longer as persons and collective subjects of a social relationship but as mere signifiers of social status and detachable objects of generalized exchange” (Descola 2001, 113). While animism involves “homosubstitution”, that is, a mode of exchange where only a human is a possible equivalent for another human, in indigenous Lowland South America only among the Wayuu and the Mapuche we find “hetero-substitution”, that is, a mode where non-humans can replace humans (e.g. as in bridewealth and homicide compensation payments).5 Both “hetero-substitution” and livestock breeding are, in turn, incompatible with animism and correlate rather with an analogist ontology. In fact, for Descola, “hetero-substitution” presupposes that what is given as a replacement for a human is one “detachable” component of his/her identity.

306  Alessandro Mancuso This would be impossible in animism, where both animal and human persons have “compact”, that is, non-decomposable subjectivities and bodily substances (Descola 2014a, 264). His theory views “sacrifice” as a particular case of “hetero-substitution”, relating its operations of construction and/or dissolving metonymic contiguity between separate terms to latter’s complex and differential compositeness (Descola 2013, 230–231). Incompatibility between livestock raising and animism results from the fact that the former involves human protection over animals and human control over their reproduction, that is “modes of relations” which do not permit reversibility in linking the terms. Such reversibility is rather shared by those modes of relation that are compatible with animism, inasmuch as their terms are equivalent with regard to their subjectivity (ibid., 333–334). However, Descola argues that even in indigenous Amazonia the relations among wild animals and their non-human masters are often conceived as if the latter were not only the protectors but also the breeders of the former and would manage their reproduction. In short, even in this area, where before the intensification of contacts with the nonindigenous world no animal species was raised with the aim to control its reproduction, the relationship between game animals and their masters is seen as a kind of homological prefiguration of that between livestock and its human owner.6 In Beyond Nature and Culture, Descola focuses on reindeer among North Asian groups, arguing that in this area the process of domestication went along with an extension of a previously peripheral schema of protection and with a gradual transformation from an animist regime that is found among hunting-gathering populations to a more or less pronounced analogism that can be found among herders. With reference to the adoption of horse and cattle raising among the Exirit-Bulagat, Descola argues that it coincided with “the establishment of a vertical relationship of protective domination – of humans over domesticated animals, human ancestors over their descendants, and a mythical begetter of the tribe over both its members and its herds” (ibid., 373). The Exirit-Bulagat can be thus considered a case of protective analogism, in which protection encompasses both predation (between humans and butchered livestock) and gift (the offering of butchered animals by humans to the divinities) (ibid., 329). Descola’s approach, like that of Ingold, had to confront the problem that “a wide range of human/animal relationships is included, at least by some, under the rubric of domestication” (Russell 2007, 30),7 as well as with the complexities of causal directionality in the change of “socio-cosmologies” (Fausto 2012a).8 However, the most controversial questions concern the extent to which an ontological mode (Descola, Viveiros de Castro) or way of “living with” animals (Ingold) is either compatible or incompatible with other kinds of sociopolitical organization, ethical dispositions and values, ritual practices, and cosmological ideas. Concerning the relationship between livestock husbandry, ontological regimes, and their correlates one may ask: is

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  307 “hetero-substitution” in all cases precluded by an animist ontology? Does livestock husbandry always correlate with analogist ontologies, whereas it is incompatible with animist ontologies? How are segmentary and/or hierarchical features of sociopolitical organization related to livestock husbandry? Do the differences between hunting and pastoral shamanism go hand in hand with differences in the ontological and ethical principles of the human-non-human relationship? Is shamanism among herders and pastoralists a residue or survival of an animist ontology which lost its dominance? Or are shamanism and ideas of sacrifice concepts that need to be revised once considered against the background of new ontological theories? Questions of this kind evidently concern not only the contours of ontological types but also their theoretical or “ontological” consistency. Recent studies on Siberian and Southeast Asian herding societies have suggested that their cosmologies and views on the human-non-human relationship are variations of an animist typology. They call for a refinement and an adjustment of Descola’s “ontological grid”, as well as of Viveiros de Castro’s characterization of “perspectivism” (Århem and Sprenger 2016; Brightman et al. 2012). In these studies, “hetero-substitution”, “sacrifice”, hierarchical ordering, and power of different kinds of beings are not always incompatible with “socio-cosmologies” of an animist kind. Århem (2016a, see also 2016b) has offered what is probably the most sophisticated attempt of this kind. He suggests that the cosmologies of South Asian peoples show variation along a continuum that ranges from “standard” and “venatic” animism, with “horizontal” features similar to those common in indigenous Amazonia, to “incipient analogism”. This continuum correlates with forms of sociopolitical organization and economic activities that range from equalitarian hunter-gatherers to chiefdoms or proto-states with ranked hereditary “classes” or “castes”. However, most societies of this area are placed in an intermediate position, approximating to the sociopolitical type of a “moderately ranked segmentary community” (2016a, 16–17) with limited status differences between households and lineages and a village economy that combines rice farming and animal husbandry. Århem considers the “prototypical cosmology” of these “hill-tribe” societies to be a form of “hierarchical animism” insofar it features an elementary form of the institutional complex that Descola holds to be diagnostic of analogism – ancestor worship, spirit possession, priesthood, and sacrifice – but lacks formal features constitutive of the analogical ontology – the idea of a fractured world that is reflected in a fragmented and unstable subject and held together by a dense web of stipulated analogies. Instead, Southeast Asian cosmologies tend to posit a universalized subjectivity, differentiated by degree and linking the existing beings in an asymmetric, hierarchical field of intersubjectivity which I, following Sahlins (2014), refer to as hierarchical animism. (ibid., 15–16)

308  Alessandro Mancuso According to Århem, an outstanding feature of hill-tribe cosmology is the proliferation of spirits – nature spirits, ancestors and ghosts of all kinds […]. This hierarchy is articulated in the idiom of sacrificing: humans sacrifice livestock (and in the past human heads and/or blood) to ancestors and superior spirits including the Owners of Land, Forest and Water. Wild animals, on their part, are often themselves regarded as the ‘domestic animals’ of the forest spirits (personified as Master and/or Keepers of Animals). (ibid., 19) Århem’s proposal shows that ontological typologies as those of Descola, if not rigidly reified, can provide useful heuristics in the selection of the features to be compared, for checking the variance of some correlations and also for noticing what has not been taken into account while it should have. Even if it is undeniable that comparing Wayuu with herders’ populations of Northern and Central Asia and even with the “hill-tribes” of Southeast Asia (where farming, unlike among the Wayuu, plays an important economic role) may be hazardous, it could be interesting to use Århem’s characterization as an analytical backdrop, along with “prototypical animism” as characterized by Descola (2013), for exploring the Wayuu case, particularly concerning the question how livestock is implicated in their “sociocosmology”. My intention is not to place Wayuu cosmology in an existing ontological “box”, however, but rather to point to some of its resemblances and differences with regard to “standard” models both in lowland South America and Northern and Central as well as Southeast Asia.9

The adoption, spread, and crisis of livestock husbandry in historical perspective At the Europeans’ arrival in the Guajira Peninsula in the first half of 16th century, local indigenous groups supported themselves by a mixed economy of hunting-gathering, fishing, and some horticulture. In the semiarid environment of the peninsula horticulture is only possible in certain areas and strongly dependent on rainfall. Livestock was introduced to the region in the middle of the 16th century (Cei 1992; Picon 1983; Polo Acuña 2013) in order to promote the settlement of European colonists. After the founding of the town of Riohacha, however, colonization did not extend into the peninsula due to the scarcity of water and the failure to “pacify” the indigenous population. Military campaigns organized during the 1760s and 1770s to stop the indigenous contraband trade between the peninsula and the Antilles with foreign (Dutch, English, French) traders failed. While colonial presence and control of the land did not advance, the natives began to appropriate livestock (cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats) by

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  309 either capturing the so-called cimarrones (the Wayuu say: simaluna) animals that had escaped and returned to wild life or by raiding and exchanging with the colonists’ settlements. As pearls collecting and trading, livestock husbandry became an activity that, on the peninsula, was managed exclusively by the indigenous population. The spread of pastoralism among the Wayuu/ Guajiros was probably a gradual process that initially concerned the groups settled near Riohacha and of Lower Río Ranchería and only later expanded to suitable zones of the Alta Guajira. Among the Cocinas (Spanish rendering for the indigenous term kusi’na), settled in the eastern part of the peninsula, livestock raising never diffused. Ethnographers and historians (Perrin 1996; Polo Acuña 2013; Saler 1988) generally assume that Cocinas were part of the indigenous ancestors of the Wayuu. Due to game depletion caused by ecological changes introduced by the diffusion of livestock and disadvantaged in comparison to indigenous herders with access to European traders, Cocinas faced increasing insecurity that reinforced raiding and pillaging among them. The consequences were a growing exposure to retaliation by the Guajiros-Wayuu, as well as by the Spanish and, later, Venezuelan and Colombian militias. Captured Cocinas were frequently sold as slaves to the Antilles. Confined to areas that became more and more restricted and poor in water and food sources, by the beginning of the 20th century Cocinas were considered either extinct or assimilated by the Wayuu/Guajiros (Gutiérrez de Pineda 1950). Livestock husbandry reached its peak between 1750 and 1900, with herds of hundreds of animals owned by the so-called capitanes or caciques, each controlling a certain parcialidad, an indigenous group associated with a clearly defined territory. The most powerful chiefs were said to be able to command up to several hundred kin, allies, and dependents of various kinds (including servants and slaves) that could be mobilized in case of war. These chiefs traded large numbers of livestock with foreigners coming from the Antilles. Throughout the 20th century, massive changes in the ecological and political- economic conditions, accompanied by exponential demographical growth of the indigenous and non-indigenous population of the peninsula, caused an economic slump and a fragmentation in the sociopolitical organization linked to livestock husbandry.10 The most apparent effects were a radical decrease in the number of cattle and horses and the size of the herds; the reduction of seasonal migrations; a strong push toward migration from Alta Guajira to the Maracaibo region and the southern border of the peninsula; the disappearance of the big indigenous livestock owners that led to the restructuration of sociopolitical hierarchies among the indigenous population. Until the early 20th century all members of a uterine kin group defeated in a war who had not been killed or had definitely fled away from their homeland (nuumain) were captured and distributed among the winners or sold as slaves to indigenous and non-indigenous people, in the latter case to be exported.11 Women were sometimes incorporated into the group as

310  Alessandro Mancuso concubines of their masters. Eighteenth-century sources also report the purchase and owning of African slaves by Guajiro’s caciques (Polo Acuña 2013; Saler 1988). The Wayuu have two terms that can refer both to “slave” and “servant”. The first is achepchia, which may be related to tepichi, “little child”.12 The second, clearly of Spanish origin, is piuna. Serfdom, involving dependent labor and military services, was deemed a milder form of mastery than slavery. Serfdom could result from a number of circumstances like compensation for an offence that could not be paid otherwise, the voluntary selling of a person by his/her own relatives in case of strong economic need, or the establishment of a patron-servant relationship between two uterine kin groups in which the weaker received food, protection, and shelter in the patrons’ territory and, over time, a few animals in exchange for its services. This relationship could evolve within two or three generations into a less hierarchical one, especially if marriages occurred between the two groups, although their different origins were never forgotten and could be recalled in case of a dispute. Several times the final outcome was the adoption of the client group by the patrons, thus changing the master-servant relationship to one of nurturing (epija).13 The decline of the pastoral economy in first half of 20th century marked an increase in internal warfare and an exponential growth of Wayuu slave-trafficking to the growing plantation economy of Venezuela (Cháves 1953; Gutiérrez de Pineda 1950; Rivera 1991; Vázquez and Correa 1986). A Colombian official report of 1929 estimated the number of Wayuu slaves working in Venezuela’s haciendas at 17,000 (Viloria de la Hoz 2013, 41). The slave traffic relied not only on selling captives from defeated groups but also on organized raids by non-indigenous traffickers. Several factors, such as missionaries’ denunciations, the increased vigilance by Colombian authorities, the crisis of the labor organization linked to the managing of large herds, and the establishment of an alternative labor market in the Maracaibo region and in the salt mines of Manaure, brought all forms of slavery to an end by the 1950s.

Reciprocity, hierarchy, and symbolic equivalences in compensation payments As mentioned earlier, bridewealth ( pau’na) and dispute (kasaichiki) payments are, like burial (ojoita: “to bury”) ceremonies, social circumstances in which livestock transfer plays a key role. In bridewealth and dispute payments, the amount of goods (livestock and jewelry, nowadays often accompanied or entirely substituted by cash) is highly variable, depending on – and, in turn, (re-)defining – the parts’ social “value” (ojutü) (Saler 1986). In these transactions, strong emphasis is placed on the hierarchical differences between individuals as well as groups within Wayuu society.

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  311 At the same time, reciprocal obligations are highly important. Large kin networks participate in contributing to and benefiting from bridewealth, dispute payments, and livestock offerings in the funeral ceremonies. The implicit understanding is that one who provides “collaboration” (ounuwawa) today will receive contribution tomorrow. Reciprocity networks link on a first level the apüshii, a term that in the singular also means “to be part, to be tied” and mainly refers to uterine kin. These networks also concern other categories of relatives (kasa anain) as the father (ashi), the achonni (one man’s children), the oupayu, “one’s father uterin kin”, the atushii, “one’s grandfather uterine kin”, and the kerraü (spouse); in some cases, they also include “friends” (atunajutüshii). As livestock is individually owned, the owner is thus constantly required to give away animals in order to honor the chains of reciprocity that he/ she is part of. Twentieth-century ethnographers have debated what rules determine which categories of kin have the right to receive bridewealth or to inherit livestock and the duty to cover the expenses of primary and secondary burial ceremonies. In effect, as Saler (1988) notes, the identity of the people who benefit or are required to give largely depends on the respective particular history of reciprocal exchange among kin. Disputes arising from a violent death involve mainly the victim’s and the perpetrator’s uterine kin, especially in the case of a feud (pasalawa). Both groups may gather allies to support them in the conflict. When the parties come to an agreement, the biggest part of the compensation payment, called “for the person’s flesh” (shi’ruku wayuu) or “for the person’s value” (sujutü wayuu), is received by the victim’s apüshii, while a smaller part, called “for the tears” (süwüira) or “for the blood” (ishoupuna), is often separately delivered to the father, the oupayu, and the achonni. If allies had been involved, part of the payments is shared with them. The principle that uterine bonds are the strongest is linked to several concepts. Flesh (e’iruku) constitutes, together with blood (asha, isha) and bones ( jiipü), the physical body of every living being, human and animal, and is considered its more “substantial” component that is mainly effected by the mother in the process of procreation. Each person bears an indigenous family name which is called his/her e’iruku name. People who share the same name of e’iruku are believed to have corresponded in some distant past to a matrilineal descent group. Today the recognition of uterine kinship between people sharing the same e’iruku name has to concur with tracing a terminological relationship and affiliation to the same shiki, “territory of origin”, between their grandmothers. According to Saler (1974) and Guerra Curvelo (2002, 181, 270) the livestock delivered as compensation payment for a homicide must not be eaten by the victim’s (asirü, a term which also refers to the killed prey) uterine kin. In the case of a dispute or injury, the injured neither eats from or participates in the sharing of the animals delivered to his/her relatives as compensation. If he did, he could fall ill or be again the target of violence.

