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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

Inspired by Heritage


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iming to become one of Guyana’s first international indigenous bands, the Rupununi Rockers Band is rocking their way to stardom. In an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine, the band’s founder Erwin Thompson, who is also its keyboardist and singer, said that the Rupununi Rockers Band was founded on December 1, 2012. Initially, it was a oneman band. Now it has several members, including Julio Nacimento, singer (Brazilian forro); Sandro Paulino, keyboardist (Brazilian forro); Shaunet Jonas, backup singer; Michelle Santos, singer (Brazilian forro); Henry Bernard, backup singer and Matthew James, singer. The band is located in Lethem and enjoys performing traditional, soca, reggae and Brazilian songs. They have performed in the town of Bomfin which is located near the border of Brazil and Guyana. “We are an eclectic group of artistes. We have never

A few of the Rupununi Rockers Band members

attended any music school or any special training. All members learn and practice by ear sound. This makes us unique because we have blended our culture and experiences over the years to entertain our fans,” he noted. Thompson stated that the band members are from the Makushi and Wapishana tribes. “Being an Amerindian

band, I guess as it is for some other bands in Guyana, we do face many challenges. Some are being able to purchase equipment. Our band only uses small keyboards. However, we are trying to raise funds to get modern equipment so that the band can perform better. We are also looking for assistance and sponsorship so that we can be exposed to different places and we can generate

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September 2013

funds for the band to grow and be better,” he disclosed. Thompson suggests that in promoting Amerindian musicians, a survey should be done to gather information on the number of musicians who are Amerindians and link them with music professional. These professionals can also share their experiences and encourage the bands. “We celebrate our Amerindian heritage through our music. We like to celebrate and show our culture and talent and enjoy this with all our Guyanese brothers and sisters. All band members work, but we make time during weekends to do practice sessions. We are very passionate about our music and we hope to one day become an international band,” Thompson declared.

Founder Erwin Thompson on his keyboard

Thompson and his band are currently preparing for the Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations, tweaking their keyboards and synchronizing their voices. His encouragement is for

Guyanese to be more local minded and support local artistes just as they do for international ones. For more information on the band visit Rupununi Rockers Band on Facebook.

A book of indigenous legends

Dr. Odeen Ishmael

“G

uyana Legends: Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians” is a collection of 50 folktales of the first people to inhabit Guyana and the contiguous regions of the north coast of the South American continent. It is compiled and written by author Dr Odeen Ishmael, a veteran Guyanese diplomat, who is currently Guyana’s ambassador to the State of Kuwait. Speaking with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine, Dr Ishmael stated that his book was published in 2011 in the United States and is currently available at major bookstores in the U.S. and the U.K., as well as online bookstores. He stated that very little is known of Amerindian history in Guyana before the arrival of European settlers in the early 17th century and, actually, no written form of their languages existed until about 70 years ago. Indeed, much of the history of the Amerindian people is based on oral traditions which are not quite clear because the periods when important events occurred are difficult to place. Still, native oral traditions are very rich in folk stories of the ancestral heroes and heroines of these indigenous people.

These stories, which interweave in the realms of mystery, romance, humour, superstition, magic and fantasy, are part of the rich oral traditions of Amerindians. Above all, they tell of their closeness to their natural environment and this is reflected in the roles of the forest animals in many of the stories in this collection. Undoubtedly, these folktales, and the lessons they impart, add to the rich cultural blend of the people of Guyana and the wider Caribbean region.

ly Amerindians in various regions of Guyana, and more recently from Amerindian residents of the Delta Amacuro region of Venezuela, on the frontier with Guyana. Readers will find these legends of the original inhabitants of Guyana informative in the anthropological sense, in addition to being interesting and entertaining at the same time. ‘Guyana Legends: Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians” contains 50 stories, but because of copy-

'Guyana Legends - Folktales of the Indigenous Amerindians' book cover

This present collection of Amerindian legends was compiled over a lengthy period of many years, during which the author listened to, and collected versions of, these tales from elder-

right and sales contract arrangements, he cannot post the book’s contents online. However, Dr. Ishmael generously shares one of his stories with Sunday Magazine readers. (see page 18)


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s is customary every year during Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations, a heritage village is identified where many will converge to celebrate their cultural heritage. This year we celebrate scenic Karasabai. Karasabai is an Amerindian village located in South Pakaraimas, Region Nine. The community is accessible by land and air. It has a population of approximately 1,600 whose main source of income derives from agriculture. Meat (beef and mutton), peanuts and cassava by-products such as farine and cassareep are its primary products. The village has a nursery and primary school, health centre, two health posts, an RDC admin building, police station, teacher’s quarters, guest house, village office, shop and churches. Karasabai is made up of Makushi tribe members. Over the years the village has benefited from many hinterland projects. Some of these development projects include presidential grants, which were instrumental in the formation of a village shop, and capital projects with contributions of 4x4 pickups, tractors, boat and engines, a village market building, among others. The village is already buzzing with activities as it prepares for the influx of visitors who will be enjoying a series of activities such as cultural presentations (dancing

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ciple or ideal had become the fulcrum of the evolution of our strategy for development, and therefore cannot be ignored in projecting our future,” it also added. The statement pointed out that “cultural identity, social justice, and ecological balance have their roots in our cultural values, and all these play important roles in development. To neglect their importance, is to neglect and dismiss the impact of culture in the agenda for development. When we uphold our cultural values concerning these precursors of development, then we are actually ensuring that development becomes sustainable.” One can only truly experience Amerindian customs and tradi-

Aerial view of Karasabai

and singing), horse riding, donkey riding, cassava bread baking, farine parching, fire lighting, tomma cooking, cotton spinning and football, just to name a few. This year, Amerindian Heritage Month is celebrated under the theme, “Honouring Our Culture, Advancing our future”. According to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in a submitted statement, the theme “demonstrates the fact that people simply cannot live without culture, neither can they

exist without development. Both are inextricably linked as the precursors of human existence. Honouring our culture means that we respect our norms and practices, appreciate our songs, language and literature, affirm our values, uphold our traditions, and take pride of our cultural identity. When culture is understood to denote the transmission of values as contained in our language, literature, music, art, and practices, it provides meaning and purpose, and becomes an expression of our ideals and aspirations as a group of people, and as a nation. These aspirations and

Scenic mountain range in Karasabai

ideals become the core element in any public policy or in public planning. For instance, the LCDS was conceptualised because of our love for the environment which our first peoples have protected and preserved. This overarching prin-

tions in an Amerindian village. That is why Karasabai was chosen. With its panoramic sceneries, mountain ranges and pulsating Makushi culture, Karasabai will be worth the visit.

Karasabai Primary School

It’s an adventure in Karasabai

View of cattle in corrals from above


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Ashton Simon: Empowered and empowering Guyana’s indigenous T

riumphing stigma attached to indigenous people to become one of Guyana’s first indigenous radio communications expert in the army, Ashton Simon proudly credits his heritage for his many accomplishments. Simon was born in Paramakatoi Village, Pakaraima Mountains in Region Eight. He was educated in Georgetown at Christ Church Secondary School, and pursued studies at the University of Guyana and the American University of Peace Studies (AUOPS). In 2010, he was conferred with an MBA in Strategic Project Management from AUOPS. Currently, he is a serving member of the MultiStakeholder Steering Committee for the Low Carbon Development Strategy at the Office of the President; an international projects coordinator for the Rotarian Clubs of the Boundary, (United States, Canada and Guyana) and a serving civil society consultant member with the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB). He is also employed as an indigenous relations specialist for the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment at the Office of the President. Additionally, he is on the Project Advisory Committee as a member for the European Union on empowering Amerindian communities through legal capacity building. In his earlier years, Simon expert-

Ashton Simon

ly worked as an army communications specialist and was credited for inventing new techniques in proficiently developing his area of work. Simon’s concept that education is the vehicle to improve indigenous peoples’ status is a generating factor for his advocating for indigenous rights and social and economic elevation. As an untiring, enthusiastic ambassador for his fellow Amerindians, Simon founded the National Amerindian Development Foundation (NADF). NADF is a non-profit, non-governmental indigenous organisation. It was established to under-

take practical economic, social, cultural, educational, health and environmental issues to enhance and improve the social fabric of Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana. In 1998, Simon proposed to elected Toshaos and Amerindian communitybased representatives from regions One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine, the establishment of an organisation to lobby for and implement development programmes for the Amerindians and other Guyanese citizens. His proposal was welcomed, and NADF was founded and s subsequently registered March 27, 2000, under the Friendly Societies Act.

The missions of this group are to facilitate equal access to services and programmes that will impact on improving the standard and quality of life for Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana, and to support and facilitate ambitious concepts by Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana which will be an asset to national development and the international community. The group’s objectives are to commission and support cultural, environmental, social and economic issues which have a general or partial impact on the wellbeing and advancement of Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana; to research, publish, broadcast and distribute or utilize results of such research to pursue, initiate, facilitate and support advancement programmes and create public awareness; to facilitate and ensure that Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana; particularly adults, have equal access to education which impacts on his/her total development and equip him/her with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to make a meaningful contribution to community and national development; to pursue, facilitate, implement and ensure equitable distribution and access of development programmes in the aspiration of realizing the advancement goals of Amerindians and other citizens of Guyana; and to collaborate with national and international learning in-

spite facing a certain type of stigma, he fulfilled a lot during his career and lived some of his dreams. “I joined the army in 1967 as a young man. I was the first indigenous radio communications expert in the army. I also was able to fulfil some of my dreams. In school I was told that the indigenous people likely came from Mongolia and I dreamt of going there. In 1967 I vis-

force. She wasn’t educated but was very wise in her own way. She upheld her culture and taught us to do so,” he recalled. Madeline Simon, Simon’s mother, died September 2012 at the age of 106. When asked his opinion on what contributed to her longevity, Simon disclosed, “Exercise for her was very important. She would climb the mountains to go farm-

Simon's mother at 106 years old before she died

ited there. It was a great experience one which I cherish. Before I pass I want to visit Congo so hopefully I fulfil that soon,” he mentioned. To make something of himself, Simon, the eldest of eight, was encouraged by his parents to pursue his education in Georgetown because

ing. Even in her 80s she was doing this until we had to stop her. She was very active in cleaning, washing and walking long distances, which she did until she passed on. She enjoyed all the wild meat and poultry and ate cassava bread and other traditional foods and drinks. She enjoyed life,

Presenting on behalf of his foundation in Canada

stitutions and native groups to encourage exchange and other programmes to ensure present and past cultural and other practices are preserved. In an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine, Simon stated as an indigenous person, de-

at that time his village did not have the necessary facilities for him to do so. He left Paramakatoi at the age nine. “It was certainly a fight, but with much support from my guardians and parents I was able to cope with it. My mother was my driving

worked hard, celebrated her heritage and taught us to do the same. The last moments I had with her I cherish,” he recalled. Simon continues to remain actively committed to improving and developing himself and indigenous communities.


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Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

Defying odds to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor, Iliana Edwards has become a role model for indigenous youths wishing to follow in her footsteps

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Iliana (front row extreme left) with other Guyanese doctors who graduated

liana Edwards, from Paruima village, Upper Mazaruni in Region Seven, attended Paruima Primary School before excelling in her examinations to earn a government scholarship to attend Central High School in Georgetown. In the capital city, Edwards lived with a guardian but although she received support she felt a sense of loss in her new environment. “It was a challenged for me adapting to city life. I missed my family and friends; but I was determined to become a doctor and work hard to achieve that. I am thankful to my guardian Dr Stephens, a theologist, for her guidance,” a grateful 25-years-old Edwards expressed in an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine. After graduating with eight subjects at CSEC, Edwards worked for a year with USAID/Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention as a phlebotomist. Getting firsthand experience in the medical field would help her be more adept when studying medicine. “I applied for a government scholarship to study general medicine in Cuba. I had always wanted to become a doctor since I was a child, and I was happy when I was accepted to study in Cuba. I studied there for seven years. I was 18 when I left [Guyana]. In Cuba it was challenging, especially being placed to work shifts. Long days and nights I had to endure, but I did. The doctors were tough with us but it paid off because it has helped me to work harder,” she recalled. The doctor revealed that when she received her doctorate she was elated, and overwhelming emotions surged through her. The sacrifices she made were well worth it because she was able to accomplish what she had set out to do. “What has encouraged me to be determined is looking at other Amerindian

women who have achieved a lot despite challenges. When I collected my doctorate I felt a sense of relief that all my work for the past seven years paid off. I would like to thank the government of Guyana for giving me this opportunity, the government of Cuba for allowing me to pursue my dream, and my friends, family and my cousin Aneesa, who has always supported me. Now I can’t wait to serve my Guyanese people,” she declared. Currently, Edwards said she is waiting to be placed at a hospital, which she hopes will happen soon. Specifically, she mentioned, she would like to work as a gynaecologist. Looking back at her journey, Edwards recalled she received comments from persons who doubted her abilities because of her ethnic background. However, she used those criticisms as motivation to achieve her goals which she did expertly. Although Edwards has been exposed to different cultures, her indigenous heritage was never forsaken. She admires the unity in her village and enjoys being part of its activities. Edwards speaks the Arekuna language although she is not fluent in it. Her mother, an Arekuna, and her father, an Akawaio, have always been her main supporters. She noted that they have repeatedly encouraged her to upkeep traditions, something she credits as her guide in becoming a doctor. “I would encourage youths who want to pursue the same goals I did, to study and ignore comments. Also don’t get distracted. I saw how some students got easily distracted, but keeping focused is vital. What also helped me to be focused is my Christian background. My prayers and those from friends and family helped me also. I urge all indigenous youths to challenge themselves and pursue their dreams,” she encouraged.

