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|Title:||Territory and Tradition: The Ethnohistory of The Paez of Tierradentro, Colombia|
|Department / Program:||Anthropology|
|Degree Granting Institution:||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Abstract:||The Paez, an indigenous group with a population of approximately 80,000, inhabit the Central Cordillera of the southern Colombian Andes. Historically, they originally lived in Tierradentro, on the eastern slopes of the range.
The primary focus of this study centers on the means by which the Paez understand their history, and on how Paez interpretations of history have been utilized through time by the Paez themselves in order to forge new strategies for territorial defense. Central to this ethnohistorical analysis of the Paez use of history is the notion of tradition as a dynamic construct, comprised of notions and strategies which define an identity through references to the past, even though their structure and contents are firmly entrenched in current needs. Thus, tradition is constantly changing, and it becomes impossible for the ethnohistorian to confine the "traditional" era to any specific time period. Although the Paez are changing--to the extent that many no longer live in Tierradentro, and some do not speak Paez--their modern lifestyle and political institutions are, from this point of view, traditional. They are baed on a modern historical interpretation by the Paez of their own past.
This analysis of Paez territoriality highlights four eras in post-Conquest Paez history, the Conquest period, the Colony, the Republic and the modern period, examining the ideological origins of changes in political institutions which serve to defend Paez territory and political autonomy. This periodization, traditional in Colombian historiography, is fitting for a history of the Paez, given that the changes which have occurred in Tierradentro can only be understood within a broader Colombian context. Historical analysis is achieved through the use of both written documents and Paez oral tradition from each of their eras. It is in this oral tradition that we find the Paez interpretation of history. Modern historical thought is also studied through an examination of Paez concepts of sacred space which map out on the terrain of Tierradentro those legends which the Paez view as historical.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2014-12-16|