John Miles Foley, Founding Editor

“Our Grandparents Used to Say That We Are Certainly Ancient People, We Come From the Chullpas”: The Bolivian Chipayas’ Mythistory

Abstract

The Chipaya people live in the Bolivian Altiplano. Their ecological, economic, and social isolation forms the basis of a strong ethnic consciousness present in their mythistory. This consciousness is closely related to the present, explaining and justifying their way of life and their tense relationship with their Aymara neighbors. In the story, mythic and historical discourse is fused into “mythistory” in order to construct their “ethnic identity,” concepts that provide the article’s theoretical framework.

eCompanion

Uru-Chipaya language communities.

Map: DOBES project, 2002, 2005-07

The Central Andes and Chipaya.

Map: DOBES project, 2002, 2005-07

Chipaya and surroundings.

Map: Instituto Geográfico Militar, La Paz, Bolivia, 1970

Santa Ana de Chipaya (DOBES project, 2005).

Photo: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

View from outside the village: river, salty soil, houses in pasture-lands, and mountains (DOBES project, 2005).

Photo: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

Bird-hunting, (DOBES project, 2005).

Illustration: Unknown 12 year old boy

Attending the pigs’ castration ceremony, in the pasture-lands (DOBES project, 2002).

Photo: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

Archaeological Chullpa remains near Chipaya (DOBES project, 2005).

Photo: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

Chullpa with human bones, near Chipaya (DOBES project, 2005).

Photo: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

The bell-tower of Sabaya church (© Pascale Soubrane, 2009).

Photo: Pascale Soubrane - used by permission

Origin of the Chipayas as told by a seventy-two-year-old man.

Audio: Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz

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