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Cultural Change and Environmental Awareness: A Case Study of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia Author(s): G.

Reichel-Dolmatoff Reviewed work(s): Source: Mountain Research and Development, Vol. 2, No. 3, State of Knowledge Report on Andean Ecosystems. Vol. 3: The Northern Andes: Environmental and Cultural Change (Aug., 1982), pp. 289-298 Published by: International Mountain Society Stable URL: . Accessed: 12/01/2013 22:32
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Eidt (1959) and Broadbent (1964. An importantsource is Colmenares (1975. The engineeringfeaturesare not placed within a widercontextofprehistoric developmentsand hardlyany excavations have been carried out. pp. 289-298 CULTURALCHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS: A CASE STUDY OF THE SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA. Schorr (1968). 2.fewdetailed studies have been carried out in Colombia on native land use. is scatteredthroughoutthe literature concerned with the encomienda system. Although this paper is not concerned with native ecoenvironments the following logical adaptation to rain-forest studies may be mentioned here: Isacson (1976) on Choc6 slash-mulch cultivation. Reichel-Dolmatoff(1961) has published on slope adaptation of the sub-Andean chiefdoms. STUDIES ON THE SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA RESEARCH ON CONTEMPORARY INDIAN GROUPS In the extreme north of Colombia the slopes and foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta have been described by many travellersbut very few of them referin any detail to ecological problems or to native adaptive strategies. No. following Leslie White's theoretical approach. channels 1954). INTRODUCTION The present-day native population of the mountain flanksof the Colombian section of the NorthernAndes is characterized by its adaptation to sloping terrainswhich offer a wide varietyof subsistenceresources. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1950-1951. Some additional data are contained in Friedemann (1976). A historical outline has been presented by Reichel-Dolmatoff(1951. on terracSome archaeological reportscontain information ing and irrigation. 1978).the study provides on human general data on food resourcesand concentrates energy expenditures. the Kwaiker of the southwesternranges of the Nariiio district. and similar topics. fromsouth to north. Nevertheless. but lacks quantitative data and demographic correlations. on the Research studies on the modern Indian groups of the Andean slopes of Colombia are only slightlymore numerous. Ika. in a brief study of land tenure in the adjacent Cauca Valley. Historical information on ecological adaptation and agriculturalpractices during the colonial period. 3. be it historicor modern. 1953). and the Kogi. U. when far-reaching changes were introduced by the Spaniards. In all cases the ecological adaptation of these tribal and rugged topographyseems peasant societiesto an extremely to have been remarkablysuccessful. and Von Hildebrand (1975) on land use and cultivationamong the Indians of the Miritiparana shifting River. Schwarz (1973) has studied culture change and stabilityamong the neighbouringGuambiano and has published a short section on agricultural activities. The principal Indian groups in this particular situation are. also in the Northwest Amazon. uses early colonial ethnostructure.effective slope adaptation appears to have been practised in prehistoric times ( fact. geographical studies of This content downloaded on Sat. the Tunebo of the eastern slopes of the Nevado del Cocuy. graphic data in his discussion of minifundio Farther to the south. 1978a). 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Beckerman (1975).S. and West (1959) writesof ridged and "era" cultivation in the Central Cordillera. Parsons and Bowen (1966) referto extensive ridged fieldson the north coast. tenure.Donkin (1979) provides a general overview. COLOMBIA G. Mason (1931-1939). But none of these publications provides a detailed analysis of agricultural practices. the Yuko of the Sierra de Perija. 1953. and othersdescribe terracesand irrigation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. 1968) describe terraces and ancient field systems in Muiska territory.MountainResearch and Development.Reichel-Dolmatoff (1976) on ecological concepts of the Tukano Indians of the Northwest Amazon. few measurements are given and no pollen diagrams are presented. the Paez and Guambiano of the Andean Massif. Vol. 1982. the Sibundoy and Kamsa of the Putumayo headwaters. Bristol (1968) describes the agricultural plants of the Sibundoy and Ingano Indians of the upper reaches of the Putumayo River. REICHEL-DOLMATOFF Latin American Center University of California Los Angeles. A studyof shifting cultivation among the slope-dwellingYuko of the Sierra de Perija has been made by Ruddle (1974) and constitutes a valuable source. A previous study of Paez economy by Bernal (1954) deserves mention. has studied energy flow among the Bari Indians of the southwesternMaracaibo Basin bordering on Yuko territory. and Sanha of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.CA 90024. Exceptional in scope and depth of analysis is the study of Ortiz (1973) which describes the productive of the Paez Indians and discusses decision-making strategy processes.A.

