Plants and Animals in the Life of the Kuna by Jorge Ventocilla

Plants and Animals in the Life of the Kuna

byJorge Ventocilla, Heraclio Herrera, Valerio Núñez

Paperback | January 1, 1995

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"The earth is the mother of all things"; thus begins this original and accessible book on how the Kuna of Panama relate to the natural world. An integrative project involving Kuna traditional leaders and trained scholars, and fully illustrated by a Kuna artist, this translation of Plantas y animales en la vida del pueblo Kuna focuses on Kuna plant and animal life, social life, and social change as a means of saving traditional ecological knowledge and "returning" it to the community.

The authors hope to preserve the Kuna environment not only by reviving traditional technologies but also by educating the Kuna as to what needs protection. While the Kuna have a tradition of living in harmony with the land, the intrusion of the market economy is eroding the very basis of their sustainable way of life.

As a response to this crisis, this book seeks to develop native self-awareness and provide a model for collaboration. It will appeal to Latin Americanists, anthropologists, and ethnobotanists, as well as to a general readership in environmental issues.

About The Author

James Howe was born on August 2, 1946. He attended Boston University and majored in Theater. While in elementary school, he wrote a play, some short stories and self-published a magazine. While in college, he wrote plays. His first book, Bunnicula featuring a vampire rabbit, won him a Young People's Choice Award in 1982. He wrote a ser...

Details & Specs

Title:Plants and Animals in the Life of the KunaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 8.98 × 6.03 × 0.4 inPublished:January 1, 1995Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029278726X

ISBN - 13:9780292787261

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Table of Contents

  • Foreword (James Howe)
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. Baba's Creation (Cacique General Enrique Guerrero with Valerio Núñez)
  • 2. Ready to Change? (Jorge Ventocilla)
  • 3. The Kuna (Jorge Ventocilla)
  • 4. Rivers and Mountains (Jorge Ventocilla)
  • 5. Terrestrial Fauna (Jorge Ventocilla)
  • 6. Hunting in Gangandi (Jorge Ventocilla with Rutilio Paredes)
  • 7. Money Creates Hunger (Elvira Torres with Valerio Núñez)
  • 8. Submarine "Deforestation" (Jorge Ventocilla with Olaidi)
  • 9. The Spirit of the Uaga (Cacique General Carlos López with Valerio Núñez)
  • 10. Medicinal Plants (Heraclio Herrera)
  • 11. The Ueruk Palm (Heraclio Herrera)
  • 12. To Be or Not to Be (Arysteides Turpana with Valerio Núñez)
  • Epilogue (Mac Chapin)
  • Appendix A. Scientific and Vernacular Names of Plants and Animals
  • Appendix B. Kuna Communities
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Authors
  • Index

Editorial Reviews

"Plants and Animals ... documents Kuna culture, subsistence strategies, and traditional ecological knowledge while warning of the dangers of increased involvement in market economies. It does what many advocate but few accomplish by presenting indigenous views of ecology and culture. Written in large part by the Kuna for the Kuna, this book is one of the first comprehensive publications on ethnobiology that represents indigenous voices, giving ousiders a rare opportunity ‘to eavesdrop, to listen as they exhort each other, to wake up, and to change.’" - Cultural Survival Quarterly