Dr. Iliana Edwards happily displays her doctorate

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The Shaping of Guyanese Literature

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Young Professionals

Alexi La Rose Management Development Officer

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

Star of the week

Gail Rebeiro

Alexi La Rose By Vahnu Manikchand

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iving back to Amerindians is the driving force behind young Alexi La Rose’s motivation in her work. La Rose was born in Santa Rosa, Moruca, and is the last of seven children, and the only girl. Growing up, she was always close to her family, who are her pillars and strength. Being a Baha’i, La Rose holds closely to her heart God and prayers. “My religious beliefs as a Baha’i have played a fundamental role in shaping who I am as an individual today.” At the age of eight, La Rose moved to Georgetown where she completed her primary and secondary education. She attended the St. Joseph's High School where, she said, she “had a full life”. La Rose wrote CXC in 1999 and obtained passes in nine subjects. After completing school, she began working as a librarian at School of the Nations. She spent six years there, during which time she also obtained a diploma in Information and Communication Technology from the University of Cambridge. She then moved on to the Ministry of Education where she worked for two years. Then in 2007, she went to Israel to do voluntary service under the Baha’i religion for two years. La Rose said that during her time in Israel she had the opportunity to interact with people from different parts of the world, and this exposure had given her a different outlook on life. When she returned from Israel, La Rose joined the Ministry of Health for a few months before furthering her education at the University of Guyana. La Rose secured a Masters in Development and International Corporation at UG. In addition, she subsequently attended the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, where she majored in Political Science and in Mining and Sustainable Development. Upon her return to Guyana, she joined the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs as a project management development officer. “My current post requires me to address issues in villages of an economic, development, social, cultural and governance nature; basically any Amerindian issue in a village under my jurisdiction is my business. When you arrive in the village, the warmth of the people and the beauty surrounding you make you forget the rough terrain travelled. Working in this area is both challenging and exciting as there is never a dull moment; the ministry is a very small ministry, and you are never fully aware of the amount of work that goes on in here until you get on this side of the building. And then the epiphany hits,” she disclosed. La Rose has also done a lot of volunteer work, but her most proud moments are when she works with children and youths, helping them to development their literacy. Despite leaving her village at a young age, La Rose still has strong ties with her family and villagers. She uses any chance she gets to go back and visit. However, she is happy with the fact that through her job she is able to help Amerindians in whatever way she can. “I have always felt that I needed to be in a profession where I can incorporate my talents and my education, and even though we may plan our lives, we don't always see the bigger picture and we need to learn how to do our best and to put our trust and Faith in God. In my present job there is never a dull moment. I am fortunate to be in a job that allows me to interact with people in the office and out in the fields. We often take for granted the little things in life and think it is the big gestures that always make an impact, but I've found over the years that it is really the little things that matter. Being able to serve my indigenous brothers and sisters in whatever way I can, is something that I hold dear to me; it is something that brings me joy.”

Twenty-year-old Gail Rebeiro of St. Ignatius, Central Rupununi, is a stunning Amerindian beauty who is unafraid of the spotlight. Last year she was crowned Region Nine’s Amerindian Heritage Month queen at the annual pageant held at the St Ignatius benab. With the crown, Rebeiro won the right to represent Region Nine at the National Amerindian Heritage Pageant. This year, once again, the newly-crowned Region Nine Miss Amerindian 2013 is expected to represent her region at the National Amerindian Pageant slated for September 29 at the National Culture Centre. With utmost confidence, the queen is ready to showcase her heritage to win the coveted crown. (Photo by Yimochi Melville)

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Did you know?

Colouring Fun The objective of the game is to fill all the blank squares in a game with the correct numbers. Every row of 9 numbers must include all digits 1 through 9 in any order. Every column of 9 numbers must include all digits 1 through 9 in any order. Every 3 by 3 subsection of the 9 by 9 square must include all digits 1 through 9.

Dot to dot

please see solution on page 22


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Art, custom & religion Because cattle have long played a vital role for the survival of people, they have often been depicted in the art and religion of many cultures through the centuries. Kneeling bull holding a spouted vessel Ancient Iran, c. 3000 B.C.

Cattle are ruminants (cud chewing mammals). Females are called cows, males are called bulls and offspring are calves. Domesticated by early Neolithic people, cattle have been raised for their strength, their hides, their meat and their milk.

Four stomachs?

Dairy cows

Cattle raised for meat are called beef cattle. They are also used to produce leather, as well as products used in shampoo and cosmetics. Beef cattle are larger than dairy cows.

Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have four stomachs; they have one stomach with four compartments. The rumen holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. The reticulum is called the hardware stomach because if cows accidentally eat hardware (like a piece of fencing scrap), it will often lodge here, causing no further damage. The omasum is sort of like a filter, and the abomasum is like our stomach.

Dairy cows tend to have angular bodies. They may appear bony-looking because most of their energy goes toward milk production and little fat stays on their bodies.

Omasum (oh MAY sum)

By Laurie Triefeldt

Beef cattle

Silver bull Scythia, 300 B.C.

Bull-leaping In the Bronze Age, the Minoans of Crete held bull-leaping competitions, but this acrobatic ritual or sport also took place in the Indus Valley, the Hittite Empire and other ancient cultures.

Rumen (Roo min)

2 1 Hereford cattle originated in Herefordshire, England. A staple in the beef cattle industry‚ it may one day rival the Angus for its high-quality meat.

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Reticulum

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(Ruh TICK you lum)

Making milk

Udder

AbomasumTeat

Ayrshire (pronounced AIR-sure) cattle originated in Scotland.

Bull-leaping Ancient Greece 1700–1450 B.C.

(ab oh MAY sum)

Hindu tradition

A cow is able to make milk when she is 2 years old and has given birth. The milk is food for her newborn. Cows produce more milk than a calf needs, so humans use the extra milk. Today, most farmers use milking machines because they are quick and clean. Milk leaving the farm must be unaltered and uncontaminated. Charolais cattle originated in the Charolles region of France. They produce excellent beef and are often used to improve herds of other cattle breeds.

The Brown Swiss cow can trace its heritage back to Switzerland around 4000 B.C.

In Hinduism, the cow is a symbol of wealth, strength, abundance, selfless giving and a full earthly life. Cows are treated with the same respect “as one’s mother” because of the milk they provide. Cows appear in many stories from the Puranas and Vedas. Observant Hindus do not eat beef.

Krishna and sacred cow

Naturally

By hand

Pumping machine

Dairy products Dairy products have a wide range of nutritional benefits and are generally a high-energy food. Dairy products provide calcium and are excellent for bone health, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Each day, one dairy cow can produce up to: The Aberdeen Angus was originally from Scotland, but the modern, larger Angus has been developed in North America.

or 14 pounds of cheese

or 5 gallons of ice cream

The Guernsey originated on the small Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel just off the coast of France.

Bullfighting

or 16 gallons of milk

6 pounds of butter

Fascinating cattle facts A 1,000-pound cow will produce four tons of manure in a year. Cattle trained to be draft animals are called “oxen.” Short horn cattle originated in the North East of England in the late 18th century.

SOURCES: World Book Encyclopedia, World Book Inc.; www.brownswissusa.com; www.thecattlesite.com; www.cosleyzoo.org ; www.holsteinusa.com; www.sciencekids. co.nz; www.bestfunfacts.com; www.aipl.arsusda.gov; www.bseinfo.org; www.cattlepages.com;

There are well over a billion cattle in the world. The milking machine was invented in 1870s. Before its existence, farmers could milk about six cows per hour. A modern milking machine can milk more than 100 cows per hour! Cows spend up to eight hours a day chewing their cud.

In an average day, a dairy cow will drink about a bathtub full of water and eat up to 100 pounds of food.

The Holstein-Frisian originated in North Holland and Friesland. Cows of Holstein descent make up over 90 percent of the cows on U.S. dairy farms.

Contrary to popular belief, bulls are not enraged by the color red (cattle are red-green color-blind). In bullfights, it is the movement of the cape, not the color, that angers the bull. In 1856, Gail Borden patented a commerical condensed milk process. Refrigeration came into use in 1880, and the first pasteurizing machine was introduced in 1895.

The Jersey cow was originally bred on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Bullfighting is a dangerous sport that can trace its roots to prehistoric bull worship and sacrifice. Traditionally associated with Spain and Portugal, it is also practiced in many South American countries. The practice is controversial because the bulls are raised for the ring, and the object of the sport is to kill the beast. The matador wears a colorful embroidered suit called a traje de luces (suit of lights). The matador uses Banderillas are a red cape (the long darts thrust capote) and a stick into the bull to (the muleta). weaken it.


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North Rupununi District Development Board: Recognizing traditions, moving forward with development

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ina Hill, in Annai, North Rupununi, is a place where people from the 16 neighbouring communities in the North come to meet and seek knowledge; it is a place of cultural significance, a point for communications and a stopping place where people break their journey to and from the river and savannah communities. It is the home of the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), Radio Paiwomak, the Makushi Research Unit; Ye Winon Merisin Sepo (Medicine From Trees), the Bina Hill Youth Learning Centre and the North Rupununi Junior Wildlife Development Council, just to name a few community organizations under the NRDDB umbrella. The iconic blue and white building that operates as office, meeting hall, administration, dorms and radio station, was built though community work; materials were cut from the Annai area forest, and community members built the structure from the ground up. This is one place where Guyana’s Makushi people are becoming masters of straddling both worlds. Here the focus is on recognizing local culture and tradition, as well as moving forward with development so that the people in the North Rupununi have

an opportunity to make informed decisions for local development.

Beginnings

In 1996, local leaders felt it was necessary to create a place to address local concerns and development, so the-then leaders of the 12 communities in the North Rupununi formed groups that later became the NRDDB. Registered as a trust in 2001, it is the umbrella organization of now 16 Rupununi communities, and recognized by the Iwokrama International Centre as its community partner since 1996. The core membership of the NRDDB consists of the legally elected leaders (Toshaos) of the North Rupununi communities. The NRDDB also serves and functions as the community stakeholder forum, with representation from other key leaders from community-based organizations (local civil society groups and institutions). NRDDB therefore plays a crucial role as a genuinely representative, umbrella organization which brings together officially elected local government officials (Toshaos) and other authorities as well as non-governmental local peoples’ organizations / institutions and private enterprise initiatives. The NRDDB is committed to improving the well-

being and quality of life of the North Rupununi communities through social and economic development and through the affirmation of heritage, culture, traditional knowledge and Indigenous rights. The Makushi Research Unit (MRU) is a group of local researchers under the NRDDB who have been chronicling Makushi language and culture by writing the language, stories, ethnobotany, radio programs and video. The group has also been instrumental in promoting human rights and advocating and providing counselling for various

The home base of NRDDB and all affiliated programmes and research projects (Photo by S. James)

ed by the MRU, and is most famous for its Crabwood oil soap and healing creams. This group uses local ingredients like Crabwood oil, the barks of local trees and leaves to make medicinal tinctures, soaps and creams; all based on local traditions and available for purchase at the Bina Hill Shop.

Wildlife Clubs

The wildlife clubs of the North Rupununi are community owned youth and environmental clubs where youths have an opportunity to learn about environmen-

ture and skills, information technology and maths and English are also subjects. After graduation, many students find that they are now equipped with the skills to find jobs in the area or to contribute to the development in their community.

Radio Paiwomak

In 2000, Radio Paiwomak began as a pilot initiative implemented though partnership arrangement between NRDDB, UNESCO, Iwokrama and the Government of Guyana. Paiwomak now operates un-

ing and living in general. This is done though video and storytelling. These videos and stories can provide lessons learned for both local and international communities and help local communities find solutions for issues facing them. The CMRV supports two community monitors from each of the 16 NRDDB communities that collect data on forest health and wellbeing indicators, using smartphones. Analyzed data can help inform decisions on management of resourc-

Graduates from the Bina Hill Youth Learning Centre last year

social and domestic issues in the area.

“Medicine from Trees”

Ye Winon Merisin Sepo, (Makushi for “Medicine from Trees”) evolved from the ethnobotany research conduct-

tal monitoring in their own back yards. The Iwokrama International Centre has supported clubs over the past 10 years through bird and rainfall monitoring, and many club members have grown into community leaders, tour guides, rangers and researchers. Twice a year, club members meet at Bina Hill for weekend conferences and hone their monitoring and research skills in areas such as compass and GPS reading, bird and bat monitoring and tree identification. Other activities include public speaking and CV writing workshops and planning for the annual wildlife festival. During the wildlife festival, members from 16 wildlife clubs and specially invited clubs celebrate their culture and environment with games, skits, costume, banner and traditional skills competitions at Bina Hill.

Youth Learning Centre

Many wildlife club members have become graduates of the BHI Youth Learning Centre. Home- sown and home grown, the Youth Learning Centre is a place for Amerindian youth and school leavers to learn “skills for living”, and for up to two years, local students have an opportunity for hands on learning in the areas of forestry, agriculture, natural resource and wildlife management. Traditional cul-

der license from the National Communications Network. Fully solar powered, Radio Paiwomak, 97.1 FM, is the only community radio station in Guyana and has been a dynamic leader in community services and cultural arts with its unique community flavour, bilingual broadcasting, local and cultural content. For the past 11 years, community members have anticipated the warm and welcoming voice of the Chief Broadcaster when he signs on with his signature greeting, “Good afternoon and welcome to Radio Paiwomak, broadcasting from the Bina Hill Institute at 97.1 on your FM band with 100 watts of power. We are today’s first community radio for the development of tomorrow’s people!”

