Monday, May 5, 2014

The Aymara People's Unique Year Count

All of the citizens in Bolivia and indigenous use the Gregorian Calendar to record history in newspapers and historical references. However, the members of the Aymara village mark time within themselves by events that occur, the age of their family members, major life milestones, and major local events. The Aymara people's year count is directly connected to the winter solstice. They used to perform rituals in the 70's at a famous Bolivian archeological location in Tiwanaku but now they celebrate it throughout the region at many public venues. These celebrations are very important to the economy of the Aymara people because these events draw many people to their markets.

The Wiphala

The Wiphala is a square multi-colored emblem that the Aymara People use as a flag and symbol of their culture.  The Wiphala has seven horizontal stripes which represent the colors of the rainbow. Each color represents something specific. The red represents earth and the Andean man, Orange represents society, yellow represents energy, white represents time, green represents natural resources, blue represents the heavens, and purple represents the government. Along with the Wiphala being a flag for the Aymara people, many other cultures in the Bolivia and Peru region have adopted the flag as their own. In 2009, Bolivia made the Wiphala their national flag alongside the flag they already have. 


3 Websites:

3 Books:

Buechler, Hans C., and Judith-Maria Buechler. The Bolivian AymaraCase studies in cultural anthropology. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.

Carter, William E. Aymara Communities and the Bolivian Agrarian Reform. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964.

Tschopik, Harry. The Aymara of Chucuito, Peru. 1951

3 Academic Journals:

I found 3 articles in the academic search complete section on the ESU Library database.

The Aymara Year Count:Calendrical Translation in Tinawaku, Bolivia
Complicating the local, Defining the Aymara in Tinawaku, Bolivia
Mental Health of Indigenous Children in Northern Chile

Migrations and Dispora -The Aymara People

The Aymara people began as simple villagers who lived throughout Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. As time went on, many of the Aymara people made the decision to modernize and move into the money economy. The need for work moved people into the cities which resulted in the majority of the Aymara people moving to city named La Paz in Peru. It is noted that about 750,000 people live outside of the homeland of the Aymara people.

Cosmos Beliefs of the Aymara People

The Aymara people divide their world and beliefs into different sub groups. The first group is the "marka" which consists of the "ayllu", the human community. The "Sallqa" represents the surrounding wilderness where the animals and plants live. The "Huacas", which is composed of "Pachamama", represents the mountain spirits, other powerful places, and stars. Altogether these groups make up the "Akapacha", which sits between the higher and lower world. The lower world is known as "Manqhapacha" and the higher is known as the "Arajpacha". The higher world represents good and and the lower represents bad. The balance between the two is called "Tinku".

Homeland of the Aymara People

The modern-day Aymara people mostly live at the basin of Lake Titicaca, which is located within the Andes Mountains. This region is also named the Altiplano region. The people of this region raise animals by the basin and live off of the agriculture they grow on their land. The land that they live on is very fertile which helps their production of crops greatly.

Interview with a member of the Aymara People

On August 13, 2013, the Associated Press had an interview with a man named Carmelo Flores Laura. Flores is a 123 year old who is a member of the Aymara people and is the oldest man ever documented.  Flores lives under a straw roof-dirt hut close to the banks of Lake Titicaca. In addition, he only speaks the native Aymara language, he has no teeth, and he does not wear glasses.

At the beginning of the interview, Flores approached the press chewing coca leaves. The coca leaves are used as a stimulant to prevent hunger. Flores stated that he knew that he was at least 100 years old when asked but his bad memory prevented him from recalling his age.
Eugineo Cordino, Bolivia's civil registrar, says that Flores baptism certificate says that he was born on July 16, 1890. Since the baptism certificates were registered by priests, the state approved it. When asked what he owes his longevity to, Flores stated "I walk a lot, that's all. I go out with the animals".

I found this interview to be  interesting because a member of my culture is now the oldest man to ever live. By analyzing this interview, one could gain a first hand perspective of the life that the Aymara people lead.