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Airdate: Jul 06, 2006
Scientist: Enrique Salmon

Kincentric Ecology - Breath

Kincentric Ecology - Breath
All of nature shares the same breath, so believe the Raramuri peoples of Mexico.

Kincentric Ecology - Breath

Music: Yumari song

The Raramuri people of Mexico say that the soul of every individual is embodied in the natural world. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The Raramuri practice a lifestyle of horticulture and harvesting in the eastern Sierra Madres, but they don't just live off the land - they live with it. Enrique Salmon is a Raramuri anthropologist whose work focuses on his own people. He believes that it is their connection to the land which allows the Raramuri to recognize the relationships between all living things.

ES: "I have to start with my culture's notion of what we call iwi, which roughly translates into breath, and we share the breath of everything around us. The breath is also how we think of our soul, and our souls are partly shared with everything around us."

This all-encompassing relationship is known in Raramuri culture as iwigara, a collection of the forces that bind the people to the land.

ES: "Iwigara translates in its simplest sense as all the energies of the universe that are interconnected. Iwigara helps a person relate to all forms of life because of that central notion of breath, and so the rocks, the plants, the animals, the wind, the waters, everything is sharing the same breath with us, and so we are a constantly connected to everything around us."

These cultural concepts manifest themselves in Raramuri ceremonies and rituals. Right now, we're listening to the Yumari song performed during the growing season. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.