ac know ledg ments
This book has been in the making for so long that I couldn’t possibly name
each and every one to whom I am indebted for support, advice, help, or
simply for so generously providing their valuable time. Rather than com-
mitting the crime of omission (to which ac knowledgment sections tend to
fall prey), I shall refrain from mentioning individual names here, express-
ing my thanks to collectivities instead.
My most immediate debts are to the many people in Colombia who over
the years opened their doors to me and my inquiries. In par ticular I want to
thank the people of Guapi and the surrounding river basins on the Pacific
Coast among whom I lived during 1998–99 and whom I have visited on re-
peated occasions since. I am most grateful to the many activists of the orga-
nizations of black communities in Colombia with whom I interacted over the
past twenty years; they include the Proceso de Comunidades Negras, pcn;
the National Movement for Human Rights of Afro- Colombian Communities,
cimarrón; the Association of Displaced Afro- Colombians, afrodes; the
Guapi- based groups of cococauca and matamba y guasá; and the many
community council leaders who shared their valuable time and opinions
with me on the collective land titling pro cess. Their activism, often in the
face of threats to their lives, is utterly inspiring.
Very special thanks to everyone at the Colombian Institute of Anthro-
pology and History (icanh) in Bogotá, where I was based during my
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