COBRA

At the moment, the NRDDB is hosting two projects to support sustainable development of the people in the North Rupununi: COBRA (Community Owned Best practice for Sustainable Resource Adaptive management in the Guiana Shield) and the Community Monitoring, Reviewing and Verification (CMRV). The COBRA team are young Makushi researchers who work in their communities to document Makushi best practices and their challenges, especially when it comes to traditional farming, fish-

es, and can be incorporated into the National MRV under Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. A second phase of the project has just started and will be working to improve local capacity to independently carry out monitoring activities in the future. This will include continued data collection and additional training in data analysis and report writing. Back “in de day” when the NRDDB had just formed, you would have had to fly by plane into Annai from Georgetown, to avoid the long journey by road. Most communication was by mail (on paper, not computer) or by high frequency radio. Things are different now, with improved road infrastructure, internet through satellite connection and now cell phone service. The NRDDB communities have worked to move towards managing their resources, addressing social issues, communication and maintaining their culture through collaboration. And because development never stops, the NRDDB will continue to work to represent the interests of the people in the North Rupununi. To learn more about the NRDDB and happenings at Bina Hill, look for them on the web at www.nrddb.org and www.projectcobra.org. (Samantha James)


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Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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16 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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The famous playboy explained to a beautiful woman his system for playing roulette: "In each round, I always bet half of the money I have at the time on red. Yesterday, I counted and I had won as many rounds as I had lost." Over the course of the night, did the gambler win, lose or break even? see solution on page 22

see solution on page 22

see solution on page 22


18 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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Send your creative writing to sundaymagazine@guyanatimesgy.com


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20 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

Tech byte

September 2013

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Land Rover's first diesel-electric hybrid hits the off-road


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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

21 The artist enjoys painting women of different ethnicities

Correia-Bevaun's grandfather Stephen Campbell

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Artist Anna Correia-Bevaun

nspired by her indigenous heritage, Anna Correia-Bevaun has become one of Guyana’s most celebrated artists. She began her career in art in 1988 as a ceramist under the tutelage of her mother, the late renowned Guyanese artist Stephanie Correia. For years Anna explored ceramics as her principle medium. Wishing to explore new techniques, materials and approaches, she took short courses in design, batik and discharge, Vedic art and watercolour. In 2007, Correia-Bevaun won both the second and third prizes in the National Watercolour Competition (Guyana). In 2009, she also won the first and second prizes in the National Watercolour Competition. In an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine, Correia-Bevaun disclosed that as a child she never had an inclination to become an artist, but being surrounded by art, because of her mother, she developed an enthusiasm for it. “My mother, who was from Pomeroon, introduced me to art, and eventually I developed a love for it. She was an extraordi-

nary potter. She did thorough research on different types of clay in Guyana and due to this she was able to work effectively with them, and this she taught me. I never did art in school; instead I did Food and Nutrition. However, learning from my mother encouraged me to delve into art,” she recalled. Correia-Bevaun joined the Guyana Women Artists’ Association in 1995. She has held the positions of secretary, vicepresident, and president of the association. Being with this group helped CorreiaBevaun to explore new art media. In 2003, she decided to learn pen and ink drawing. Later, she explored watercolour after being inspired by her mother’s work with the medium. “When my mother passed she left some watercolour tools. I decided to try my hand at this and joined a 12-week art course held at Castellani House. For me art is very therapeutic and relaxing and that is why I try to learn as much as I can about it just as my mother did,” she declared. Due to the artist’s diverse ethnic background, her paintings are not subject to one recurring image. She paints images of Amerindian hunters and certain traditions of the group. Women of various ethnicities are also part of her collections. Speaking on what inspires her, CorreiaBevaun explained, “I’m inspired by my environment. I paint what I see. Also, I have learnt a lot from my mother, who was an avid reader. I have also gathered a lot from fellow artists. Persons interested in art work tend to ask what it is about or what inspired the painting, and listening to the

explanations from my colleagues I was able to broaden my knowledge on art. I am fortunate to have worked with many veteran artists and was able to apply what I learnt from them into my work.” Correia-Bevaun comes from a line of creative and passionate ancestors who were very dedicated to their work. One such individual, who is being celebrated for Amerindian Heritage Month, is her grandfather Stephen C a m p b e l l , Guyana’s first indigenous MP. Among the indigenous peo-

One of her recent drawings of an African woman

Painting inspired by 'everyday life'

ple, Campbell is revered as a hero. He is credited with advocacy for land rights for Amerindians; a goal that the present government continues to advance, to ensure that Campbell’s aspiration for his people is made possible. Campbell served as mem-

ber of the legislature from 1957 until his death on May 12, 1966 – two weeks before Guyana gained Independence from Britain. He died, and was buried, in Canada. “When he died I was 3. I vaguely remember him but what I have heard about him is from my mother who was his second daughter. He would call her ‘little scout’ because everywhere he went she was with him. He was very instrumental in her life and taught her to be the great person she was, and in turn she passed down her heritage to me and my siblings. I have learnt from them to make the most of God's gifts, always striving to improve and work to the best of my ability,” Correia-Bevaun affirmed. (Cover photo: Recent pen and ink drawing on Amerindian culture)


22 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

P

iaiman is the name ascribed to the Amerindian shaman or “priest-doctor” of a village. According to “An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians” (1908-1909) by Walter E. Roth, “The Creole term for the priestdoctor is piai-man, a hybrid that seems to have been first recorded by Waterton in the form of pee-ay-man, who is an enchanter; he finds out things lost (W, 223). In its simple form, the word of course came into use much earlier, and is seemingly derived from the Carib piache... and

Arawak doctors' benches from upper Moruca River A. With alligator and tiger (jaguar) heads B. With head and tail of macaw; remainder of body painted on seat (An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians by Walter E. Roth; Page 330)

is still met with among the Pomeroon group of these Indians as piésan. Brett (Br, 363) derives it from the Carib word puiai, which denotes their profession. The Akawais call it piatsan.” His duty is to ward off evil spirits such as the much feared malevolence of kanaima. The piaiman’s power, it is believed, is mainly to converse with the spirits of the supernatural world so as to fight their malice “on equal ground”.

In addition, he is considered a doctor or “medicine man” whose methods of healing include ritual blowing (known as "tareng"). He is also consulted as the interpreter of dreams, and acts as guide during initiation rites or puberty rites for young men. He also trains other piaimen as it is an acquired trait rather than inherited. A piaiman undergoes much training as an apprentice. In the long period of apprenticeship he or she (usually he) would have to learn ventriloquism as well as obtain a deep understanding of herbs and poisons available in the natural world in which they lived. Piaimen were both respected and feared, and were essentially “above the law” as we would put it today. However they too were restricted to certain rules: according to Roth, piaimen could “not partake of the flesh of the larger animals, but limit themselves to those only which are indigenous to their country...; they had religiously to abstain from certain fish and game ...; no animal food was publicly tasted by these priests, while they abstained, even more strictly than the laity from the flesh of oxen, sheep, and all other animals that had been transported from Europe ... and were "unnatural" to their country...” Roth, like other observers, believed that the piaiman is essentially one who has intimate and extensive knowledge of the medicinal value of forest plants, and is an excellent ventriloquist. The piaiman and his belief in traditional medicines and supernatural experiences were, and to some extent remain, one of the most controversial cultural traditions, when Old World meets New World, among the missionaries and modern medical practitioners.

The December 1989 edition of the Kyk-Over – Al journal features drawings of a piaiman with his rattle, done by the late Stephanie Correia

Given derogatory or condescending names such as “witchdoctor”, “medicineman” or “folk-doctor”, the idea of a piaiman continues to amuse and irritate modern cultures who deride its practice, in particular the aspect they call ventriloquism. However, much of piaimen’s knowledge of natural medicines has today become an essential aspect for the preservation of Amerindian traditions, as renewed modern medicinal interest in the natural plantbased extracts known to piaimen grows. In fact, the most recent controversy to arise from this development relates to debates about compensation for traditional groups for information on their known natural medicines since pharmaceutical companies stand to gain enormous profits from the knowledge provided by these “witchdoctors” when or if they use that knowledge to develop a profitable product.

Preserving our heritage through pictures G uyana Jottings tells of Roth’s mention of a case in which a piaiman was asked to diagnose and treat a patient. The patient was a young man who just grew worse by the day. Several doctors in the capital, Georgetown, failed to help him and, in desperation, his mother asked the piaiman's intervention. The piaiman had the patient sit on a tortoise shell in his tent of palm leaves. Roth and others sat in a circle outside the hut and could not see what was going on inside. But the observers could see and smell the aromatic smoke which soon seeped through the leaves of the hut. They also heard the sound of the rhythmic shaking of a gourd rattle; then later the "droning sing-song" of the piaiman's voice; then later

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September 2013

still, a conversation in which three different voices were heard. The séance lasted for about half-an-hour, after which the patient was taken back to his mother's house. When the piaiman emerged, he said he had consulted the spirits of the camoodi (anaconda) and the tiger, who told him that the lad was being punished with this illness because he had been unfaithful to an Amerindian girl. However, he would not die. The piaiman set out at dawn next morning to obtain the medicines he said the spirits prescribed; he returned in three days, administered them to the patient, and the patient became well again. His fee? A long-barrelled gun.

Brain Teaser Answer He lost. Every time he wins, his money increases 1.5 times (with $100, he bets $50 and if he wins, he has $150). When he loses, his money is reduced by half. So a win-loss combination results in a loss of one quarter of his money. The more he plays, the more money he loses, even though he wins the same number of times as he loses.

SUDOKU

KID SUDOKU

CROSSWORD

A Carib piai's "Consulting Room," Moruca River, constructed of kokerite leaves set up on end. The medicine-man is holding the rattle with which the invocations are made (An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians by Walter E. Roth; Page 334)


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Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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Explore

Aranaputa Panoramic view from near the summit of Mountain Aranaputa

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Aerial view of Aranaputa

One of the many natural rest stops for refreshments along the Clarence Mountain Nature Trail

View of Aranaputa Centre from half way up the nature trail

Scenic view of Aranaputa mountain range

Aranaputa Processors Peanut Butter Factory

Aranaputa Toshao Mark George

ranaputa is located on the Georgetown-Lethem road, some 380km south of Georgetown, 70km north of Lethem and 5km west of Annai. The village of Aranaputa is unique in the Rupununi because it was started on state land which was identified for agricultural development. The almost 600,000 residents in Aranaputa are mainly from the Makushi tribe. Tourist attractions in Aranaputa include hiking up the Clarence Mountain Nature Trail (1,600ft), overnighting at the Clarence Nature Trail Guest Cabin; touring the Aranaputa Peanut Butter Factory; birding and nature tours for wildlife viewing and savannah horseback riding tours. The Clarence Mountain nature trail and rest cabin site has been selected as a community conservation area. With a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency through Iwokrama, the community decided to invest in tourism in 2006. The nature trail and cabin is a unique eco-tourism project perched 1,000ft above the community with one of the most fabulous panoramic views of the North Rupununi savannah. This eco-project is within the conservation area of the community, and has a rich biodiversity habitat; here visitors have a probability of viewing various species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the Aranaputa Processors Peanut Butter Factory makes the best all natural peanut butter in Guyana. The factory buys the raw peanuts from the local farmers and roasting, shelling and processing are all done at the factory. Those at the factory are very enthusiastic to share with tourists the process and allow them to participate. Fresh peanut butter on cassava bread is served daily to the school children in Aranaputa and across the North Rupununi as a snack. The peanut butter can be purchased directly from the factory Monday to Friday during their operating hours and in various stores in the North Rupununi. Persons can also visit the various agriculture plots locals cultivate as part of their daily livelihood. They can also tour the experimental agro-forestry plot in Aranaputa. It is a 20acre savannah land that has been in existence for the past eight years, and is used for experimenting growing various species of trees. Aranaputa’s residents certainly reflect this year Amerindian Heritage Month’s theme, “Honouring Our Culture, Advancing our future”, as they use their cultural heritage to develop their community.


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September 2013

Indigenous History History traditionally teaches us that indigenous peoples of the Americas arrived via the Bering Strait some 13,000 years ago in mainly small, isolated bands of “hunter-gatherer” nomads, making little to no environmental impact on the lands, and from whom no substantial societies or cultures developed. In fact, according to history books, when the European explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the “New World”, he arrived to what are described as lands of mostly wild, perpetual jungles and savage tribes. While this conventional viewpoint remains among many scholars, many others are disproving this perspective, with today’s technologies, to show that the world Columbus landed in was already profoundly altered by its inhabitants. n the border with Brazil there is a nearly flat Bolivian province called the Beni. Scattered across the landscape are innumerable island-like earthen mounds topped by forests and bridged by raised berms up to three miles long. Each mound is stabilized by broken pottery that is mixed into its earthen construction and rises as much as sixty feet above the flood plain that allows trees to grow

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mostly wilderness. Clark Erickson, an archaeologist, says this picture is mistaken in every respect: the landscape of the Beni was constructed by a populous, technologically advanced Indian society more than a thousand years ago. Much of the savannah of the Beni is natural, but there is evidence that the Indians trapped fish in the seasonally flooded grasslands by fashioning fishcorralling fences among the causeways. The grasslands were maintained and expanded by regularly setting fire to large parts of them, which is still done today to maintain the savannah for cattle. The Siriono are the best known of a number of Native American groups in the Beni today. Between 1940 and 1942 a young doctoral student in anthropology named Allan R. Holmberg lived among them, and published an account in 1950 of his experience in “Nomads of the Longbow”. Holmberg reported that the Siriono lived with want and hunger and could neither count nor make fire and seemed to practice no religion except for an uncrystallized conception of the universe. He saw them as primitive humankind living in a raw state of nature that for millennia had exist-

1990s, learned that the Siriono were indeed a desperately impoverished people but for different reasons. They had arrived in the Beni as late as the seventeenth century, and their population had been at least three thousand. By the time Holmberg encountered them, less than 150 people had survived the smallpox and influenza that had destroyed their villages in the 1920s. As the epidemics hit them they were also fighting the white cattle ranchers who were taking over the region, and the Bolivian government aided the ranchers by hunting down the Siriono. The wandering people that Holmberg had travelled with in the forest were actually the persecuted survivors Missionaries and conquistadors brought the idea back to Spain and Europe that Native Americans lived passively with little to no effect on their environment. Over time various forms of this stereotype were embraced both by those who hated Indians and those who admired them. It was only when new tools and disciplines, such as demography, climatology, carbon-14 dating and ice-core sampling; satellite photography, soil assays, and genetic microsatellite analysis were employed that the idea that the indigenous

of the hemisphere. They annually burned undergrowth, cleared and replanted forests, built canals and raised fields, hunted bison and netted salmon, and grew

ed almost without change. Quickly recognized as a classic, the book provided an enduring image of South American Indians to the outside world. Holmberg was mistaken. Researchers, in the

occupants of one-third of the earth’s surface had changed their environment so little over thousands of years began to look implausible. ntil Columbus, Indians were a keystone species in most

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hese are but a few examples: at the time of Columbus the Western Hemisphere had been thoroughly touched by human hands. Agriculture

A patchwork of ancient raised fields in Beni

maize and manioc. Native Americans had been managing their environments for thousands of years. By and large, they modified their landscapes in stable and intelligent ways. Some areas of maize

Cultivated landscapes of the southwest Amazon

that cannot live in water. Thirty years ago, the understanding was that Indians lived there in isolated groups and had so little impact on their environment that after millennia the continents remained

and continual oversight; but in the sixteenth century, epidemics removed the checks and balances. After 1492 American landscapes were emptied of

have been farmed for thousands of years. In Peru, for instance, where irrigated terraces of crops covered huge areas, wholesale transformations were carried out in an exceptional way. All of these efforts required close

Native Americans, which deregulated the ecosystems. The forests that the first New England colonists thought were primeval and enduring were actually in the midst of violent change and demographic collapse. In 1823 the artist and naturalist, John Audubon saw a flock of passenger pigeons passing overhead in a single cloud for three whole days, obscuring the light of noon-day as if by an eclipse. In Audubon’s day one out of every four birds was a passenger pigeon. And suddenly, the passenger pigeon vanished with the last bird dying in September 1914. Given that the passenger pigeon was a competitor of the Indians for mast (various nuts) as well as berries, and because crowds of pigeons would eat the food in their fields, it was expected that Indians would hunt them as enthusiastically as they did turkey, deer, and raccoons that also ate from their fields. Judging by the bones in archaeological sites, however, the Indians were enthusiastic hunters of everything except passenger pigeons, which leads archaeologists to think that there were not large numbers of these pigeons before Columbus. The impact of European contact altered the ecological dynamics in such a way that the passenger pigeon increased. The avian throngs that Audubon saw were outbreak populations—always a symptom of an extraordinarily disrupted ecological system.

