Mapping the historical-cultural space of the Yanesha people

8 min. trailer

The first in the series, this fillm presents the Yanesha people, their history, and explores their relationship with their ancestors and the natural landscape. It describes the project, its goal of mapping the Yanesha historical-cultural space, and the unique methodology employed--a combination of anthropological and ethno-historical research, Yanesha oral history and GIS technology. The close collaboration of the Yanesha people made possible to understand how their cultural identity is so deeply linked to their geographic territory as both the source of natural resources and the locus of their history and the spiritual power derived from their ancestors. (continues below)

The Yanesha have long fought to recover access to their land and reclaim their territorial rights. Since the 1970s, they formed new communities and created the Federation of Native Yanesha Communities to demand the titling of their lands. Today, there are some 1,400 Yanesha families living in 35 titled native communities located in three provinces of the Central Andean Amazon. Another 400 families live scattered throughout the area, in nearby urban centers and in the capital city of Lima.

Many of these communities were visited during the field research. The vast body of oral history collected allowed to establish a correlation between the actions of Yanesha ancestors and specific geographic locations that were recorded. The information was then entered into a data base and organized using GIS software especially created for the project. For the Yanesha, mapping their historical-cultural space means more than simply revisiting some of their original land (now in the hands of settlers). It is a fundamental way to reaffirm their millennial link to the ancient world and the civilization of the Central Andes. This video, and the series as a whole, documents this process, its results, and their significance for the Yanesha people.

Recorded in the Central Andean Amazon of Peru, in 2005-06.

10th Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film, 2007

Directed by Wilton Martinez, Richard Chase Smith & Espiritu Bautista

roduction: Instituto del Bien Comun / Executive Producer: Richard Chase Smith

Research: Espiritu Bautista & Richard Chase Smith

Camera: Wilton Martinez & Richard Chase Smith / Editing: Wilton Martinez

Sound: Eduardo Bryce & Daniel Kirwayo / Production Assistant: Valbina Miguel

Illustrations: Anselmo Cruz / Maps: Richard Chase Smith

Funding & Support: Ford Foundation / Distributed by the Instituto del Bien Comun

Duration: 23 minutes

This film is recommended for teaching about subjects including:

oral history

myth and religion

indigenous knowledge

applied anthropology

Yanesha cultural identity

Andean Amazonian cultures

Latin American studies

For more information and to purchase this film

please contact Instituto del Bien Comun