312  Alessandro Mancuso Some  ethnographers (Gutiérrez de Pineda 1950; Saler 1974) have suggested that this would be considered like drinking one’s own blood. As Goulet (1982, 350) stresses, such a statement is never made explicitly and the equivalence is deemed only partial. Livestock remains a symbolic substitution for the loss of human blood and human life that is not reversible, as Descola (2013) puts it. As Goulet (1982) notes, even in dreams domestic species generally “stand for” living human beings, whereas the reverse interpretation is very uncommon. Livestock represents humans also in terms of status, sex, and age differences (Perrin 2001, 65). Thus a horse generally represents a rich man, while a donkey a poor one; a cow stands for a woman, while a calf or a foal for a young person. The symbolic equivalence between humans and domestic animals is thus clearly partial. Like an “extension” of the identity of the human person (Århem 2016a), domestic animals represent him/her synecdochally. It is worth noting that, notwithstanding the decline of hunting activities, symbolic equivalences between non-domesticated animal species and humans show greater margins of reversibility between the terms. Perrin (1990, 90) reports that dreaming a group of walking girls is deemed to announce a good hunt and notes the relationship between this interpretation and traditional narratives about hunting in which game assumes, in the eyes of the hunter, a human appearance. Moreover, dreams which deal with seduction by a beautiful woman are interpreted as visits by Pulowi, the mistress of wild animals. On the other hand, the dream of an animal “totemically” associated to a specific e’iruku grouping is interpreted as referred to a human member of that e’iruku grouping.

Livestock offerings and funeral rituals The Wayuu practice two funeral rituals. The first takes place immediately after death; the second some years later, when the bones are dug up, cleaned, collected, and buried in the cemetery of the dead’s uterine kin.14 During both funerals and especially in the second one, animals owned by the deceased and his/her closest kin are slaughtered and offered to the mourners, thereby displaying the deceased’s status and confirming reciprocal relationships. The number of mourners as well as the quantity and species (e.g. cows rather than goats) of the offered livestock show the status of the deceased and his/her close relatives. The livestock is offered as compensation for the mourners “pain and tears”. When living animals are offered, it is expected that they will be butchered and eaten soon afterward. Livestock is killed in order to permit the animals to join the owner in the realm of the dead, called Jepira, where both of them live as ghosts (yolujaa).15 The guests receive the fleshy parts (e’iruku) of the slaughtered animals that are consumed as meat (asalaa), while their aa’in travels to the otherworld along with the aa’in of the dead (Goulet 1982, 285–286).

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  313 Aa’in can be generally translated as “soul”, as the immaterial aspect of a person that leaves the body during dreams, illnesses, and, ultimately, with death. The dead are not human people (wayuu) anymore; they are yolujaa, that is, “specters”, even if they look like people and the otherworld and life in it are not dissimilar from those of living people. In some sense aa’in, as immaterial semblance, is the feature of personal identity that yolujaa retain. However, when asked if “specters” have or are aa’in, many people have trouble answering, inasmuch it is conceived as what animates the body of living beings but which can survive only for a limited time once separated from these. According to Perrin (1996), after a certain time the yolujaa die – they transform themselves either into wanülüu, spirits that hunt living humans, or into rain, and lose the remaining features of the living person’s identity that they had maintained until that moment. Although the notion of a correspondence between the system of double burials and the belief in a “second” death affecting the specters seems intriguing, this idea is not found among today’s Wayuu. What yolujaa and wanülüu have in common is that meeting them is considered to cause severe illnesses that may quickly lead to death. If, as Århem has described for Southeast Asian “hill-tribes”, among the Wayuu livestock can also be considered as “an external, socially achieved ‘body’ – the bodily cover of the inner person, […] the object-aspect of the owner’s personal and social self […and] body” (2016a, 24, 284) – butchered animals are seen as an extension of the self’s ghost. The butchering apparently means that a person’s properties must follow him/her to the world of the dead, so all become separated from the world of living beings. Goulet (1982, 280–286, 343–351) reports that if the dead’s livestock is not slaughtered, the yolujaa would take vengeance upon close relatives for having been ill-treated. While regretting that this custom is vanishing, people say the dead’s close relatives (but also simply close neighbors) must not eat the animals offered in the funeral banquet, not only because they must fast in order to show their sadness but also because “it is as if they were eating the departed” (my fieldnotes; see also Pineda Giraldo 1950, 47). Some people add that eating from the butchered livestock is pulasü or kapulainsü, that is, a dangerous and contaminating act that may cause illness and even death. The taboo for close relatives against eating the butchered animals seems to imply the assimilation of the latter to the dead, inasmuch as both have become “dead” flesh, and the reinforcement of the disjuncture between the living beings and their deceased kin, who, in the case of uterine kin, shared with them the same flesh (e’iruku) when alive. In the period following the death of the person, ghosts like to visit their close relatives, especially in dreams. Sometimes, the yolujaa ask for meat because they feel hungry. At other times, however, dreaming of a dead relative is interpreted as showing his/her desire to rejoin the living family and lure some of its members to the otherworld, thus causing illness and death.

314  Alessandro Mancuso To prevent this from happening, an animal must be butchered; the meat is eaten by the ghost’s relatives, but the entrails are left for the spirit, even if both Perrin (1996, 179–180) and Goulet (1982, 350–351) report anecdotes, told as real facts, in which the yolujaa took the meat that was left overnight in a pot outside the house. In the first case the butchered animal is thus what the ghost actually demanded, whereas in the second case it is the substitute for a human life. Yet also in the first case, people are afraid that the ghost may take a human life if the request is not met. As Saler (1988, 124), notes, Wayuu mourn and at the same time fear their deceased relatives.

Shamanic healing The theme of a living person traveling to the world of dead where he meets with the yolujaa of known relatives and unknown people (Perrin 1996) is widespread among the Wayuu. The story is told both as a traditional tale and as a personal experience from a nightmare, a severe illness, or drunkenness. A common motif is the offer of food by “otherworldly” beings that the living person in most versions refuses as it is not “really” food for human people. Had he consumed the food, he would surely have passed to the “otherworld”. Today the terms yolujaa and wanulüü are often used interchangeably, probably because both are considered the cause of illnesses that can cause a quick death. When used as a synonym for wanülüü, yolujaa are seen as unknown specters, not as dead relatives. Meeting a wanulüü is generally considered to have worse effects, in particular severe hemorrhages. It is said that wanulüü are hunters of humans and see the Wayuu as deer. Wanulüü may be seen as a species of animal (not necessarily a predatory species), but more often as hunters or alijuna. This term, literally meaning “that what brings pain” (ali: “pain, suffering”; -juna: a suffix expressing movement toward something) according to some Wayuu, designates all non-indigenous people. In colonial times alijuna entered the world of the Wayuu in ambivalent roles and, as Perrin (1996) states, they are generally associated with the world of the dead and of predator spirits. In narratives wanulüü are nevertheless sometimes killed by the person they attack. In this case they transform into a wild animal, generally a big snake or centipede or a vulture, but also a dog or fox. They may also become auxiliary spirits (aseyuu, “installed”, or aajuna, “that what stays just above something”) of the shamans (outshii). The latter are people who were attacked by a wanulüü but survived and established an intimate relation with them. Sometimes the shaman’s auxiliaries are called “good” (anashii) wanulüü in distinction from the “fierce” wanulüü that cause illness. Each shaman “knows” the personal names of his/her auxiliaries. Some of them can be identified with dead relatives; thus in these cases wanulüü tend to coincide with yolujaa. As each shaman is able to gather several auxiliary

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  315 spirits, however, they are generally highly diverse: they may be “superhuman” beings from cosmological tales, wanulüü whose personal identity is known only by their “partner”, or “foreign” spirits. Animals are very rarely included, but some shamans mention Pulowi, the mistress of wild animals. As Perrin (2001) notes, the majority of shamans are women. Often the partnership between the shamans and their auxiliaries is represented with definite sexual implications, but this feature does not concern those auxiliaries identified with dead relatives. Shamans are generally subject to alimentary and sexual restrictions. Outshii are specifically charged with curing illnesses caused by a wanulüü or a yolujaa. These illnesses involve not only the intrusion of an object causing pain into the body but also the abduction of the “soul” to the “otherworld”. Through the combination of several techniques (rubs and suckling of the sore part, chewing and spitting tobacco on the patient, evoking auxiliary spirits through singing and shaking maraca), outshii work to extract the pathogenic object from the body and to recover the soul bringing it back in its ordinary seat. For the search and recovery of the lost soul, the mediation of the auxiliary spirits is deemed absolutely essential. The shaman gathers them in his/her “opened” body to permit his/her aa’in to follow them to the otherworld. Sometimes the auxiliaries are called mekerui, a term that refers to a herder searching for his scattered animals. People say that at a certain point during the shaman’s singing it is as if the voices of the auxiliary spirits were superimposed on his/her voice. There are also “diviners” (oulakui) among the Wayuu who are consulted especially in case of a conflict or fight or concerning the choice of the site to build a house. Sometimes the same person can act both as diviner and healing shaman. Even the diviner is able to gather auxiliary spirits that help him/her in the “reading” of a burnt cigar made from koushot (Cordia alba) or tobacco, but people say that only outshii are able to “sing (to) spirits”. Moreover, in each group of close kin there is at least one person who owns a lania, an amulet made from dried and chopped “secret” plants, whose “spirit” (yolujaa) can speak to and protect the owner. The lania also reveals “what is good for” being brave in war, attacking enemies or dodging their arrows in a fight, for making friends, or multiplying its owner’s livestock. However, in order to maintain its effectiveness over time, the amulet needs to be ritually “recharged” and for this a goat must be slaughtered. Its blood is used to wet the lania, but the owner must abstain from eating the meat. A payment that generally includes at least one animal besides other selected items is always demanded by the healing shaman or the diviner. The payment compensates not only for the help of the auxiliary spirits but also the predatory wanulüü for the release of a human life. In this case, the ritual specialist also takes the flesh of the animal, whereas its “soul” is offered to the spirits. It is said that non-compliance or only partial compliance with the request may cause the death not only of the patient and his/her close relatives but also of the ritual specialist. His control over the predatory

316  Alessandro Mancuso wanulüü always remains precarious and he/she may fall prey (asirü) to the same auxiliary spirits. The staged search for the spirits and/or the lost soul stands in the center of the ritual but the payment is considered necessary for guaranteeing the ritual’s enduring success.

The distinct origin and ontological status of wild animals and livestock In wayuunaiki there is no generic term for “nonhuman animal”; the term wuchii is used for wild animals, whereas mürülü or mürüt generically refers to livestock species. Wuchii is used primarily for birds, but also for carnivorous mammals. The distinction between wild and domesticated animals is also expressed by saying that a species is either “of the bush” (wunapüjatüin) or “of the house” (piichijatüin). For some life forms, such as fish and snakes, the generic terms jime and wüi are used. The term mürülü is applied to some species of wild herbivorous mammals. Maybe this was its original meaning or, to the contrary, this may be a recent extension of its meaning that is based on their similarity to livestock. Regarding wild species, there is another, ecological classification that refers to their habitat: she’e palaa are, literally, species “parasitic” (she’e) of sea, she’e mma, parasitic of land, and so on (Perrin 1987). An alternative form of expressing the association between a species and its habitat is through the term süchira, literally “sucking breast”, süchira palaa thus meaning “nurtured by the sea”, süchira mojui, “nurtured by grassland”, and süchira wunapü, “nurtured by the forest”. The belief that wild animals, as well as the stars and the mountains, had been “people” (wayuu) in a distant past is widespread. The story of the origin of subdivision by e’iruku (Perrin 1979) tells that several species of wild animals, in particular snakes and scavengers, were Wayuu, who, after the demiurge Maleiwa gave them livestock, behaved inappropriately, did not answer promptly to his requests, or ate the raw flesh of livestock. For this reason, they were transformed into animals. Each species is since then associated with the e’iruku it had originally been assigned to. In other versions (Mancuso 2010; Perrin 1996) the distinction between Wayuu and non-indigenous people replaces the one between Wayuu and animals. This time it is the former who have not readily obeyed the instructions for proper behavior given by Maleiwa. Jaguars, pumas, and howler monkeys became animals after losing the primordial battle against the Wayuu’s mythical “fathers” (Juya or the same Maleiwa) and were relegated to the margins of the Wayuu territory (Paz Ipuana 1972; Perrin 1979). In other versions the origin of wealth and social status differences are linked to different kinds of goods and utensils received by the demiurge, as told in following excerpt I collected during fieldwork: Maleiwa sent toward the coast those who will be poor, he set them apart so that they became fishers, while to the rich people he gave livestock. […] To those who were destined to be poor, he gave pirogues so that they

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  317 could learn to fish. … To the Kusi’na he gave arrows so that he could procure something to eat, so that he could hunt deer, pecaris, rabbits (José “Cochono” Epieyuu, interview realized in May 2001). There are two salient aspects to these stories. The first, as noted by Picon (1980), is the apparent ignorance of the association between the origin of livestock and colonial contact with Europeans. This ignorance is common among unschooled Wayuu. The second is the association between artifacts and livestock as two kinds of useful goods. Wayuu are the original owners and masters of livestock that were given to them by a demiurge that has completely withdrawn from all worldly matters after having arranged them in the “first times”. Also widespread are references to a marine origin of cows, sheep, horses, and donkeys. It is told that livestock species originally came from the sea to pasture on the beach at night and returned before dawn, until the Wayuu captured and locked them in corrals. Before they had been captured, these animals converted into turtles and other marine species every time they returned to the sea. (Guerra Curvelo 1990, 2015; Mancuso 2010, 2011; Perrin 1987; Simon 2015). Some of the cows the Wayuu were chasing transformed into a group of rocks called paajala (paa: cow) near the beach of Carrizal that look from a distance like reclining cows. As I argue below, this shifting of form can be read in a “perspectivist” way but differs in several aspects from Amazonian configurations. In these tales, livestock husbandry originates from the capture of previously unknown animals.16 The acquisition of techniques for breeding these animals and making cheese is told as a gradual process of trial and error. However, just like wealth and well-being are exposed to the vagaries of luck and precariousness, livestock species are never considered completely domesticated and mastered. Without control, sheep are prone to wander toward the sea (Perrin 1987), horses may turn wild, and large bulls are often identified as cannibal wanulüü in stories. All wild animals were human people like the Wayuu “in the first times”, whereas livestock species entered the humans’ world as non-human animals, even if indigenous views differ with respect to their domesticated status and their ownership by human people as something that was either originally given or later achieved. Asked if aai’n in animals is similar to aai’n in humans, some of my interlocutors said—in a way that recalls Aristotele’s view that the souls of living beings can be hierarchically ordered acccording to their ‘faculties’—that animals have aai’n for nourishing themselves and for reproducing, which allow them to be alive (kata’ou), but they lack ai’n for being conscious of the fact that they can be killed and eaten, that they will die and not live anymore. Only Wayuu have consciousness of their acts (wainraka) and thoughts (shikiriyuuka, sulujaa’in). No significant difference between wild and domestic animals was pointed out in this regard. The Wayuu obviously attribute some kind of intentionality and agency to “ordinary” animals (Simon 2015)

318  Alessandro Mancuso but to a considerably lesser degree than that which exists with humans, inasmuch they are the expression of a life force.