occurred in as much as twothirds of what is now the United States, with large areas of the southwest terraced and irrigated. Among the maize fields in the Midwest and Southeast, mounds by the thousands were visible. The forests of the eastern seaboard had been moved back from the coasts and were now lined with farms. Salmon nets stretched across every ocean-bound stream in the northwest. And almost everywhere there was evidence that the Indians had set fires. All of this development had implications for animal populations. For example, as settlements grew so did their maize fields. Indians discouraged animals, large and small, from their fields by hunting them until they were scarce around their homes. At the same time, they tried to encourage the larger animals to grow in number further away, where they would be useful. When disease swept Indians from the land, the entire ecological regime they established collapsed. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the hemisphere was thick with artificial wilderness. Far from destroying a pristine wilderness, Europeans seem to have created it. The newly emptied wilderness was indeed beautiful, but it was a product of demographic calamity. (Excerpted from The Road to Now: “1491 New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus” by Charles C Mann. http://www.humanjourney.us/)

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Defying odds to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor, Iliana Edwards has become a role model for indigenous youths wishing to follow in her footsteps

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Iliana (front row extreme left) with other Guyanese doctors who graduated

liana Edwards, from Paruima village, Upper Mazaruni in Region Seven, attended Paruima Primary School before excelling in her examinations to earn a government scholarship to attend Central High School in Georgetown. In the capital city, Edwards lived with a guardian but although she received support she felt a sense of loss in her new environment. “It was a challenged for me adapting to city life. I missed my family and friends; but I was determined to become a doctor and work hard to achieve that. I am thankful to my guardian Dr Stephens, a theologist, for her guidance,” a grateful 25-years-old Edwards expressed in an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine. After graduating with eight subjects at CSEC, Edwards worked for a year with USAID/Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention as a phlebotomist. Getting firsthand experience in the medical field would help her be more adept when studying medicine. “I applied for a government scholarship to study general medicine in Cuba. I had always wanted to become a doctor since I was a child, and I was happy when I was accepted to study in Cuba. I studied there for seven years. I was 18 when I left [Guyana]. In Cuba it was challenging, especially being placed to work shifts. Long days and nights I had to endure, but I did. The doctors were tough with us but it paid off because it has helped me to work harder,” she recalled. The doctor revealed that when she received her doctorate she was elated, and overwhelming emotions surged through her. The sacrifices she made were well worth it because she was able to accomplish what she had set out to do. “What has encouraged me to be determined is looking at other Amerindian

women who have achieved a lot despite challenges. When I collected my doctorate I felt a sense of relief that all my work for the past seven years paid off. I would like to thank the government of Guyana for giving me this opportunity, the government of Cuba for allowing me to pursue my dream, and my friends, family and my cousin Aneesa, who has always supported me. Now I can’t wait to serve my Guyanese people,” she declared. Currently, Edwards said she is waiting to be placed at a hospital, which she hopes will happen soon. Specifically, she mentioned, she would like to work as a gynaecologist. Looking back at her journey, Edwards recalled she received comments from persons who doubted her abilities because of her ethnic background. However, she used those criticisms as motivation to achieve her goals which she did expertly. Although Edwards has been exposed to different cultures, her indigenous heritage was never forsaken. She admires the unity in her village and enjoys being part of its activities. Edwards speaks the Arekuna language although she is not fluent in it. Her mother, an Arekuna, and her father, an Akawaio, have always been her main supporters. She noted that they have repeatedly encouraged her to upkeep traditions, something she credits as her guide in becoming a doctor. “I would encourage youths who want to pursue the same goals I did, to study and ignore comments. Also don’t get distracted. I saw how some students got easily distracted, but keeping focused is vital. What also helped me to be focused is my Christian background. My prayers and those from friends and family helped me also. I urge all indigenous youths to challenge themselves and pursue their dreams,” she encouraged.

Dr. Iliana Edwards happily displays her doctorate

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6 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

September 2013

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The Shaping of Guyanese Literature

‘Arrows from the Bow’ – the Stephanie Correia Story By Petamber Persaud

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t will never be known how many arrows were left in the quiver of Stephanie Correia when she died in 2000, but those she utilised she fired with unwavering accuracy, acquiring many trophies. In whatever field of human endeavour – teaching, pottery, poetry, painting or motherhood - she participated with distinction; a characteristic that made her internationally famous like two of her other siblings – David Campbell (“Kabakaburi Children”) and Rosanna - an operatic classical soprano. “Arrows from the Bow” was Correia’s first and only book of poems. Published in 1988, some five hundred years after Columbus, this collection of poems may be the first such book written in English by an Amerindian woman writer. Significantly, the book was published by Red Thread, a Guyanese women’s network, to coincide with the historic retrospective exhibition “Sixty years of Women Artists in Guyana” organised by the Guyana Women Artists’ Association. The “Arrows from the Bow” were Correia’s “imag-

es playing hide-and-seek within my head...” Images of her father taking her to various Amerindian villages where she became acquainted with the rich folklore of her heritage; images of her father teaching her to boat, fish and farm: “I followed him, small footsteps placed in his/and listened enchanted to his forest lore, secrets of bark and root and leaf and flower/I learned…to understand the laws of sustenance/a farmer’s patient waiting/ and after dark he wove a spell with singing strings’ playing mari mari...”; images of her father, Stephen Campbell, an Arawak from Santa Rosa at Moruca, who became the first Amerindian legislator in the National Assembly of British Guiana, serving for nine years until his death in 1966. There are images of her mother, Umbelina, the daughter of Portuguese immigrants from Madeira, encouraging Stephanie and her siblings to sing harmonies together. Images of her mother with her beautiful voice passing on to them the deep feeling found in Portuguese fados; images of “Kabakaburi Children” dancing in the sun...finding

Artwork of Stephanie Correia

a place in the sun. Stephanie Helena Correia was born in April 1930 in Pomeroon, Essequibo, Guyana. She was the third of nine children of Stephen and Umbelina Campbell. She attended Martindale R. C. Primary School, and was only fourteen when she was appointed pupil teacher at the same institution. In 1950, she was called to the Teachers Training College in Georgetown. Two years later she graduated as a Class 1 Trained Teacher. Correia won the Bain Gray Prize for the

most outstanding student, placing first in both years at the college. It was at the college that she came under the influence of the late E. R. Burrowes, who was her tutor in art. Her teaching career was short; shortened by marriage that frequently ruins the aspirations of many women. Fresh out of college, her first teaching assignment was at Sacred Heart R. C. Primary School in Main Street in 1953. For the next couple of years she taught at St. Joseph, in Mabaruma, North West District. In her marriage to Vincent Jerome Correia in 1955, Guyana lost a teacher but gained an artist, painter, ceramicist and anthropologist. The job of her husband, who was attached to the Interior Department, entailed frequent uprooting and resettling. It was during these trips that Stephanie started a database of sketches and notes on various tribes of the region. Marriage has its own blessings, and children frequently become extensions of the parents; of the aspirations of the parents, a fulfilment of life. Stephanie

and Vincent had eight children, all of whom are involved in the fine arts, four becoming excellent potters. In 1969, after the birth of her eighth child, Stephanie decided to revisit her artistic desire. The decision was not easy for she had to balance her dedication to her family, her devotion to her art, and fight for creative space; all against the backdrop of the indigenous woman in a somewhat unaccommodating male dominated mainstream Guyanese society. Except for short courses in Canada and USA, Correia was virtually selftaught. She was like “that clay pot…ground, washed, blended, kneaded, moulded, carved, caressed, burnt…a battle-scarred warrior!” In the poem, “A Part of Me”, she describes her creations, “a sculpture conceived in the mind and moulded permanently into form/a poem written down in the dawn after a sleepless night/a painting emerging stroke by stroke into a lasting statement”. For her dedication to the arts and for creative use of indigenous materials and design, she was awarded a Medal of Service in 1980. In 1996, she was again hon-

oured by her country, this time with the Golden Arrow of Achievement (AA). In September 2000, the National Art Gallery, Castellani House staged a tribute to her under the title Sharing Remembrances of Stephanie Correia. Before she died in 2000, Stephanie Helena Correia was researching the history of Amerindian pottery in Guyana. It is hoped that that arrow in her quiver will hit the public soon, for a nation ought not to diminish the import of its artistic heritage. Responses to this author by telephone # 2260065 or by email: oraltradition2002@yahoo.com What’s happening: • The Guyana Annual 2012-2013 magazine is now available at Guyenterprise Ltd and at city bookstores. This issue of the magazine is dedicated to E. R. Braithwaite. The magazine also features articles on copyright, law of intellectual property, creative industries, oral traditions of Guyana, the future of West Indian cricket and the future of books. • Coming soon: “An Introduction to Guyanese Literature” by Petamber Persaud.


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September 2013

Young Professionals

Alexi La Rose Management Development Officer

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

Star of the week

Gail Rebeiro

Alexi La Rose By Vahnu Manikchand

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iving back to Amerindians is the driving force behind young Alexi La Rose’s motivation in her work. La Rose was born in Santa Rosa, Moruca, and is the last of seven children, and the only girl. Growing up, she was always close to her family, who are her pillars and strength. Being a Baha’i, La Rose holds closely to her heart God and prayers. “My religious beliefs as a Baha’i have played a fundamental role in shaping who I am as an individual today.” At the age of eight, La Rose moved to Georgetown where she completed her primary and secondary education. She attended the St. Joseph's High School where, she said, she “had a full life”. La Rose wrote CXC in 1999 and obtained passes in nine subjects. After completing school, she began working as a librarian at School of the Nations. She spent six years there, during which time she also obtained a diploma in Information and Communication Technology from the University of Cambridge. She then moved on to the Ministry of Education where she worked for two years. Then in 2007, she went to Israel to do voluntary service under the Baha’i religion for two years. La Rose said that during her time in Israel she had the opportunity to interact with people from different parts of the world, and this exposure had given her a different outlook on life. When she returned from Israel, La Rose joined the Ministry of Health for a few months before furthering her education at the University of Guyana. La Rose secured a Masters in Development and International Corporation at UG. In addition, she subsequently attended the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, where she majored in Political Science and in Mining and Sustainable Development. Upon her return to Guyana, she joined the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs as a project management development officer. “My current post requires me to address issues in villages of an economic, development, social, cultural and governance nature; basically any Amerindian issue in a village under my jurisdiction is my business. When you arrive in the village, the warmth of the people and the beauty surrounding you make you forget the rough terrain travelled. Working in this area is both challenging and exciting as there is never a dull moment; the ministry is a very small ministry, and you are never fully aware of the amount of work that goes on in here until you get on this side of the building. And then the epiphany hits,” she disclosed. La Rose has also done a lot of volunteer work, but her most proud moments are when she works with children and youths, helping them to development their literacy. Despite leaving her village at a young age, La Rose still has strong ties with her family and villagers. She uses any chance she gets to go back and visit. However, she is happy with the fact that through her job she is able to help Amerindians in whatever way she can. “I have always felt that I needed to be in a profession where I can incorporate my talents and my education, and even though we may plan our lives, we don't always see the bigger picture and we need to learn how to do our best and to put our trust and Faith in God. In my present job there is never a dull moment. I am fortunate to be in a job that allows me to interact with people in the office and out in the fields. We often take for granted the little things in life and think it is the big gestures that always make an impact, but I've found over the years that it is really the little things that matter. Being able to serve my indigenous brothers and sisters in whatever way I can, is something that I hold dear to me; it is something that brings me joy.”

Twenty-year-old Gail Rebeiro of St. Ignatius, Central Rupununi, is a stunning Amerindian beauty who is unafraid of the spotlight. Last year she was crowned Region Nine’s Amerindian Heritage Month queen at the annual pageant held at the St Ignatius benab. With the crown, Rebeiro won the right to represent Region Nine at the National Amerindian Heritage Pageant. This year, once again, the newly-crowned Region Nine Miss Amerindian 2013 is expected to represent her region at the National Amerindian Pageant slated for September 29 at the National Culture Centre. With utmost confidence, the queen is ready to showcase her heritage to win the coveted crown. (Photo by Yimochi Melville)

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Did you know?

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he Allobates amissibilis is a species of poison dart frog recently discovered in Guyana. It is now the third Allobates species known from Guyana. The frog was discovered near Turu Falls, a waterfall at the foot of the Iwokrama Mountains in Central Guyana. Like other poison dart frogs, it derives its toxicity from the ants, mites, and other invertebrates on which it feeds. It is said to be found only in a small area of habitat within the Iwokrama Mountains. Amissibilis , Latin for the species’ name, means “that may be lost” in recognition of its home, which was the set for British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 book, “The Lost World”, and a term now often used to describe Guyana. (Source: www.mongobay.com)

Amerindian Heritage Month Word Search

The objective of the game is to fill all the blank squares in a game with the correct numbers. Every row of 9 numbers must include all digits 1 through 9 in any order. Every column of 9 numbers must include all digits 1 through 9 in any order. Every 3 by 3 subsection of the 9 by 9 square must include all digits 1 through 9.

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hen a species is thought to be a "micro-endemic" it means it can be found in only a small area of habitat. In scientific terms Allobates is the name of the genus and amissibilisthe species of frog. Scientists have developed a method of categorising all known living things in the world. For example the Allobates amissibilis would be classified: 1. Kingdom 2. Phylum 3. Class 4. Order 5. Family 6. Genus 7. Species

Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Aromobatidae Allobates Amissibilis

please see solution on page 22

Colouring Fun

ARAWAK CAMPBELL CARIB CASSAVA DANCE

DEVELOPMENT INDIGENOUS KARASABAI

MAKUSHI WAPISHANA MATAPEE WARRAU POTTERY SEPTEMBER WAIWAI


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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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Art, custom & religion Because cattle have long played a vital role for the survival of people, they have often been depicted in the art and religion of many cultures through the centuries. Kneeling bull holding a spouted vessel Ancient Iran, c. 3000 B.C.

Cattle are ruminants (cud chewing mammals). Females are called cows, males are called bulls and offspring are calves. Domesticated by early Neolithic people, cattle have been raised for their strength, their hides, their meat and their milk.

Four stomachs?

Dairy cows

Cattle raised for meat are called beef cattle. They are also used to produce leather, as well as products used in shampoo and cosmetics. Beef cattle are larger than dairy cows.

Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have four stomachs; they have one stomach with four compartments. The rumen holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. The reticulum is called the hardware stomach because if cows accidentally eat hardware (like a piece of fencing scrap), it will often lodge here, causing no further damage. The omasum is sort of like a filter, and the abomasum is like our stomach.

