Supernatural Gamekeepers Among the Tsimane’ of Bolivian Amazonia

Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Tomás l. Huanca, Victoria Reyes-García

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Oral histories about supernatural gamekeepers (i.e., spiritual beings who own and protect wildlife) are widespread among Indigenous Peoples across the Amazon Basin. Many Indigenous communities have strict culturally prescribed practices and rituals to build relationships of reciprocity with these non-human entities that inhabit the natural world. In this chapter, we review the diverse cultural manifestations of supernatural gamekeepers in the complex and sophisticated spiritual lifeworld of the Tsimane’ people of Bolivian Amazonia. Based on the longitudinal arc of our ethnobiological research among the Tsimane’ since 1999, we show the many ways in which this Amazonian Indigenous group interacts with supernatural gamekeepers and present the ontological underpinnings of such relations. We also describe the breadth and depth of cultural protocols, rules, and rituals that the Tsimane’ employ to build respectful relationships with supernatural gamekeepers. Finally, we discuss the rapid pace at which this socio-cosmology is being eroded and how this, in turn, affects current Tsimane’ hunting practices. Our work highlights how the deep bonds of reciprocity established between the Tsimane’ and supernatural gamekeepers reflect kinship-oriented philosophies along with a powerful ethic of stewardship based on relational values.
Idioma originalEnglish
Títol de la publicacióThe History and Environmental Impacts of Hunting Deities
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 de nov. 2023

Sèrie de publicacions

NomThe History and Environmental Impacts of Hunting Deities
ISSN (imprès)2730-5872
ISSN (electrònic)2730-5880


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