25 June 2011
Jaguar Sons of the Amazon
The people of the Huaorani of Ecuador are a group of indigenous Indians. This tribe resides in the Amazon region of South America. The Huaorani of Ecuador’s primary modes of subsistence will be addressed in detail throughout the research. Like every other culture, the Huaorani have cultural aspects like kinship, beliefs and values, gender relationships, and social change that will be thoroughly researched. The conditions at which the Huaorani live will be examined, also the history of the people and where and how the culture lives on throughout the times that have passed. The Huaorani are legendary, even among other Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador’s Amazon region, for their extensive knowledge about the rainforest and its diverse plant and animal life. The Huaorani identify themselves as “human beings” or “the people” and refer to anyone outside of their tribe or ethnic a cowede “non-human” (National Geo. 2003). The Huaorani are also indentified by the names of Aucas: meaning “savages”, also the Waorani or Waodani better known as the Woas. They are an Amerindian of the Amazon.
We will first discuss the meanings of indigenous and horticulturalist. Indigenous is defined as “a produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment” (merriam-webster.com). Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups who are native to a land or region; they are a group of people whose members share a cultural identity that has been shaped by their geographical region. With this being said Huaorani came from a place within a land which is known as the Amazon. Horticulturalist is “the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants.” (merriam-webster.com). It is also planting crops without modern day agricultural methods such as fertilizers and plows (Laird, P., & Nowak, B., 2010). The men clear the trees in an area and then the women plant the crops. It is the way it has been done for many years. Once they have used the soil to its full potential they leave that particular area in order to find another. They do this in order to allow the ground to heal. This will enable them to plant there again whenever they return to that area. The domestication of plants helped to lead a new way to the people of the old times. They now relied on staying in one area and producing the crops needed for their tribes to survive.
When we look to see how the world is populated today we must look back at the people that have made the way for how things get done now. Over the time of history there have been many groups of people that have made transitions into what we see to be a norm in the society that we live in. The tribes of people dating back over thousands of years ago had a set knowledge that helped them to survive in the world they once possessed. When you look to the past and notice what types of groups and tribe filled the earth, and the way they live you can recognize the life they had in that era. The first settlement of human kind were foragers, a group of people that had no set way of maintaining a particular crop but knew what it took to grow the grains they needed from time to time. So with the evolving of the foragers the horticultural people came.
This brings us to the tribe called the Huaorani of Ecuador. The Huaorani are cultivators as well as hunters (Nowak and Laird 1998). They are semi-nomadic and tend to move with the region to find what source for life they need. They could almost be considered foragers because they do hunt for animals and the women go out for fruits and berries, but they plant crops no matter where they go. In fact, they move from area to area in order to go where the food is located. (Lu, F. E., 2001) When it comes to their resources there is an abundance because they do not want or use much. They live off the