Dairy cows tend to have angular bodies. They may appear bony-looking because most of their energy goes toward milk production and little fat stays on their bodies.

Omasum (oh MAY sum)

By Laurie Triefeldt

Beef cattle

Silver bull Scythia, 300 B.C.

Bull-leaping In the Bronze Age, the Minoans of Crete held bull-leaping competitions, but this acrobatic ritual or sport also took place in the Indus Valley, the Hittite Empire and other ancient cultures.

Rumen (Roo min)

2 1 Hereford cattle originated in Herefordshire, England. A staple in the beef cattle industry‚ it may one day rival the Angus for its high-quality meat.

3

Reticulum

4

(Ruh TICK you lum)

Making milk

Udder

AbomasumTeat

Ayrshire (pronounced AIR-sure) cattle originated in Scotland.

Bull-leaping Ancient Greece 1700–1450 B.C.

(ab oh MAY sum)

Hindu tradition

A cow is able to make milk when she is 2 years old and has given birth. The milk is food for her newborn. Cows produce more milk than a calf needs, so humans use the extra milk. Today, most farmers use milking machines because they are quick and clean. Milk leaving the farm must be unaltered and uncontaminated. Charolais cattle originated in the Charolles region of France. They produce excellent beef and are often used to improve herds of other cattle breeds.

The Brown Swiss cow can trace its heritage back to Switzerland around 4000 B.C.

In Hinduism, the cow is a symbol of wealth, strength, abundance, selfless giving and a full earthly life. Cows are treated with the same respect “as one’s mother” because of the milk they provide. Cows appear in many stories from the Puranas and Vedas. Observant Hindus do not eat beef.

Krishna and sacred cow

Naturally

By hand

Pumping machine

Dairy products Dairy products have a wide range of nutritional benefits and are generally a high-energy food. Dairy products provide calcium and are excellent for bone health, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Each day, one dairy cow can produce up to: The Aberdeen Angus was originally from Scotland, but the modern, larger Angus has been developed in North America.

or 14 pounds of cheese

or 5 gallons of ice cream

The Guernsey originated on the small Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel just off the coast of France.

Bullfighting

or 16 gallons of milk

6 pounds of butter

Fascinating cattle facts A 1,000-pound cow will produce four tons of manure in a year. Cattle trained to be draft animals are called “oxen.” Short horn cattle originated in the North East of England in the late 18th century.

SOURCES: World Book Encyclopedia, World Book Inc.; www.brownswissusa.com; www.thecattlesite.com; www.cosleyzoo.org ; www.holsteinusa.com; www.sciencekids. co.nz; www.bestfunfacts.com; www.aipl.arsusda.gov; www.bseinfo.org; www.cattlepages.com;

There are well over a billion cattle in the world. The milking machine was invented in 1870s. Before its existence, farmers could milk about six cows per hour. A modern milking machine can milk more than 100 cows per hour! Cows spend up to eight hours a day chewing their cud.

In an average day, a dairy cow will drink about a bathtub full of water and eat up to 100 pounds of food.

The Holstein-Frisian originated in North Holland and Friesland. Cows of Holstein descent make up over 90 percent of the cows on U.S. dairy farms.

Contrary to popular belief, bulls are not enraged by the color red (cattle are red-green color-blind). In bullfights, it is the movement of the cape, not the color, that angers the bull. In 1856, Gail Borden patented a commerical condensed milk process. Refrigeration came into use in 1880, and the first pasteurizing machine was introduced in 1895.

The Jersey cow was originally bred on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Bullfighting is a dangerous sport that can trace its roots to prehistoric bull worship and sacrifice. Traditionally associated with Spain and Portugal, it is also practiced in many South American countries. The practice is controversial because the bulls are raised for the ring, and the object of the sport is to kill the beast. The matador wears a colorful embroidered suit called a traje de luces (suit of lights). The matador uses Banderillas are a red cape (the long darts thrust capote) and a stick into the bull to (the muleta). weaken it.


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ashion designer Natasha David encapsulates the rich and vibrant culture of the indigenous people of Guyana in her newest collection. Natasha was born in Georgetown but grew up in a small village on the Venezuelan border called Imbotero where she received her primary school education. Her family later moved to Matthews Ridge where she was exposed to fashion shows, persons making beautiful toys, decorations and other items out of organic materials such as straw, banana leaves, bamboo and many others. Observing how creatively these materials were used, Natasha decided to follow that path. She is known as one of Guyana’s top organic designers. “I have been designing clothes and making creative dolls for the past five years, being guided by my mentor Sonia Noel. One day she told me to do something along my native line. I knew it would come easy because I always was designing costumes for Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. I even assisted in

September 2013

building two floats for the ministry’s department for Mashramani with fellow designer Trevor. After that I spent endless days and sleepless nights creating costumes for adults and children. I then boldly went into the ministry and was accepted to participate in the heritage month celebrations. My ideas were accepted with great joy by most of the senior staff because I had studied the current costumes designed by others and brought something different with elegance and style,” the designer told Guyana Times Sunday Magazine . Natasha’s collection of indigenous designs is suitable for a cultural look at any Amerindian Heritage celebration. They are comfortable, chic and easy-to-wear pieces. The designer is currently preparing to participate in the upcoming Guyana Fashion Weekend 2013 where she will be launching another fantastic collection. For more information on Natasha’s collections, call 681-0637.

Designer Natasha David wearing one of her designs

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‘Free Willy’ actor August ‘Twilight’ star who Schellenberg dies left addiction behind

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anadian-born actor August Schellenberg, who was best known for starring in all three “Free Willy” films, has died aged 77. His agent said he died at his Dallas, Texas, home after suffering from lung cancer. Schellenberg first played whale trainer Randolph Johnson in 1993's “Free Willy”, reprising the role for the sequels released in 1995 and 1997. He also starred in Terrence Malick film “The New World” opposite Christian Bale. Born in Montreal, Schellenberg was a champion diver and boxer in his youth. He graduated from Montreal's National

Theatre School of Canada in 1966 and later moved to Dallas. Known for playing Native American roles, the actor - who was half Mohawk and half Swiss-German - earned an Emmy nomination in 2007 for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in the HBO movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”. He was also nominated for three Genie awards over his career, which recognises the best in Canadian cinema, winning once for 1991 adventure “Black Robe”. His other big screen credits include 1978 Donald Sutherland film “Bear Island”, 1994 film “Iron Will” opposite Kevin Spacey and 2006 family film “Eight Below”. While on TV, he had roles in series such as “The Littlest Hobo”, “Due South”, “Grey's Anatomy” and “Stargate Universe”. As well as teaching acting workshops at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, Schellenberg also played the lead in an all-First Nations cast of Shakespeare's King Lear at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa last year. "I got a call this morning from the NAC saying they have lowered their flags to honour him," Schellenberg's agent Jamie Levitt said. NAC president Peter Herrndorf added: "August Schellenberg had been thinking about mounting King Lear in 1967, just two years before the NAC opened its doors in Ottawa. "Through his friendship and collaboration... that dream was realised in our theatre in 2012. It was a ground-breaking and proud production." Schellenberg is survived by his wife, actress Joan Karasevich, and three daughters. (BBC)

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ative American actor Chaske Spencer is known for his alpha wolf portrayal in “The Twilight Saga”, but many people aren’t aware that he’s also an activist speaking out against the addictions that almost took his life. “I know a higher power led me to where I am now,” he said, describing the Red Road way of life as “the way I try to center myself” after years of drinking and abusing drugs. Temptation is also a fact of life in Hollywood, where “it’s crazy.” Spencer gave an address January 30 on the urban campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver, Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado – Denver (UCD) under the sponsorship of UCD’ s Native American Student Organization. Spencer is a spokesman for United Global Shift, an organization focusing on the environment, employment, entrepreneurship, health and education. Sensing a serious water shortage in the future, for example, he praised innovative programs around water recycling.

But although he often talks about the environment and empowering and creating sustainable Native communities, when addressing youth he sometimes focuses on substance abuse and the role it plays in the “horrific” violence, drugs, and alcoholism on some reservations. Spencer, a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, went to New York City to pursue photography, but began getting acting parts and took bartending and catering gigs between acting lessons and performances. He had a part in the movie Skins before he developed an addiction to cocaine and heroin that finally led him to become a self-described crackhead, an addict who would “steal from you, would rob you” for drug money. His career today, with the Twilight Saga’s success, is a far cry from the days when he’d show up to auditions drunk and high, and lose out. “The acting god smiled on me that [Twilight audition] day,” he said, adding he believes that getting the part was a “gift because I got sober.”

After treatment, which also involved healing from Indian country’s hurtful past, “I started to put myself into service,” he said. “I had a spirituality—when I got clean, I needed something. I got into Sun Dance; if you walk that Red Road it’s a very strict and humbling road and it’s a hard life,” requiring sacrifice to “try to be of service” and “love everybody.” But he accepted the hardship, he said, as he recalls a medicine man telling him, “It’s all about love—it really is.” (Indian Country)

Megan Fox sexy Avon fragrance ads

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egan Fox, of Native American ancestry, steamiest photo shoot yet is for Avon’s upcoming perfume launch, ‘Instinct.’ The sexy actress looks scorching hot in her latest fragrance ads, and the setting itself is just as gorgeous. Megan reveals that the shooting happened at “a really lush, really exotic location,” in her behind-thescenes video. “I think that’s perfect for the fragrance.” For her shoot, Megan gets super close to Marlon, whom she reveals is her “male counterpart,” who represents the men’s version of the fragrance. The two make for a stunning photo shoot, that’s for sure! Megan is undoubtedly sexy, and she’s bringing her sultry sensuality

to a fragrance that evokes those exact qualities! Avon’s team explained their choice to go with Megan: “No one evokes magnetic attraction better than Megan — men and women alike see her as a bold, captivating beauty. She’s the perfect face for a scent that’s intensely alluring and a little bit dangerous.” “Avon Instinct captures the wild sensuality of the moment when inhibitions disappear and the senses take over. The seductive fragrances unleash primal instincts, empowering you to embrace the powerful force of desire. Like the thrill of a chance encounter, the scents capture the intoxicating experience of undeniable chemistry,” the Avon team described. The fragrance comes out in 2014. (Hollywood Life)


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North Rupununi District Development Board: Recognizing traditions, moving forward with development

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ina Hill, in Annai, North Rupununi, is a place where people from the 16 neighbouring communities in the North come to meet and seek knowledge; it is a place of cultural significance, a point for communications and a stopping place where people break their journey to and from the river and savannah communities. It is the home of the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), Radio Paiwomak, the Makushi Research Unit; Ye Winon Merisin Sepo (Medicine From Trees), the Bina Hill Youth Learning Centre and the North Rupununi Junior Wildlife Development Council, just to name a few community organizations under the NRDDB umbrella. The iconic blue and white building that operates as office, meeting hall, administration, dorms and radio station, was built though community work; materials were cut from the Annai area forest, and community members built the structure from the ground up. This is one place where Guyana’s Makushi people are becoming masters of straddling both worlds. Here the focus is on recognizing local culture and tradition, as well as moving forward with development so that the people in the North Rupununi have

an opportunity to make informed decisions for local development.

Beginnings

In 1996, local leaders felt it was necessary to create a place to address local concerns and development, so the-then leaders of the 12 communities in the North Rupununi formed groups that later became the NRDDB. Registered as a trust in 2001, it is the umbrella organization of now 16 Rupununi communities, and recognized by the Iwokrama International Centre as its community partner since 1996. The core membership of the NRDDB consists of the legally elected leaders (Toshaos) of the North Rupununi communities. The NRDDB also serves and functions as the community stakeholder forum, with representation from other key leaders from community-based organizations (local civil society groups and institutions). NRDDB therefore plays a crucial role as a genuinely representative, umbrella organization which brings together officially elected local government officials (Toshaos) and other authorities as well as non-governmental local peoples’ organizations / institutions and private enterprise initiatives. The NRDDB is committed to improving the well-

being and quality of life of the North Rupununi communities through social and economic development and through the affirmation of heritage, culture, traditional knowledge and Indigenous rights. The Makushi Research Unit (MRU) is a group of local researchers under the NRDDB who have been chronicling Makushi language and culture by writing the language, stories, ethnobotany, radio programs and video. The group has also been instrumental in promoting human rights and advocating and providing counselling for various

The home base of NRDDB and all affiliated programmes and research projects (Photo by S. James)

ed by the MRU, and is most famous for its Crabwood oil soap and healing creams. This group uses local ingredients like Crabwood oil, the barks of local trees and leaves to make medicinal tinctures, soaps and creams; all based on local traditions and available for purchase at the Bina Hill Shop.

Wildlife Clubs

The wildlife clubs of the North Rupununi are community owned youth and environmental clubs where youths have an opportunity to learn about environmen-

ture and skills, information technology and maths and English are also subjects. After graduation, many students find that they are now equipped with the skills to find jobs in the area or to contribute to the development in their community.

Radio Paiwomak

In 2000, Radio Paiwomak began as a pilot initiative implemented though partnership arrangement between NRDDB, UNESCO, Iwokrama and the Government of Guyana. Paiwomak now operates un-

ing and living in general. This is done though video and storytelling. These videos and stories can provide lessons learned for both local and international communities and help local communities find solutions for issues facing them. The CMRV supports two community monitors from each of the 16 NRDDB communities that collect data on forest health and wellbeing indicators, using smartphones. Analyzed data can help inform decisions on management of resourc-

Graduates from the Bina Hill Youth Learning Centre last year

social and domestic issues in the area.

“Medicine from Trees”

Ye Winon Merisin Sepo, (Makushi for “Medicine from Trees”) evolved from the ethnobotany research conduct-

tal monitoring in their own back yards. The Iwokrama International Centre has supported clubs over the past 10 years through bird and rainfall monitoring, and many club members have grown into community leaders, tour guides, rangers and researchers. Twice a year, club members meet at Bina Hill for weekend conferences and hone their monitoring and research skills in areas such as compass and GPS reading, bird and bat monitoring and tree identification. Other activities include public speaking and CV writing workshops and planning for the annual wildlife festival. During the wildlife festival, members from 16 wildlife clubs and specially invited clubs celebrate their culture and environment with games, skits, costume, banner and traditional skills competitions at Bina Hill.