are exposed to strong northeast trade winds while some east-west trendingvalleys on the northern slopes.descending toward the coastal flats. Bartels (1937). The Kogi claim to be the direct descendants of the ancient Tairona. 1967. and others. in testedin the studyof aboriginalagricultural systems contributions of authors Colombia. and Brush(1976). Krogzemis workon the Guhl (1975). and its narrow base is roughlytriangular in outline. with itsnarrowbase and itsradiatingdrainage patternis characterized by deeply-cutvalleys which broaden only in their lower courses where they erode downward to the coastal plain. A studyof their efficient developed in the course of highly agro-ecosystem.The southeasternslopes lie in the tradewind belt and in the mountain'srain-shadowand are driest. 1954. at presenttheyare the least-acculturated The roughlypyramidalshape ofthe Sierra Nevada. Flannery(1968). Also the theoretical such as Conklin (1957).d.000 m. cultivatedfruit trees. togetherwith the northernand northwesternfoothills. Two rainy and two dry seasons occur during the year. and otherstructures.Specific data climatological (1957).Janzen(1973). The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated. This is followed by another rainy season lasting from late September to December. drain in all directions.). niche theory in prehistory micro-environments (Coe and Flan1975). 1965).slab-paved roads. The Kogi. From the seventeenth to presenttimesthismixed century Indian population became known under the genericname of Aruacos. have not yetbeen applied and nery.000 individuals.concepts has been grossly neglected. with showersat noon. theirremnants.have not been appreciated. and that theyfirst arrived in the tenthor eleventhcentury A. stairs. the Ika of the southern slopes. pied by the Tairona Indians who formed They lived in nucleated settlementsconsistingof a large number of houses built on stone foundationson terraced such and engineering features sitescontainingarchitectural as retainingwalls. stillcontain many elepolitical. Seifriz(1934). 1979). From archaeological and ethnographicalcomparisons it seems that the Tairona originallycame from Central America. tribe. to mention a few.000 m. In fact.on cold air currentsdescending the valleys. 1978a. assessment of the wider northernAndean scene. the main dry season lasts fromDecember untilthe end of March and is followed by a rainyseason lastinguntiltheend ofJunewhen a minor dry season. are among the veryfewsurvivingnative groups whose social. 1972). a Chibcha-speaking tribe of about 6.together vivors fromothertribes. and San Francisco valleys. Rappaport only (1969). (Dussan. and paramo belts. Aguilar. the regionof Santa Marta (foundedin 1526) and the northand ascending slopes of the massifwere occuern foothills a major chiefdom. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the surrounding lowlands have been inhabited forthousands of years. major periods change. On the arrival of the Spaniards in the early sixteenthcentury. drainage chanThe economic basis of the dense nels. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . temperate.fledinto the mountain fastnesses while Spanish colonizing interests turned to other regions of the country. and the Sanha ofthe easternslopes. on native A summary oftheexisting literature evaluation ofColomto thenorthern Andeanenvironment adaptation on slope-dwelling a lack of intensive studies bia indicates THE KOGI INDIANS societies. each side measuring about 150 km. relationships such as verticalcontrol(Murra. The edaphic and climatic characteristicsof these valleys vary widely and forma complex mosaic of microenvironments which are particularly notable in the SETTLEMENT This content downloaded on Sat. (1967).Temperature depends not only on altitude but also on the proximityof snow-fields.are knownforfoehnlike wind storms. The characteristicdense cloud forestbegins at about 2. and on the geographical orientationof the respectiveslope.marine resources. local rainfallis oftenunpredictable. more preciselyfromthe Atlantic slopes of what is today Costa Rica. sets in. and trade relations(Reichel-Dolmatoff. Fonseca. and religious institutions ments characteristicof the ranked societies of the ancient chiefdomsof northwestern South America. theory (Conklin. depending upon many regional factors. Wilhelmy in cal data referring to slope adaptationare mentioned Reichel-Dolmatoff (1950-1951). partial system (Hardesty. living mainly on the northernslopes of the Palomino. Ethnologi(1954).settlements. Although this overall seasonal patternis fairly predictable. 1975. the snowline is at 5. Tairona irrigation engineeringwas openly admired by the Spaniards. 1972. but no systematic of the Sierra Nevada has been underlandscapehistory in Hermann are found taken. is of interestto the of therefore. fed fromthe snowlarge number of fast-flowing fieldsof the high sierra. Amaya(1975). During the main dry season the eastern slopes. The year 1600 marks the finaldefeatof the Tairona at the withsurhand of Spanish troops. A streams. Reichel-Dolmatoff. The entiremountainmassifcan be dividedintoa series of thermicbelts which range fromthe tropicalcoastal plain to subtropical. such as the Palomino and the lower Piedras and Manzanares rivervalleys.D. domeshaped massifseparated fromthe neighbouringranges by low-lyingalluvial plains. It is the highest(5. cold. the study of indigenousman-land So far. and others. in present-dayethnographicliteraturethree tribes are distinguished: the Kogi. Schultze (1970).1964).775 m) coastal mountain in the world. San Miguel. and Raasveldt (n. the northernand western slopes are considerably wetter owing to longer rainy seasons and orographic precipitation. population consisted of intensive maize cultivation combined withmany othercrops. a belief that is supported by considerable evidence (Reichel-Dolmatoff. 1953. 1951).290 / MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT and soil degradation have altitudinal levels. AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT OF THE SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA This paper is concerned with the analysis of a specific case of adaptation and change: that of the Kogi Indians of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. 1963). been made by Taylor (1931).

