Note Unless otherwise indicated all translations are mine.
The Nasa, who are the protagonists of this history, were formerly called
the Paez (a name based on a Spanish approximation of the name of a Nasa
hereditary chief living at the time of European invasion). In the past decade,
however, these people have chosen to identify themselves by a name deriving
from their own language (Nasa Yuwe). The earlier (Cambridge) edition of this
volume employs the term Paez, which was common usage at the time I con-
ducted my research in the late 1970s. However, in this volume all references
to Paez have been changed to Nasa, except for textual references I quote.
2 For example, see Jonathan Hill's (1988) edited volume on history and myth in
South American narratives of contact.
Constitutional provisions regarding indigenous peoples are only now begin-
ning to be implemented in the practical realm of local politics. For further
discussion on the 1991 Constitution and native peoples, see Gros (1993) and
the articles by Colombian and North American scholars in Rappaport (1996).
4 The 1994 disaster has also brought unprecedented funds to the Nasa, who
count among the poorest Colombians, as recent studies have shown (Carva-
jal 1995; Puerto Chavez 1995).
For example, my thesis described briefly on pp. 29-30, that the Nasa origi-
nated in the lowlands and were relatively recent migrants to Tierradentro,
was questioned by some (San Jose n.d.) and stated as fact by others (Escuela
del Pensamiento Nasa 1996).
Indigenous organizations have been active in preparing treatises outlining
their demands and their philosophies. Their writings frequently include state-
ments of the importance of history in their projects. For some South Ameri-
can examples of indigenous statements regarding history, see Comite de Soli-
daridad con las Luchas Indigenas-Pasto 1982; Consejo Indio de Sud America
1982; Gobernadores Indigenas en Marcha 1981; Guambia 1980; Wankar 1981.
2 Ethnographers of the Nasa include Bernal (1953, 19i4a, 1954b, 1955, 1956),
Hernandez de Alba (1963), Nachtigal! (1953, 1955), Ortiz (1973, 1979), Pittier
de Fabrega (1907), Rappaport (1982, 1985), Findji and Rojas (1985) and Sevilla
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