Session: Conservation Planning, Policy, And Theory 1
Biocultural conservation inspired by raptors' poems: Human and bird voices calling from southern Chile
Monday, August 2, 2021
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Emily Hudson, Institute of Ecology and Biodiveristy & UNiversidad de Magallanes, Chile, Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Puerto Williams, TX, Chile and Ricardo Rozzi, Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, IEB-UMAG-UNT, Denton, TX
Institute of Ecology and Biodiveristy & UNiversidad de Magallanes, Chile, Omora Ethnobotanical Park Puerto Williams, TX, Chile
Background/Question/Methods Latin American art provides multifaceted ways to understand and express biocultural diversity, as shown by indigenous and non-indigenous paintings, songs, and poetry. In this work, we focus on the Twenty Winged Poems from the Native Forests of Southern Chile, which are the expression of a hybridization of knowledge. The indigenous Mapuche poetry of Lorenzo Aillapan and the philosophical-ornithological work of Ricardo Rozzi. To explore potential for inter-specific and inter-cultural dialogues, in this collective creation we recorded birdcalls along with Aillapan’s poems in Mapudungun, Spanish, and English languages. In 2001, at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile, we recorded twenty poems to suggest that bird poems are poems of love like Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems. In 2020-2021, Emily Hudson analyzed the six poems about raptors: Traru or Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus), Triuki or Chimango Caracara (Milvago chimango), Ñamku or Red-backed Hawk (Geranoaetus polyosoma), Killkill or Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium nanum), Chiwüd or Barn Owl (Tyto alba), and Kong-Kong or Rufous-legged Owl (Strix rufipes). We compared Aillapan’s poems with Neruda’s poems about the same birds (or close relatives), analyzing their form and content focusing on bird-human relationships, ecological knowledge, environmental values, and implications for biocultural conservation. Results/Conclusions Regarding the form, we found that Aillapan’s poems allude to interspecies dialogues by using onomatopoeic verses. Aillapan sticks to a three-stanza pattern, with eight lines in each stanza, the last two lines of each stanza being a repeated onomatopoeic refrain imitating the call of the bird of the poem. In the recorded poems, we found synchronic variations in the tones of Aillapan’s onomatopoeic refrains and the birdcalls. Neruda’s poems vary in their stanza patterns (some are four stanzas with four lines each, others are free flowing with no obvious structured pattern), presenting variations in rhythm associated with the composed form. Regarding the content, Neruda’s and Aillapan’s poems include stories of affection, play, and care between birds and humans. Both write about being in love with life, as a way of being aware of the multitude of relationships of which they are a part. Natural imagery in both poets is not merely metaphorical but is a reflection of a bio-cultural reality they have experienced and for which they care. It is through this reality that they feel attuned to the rhythm of nature, and into which they invite us to participate inspired by poetic pathways for biocultural conservation.