since it is likely that even during an unexpected droughtsome rain will fallat some spot in the mountains. but at present they are hardly in use. one must look back in time. beans. branches. Although some Kogi fields are found on the limited valley floorsand on small alluvial terracessome 20 or 30 m above the riverbed. sloping of the embankment. Under these conditions it would be misleading to say that the Kogi practise a fieldmay cultivation. of an all-over crescenticpatternof semi-circularterraces. In sum.In the prehistoricpast. and minor garden plots are sometimes irrigated. Plantain gardens and sugar-canefieldshave been observed under production with hardly any change in over 30 years. which is approximatelythe lower limit of the habitat. the terraces are sacred spots thatbelong to the ancestors. there are no clear-cutharvestingor fallowingseasons. when theyaccompanied large nucleated settlements. each one located in may up a small one-halfto one hectarefieldclingingto a steep slope will also or nestlingin a narrowvalley bottom. Associated traits are small stone platforms and dressed slabs or markersset uprightin the ground. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but intensive irrigation is lacking although the necessary technologicalknowledge is plainly present. or narrow drainage channels are dug obliquely on a slope. certain crops thrive in a slighty warmeror cooler environment. consistingof up to one hundred circular straw-thatched. Much of Kogi territory bears the lasting marks of ageold previous human occupations. at some spots primary or secondary forestis present. Kogi agriculture is based on the following crops: at about 1.or of a clusterof neighbouring fields.and forthese reasons Kogi families frequently move from one field to another. shifting be cultivated forsome fiveyears and then leftto fallowfor ten years. A comparison between cropping and fallowing frequencies is therefore useless. These tracesof former indicatethatthe Tairona terracing activity or other ancient tribes were quite aware of the necessity to minimize soil erosion and provide drainage. A contoured patternof terracescan be observed at some points on hillsides varying in slope from a few degrees to 45° and more. and sweet potatoes are grownwhile higherup potatoes and onions are planted. Centuries of burnings have produced a landscape of barren mountains covered with coarse grass and fire-blackenedboulders. beans.500 m some maize. and then the Kogi shy away fromthem because. but also collect runoff this water is then drained offby a slight lateral ments. arracacha. and has less dependence on interlinking rainfall. so prominent on the barren slopes of the Kogi habitat. Because of fluctuating rainfallpatterns the carryingcapacity of each field. KoGI AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS Kogi villages. but in other regions the patternformedby the stone rows is ratherone of imbrication. sweet manioc. while the Tairona reworkedthe natural environmentand therebyincreased itsyield. some fieldsare practicallyperennial. are not permanently single-family inhabited but are social and ritual centres where people gatheronly at certaintimes of the year. This content downloaded on Sat.theydo not "shift". even after the soil is fairlyexhausted there will always be some food plants.G. an of growthcycles. The standard procedure consists in clearing a field in December and January and in firingit by late February or early March. together withcoffee and sugar-caneas cash crops.peppers.varies fromone year to another and from one region to another. there are plantains.above 1.000 m. pineapple. Field debris (rocks. sapote. bananas. It is a strikingfact that the archaeological terraces.and otherwise attending entire population is actively engaged in agricultural pursuits and this transhumance pattern is the main characteristicof Kogi subsistence. Each family own a house in the next village but this will be used only on rare occasions.the Kogi maintain theirnatural environment by plantingtheirscatteredfieldsand gardens with a mixture of subsistence crops. At about 1. small pebbles. The vesting. This typeof escalated cultivationon mountain flanksdiffers fromtrue environment in that cultivationin a flatrain-forest shifting it provides more spatial and temporal crop variety.weeding. old tree trunks)are sometimeslocated at points where theymight serve as small soil traps. the ancient Tairona territory These linear sloping terracesare built of rows of boulders and rocks of varying sizes which not only collect eroded water behind the embanktop soil. nor withthe prevailingsettlement pattern. harvestingis a year-round activitybecause of the variety of crops planted and because of variations in soil quality. moreover. are not integrated withthe presentagriculturalworkorganization. but it is never completelyabandoned duringthis period. or a fruittree. In many parts of the present Kogi habitat one can see extensive archaeological terraces the structuraldetails of which are very similar to those of in the Santa Marta region. in a sense. but use themonly in a limited way. They contain good soils but sometimesare distantfromsettlements.In fact.they probably constitutedartificialecosystems. REICHEL-DOLMATOFF / 291 temperatebelt. it is thiswide climatic belt that is occupied by the Kogi. spending at each plot the time necessary forharto thecrops. houses.but the overall systemis that of a very stable subsistence agriculture. Since a family's fields are in different stages of production.500 m beans are added to this complex but fewer fruit trees are present. The effective varietyof Kogi crops varies throughoutthe and must year always be supplemented fromother levels and environments. some maize. And so are the present-day Kogi. such as curcurbits. leftin some corner. But there is no definiteharvest season. most are located on slopes where they occupy at most 2 ha of mixed crops. Terraces Archaeological In order to put thisagriculturalsysteminto perspective. squash. and diversityin the altitudes of fields. Occasionally the prehistoric Indians dug long narrow drainage channels obliquely across a slope. they know the benefits of soil conservationand irrigation. people spend most of the time on theirscatteredhomesteads spread over the mountain flanksat different altitudes. The treeless slopes are badly eroded and only along the creeks and riversdo some stands of trees survive.An individual family own to five or more houses.