The relationships between the mistress of the wilderness, wild animals, and hunters and fishers As Perrin (1996) notes, all wild places, both on land and sea, are the territory of the Pulowi, non-human beings that show themselves to the Wayuu as beautiful women. Pulowi is imagined as a single principle that is pluralized according to the sites of their abodes, either underwater or underground. Perrin notes that the word Pulowi shares the same root of the term pulasü which can be translated as “powerful”, “sacred”, or “mysterious”, powerfulness being identified in terms of the capacity to transform oneself and others and by association to normally invisible worlds. Pulowi owns (sükorojot) all animals that live in the wild, with the exception of the big cats that, as potential hunters of people, have a different status similar to the wanülüu, and of wild birds that, rather than being owned, simply “stand by her side”. Due to the almost complete disappearance of game and hunting activities, nowadays Pulowi is sometimes simply considered a superhuman being associated with wild places, whose encounter causes the disappearance, illness, or death of a human person. Yet her connection to non-domesticated animals, whose mistress she is, is still strong, above all with regard to the sea in the context of fishing. Stories about the marine origin of livestock often indicate that they were originally owned by Pulowi. For this reason, especially sheep tend to return to the sea at night, and noises that sound like mooing and bleating are believed to come from Pulowi’s cows and sheep. They are called simaluna, that is, never domesticated. This belief merges with the idea that she, living in the bottom of sea, has her own livestock. When encountered by Wayuu outside of her dominion, these animals have the appearance of sea animals like fish, turtles, or crustaceans. Stories in which the hunter or the fisher (olojoo means both “to hunt” and “to fish”) is taken to the land of Pulowi are still frequently told. They have a common structure: a highly successful hunter or fisherman has killed an animal of unusual size. In his pursuit of the injured animal the man arrives in Pulowi’s land. There Pulowi, showing herself as a beautiful woman, lives in a fancy house surrounded by her livestock (kamunüinka).17 What looks like livestock are in fact game animals. Besides taking the appearance of livestock, these animals also appear as entourage of human servants and subordinates. Such ideas remind of the “prototypical” animist and perspectivist view of animals that assume human semblances when in their otherworld. Pulowi blames the man for “hunting” and killing her livestock and orders him to stop, but after a time, during which the man becomes her lover, she agrees to let him return home and take along some game, warning him to keep his “secret”. In the end the man dies after having revealed it to his family or, in other stories, he never returns home because Pulowi has decided to keep him indefinitely in her otherworld. He has been killed and/or eaten by her.

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  319 These stories resemble in their structure stories of the journey of a living person to the world of the dead. Whereas the latter stands in relation, in terms of analogies and inversions, with the world of the living, however, in the former stories perspectivist features are much more pronounced. Broz (2007) shows how among herders of the Altai perspectivist configurations, involving the relationships between humans, animals (both wild species and livestock), and “superhuman” entities, are not articulated in terms of the fundamental opposition between predator and prey. Most features associated with Amazonian perspectivism, like the concept of the body as dress and envelope, are lacking. Rather, not only is the relationship between game animals and their superhuman masters one of protection and ownership, the former are also considered the latter’s livestock. For this reason hunters, when invoking the benevolence of the master of the game, ask him for livestock, as if the hunter were requesting animals from a herder. There is no reference either to affine or alliance relationships or sexual intercourse that connects the hunter to the master or the animals, while the hunter’s moral and balanced behavior, expressed through his moderation in hunting and the consumption of game, plays an important role. Wayuu perspectivism concerning the relationships between the hunter/ fisher, the game, and Pulowi seems to share certain aspects with Amazonian perspectivism and others with “pastoral perspectivism”.18 The relationship between Pulowi and the game is seen as one of ownership, mastery, and protection. This notion is reinforced by the belief that wild animals are her livestock; even when they assume human guise in her otherworld, their subordinate condition to their mistress is clear. At the same time, the image of the change of the “envelope” when passing from the human world to the otherworld of game and their masters is present for Pulowi, but also for big game – deer are often represented as men wearing the traditional male headdress (karatsü) whose feathers “stand for” the animal’s horns. The relationship between Pulowi and the hunter/fisher is one of precarious exchange. The hunter preys on Pulowi’s animals and she often releases them, in many instances (but not always) in exchange for the hunter becoming her lover. In the end, however, he is invariably destined to be converted into the object of counter-predation by Pulowi. The relationship between Pulowi and the hunter/fisher shows evident parallels to that of the auxiliary wanulüü and the shaman, whose partnership sooner or later is put to an end, resulting in the latter’s death (Mancuso 2009). Perrin (1996) notes that it is sometimes said that the wanulüü are both the main emissaries and close kin of the Pulowi and therefore stand “on the side” of causing death. I never heard such statements but others to the effect that Pulowi is one wanülüü, maybe in female form, and the two share not only the potentiality of causing death but also of taking several appearances. This diversity of views is only one of the many indicators that Wayuu cosmology is the result of complex and original adjustments to changing

320  Alessandro Mancuso historical conditions (not limited to the spreading of livestock husbandry) that are expressed by the coexistence of features that are difficult to interpret by reference to standard ontological types and models of their transformation that have been proposed so far. Even today Wayuu fishers take precautions like throwing an aromatic bark, aloutka (Croton malambo) into the water or taking along amulets (lania) in order to keep away the dangers represented by Pulowi and also to achieve success in fishing. By doing so, the fisher takes the position of predator, also in the form of the raider of Pulowi’s livestock, although the throwing of the bark can be also understood as an offer to Pulowi. Simon (2015, 130–131) in fact argues that this offering is made only in the context of fishing activities whereas today no offer is addressed to “Pulowi of land” for compensating her for hunting rabbits, that is, game animals of which she is the mistress. He (ibid., 129) also describes the precautions taken by Wayuu in the treatment of the remains of killed rabbits, which are intended to hide their death from their conspecifics and grant to game a degree of intentionality. Such precautions are stronger (the hunter is only allowed to eat a small portion of the meat) in the case of killed deer (Goulet 1982, 311–312). However, in their explanation of why they throw aloutka into the sea, fishers either describe it as an offer or as a substance that causes Pulowi to flee. Moreover the lack of a practice similar to the throwing the aloutka when hunting rabbits is probably a by-product of the disappearance of big game, given that in tales and memories about hunting deer offers of tobacco play the same ambivalent role, and the use of particular amulets “for the hunt” (ololojapi) is frequently mentioned. Finally, if one wants to interpret these practices as exchanges, one cannot but note the asymmetry between the items exchanged. These asymmetrical exchanges neither resemble the model of balanced reciprocity nor of sacrificial substitution.

Conclusions As recently stressed by Stepanoff, “ontologically inclined theories are generally built on classic ethnographic collections of human discourses (mythologies) and practices (rituals)” (2017, 378), but tend to focus mainly on the “realm of human ideas […] and how people relate to these ideas” (ibid.). I would like to add that the different kinds of discourses and practices recorded among a given human group in a particular historical moment often lack reciprocal coherence or convergence. In my view, this applies in particular to cases of people, like the Wayuu, that have passed through a history of rapid change that has impacted all aspects of their “socio- cosmology”. Already Perrin (1996) has pointed to this specific “disequilibrium” (Lévi-Strauss 1991) in Wayuu cosmology and social forms, and earlier I have given some examples of the coexistence of concepts and practices that show a complex “stratigraphy”.

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  321 However, this is not the only reason why it is difficult to link Wayuu “socio-cosmology” to any existing ontological “type”. In Wayuu sociocosmology inter-human sociality and human-non-human relationships associated with different ontological types seem to coexist, possibly due to the peculiarities of the past five-century history (Descola 2001, 113), but also because Wayuu social forms and values have functioned “as a dynamic structure capable of accommodating the flux of history and social agency” (Fausto 2012a, 89). Saler (1988) refers to these features when arguing that, at least in 1970s, Wayuu still constituted a “semi-autonomous” sociopolitical field (Falk Moore 2002) and the same concept could be applied to parts of their cosmological ideas and ritual life. The contrasting features of reciprocity and hierarchy in social organization have been historically adapted to livestock husbandry and, more generally, the gradual incorporation of the Wayuu into the non-indigenous economic and sociopolitical world. The lack of a strong state control till the last decades of the 20th century has undoubtedly been responsible for the coexistence of dispute compensation payments and prolonged feuds. Except for clearly defined minority groups, wealth is a condition every Wayuu can attain and, conversely, lose. As noted earlier, there are ways to turn master-serf relationships into more reciprocical forms of relatedness associated with kinship. With the exception of families who continue to subsist on fishing, there exists no idea of a fixed individual predestination linked to a specific essence, inherited either from the ancestors or from “destiny spirits”, like it exists among the herding peoples of Northern Asia.19 For the Wayuu, human destiny is very uncertain, and both the shaman and the lania amulets can only help to ward off the worst of accidents. The Wayuu do not attribute real universal subjectivity and capacity for intersubjective sociality to animals of any kind living in today’s world. Nevertheless, the figure of the mistress of animals, Pulowi, remains highly important. Except for the fact that game is her livestock, the relationship with her resembles that of prototypical hunting animism. Contrasting the latter with “hierarchical animism”, of which sacrifice is a correlate, Sprenger, referring to the socio-cosmologies of many “hill-tribe” Southeast Asian societies, argues that in venatic animism, human beings take animal lives, and (the spirits of) animals take human lives in return. Human illness and death are seen as counter-predation or counter-sharing. Sacrifice, however, is usually understood differently. Spirits attempt to take human lives, but what they receive instead are the lives of domesticated animals. Thus, while animals appear as humans in hunting animism because they see each other as human beings (Viveiros de Castro 1998), sacrificial victims are like humans because they can replace them in the confrontation with spirits. The principle of replacement thus separates sacrifice from hunting, implying a hierarchy between humans and animals mostly absent from hunting animism (2016a, 34).

322  Alessandro Mancuso In Wayuu socio-cosmology, the relationship between the mistress of game and the hunter approximates to the model of “venatic animism”, whereas a sacrificial logic predominates in their funeral and shamanic rituals. Here, too, the Wayuu case shows relevant differences to the “hierarchical animism” complex in which sacrifice is embedded among most Southeast and Northern Asian peoples. Many of these differences concern the transformation of the dead into ancestors that are the subject of worship and invocation. In contrast to Asian and Amazonian societies a personalized ancestor cult is almost completely absent among the Wayuu, even if after the second burial ancestors, in anonymous form, are the object of indirect worship that is expressed through the special care devoted to the periodical maintenance of the cemeteries where their bones are buried. In both burial ceremonies emphasis is placed on keeping the dead away from the living by means of offerings of butchered cattle, which is thus deemed to rejoin his/her master in the otherworld. Dead people may be mourned, but are still considered dangerous. As in many Amazonian societies, among the Wayuu “old people” (that is “people of the past”) are generally seen as models of proper behavior, but the belief they react toward bad behavior of living humans is weakly developed. The dead are believed to become enraged, haunting their living relatives in dreams or sending illness only when their cemeteries are poorly maintained. Most of the common features of Amazonian shamanism (the metamorphosis into animals, a close connection of the shaman’s activity to hunting, warfare, and removing the dangerousness of food) are absent or weakly present among the Wayuu. There are cases of spirit possession that nevertheless seem to be a recent phenomenon, whose dissemination was probably influenced by the spiritualist cult of Maria Lionza that spread from Venezuela and by local Pentecostal churches. The ideas that the shaman’s auxiliary spirits “settle” inside her/ his body, that (s)he becomes their “medium”, and that the spirit of dead relatives are frequently included among them could be considered a form of “ancestorization”. This kind of shamanism thus incorporates features of mediumship and possession, that is, two of the key features of “hierarchical animism” (Århem 2016b, 294). However, in Wayuu shamanic rituals the themes of the “soul hunt” and the journey into the otherworld to retrieve the soul, which are typical for Amazonian shamanisms, are not at all unfamiliar. In reviewing disputes, bridewealth, funerary and shamanic rituals (one could add seclusion rituals for female puberty or for a person who has killed someone) associated with the offering of livestock, I have paid special attention to acts of commensality and sharing through distribution that are linked to reciprocity obligations. I have also considered the taboo, for some categories of people, to eat the animals butchered in these circumstances, included, in the past, the taboo for the hunter of eating the game he killed. The study of contexts in which both abstaining from eating and commensality are involved seems a promising tool for “testing” and developing the theoretical insights advanced by Fausto concerning the relationship of

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  323 food consumption, hunting, warfare, disease, seclusion practices, and the familiarization of predation and the production of identity in Amazonian “socio-cosmologies” (Fausto 2007, 2012a, 2012b). Following Strathern and Viveiros de Castro, Fausto has underlined how the manifold forms and meanings taken in indigenous Amazonia by the acts of eating and feeding point out the relational aspects in the construction of personhood, subjectivity, and identity as well as alterity, in contrast to an overly biased focus on their substantial components. Sprenger (2016a) has argued for a similar approach in the comparison of indigenous Amazonian and Southeast Asian societies, stressing the need to investigate a possible complementarity between “relational” and “substantial” concepts not only from the scholarly but also from “local” points of view. This approach appears well suited to overcome several unsolved theoretical, analytical, and methodological issues, especially in terms of comparing the different understandings of “animism” by Descola, Viveiros de Castro, Ingold, and Bird-David (Århem 2016a, Costa and Fausto 2010). The main theoretical difficulties concern first the question to what extent humanity/ animality is – or is not – the privileged “prototype” or vantage point from which all people in all areas of the world invariably think about and/or conceptualize the ontological relationship between humans and non-humans, and second of the issue of sacrifice. Concerning the former, Descola (2013, 2014b) stresses not only the need to distinguish between modes of identification and modes of relation, but also the need to distinguish between modes of relation and hunting and herding as ways of engaging with animals. He states that in all cases any form of livestock husbandry is incompatible with animism and totemism. Århem and Sprenger, by contrast, deny that this argument holds for Southeast Asian “socio-cosmologies”, where the “direct” human-animal relationship plays a minor role in shaping the ontological human-non-human relationship. The second problem concerns the understanding of animal sacrifice: does it involve the “detachment” of one added bodily component of human personhood that is only partially equated with it, or rather, as Sprenger (2016a, 38) argues, of one of the relational aspects of the “partible” person that is largely constituted by its social relationships? The understanding of exchanges, transactions, offerings, and sacrifices of livestock among the Wayuu allows both possibilities. It is intriguing, however, to look at several features of the coexistence of reciprocity and hierarchy in their exchanges through the concept of the “magnified person” (Fausto 2012b) that accumulates and shows potency and power through relationships of ownership and social exchange. At the same time, the range of meanings attached to notions like aa’in and e’iruku suggests the coexistence of substantial and processual views in the constitution of personhood, spirit, and body. A general rethinking of different models of indigenous Lowland South American socio-cosmologies and principles of comparison with the

324  Alessandro Mancuso intention to account for the differences and particularities internal to this “culture area” is currently in progress, as is the scrutinization of “classical” approaches (e.g. Descola’s description of Amazonian “animist” regimes; Viveiros de Castro’s “perspectivism” and “metaphysics of predation”; and the emphasis put on various forms of sharing by scholars like Overing; or Santos-Granero’s “constructional approach”). The consideration of areas and peoples that have inexplicably been neglected, such as the Chaco (Combès et al. 2009); the Mapuche (Course 2011); and, now, the CircumCaribbean people, as well as the publication of new ethnographic studies that partially contradict previous scholarly views on a given society (e.g. Cayón 2013 for the Makuna and Northwestern Amazonia in general), is prompting us to propose more dynamic and processual approaches to the articulation of cultural forms and historical trends. A reconsideration of the Wayuu case is likely to benefit from and, in turn, contribute to this current revision of indigenous South American anthropology.

