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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/tr.2014.2.05

Joanna Sosnowska, Monika Kujawska


In this paper we present a myth about the origins of the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes Kunth), recorded during a research project dedicated to landscape domestication and the management of palms by the Asháninka people of Amazonian Peru. This myth is most likely the outcome of cross-fertilization between European Christian and Amerindian traditions during colonial times, but which must have undergone significant changes during the ‘indianization’ process. The myth provides an excellent starting point for discussing Asháninka relationships with non-humans and the environment and ways of transmitting ethnoecological knowledge, as well as the importance of the sharing of food. It is also relevant in explaining the purposes of peach palm domestication by the Asháninka, as well as their knowledge and participation in the dispersal of the palm. We conclude that peach palm utilization is only one facet of the relationship between the kiri palm and Asháninka people.


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