acquiredin thelowlands. is erdo the Indians think of theirpart-time roneous. small-to a another. potatoes. settlements are foundin thetropical thorn woodlandsof which is ofthebase of characteristic xerophytic vegetation theSierra Nevada. mainly bytheadoption trade with oxen. mayeasilycreate in theobserver an imageofabjectpoverty and calltomind theplight ofan impoverished towrest a living peopletrying from a degraded This image. lands. theKogi have that. as was stated At present. still surrounded however. families wind and rain over walking through steepmountain trails.Sincealtitudinal paramocan be walkedin three reare often a largenumber ofdifferent very compressed.chicken It shouldbe mentioned herethat theKogi and their neigh- CURRENT FOOD PRODUCTION bours are avid consumers of coca.The Kogi weavetheir owncotton cloth and steadfastly refuse all other manufactured There goods.nor are the resources of the environment as scarceas might In appearto theoutsider.maize patterns. their settlement to the Indians. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .sweet and beans. environment. To see entire 1978b). onions.although dispotatoes. ley-however requires majoreffort because of the verysteepslopes and rocky trails. are avoidedand no Kogi however. environmental factors and cultural for mechanisms. bytheearlySpanishchroniclers. The of of Tairona early period disintegration communal life was thusovercome mechanisms byadaptive of greatefficiency. but differ from thoseof the prehistoric and significantly historic tribes. Under the distinctive here ecological circumstances theKogi have made their choicefrom theseredescribed. plantssuch as maize.and subsequent crops.butmost oftheproceeds ofthis trade are spenton bush-knives.although to acculturational havebeenable exposed strong pressures. the toastedleaves of whichtheychewwiththeaddition oflimeobtainedfrom marineshells.needles. Most peoplemoving valleys about 30 km long and an entirevalley. The overallgradient oftheSierraNevada is notsteep.a fruitwhich can be harvestedalmost it is also clearthattheimportant subsistence perennially. occasionally are used exclusively as animalsofburdenand to operate the primitive is an emergency food.manioc. hardly any exchangeis carriedout. is no market and evenamongfamilies system. consumed.and others. and their slopesare less steeply The lowlands. sugarmills. itemsare plants most of whichare of post-Colombian suchas plantains. The principal oftheKogi habitat valleys havetwoor morenucleated altilocated at different villages tudesand thusthey convenient provide stopping placesfor are between fields. at present in thismanner obtained Dietarysupplements aredried fish and salt.and firewood. axes. theprevailing must be analysedin detail agro-ecosystem and second.neither nomadismas a heavytask.however. witnessing ofeffective overlong ingsofa system adaptation developed timeperiods and maintained rulesand prescripbyprecise tions. importance oftheKogi throughout food theyearconsists ofcookstaple ing plantains. practices. This content downloaded on Sat. Autochthonous American mango. bananas. Present-day agricultural are nota carry-over from theTairona therefore.By colonial times theKogi had adoptedsugar-cane.which initiallymade this ecological adaptationpossible. sugar-cane. (postConquestin theSierraNevada).mustbe described. move Peoplecontinuously up and downtherivers and crossfrom one valleyto thenextin a pattern which is sometimes described by themas an almostsacredneta hugetextile in which cometo symwork. sourcesare availablewithin a day'swalking distance from any village.Oxen. warpand woof bolize life (Reichel-Dolmatoff. inclined. children. notonlyrebouring Agricultural practices but became completely gressedin technicalcomplexity reoriented whenforeign were crops adopted.but rivers form with theradiating V-shaped valleys steepslopes on whichan entire can be observed. The use of animal resources is limited both importance. by by mostanimalproteins arethought tobe dangerous tohealth and uncleanin ritualcontexts.carrying small heavy loads of field fruits.The observances. to retain their cultural autonomy. insolation and in deep valleys limited. MECHANISMS OF CULTURAL CHANGE Two mainaspects must be taken intoaccount here:first. had to reorientate their and with agricultural production itmanyother traditional suchas aspectsoftheir life-style. According cultivation is not profitable in theirpresent environment and their is for foods suchas plantains.although bymanyritual is oflittle as a dietary item.fromintensive to mixed seairrigation agriculture crops. A rangeoflife-zones a range of single valley or mountainflankmay offer different climatic beltsspanning hundreds and evenseveral metres thousand ofaltitude. rawsugarcakes. pigeonpeas.There is no seasonal butpeoplemoveaccording totheir migration needswhich one family to another accordmight varyfrom and kindsof cropsthey ing to thelocationof theirfields contain. burning The change in subsistence patterns.potatoes origin. and similar items. and morerecently. maize. to exchange or sell in thelowcoffee. cast-iron vessels.This indicates to a largedegree. This reorientation has developed overthelastthree centuries and itssuccessmustbe measured by thebiological and cultural survival ofthousands ofIndianswho. what