Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Yekuana Games Central to Beliefs - Documentary
This short film produced by Venezuelan videographer Angel Rizo and Francesca Staasch and directed by Enrique Blein Gerstl documents the life and beliefs of the Yekuana people of the Venezuelan rainforest as expressed through their games.
The filmmakers travelled to Santa Maria del Erebato in the Yekuana heartland to discover the games the Yekuana play to express mythic concepts and train the boys in hunting skills.
The narrator describes how the Yekuana, also known as Maquiritare, believe that the jaguar must only ever be killed in self-defence as he was once a man.
The myth states that a lazy man who refused to take part in the heavy labours of his village was cast out and forced to fend for himself, eventually turning to cannibalism, eating his own to survive.
They also believe that powerful shamans can take on the form of a jaguar to kill their enemies, which is very similar to the Pemon's belief in Canaima, an evil spirit that can bring death and often takes jaguar form.