Notes 1 Less known is the fact that other groups, including the Yukpa (Ruddle and Wilbert 1983, 70, 118) and the Chibcha groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Uribe 1993), neighbors of the Wayuu, had been breeding livestock on a small scale for a long time. 2 The term is formed by “waya”, first plural person pronoun, and the suffix –yuu, used for forming a special plural indicating a grouping of persons (Captain and Captain 2005, 4). Despite Viveiros de Castro’s (1998) claim that Amerindian collective auto-denominations “function” more as pronouns than as nouns, the common occurrences of this term point to the meaning of ‘human person’, for example in the phrases “eshi wane wayuu…”, “once there was a wayuu…”, “waya wayuu”, “we the Wayuu”, or “nojotsü wayuu türa”, “it’s not a wayuu”. 3 I did fieldwork in the Colombian Guajira between 2000 and 2005 for a total period of about two years. Fieldwork in 2004–2005 was supported by a PostDoctoral Research Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to which I express my gratitude. 4 See Knight (2012) for a critique of Ingold’s argument on the correlation between “trust” and hunter-prey relationships. 5 See Hugh-Jones (2013) and Brightman et al. (2016) for some recent critical remarks on the applicability of Descola’s argument to the whole indigenous Amazonian area. 6 By contrast, for Descola the custom of taming young individuals of the hunted species cannot be considered a form of “proto-domestication” (see Digard 2009), inasmuch these animals, regarded as adoptive children, are neither raised for reproducing nor killed for being consumed (Descola 2013, 366–384). His argument shares several points with more recent theories about mastery and ownership relationships in Amazonia (Brightman et al. 2016; Fausto 2012b). All these theories approximate mastery and ownership relations to relationships with “wild” pets. 7 For other summaries of the debates about defining “domestication”, see (Digard 2009; Zeder 2012). 8 Some recent approaches (Stepanoff 2017; Willerslev et al. 2015) to the transition from hunting to herding reindeer show that these correlates can sometimes call

The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  325 for the elaboration of renewed multi-factorial evolutionary models in which ecological, ideological, political, and economic variables concur in giving shape to historical processes, without a priori positing the greater relevance of any one of them. 9 I am aware that a consideration of the Mapuche would also be important. Wayuu and Mapuche show similarities beyond the features mentioned by Descola, for example, with regard to social and symbolic meanings given to descent and consanguinity (Course 2011), to several aspects related to shamanism (Bacigalupo 2007), and to the way livestock species figure in mythology and imagery (Koessler-Ilg 2006). At the same time, the differences seem not less relevant. I hope to develop this comparison in another study. For reasons of space, another issue I cannot deal with in this chapter is that of the “totemic” aspects of Wayuu socio-cosmology.

326  Alessandro Mancuso

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The place of livestock in human-non-human relationship  329 Stepanoff, Charles. 2017. “The Rise of Reindeer Pastoralism in Northern Eurasia: Human and Animal Motivations Entangled.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23: 376–397. Uribe, Carlos A. 1993. “La etnografia de la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta y tierras bajas adyacentes.” In Geografía Humana de Colombia, II, in this volume there is no editor mentioned 8–203. Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura Hispánica. Vázquez; Socorro and Hernan Dario. Correa 1986. Hacia la reconstrucción de la etnohistoria wayuu. Aspectos de los cambios culturales y la reubicación territorial a comienzos del siglo. Bogotá: Unpublished typescript. Viloria De la Hoz, Joaquin. 2013. “Comerciantes en economías de frontera: el caso de la Guajira colombiana, 1870–1930.” In Cuadernos de historia económica y empresarial No. 32, 1–63. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 1998. “Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 4: 469–488. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2014. Cannibal Metaphysics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2015. The Relative Native. Essays on Indigenous Conceptual Worlds. Chicago: HAU Books. Willerslev, Rane, Vitebsky Piers and Alekseyev Anatoly. 2015. Sacrifice as the Ideal Hunt: A Cosmological Explanation for the Origin of Reindeer Domestication. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21: 1–23. Zeder, Melinda. 2012. “The Domestication of Animals.” Journal of Anthropological Research 68 (2): 161–190.

13 Murderous spirits Shamanic interpretation of armed violence, suicide, and exhumation in the economy of death of the Emberá (Chocó, Antioquia, Colombia) Anne-Marie Losonczy In memoriam: Italiano Dumasa and Custodio Domico, Emberá shamans from Upper Chocó

In Colombia, the advance of armed actors fighting over resources and pathways to cross into territories recognized to be collectively owned by AfroColombians and indigenous groups has produced devastating and deadly effects for decades. The situation has produced a large corpus of documentary information from anthropologists, legal experts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the national and international media. They have reported and denounced massacres; torture; disappearances; the destruction of villages, fields, and livestock; travel bans for villagers; the forced recruitment of young people for armed combat or prostitution; and the consumption of illicit drugs, all of which have caused ruptures in the resguardos and a mass flight to the anonymity of cities. Observers have also denounced the effects of the activities of multinational companies that exploit mineral and forestry resources or introduce intensive agriculture, thus encircling and reducing indigenous lands. Reports have attested to the deprivation, starvation, and impoverishment of displaced indigenous people, and reported on the NGO-backed efforts of many indigenous organizations to maintain or rebuild communities and recover land. The issue of the cosmological and ritual reconfiguration and reorientation of practices and discourses related to the unprecedented numbers and modes of killing in indigenous societies by new outside actors, by contrast, has hardly stimulated anthropological interest. The configuration of Emberá socio-cosmology conforms to the model of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism proposed by Niño Vargas (this volume) as fundamental schemes for cultural universes under Chibcha cultural influence. The emergence of mankind as a result of the relationship between Caragabi, the creator god of the upper world, and Tutruica, god

Murderous spirits  331 of the netherworld, punctuated by successive trials and errors, appears in mythology (cf. Losonczy 1987; Pardo 1985; Pinto 1978) as the founding matrix for the organization of beings like plants, spirits, animals, and dead humans. This cosmological “humanism” (Niño Vargas, ibid.) seems to orient the collective memorial selection among Emberá local groups over time, relegating the evocation of ontological narratives and privileging transmission of those bearing on the hazards of humans and of their relations with spirits, animals, as well as other forms of humanity. Just as among other Amerindian groups of the Isthmo–Colombian Area (Halbmayer 2017) Emberá notions of death and dying, far from marking an ontological break between the states of “living” and “dead”, posit the “good death” as a source of the re-emergence of souls incarnated in the bodies of newly born. Violent deaths, by contrast, transform the souls of the dead into sub-human spirits that are dangerous for the living and whose control posits a challenge to the shaman’s ability and knowledge. Thus, traditional strategies concerning the resolution of conflicts, either interpersonal or interfamilial, either from interest or loyalty, construct the image of a reversible social death. In a situation of conflict, an individual would flee and stay in the forest until the conflict was settled and he could return. Likewise, a shaman or a whole family in conflict with their neighbors would leave and establish a new village far away. These are instances of social death followed by resurgence, and this scheme is consonant with the logic of the Emberá conception of death. Such strategies are nowadays forestalled by the new multicultural Colombian statute of ethnic minorities that compulsorily assigns territories (resguardos) to the indigenous groups. These territories are clearly delimited and condition the acknowledgment and exercise of their collective rights. At the same time, multiform armed violence transformed the displacement to new territories into disorderly flights to the cities. This recent breakdown of reversible social death as a mode of internal conflict resolution is likely the cause of the so far unknown cascades of suicides that apparently function as an alternative yet irreversible way of escaping the current conflict. They must be understood with reference to a shamanic interpretation of armed violence. For this reason, the chapter examines the emergence of a new Emberá “moral economy of death” as the result of the intrusion of new social and political hierarchies in the indigenous social space and the occurrence of hitherto unknown forms of external armed violence that exacerbate existing internal conflicts. This situation gives rise to new forms of individual and collective behavior that produce hitherto unknown forms of misfortune and undermine the success of shamanic rituals of reparation and, in turn, diabolize the figure of shamans. At the same time, however, such new forms of violence and misfortune, as well as the shamans’ reputed malevolence and their inability to remedy the former still refer to shamanic cosmological

332  Anne-Marie Losonczy accounts. A gap thus opens in the shamanic system between the delegitimization of ritual practice and the performative expression of meaningcreating interpretations. This gap creates a paradoxical interpretative shamanic idiom of violence that associates shamanic rituals of reparation with witchcraft. This disintegration of Emberá shamanism bears witness to the impact of armed political violence on the social and symbolic organization of a society and its ongoing fragmentation. The chapter focuses on the internal dynamics of this shamanic innovation. The eruption of unprecedented forms and scales of violence – such as torture, rape, massacres, forced recruitment of children, and disappearances – in the previously isolated indigenous social worlds since two decades can be read as a chain of events that has caused a fracture in the world’s intelligibility (Bensa and Fassin 2002) and paved the way for new modes of understanding. Exhumations, representing the forced return of dead people through external agency, have created another cognitive rupture. This, in turn, has produced new kinds of meaning, rituals and practices that insert themselves into the interface between the victims’ family members, institutional actors, and experts.

The Emberá social archipelago: from warriors to victims The Emberá societies of Chocó and Antioquia1 live in a historically interethnic environment alongside groups of African slave descendants and mestizo villages. They are characterized by a long-standing dialectal fragmentation, high mobility and intra- and interregional expansion, as well as body art, the manufacture of carved shamanic benches, basketry, necklaces and staffs, and shamanic songs. Their shamanism is represented as fundamentally ambivalent and often feared and constantly creates internal divisions. All these elements attest to the historical porosity of these societies in terms of diverse external ethno-cultural influences. Legislation arising from Colombia’s new constitution of 1991 has imposed a single entity of collective territoriality, the resguardo, and a single body of political authority, the cabildo, on the political diversity of indigenous groups. Both are based on former colonial administrative units. Linking ethnic legitimacy to a new internal political hierarchy, the definition of territorial arrangements and the reduction of living space has impeded traditional Emberá modes of conflict resolution by means of mobility and residential dispersal. As a result, old internal conflicts – between generations and between men and women – have resurfaced and exacerbated a long-standing but low-intensity factionalism. Moreover, the institutional proliferation of interethnic contacts, controlled and formalized by the indigenous organizations, has reinforced interethnic rivalries over the appropriation of national and international financial resources and contributed to the emergence of ethnic, regional, and national hierarchies in terms of supra-local prestige and visibility.

Murderous spirits  333 Their history-focused mythical stories depict the Emberá as constantly mobile and as historical agents relying on multiple strategies in their interaction with different representatives of alterity (Kuna Indians, AfroColombians, missionaries, and traders): raids, negotiation, trade, avoidance, defense, or flight. In conjunction with a mobilization of identity, political and territorial reorganization with the aim to gain the legal recognition of minority status has led to the establishment of new school programs and produced new forms of political ritual, for example, “cultural- empowerment meetings” and “ancestral-knowledge workshops”. Thus, a new teleological reading of Emberá history is transmitted by native teachers, ethnic leaders, and “experts”: lawyers, government officials, NGO personnel, and anthropological activists. Past and present extra-ethnic contacts are represented in terms of an all-encompassing lethal antagonism. In this society, whose traditional political organization values the autonomy of kin groups and territorial expansion through residential dispersion, this new identity narrative shapes an increasingly victim-based vision of the collective self that has been reinforced by the multiform insurgent violence experienced by the Emberá since the early 1990s. Although this violence has affected mostly women, children, and the elderly, a significant number of killings and disappearances have included Emberá leaders. At the same time, a policy of control, enforced compliance, and sanctions has often been deployed by the young leaders of the Emberá cabildos with regard to shamans and their rituals. Suspected and often even directly accused of witchcraft by members of their local group, shamans tend to be perceived as dangerous and ineffective in the face of armed violence and diseases attributed to outside influence. The cabildos’ policy of backing such diffuse suspicions, which curtails shamanistic legitimacy, has contributed to a substantial decrease in its appeal to young people. Furthermore, the mass flight of Emberá in response to armed conflict, their reduction to begging and impoverishment in the cities, and the recent waves of suicides of young Emberá in rural and urban areas have projected an image of the Emberá as “displaced indigenous people” or “indigenous beggars” in the national media. This image places them at the bottom of the emerging hierarchy of Indian societies in the eyes of institutions and neighboring Indian groups alike.

