The Role of Ye'kwana Women in Conservation
|Aurora Caura participates in a |
health and environment
workshop in Ciudad Bolivar.
The AquaRAP team fishes not only for scientific samples, but also for protein on the trip. When they pull in the gill net there are 10 good, eating-sized fish and the team begins to clean them out to bring them to camp. Miguelito leaps back, horrified, "This is woman's work!" and he refuses to clean anymore even though there is only one woman, who is Pimon, on kitchen duty.
This opens a discussion about women's roles in Ye'kwana society. Women traditionally tend farms, haul heavy loads of yucca, process food, and raise the children. Men hunt, fish and are artisans. During this project, I have worked only with men. Kuyujani appears to be constructed by men, and I hear only men's voices on the radio.
||Miguelito leaps back, horrified, "This is woman's work!" and he refuses to clean anymore...|
The most vocal Ye'kwana woman I have met is Doña Aurora of the community Boca de Nichare. "When Ye'kwana men talk about solutions to health problems," she says," they speak of medicine and health posts. Never mind that we have to grow food farther away from the community each year and the soil is getting poorer and pineapple from our farms are smaller each year. How can you raise a healthy family on poor food?"
Judith Rosales, who has worked with the Ye'kwana for 7 years comments, "People think that preserving the Ye'kwana culture means they should not change, but it makes sense if you are exposed to other cultures that you incorporate other influences. My daughter is completely Venezuelan, but she listens to Jamaican reggae all the time." It is inevitable that through contact with other people, the Ye'kwana culture will change, but they people as a group will have to decide what aspects are superficial and what represents a core culture.
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