Petroglifo. Segmento de la Anaconda Ancestral, origen de la humanidad. Fotografía del libro del profesor Fernando Urbina Rangel. Petroglifo. Segmento de la Anaconda Ancestral, origen de la humanidad. Fotografía del libro del profesor Fernando Urbina Rangel.

'Dïïjoma', un antiguo mito uitoto

En esta entrega de ARCADIA Traduce, Felipe Botero comparte un fragmento en inglés del "Proemio" de 'Dïïjoma', el libro en el que el profesor Fernando Urbina Rangel transcribe un antiguo mito uitoto que escuchó de la boca del Abuelo Muinane José García en 1976.

2019/08/13

Por Felipe Botero Quintana

Este mes quisiera compartir con mis lectores un proyecto en el que estoy inmerso: la traducción al inglés del Dïïjoma, el libro del profesor Fernando Urbina Rangel. Conocí al profesor Urbina en septiembre del año pasado, en un almuerzo que tomó lugar en Tábula, en Bogotá, en el que Cuatro Direcciones estaba buscando recaudar fondos para ayudar a financiar el Encuentro de los Mayores del Predio Putumayo. Como uno de los mayores conocedores académicos de las cosmovisiones de las diversas comunidades indígenas del Amazonas, el profesor Urbina no podía faltar a esta reunión en la que se buscaba iniciar el proceso de reflexión que tomaría forma luego en la maloca del Abuelo Reynaldo Giagrekudo, en la Chorrera.

En efecto, en el Encuentro de Mayores del Predio Putumayo se quería no solo conmemorar el trigésimo aniversario de la creación del resguardo indígena más grande de Colombia, sino impulsar una reflexión acerca de las condiciones actuales de vida, no solo en el Amazonas, sino en todo el país, incluso en toda esa esfera indeterminada y fluida a la que parecemos condenados a pertenecer que llamamos Occidente.

Esta reflexión sería potenciada y guiada por la hoja de coca y su uso ritual en el marco de la conversación, el “mambe”. Cuando finalmente partimos hacia la Chorrera para asistir y registrar el Encuentro un mes después, no pude encontrar mejor compañero de viaje que otro libro del profesor Urbina: Las hojas del poder: relatos sobre la coca entre los uitotos y muinanes de la Amazonia colombiana. En él, el profesor Urbina logra conjugar de manera fascinante una crítica a la filosofía occidental al mejor estilo de Heidegger y la corriente hermenéutica contemporánea, con una exposición bastante panorámica del pensamiento amazónico y su relación con la praxis vital. Luego compone una serie de poemas que exponen las fuerzas físicas y espirituales que entran en acción en el uso de la coca en el Amazonas, desde su siembra y recolección hasta su consumo ritual en el “mambe” junto al tabaco y el ambil. Ya desde aquel momento soñé con la posibilidad de entrar en diálogo con ese texto de manera más profunda, en esa forma intensa y comprometida que quizás sólo permite la traducción. 

No obstante, en aquel momento seguía inmerso en la preparación de la edición de El corazón de la oscuridad que lanzamos con la editorial El Peregrino en mayo de este año. Ese era un proyecto que no estaba en absoluto desligado de lo que estaba viendo y viviendo en el Amazonas en aquel momento: el mural que me detuve a contemplar bajo la lluvia en la Casa del Conocimiento, antigua Casa Arana, bien podía haber sido pintado en el Congo para ilustrar los horrores del extractivismo económico colonial allá, alrededor de la misma época que estaba sucediendo acá el genocidio de las caucheras.

Coincidencialmente, este mes se concretará el encuentro de ambos proyectos cuando el martes 13 nos reunamos a las 6:00 de la tarde en la Biblioteca Nacional para conversar con el profesor Urbina acerca de la génesis de la novela de Conrad y su relación con las atrocidades acontecidas en el Putumayo que, como ya he sustentado en otros lugares, es densa y multifacética.

