The Colombian Amazon: Embodied Thought and Knowledge
Our journey into the rainforest stretches along the Amazon River basin and covers more than a third of the entire country. The copious rain and high average temperature and humidity contribute to the growth of dense and exuberant vegetation. Most of the population here is indigenous, although a large percentage was killed and displaced when tracts of land were exploited, first for rubber extraction, and later for agriculture, ranching, and illegal crops. Presently, there are 52 ethnic groups who speak 13 different languages. They live in riverine, agricultural, and urban areas.
Groups such as the Matapí, Yukuna, Nonuya, Tanimuca, Uitoto, Andoque, and Muinane, among others, thrive due to their extensive knowledge of the rainforest and its challenges. They preserve foodways based on hunting, fishing, and crop rotation strategies. They continue their highly symbolic ritual celebrations, such as the Feast of the Chontaduro (also known as the Dance of the Doll), and traditional methods of house construction. Sacred and secular practices are interwoven and reflect each community's knowledge and relationship to the rainforest.