‘Traditional wisdom’ under threat

‘Traditional wisdom’ under threat

Four missing indigenous children were rescued by Colombian forces in the Amazon jungle on June 9. COLOMBIAN PRESIDENCY – REUTERS

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(Video) Children rescued in the Amazon

The small plane in which he was traveling crashed on May 1. Three adults, including the mother and the pilot, were confirmed dead, but the whereabouts of the children were unknown. “Miracle, miracle, miracle!” were the first words of the Colombian soldier who found the four. However, having spent over a year with the Andoke, the indigenous people of the region, for anthropological research, I cannot easily describe this as a miracle. At least not in the ordinary sense of the word. The children survived and were rescued thanks to the deep knowledge and adaptability of the ins and outs of the forest, passed down from generation to generation. As the search for the children continued, I contacted their great-grandmother’s sister, Raquel Andke. She is an old woman named “Marokela”, which means mistress of the Maroka ceremonial longhouse, repeated many times. In this area, even before entering primary school, children follow their parents and relatives and participate in various activities. Hunting, fishing, rafting, honey and fruit gathering… My four children, Leslie, Soleini, Tien and Christine, have also acquired practical skills and knowledge that I can put to good use this time. From an early age, Aboriginal children learn to make their way through dense vegetation and identify which fruits are edible. They know how to find drinking water, how to build rain shelters, and how to set traps to catch animals. Children in the Amazon have little access to the toys and games played by urban children. They naturally become good at climbing trees and come into contact with adult tools such as oars and small boat axes. Deepen your understanding of physical activity and accumulate knowledge on how to use various plants. They also experience activities that children would not bother to do in developed countries, such as killing game animals and skinning them. These are valuable lessons in zoology and exercises in mental strength. When I take a short trip to the jungle with my family and relatives, I look up at the sky in the dense forest and trust the position of the sun. Trusting the sun brings us closer to major rivers, as most of the great rivers in the Amazon flow east, in opposition to the movement of the sun. Footprints and objects left behind by the four children date back to a junction that led to the Apapolis River. Did you think you could find me if you went there? ■Everything in life becomes a lesson Children would have learned from their parents and elders where to find edible plants and flowers. They will also have taught you that some types of trees grow mushrooms around them. The knowledge contained in the popular tales that have been transmitted are also a valuable source of information when venturing into the forest. Mythical animals are intelligent creatures that play pranks, seduce and save lives. Though difficult for non-natives to understand, these forest-set myths do a good job of capturing the complex interrelationships of myriad non-human creatures. Indigenous knowledge sheds light on the relationship between humans, animals and plants. And they work together to protect the environment and prevent irreparable damage to ecosystems. This sophisticated knowledge has been cultivated for thousands of years. During that time, the indigenous people not only adapted to the forest, but also created it with their own bodies. The abundant knowledge that is instilled from an early age is acquired naturally. Children are exposed to that knowledge from an early age, as they are also involved in farming and harvesting methods. One of the reasons people in developed countries called this event a “miracle” is the behavior of his eldest daughter, Leslie, who is 13 years old. After her mother’s death, Leslie took care of her three younger siblings, including Christine, who was 11 months old at the time of the plane crash. But in indigenous families, it is common for older daughters to be expected to assume the role of mother to their siblings from an early age. Iris Andke Macna, a distant relative of the family, told me: “Some whites (non-indigenous people) may think that it is a bad idea for a boy to work in the garden or for an older daughter to take care of a younger brother. But in our sense “She’s very nice. The kids are independent, so Leslie was able to take care of them all the time. Being strong, she knew what they needed.” Four traditional wisdoms under threat During the almost 40 days that the children of the village were missing, the elders and shamans performed rituals based on popular beliefs. . It is a ritual about the existence of the “owner” and the relationship with humans. Owner is the guardian spirit of the animals and plants that live in the forest. Presented to the Owner at a naming ceremony, the child is recognized for its community ties and qualified to thrive in the land of its birth. During the search, the old man had spoken with Dueño in communal houses throughout the central province of Caquetá, Maloka and other indigenous communities who considered the crash site their ancestral land. Raquel explained to me: “The shaman communicates with the holy land. He offers coca and tobacco to the spirits and says: ‘Take this. Give me back my grandchildren. They are mine, not yours.'” These beliefs and practices mean a lot to my indigenous friends. in the center of Caqueta. They firmly believe that the children were spared their lives not because of the technological prowess of the Colombian military, but because of their spiritual power. Accepting these ideas can be difficult for non-indigenous peoples. But it was this kind of faith that instilled in the children the beliefs and mental strength they needed to endure the fight for survival. Thanks to this belief, the indigenous people never gave up the search for the four. The children knew it. We are not meant to die in the forest. That my grandparents and shamans would move heaven and earth and bring me back alive. Unfortunately, this traditional wisdom is under threat. Agribusiness giants, mining, illegality, state abandonment, development without the consent of indigenous peoples. These things are hurting the people of the Amazon. Lifebase embedded with valuable knowledge. the earth as a base. And those who maintain, develop and transmit knowledge are at stake. Protecting the knowledge and skills that truly bring miracles to life is now a top priority. Eliran Arazi, PhD Researcher in Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (Paris), Hebrew University of Jerusalem.This article is republished in The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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