Javier Rosique-Gracia; Aída Gálvez-Abadía; Sandra Turbay
Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Nataly Domicó; Arnulfo Domicó; Plinio Chavarí; Justico Domicó
Cabildo Mayor Indígena de Chigorodó, Colombia

Fernando A. Alzate; José Fernando Navarro; Sneider Rojas-Mora
Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia


The spiritual and environmental importance of the sacred places at the headwaters of rivers is based on the relationships that Embera people establish with spiritual beings through dreams, songs and rituals of harmonization, so as to obtain forest resources and knowledge on the uses of plants. Pãkðré, a powerful entity from the sacred place, is treated as closely related kin subject to the rules of reciprocity; this entity formerly received the strength of many beings of the different cosmic levels, thanks to which it was able to teach the Embera people the rituals and healing practices that they know nowadays. The Jaibaná is a direct trustee of its wisdom, closely linked to the smallest plants in the forest, hence Embera’s respect for sacred places and the Jaibana’s effort to fulfill the demands that both Pãkðré and other spirits, plants and animals from those solitary places ask him in his dreams.

Keywords: Embera people, sacred places, jaibaná, indigenous research, ethnoecology.