Failures in the ritual creation of death: Emberá bad deaths “Caragabí created all the Emberá; there are no new ones. The Emberá will never disappear; they will always be reborn”. With these words, the telling of one of the Emberá origin myths by Italiano Dumasa, the Emberá Shaman of the River Capá in Upper Chocó, came to an end one moonless night (see Losonczy 1997).2 For the Emberá, a child’s conception is caused by the “rising” of an anonymous deceased person’s soul – one who died a “good death’”, received a

334  Anne-Marie Losonczy ritual burial, and found a place in the World Below, a mythical realm “across land and water” – into the body of a young woman during the sexual act. In order to travel down to the World Below, a slow agony – a long prostration to which is attributed the “making the body as heavy as the earth” – must “weigh down the body” (ibid.). The corpse is either buried in a small dugout canoe in Chocó or wrapped in a colored cloth in the mountainous regions, its head turned westward. This placing of the body in the ground, which is preceded by marking it with red-and-black body art and accompanied by the women’s ritual lamentations, is the essential prerequisite for a smooth passage into the World Below. The Emberá Katío of Chocó traditionally buried their dead under their stilt houses, but population increase and the transformation of their environment – processes related to the delimitation of resguardos by the multicultural legislation – have resulted in the establishment of cemeteries on the outskirts of villages. Until recently Emberá graves remained unmarked. The singularity of the jaure, a vital component that animates animal and human bodies alike and an invisible mobile double represented by the shadow, is thought to reflect a person’s identity in life, especially in terms of the person’s name. To support the detachment of the jaure from the corpse – a condition necessary to enable it to enter a woman’s uterus and ensure Emberá reproduction – the name must be wiped out together with the individual’s life. The dead person must become anonymous. Pronouncing a dead person’s name means “reanimating” him or her and delaying the post-mortem dissolution of his or her identity. It bears the risk of casting him or her back among the living in search of “company”, thus turning him or her into a carrier of misfortune. The bodies of those who die a sudden or violent death far from inhabited places are considered “too light”: the lack of agony and of a ritual burial that creates “heavyness” makes their descent to the World Below uncertain, leaving them in an intermediary space between the human world and the World Below, which in Emberá Katío geography takes the material form of caves, isolated coves, and rock crevices. Although in both cases death entails the dissolution of the unity between the body and the jaure, the Emberá distinguish a “good rotting” of the body – one that enables the soul to “rise” into the womb of an expectant mother – from a kind that they describe as “animal”. The latter type describes a body that has not been weighed down or buried, but results from a sudden or violent death that prevents the jaure from separating from the corpse and from achieving the floating mobility that characterizes the beings of the World Below and allows them to rise up to animate a new human through pregnancy. Moreover, the lack of a burial exposes both body and jaure to blending with the plant and animal elements of the land or water. This contact will eventually transform the dead person’s jaure into jaï. “Spirit” is an unsatisfactory translation of this term, which refers to something like the condensation of the vital energy that is an element of all living things and

Murderous spirits  335 that can take on a human, animal, or plant appearance. Its capacity to affect humans by abducting the jaure or penetrating a bodily organ is the cause of most diseases. The jaï captured by the jaïbaná (shaman) by means of either baiting or battling them are locked in shaman’s jaïdé ( jaï house) in the forest or in the shaman’s staff. They are called up during rituals through singing, dancing, and food offerings and serve to heal maladies caused by another shaman’s spirits. Jaï from bad deaths, however, are beyond the shamans’ control and lurk near humans. The dominant figures among the jaï, whether they are “free” or “imprisoned” by a jaïbaná, are the aribada, the spirits of dead shamans who command in their wake a large number of spirits from anonymous bad deaths, which make up villages of jaï (Losonczy 1986, 157–183; Pardo 1985; Pinto 1978; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1960, 73–158). During a shaman’s initiation, the master may ritually transform them into jaï zarra ( jaï warrior, jaï guardian) and place them in both the body of the new jaïbaná and in one of the shaman’s staffs. Upon a shaman’s death, they are free once more and often appear in the guise of jaguars. The lethal danger that they represent to humans can only be eliminated by another shaman “imprisoning” them again. The jaïbaná, who are all held to be permanently “eager” to increase their power, enrich their stock of jaï by capturing free ones, buying spirits, or even seizing a human jaure and turning it into a jaï by feeding and familiarizing it in their jaïdé ( jaï’s house in the forest). If a ritual carried out in urgent response by a rival shaman fails to retrieve the jaure that has been “concealed” in this way before it is transformed into a jaï, the loss of the soul, a feared element of shamanistic witchcraft, will quickly result in his death. The acquisition of jaï by this kind of witchcraft – a desire that all shamans are accused of harboring – is the base of the traditionally ambivalent representation of Emberá jaïbaná and of the air of fear and suspicion that surrounds them. Soul ( jaure) and spirit ( jaï) thus appear to be interdependent and linked by a transformative relationship. Whereas the movement of jaure from good deaths between the World Below and the human world is the base of the social reproduction of the living, bad deaths that have produced jaï beyond shamanistic control are believed to become kachirua (mean) and to want to “take without giving”. The relations of the living with these two figures are part of a larger system of reciprocal predation that is in a fragile equilibrium. The positions of the multiplicity of spirits and of humans within this system as either predator or prey are shifting and reversible. Shamanic power ensures its balance and positive condition for group members. As long as that power is legitimized by “capturing” and controlling jaï to cure human maladies and protect the group from danger, the reproduction of human life prevails over its destruction. Evidence of this is found in the traditional perception of a number of accidents leading to bad deaths that is smaller than the number of births. The jaï kachirua – those harmful spirits from bad deaths that, while carrying inside themselves the traces of the human jaure that they once were,

336  Anne-Marie Losonczy wish to capture the jaure of the living to “make themselves stronger” – can enter a human body in sleep. In the eyes of the Emberá, dreaming is the recurring separation of the body and the jaure. The fabric of dreams is woven by the latter’s independent wandering and meetings with various other entities. This delicate time for individual integrity is the subject of a standard learning process through the recounting of adults’ dream stories in the morning and the art of nocturnal awakening to “leave the dream” (Losonczy 2006). The dreamlike encounter of the sleeper’s jaure with unknown or strange-looking humans in strange places may be accompanied by pleasant visual, auditory, and olfactory perceptions, which are often described in the same terms as the attraction between the sexes. Giving in to such sexual desire in the dream may cause the abduction of the jaure by the jaï that has resulted from a bad death and a person’s death at awakening. As long as the dangerous and attractive confusion between life and death is confined to the nocturnal dream space, however, shamanic ritual always succeeds in recovering the lost jaure.

New figures from bad death: new spirits in the village Since the beginning of the 1990s, the multicultural state regime and the neoliberal globalization of the Colombian economy have made the resources of previously isolated regions on the fringes of the national economy accessible. The subsequent intrusion of guerrilla groups, paramilitaries, drug traffickers, and the Colombian army into these regions has since then introduced bad deaths of a new kind to the Emberá territory through the dead bodies of armed actors and abandoned mutilated remains that often result from the ritualized dismemberments of the corpses by the killers. This practice has remained remarkably consistent from the civil war of the 1950s to the present among all violent actors. The dismemberments are often preceded by public executions, when excess and hyperbole are prominent features. Furthermore, over the last two decades the burial of corpses from village massacres has made those who have carried them out likely victims of further violent acts. This additional threat has increased fear among the Emberá even more by scattering new figures of terror in the form of mutilated and dismembered corpses across familiar landscapes. At the same time, the proper “localization” of the dead through funerals and burials is precluded. Since the early 1990s, the close proximity of various armed actors who strove to recruit the young and sow seeds of mistrust among members of the community imposed new restrictive norms on Emberá everyday lives that have drastically reduced their mobility or forced them to flee to the towns. Besides the increase in bad deaths resulting from violence in their territory, a new phenomenon linked to the reconfiguration of the representation of sudden or accidental death has emerged (Roelens and Bolanos 1997). For the Emberá, the proliferation of bad deaths that have become jaï – whether they are free or reputedly sent by a shaman – means that their harassment

Murderous spirits  337 expands from the nightly dreamspace into daytime life. The result are cascades of attacks, called wawamia in Emberá and ataques in Spanish, which mainly affect young people, whose jaure is not yet sufficiently “compact and well fastened”.3 An inopportune daytime sighting of a jaï is supposed to trigger these attacks, an experience previously reserved only to shamans, whose training has prepared them for having safe direct visual contact with spirits (Losonczy 1987). This unprecedented and ill-fated relational modality is linked to a new spirit figure. This spirit, called the jaï de la tontina (giddiness jaï) – its name is always spoken in Spanish – is described as a tall and strong man who is either kampunia (white) or black and who carries a rope on his shoulder. He “harasses” young people, particularly young girls. Convulsive attacks accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, and fever have become widespread. They alternate prostration and spectacular manifestations of anger, crying, and laments that contradict the reserve and emotional control that are cornerstones of the Emberá ethos (Roelens and Bolanos 1997). They may lead to a state of aburrimiento (depression, boredom) that causes people to “think badly”, separate themselves from others, refuse to eat and speak, sing in an unknown language, and sleep for increasingly long periods. This dangerous state is conceived as the sliding of the individual’s life into dreams. Pushed by the jaï into progressive confinement within a dreamspace populated by the victims of bad deaths, the victim is caught in it through either their charm or harassment. The national media have seized on the topic, shamans have been pressured by cabildos, and families have struggled to curb the attacks. At the same time, shamans are suspected of having instigated the attacks in order to punish young people for their extra-ethnic sexual relations. The shamans’ already maligned reputation has further suffered from Emberá families’ ambivalence between considering these relations a danger to their community life and their “culture”, on the one hand, and concern for their children, on the other hand. As a result, the legitimacy of shamans has become increasingly damaged, while Evangelism, which is popular among the Embará’s Afro-Colombian and mestizo neighbors, has gained ground in many resguardos affected by suicides.

“The jaï have turned against us. No jaïbaná can control them any longer. We are victims of our dead”4 Seven recent Emberá suicides, six of them by hanging, have been attributed by the jaïbaná of Chocó to evil spirits caused by the unburied dead of the armed conflict that has spread through the region. The village of Unión Emberá Katío on the River Salaquí has just built a large cross made of jaguá, the sacred tree of the Emberá, to protect itself from evil. (Herrera 2003)

338  Anne-Marie Losonczy Since the beginning of the new millennium, the phenomenon of suicide – completely unprecedented within the Emberá Katío world – has spread in waves among them. From resguardo to resguardo, village to village, and region to region, even on the outskirts of the towns where many Emberá families have taken refuge from armed violence, the same scenario of suicide cases proliferates. After a lull of several months, they reappear in another village or region. Numerous young people aged between 10 and 30, mostly girls, have hanged themselves on the beam of their house with a paruma, a piece of cloth that is part of the traditional skirt.5 The Emberá language does not have an equivalent word for “suicide”. In stories the term “to kill oneself” is used. Following the first deaths, the indigenous authorities further tightened their control over the jaïbaná therapeutic ritual by demanding cabildo “certifications” for jaïbaná and other kinds of joint ritual activity of shamans. The powerlessness of jaïbaná to prevent suicides has further contributed to the rising suspicions of evil spells that are leveled against them. According to numerous testimonies, in several resguardos they were forced to flee if not killed outright or forced to bathe in a brew made of a combination of plants that is intended to remove their shamanic power. Neither jaïbaná called upon from distant Emberá villages nor the Evangelicals, who are present mostly in the mountainous regions of Antioquia, have been able to stop the suicide epidemic (Fassin 2009). The Evangelicals frame their interpretation in terms of divine punishment for sins and demonize the jaï. They offer preventive public exorcism rituals that belong to a complex of “spiritual war”. Even more important, an ethnographic approach to these suicides must grapple with silences and with what is left unsaid by young people and adults as expression of powerful suppressed emotions. As days pass the reason for the paradoxical omnipresence of this phenomenon takes shape, as the ethnographer, with some knowledge of the Emberá language, manages to intercept hastily whispered scattered words and phrases, as well as gestures and signs used as means of expression. Such communication takes place in the interstices between the present, when suicides are happening, and the future, when more are feared to occur. Their long familiarity with the ethnographer (since the 1970s) finally made older interlocutors reflect upon the unprecedented nature of suicides and then explain them with regard to outside intervention. After observing that neutralizing local shamans had not been able to curb the suicide epidemic, most Emberá Katío cabildos eventually appealed to outside institutions, agreeing to break the intra-community silence surrounding these events. National and international NGOs (including Oxfam and the Red Cross) and national institutions with substantial financial resources, however, were able to send their representatives, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and doctors only to those resguardos from which armed actors had temporarily withdrawn. Many Emberá villages therefore received hardly any visits from these institutions. In the institutions’

Murderous spirits  339 understanding, the suicides are identified as “public health issues” and placed in the category of “mental disorders”. Sometimes they are linked to the recent use of marijuana and even crack and cocaine by young Emberá who work as laborers on farms and in nearby mestizo villages. Some state programs for child protection offer psychosocial support, economic projects, and the strengthening of the power of the cabildo as solutions. The first strategy includes workshops for community meetings, individual psychotherapy sessions, and mutual-aid groups, supplemented by campaigns for medical treatment of common diseases. It was probably in these short but intense interactions with biomedicine that the term “epidemic” was appropriated by the Emberá when talking about the spread of suicide. The term projects a new dimension, namely contagion, onto the phenomenon. The second strategy provides financial and technical assistance for revitalizing agriculture and pastoral farming, supporting ethnic handicrafts and local schooling, and even building football pitches and community houses. The third strategy aims for the supra-local legitimization of the leaders. The holding of meetings between representatives of the institutions and leaders of the cabildos is intended to produce a “life plan” – a multiannual local development project aimed at reflecting the major needs of the inhabitants – authorized by the institutional representatives. The implementation of these activities, as well as the ongoing presence of outsiders that are viewed as both material and symbolic resources and as a buffer between the residential group and the armed actors, may calm the waves of suicide for a while and mitigate conflicts between men and women, families, and generations in the resguardos (Sepulveda Lopez de Mesa 2008). However, tensions and suicides reappear, sometimes even in the course of the programs, but more often when the outside actors’ brief presence has ended and armed actors made a reappearance (Tobon Yagari and Toban Yagari 2012). Accounts from the relatives of people who have committed suicide continue to put the blame on new figures from violent bad deaths that have become uncontrollable spirits as a result of shamanistic rituals and invade the social space of the villages in the daytime. “Killing oneself” is considered as a new consequence of wawamia (attacks) (ibid.) and aburrimiento, the fear of the dangerously attractive dead who want to take the living along with them. Suicide is believed to occur as a result of the experience of another, unprecedented kind of relation between jaï and human: the entry of the former into the body of the latter and its progressive taking possession of both the body and the jaure. As a novel pathological element it is described by the term locura, madness that comes from outside vocabulary since there is no adequate word in the Emberá language. This medical condition defies the capacities of Emberá therapeutic rituals. Far from capturing and hiding the jaure or injuring the body’s organs as in the traditional etiological model of reversible diseases, the new jaï merges with the sick person and pushes him or her to the act of suicide in ways that transcend the boundaries of the

340  Anne-Marie Losonczy Emberá universe. The use of a part of the traditional skirt as a suicidal tool and the intrusion of violence into the home by people hanging themselves on the central house-beam reinforce the collective perception of an invasion of their cultural world by lethal violence from outside. Moreover, this possession’s outcome by violent death serves to increase the number of bad deaths. These victims, in turn, will also invade the Emberá’s social space and bodies. The upsurge of this lethal encounter between spirits and humans is linked to a transformation of the representation of the collective self. Having been partners in a relationship with the spirits that was once mediated by protective shamanic power, the Emberá have now become its victims. In the process, the institution of shamanism has been delegitimized and, simultaneously, the previous multiplicity and polyphonic profile of the jaï been reduced. First, they fall within the new category of bad deaths resulting from armed violence. This category then crystallizes around the single figure of a new spirit, described in the 1990s as the “giddiness jaï”. In the new millennium, it has become “como paraco” (like a paramilitary), dressed in camouflage trousers and military boots. The representation of this figure, whose new agency can haunt, “charm”, and finally possess people and push them to suicide, seems to merge the image of the executioner with the category of shamanistic spirits that emanate from the victims of executions. This category, reconfigured to accommodate the deaths by armed violence, has been demonized by Evangelicals. Thus, executioners simultaneously enter the heart of Emberá corporeality and their social space. Once internalized, this dangerous concurrence creates the threat of the indefinite reproduction of violent destruction.