Para terminar esta introducción, solo resta contar por qué al emprender la traducción de uno de los textos del profesor Urbina al inglés me decidí por el Dïïjoma y no por las Hojas del poder. La razón es que mi primo, Richard Decaillet, uno de los fundadores de Cuatro Direcciones, está intentando forjar una alianza internacional en torno al Yadico: “el ritual colectivo (fiesta) más importante de la nación Uitoto, toda vez que se trata de la ceremonia que retrotrae al origen de la humanidad”, como lo describe el profesor Urbina en uno de los fragmentos traducidos al inglés acá. Con el apoyo de ProHelvetia, se busca dar a conocer este hermoso ritual con el que se dio por finalizado el Encuentro de Mayores en octubre del año pasado, en la maloca del Abuelo Calixto Kuiru.

Pero en realidad no se trata solo de que se conozca el Yadico sino también de recuperarlo, de resignificarlo para descubrir su relevancia para las nuevas generaciones de las comunidades indígenas del Amazonas y también para nosotros, los “occidentales”. Así pues, lo que queremos es plantear un ritual en el que se fusione el Yadico con una práctica teatral multivisual y para ello el Dïïjoma del profesor Urbina es perfecto, pues el mito está transcrito en una modalidad de declamación que evoca a la danza y también al teatro. 

Por ahora va este pequeño pedazo del Proemio en el que el profesor Urbina cuenta cómo llegó a escuchar el mito de Dïïjoma de la boca del Abuelo Muinane José García en 1976.


PREAMBLE

We were walking in silence by the path that runs parallel to the Takana, a creek that flows through the dense jungle next to Leticia, when the troubled cry of a bird of prey penetrated the hazy afternoon. 

“Elder, what is the nuikï that just sang?” I asked don José. 

“It is the májaño, the greatest hawk of all. The feathers on top and on his wings are black but those in his collar are white. He has a big quiff that rises up whenever he is angry. His gaze is fierce. In the zoo in Leticia you can see a big one of those”. 

“Is he the one that devours monkeys?”. 

“Yes, but he can also hunt down a yaiño (a sloth). He will grab whatever he can. Once, a long time ago, in Peru, I saw how he launched at a deer on a sandbank and tried to take it with him. Those of us who were watching ran and managed to scare him away. The poor little deer was left for us but, in any case, it was too heavy for him to carry it. He had clawed him in the back and in the nape. Eight stabs”. 

We heard him squawk again and we continue with our walk. I was thinking about an anecdote Pascacio – the Embera teacher of Catrú, in Chocó – had told me: a big eagle had attacked a young boy that was playing on the banks of the Dubaza river, where his father was fishing. Luckily, the man had his guache (bow) ready and he managed to aim it to the animal, hitting it superficially; the arrow did not stick.  To that majestic bird, the two-year old must have looked like a strange little monkey, with little fur and no tail. 

A few meters further ahead we arrived to the edge of a chagra and heard the cry of the big harpy eagle, the Harpia harpyja. We entered the orchard, zigzagging through the palisades and looking up, following the source of those screeches, we saw a pair flying high above, tracing circles in the hot afternoon’s blue sky.   

“They are eyeing their prey,” said the Elder. “They know that the chagras’ edges are good places to hunt, because the crops attract many different animals. When there is fruit to harvest, the monkeys often come in to steal it”.

“Amazing,” I said. “That they see the monkey from up there and they launch at it doesn’t surprise me, because they move a lot and some of them are very flashy; but I cannot understand how they can see from that distance the sloth, who cannot move a leg without first asking his other leg permission and who, in addition, have such great camouflage. One can even see green grass in their fur!”.

“That is their strength,” replied don José. “That is their secret”.

The eagles completed two more circles, then headed at long last to the sun, which was setting. I asked:

“Elder, do you recall any story here, of the Amazon, in which a boy was attacked by one of these eagles?”. 

“Well, if you are talking about ordinary animals and people, no; but in the ancient tales, yes”. 

“Is that the story in which the tribal leader turns into a hawk and kills people so that he can feed its brood?”. 

