Colombia - 1997
This book compiles the history of the Upichía (nowadays known as Matapí), an ethnic group living in the area of the upper Mirtí and Apaporis River, in north-western Amazonia. The text corresponds to the translation and transcription of ordered episodes of their history as told by a knowledgeable old man, Carlos Mutapí (Huai), to his son Uldarica (Turupi), who received the traditional training to manage a roundhouse (maloca).
The book consists of three parts. The first deals with the origin of the world and the most important events that took place during the first phases of creation. This part includes chapters on the origin of the roundhouse and the rules for its maintenance, as well as the discovery and beginning of agriculture that led to the cultivated field (chagras) that should accomplish the maloca. The next part is related to the social organisation of the tribe. Finally a sequence is presented, told in great detail, on the major hero of the ethnic group, who is considered to be the principal forefather of the group.
This book is a first careful attempt of the Upichía Indians to transcribe oral history into written text, so that at least part of the accumulated indigenous knowledge remains written for future generations and anthropological science.