By Célimo Ramón Nejedeka Jifichíu
Editors: Giovanna Micarelli, Nelson Ortiz, Hernán Gómez
Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia), 2020
It is with great pleasure that I share with you Cultivando la ciencia del árbol de la salud, a book on the People of the Center’s health knowledge. The book was written by Célimo Nejedeka, a long time Muinane friend with whom I collaborated on this project since 1998, together with Nelson Ortiz and Hernán Gómez.
The book offers an overview of the structure – “the tree” – of traditional health knowledge shared by the People of the Center (Muinane, Bora-Miraña, Murui, Ocaina, Nonuya, Andoque and Resigaro ethnic groups). It includes a series of mythical narratives about the emergence of the Creator’s knowledge of life and its progressive materialization through the dialectic interaction of a variety of agents. Mythical narratives are explained and commented on to introduce the principles of the knowledge of health and the guidelines that order its transmission and maintenance. The annexes show an instance of the application of such knowledge in the interpretation of acute respiratory illness and diarrhea symptoms, and a questionnaire for apprentices.
The author’s wish is that this work might help indigenous communities to recover the knowledge that indigenous specialists still maintain, but that tends to be forgotten and confused. He also hopes that Western society can benefit from this work in order to improve the planning and articulation of health programs in indigenous territories, and the care of life in general. Finally, the purpose of this work is to contribute to a pluralistic conception of health, and to remind Western society that humans have the responsibility and the power to materialize the good life through their thought, word and action.
The book was published by the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in 300 free copies that will be distributed to indigenous communities and organizations, state institutions and NGOs. The publisher also provided the open online version that you can access through the following link:
(Information provided by Giovanna Micarelli)