Living Culture

Living CultureKayapo music, Corn Dance Celebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.The Kayapo Indians were faced with a dilemma. The Brazilian government was preparing to flood their lands with a hydroelectric project. How to bring together the fourteen independent Kayapo communities scattered throughout the Amazon, to confront the government at Altamira dam. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Turner: What the leadership came up with was the idea that they would start celebrating the corn ceremony in their several villages and then come together at Altamira for the final rite of the corn ceremony. They would celebrate that together at Altamira. And that was the one event in their traditional ceremonial calendar when they could all be doing the same thing at the same time. So the corn ceremony became the framework for the Altamira political confrontation with the government.Terry Turner is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.Turner: What the ceremony is all about is the renewal of the Kayapo society’s relation to its environment. Its ability to use the forces of nature in its own way sustainably to renew, reproduce their society. That’s what the corn ceremony is, and, of course, that’s what they were there to defend in Altamira. So it was a kind of brilliant use of their own ritual to deliver the political message to the world, but also to themselves. From the point of view of the Indians themselves, what’s vital about their culture is their ability to use their traditional forms to express what they’re going through at the moment which not only includes their confrontation with Brazilian society. That’s a very creative ability to adapt their own native cultural traditions into new forms, and to add new layers of meaning without taking away the old. In fact, those old become the vital foundation for these new creative uses. I think that’s living culture. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Living Culture

The Kayapo turned their corn ceremony into a confrontation with the Brazilian government. This archival program is part of our 30th anniversary celebration. Anthropologist Terry Turner (1935-2015) was a strong proponent for the rights of indigenous peoples.
Air Date:07/20/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Living CultureKayapo music, Corn Dance Celebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.The Kayapo Indians were faced with a dilemma. The Brazilian government was preparing to flood their lands with a hydroelectric project. How to bring together the fourteen independent Kayapo communities scattered throughout the Amazon, to confront the government at Altamira dam. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Turner: What the leadership came up with was the idea that they would start celebrating the corn ceremony in their several villages and then come together at Altamira for the final rite of the corn ceremony. They would celebrate that together at Altamira. And that was the one event in their traditional ceremonial calendar when they could all be doing the same thing at the same time. So the corn ceremony became the framework for the Altamira political confrontation with the government.Terry Turner is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.Turner: What the ceremony is all about is the renewal of the Kayapo society's relation to its environment. Its ability to use the forces of nature in its own way sustainably to renew, reproduce their society. That's what the corn ceremony is, and, of course, that's what they were there to defend in Altamira. So it was a kind of brilliant use of their own ritual to deliver the political message to the world, but also to themselves. From the point of view of the Indians themselves, what's vital about their culture is their ability to use their traditional forms to express what they're going through at the moment which not only includes their confrontation with Brazilian society. That's a very creative ability to adapt their own native cultural traditions into new forms, and to add new layers of meaning without taking away the old. In fact, those old become the vital foundation for these new creative uses. I think that's living culture. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.