Unearth and identify: the new economy of death as a moral economy? The final metamorphosis, which reveals the symbolic dynamics of this process, is the exhumation and identification of victims’ remains, something which explains the deep ambivalence that the Emberá feel toward them. For the Emberá, exposing the corpses and bringing their remains up to the world of the living mean duplicating their fearsome effectiveness as bad deaths caused by violence. Exhumation accelerates their transformation into jaï beyond the shamans’ control, which are formidable carriers of death. In addition, the names of the victims, resurrected by legal identification and registered during the return of their remains to the family, further contribute to “reanimating” them and to casting them into the world of the living as carriers of death by contagion. From the Emberá perspective, exhuming and identifying victims only feeds suicidal self-destruction. A circular economy of violent death has thus emerged. Far from feeding the reproduction of the living, as souls from good deaths do, jaure victims produce killer jaï that invade the Emberá dreamspace and social space alike,

Murderous spirits  341 pushing young people to kill themselves and to join them this way. From this point of view, public acts like exhumations that derive from the external logic of humanitarian reason and are supposed to symbolically mark the end of the armed violence that produces bad deaths are transformed into a way of creating killer jaï (Fassin 2010). On a sociological level, this economy of death rests on the physical destruction and the severe social weakening of two rival authorities: the contemporary figure of the political leader and the traditional figure of the shaman. The image of the former has become ambiguous and uncertain due to their post-mortem transformation into predatory figures. The traditional perception of the latter as ambivalent and dangerous has been extended to include the shamans’ inability to control the damage caused by the new jaï, what is often taken as evidence of their complicity with the murderous spirits. According to various ethnographic and ethnohistorical studies (Isacsson 1973; Stipek 1975; Wassén 1935) suicide was historically absent among the Emberá. Its epidemic appearance in their social space signifies a rupture in meaning that calls for a new explanation. For a thread of meaning to be rewoven in the Emberá microcosm, however, it must be formulated in culturally familiar terms that form part of non-verbalized local knowledge. Accordingly, the reconfiguring of the jaï and their relationship with humans continue to associate them with spirits, the familiar figures of alterity. The novel agency assigned to them allows choices among various kinds of behavior and unusual or abnormal desires, including self-inflicted death, to be justified. Responsibility for these acts is attributed to an external superhuman force whose power is imposed on people, and is no longer borne by humans. The vicious circle created by the interlocking of violent acts with the Emberá spirit complex is caused by the intrusion of an external logic of violence into the heart of Emberá culture. Youth suicides represent acts of murder enacted against the self and blamed on bad deaths that have created killer spirits. One wonders if this break in the succession of generations is caused by the impossibility of revenge as negative reciprocity vis-à-vis armed violence. The Emberá’s use of the term “epidemic” to capture the expansive, contagious, and unpredictable nature of the suicides, however, suggests the interpretation of such a phenomenon as engendered by certain external agents like social workers or anthropologists. Such explanations, which are sometimes challenged by the cabildos, link the suicides to the severe internal conflicts within Emberá groups that have created deep intergenerational divisions between shamans, between men and women, and between leaders and ordinary people of the resguardo. Exacerbated by the isolation and the poverty caused by the presence of violent actors, such conflicts may disrupt the groups. Such interpretations, which are popularized by the press, reflect the experience of daily life in many resguardos. Above all, however, they offer a new supra-local idiom for discussing the issue. It is an alternative to the

342  Anne-Marie Losonczy community’s silence and its habit of leaving things unspoken, which are traditional strategies of self-defense. Moreover, such interpretations hint at a template for getting out of the circular economy of death through social voluntarism in human hands. Accordingly, these interpretations, contextually called upon by the Emberá, reject suicide as a culturally accepted outcome of adversity. They ignore, however, the processes behind this chain of events that is addressed by indigenous reasoning: the identification of non-human agents and their actions as the ultimate cause. At the same time, new composite rituals have emerged that aim to “pacify” the dead who have been exhumed, identified, and returned. During the opening of the graves and the reburying, these rituals combine, often in improvised ways, elements of shamanistic parafernalia and traditional funeral lamentations with prayers from popular Afro-Colombian or mestizo Catholicism and also evoke neo-Indian elements such as reference to the Madre Tierra. The initiative nowadays often comes from the victims’ mothers, which stands in contrast to their former much more discreet role in funeral rites. Moreover, the leaders’ role in the funerary ritual has changed in ways reminiscent of commemorative rituals in mestizo culture. Several of my older interlocutors pointed out what in their eyes is evidence of a continued “rising” of jaure from good deaths: the recent increase in the number of Emberá children, a fact that has been praised by many cabildos in the name of “defending culture and identity”. Is this Emberá economy of death, centered on victim figures that have become predatory beings without limits or reciprocity, part of a moral economy in terms of “the production, distribution, circulation and use of moral feelings, emotions and values in a society” (Fassin 2009). The profile and meaning of social narratives surrounding the new bad deaths that turn into jaï with unprecedented agency convey not only a new representation of the collective self in victim-based terms but also a new organization of values and emerging forms of emotions connected with it. The coexistence and contextual activation of heterogeneous and contradictory discursive and pragmatic registers that configure the Emberá cognition of new forms of death and mourning also support an emerging mode of collective resilience. In this context the interventions of external actors and external language seem essential to serve as mediators and buffers between the Emberá and their spirits. A moral economy of transition is thus emerging. This tragic tangle of violent acts baffles the ethnographer and challenges the conceptual tools of anthropology. The new Emberá relationship with death calls for the investigation of the ability of these destabilized societies to create new forms and meanings in their spiritual repertoire out of traditional cosmological representations by including new entities. Such reconfigurations may serve better to account for the unexplained and the contradictory than narratives of compassion from the national and global levels currently do. They may offer completely new remedies that allow the moral economy of these societies to be rebuilt.

Murderous spirits  343

Notes This is an enlarged and revised version of: Losonczy, Anne Marie. 2016. “Murderous Return: Armed Violence, Suicide and Exhumation in the Emberá Katío Economy of Death (Chocó and Antioquia, Colombia)”. Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2 (2): 67–83. 1 The Emberá, who are also called Eperä and have been known as Chocoes since the colonial era, are one of Colombia’s largest indigenous groups. Although historical documents attest to their remarkable long-term demographic stability, strong population growth has increased their numbers, as is the case with many other native peoples of lowland South America since the 1980s. As a result, the two major dialectal subgroups, the Katio and the Chami, nowadays number around 70,000 people (see Censo Nacional de Población DANE 2005). Their local groups, now organized in resguardos, live on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, in the jungle region of Chocó, in the mountains of Antioquia, and on the plains of the Cordoba region (the Katio), Risaralda and the Valle del Cauca (the Chami). However, they have also expanded into the Amazon (Putumayo region), to northwestern Ecuador and to Darien in Panama. The Emberá categorize themselves into Dobidá (inhabitants of rivers and tropical forests), Eyabidá (inhabitants of deforested plains), Oibidá (inhabitants of the Andean forests), and Purabidá (inhabitants of the coast). Since about 20 years, many Emberá families live in the suburbs and neighborhoods of towns. 2 Between 1986 and 1990 I collected the first ethnographic materials on Emberá representations of birth, death, and fate after death on the Capá, Mumbarado, Tutunendo, Neguá, and Bebará rivers in Middle and Upper Atrato (Chocó) (see Losonczy 1997). Before armed violence had erupted, I was able to attend several funeral rituals. Between 1993 and 2006, the presence of several armed actors in Chocó and Antioquia prevented further ethnographic research. Since 2008 I was able to make several visits to communities in Chigorodó, Murindó, and Guapa Alta (Antioquia), and then to Unión Emberá Katío on the River Salaquí (Lower Chocó) and to Jurado. In 2013, I made contact with Emberá families from Chocó and Valle who had taken refuge in the La Favorita neighborhood of Bogotá. I was also able to consult the photographic archive of the forensic team of the public prosecutor in Medellín, as well as the archive of the newspaper El Colombiano, which is also based in Medellín.

4 A shaman quoted in Sepúlveda López de Mesa (2008). 5 Suicides, which primarily affected young people, appeared sporadically at the beginning of the new millennium among Colombia’s other indigenous peoples like the Wounaan and the Kuna, neighbors of the Emberá Katío, as well as the Tucano, Desana and Cubeo of the Vaupés region in the Colombian Amazon (see Romero Castro 2009). The recurrence, scope, and widespread nature of the phenomenon among the Emberá, particularly in Chocó, Antioquia, and Córdoba, explain the institutional and media attention that it has received. However, there are no statistics that provide a total of the number of victims. There are at most a few estimates from social workers and anthropologists (including those from the Colectivo Jenzara), and they concern only specific resguardos. On the base of these estimates, a number of about 100 Emberá Katío suicides within the past 15 years may be assumed.

344  Anne-Marie Losonczy

References Bensa, Alban and Fassin, Eric. 2002. “Les sciences sociales face à l’évènement.” Terrain 38: 5–20. Fassin, Didier. 2009. “Les economies morales revisitées.” Annales, Histoire, Scienes Sociales 64 (6): 1235–1266. Fassin, Didier. 2010. La Raison Humanitaire. Une histoire morale du temps présent. Paris: Gallimard/Seuil. Halbmayer, Ernst. 2017. “Del suicidio y las concepciones de la muerte entre los Yukpa y otros pueblos amerindios de las tierras bajas suramericanas.” In Etnografias del suicidio en America del Sur, edited by Campo Araus, Lorena and Miguel Aparicio. 11–43. Quito: Abya Yala. Herrera, J.C. 2003. El Tiempo, October 12. Isacsson, Sven Erik. 1973. Indios cimarrones del Choco (Colombia). Göteborg: Etnografiska Museet, Arstick. Losonczy, Anne Marie. 1986. “Le destin des guerriers. Agression guerrière et agression chamanique chez les Emberá du Chocó.” Journal des Américanistes 71: Paris, Musée de l’Homme, 157–183. Losonczy, Anne Marie.1987 “Le nom et l’origine. Constitution de l’identité individuelle chez les Emberà du Choco.” Civilisations. Ethnologies d’Europe et d’ailleurs 37: 229–248. Losonczy, Anne Marie, ed. 1997. Les Saints et la forêt. Rituel, société et figures de l’échange entre Noirs et Indiens Embera (Choco, Colombie). Paris: L’Harmattan. Losonczy, Anne Marie. 2006. Viaje y violencia. La paradoja chamánica emberá. Bogotá: Universidad Externado de Colombia. Pardo, Mauricio. 1985. Zroara Nemburà. Literatura oral emberá por Floresmiro Dogirama. Bogotá: Centro Cultural Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. Pinto, Carlos. 1978. Los indios katios. Su cultura y su lengua. I-II. Medellín: Compas. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo. 1960. “Notas etnográficas sobre los indios del Choco.” Revista Colombiana de Antropologia 9: 73–158. Roelens, Tania and Bolanos, Tomas. 1997. “La revolcadera de los jaïs.” In Antropologia en la modernidad, edited by M. V. Uribe, and E. Restrepo, 167–192. Bogotá: ICANH. Romero Castro, Ruben Dario. 2009. “Suicidios indígenas espantan al Vaupés: En cuatro años 24 jóvenes se han ahorcado.” El Tiempo, August 5. Sepulveda López de Mesa, Rodrigo Iván. 2008. “Vivir las ideas, idear la vida. Adversidad, suicidio y flexibilidad en el ethos de los Emberá y Wounaan de Riosucio, Chocó.” Antipoda 6 “Creencia y verdad en los sistemas terapéuticos contemporáneos”, edited by C. A. Uribe. Bogotá: Universidad de los Andes. Stipek, George Jr. 1975. “Relaciones inter-étnicas en el Chocó colombiano.” Revista Universidad de Antioquia 1 (193): 79–94. Tobon Yagari, Marcela and Patricia Tobon Yagari. 2012. “Estudio de caso: suicidios de jovenes emberá.” Suicidios adolescentes en pueblos indigenas: tres estudios de caso. UNICEF, IWGIA. Wassén, Henry. 1935. “Notes on Southern Groups of Chocó Indians in Colombia.” Etnologiska Studiier 19: 35–182.


Note: Bold page numbers refer to tables; italic page numbers refer to figures and page numbers followed by “n” denote endnotes. aburrimiento 337, 339 a´buru, thought deposited on things 186, 188 achepchia, slave, servant 310 active interlocutors, other-than-human beings as 217–8 Acuña Delgado, Ángel 229n16 aggwanele, stone shamans 269 aggwanusa, stone shamans 269 agriculture 6; development of 133–4; hierarchical symbiosis of 19–20 Aguilar Piedra, Carlos 275n18 Akuriyo people 214 Alba, Hernández de 132 Alligator-headed variant, of Darien pectoral 166 Amazonia: agriculture 6; culture 8–10; hunting 6 Amazonian Dravidian kinship 89, 116n9, 116n11 Amazonian package 7, 9, 25, 26n8 analogist or analogic ontology 305, 307 analogism 9–10, 38, 279, 282, 283, 293, 296, 296 analogy 15–17, 285 ancestral law 183, 190, 191 ancestral parents 3, 14, 16, 19, 20, 183, 184, 186–98, 199n12, 199n16, 199n17 Andean Civilizations 5, 37, 38, 55, 123 Andean Formative culture 5 animals: and humans 11–12; metamorphosis 53–4 animic or animist ontology 38–9, 307 animism 9, 39, 279, 283; Amazonian 294; hierarchical 10, 22, 296, 297, 307, 321, 322; sacrificial 22, 279; venatic 10, 22, 25, 285, 297, 307, 321, 322

anthropomorphic statuettes 4; origins of 261–3; see also nudsugana anthropocentrism 330 anthropomorphism 10, 297, 330 ánugwe, (thought, vitality) 14, 186–3, 196, 198 Aponto, creator god 205, 208–12, 215, 216–22, 224, 225–8 Appadurai, Arjun 257 apüshii (uterine kin) 311 Arara people 18, 116n9 Arawak language family 7, 25, 115n3, 123, 128, 129, 148, 198, 303 Arawakan language see Wayuunaiki archaeological evidence 159, 164, 169 archaeological research 131–3 Area concepts, see Área de Tradicion Chibchoide; Área Histórica Chibchoide; Central Andean Area; Chibcha Area; Circum-Caribbean Area; Colombian-Central American Area; Ecuadorian-Colombian sub-area; Greater Caribbean Area; Intermediate Area; IsthmoColombian Area; Lower Central America; Region Historica ChibchaChoco; Venezuelan-Antillean Area; Zwischengebiet Área de Tradicion Chibchoide 126 Área Histórica Chibchoide 126 Århem, Kaj 10, 15, 21, 22, 294, 307, 308, 313, 323, 325n19 Arhuacos 182; see also Ikʉ people Arias, Gilberto 264–7, 269, 274n3, 274n10 Australian systems 89 Awá, shaman 281, 287

346 Index Awá Jose Ackson 291 Awá Justo Torres 288, 291 Awá Ricardo Lopez 291 bad deaths 333–7, 339–42 balkanization 131 baptism 15, 18, 184, 185, 189–93, 195, 196, 198n6, 206 Barbacoan language family 129, 148n5 Barí (Dobocubi, Motilon), people 18, 24, 26n9, 63, 64, 65, 89, 90, 92–4, 95, 96, 102, 103, 114, 118n30, 206 Barí kinship 96–7 Barnes, R. H. 90, 91 Basso, Ellen 116n15, 237, 238 bat-masked stone figures, of Atlantic Watershed region 171, 172 Baudez, Claude F. 132 Beaudet, Jean-Michel 236 Beckerman, Stephen 26n9, 96, 103 Belalcázar, Sebastián de 144, 158–9 Benson, Elizabeth 168 bestial future 51, 53 bifurcate collateral systems 89, 91 bifurcate merging systems 89–91, 103, 116n9 bilateral cross-cousins 89, 98, 106 Bocotá people 63, 67–8; see also Bugle people Bonigana, illness 258–9, 262, 267–73, 269, 273 Boruca 63, 65, 83n5, 92–4, 95; see also Bugle Bozzoli de Wille, Maria Eugenia 288–9, 293, 300n35 Brabec de Mori, Bernd 235–7 Bray, Warwick 107, 127, 137, 140 Bribri people 18, 41, 42, 64, 269; cosmological notions 281–3; god Sibö 18, 20; humans and non-humans 294; indigenous territories 280; mythology 283; numeral classification system 292; “perspectivism”294; ritual speech 73; socio-cosmology 294 Bridgman, A. 241 Brightman, Marc 324n5 Bocota people 63, 66–8 Broz, Ludek 305, 319 Btsök (planting ritual) 279, 287–90, 299n18 Bugle people 41, 51, 54, 56n1, 92–4, 95, 116n16, 117n29 Buritaca 140 Butt Colson, Audrey 220

