Aymara Indians are indigenous people living in the Andes Mountains near the Atacama Desert, one of the most arid regions of the world. Amy Eisenberg bases Aymara Indian Perspectives on Development in the Andes on a framework of collaborative research and a detailed understanding of issues from the native point of view.
For Andean people, economic, spiritual, and social life are inextricably tied to land and water. The Aymara of Chile comprise a small, geographically isolated minority of the northern border Region XV, Arica y Parinacota, who are struggling to maintain their sustainable and traditional systems of irrigation water distribution, agriculture, and pastoralism in the Atacama Desert. Eisenberg explores the ethnoecological dimensions of the conflict between rapid economic growth and a sensitive cultural and natural resource base. This book is based on a framework of collaborative research and a detailed understanding of issues from the native point of view, and the author conducted ethnographic interviews with Aymara people in more than sixteen Andean villages.
Eisenberg uses a multidisciplinary approach drawing upon botany, archaeology, and history to present the Aymara worldview and the struggle to maintain sustainable traditional systems of irrigation, agriculture, and pastoralism. The Aymara Indians face three major impediments: the paving of Chile Highway 11, the diversion of Altiplano waters of the Rio Lauca for hydroelectricity and irrigation, and Chilean national park policies regarding their communities and natural resources.
Ethnographic interviews with Aymara people reveal the cultural and environmental dimensions of the larger conflict between rapid economic growth and a sensitive cultural and natural resource base. The book also contains vivid photographic details of fieldwork, local people, and the environment by photographer John Amato.