one is here are the normal workreality. Game is veryscarceand thereis little Rivercrabsand beetlesare gardenhunting. where it except approachesthe snow-covered peaks.292 / MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Randomfinds ofarchaeological stones grinding suggest thattherelicterraces had beenused for maizecultivation." importance.from starchy shoreand tropical resources to subtropical and highland was madepossible ofcash products.the maybe severely widerbecomethevalleys.the intellectual premisesformulated by the Kogi leadership.fromthe coast up to the belts days.To walkup or down a valleyis easy enough because ofthegentle but to crossfrom one valgradient. yams. Trade relations have been goingon forcenturies. relationships neighcreolepeasants. preference starchy and squash. But thelowerone descends. the as are of less tinguished by Kogi "belonging.withtreecropsbeingofconsiderable tubers.

and in the ability to establish rules of correct roam over the mountain flanks.fallowed land. at the same time. upon the user'slineage.and only occasionally to gather in a village or a small ceremonialcentreto celebratesome periodicrituals.drainage. REICHEL-DOLMATOFF / 293 source environmentsand each settlement has worked out itsown particularmode of adaptation. One must also recognize the factthat. offerings sand. their life-styleis to occupy theirscatteredhomesteads. In exploiting a series of horizontallyand vertically different microenvironments the Kogi have achieved a workable balance. A moral tenet which is repeated over and over by priests and elders states that people should not multiplylike ants. thereis no storageof foodbeyond a fewdays and only some sun-dried plantains may be kept for emergency use. clay. sex is sinfuland women are said to constitutea dangerous element in society. and lives in the same small hut as his lower-ranking compatriot. protracted. The possession of these sewa depends. In the course of centuries of being forced higher and higher into the mountains by encroaching settlers.potentialcultivable land is not as scarce as it would appear at firstsight.upon priestlyapproval. and forestconservation. Public confessionof misbehaviour and offences-in action or intent -constitutes a periodicritualand the truthfulnessof the confessantsis guaranteed by priestlythreats of illness and impending part. However. but also tries to keep the population fromdisor- derly dispersal and attemptsto orient it toward the This content downloaded on Sat. are privi- better or other legedin anywaybylandholdings. Individual agriculturalpractices are subjectto many ritualrules. the Kogi do not attemptto produce a surplus.and are greatly ulation pressure. slope exposure. housing. lagoons. membership in which is determinedby the principle of parallel descent. and in part. sugar-cane. The urban traditionof the Tairona (if thereever was one) has disappeared among their modern descendants. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Kogi priests believe that betweenman and natureexistsan equilibriumwhichmight easily be disturbed by irresponsible human action. to the from adjacent villages degradation and. thus creating a generalized ecosystem. It seems. or coca. theiragricultural tradition and technological knowledge of watercontrolengineeringwould make thispossible. Kogi society is sexually very repressed. firea field. in authority. temperature. The differenceconsists in traditional power. pigeon peas. most adult men are aware of the relationship between population size and carrying concernedabout undesirablepopcapacity. in part. nevertheless. In fact. and the different withwhich theyare associated. As seen from the outside one might suggest that the Indians could well live permanentlyin their villages and exploit a limited range of neighbouringlands. indeed. These men. It is believed thatall native and "mothers" "fathers" food plantshave theirother-worldly has to be insured by frequent and that crop fertility to these spirit-beings.G. plant cover.all available foragriculturalpurposes. physical advantage. omy. in part on strong religious principles. The plantingor harvesting of any crop needs a specific"permit"(sewa) which only a priest can give and similar permits are required to fell a tree. KOGI LEADERSHIP AND ECOLOGICAL ADAPTATION The Kogi live in a complex. rock crystals. Large familiesare criticized and complex birthcontrol calendars are in use. while the principal priestlylineages are associated with fertilitysymbols such as water. each member of a lineage is the"owner" of certain sewa. non-expanding economy within the carryingcapacity of theirenvironment(Janzen. they will point out areas of primaryand secondary forest. winds. meteorology. rainfall. thatis. or dig a drainage ditch. But no Kogi would ever accept this alternative. Even the highest-ranking Kogi shares in the subsistencelevel.The repetitive sequence of the major collective rituals is timed according to astronomicallydeterminedseasons. on their continuous intelligent leadership. rain. that the reasons for their present. Kogi priestsand. ranked society in which priestlyand lordlylineages continue to play a major role. there is always some spot where food can be found.agriculturalritualsoccupy a veryprominent place in Kogi religion. and winds