Cabécar people 44–6, 50, 51, 56, 63, 64–6, 71, 82, 95, 259 cabildos’ policy 333, 337–9, 341, 342 Caicedo, Machado 262, 274n6 Calima diadem, of Yotoco Period 167, 168 Calima metal work 159 Calima region, river 139, 166 Campbell, Alan T. 229n5 cannibalism 54, 147, 197, 289, 294 capitanes/caciques 52, 309, 310 Cariaco corn 211, 224, 226–9, 229n14, 230n28 Carib (Yukpa) 7, 128, 148n6 Cariban language see Yukpa Castaño Carvajal, Ruth Virginia 275n22 cataclysm 48, 53, 55, 283 Cayon, Luis 282 Central Andean Area 129 ceramic effigy 172 ceramics, development of 133–4 Chapin, Mac 263 Chaves Mendoza, Alvaro 241 Chibcha: classifiers 41, 42; human and non-human 43–4, 44; kinship 88; semantic categorization 41, 42; societies 37, 38, 40 Chibcha Area 3, 26n3, 126, 129, 148n2 Chibcha Historical Region 126 Chibchan languages 8; constituent order in transitive clauses 66; flap vs. trill 64; formal features 62, 64–6; functional features 62, 66–8; gender in pronouns/demonstratives 67; location of 61; nasal vowels 64–5; nominal classification 66–7; overview of 63; plain vs. aspirated stops 64; possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) 67–8; possessor and possessed order 66; prefixes 65; reduplication as productive morphological device 65–6; suffixes 65; voiced vs. voiceless stops 64; vs. Yukpa languages 76 Chibchan ontology 3, 11 Chibchan populations 129, 130 chiefdoms 6, 124–6; early 136–9; late 139–41 Cieza de Leon 144, 165, 169 Chimila 67; see also Ette people chi padap, flute 247, 248 Chocoan languages 8; constituent order in transitive clauses 71; flap vs. trill 69; formal features 62, 69–71; functional features 62, 71–2; gender in pronouns/

Index  347 demonstratives 71–2; nasal vowels 69; nominal classification 71; possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) 72; possessor and possessed order 71; prefixes 70; reduplication as productive morphological device 70–1; suffixes 70; voiced vs. voiceless stops 65 Chocoes 343n1 Chavin 133 Carillo Polychrome ceramics 138 Chontal Maya 143 Chiriquí 141, 145, 146, 164 Cieza de Leon, Pedro de 144, 165, 169 cimarrones 308–9 Circum-Caribbean Area 3, 5–8, 26n4, 123–4, 124 clans 99–113; conical 104; ditsö 18, 118n33; double descent 114; exogamous 103, 104, 106; matrilineal 14, 17, 95, 114, 282, 311; paralleldescent 17; ranked 14, 18, 24, 104, 114, 115, 118n34, 282; sana 117; tána 117; teba 105, 106; totemic 10, 17, 114 Classic Maya culture 137, 171, 172, 173 coca plant 191, 199n14 Cocinas 309; kusi’na (Wayuu subgroup) cocoa plant 279, 280, 284, 285, 288, 296, 297 Coe, Michael D. 132 Colombian-Central American Area 8, 127–8 Colombian civil war 7, 13 Colombian exchange 6 colonial period 141–6, 303 colonization 6, 9, 143–5, 198n5, 308 Columbus, Christopher 160 consanguinization 98 Constenla Umaña, Adolfo 8, 126, 290 Cooke, Richard G. 131, 137, 140, 148n3 Correa Rubio, Francois 88, 98 cosmic transformations 49; bestial future 53; divine and vegetal nature 49–51; human and cultivated nature 51–2 cosmological humanism 331 counter-predation 289, 297, 319, 321 creolization 6 Cristóbal Gnecco 145 Crosby, Alfred W. 145 cross-cousin marriage 88, 96, 99, 103 cross-sex relatives 94, 95, 105 Crow systems 90, 115n4, 116n9 cultivated nature 51–2 cultural-historical developments 8, 123 culture areas, limits of 127

Daké 14, 107–9 Damana Wiwa 65; see also Wiwa people Darien 3, 5, 39, 129, 143, 159–61, 261, 262, 343 Darién pectoral complex 166–9, 166–8 dehumanization 38, 54, 55 dead: vs. animals 12–13; enduring relationship with 8; continuing existence of 12–13, 26; ghost of 304; soul of 264; spirit of 322; victims of 337; world of the dead 223, 231, 264, 313, 314, 319 Descola, Philippe 9–10, 38, 217, 218, 282, 287, 296, 305, 306, 308, 323, 324n6, 325n9; ontological grid 307 Diquis region 138 divine nature 46, 49–51 Dösãt (trickster) 244, 249, 250 double descent system 107–8, 108 Dravidian kinship 14, 23, 88–92, 115, 116n6 early chiefdoms 135–9 Early Intermediate Period 133 eastern Bolivia 123–4 ecological-geographical area 126 Ecuadorian-Colombian sub-area 8, 128, 129 edamo ademi, owner of chants 214 Effigy ocarina 170, 172 El Dorado 158, 174 “el indio dorado” 159 Emberá people 68, 101–2, 260, 261, 338 Emberá “moral economy of death” 13; bad deaths 333–6; death and dying 331; ethnographic materials on 343n2; jaï and jaïbaná 337–40; shamanism 332; social archipelago 332–3; socio-cosmology 330; unearth and identify 340–2 endogamy 199n11 Epena Pedee 69–73, 78 Eskimo systems 91 Epidemic, suicide epidemic 339 Espinosa, Gaspar de 161, 162, 169 ethnographic evidence 165, 169 ethnohistorical sources 159 Ette people 14, 18, 22, 41, 42, 45–54, 56n1, 88, 89, 92–4, 99, 110, 111, 16n16, 117n29, 118n41 European types, of Guna anthropomorphic statuettes 266–8 Evangelism 337 Ewandama 240, 241

348 Index exchange: asymmetrical 297, 320; chief-to-chief 136; of energy with non-humans 283; exogamic 18, 290; generalized 184–7; makruma 197; marriage 99, 100, 106, 118n39; predatory 289; reciprocal 283, 288, 311; restricted 92, 99, 116n11; ritual 249, 288; symmetrical 22, 297, 320; systems 92, 118n40, 142; see also hetero-substitution; homo-substitution farming community 134–5 Faron, Louis C. 126 Faust, Franz X. 145 Fausto, Carlos 197, 323 Fernandez de Oviedo, Gonzalo 158, 169 Ferro, Maria Del Rosario 197 Fonseca Zamora, Oscar M. 129, 131, 137, 140 Fortis, Paolo 263–4 Friede, Juan 145 Galo Polychrome ceramics, effigy vessels 161, 162 Gamboa Mendoza, Jorge 144 Gebhart-Sayer, Angelika 167, 168 Gell, Alfred 170 generational cycles 98–9 generational systems 91–6, 95; Ikʉ 97–8; Kogi 97–8 gift 55, 141, 197, 210, 288, 295, 306 giving 288, 295 Godelier, Maurice 90–2, 116n8, 116n10 gold objects 136–9 Gómez, Arenas 3, 8, 14, 24–5 Gothenburg Museum of World Culture 261, 262, 272 Goulet, Jean-Guy 312–14 Gow, Peter 258 Graham, Mark Miller 167 Gran Coclé 160, 164 Greater Caribbean Area 131 Guajiro people 303; see also Wayuu people Guatuso people 63, 64 Guaymí people 63, 66 Gubiler, Nele 265 Guerra Curvelo, Weildler 311, 325n18 Guevara Berger, Marcos 104, 116n13 Guianas 8, 76, 100, 206, 220 Guna (Kuna, Cuna) people, esawala 68; inmar 47; kammi 68; kinship 88; purba 45; zoomorphic traits 54

Guna Yala 7, 19, 100–1, 257–75 gʉn’gawʉn, to feed 198 haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual 3, 234, 242–3; by Hẽwandam 243–5; music and dance in 245–8, 246, 248; world’s benevolence and avoiding calamity 248–52 Haberland, Wolfgang 127 Hacienda Malagana 165 Halbmayer, Ernst 212, 216, 226, 230n25, 290, 296 hand-stitched blouses 4; see also molagana (hand-stitched blouses) Hartmann, C. V. 131 Hawaiian terminology 91 Hawaiization 91, 93, 116n9 healing: of the birth 189; chants 236; by laying hands 209, 220, 221; plants 209, 259; processes 258–61; rituals 183; seeds 214, 259, 262, 263, 269, 303; shamanic 21, 22, 262, 303, 314–16; sticks 259; and trees 46 healers 46, 209, 214, 236, 275n18, 280, 286, 290, 291 Hernández Poveda, Dora 117n18 hetero-substitution 11, 22, 305–7 Hẽwandam 234, 242, 248; haaihí jëeu nʌm ritual by 243–5 hierarchical animism 279, 307 hierarchical symbiosis 19–20, 25, 26 hierarchy: relationships 20–2; symbiosis of agricultural care 19–20 Hill, Jonathan 238 “hill tribe” 10; cosmology 308 Holmer, Nils M. 72 homologism 16–17 homology 15–17 homo-substitution 12, 305 Hoopes, John W. 129, 137 horizontal shamanism 24, 206, 212–13 Howe, James 263, 272 Hugh-Jones, Christine 24 Hugh-Jones, Stephen 206, 212, 213, 215, 230n19; dual shamanism and traditional distinctions 216 human-animal metamorphosis: avoidance 12; irreversibility 12 humanic or humanistic ontology 38–40, 43 humanity: graduated 18; metaphorical 45–6; metonymic 46–8; true 44–5 humanization 38, 50, 54, 55 human-plant communication 280 human-plant relationships 284–6, 294, 295

Index  349 humans: abilities 13; and animals 11–12; graduated forms 18; knowledge 13; nature 51–2; as plants 18–19; as seeds 18–19; substances 13 hunting, symbolism 6, 21, 22, 190, 298 Hutchinson, Marion 132 hybrid ontologies 7 hʌrrdagsĩe 247 ̈ Ibeorgun 262, 263, 265 iconographic evidence 164, 169 Ika 46, 76; see also Ikʉ people Ikʉ people: kinship 97–8; making connections 183–5; overview of 181–2; person transforming 187–90; vitality 184–7, 190 Ilama culture 134, 136 indigenous territories 6, 182, 280, 298n1 infrahumanity 12, 43, 48 Ingold, Tim 305, 323 institutionalization 139, 215, 227 Integration Period 140 Intermediate Area 4, 26n4, 127, 128, 130, 131 International Style 137 Iroquois systems 90–1, 94 Isacsson, Sven-Erik 241 Isthmo–Colombian Area 8, 129–31, 158–9; applications 164–5, 168; Darién pectoral complex and lords of universe 166–9, 166–8; formal features 81; functional features 81; green look and changing media 171–3, 172; history of 4–5; identity and occasions 165; kinship 14; kinship systems 92–6; languages of: Chibchan 63–8; Chocoan 68–73; Wayuunaiki 76–8; Yukpa 73–6; largescale objects, coating by 159–62, 160, 162; sensing the brilliance 170–1; small-scale objects 161–4, 162–4; socio-cosmologies 24; sociopolitical developments 136; war and rituals 169–70, 172 Isthmo–Colombian ontologies: conceptualization of 10–11 Isthmo–Colombian package 7, 25–6 Izikowitz, Karl 240 jaï (spirit) 20, 260, 334–42 jaï de la tontina (giddiness spirit) 337 jaï kachirua (harmful spirits from bad deaths) 335–6 Jama-Coaque 165, 165

Jaulin, Robert 96–7, 102, 103 Jehovah’s Witnesses 206 jwa’n’kusi (birth-baptism) 195 Kalapalo people 238 Kankuamo people 182, 206 Kaviany, Schabnam 8, 18–20 kin-integration system 100 kinship: ‘complex’ systems, kinship 92; ‘elementary’ systems 92; generational equations 92–6, 95; non-marriageable category 99–113; see also Amazonian Dravidian kinship; Australian systems; bifurcate collateral systems; bifurcate merging systems; bilateral cross-cousins; ‘complex’ systems; double descent system; Dravidian kinship; Eskimo systems; generational systems; Hawaiian terminology; Hawaiization; lineal systems; Omaha systems; parallel descent system; Sudanese terminologies kinship systems: Barí 96–7; Guna 88; Ikʉ 97–8; Kogi 97–8; Kirchhoff, Paul 3, 26n3, 92, 126, 148n2 Kogi people 10, 14, 107; double/ parallel descent 107–9, 108; kinship 97–8; mythology 169, 170, 170; segmentation 108, 115 kojutshii (of high value) 303 k’ugwiu ritual 234, 242–3, 243, 245 kusi (to share) 199n10 kusi’na (Wayuu subgroup) 309, 317, 325n11 Kuna see Guna Kwaiker people 14, 98, 111–13 La Tolita region 139 Lagrou, Els 258 Langebaek, Carl Henrik 136 Lange, Frederick W. 133 languages: Arawak 7, 128, 129, 303; Barbacoan 4, 72, 128; Cariban 3, 62, 73–6, 81, 83n8, 128, 206, 230n23; Chibchan 63–8; Chocoan 68–73; Misumalpan 68, 127, 128; Wayuunaiki 76–80; Yukpa 73–6 Lapovsky Kennedy, Elizabeth 241 large-scale chest ornament 168 large-scale objects, Isthmo-Colombian Area 159–62, 160, 162 late chiefdoms 136, 139–41 Lehmann, Walter 146 Lévi-Strauss, Claude 41, 46

