Shuar love poem
Ame irkaram paantin irkawai
Winia anemarmar tii shirmaiti
Wari makchat awajtitia, kajijmatnawai
Winia amunanuiti "aneajme"
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Translation of the love poem into shuar (chiwaro, jibaro, jivaro, shuara, xivaro). (50,000 speakers). Jivaro peoples speak shuar, this jivaroan language in Ecuador and Peru's Andes near the río Marañón, here their poem in jivaro.
They are still fifty thousand in the Ecuadorian Andes to speak their language, which is one of the official languages in Ecuador but it is of course Spanish which is the dominant language.
Jivaro peoples and shamans
In Ecuador, there are numerous archaeological remains showing the important indigenous civilizations settled in this country. In the 15th century the country was still populated by many groups who spoke their own language. Among the Jivaros, the agriculture with a belief system, linked to the "mother earth", was one of the essential resources of their subsistence economy (cassava, sweet potatoes, corn, peanuts). Their social existence was based on the existence of households each consisting of a nuclear family with dominant patrilineal filiation, where the marriage between crossed cousins and polygamy were practiced.
The weight of the shamans and the sexual rivalry were at the origin of conflicts in which the Jivaros cut off the heads of their opponents as a symbol of an increased power. Their animist beliefs, which gave the shamans an important role, were unable to preserve them from acculturation and white exploitation.
Animism places man, in the world around him, without doing him a creature, superior to others. He must compose, with fauna and flora, find its place, and keep the balance of the whole. The souls of animals and humans, are the same, only their incarnation differs. There must be other worlds, which are inaccessible. The shaman is the one able to do the link, he can enter into contact, with these other worlds, he can dialogue with the powers that reside there, he can dialogue with the spirits of the disappeared.
For his travels, the shaman uses psychotropic substances, which allow him to abolish reality by hallucinations, we can mention the coca, the datura, the oleander. To this is added ritual dances, on a repetitive music, favorable to trances. He is the knowledge, and the memory of the group. He knows the genealogy. Genealogy, which connects the founding ancestors. He is the one, who knows, the frauna and the flora, knows the plants, which can serve as a remedy. He is the one, who designates to others, the number, and the animals, that the group is authorized to take from the nature which surrounds it, without breaking its equilibrium.
At this animism time of humanity, to take too many animals from the forest, could mean deaths in the group, as if the soul of an animal, taken by men, must be returned to the supernatural, by the soul of a member of the group. The shaman is the one, who knows all this, and can dictate to the group the way to go.