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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 03:51 PM
Original message
Bolivians Build Floating Wicker Baskets
Bolivians Build Floating Wicker Baskets
Preserving Tradition, Artisans Create Crescent-Shapes Crafts

HUATAJATA, Bolivia, March 7, 2009

In this file photo, an indigenous Aymara man
works on a reed boat on the edge of the lake
Titicaca in Huatajata, Bolivia. Called totoras,
the boats were once the only way residents
who inhabit the area's desolate islands could
navigate Lake Titicaca.
(Marcelo Hernandez/AP Photo)

Demetrio Limachi is a man with a foot in another century. Along the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, modernization and globalization lap at an ancient culture. Cars and tourist busses whiz by along the highway that lines the lake's edge. Hordes of backpackers in North Face jackets explore the area by boat. Hydrofoils dart around the body of water that sits 12,500 feet above sea level.

But Limachi, a humble craftsman in a red alpaca shawl, is carrying on one of the most revered and ancient of traditions: He's making boats out of reeds. Called totoras, the boats were once the only way residents who inhabit the area's desolate islands could navigate Lake Titicaca. Limachi is now one of the last in the world to create what are essentially floating wicker baskets.

"If we stop creating these boats, then no one will know how to make them in the future," he says. "I am teaching my grandson how to build so that our tradition stays alive."

His sentiment reflects a cultural resurgence being felt across Bolivia. It extends from a rekindling of the traditional Indian languages of Aymara and Quechua to reclaiming ancient customs, particularly as the nation's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, ushers in a new era of indigenous pride. Recently he enshrined the rights of native Bolivians in a new constitution, giving them access to their ancestral land and power to issue their own community justice.


As you have learned if you've read Bolivian history, the racists among us believe these native Bolivians' lives are unimportant, and racists do possess the right to torture and murder any of the indigenous people any time they feel like doing that. They are the ghostly gods of the universe, apparently.

For anyone who sees a possible flaw in that way of thinking, please do invest a small amount of your time researching Bolivia, racism, and fascism or "Nazis."

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 08:02 PM
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1. The indigenous are going to be how the human race survives the coming era.
Whether it's their wisdom in planting many varieties of a seed, not just one, or their skill at making wicker boats, or their knowledge of medicine plants, or their reverence for Mother Earth, which gives them special abilities to heal her, they are going to be the key. And they are a good example of why democracy and equality are so important. It is a moral issue, of course, but it is also a practical issue. If you look at humanity collectively, no one person, group, race or country has all of the abilities or ideas that we, as a whole, need to "live long and prosper," and to progress and to enjoy life, and to save the planet. We need everyone to have a voice, and to be able to live their lives freely and without oppression, so that they can contribute to the good of the whole. When we despise and oppress others, we are robbing ourselves of all the potential good that they can do, for us and for others. It the genius of democracy that it promotes variety--just like Nature and good agriculture do.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 09:31 PM
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2. One of my friends taught me how to make pine needle baskets
but the ones I've made are small. If my family had to wait for me to make a boat, they should sooner grow wings. lol
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