Jose Arenas Gómez
Universidade de Brasília, Brasil


This paper weaves together several thoughts on a well-known practice among indigenous people at Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia) —Offerings for Earthly mothers and fathers, which are known as «pagamentos» in local Spanish. Drawing on the I´ku´s case, my central argument outlines the notion that these offerings respond to relatedness schemes, at the bottom of the I´ku´s sociality. To understand the place of those offerings is necessary to explore the role of the I´ku´s shamans (the mamu), since they are in charge of putting social relations in motion, both in the group and between the group and the other beings inhabiting the world. Finally, I emphasize the fact that even when the idea of «paying a debt» is present in the offerings, that idea is transcended in pursuit of higher purposes. 

Keywords: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, I´ku (Arhuacos), Shamanism, Sociality, Indigenous Ethnology, Reciprocity, Gift, Chibchan.