The People of Aritama: The Cultural Personality of a Colombian Mestizo Village

The People of Aritama: The Cultural Personality of a Colombian Mestizo Village

The People of Aritama: The Cultural Personality of a Colombian Mestizo Village

The People of Aritama: The Cultural Personality of a Colombian Mestizo Village

Synopsis

Aritama is a small Mestizo peasant community in the tropical mountain country of northern Colombia, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Originally an Indian village, it was occupied during the second half of the last century by Creoles from the lowlands. It is now striving to escape its isolation and its Indian past to win acceptance as part of the national Creole peasantry.

Excerpt

The study of Aritama and its people, the basic results of which are incorporated in this report, was made possible by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, of New York. To this institution and in particular to its director, Dr. Paul Fejos, the authors express their sincere gratitude.

At the time this study was undertaken, official anthropology in Colombia was undergoing a crisis. The old Instituto Etnólogico Nacional had been dissolved and the new Instituto Colombiano de Antropología was founded, the consequence being the dispersal of many of the old staff members. Thanks to Father José Rafael Arboleda, S. J., Dean of the Faculty of Letters of Bogotá's St. Xavier's University, our initial project was taken under the sponsorship of that institution, and we are deeply indebted to the university's offer to back us in those critical times. When, several months later, after we had already left for the field, the new Instituto emerged, and we were honored to form part of its research staff, the directors, Drs. Francisco Antonio Vélez Arango and Antonio Andrade Crispino, kindly allowed us to continue our field work which was already well under way by that time.

In the planning and writing of this report several friends and colleagues gave us the benefit of their counsel and we are greatly obliged to them for the generous sharing of their knowledge. Father Arboleda read part of the manuscript and made many helpful suggestions and, with Dr. F. Ronnefeldt, of the World Health Organization, we were able to discuss many points relating to health and disease. Special thanks are due to Professor José de Recasens, of Bogoá, whose brilliant mind and deep insight were of immense help in all phases of our work. For the identification of plants and animals we are indebted to Dr. Armando Dugand, botanist; Dr. Roberto Jaramillo, botanist; and Dr. Frederik Medem, zoölogist, all three of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, of the National University of Bogotá. To Mrs. Lona Rawlins we owe a great debt for her painstaking work in correcting the grammar and style of our manuscript. To Mr. Alec S. Bright we are especially . . .

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