In Mexico’s southeastern frontier state of Quintana Roo, game animals and other creatures that depend on old-growth forest are disappearing in the face of habitat destruction and overhunting. Traditionally, the Yucatec Maya have regarded animals as fellow members of a wider society, and in their religion animals enjoy the status of spiritual beings. But in recent years, the breakdown of cultural restraints on hunting has spiraled so far out of control that almost everything edible within easy reach of a road has become fair game.
This book combines the insights of an anthropologist with the hands-on experience of a Maya campesino with the aim of improving the management of Quintana Roo’s wild lands and animal resources. E. N. Anderson and Felix Medina Tzuc pool their knowledge to document Yucatec Maya understanding and use of animals and to address practical matters related to wider conservation issues.
Although the Yucatec Maya’s ethnobotany has been well documented, until now little has been recorded about their animal lore. Anderson and Medina Tzuc have compiled a wealth of information about traditional knowledge of animals in this corner of the Maya world. They have recorded most of the terms widely used for several hundred categories of animals in west central Quintana Roo, mapped them onto biological categories, and recorded basic information about wildlife management and uses.
The book reflects a wealth of knowledge gathered from individuals regarded as experts on particular aspects of animal management, whether hunting, herding, or beekeeping. It also offers case studies of conservation successes and failures in various communities, pointing to the need for cooperation by the Mexican government and Maya people to save wildlife. Appendixes provide an extensive animal classification and a complete list of all birds identified in the area.
Even though sustainable forestry has finally come to the Yucatán, sustainable game use is practiced by only a few communities. Animals and the Maya in Southeast Mexico is a complete ethnozoology for the region, offered in the hope that it will encourage the recognition of Quintana Roo’s forests and wildlife as no less deserving of protection than ancient Maya cities.
Unlike better-known regions of the Amazon, Guayana—a broad cultural region that includes the countries of Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana, as well as parts of eastern Venezuela and northern Brazil—has rarely been integrated into the broader narratives of South American anthropology and history. Nevertheless, Guayana provides a unique historical context for the persistence and survival of native peoples distinct from the histories reflected by the intense colonial competition in the region over the past 500 years.
This is an important collection that brings together the work of scholars from North America, South America, and Europe to reveal the anthropological significance of Guayana, the ancient realm of El Dorado and still the scene of gold and diamond mining. Beginning with the earliest civilizations of the region, the chapters focus on the historical ecology of the rain forest and the archaeological record up to the sixteenth century, as well as ethnography, ethnology, and perceptions of space. The book features extensive discussions of the history of a range of indigenous groups, such as the Waiwai, Trio, Wajãpi, and Palikur. Contributions analyze the emergence of a postcolonial national society, the contrasts between the coastlands and upland regions, and the significance of race and violence in contemporary politics.
A noteworthy study of the prehistory and history of the region, the book also provides a useful survey of the current issues facing northeastern Amazonia. The chapters extend the anthropological agenda beyond the conventional focus on the “indigenous” even as contributors describe how Guayanese languages, mythologies, and social structures have remained resilient in the face of intense outside pressures.
Indigenous nations are on the front line of the climate crisis. With cultures and economies among the most vulnerable to climate-related catastrophes, Native peoples are developing twenty-first century responses to climate change that serve as a model for Natives and non-Native communities alike.
Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim have already been deeply affected by droughts, flooding, reduced glaciers and snowmelts, seasonal shifts in winds and storms, and the northward movement of species on the land and in the ocean. Using tools of resilience, Native peoples are creating defenses to strengthen their communities, mitigate losses, and adapt where possible.
Asserting Native Resilience presents a rich variety of perspectives on Indigenous responses to the climate crisis, reflecting the voices of more than twenty contributors, including tribal leaders, scientists, scholars, and activists from the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, Alaska, and Aotearoa / New Zealand, and beyond. Also included is a resource directory of Indigenous governments, NGOs, and communities and a community organizing booklet for use by Northwest tribes.
Leading experts in the analysis of ethnicity and indigenous rights explore the questions of why and how the circumstances of indigenous peoples are improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. Drawing on case studies from Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas, chapters explore how political organization, natural resource management, economic development, and conflicting definitions over cultural, linguistic, religious, and territorial identity have informed indigenous strategies for empowerment.
Combining rich ethnographic descriptions with clear theoretical analyses, At the Risk of Being Heard considers the paradoxical challenges and opportunities confronting indigenous peoples at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In the face of state-sanctioned violence, indigenous peoples encounter considerable risks when asserting their rights, especially to self-determination. Yet, if they remain silent or absent from new arenas of power, hiding in marginalized homelands or cultural practices, they risk being invisible to those allies that would aid them in their struggles for survival.
At the Risk of Being Heard offers needed insights for individuals working on issues of governance, sustainable development, resource management, globalization, and indigenous affairs. It will undoubtedly appeal to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, history, political science, peace studies, and to those students in courses that explore relationships among postcolonial states, indigenous peoples, and human rights.
Bartholomew Dean is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Kansas. Jerome M. Levi is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Carleton College.
Explores the relationship between indigenous people, the management of natural resources, and the development process in a modernizing region of Chile
Aymara Indians are a geographically isolated, indigenous people living in the Andes Mountains near Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the most arid regions of the world. As rapid economic growth in the area has begun to divert scarce water to hydroelectric and agricultural projects, the Aymara struggle to maintain their sustainable and traditional systems of water use, agriculture, and pastoralism.
In Aymara Indian Perspectives on Development in the Andes, Amy Eisenberg provides a detailed exploration of the ethnoecological dimensions of the tension between the Aymara, whose economic, spiritual, and social life are inextricably tied to land and water, and three major challenges: the paving of Chile Highway 11, the diversion of the Altiplano waters of the Río Lauca for irrigation and power-generation, and Chilean national park policies regarding Aymara communities, their natural resources, and cultural properties within Parque Nacional Lauca, the International Biosphere Reserve.
Pursuing collaborative research, Eisenberg performed ethnographic interviews with Aymara people in more than sixteen Andean villages, some at altitudes of 4,600 meters. Drawing upon botany, agriculture, natural history, physical and cultural geography, history, archaeology, and social and environmental impact assessment, she presents deep, multifaceted insights from the Aymara’s point of view.
Illustrated with maps and dramatic photographs by John Amato, Aymara Indian Perspectives on Development in the Andes provides an account of indigenous perspectives and concerns related to economic development that will be invaluable to scholars and policy-makers in the fields of natural and cultural resource preservation in and beyond Chile.