chapter  3
35 Pages

Caring for herd animals in Isluga

Having enquired into the character of the South American camelids and of Andean pasture lands as nourishing terrain, I now wish to examine the particular relationship established between human beings and their herd animals in Isluga. My concern in this chapter is to understand how herders maintain a relationship with their camelids through the constant re-enactment of certain practices. Instead of ‘domesticating’ their animals, the owners continually tame new generations of camelids into an appropriate form of Isluga animal society. The fullest cultural expression of this process of caring for animals, the elaborate wayñu ceremony, is considered subsequently in Chapter 4. My aim here is to observe how animals are cared for during the annual cycle of events in Isluga and how these routine events unfold in place, space and time. The terminology of ‘domesticating animals’ and ‘domestication’ as used in the writings of anthropologists and archaeologists in Chapter 2 yields to one that focuses on ‘caring’ for herd animals within specific terrains that nourish both herds and their herders.