350 Index lineal systems 91 línea negra 182 linguistic families and languages 128 Linné, Sigvald 131 livestock, in human-non-human relationship 303–5; adoption, spread and crisis of 308–10; offerings and funeral rituals 312–4; ontological concepts 305–7; reciprocity, hierarchy and symbolic equivalences in 310–2; shamanic healing 314–6; wild animals and 316–7; wilderness, wild animals and hunters and fishers 318–20 Lizarralde, Manuel 96, 118n29 Lizarralde, Roberto 96, 103, 118n29 Loewen, Jacob 240 Londoño, L. Eduardo 88 Londoño Sulkin, Carlos David 9 López, Claudio 268 Losonczy, Anne-Marie 8, 249, 260 Lothrop, Samuel K. 131–2 Lower Central America 127, 129, 130 Lowie, Robert H. 92, 230n18 Lowland South America: indigenous peoples 303, 323, 343n1; languages 65, 80; societies 38 McCullum, Cecilia 258 MacCurdy, George Grant 131 McGimsey, C. R. 132 Machado Caicedo, Martha L. 262 macrocosmological analogy 10 Magdalena river, valley 83n8, 139 Makruma 197–8 Maleku people 51, 53 mamʉ (mama) 183–5, 191, 192 Mancuso, Alessandro 11–12, 21 Mapuche people 22 markets 6, 115, 271, 272, 280, 310 Margiotti, Margherita 91, 101 marriage: Barí kinship 96–7; classes, cross-cousin 96; distant, exchange, between groups of siblings, between houses 105, 106; non-marriageable 96; parallel-cousin, paths, prescribed, prohibition, rules 109; see also kinship systems Martínez Mauri, Mònica 3–4, 8, 19 marunsama (permission, capacity, knowledge) 14, 191, 193, 194, 199n13 Mason, John Alden 132 master, animal, plant 281 materialization of thought 13–15

Awá Matheo 287 Matthews, William 16 Maussian theory 197 mayorazgo 98 meditative shaman 15, 137 Mejía Fonnegra, Gustavo 69 Mello, Maria Ignez Cruz 239 mental disorders 339 Mesoamerica: civilizations 38; cultural development 132; history of 4–5 mestizaje 6 metallurgical techniques 137 metamorphosis 12, 340 metaphorical humanity 45–6, 55 metonymic humanity 46–8 Misumalpan languages 8, 68, 128 mi watupe (master of corn) 214 mojutshii wayuu (Wayuu without value) 303 molagana (hand-stitched blouses) 7, 269, 270, 272 Monagrillo culture, ceramics 132 Monsú 133 monumental architecture 6, 140 moral economy of death see Emberá “moral economy of death” moral economy of transition 342 Morales, Franklin 289 Moser, Brian 241 Muisca people 65, 123; ceramic 162, 162; ruler 158 multicultural legislation 334 multinaturalism 12 multispecies socio-cosmologies 218–19 multiverse 23, 222 Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg 267, 272 musical ritual 234 Nana Giggadiryai 270 Nasa people 92–5 naturalism 9–10 nenëddoi (shamanic ritual) 260 Neto, Barcelos 271 Newson, Linda A. 145 Ngobe people (Guaymi, Movere, Ngabere, Nove) 41; kinship 99–100, 116n7 Nicoya 128, 131, 136–8, 141, 142, 158 Niño Segovia, Elena 74 Niño Vargas, Juan Camilo 8, 11, 12, 19, 22, 23, 250, 330 nonhuman animal 316

Index  351 non-marriageable kin 99–113 Nordenskiold, Erland 238–40, 240, 263, 266, 267, 272 nudsugana 4, 7, 258, 262, 263, 264–5; vs. human beings 268; represent European types 266–8 objects, circulation 271–2; gold 132, 136–8, 158, 159; inanimate 269–71; large-scale 159–61; living 190–6; marunsama 193, 194; ritual, small-scale 161–4 oduloe (to animate) 266 offerings 15, 23, 170, 224, 264, 297, 303, 312–14, 323 Olmec culture 171 Omaha systems 90, 115n4, 116n9 omegiids (third gender persons) 270, 275n20 ontology see analogism; analogist or analogic ontology; animic or animist ontology; animism; Chibchan ontology; humanic or humanistic ontology; homology; hybrid ontologies; Isthmo–Colombian ontologies; multinaturalism; naturalism; totemism; perspectivism; plant ontology ontological break 331 ontological schema 37, 38, 40, 48, 55 ontological types 305–8, 320, 321 Osborn, Ann 89, 112–13 Osema 205, 211, 215, 219, 221, 225–7 Otaegui, Alfonso Manuel 10, 282 other-than-human transmitters 208, 216–18 Outshii (shaman) 314, 315 Oviedo y Valdez, Gonzalo Fernandez de 169 owner, spiritual 295 Pache, Matthias 19, 273 Paez people see Nasa people pagamento 187 Panama: Cerro Mangote 139; chiefdoms 138; cultural development 134; Darién-Chocó region 234; Monagrillo culture 132; Sitio Conte 139, 161; Wounaan 239 Papagayo Polychrome ceramics 141 parallel descent system 107–9, 108 pastoral perspectivism 22, 305 pastoral propensity 304 Pech people 65, 68

Peña Ismare, Chindío 8, 243, 247, 248 Peninsula Azuero region 161 Perez Kantule, Ruben 267 Perrin, Michel 304, 312–15, 318–20, 325n18 perspectivism 9, 279, 294, 305; pastoral 22, 305, 319; transcendental 22, 305 Picon, François-René 317 pictographic mnemonic systems 8 Piedade, Acacio Tadeu de Camargo 236 Pinton, Solange 96 piuna (slave) 310 plant ontologies 279–80, 294–7; agriculture and plant use 280–1; Btsök 287–90; cosmology 281–3; harvesting plants 286–7; human-plant relationships 284–6; personhood 292–4; shamanism 290–2 plants 18–19; personhood 292–4 post-Levi-Straussian structuralism 9 Prather, Dove L. 267 prayer/petition canoe 3, 234, 239 predation, metaphysics of 305 pre-modern state formations 10 Preuss, Konrad Theodor 132 protection 19, 20, 52, 185, 197, 244, 259, 261, 264, 270, 275n22, 288, 295, 306, 310, 319, 339 Proto-Chibchan terms 265 pseudo-totemic 17 public health issues 339 public infrastructure 139–41 Puerto Hormiga 133 Puerto Chacho 133 Pulowi 304, 312, 315, 318, 319–21 Pumé maracas 260 purba (soul) 45 Quesada, J. Diego 63 Quimbaya region 166 Rama people 63, 65, 66, 68, 73, 82 Ramos, Alcida 234 ranked social structure 135–6 raised fields 6 Regional Development Period 135, 136 Region Historica Chibcha-Choco 126 Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 107, 109, 117n21, 132, 173, 229n17, 241, 259 resguardos (indigenous territories) 205–6, 228n1, 334, 338, 339 Restrepo, Esneda Saavedra 229n2 reversible social death 331

352 Index ritual 18, 23; baptism 184; burial 334; canoe 241; curing 210; exorcism 338; fasting 288, 289; fire 183; flutes 235, 247, 248, 252; funeral 312–14, 343n2; harvest 225, 227, 229n16; haaihí jëeu nʌm 3, 241–8, 248, 249–52; house 18; hunting 297, 299n13; instruments 234; kagutu 237; k’ugwiu 235, 242, 245, 247; knowledge 114, 115; leaders 215, 230n22, 262; life cycle rituals 191, 215; music 234–9, 250–2; objects 137, 138, 252, 259; planting 279, 289–91; prayer 235, 247; of succession 174; seclusion 299n18; shamanic 236, 249, 260, 280, 322, 331, 332, 336; speech 73, 82; specialists 23, 182–4, 207, 214, 229n17, 251, 268, 271, 315; statuettes 23, 44, 46; therapeutic 338, 339; and war 169–70 Rival, Laura 234 Robert, H.B. 132 Robinson, J. 241 Rodriguez Freyl, Juan 158 Rouse, Irving 127 Rowe, John H 132 Ruddle, Kenneth 229n15, 229n16 Runk, Velasquez 242 Sankt Augustin 233 sacred flute complex 237 sacrifice 11, 15, 21, 22, 226, 297, 300, 304, 306–8, 321, 322, 323 sacrificial animism 22, 279 Sahlins, Marshall 10, 307 Saler, Benson 311, 314 Sanación 210 Santacruz Aguilar, Milton 275n22 Santos-Granero, Fernando 325n11 Sarmiento, S. Yolanda 96, 103, 109 seeds 18–19; humans as 18–19 Seeger, Anthony 237 Segura, Hernán 292 Segura, Sebastiana 287, 292 Sein Zare (original law) 181 serfdom 310, 325n11 Shamanic ceremonies 249 shamanic healing 314–6 shamanism 198n7, 234, 290–2; horizontal 24–5, 212–13; meditative 15, 137; transversal shamans 20; vertical 23–5, 212–1 Shipibo people, cosmogram 167, 168 Sibö, (Sibú), creator god 103, 238, 259, 295

Sierra de Perijá 3, 73 Sierra Nevada del Cocuy 6, 51 Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta 3, 5, 6, 14, 16, 198n5, 291 Simon, Lionel 320, 325n18 sisal fiber 191 Sitio Conté 139, 160, 161, 165, 171 slave 262, 310, 325n12, 332 slavery 6, 310, 325n11 small-scale objects, Isthmo–Colombian Area 161–4, 162–4 Snarskis, Michael J. 140, 142 socio-cosmologies 306 socio-cultural formations 7 sociopolitical developments 136 Sokorpa Yukpa 205–7 souls 12; aa’in, of the dead 312; different 293; jaure, multiple, primordial 334–7, 339, 340, 342; purba, outside the body 45 Sonso 139 Spanish chronicles 158 Spanish settlements 143, 145 spirit 334–5; ancestral 237, 259; of anthropomorphic figures 259; auxiliary 265, 314, 315, 316, 322; benevolent 20, 259; blood as 19, 285; burba 19, 265; of the dead 20, 230n23, 25n25; flutes as voice of 237, 238; guardian 259; in human shape 12, 21; jaï 260; malevolent 229n15, 244–7; of medicinal plants 209, 210, 297; music as language of 236; of painted balsa logs 259; of plants 259, 290, 291; possession 307, 322; predator 314; shamanic 249; vs. shape/materiality 13, 263–6; sub-human 331; vs. substance 263–6; sickness-causing 249 spirituality 12, 13, 15 Sprenger, Guido 297, 323 Steward, Julian H. 3, 5–8, 26n4, 123, 126 Stone, Doris 132, 259, 261 Strathern 323 streets 6 subjection 19, 21, 24, 51, 52, 273 substances 13; materiality 13–15; spirit 13–15 Sudanese terminologies 89 suicides 331. 343n5 suwar mimmigana (carved wooden figure) 258, 269, 271, 274n17 Tairona, figure pendant 168 Talamanca region 118n33, 261

Index Taruma people 80 Taussig, Michael 263 Tayler, Donald 97, 241, 253n7 Teribe people 54–6, 64, 65 Térraba people 64, 65 territorial arrangements 332 territory groups 99–113 theocratic chiefdoms 124 thoughts: collecting 13, 184; deposited on things 186; materialization of 13–16, 25; vitality 187 Tierradentro 138 Tjon Sie Fat, Franklin E. 90–1 tokeemie (panpipe) 247 Tolima 139, 144 tomaira (religious leader and singer) 24, 214, 230n23 Torres de Arauz, Reina 240–1 Torres, Justo 281–2 totemism 9–10, 15–16, 26n15 trade networks 7, 142 transcendental perspectivism 22, 305 transformation, of universe see cosmic transformations transgression, species 12 transmission of knowledge, Sokorpa transhuman communication: from mythical past 218–19; other-thanhuman beings, as active interlocutors 217–18; from outside 220–1 transversal shamanism 199n7 Trautmann, Thomas R. 91 trees see plants tropical forest: culture 6; farmers 125, 126; tribes 6 true humanity 44–5 Tumaco-La Tolita 165, 165 tumbaga 170, 171, 173 Tunebo people 65 see U’wa people tupiacha (healer) 214 Turner, Victor W. 215 tuwancha (those who know) 205–7; curing disease 209–12; deified individuals 224–6; incorporated and verbal knowledge 221–2, 222; knowledge acquisition 207–9; manifestations of 215–17, 217; tomaira, tuano, tupiacha and tijisnocha 213–15; transhuman relations, modes of 221–6; transmission of knowledge 217–21; vertical and horizontal shamanism 212–13; weather and harvest 211–12 tuwancha-who-act 215–17, 221


tuwancha-who-preach 215–17 Tuxé 107–9 uggurwar (large balsa wood figure) 259, 266 Uhle, Max 126, 131 Unano 229n9; see also Osema Unión Emberá Katío 343n3 Uribe, Carlos 109–10 Uricoechea, Ezequiel 80 Usécares (priests) 299n11 U’wa people 14, 104–5, 117n18 Valdivia 133 Vander Velden, Felipe 271 Vargas, Nino 273 Vargas, Patricia 261–2 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa 142–3 vegetal nature 49–51 venatic animism, ideology 294 Venezuelan-Antillean Area 8, 128, 129 vertical shamanism 199n7, 212–13 vitality 184–7, 190 violent deaths 331; circular economy of 340 Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo 24, 219, 284, 294, 323, 324n2; perspectivism, characterization of 307 Wafer, Lionel 147, 163, 261 Walker, Harry 258 wanülüü (spirits) 304, 313–15 washirü (of high status, rich) 303 Wassén, Henry 240, 261 Waujá people, rituals 236, 239, 251, 252, 271 wawamia (attacks) 337, 339 Wayuunaiki: constituent order in transitive clauses 78–9; flap vs. trill 77; formal features 62, 77–9; functional features 62, 79–80; gender in pronouns/demonstratives 79; nasal vowels 77; nominal classification 79; plain vs. aspirated stops 77; possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) 79–80; possessor and possessed order 78; prefixes 77–8; reduplication as productive morphological device 78; suffixes 77, 83n9; voiced vs. voiceless stops 77 Wayuu people 6, 8, 21–2, 209; cosmology (see livestock, in humannon-human relationship); “heterosubstitution” 11

354 Index Weiss, Gerald 126 Wilbert, Johannes 212–16, 226, 229n8, 229n16, 230n22 Willey, Gordon R. 127–9, 132 Wirsche, David 240 Wissler, Clark 126 Wiwa people 6, 7, 13, 18, 21, 24, 51, 118n37, 182, 199n18, 206, 229n6 Wounaan people 99, 117n27, 234, 235, 239–42, 244, 246, 248–52 Wounaan haaihí jëeu nʌm 234–5; musical ritual performance 235–9; ritual with k′ugwiu 239–42, 240 Wounaan meu 68, 72 Wounaan National Congress 245, 248 Wright, Robin 238 wuchii (wild animals) 316 yaggriri (relatives) 110 yolujaa (ghost of dead) 304, 313, 314 Yotoco-Malagana period 159, 160 Young, Philip D. 99, 100, 117n19, 117n28 Yucatec Maya 143

Yukpa language 8; vs. Chibchan languages 76; constituent order in transitive clauses 75; flap vs. trill 73; formal features 62, 73–5; functional features 62, 75–6; gender in pronouns/ demonstratives 75; nasal vowels 74; nominal classification 75; plain vs. aspirated stops 73; possessive classification (alienable/inalienable) 75–6; possessor and possessed order 75; prefixes 74; reduplication as productive morphological device 74; subgroups 207, 210, 230n27; suffixes 74; voiced vs. voiceless stops 73 Yukpa subgroups: Irapa 214, 228n1, 229n4, 230n22, 230n29; Iroka 73, 228n1, 229n4, 230n24, 230n29; Japreria 73, 75, 82, 228n1; Macoita 228n1, 229n4; Parírí 213; Rio Negrinos 228n1; Shaparrú 228n1; Sokorpa 205, 206, 212, 230n20; Wasama 213 zasari (to compensate) 187 Zwischengebiet 127