maandag 29 november 2010

From within the forest does not exist (Tukano Psychogeography)

Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff on the Tukano classification of environment:

 ...The Indians do not share our concept of nature, they divide their natural environment not only in what we would call ecosystems, but also segregate certain parts of the environments for their specific atmosphere . Now this is not quite the right word and I must try to explain this concept. There exist spots and spaces such as a beach, a watershed, or a tree, where people are said to be subject to unusual sensations, although there seems to be no obvious reason for it as far as the environment is concerned. But there is something in the environment that triggers off these reactions. These places or spaces do not constitute ecosystems, but the Indians mention them in any enumeration of ecological subdivisions as essential parts of the environment.They are liminal spots where transformations are likely to occur,places where all values are abolished and replaces with others, places that lie outside of time. It is obvious that we are entering here a dimension of the imaginary, but as these places do exist in reality as landscape features, and are singled out by the Indians as components of their concept of nature, I shall include them in the discussion that follows.
The Tukanoan Indians recognize at least 20 named subdivisions or areas of their environment. 
  1. The maloca and its immediate surroundings or patio
  2. Productive garden
  3. recuperating garden
  4. old abandoned garden and house sites
  5. dense forest
  6. open forest
  7. caatinga forest
  8. riverine forest
  9. swamp forest
  10. hills
  11. hillocks
  12. river
  13. rapids
  14. pools
  15. streams, creeks
  16. headwaters
  17. confluence
  18. island
  19. beach
  20. salt-lick
  21. sites
All these subdivisions of the environment are believed to be charged with energies which continuously emit messages to which humans react in different ways. Many of these environments are resource areas of food or of raw materials of daily consumption, and in this manner the individual is in permanent contact with several subdivisions, and in occasional contact with most, if not all, others.    

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