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Origin Stories: Relatives who went away

A central theme of  Kichwa origin stories is that plants and animals were originally human relatives who became estranged from their families, usually when they were teens and often in amorous breakups.    Whether because of laziness, immaturity, or simply as a natural response to overcrowding, tensions arise and certain people are excluded from the sharing of food and drink  that defined the communion of relatives. In anger and heartbreak the excluded ones stop eating the common human food and begin consuming wild substitutes. This in turn results in a changed body, the body of a new species. Since this new species now has its own distinctive food it no longer feels its exclusion so sharply and no longer needs the sharing of human food.   


These breakups that result in speciation are inevitable, and, in the long run are for the good because biodiversity is necessary.  Each species needs its space.   Still, the estrangement is not complete and different species need each other. For this reason the sight and sound of wild animals sharing their different food evokes a feeling of wistful curiosity and  empathy for the company of relatives who are like us but with whom we can no longer communicate because they have become permanently estranged. 

Bélgica Dagua, “How an Unwanted Man Became the Spirit Eye Tree.”  YouTube video, 02:08. Posted [October 2, 2016]. Quichua Text   English Translation Spanish Translation    Tags: origin story

Bélgica Dagua, “The Strangler Fig Loved a Girl.”  YouTube video. 6:29 Posted [Au- gust 15, 2016]. English and Quichua subtitles. 

Eulodia Dagua and Delicia Dagua,  “A Generous Host Becomes the Chuku Tree (Erythrina poeppigiana).” Youtube video. 3:49. November 27, 2011.

Bélgica Dagua, "On the origin of the kingfisher."  Youtube video. 8:11  January 1, 2019.  English and Kichwa subtitles.

Eulodia Dagua, "The Moon's Sister Becomes the Kingu Constellation."   Youtube video. 2:07 November 10, 2015.  English subtitles. Version with Quichua subtitles

Eulodia Dagua, "How the birds get their voices."  Youtube video.  6:56. October 18, 2018. 

Eulodia Dagua, "On the Origin of the Flute.”   Youtube video. 4:03   December 21, 2016.

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