“Yes, that one. But that story begins first with the nuyo (the boa, the anaconda). It is only in the second part that the eagle enters”. 

“How so, Elder? In the same story there is a serpent and an eagle?”.

“Well yes. The problem is that people don’t know the complete stories, so they tell only small fragments. Anyway, the story I know is only a thread in a much bigger coil”. 

We were talking thus when he said that it was time to head back home, so we could harvest the coca. 

We started to walk calmly, with no hurry, as we used to do when travelling through the almost imperceptible hunting trails of the jungle, so that we could stop and look at what arose and talk about it. We left the chagra but as soon as we crossed the frontier between orchard and woods, don José kneeled down and said:

“We are in luck. This little grass is what gave Dïïijoma the strength to fly. By taking these leaves he was able to turn into a hawk”. 

And as he was stroking them, he concluded: 

“Well, now there are two signs: first the eagles and then this”. 

After another long stretch of silence, I asked again:

“Have you ever hunted down one of those, Elder?”. 

“Of course, more than once. One time I killed a pair. That was a good occasion because we had been invited to a Yadiko-dance and days before the party the opportunity presented itself to me. It wasn’t only luck: I had been asking for that sort of prey in the coqueadero. It was very easy. You should have seen me: I was able to align them in my sight and strike them in one shot, from the top of an aniba tree, at the chagra’s border. Thus, I was able to make two crowns with the feathers from the tail and collect a big amount of plumage to paint our bodies; and also to make several flutes from its shins. We put on a great show in that Dance”. 

“And what did you do with its meat?”. 

“That we ate. It tastes like hen. And, you know, the biggest in those pairs is the female; it is not that there are two different sorts of bird, as some people believe”. 

We arrived at last to the plowed road that goes from the Takana to don José’s ranch. We stopped at his house only to take out the baskets to harvest the coca and to leave don José’s 16 caliber shotgun (taken from the Colombian army) and my Winchester carabine, caliber 22, loaded with extra-large bullets. That day we had not come back with any hunting prey but my basket of knowledge was being filled with more teachings; teachings required to be able to live like a true man.

We started to harvest the coca leaves with the care that such practice requires. In my mind I thought about what the Elder would often say in these occasions, practicing in his behavior what he was uttering in his speech: “The plant must be treated with delicacy, as one does with a child”, one has to collect each leaf calmly, religiously

When both baskets were half full, we searched the room to collect dry leaves of yarumo: coca’s companion. Suddenly, in that peaceful moment, a dove started cooing softly; it felt as if it was bringing in the night, singing the foliage to sleep. 

“Elder, have you heard the poem about the dove? It’s by the same writer we discussed the other day, José Eustasio Rivera, the one who wrote The Whirlwind, the novel that describes the atrocities committed against the indigenous populations of the Amazon by the Casa Arana. Let me tell it to you:

Simple singer of a great discontent,
Among the shrubs the canopy keeps hidden,
Troubling the foliage with soft lament
Nibbling myrtle, sour grape pips – wood pigeon!

Sings coo –roo- roo, glimpsing day’s first ascent
And later evening’s brief reflected vision,
Sees from the gúaimaro’s overspreading tent
Silent peace fill the slopes, that tree’s dominion.

Half-open the wings iridescent in the light,
Solitude – poor soul! – saddens its delight,
And it fluffs up its head feathers, a light hood.

To the maternal heartbeat of domains it holds
In its own entrails, it croons to mountains, folds
Them in sleep, light drowns in a dark wood.

We were silent for a while, listening to the cooing. When he came back upon himself, the Elder declared:

“Well, there is no escaping it: tonight we shall talk about Dïïjoma. We have already received three”. 

“Three what, Elder?”. 

He smiled and just said:

“We have already received three!”.

*La traducción del poema de José Eustasio Rivera fue hecha en colaboración con Ranald Barnicot | The English version of the poem by Jose Eustasio Rivera was made in collaboration with Ranald Barnicot

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