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Mapping a culture

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Interdisciplinary project documents indigenous hunter-gatherers in Peru

 
A member of the Ese'Eja Nation, an indigenous hunting, gathering and fishing people living in the Amazonian region of Peru.

A cultural mapping project by University of Delaware students, faculty and partners, focusing on the EseEja Nation -- a hunting, gathering and fishing people living in the Amazonian region of Peru -- has created a video documenting some of the indigenous peoples daily lives.

Supported by grants from the National Geographic Genographic Legacy Fund and UDs Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, Institute for Global Studies and Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, The Ancestral Lands of the EseEja -- The True People can be viewed here.

The video is the most recent product of a collaborative project and expedition to Peru in May and June to explore the lives and culture of the EseEja, a community of three distinct villages living in the remote areas of Infierno, Palma Real and Sonene, Peru. The expedition included four UD students and faculty members Jon Cox, assistant professor of art; Carla Guerr??n Montero, associate professor of anthropology; and Rosalie Rol??n Dow, associate professor of education.

Cox, a photographer, has traveled several times to Peru in recent years, involving University students in various aspects of the work. He previously completed a widely acclaimed cultural mapping project to document and preserve the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania.

Objectives of the current project include documenting the EseEja lifestyle, creating a community plan and programming education for EseEja schools, surrounding communities and internationally through the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research. The EseEja community had already, independently, begun a similar project to preserve its culture. 

An account of the project, titled The EseEja: From a Cotton Thread in the Sky to Protectors of the Amazon, is available on the National Geographic website.

To sign up to receive news and updates, visit the projects website.

Interdisciplinary teams, including faculty, students and alumni of UD in addition to other partners, worked on the mapping project from February through June. The four students presented the results of their work at the Undergraduate Research and Service Celebratory Symposium, held Thursday, Aug. 14, on campus.

Cultural mapping project participants

The project involved numerous participants, working in teams on various aspects of the final product. They are:

Project managersCox and Rocio Martinez, of Rainforest Expeditions in Peru;

UD anthropology teamGuerr??n Montero and anthropology student Chelsea Rozanski;

Ethnobotany teamKatherine Koumoutseas, a consultant whose daughter is a UD undergraduate, and UD plant science student Brian Griffiths;

UD education teamRol??n Dow and education student Morgan Lehr; and

Photography/video teamCox; Andrew Bale, Dickinson College lecturer and a 2005 UD alumnus, with a masters degree in fine arts; Steven Zeigler, a New York City Apple employee and a 2007 UD graduate; and UD visual communications student Lindsay Yeager.

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A cultural mapping project by UD students, faculty and partners has created a video of the daily lives of an indigenous people in Peru.
8/18/2014
 
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