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Tunupa is among the oldest gods of the people of the southern Andean and Qollasuyu region and is associated with the creative and destructive forces of fire and volcanoes, thunder and lightning. In the classic version of Tunupa’s story, an elderly male figure travels from the north to the south of Lake Titicaca. He is imprisoned, then cast away on a raft on the lake. As his raft drifts, it opens up the Desaguadero River, on which it then floats farther south, giving distinct features to the Andean landscape.

The version recounted here, based on Ramiro Molina Rivero’s contemporary ethnographic...

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