Monday, May 23, 2011

Myths for Monday -- Nukak Makú and Idn Kamni

Today's myth takes us to the department of Guaviare. There, between the Guaviare and Inírida rivers live a small group of Indigenous people called the Nukak Makú. This group of nomadic hunter-gatherers had been "uncontacted" by white man until 1988. However, since their discovery, their population has been decimated by disease and the armed conflict in Colombia, having lost approximately half of their population. In 1993, Colombia set apart land as a Nukak Makú reservation and expanded it in 1997. Approximately 1/2 of the now living Nukak Makú live on the reservation, where they have been victims of FARC violence. The other 1/2 wishing to flee that violence have moved to the department's capital -- San José de Guaviare -- where the government has established small settlements -- think refugee camps. (See a photo essay of those camps here: http://www.jansochor.com/photo-essay/nukak-maku.html )

Here is the Nukak Makú origin myth:

Idn Kamni

According to the Nukak Makú, the story of the origin of the world was on this wise. The world was made by Idn Kamni, who used his spit and mixed with dirt to make the soil. Then, he made the night by stopping the sun and holding it until he could cut down a tree and make the river. The first people came into the world travelling the river in a snake canoe, which as it passed through the river made the rapids in the River now called Leche, then continued on into the River called Venado, which provides water for all of the rivers in the world.

Unfortunately, the jaguars ate some of that first human clan created by Idn Kamni. In response, Idn Kamni created lightning.

Then, he created the first snake and with her he had children, and those children were the pests of the world.

Then, dancing and joyful, he returned to the sky.

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