An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links
to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore,
Sacred Arts & Traditions

Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.







"Wild Stream" (with Black Tiger)
Elvis Luna
From the Amazon Project [see below for home page]
From the journal, Athena Review, comes this paper on Francisco de Orellana,  a mid-16th century governor of Guayaquil, Ecuador, who joined a 1541-1542 expedition that was the first to travel the entire length of the Amazon River.  I found the paper especially interesting for its details on the "Amazon" women warriors (for whom Orellana named the river), and their lion or jaguar goddess, who loved offerings of bright bird feathers:
....[she] required tribute from these villagers in the form of colored macaw and parrot feathers used to line the roofs of their temples.
This is a lovely, rich site on the rainforests of Suriname (east of Venezuela) done by Marco Bleeker, who took the photos as a doctoral student in biology at the University of Utrecht, NL.  It has a "slide show," which means when you click on the designated bar, you'll see a series of gorgeous photos of colorful flowers, plants, snakes, frogs from the jungle; a few jungle sounds also play from time to time.  (See below for one of his photos.)  The photos are great.  At the bottom of the page, under a notice to students, there's a linked page that answers many questions and also provides a large number of links to worldwide rainforests.  You could spend a good deal of productive time here.

Morpho Menaelaus
Photo by Marco Bleeker (used with permission)
This site, "Dr. Anna C. Roosevelt: Archaeology of the Amazon," by Patrick N. Findlay, is an engrossing account of the work of an impressive and controversial woman (the granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt) working in the field of South American Paleoindian pre-history.  At the bottom of the paper are links to more sites on her work -- these range from brief newspaper accounts to indepth reports.  There is also a good interview with her from National Public Radio if your browser supports the sound-file (and if your internet service provider doesn't cut you off midstream, as mine did).
This paper, "Anna Roosevelt: Sharp and to the point in Amazon archeology," is my favorite of the links from the above site.  It discusses Roosevelt's fieldwork at rugged Brazilian sites possibly dating back 11,000 years; she argues that these sites are pre-Clovis, a view at odds with the usual assumption that South America was settled solely by big game hunting Clovis peoples from the north, not more adaptable gatherer/hunters:
...These people, broadly classifed as Paleoindians, hunted small game, caught fish and turtles and foraged for plants, nuts and fruits....They found time to express themselves in wall paintings that survive and give the place its name -- Caverna da Pedra Pintada, Cave of the Painted Rock.

The paintings, though lacking the animation and dramatic sweep of the earlier Cro-Magnon art in French and Spanish caves, are notable as the oldest firmly dated examples of art in the Western
Hemisphere. In broad strokes of red, yellow and brown, these Paleoindians decorated the cave with simple stick figures of people, including a woman in childbirth, as well as geometric patterns, a blazing comet and something like tic-tac-toe, which could have served a calendric purpose. And they left prints of their hands, adults and chidren alike, signatures of their existence.
This is a page from Ron Mader's El Planeta Platica, "Exploring the Amazon."  It's still under construction but if you scroll down a bit, you'll find an excellent archive of 8 or 9 essays (the links are annotated) on the Amazon's peoples, lore, history, problems, solutions -- these range from a few brief paragraphs to lengthy scholarly papers with dozens of background sources (also see directly below).
Note: sites marked with a green ball are Mader's and link smoothly, but when I visited the site in late June 1999, I found that the majority of links to outside sites (marked with a blue ball) were dead; regardless, the quality of Mader's own linked pages make this a great resource.
This is a lengthy, first rate paper, "Biodiversity in the Amazon: Promoting Indigenous Stewardship as Policy," by Jordan E. Erdosa.  It is a link taken from the above Ron Mader site and includes a brief passage about indigenous mythology concerning an ancient storm spirit whose love for honey results in reintroducing lost bee species to the rainforest.  The paper also includes the following striking contrast between the colonial and indigenous mindsets:
"The Indians often tell me that the difference between a colonist [a non-indigenous settler] and an Indian," notes Martin von Hildebrand, Colombian anthropologist, "is that the colonist wants to leave money for his children and that the Indians want to leave forests for their children."
This is another of Ron Mader's pages, this time on coffee-growing throughout Latin America, from Mexico south.  While the data is brief, there's a wealth of links here for those wishing to explore further.