Youth Learning Centre

Many wildlife club members have become graduates of the BHI Youth Learning Centre. Home- sown and home grown, the Youth Learning Centre is a place for Amerindian youth and school leavers to learn “skills for living”, and for up to two years, local students have an opportunity for hands on learning in the areas of forestry, agriculture, natural resource and wildlife management. Traditional cul-

der license from the National Communications Network. Fully solar powered, Radio Paiwomak, 97.1 FM, is the only community radio station in Guyana and has been a dynamic leader in community services and cultural arts with its unique community flavour, bilingual broadcasting, local and cultural content. For the past 11 years, community members have anticipated the warm and welcoming voice of the Chief Broadcaster when he signs on with his signature greeting, “Good afternoon and welcome to Radio Paiwomak, broadcasting from the Bina Hill Institute at 97.1 on your FM band with 100 watts of power. We are today’s first community radio for the development of tomorrow’s people!”

COBRA

At the moment, the NRDDB is hosting two projects to support sustainable development of the people in the North Rupununi: COBRA (Community Owned Best practice for Sustainable Resource Adaptive management in the Guiana Shield) and the Community Monitoring, Reviewing and Verification (CMRV). The COBRA team are young Makushi researchers who work in their communities to document Makushi best practices and their challenges, especially when it comes to traditional farming, fish-

es, and can be incorporated into the National MRV under Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy. A second phase of the project has just started and will be working to improve local capacity to independently carry out monitoring activities in the future. This will include continued data collection and additional training in data analysis and report writing. Back “in de day” when the NRDDB had just formed, you would have had to fly by plane into Annai from Georgetown, to avoid the long journey by road. Most communication was by mail (on paper, not computer) or by high frequency radio. Things are different now, with improved road infrastructure, internet through satellite connection and now cell phone service. The NRDDB communities have worked to move towards managing their resources, addressing social issues, communication and maintaining their culture through collaboration. And because development never stops, the NRDDB will continue to work to represent the interests of the people in the North Rupununi. To learn more about the NRDDB and happenings at Bina Hill, look for them on the web at www.nrddb.org and www.projectcobra.org. (Samantha James)


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new Industrial Arts Centre focused on carpentry and joinery skills was formally handed over July 4, 2013 by the New Zealand High Commission Head of Mission Fund (HOMF) to the community of Shulinab in South Central Rupununi, Guyana. According to a Shulinab press statement, the Centre boasts a new purpose-made building and wood storage facility with electrical power tools imported from the USA, as well as other necessary equipment, tools and accessories that will allow the centre to operate efficiently and competitively with other professional carpentry enterprises in the region. The Centre is the only one of its kind in Central and Southern Rupununi, and the nearest workshop to Lethem, where construction activity is booming since the opening of the Takutu Bridge between Brazil and Guyana. The community of Shulinab is aware of their unique opportunity to tap into the growing market for the products and services they have the potential to provide, but had been constrained by the limitations of their existing facility. This project builds on the success of a previous ‘Industrial Arts’ training centre built near the school in 1991, as part of

The Columbian Exchange

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illions of years ago, continental drift carried the Old World and New Worlds apart, splitting North and South America from Eurasia and Africa. That separation lasted so long that it fostered divergent evolution; for instance, the development of rattlesnakes on one side of the Atlantic and vipers on the other. After 1492, [the arrival of Columbus in the “New World”] human voyagers in part reversed this tendency. Their artificial re-establishment of connections through the commingling of Old and New World plants, animals, and bacteria, commonly known as the Columbian Exchange, is one of the more spectacular and significant ecological events of the past millennium. When Europeans first touched the shores of the Americas, Old World crops such as wheat, barley, rice, and turnips had not travelled west across the Atlantic, and New World crops such as maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and manioc had not travelled east to Europe. In the Americas, there were no horses, cattle, sheep, or goats, all animals of Old World origin. Except for the llama, alpaca, dog, a few fowl, and guinea pig, the New World had no equivalents to the domesticated animals associated with the Old World, nor did it have the pathogens associated with the Old World’s dense populations of humans and such associated creatures as chickens, cattle, black rats, and Aedes egypti mosquitoes. Among these germs were those that carried smallpox, measles, chickenpox, influenza, malaria, and yellow fever. The Columbian exchange of crops affected both the Old World and the New. Amerindian crops that have crossed oceans—for exam-

ple, maize to China and the white potato to Ireland— have been stimulants to population growth in the Old World. The latter’s crops and livestock have had much the same effect in the Americas—for example, wheat in Kansas and the Pampa, and beef cattle in Texas and Brazil. The New World’s great contribution to the Old is in crop plants. Maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, various squashes, chills, and manioc have become essentials in the diets of hundreds of millions of Europeans, Africans, and Asians. Their influence on Old World peoples, like that of wheat and rice on New World peoples, goes far to explain the global population explosion of the past three centuries. The Columbian Exchange has been an indispensable factor in that demographic explosion. All this had nothing to do with superiority or inferiority of biosystems in any absolute sense. It has to do with environmental contrasts. Amerindians were accustomed to living in one particular kind of environment, Europeans and Africans in another. When the Old World peoples came to America, they brought with them all their plants, animals, and germs, creating a kind of environment to which they were already adapted, and so they increased in number. Amerindians had not adapted to European germs, and so initially their numbers plunged. That decline has reversed in our time as Amerindian populations have adapted to the Old World’s environmental influence, but the demographic triumph of the invaders, which was the most spectacular feature of the Old World’s invasion of the New, still stands. (Excerpted from ‘The Columbian Exchange’ by Alfred Crosby. http:// www.gilderlehrman.org)

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

an education initiative facilitated by local NGOs. The training centre in Shulinab had been a popular and successful operating unit, accommodating 6 to 10 primary school students on weekdays (both during and after school hours) and, partly due to the efforts of a skilled instructor, Shulinab now has an above average number of young people with basic carpentry skills. Toshao Vibert Ignace described Shulinab as a progressive community that is always looking for development opportunities that would benefit its members. “The goal of the project is to try and stop our young people leaving our community,” he said. “The new Centre will provide high quality vocational training and income generation opportunities, but also allow them to participate and contribute to the development of their own community.” Nick Fredericks, treasurer for the council, explained that the community used this project as an opportunity to learn project management with the support of the volunteer technical advisor, Eddie Doyle. “We appointed a project team and had regular meetings to monitor the progress of the project. It was a true learning experience for all of us,” he added. Roddy Rebeiro and Jason Larose were the two senior project team members who were involved in all aspects of project design, construction, and equipment selection. Both are excited by the challenge of operating the centre. “The first thing we must do is to win a contract for supplying school furniture for our community and the other ones near us. We must prove that we are better than other

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Jason Larose installing the new power-saw

professional businesses,” said Roddy. Council Treasurer Nick Fredericks concluded, “We hope that this initiative will be a model for community development in the future, however the correct level of technical support is essential for communities to execute and manage these programs in a sustainable way.”


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September 2013

Pepperpot Ingredients 3 lbs of meat: beef and/or (lamb, pork or goat optional) 1 cup casareep 4 cinnamon sticks (not ground) 1 1/2 inch orange peel

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atural vines, leaves, branches or grasses have long been used by indigenous communities to make anything from everyday utensils to handicraft and furniture. It didn’t take long for these designs to begin appearing in modern homes around the world. Considered part of the quintessential tropical home, nibbi vine and tibisiri, produce stunning home decor. (Photos taken from Liana Cane 2011 catalogue at http://lianacane.files.wordpress.com/) Relaxing on the porch or veranda is a picture postcard with nibbi lounge furniture

6 cloves 1-2 wiri wiri peppers 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp salt 16 cups water

Method Steam the meat for about 20 minutes so that all the fat can be removed. You want your meat to be very lean, and this step will help you achieve that. Once you have steamed the meat, remove any dangling pieces of fat. Set aside. In a large pot, bring the 16 cups of water to a boil. Add the casareep and all of the ingredients. Add the meat and continue to boil until the meat is tender and until the broth has reduced by three-quarters. Leave it out on the stove top and reheat before eating.

Spicy Fish Stew (Atchee variation) Ingredients 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 pounds fresh fish, cut into 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed hot 1-inch pieces red pepper 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive 1/2 cup chopped fresh thyme oil 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 12 shallots, chopped Nibbi sleigh bed

Method Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until very soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavours. Stir in thyme and lemon peel. Add fish; simmer until just opaque in centre, about 5 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve with cassava bread.

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Colourful child’s table and chair set made from nibbi

Indigenous beverages

ade from wild plants or trees, some beverages made by Amerindians are reputed to have certain medicinal properties, while others are just a delicious way to enjoy the start or end of the day. Rose of the mountain: The bark of this small tree is boiled in water, until the liquid gets brown. The tea is strained, after which sugar and milk are added to make a hot, nutritious beverage that resembles Ovaltine. Locust (Stinking toe) : A popular beverage among some indigenous groups, a piece is cut off from the bark and the rough outer layer removed. The bark is then dried in the sun. When dry, the bark is chipped, boiled, and drunk with milk and sugar, similar to chocolate milk. (It is the fruit that gives it its "smelly" name). Turu: Also known as chocolate palm, it is made into “turu tea” from the ripe fruits of the tree that are first soaked in

warm water for about 10 minutes until their shells become soft and burst. (If the water is too hot the pulp becomes hard.) The flesh is then scooped out from the shells, seeds and shells removed, and the thick liquid is strained, boiled for a short period and mixed with milk and sugar. The dark brown and oily “turu tea” resembles chocolate milk.


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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

17

The famous playboy explained to a beautiful woman his system for playing roulette: "In each round, I always bet half of the money I have at the time on red. Yesterday, I counted and I had won as many rounds as I had lost." Over the course of the night, did the gambler win, lose or break even? see solution on page 22

see solution on page 22

see solution on page 22


18 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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ot many moons had passed since Makunaima and his brothers had first eaten the fruit from the magic tree Wazacá when Ma'nápe came up with the idea of cutting it down, and just like that he told the others. But Akuli (agouti), who was very intelligent, told him: “How can you think such a thing? The Wazacá provides us with its fruits and all of us can eat from it. If you chop it down not only will we all lose out, but it will create a huge flood as well.” Ma'nápe listened to everything, thinking he would ignore it, because he was very stubborn, and then he went to the corner where he kept his enormous axe, hefted it on to his shoulder and walked across the valley and into the jungle towards the tree of life. Akuli followed behind to see if he could avert the flood. And walking one behind the other they soon arrived at that far place, draped in shadows and heavy with perfume, where the Wazacá tree raised its leafy bulk over the roof of the forest and high above it. Ma'nápe approached the tree with determination and tested his axe against its impenetrable bark. The axe bounced off the wood without leaving the tiniest sign it had even grazed it. So Ma'nápe had anoth-

er go at the Wazacá but this time he intoned in a powerful voice that reverberated through the whole forest: “Mazapa-yeg, élupa-yeg, makupa-yeg.” With this spell he invoked the mazapa, mamao and cariaca trees, which have very soft wood, to see if the wood of the Wazacá would soften. No sooner had he said the magic words when the wood of the Wazacá tree became soft and Ma'nápe's axe bit deep into the trunk and started to cut deeper and deeper. Akuli, meanwhile, became very afraid and begged Ma'nápe again not to try and cut the tree down; but seeing that Ma'nápe was not listening to him, he began frantically collecting bees wax and fruit husks to try and fill the gashes opening up in the tree trunk and see if he could avert the flood that way. But Ma'nápe continued even faster in his destruction of the tree of life, with his invocations of soft-wood trees. He named them all - one by one - and then finally he said: “Palulu-yeg.” The trunk went really soft and the axe went so far into the Wazacá tree that it opened an enormous gash that left it held together only by a sliver at one end, because with those words Ma'nápe had invoked the

wood of the papaya tree, which is extremely soft. Meanwhile, all the brothers had arrived at the spot where Ma'nápe and Akuli were fighting to achieve their contrary wishes. Just at the moment when it looked like Ma'nápe was going to get his wish, there was a furious shout that was heard above all the sounds of the jungle: “Waina-yeg!” It was Anzikilán, who had run all the way to save the tree of life. And with his spell, the Wazacá tree suddenly became very hard again because Anzikilán had invoked the wood of the Waina tree, which grows in the highest mountains and whose trunk is as hard as the rocks that form the Euteurimá Waterfall.

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September 2013

The axe was stopped, it could not advance further, but Ma'nápe, blinded by his obsession and without giving up, shouted out again with all his strength: “Elupa-yeg, palulu-yeg!” And the tree of life, which had its trunk opened up like a huge, deep cavern, was rapidly torn asunder and crashed to the earth, its wide branches thrown out to the winds; its high crown laden with fruit, shaking, its powerful roots, creaking. In its fall, the Wazacá tree threw up stones and mud, plants, bushes and

lianas, and pushed over the trees Élu'yeg and Yaluwazáluima'yeg, forming the mountains called by those names today. And from its immense trunk, roots and branches was formed the great mountain Roraima, which rises like a giant from the savannah and silently watches as time, suns, moons and people pass by. The crown of the Wazacá tree, heavy with its fruits, rolled down to the northern side of the mountain, and that is why there are so many plantain trees over

there that nobody planted. They are eaten by the evil Mawari spirits, who have their houses on Mount Roraima and other mountains close by. If the crown of the tree had fallen towards the south, it would be the Arekuna who could enjoy its fruits. The noise of the Wazacá tree's fall - which reached the furthest corner of the forest and the savannah like a great sigh - had not yet subsided when a huge spout of water shot out of the trunk and began to flood everything, rapidly sweeping past Makunaima and his brothers and battering them with bright drops of water, as sharp as arrows. The foaming water carried with it thousands of fish and the brothers watched them and tried to catch them but the current was too strong. The largest fish disappeared immediately from view, leaving only the small ones lagging behind, so that neither Makunaima nor the others could catch the ones they most wanted. And so it was as Akuli had predicted in those far off times: the Earth and men experienced the great flood.

The Legend of the Victoria Regia

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any years ago, there was a little forest village on the bank of a wide river in southern Guyana. All of the inhabitants were very happy as they always reaped good crops from their gardens, and wild animals they hunted for meat were abundant in the forests on both sides of the river. In this forest village lived twelve teenage girls who always gathered in the evenings under a tall Mora tree on the riverside to sing songs their mothers had taught them. After their singing, as the moon rose from beneath the horizon and the stars twinkled in the dark sky, the girls would stare in awe at these beautiful heavenly bodies. They became particularly interested in these attractive objects since there was a general belief in those days of long ago that anyone who touched a beautiful object would acquire some of its beauty. “The moon and the stars are so lovely,” said Neca, one of the girls in the group. “I wish we could touch them so we can acquire some of their beauty, but they are so far away.” “We must find a way to touch them,” replied another girl in the group. “Maybe, we should climb to the top of the mountain, and from there we will be able to touch them.” So every evening after their singing session, they stared at the moon and the stars and contemplated various ways they could attempt to touch them. Of all the girls, Neca was more interested in touching the Moon, and in the evening she spent long hours just staring at it as it moved slowly across the night sky. “I know what I will do,” she declared to her friends one evening. “I will climb to the top of this tall Mora tree and try to touch the moon.” “Well, you may climb to the top of the tree, but I think we can touch the moon and the stars if we go to the top of the mountain,” one of her friends explained. This view seemed to be more popular, and all except Neca decided that they would do exactly that.

