Childhood experiences spark lifelong research interest for anthropologist

Childhood experiences spark lifelong research interest for anthropologistAnthropologist Ana Mariella Bacigalupo traces her main research interest—the Mapuche shaman of southern Chile—all the way back to a childhood spent growing up in countries across South America.

An associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, Bacigalupo says her grandfather owned a farm in Argentina that was run by a foreman whose brother later became head of a Mapuche Indian community. It was this contact that led to her lifelong interest in the indigenous people of Chile.

Mapuches 101 at Americas Society

Mapuches 101 at Americas SocietyUnlike the Mayans or the Incas, the Mapuches never inspired a Mel Gibson or Indiana Jones movie.

But this indigenous group little known outside South America boasts an amazing breadth of history and culture being explored in an exhibition at the Americas Society until April 18.

"For more than 300 years the Mapuche successfully resisted colonization," says guest curator Thomas Dillehay, referring to a period from the mid 1500s to the mid 1890s.

"That is longer than any indigenous society in American history."

Amazon Promise: Sustainable Health for Peru

Amazon Promise: Sustainable Health for PeruPatty Webster is not a medical professional.

But one day, while working as a tour guide in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, she found herself using a traveler's sewing kit to close a wound on a boy from a local village.

Word had long since gotten around among the people in this woefully underserved area that the young American was handy with a first-aid kit and willing to help them.

Life in a tepee

Life in a tepeeDressed in a navy suit, red tie and shined shoes, 25-year-old Jonathan Paulson looks like any other recent college graduate trying to make his way in the world.

As a commodities broker with his dad’s company, Paulson Commodities, the Lake Oswegan spends most of his work days on the Internet and calling clients on the phone. He’s tall, with straight teeth and is knowledgeable about the stock market.

Bolivia: Singing to the Plants - Shamanism and the Medicine Path

Bolivia: Singing to the Plants - Shamanism and the Medicine PathHow important is traditional plant knowledge in the Amazon? According to a recent study among the Tsimane' in Amazonian Bolivia, each standard deviation of maternal ethnobotanical knowledge increases the likelihood of good child health by more than fifty percent. And the study raises the question: What will be the cost — to the Tsimane' and other indigenous peoples — if such ethnobotanical knowledge is lost?