Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds
Marisol de la Cadena is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis, and the author of Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru, 1919–1991, also published by Duke University Press.
Chamanismo Andino in the Third Millennium: Multiculturalism Meets Earth-Beings
On July 30, 2001, Alejandro Toledo was inaugurated as president of Peru in a ceremony that took place in Machu Picchu—the quintessential icon of tourism in the country. In addition to national state officials and Latin American presidents, the ceremony included Andean ritual experts. One of them was Nazario Turpo, who performed a despacho, a practice to commune the many powerful other-than-human beings in the region—in this case, with Machu Picchu. Nazario’s participation in the ceremony also inaugurated his career as an Andean shaman. In this story I describe how Nazario made the tourists’ demands compatible with the demands posed to him by earth-beings. Conceptually, this story illustrates the partial connections taking place through Andean shamanism: tourists’ multicultural consumption (and the presidential desire for an inauguration in Machu Picchu) was enabled by Nazario’s ability to commune with earth-beings.