History, Myth and the Dynamics of Territorial Maintenance in Tierradentro, Colombia

Joanne Rappaport


1. Archive vs supernatural original manuscript. Paez Chief: Don Juan Tama y Calabas was granted title by the King of Spain to the lands that his people were occupying.

2. Be Stolen vs Hide it. Original titiles: People in Jambalo, sharecroppers, lost their land title. They were thus forced to pay rent to non-Indians to till their lands.

3. Territory means much more than the land encompassed within a set of boundaries. Its meaning is beyond physical space that sustains people physically and spiritually. It is a symbol of their identity as a people, thus they defend their land.

4. The purpose of this paper is to study the context of territory-building among the Paez in order to understand how it is that a 280-year-old document is felt to be more efficacious in territorial defense than are those modern land rights granted by Colombia law. (28)

5. Method:
i. Analysis of territorial practice rather than the organizations of sacred or political space. To explain how particular circumstance shapes a group’s historical consciousness. (What does historical consciousness mean? and where it came from?)
ii. Indigenous idea of history, expressed in mythic form, becomes the basis for developing strategies of territorial maintenance and group identification. It can only be captured from a series of activities whose shape is influenced by historical consciousness or myth as well as by the social and political context in which the activity is enacted (28).

6. Academic Value: Indians are now reclaiming territories stolen from them in the past. The territorial businesses are all about the community face.

7. resgurados: political unites into which the Paez people are organized and communally own inalienable land and supervise the distribution of usufruct rights among their members.

8. These myths influence territorial practice on a broad basis by orienting the activities of the councils that administer the resguardos, and by directing ritual practice aimed at sacred precincts located along political boundaries.

9. The system of mythical/historical knowledge is used to justify forms of territorial maintenance at all levels of Paez society, from the individual parcel-holder to the Paez as an ethnic group.

10. The process of territorial defense: three key practices-planting, looking and walking (or traversing).

The historical development of Paez territorial practice

1. cacicazgos: Regional chiefdoms. caciques: chiefs. tribute system.

2. encomienda: a kind of authority with boundaries by colonial regime in the late 17th and early 18th . vehicle for political transformation.

3. cabildo: resguardo council.

4. Changed function of resgurado: after independence, resguardo did not be destroyed but carved into many smaller units. cabildo as representative bodies that serve as intermediaries no longer wield broader political authority. Be elected.

5. The Law provides for the eventually partition of resguardo among residents. This led to a continued focus on maintaining resguardo rights and the development of a wider pan-Indian identity that centers on the primacy of the resguardo in defining indigenous life style and political aims.

6. The founding mothers and fathers of the resguardo have become culture heroes whose exploits are based in part on the contents of the colonial resguardo titles.

7. Their mythical activities set an example for modern cabildos and signal those areas in which territorial defense must be focused: resguardo boundaries and cabildo authority.

8. kiew: principles of territorial practice. related more to activities than to concrete things. Looking (31 last paragraph), cultivating(32 middle of this page, appropriation and re-appropriation) and walking(32 first paragraph).

9. kiwe and cultivation (mahin): the contextualization of work. Land must be defended as much within as outside a community. Specific word for specific work activity. Dual purpose of maintaining territory for individual household and for resguardo as collectivities. Time.

10. kiwe and polity-building: use the myth to explain the appearance of all important caciques. defining features: born in river, snake, lake. Traced boundaries both at birth and walked lands with shamans.

11. Paze see history as something to be used and transformed, not stored away in books. (36) mythic cycle describes a series of trips throughout and around Paezdom.

12. ajyu-uyu: endogamy and locality. topographical opposition: refers to both social and physical space, field and inhabitants. links between the colonial and the modern resguardo. connects individual and group. (community?)

13. expressing cabildo’s leaderships: staff-refreshing ceremony: climbing mountain (to see) with shamans bringing with jyu, herbs (to see well). Sacred mountain: Mother of the Rains (agriculture calendar).

Context and History

1. Key features of Territorial actions in territorial-building: flexibility, possible orienting, choosing particular form.
2. Manuel Quintin Lame who mobilized the Indians defense their lands, Peasant league, …
3. The use in a modern context of a traditional tool of territorial maintenances.
4. The Paze Peasant League created novel means of political action by transforming alien methods into traditional structures. (39)
1. Comparing to other treatment of social space in the Andean area: flexibility and contextuality of spatial units; history of the broader society; anthropological treatment of indigenous historical consciousness.
2. notion of territory, boundaries would be determined by context, political and social coherence.
3. Andean’s aylly and Paez’s ajyu: group with a head and less fixed conceptual category. both provide means for a contextualization of social space, a definition of territory in accordance with any given social situation and the possibility for expanding or redefining social space. operatioanlized.
4. The content of territorial ideology differs markedly between Tierradentro and Peru. In part, this difference has arisen through the varied historical experience of Andeans peoples. But more, how they conceptualize this history.
5. ahistorical components of structure, patterns but will be altered across time as they confront different historical reality, notions of history as a pattern of events instead of a chorology.


1. Strategy? 非為達成某種目的所使用的手段,而是產生某種結果的手段。不論是有意識或無意識的的選擇。不是單純的因,而是強調某種選擇後的因。
避免功利主義的選擇行為。flexibility, possible orienting, choosing particular form.

2. Tool Box? The use in a modern context of a traditional tool (of territorial maintenances). Does it mean the indigenous cultural system is the toolbox?

3. Indigenous Notions, Cultural system, other anthropological treatments toward the indigenous vs Historical Consciousness? Indigenous form of consciousness

4. Theory of Practice, How did they deal with the past and the present? Are they really far away from Historical Determinism?

5. Sahlins? Conjunction History?