has begun to forma coherent body of procedures and expectancies. wears the same threadbareclothes. Although most Kogi villages have a headman who nominally representscivil authority.The ant-hill/squash antithesisnot only emphasizes the necessityforpopulation control. then. Perhaps the most important religiousmechanismis confession. These permits consist of small stone beads or other talisman-likeobjects and their acquisition may be costly. diffused agriculturalpatternmust be sought in another dimension of tribal tradition. by stages of prohaving a large number of fieldsat different the duction and in different niches. Kogi have ecological been able to accumulate certain reservesof agriculturally usable lands. base their authority. such as plantains.the true power of decision in personal and communityaffairsis concentrated in the hands of the native priesthood.theywill do the contrary and create a specialized systemby planting a small number of species. It should be pointed out here that. as are categories of cardinal directions rains. bent upon disturbing its precarious balance. the ritualcalendar corresponds to the agriculturalcycle. none of these lineages. and so on) are rituallynamed. guarantee crop protection.resulting from prolonged dry seasons for example. in theirdaily food procurement. or even some unused level terrainin a valleybottom. but that theirmodel should be a squash plant which produces only here and there a single clearly traceable fruit. When discussingtheirsemi-nomadicmigrationsand the problem of available land resources most Indians will say that there is no real shortage of land. or similar concepts. semen.or may be withheld altogether. Fluctuations in annual productivity.Soil types (humus.the Indians' ecological awareness has been sharpened to a point where a precise knowledgeof soil characteristics. many of whom possess a profound knowledge of astronand ecology(Reichel-Dolmatoff. 1977). are not disastrous because of this resource variety. but on terraced or level ground near villages or on valley floors. water not the Kogi preservethe lands livingin nucleated settlements. lagoons. Although this equilibrium refersnot only to subsistence resources. 1973). To sum up. In theirslopingfieldsthe Kogi will plant a varietyof species but a relativelysmall number of individuals.but also to a spiritual and moral balance of the individual. the Kogi practise a sustained-yield.

common whenthe amongtheKogi.theKogi declarethey rights would nevermigrant to the lowlandsand becomewage wouldalwaysbe one of retreat labourers. TRADITION VERSUS can be exploited at any giventimeif untappedresources exneed be.or other People mustconthesepriestly consult oraclesin order to havetheir tinually actionsguidedby divination. trade. among theKogi is beinghandledwithgreatsocialresponsibility.the usuallyrestricted of a tree fruit with consumption (Metteniusa edulis) content was relaxed and itsuse widely recomhighprotein mended.obedienceto a moralcode. problems change This content downloaded on Sat. willneverput themselves outsidethischain Kogi priests no material it.1969)is recognized bymostKogi Indians. when a local food shortage was arising.The decisionmayconcern theplanting ofa crop. theintensification ofa certain crop.they continue to layclaimto thesetraditional lands. was granted toplantsingle ofhigh-protein permission crops yielding plantssuch as pigeonpeas. divination is an effective device in ecologicalplanningbecause the priest's practical environmental is trulyoutstanding. is priestly Divinadivination.In theunderlying reasonwhyKogi culture has beenable fact. EXTERIOR FORCES described abovedoesnotpresent The situation anytruly to evolve continue as longas conditions problems pressing and as longas the at theslowpace ofpast developments. fields. to a largedegree. The agricultural systemby which the Kogi tend to somewhat more land thanis actually for necessary occupy has itsbeginnings in several traditional subsistence. undegraded whichmight constitute reserves in timesof deterthemany"permits. The possession of a pansionintothehigh-altitude in number of the of fields them belt." but minestheelitewhich administers wouldbe grossly societies whatin other exploited. gionand philosophy contibeing based upon a harshdisciplineof frugality. tations ofsignsand symbols. controlled ritually agro-ecosystem (Rappaport. knowledge Priestly divinations small-scale deciprovide guidancenotonlyfor sionsin dailylifebutmaydetermine such majorstrategies as thefoundation or relocation ofsettlements.or theshapeand number ofair formations.symptoms ofthedivineforces and thepriests willimpose displeasure can be veryharsh. 