One night when the full moon was rising in the sky, Neca climbed to the top of the Mora tree and stretched out her hands towards the shining orb. But, clearly, the moon was too far away for her to accomplish this feat. In great disappointment, she descended and tearfully went home to sleep. Meanwhile, that same night her friends walked through the forest to the high mountain some distance away from the village. After reaching the peak, they stretched out their hands towards the moon and the stars, but they, too, failed to attain their objective. With long, sad faces, they wearily walked back home realising that they could never acquire the beauty of those distant objects. But Neca never gave up. The following night, when her friends had all gone to sleep, she walked along the river bank once again and stared at the big golden moon as it rose above the trees. Then she looked into the calm water of the river and there she observed the moon’s glowing reflection. “Now, this is how I can touch the moon,” she reasoned. And with that, she plunged into the river and reached out to the reflection. But she soon disappeared beneath the deep still water and was never seen again. But the moon goddess did see Neca as she made that fateful plunge. “I truly pity her,” she sighed. “Neca always wanted to become more beautiful than ever, so I’ll ensure that people will admire that beauty for all times.” So, the moon goddess, from the depths of the river, brought up Neca’s body which she transformed into a large majestic pink water lily in the water near the river bank. From that day, people everywhere became fascinated with this most gorgeous flower growing beside its large circular lily pad. Today, that stately and attractive water lily is widely known as the Victoria Regia. (From Dr Odeen Ishmael Guyana Legends: Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians)

Send your creative writing to sundaymagazine@guyanatimesgy.com


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rchaeologists working in a buried Mayan pyramid in Guatemala have discovered an enormous inscribed frieze richly decorated with images of gods and rulers, the Guatemalan government announced. Dating to the 6th century, the carving has been hailed by local authorities as “the most spectacular frieze seen to date” and one of the best-preserved pieces of Mayan art ever discovered. It was found at the preColumbian archaeological site of Holmul, in the northern province of Peten, by Guatemalan archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli below a 65-foot-high pyramid which was built over it in the 8th century. Measuring 26 feet by nearly 7 feet, the 1,400-yearold carvings decorated the outside of a mysterious multi-roomed rectangu-

September 2013

lar building. Found when Estrada-Belli and his team excavated a tunnel left open by looters, the monumental artwork depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. “This is a unique find. It is a beautiful work of art and it tells us so much about the function and meaning of the building, which was what we were looking for,” EstradaBelli, a professor at Tulane University’s anthropology department, said. Painted in red, with details in blue, yellow and green, the stucco frieze is elaborately descriptive. It shows three human figures wearing bird headdresses and jade jewels. They are seated cross-legged on top of the head of a mountain spirit called witz. A cartouche on the headdress contains glyphs identifying each individual by

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

name, but only the central figure’s name is now readable. It says: Och Chan Yopaat, meaning “The Storm God enters the sky.” Below the main character, two feathered serpents emerge from the mountain spirit and form an arch with their bodies. Under each of them is a seated figure of an aged god holding a sign that reads “First tamale.” In front of the serpents’ mouths are the two additional human figures, also seated on mountain spirit heads. An inscription of 30 glyphs in a band that runs at the base of the structure reveals the building was commissioned by Ajwosaj Chan K’inich, the ruler of Naranjo, a powerful kingdom to the south of Holmul in the northeast of Guatemala. According to Alex Tokovinine, a Harvard University Maya epigrapher, the text places the building

in the decade of the 590s. It also reveals a power struggle between two rival kingdoms — Tikal and the Snake Lords — fighting for control of the region. Homul, the city-state where the frieze was found, once belonged to Tikal’s kingdom, but its rulers switched sides. In this view, the frieze would be a tribute to Homul’s defection. Indeed, in the inscription, Ajwosaj, who was a vassal of the Snake Lords, claims to have restored the local ruling line and patron deities. “Ajwosaj was one of the greatest rulers of Naranjo. The new inscription provides the first glimpse of the remarkable extent of Ajwosaj’s political and religious authority,” Tokovinine said. It isn’t the first finding made by Estrada-Belli and his team at the mysteri-

Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below the ancient stucco frieze (National Geographic)

ous building. Last year, the archaeologist unearthed a burial in cavity dug into the stairway leading up to the building. It contained the skeleton of an adult male accompanied by 28 ceramic vessels and a wooden funerary mask. Preserved by large limestone slabs that kept the tomb free of debris, the individual had the incisor and canine teeth drilled and filled with jade beads, while two miniature flower-shaped ear spools were also found nearby.

advanced infrastructure, including closed sewers and irrigation systems, and running water – all at a time when Europe was in the Dark Ages. In South America, recent archaeological excavations, now coming to light through modern satellite imagery, and even deforestation, have revealed that many parts of the region had “relatively high [native] population densities” than today. Along the Amazon River, many fished the river, farmed the floodplains and parts of the uplands, and practiced what is considered a kind of agro-forestry unlike anything known in the Old World. In the Caribbean, the Taino or Arawak created chiefdoms to form well-developed societies, as did the Caribs of the Lesser Antilles and parts of Guiana. History texts suggest that these groups were small bands of hunter-gatherers. However, improved agricultural skills and fishing techniques have

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he history of the Americas, including the Caribbean, usually begins with the discovery of a “wild” and “sparse” region by Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. However, the history of the Americas goes back some thousands of years earlier, and today new research is revealing that before Columbus’ (pre-Columbian) arrival, the region was teeming with inhabitants who had evolved a very different way of life than was known among Old World inhabitants then, and what we know today. From North America, through Central and South America and the Caribbean, numerous people were dispersed among empires, cities, chiefdoms, villages or groups, each playing a significant role in pre Columbian history.

Native America 1491 A.D.

In North America, the Algonquian Alliances comprised Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples along the Atlantic north east coast; in the Midwest, Cahokian rulers managed well-off agrarian kingdoms of maize farmers whose earthen mound structures are mirrored in similar structures now being revealed in South American jungles. Evidence shows that by 1000 AD, substantial trade relationships were being carried out throughout the North American continent. In Central America the rise of what is now called Mesoamerica included civilizations such as the Olmecs, the Toltec, Aztecs and Mayas, and others whose pyramids would come to rival those of Egypt and whose complex societies included schools,

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By the skeleton, the archaeologists also unearthed nine red-painted plates and one spouted tripod plate decorated with the image of the god of the underworld emerging from a shell. According to EstradaBelli, the unusually high number of vessels and the jade dental decorations indicate the individual was a member of the ruling class at Holmul. The archaeologist hopes to return to the area in 2014 to continue exploring the building. (Discovery News)

been shown as leading to increasing populations where, for instance in Hispaniola, some 8 million Arawaks were said to have been living before Columbus made landfall. Pre-Columbian societies were a thriving collection of many materially sophisticated people with diverse languages, culture and agricultural and industrial systems. From the “vertical archipelagos” of Andean cultures and the “water world” of Mexico’s Tenochtitlan, pre-Columbian people would be forced to become fugitives in their own lands and refugees in others. They were dispersed after the arrival of the Europeans who had destroyed their way of life through warfare and disease, scattering populations so far and wide that by the 16th century, later Europeans viewed the small groups they often came across as cultureless and insignificant; a perception that remains to make indigenous groups minorities on every continent today.


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September 2013

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Android 'accounts for 79 percent of phone malware' S

ome 79 percent of malicious attacks on mobiles in 2012 occurred on devices running Google's Android operating system, US authorities have said. Public information website Public Intelligence published the Department

of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation memo to US police and emergency medical personnel. Nokia's Symbian system, on the Finnish company's basic-feature handsets, had had the second-most

malware attacks. Apple's iOS had had 0.7 percent of attacks. Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system, and the memo blamed its high share of attacks on its "mar-

ket share and opensource architecture". Text Trojans – fake messages

Tech News

Researchers grow ‘mini’ human brains in lab

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ithin the past few years, scientists have successfully grown organs such as kidneys and livers in laboratories. It’s possible that some day, such lab-grown organs could be used as transplants, particularly when grown from the recipient’s own cells. Now, a team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has succeeded in growing miniature human brains. While no one is suggesting that they could be swapped in for a patient’s existing brain, they could prove to be a boon to the field of medical research. The team, led by Dr Jürgen Knoblich, started by analyzing human stem cells – a cell type that has the capacity to change into any other type of cell found in the body. Specifically, the scientists were interested in discovering what growth conditions are required for such cells to differentiate into various types of brain tissue cells. Once those conditions had been identified, stem cells were used to create neuroectoderm, a layer of cells which is the “starting material” from which all components of the nervous system (including the brain) are derived. Bits of that neuroectoderm were then placed within droplets of

gel, which served as a three-dimensional scaffolding for tissue growth. That collection of seeded gel droplets was subsequently placed in a spinning bioreactor, to aid in the absorption of nutrients. After spending 15 to 20 days in the reactor, the neuroectoderm fragments had formed into a

piece of continuous brain tissue, known as a cerebral o r ganoid. In the middle of that organoid was a fluid-filled cavity that resembled a brain’s cerebral ventricle. By the 20 to 30 day mark, the tissue had differentiated into specific neural regions, including a cerebral cortex, retina, meninges (membranes that envelope the central nervous system) and

choroid plexus (the area in the brain where cerebral spinal fluid is produced). The little brains reached their maximum size after two months, although they continued to thrive – they’re presently 10 months old and still going. The scientists believe that growth halted due to the lack of a circulatory system. It is now hoped that such lab-grown brains could be used as models for understanding brain disorders, and the testing of treatments. Already, Knoblich’s team has had some success in that area. The researchers created some of their mini brains using stem cells from someone suffering from microcephaly, a disorder in which the brain is unusually small. Sure enough, the brains that they created were even smaller than the regular mini brains. Upon analyzing them, however, the scientists discovered that their diminutive size may be due to the fact their brain cells differentiate prematurely, and that a change in the direction in which they divide may also play a part in the disorder. A paper on the research was published Wednesday in the journal Nature. (GIZMAG)

that trick users i n t o clicking on premium-rate numbers - accounted for half of the Android attacks. The memo also cited fake sites that appeared to be like Google's Play marketplace and "rootkits" that allowed hackers to track a user's keystrokes and passwords. It said 44 percent of Android users were still using older versions of the operating system - specifically 2.3.3 through 2.3.7, dubbed Gingerbread and released in 2011. These have a "number of security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions", the memo added. "The growing use of mobile devices by federal, state, and local authorities makes it more important than ever to keep mobile OS patched and up-todate," it said.

'Master key' exploit

Apple has said that more than 93 percent of the 600 million iPhones and iPads sold run iOS 6, the latest version of the operating system. The next version is expected to be released to the public next month. This is the not the first time the open nature of Google's popular phone software has been questioned. Security firm Symantec noted last month that a "master key" bug - which allows attackers to take control of Android phones - was being exploited in China. The bug exploited a vulnerability in all Android apps that contain an encrypted signature that the operating system uses to check if the program is legitimate and has not been tampered with.

Tech byte

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esearchers at the University of Toronto say they can improve the energy of efficiency buildings by fitting window panes with tiny channels of water. The scientists says that these channels, inspired by vascular systems in nature such as the network of blood vessels in the human body, can provide 7º to 9º C of cooling in the summer, and reduce heat loss during winter. The researchers developed a sheet of transparent flexible polymer with a "cooling layer" of clear silicone, inside which there are the tiny channels with a cross section 1 or 2 mm high and 100 micrometers across. Through these, room temperature water was circulated to and from an external source at a rate of 2 ml per minute. The sheet was applied to a model window 10 x 10 cm (3.9 x 3.9 in) in size, an analyzed with an infrared camera. The researchers say that the temperature of the window, which had been artificially heated, was reduced by 7º to 9º C. Because the temperature of the water is lower relative to the window, it is able to absorb heat energy and take it

away. The process would be the opposite during the winter, when room temperature water would supply heat to the rest of the window. In either case the idea is that the window would become a more effective barrier to convective heat transfer, making the building more energy efficient. When filled with water, the researchers say that the channels are "not clearly visible," but that when filled with a different liquid which refracts light a similar amount to the surrounding material, they become almost invisible. They suggest that different liquids could be used for various aesthetic effects such as altering colour and transparency. The researchers were inspired by vascular systems in nature such as blood vessels in the human body which can expand and contract to increase or reduce heat loss when too warm or cold. The technology may also be applicable to photovoltaic solar panels which are more efficient at lower temperatures. The team's research was published recently in the journal Solar Energy Materials & Solar Cells.


