|Simon, a local Tacana forest guide, headed up river towards Madidi Park. In the background you can see the Bullet Hills (look for the divit in the mountain) or Bala, which gave the community its modern name.|
|The common area at the lodge where visitors can learn about Tacana history, culture, and local nature or enjoy a nap in a hammock.|
|A school and hamlet of houses in the center of San Miguel de Bala|
Then in the 90´s, with the rise of extraction of natural resources, activists, government officials, and the various indigenous communities worked together to create the Madidi National Park and a few other preserves in the area in hopes that it would generate income while also protecting the resources so critical to the people of these communities.
|Antonia, a Tacana community members weaves an egg collecting basket in 5 minutes. A traditional technique of palm frond weaving.|
Loss of traditional lands and the influence of other cultures inevitably creates changes in any culture. The Tacana language is essential moribund, unused within the community. Traditional ways of subsistence have been replaced by agriculture, along with changes in fishing methods and the use of other different building processes. Yet this does not make the Tacana any less Tacana, and a great deal of traditional knowledge on medicine, hunting, fishing, and foresty is still in pragmatic use.
On the beach of the Rio Beni sits one of the last (the only I could find) of the fully dugout canoes from the Suliman tree. Now used as the bottom piece for other styles of boats, the knowledge for tree selection and shaping the hull survives. Style and form have simply changed with time and new processes.
|A gorgeous curve on ¨the last canoe¨|
Simply being in these forests, spending time next to the constant flow of the powerful Beni, walking through the synphony of the jungle, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the essential ideas and beautiful of this landscape. I found a Colomerito seed which had the elemental shape of the canoe. It reminded me of the universality of the canoe´s shape, dancing with the same laws of nature in every context of water, in every environment on our beautiful planet. Yet it is made of which ever plant or animal can also flourish in this environment. The indigenous whom create canoes, or created canoes, for their survival in oft hospitable environments turned them Eden-esque, tapping this idea - this form.
|A seed in the form of a canoe, the seed of the idea of a canoe|