1965) but muchofit appearsto be manipulated and the finaldecisionmost oftenrepresents a personal choicemade by thepriest. family activities. to resist harmful change. In anyevent. maythusbe removed see fitto do so after due divination. from a tubular bubbles bead which has been necklace rising in water.The Kogi havenotforrights the past whentheir Tairona ancestors dominated gotten these regionsand at present. This is almostalwaysthecase in matters of mate selection.The factis thattheperiodof isolation is comingto an end. conditions they alwaysexembytheir living that thepriests theaustere idealsofKogi life.000 m.The upperlimit an effective checkto exofplantain cultivation constitutes areas. thusconstitutes a reserve in times offuture encroachments. or anyaspectofa widerangeofmajoror minor alternatives of resourcemanagement. maintenance ofinterdependent is on a basicecological This native statement principle only one exampleoftheprevalent Kogi worldview. Butthisis a hypothetical retain their tribal tion.Divinationis practised mainlyto ascertain whether or not a certain actionis feasible. from expermovement farther iencetheIndiansknowthatanyforced would seriously reducethechoicesof intothemountains indeed. houses. penalties divinationundoubtedlyintroducesa random element (Moore.deep meditation. a levelbeyond they privedof theirstaplefoodof plantains.It is true plify commandthe supportof theirfollowers by threatening with butat thesametimethey them alleviate stress illness. social. A case in pointare therelicterraces and other sites archaeological whichare tabooedforall immediate butwhose purposes. and meditation upon ultimate realities. or ritually named landmarks expresssymbolic property to theselands. travel. On theone hand. affairs. listening or voices from within. Allkinds ofritual food which arevery restrictions. their by thinly spreading settlements and fieldsover the mountainflanks. can Sierra Nevada remainsan island whose inhabitants situaidentities. shouldthey these disregard of illnesswill soon come to expressthe rules. on otheroccasions.occasionally. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .housing. Othermechanisms aremuscle twitchsubmerged and the to sudden sounds ing. cultivation.many large temperate almost inaccessible tothecreoles. reducetheirpresent severely ecologicaldiversity. suchas thereading ofcloud animalvoices.theclearing ofa field. On theother hand.thereis a critical resources.or religious activity are manyand consist ofsimpleyes-or-no tory techniques butoften taketheform ofcomplexinterprealternatives.Priestly which. and provideexperienced leadership. In all these activities areconcerned planning Kogi priests withtwoaims: to keep population belowthecardensity limit ofthefields and their associated techrying capacity and to maintain areas of environment nology. The effectiveness ships neighbouring ofthis. priests This kindof resource control provides power. theSierraNevada has ceasedto be an out-of-theretreat and it is necessary to evaluateits way mountain resources and humanproblems in thecontext of physical international The real of developments.trails. obtain of and willalwaysform They part on and haveno specialresource benefit whatsoever rights.the fieldsystem is a means by whichtribal widelyscattered territorial are beingupheld. The principalculturalmechanism forany economic.or thenatureoftraderelationwith creolesettlers. nence. thecontrary. Kogi reliare extremely severe and demanding. aspects historical ofKogi culture.294 / MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT socialand economic units. a priest "divine" thata certain might simply tension can be usedfor In most thatit givesa strong backing to priestly agricultural and general subsistence decisionmaking. ecologicalthreshold which wouldbe deat about2.The entire headwater regionof the San Miguel River above about 800 m is considered tobe a sacred from theancients legacy and theinnumerable stonemarkers.their tendency intothehighland evenifsucha movement would regions.

alcoholism.M. wage disease. especiallyas a base formoderncommunicastrategic tion systems. of themacomplexities equallyconsciousof thecultural forsurvival. This body of qualitative and quantitative information should be related to Kogi social organizaand theiroverall religious and philtion. Schriften (Giessen). the trade is spreading and its inevitable consequences of violence and corruption are beginning to be stronglyfeltin the tribal territories. 1975: The Cultural Energetics Colombia. 1970:Geomorphologische Giessener Nevadade SantaMarta(Kolumbien). 1972: Guayabo Arqueologia San Jose: EditorialCosta Rica. at the base of the Sierra Nevada. and meteorological data should be obtained and case studies of the semi-nomadic patternof individual families should be made. A third aspect is this: not only the Sierra Nevada but also other isolated mountainous regions are potential strongholdsof political insurgence. many regions and find similar of present patterns ecologicaladaptation It is evito similar themselves changes. existno refuge areas for willtakeitstolland. terialconditions REFERENCES de unsitio de Turrialba. specialists The physical and many otherdisciplines. Geographische 21:1-56. industrialization are and large-scale marihuana. toryconditions In conclusion. exposed impending of properresourcemanagement dent thatdevelopment oftheontheimpacts and diminish to anticipate practices chalthebiggest a majorproblem. pose instead the usual local agricultural and the like. The nutritionaland general health status of the Indians should be assessed and demographic data should be analysed.In thisrespect. in the future.It is essential.In the second place. A realisticassessmentofthe presentsituation (1981) of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and its Indian populationmusttake intoaccount a numberof stark factswhich become evident as soon as one places thissmall area