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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

21 The artist enjoys painting women of different ethnicities

Correia-Bevaun's grandfather Stephen Campbell

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Artist Anna Correia-Bevaun

nspired by her indigenous heritage, Anna Correia-Bevaun has become one of Guyana’s most celebrated artists. She began her career in art in 1988 as a ceramist under the tutelage of her mother, the late renowned Guyanese artist Stephanie Correia. For years Anna explored ceramics as her principle medium. Wishing to explore new techniques, materials and approaches, she took short courses in design, batik and discharge, Vedic art and watercolour. In 2007, Correia-Bevaun won both the second and third prizes in the National Watercolour Competition (Guyana). In 2009, she also won the first and second prizes in the National Watercolour Competition. In an interview with Guyana Times Sunday Magazine, Correia-Bevaun disclosed that as a child she never had an inclination to become an artist, but being surrounded by art, because of her mother, she developed an enthusiasm for it. “My mother, who was from Pomeroon, introduced me to art, and eventually I developed a love for it. She was an extraordi-

nary potter. She did thorough research on different types of clay in Guyana and due to this she was able to work effectively with them, and this she taught me. I never did art in school; instead I did Food and Nutrition. However, learning from my mother encouraged me to delve into art,” she recalled. Correia-Bevaun joined the Guyana Women Artists’ Association in 1995. She has held the positions of secretary, vicepresident, and president of the association. Being with this group helped CorreiaBevaun to explore new art media. In 2003, she decided to learn pen and ink drawing. Later, she explored watercolour after being inspired by her mother’s work with the medium. “When my mother passed she left some watercolour tools. I decided to try my hand at this and joined a 12-week art course held at Castellani House. For me art is very therapeutic and relaxing and that is why I try to learn as much as I can about it just as my mother did,” she declared. Due to the artist’s diverse ethnic background, her paintings are not subject to one recurring image. She paints images of Amerindian hunters and certain traditions of the group. Women of various ethnicities are also part of her collections. Speaking on what inspires her, CorreiaBevaun explained, “I’m inspired by my environment. I paint what I see. Also, I have learnt a lot from my mother, who was an avid reader. I have also gathered a lot from fellow artists. Persons interested in art work tend to ask what it is about or what inspired the painting, and listening to the

explanations from my colleagues I was able to broaden my knowledge on art. I am fortunate to have worked with many veteran artists and was able to apply what I learnt from them into my work.” Correia-Bevaun comes from a line of creative and passionate ancestors who were very dedicated to their work. One such individual, who is being celebrated for Amerindian Heritage Month, is her grandfather Stephen C a m p b e l l , Guyana’s first indigenous MP. Among the indigenous peo-

One of her recent drawings of an African woman

Painting inspired by 'everyday life'

ple, Campbell is revered as a hero. He is credited with advocacy for land rights for Amerindians; a goal that the present government continues to advance, to ensure that Campbell’s aspiration for his people is made possible. Campbell served as mem-

ber of the legislature from 1957 until his death on May 12, 1966 – two weeks before Guyana gained Independence from Britain. He died, and was buried, in Canada. “When he died I was 3. I vaguely remember him but what I have heard about him is from my mother who was his second daughter. He would call her ‘little scout’ because everywhere he went she was with him. He was very instrumental in her life and taught her to be the great person she was, and in turn she passed down her heritage to me and my siblings. I have learnt from them to make the most of God's gifts, always striving to improve and work to the best of my ability,” Correia-Bevaun affirmed. (Cover photo: Recent pen and ink drawing on Amerindian culture)


22 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

P

iaiman is the name ascribed to the Amerindian shaman or “priest-doctor” of a village. According to “An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians” (1908-1909) by Walter E. Roth, “The Creole term for the priestdoctor is piai-man, a hybrid that seems to have been first recorded by Waterton in the form of pee-ay-man, who is an enchanter; he finds out things lost (W, 223). In its simple form, the word of course came into use much earlier, and is seemingly derived from the Carib piache... and

Arawak doctors' benches from upper Moruca River A. With alligator and tiger (jaguar) heads B. With head and tail of macaw; remainder of body painted on seat (An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians by Walter E. Roth; Page 330)

is still met with among the Pomeroon group of these Indians as piésan. Brett (Br, 363) derives it from the Carib word puiai, which denotes their profession. The Akawais call it piatsan.” His duty is to ward off evil spirits such as the much feared malevolence of kanaima. The piaiman’s power, it is believed, is mainly to converse with the spirits of the supernatural world so as to fight their malice “on equal ground”.

In addition, he is considered a doctor or “medicine man” whose methods of healing include ritual blowing (known as "tareng"). He is also consulted as the interpreter of dreams, and acts as guide during initiation rites or puberty rites for young men. He also trains other piaimen as it is an acquired trait rather than inherited. A piaiman undergoes much training as an apprentice. In the long period of apprenticeship he or she (usually he) would have to learn ventriloquism as well as obtain a deep understanding of herbs and poisons available in the natural world in which they lived. Piaimen were both respected and feared, and were essentially “above the law” as we would put it today. However they too were restricted to certain rules: according to Roth, piaimen could “not partake of the flesh of the larger animals, but limit themselves to those only which are indigenous to their country...; they had religiously to abstain from certain fish and game ...; no animal food was publicly tasted by these priests, while they abstained, even more strictly than the laity from the flesh of oxen, sheep, and all other animals that had been transported from Europe ... and were "unnatural" to their country...” Roth, like other observers, believed that the piaiman is essentially one who has intimate and extensive knowledge of the medicinal value of forest plants, and is an excellent ventriloquist. The piaiman and his belief in traditional medicines and supernatural experiences were, and to some extent remain, one of the most controversial cultural traditions, when Old World meets New World, among the missionaries and modern medical practitioners.

The December 1989 edition of the Kyk-Over – Al journal features drawings of a piaiman with his rattle, done by the late Stephanie Correia

Given derogatory or condescending names such as “witchdoctor”, “medicineman” or “folk-doctor”, the idea of a piaiman continues to amuse and irritate modern cultures who deride its practice, in particular the aspect they call ventriloquism. However, much of piaimen’s knowledge of natural medicines has today become an essential aspect for the preservation of Amerindian traditions, as renewed modern medicinal interest in the natural plantbased extracts known to piaimen grows. In fact, the most recent controversy to arise from this development relates to debates about compensation for traditional groups for information on their known natural medicines since pharmaceutical companies stand to gain enormous profits from the knowledge provided by these “witchdoctors” when or if they use that knowledge to develop a profitable product.

Preserving our heritage through pictures G uyana Jottings tells of Roth’s mention of a case in which a piaiman was asked to diagnose and treat a patient. The patient was a young man who just grew worse by the day. Several doctors in the capital, Georgetown, failed to help him and, in desperation, his mother asked the piaiman's intervention. The piaiman had the patient sit on a tortoise shell in his tent of palm leaves. Roth and others sat in a circle outside the hut and could not see what was going on inside. But the observers could see and smell the aromatic smoke which soon seeped through the leaves of the hut. They also heard the sound of the rhythmic shaking of a gourd rattle; then later the "droning sing-song" of the piaiman's voice; then later

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September 2013

still, a conversation in which three different voices were heard. The séance lasted for about half-an-hour, after which the patient was taken back to his mother's house. When the piaiman emerged, he said he had consulted the spirits of the camoodi (anaconda) and the tiger, who told him that the lad was being punished with this illness because he had been unfaithful to an Amerindian girl. However, he would not die. The piaiman set out at dawn next morning to obtain the medicines he said the spirits prescribed; he returned in three days, administered them to the patient, and the patient became well again. His fee? A long-barrelled gun.

Brain Teaser Answer He lost. Every time he wins, his money increases 1.5 times (with $100, he bets $50 and if he wins, he has $150). When he loses, his money is reduced by half. So a win-loss combination results in a loss of one quarter of his money. The more he plays, the more money he loses, even though he wins the same number of times as he loses.

SUDOKU

KID SUDOKU

CROSSWORD

A Carib piai's "Consulting Room," Moruca River, constructed of kokerite leaves set up on end. The medicine-man is holding the rattle with which the invocations are made (An Inquiry into the Animism and Folk-Lore of the Guiana Indians by Walter E. Roth; Page 334)


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September 2013

Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

23

Explore

Aranaputa Panoramic view from near the summit of Mountain Aranaputa

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Aerial view of Aranaputa

One of the many natural rest stops for refreshments along the Clarence Mountain Nature Trail

View of Aranaputa Centre from half way up the nature trail

Scenic view of Aranaputa mountain range

Aranaputa Processors Peanut Butter Factory

Aranaputa Toshao Mark George

ranaputa is located on the Georgetown-Lethem road, some 380km south of Georgetown, 70km north of Lethem and 5km west of Annai. The village of Aranaputa is unique in the Rupununi because it was started on state land which was identified for agricultural development. The almost 600,000 residents in Aranaputa are mainly from the Makushi tribe. Tourist attractions in Aranaputa include hiking up the Clarence Mountain Nature Trail (1,600ft), overnighting at the Clarence Nature Trail Guest Cabin; touring the Aranaputa Peanut Butter Factory; birding and nature tours for wildlife viewing and savannah horseback riding tours. The Clarence Mountain nature trail and rest cabin site has been selected as a community conservation area. With a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency through Iwokrama, the community decided to invest in tourism in 2006. The nature trail and cabin is a unique eco-tourism project perched 1,000ft above the community with one of the most fabulous panoramic views of the North Rupununi savannah. This eco-project is within the conservation area of the community, and has a rich biodiversity habitat; here visitors have a probability of viewing various species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the Aranaputa Processors Peanut Butter Factory makes the best all natural peanut butter in Guyana. The factory buys the raw peanuts from the local farmers and roasting, shelling and processing are all done at the factory. Those at the factory are very enthusiastic to share with tourists the process and allow them to participate. Fresh peanut butter on cassava bread is served daily to the school children in Aranaputa and across the North Rupununi as a snack. The peanut butter can be purchased directly from the factory Monday to Friday during their operating hours and in various stores in the North Rupununi. Persons can also visit the various agriculture plots locals cultivate as part of their daily livelihood. They can also tour the experimental agro-forestry plot in Aranaputa. It is a 20acre savannah land that has been in existence for the past eight years, and is used for experimenting growing various species of trees. Aranaputa’s residents certainly reflect this year Amerindian Heritage Month’s theme, “Honouring Our Culture, Advancing our future”, as they use their cultural heritage to develop their community.


24 Amerindian Heritage Month Magazine

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September 2013

Indigenous History History traditionally teaches us that indigenous peoples of the Americas arrived via the Bering Strait some 13,000 years ago in mainly small, isolated bands of “hunter-gatherer” nomads, making little to no environmental impact on the lands, and from whom no substantial societies or cultures developed. In fact, according to history books, when the European explorer Christopher Columbus arrived in the “New World”, he arrived to what are described as lands of mostly wild, perpetual jungles and savage tribes. While this conventional viewpoint remains among many scholars, many others are disproving this perspective, with today’s technologies, to show that the world Columbus landed in was already profoundly altered by its inhabitants. n the border with Brazil there is a nearly flat Bolivian province called the Beni. Scattered across the landscape are innumerable island-like earthen mounds topped by forests and bridged by raised berms up to three miles long. Each mound is stabilized by broken pottery that is mixed into its earthen construction and rises as much as sixty feet above the flood plain that allows trees to grow

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mostly wilderness. Clark Erickson, an archaeologist, says this picture is mistaken in every respect: the landscape of the Beni was constructed by a populous, technologically advanced Indian society more than a thousand years ago. Much of the savannah of the Beni is natural, but there is evidence that the Indians trapped fish in the seasonally flooded grasslands by fashioning fishcorralling fences among the causeways. The grasslands were maintained and expanded by regularly setting fire to large parts of them, which is still done today to maintain the savannah for cattle. The Siriono are the best known of a number of Native American groups in the Beni today. Between 1940 and 1942 a young doctoral student in anthropology named Allan R. Holmberg lived among them, and published an account in 1950 of his experience in “Nomads of the Longbow”. Holmberg reported that the Siriono lived with want and hunger and could neither count nor make fire and seemed to practice no religion except for an uncrystallized conception of the universe. He saw them as primitive humankind living in a raw state of nature that for millennia had exist-

1990s, learned that the Siriono were indeed a desperately impoverished people but for different reasons. They had arrived in the Beni as late as the seventeenth century, and their population had been at least three thousand. By the time Holmberg encountered them, less than 150 people had survived the smallpox and influenza that had destroyed their villages in the 1920s. As the epidemics hit them they were also fighting the white cattle ranchers who were taking over the region, and the Bolivian government aided the ranchers by hunting down the Siriono. The wandering people that Holmberg had travelled with in the forest were actually the persecuted survivors Missionaries and conquistadors brought the idea back to Spain and Europe that Native Americans lived passively with little to no effect on their environment. Over time various forms of this stereotype were embraced both by those who hated Indians and those who admired them. It was only when new tools and disciplines, such as demography, climatology, carbon-14 dating and ice-core sampling; satellite photography, soil assays, and genetic microsatellite analysis were employed that the idea that the indigenous

of the hemisphere. They annually burned undergrowth, cleared and replanted forests, built canals and raised fields, hunted bison and netted salmon, and grew

ed almost without change. Quickly recognized as a classic, the book provided an enduring image of South American Indians to the outside world. Holmberg was mistaken. Researchers, in the

occupants of one-third of the earth’s surface had changed their environment so little over thousands of years began to look implausible. ntil Columbus, Indians were a keystone species in most

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T

hese are but a few examples: at the time of Columbus the Western Hemisphere had been thoroughly touched by human hands. Agriculture

A patchwork of ancient raised fields in Beni

maize and manioc. Native Americans had been managing their environments for thousands of years. By and large, they modified their landscapes in stable and intelligent ways. Some areas of maize

Cultivated landscapes of the southwest Amazon

that cannot live in water. Thirty years ago, the understanding was that Indians lived there in isolated groups and had so little impact on their environment that after millennia the continents remained

and continual oversight; but in the sixteenth century, epidemics removed the checks and balances. After 1492 American landscapes were emptied of

have been farmed for thousands of years. In Peru, for instance, where irrigated terraces of crops covered huge areas, wholesale transformations were carried out in an exceptional way. All of these efforts required close

Native Americans, which deregulated the ecosystems. The forests that the first New England colonists thought were primeval and enduring were actually in the midst of violent change and demographic collapse. In 1823 the artist and naturalist, John Audubon saw a flock of passenger pigeons passing overhead in a single cloud for three whole days, obscuring the light of noon-day as if by an eclipse. In Audubon’s day one out of every four birds was a passenger pigeon. And suddenly, the passenger pigeon vanished with the last bird dying in September 1914. Given that the passenger pigeon was a competitor of the Indians for mast (various nuts) as well as berries, and because crowds of pigeons would eat the food in their fields, it was expected that Indians would hunt them as enthusiastically as they did turkey, deer, and raccoons that also ate from their fields. Judging by the bones in archaeological sites, however, the Indians were enthusiastic hunters of everything except passenger pigeons, which leads archaeologists to think that there were not large numbers of these pigeons before Columbus. The impact of European contact altered the ecological dynamics in such a way that the passenger pigeon increased. The avian throngs that Audubon saw were outbreak populations—always a symptom of an extraordinarily disrupted ecological system.

occurred in as much as twothirds of what is now the United States, with large areas of the southwest terraced and irrigated. Among the maize fields in the Midwest and Southeast, mounds by the thousands were visible. The forests of the eastern seaboard had been moved back from the coasts and were now lined with farms. Salmon nets stretched across every ocean-bound stream in the northwest. And almost everywhere there was evidence that the Indians had set fires. All of this development had implications for animal populations. For example, as settlements grew so did their maize fields. Indians discouraged animals, large and small, from their fields by hunting them until they were scarce around their homes. At the same time, they tried to encourage the larger animals to grow in number further away, where they would be useful. When disease swept Indians from the land, the entire ecological regime they established collapsed. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the hemisphere was thick with artificial wilderness. Far from destroying a pristine wilderness, Europeans seem to have created it. The newly emptied wilderness was indeed beautiful, but it was a product of demographic calamity. (Excerpted from The Road to Now: “1491 New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus” by Charles C Mann. http://www.humanjourney.us/)

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1st September 2013  

The Beacon of Truth

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