Rescatando a la Pachamama
Pineda, Ginett Vanessa
University of Kansas
Spanish & Portuguese
Copyright held by the author.
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This dissertation focuses on indigenous epistemologies of the “Mother Earth” to understand the cultural significance and Andeans’ affective relationship with native landscapes and nature. To do so, I examine mythical discourses found in oral narratives and other forms of representation to argue how the deep connection between nature, spirituality, and material and cultural practices has defined identities, forms of resistance, and ways of thinking about prospects for the future. This study centers on indigenous eco-spirituality—which I argue is the key notion of Andean myths— shifting metaphors of the Mother Earth, and buen vivir as a decolonial tactic and philosophy. Among the runakuna (Andeans who maintain traditional values and beliefs), eco-spirituality serves to understand how they view, relate, and defend their physical and natural environments, as well as the cosmos in their struggle for survival since the arrival of Europeans. In the first chapter I analyze the motif of the Mother Earth in El manuscrito de Huarochí (1608). Here I explore the various ways in which huarochirí people related to Mother Earth or Pachamama and their huacas and how these relationships were linked to their mythological beginnings, their cultural and ecological identities, political power, right to rule, and to provide significance to their cultural traditions. Chapter two focuses on the Myth of Inkarrí in order to identify and analyze how the Andean people of southern Perú experienced and responded against Spanish colonial rule. Andean tradition has it that Inkarrí, the Inca king (Inca-rey), who is believed to have been decapitated by the Spaniards, will one-day return to establish a new empire. His body, which is buried, will gradually grow from his head thanks to the regenerative power of Pachamama. When his body is complete, Inkarrí will rise up again and take power to restore Indian society. A close reading of this myth shows a conscious manipulation of the representation of the Pachamama in order to call for an insurrection against the Spaniards. Finally, the third and last chapter is pinned to the trope of yanantin or complementary dualism, specifically in the myth of Wa-kón y los Willcas. This myth from the twenty-first century features an eco-spirituality way of thinking and understanding nature that is constitutive with modern Andean ritual practices and social organization. Within the text, the nonhuman entities are articulated in ecological terms that refer to the organic relationship between humans and nature. Therefore, this project contributes to critical research on spirituality, indigeneity, postcolonial theory, and Andean studies. In laying out an ecocritical reading of these myths, we introduce the overarching ecological consciousness of Andean people. Their quest to voice the nonhuman urges us to rethink nature´s intrinsic value in order to ensure a successful and sustainable future.
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