oftheworldintoitsevolvingnational and international context.H. located flankswhere it partyoverlaps with mainly on the northern is occupied by widethe lower limits of Indian territory.Dissertation. Departamento Bogota. G. ofAnthropology. be made research and ofplanning. remains coming changes mechanisms will in the institutional lie providing lenge from societies whichwillprotect smalltraditional disrupthe from theoutside.crop diversity. Although governmentalcontrols are active.C. marihuana which form crops partofthe interspread illegal national narcotics trade. geohydrology. The other that deserves to the urgent treatment refers aspect priority need forestablishinga biosphere reserve. owing to itsparticulargeographicalpositionand its favourable climatic conditions. tainimportant then. one of the hemisphere's largestcoal depositsat El Cerrej6nhas been discovered willbeginin thenearfuture. (Motilones Bravos)of Northern of New Mexico. de Antropologia.whereKogi influences wouldbe protected culture againstdestructive on by teamsof whilelong-term research couldbe carried in ecology. Aguilar. as envisaged by the Man and theBiosphere(MAB) Programme. CONCLUSION Two aspects deserve immediate attention:one concerns scientific interest in Kogi adaptive strategies. world view. and demands.the particular agro-ecosystemshould be studied in detail. and violence labour.. The Northern Andes constitutea natural link between the Andean core lands and the Caribbean sphere and. ideal laboraoftheSierraNevada provide characteristics forthiskindof research..theyare likely There and all itsconsequences. aspects Therecan be no easy tolead to serious arelikely problems. Determinante Amaya. indigena prehispdnico. ifnot of physicalsurvival. University Department This content downloaded on Sat. ernization. sincethere to be leftat themercy thenativepeoples. mustbe based upon a clear directions solutions. butare boundto have ofacculturation notmereproblems in thecase oftheSierraNevada. debt bondage. are threatening fromthe outside. derSierra Hohenstufen Bartels.. and large-scale strip mining There is no need to elaborateon the eventualimpactof all thesedevelopments upon the Sierra Nevada.future to and mustattempt threats awarenessof the increasing acceloffar-reaching.plant geography. In the firstplace.Soil analyses niches. even more striking.Elemento en el Deterioro de la SierraNevada de Santa Marta. morphology. preferablyin one of the larger valleys such as that of the San Miguel River. Thesis. some action may be expected to affect politicaland military or subinhabited by aboriginal groups regions presently factis that sistence farmers. The studyshould attemptto provide a coherentpicture of land tenure and land use in different ecological and seasonal variations. violence. encroachment. destructive which. similar adaptive strategies elsewherein the NorthernAndes. power structure. Territorial healthservices.Another. a time thenative peoplesfor prepare eratedchange.T. The value of such a studywould lie osophical in its analysis of a native strategyof zero-growthdevelopment. theSierraNevada de Santa Marta is not Andes other oftheNorthern an isolated case.theSierraNevada is already its whatever comingconnectedwiththe worldmarket. Universidad de los Andes. the Sierra Nevada is of potential value. REICHEL-DOLMATOFF / 295 and adaptation. promises thesefacts and to proIt wouldbe unrealistic to ignore programmes.. of the Bari Beckerman. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . between the masdirectly sif and the Venezuelan border. Modeffects ofcultural withtheworst decline. a broad climatic belt.another of doubtful benefit forthe local scene. in all spheres training. S. ofmodern industrialization in the factthatthe spectacular is but littleconsolation lead to landscapewilleventually beautyofthemountain oftheinternational tourist thedevelopment trade.G. 1975: La Colonizaci6n. tivechanges imposed of theirage-oldecologicalawareness resilience may conthatspecialists lessons. In any prospect wellon thewayto beevent. and in its comparability with other.

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R. 21:539-558. am Nordrand des Trockengebietes Entwicklung graphische Die Erde(Berlin).. P.C.(Bogota). undpflanzengeoH. Rica).G. sobreutiVon Hildebrand. Ant. 1959: Ridge or "era"agriculture deAmericanistas delXXXIII Congreso Internacional Andes. Geog. Rev. 1954:Die klimamorphologische Wilhelmy. (San Jose. 28:182-291..G. 1975:Observaciones preliminares lizaci6nde tierras y fauna por los indigenasdel rio Miritiparana..3-4. Siudamerikas This content downloaded on Sat.. Actas Costa 1:279-282. 12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1931:Settlement Marta. Rev. seit dem Pleistozain. in theColombian West. REICHEL-DOLMATOFF / 297 zonesoftheSierraNevadade Santa Taylor.. Col.

12 Jan 2013 22:32:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . This content downloaded on Sat.298 / MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Agricultural terraces near Apartaderos.775 m. Budowski. home of the Kogi. northeasternColombia. Venezuela. Photo by Gerardo The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. August 1974. Elevation 3. Photo by Gerardo Budowski. highestpoint 5.October 1977.500 m. The mountains rise within50 km of the Caribbean.