"La Madre Tapir"
by Pablo Amaringo
(see directly below for his Amazon Project)
This link is to the Amazon Project where indigenous students ranging in age from 8 to 24 are trained as artists:
The Usko-Ayar Amazonian School of Painting was created in 1988 through a collaboration of Peruvian painter and Shaman, Pablo Amaringo, and the Colombian anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna and his wife, Sirpa Rasanen. The first pupils remain today as teachers, and the school has more than 700 students. The school is open to all and is free of costs. Art materials and other expenses are met by sales of paintings; half is paid to the painter.
The beautiful site is filled with the visionary, lush art of Pablo Amaringo and his students, each of whom portrays some aspect of the jungle's flora and fauna that he or she loves.  I spent about two hours thoroughly exploring all the gallery pages (that's how I found the four magnificent images I've used elsewhere on this page) -- and I felt enriched by the experience.
Note: If you click on the name of each artist, you'll find the artist's own comments about what is in the painting.  Many of these are quite moving.
This is a leisurely, tanalizing first installment on "Amazon Spiritual Paths" written by Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz, a professor at Smith College who was born in a region known as Loen, located near the Mamore' River, a tributary of the Amazon.  The page comes from the author's diary entries from the late 1960's-1970's.  They concern his relationship with the teachings of Paa' Antuino, a Loenian chieftain, healer, sage.  The central theme of Paa's teachings, as Suárez-Araúz writes, are about "the mosekuse' tuina, the forgetfulness from which all creativity and wholeness comes":
"Paa'. Long time", I said as we embraced. "How are you?"         "You've gotten lost," he said.
"True. I traveled all the way--to the United States."
"People get lost there, I hear."
"Like in the forest."
"No. In the forest you don't get lost. You forget yourself."
That had been his long-standing theme, ever since I could   remember.  "Forget what?"
"Life, death, everything that separates and divides and unites...."
I wanted to know much more but the installment ends.  It is to be hoped that its author will find the time in his hectic teaching schedule to resume with this work.
Note: this site offers no way to contact the author, but a link to another of his pages (directly below) does provide his e-mail address.  I've already written to express my hope that he'll continue with these installments.
This is another page from Smith College's Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz, co-director of the Center for Amazonian Literature and Culture (CALC).  Entitled "Poets and Writers Against the Destruction of Amazonia," the brief 1997 essay offers an overview of Amazonian ecology (with good newspaper references for data) and then invites writers worldwide to help save these forests:
We poets and writers owe our allegiance to the procreation of forests.  For centuries we have depended on wood pulp to disseminate our words. As human beings we owe our continuing existence to the uninterrupted cycles of nature. Let us then assume the responsibility to at least put our words on the line. I ask my fellow Amazonian writers, North American, as well as world writers to promote the preservation of Amazonia.
The organization produces a journal and seeks submissions from those writing on Amazonian issues.

Cacao Trees
(From Cadbury site)
The premise of this fascinating little piece from Ron Mader's El Planeta Platica site is that the cocoa plant needs the shade of the rainforest to grow -- thus, if more people ate more chocolate, economics would aid in the survival of the Amazon's rainforests:
When you savor a piece of chocolate, you're tasting a passion that began in the shadowy origins of civilization in Latin America.  Today, the ancient and widespread craving for chocolate, conservationists say, can help save rainforest.

Author's Note:

Since cocoa plays a major religious role in Meso America among the Mayans and Aztecs, as well as in South America, I've created a separate Latin American "featured" page, The Lore & History of Chocolate.  Please click the link to visit this illustrated page.



Up to the top of this Amazonian Peoples page

Down to: Andean Peoples

Down to: Patagonian Peoples

Down to: Peoples of Other South American Regions

Back to: South America page
Back to: Latin America page entry page

Back to: Indigenous Peoples meta-page


If you have comments or suggestions, please email me at


This page created with Netscape Gold

Technical assistance: William Weeks

Text and Design:
Copyright 1999 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

This page is dedicated to Alise Katlin VrMeer, born 28 June 1999.
May she and the other children born in her generation
be wiser caretakers of Earth than her elders have been.

Page begun 25 June 1999, 2am; went on-line 1 July 1999.
Latest Update: 12 July 1999