Pachakuti, an Indigenous Perspective on Collapse and Extinction
Keywords:Pachakuti, figurative structuralism, ecocriticism, collapse and extinction, indigenous narrative
This work aims to examine pachakuti as the patent mytheme found in three poems written by different indigenous poets: “Todo está dicho” (“Everything has been said”) by Fredy Chakangana, “La Tórtola, pájaro melancólico” (“The turtledove, melancholic bird”) by Lorenzo Ayllapán, and “Vivir-Morir” (“To live-to die”) by Vito Apüshana. Pachakuti is a key concept in Andean literature, both in mythological and cosmological tales, and in contemporary indigenous narrative. Pachakuti is interpreted to symbolize a re-balancing of the world through a chaotic chain of events that manifests itself as a catastrophe or an upheaval of the order of things. As pachakuti becomes a recurrent motif (patent mytheme) in the chosen poems, it is explored to show a different narrative perspective of collapse and extinction, as well as to expose how earth-beings (latent mytheme) acquire their own agency in the poems and denounce modern forms of extractivism (such as deforestation and water contamination). Through the earth-beings’ voices the poems contribute to reveal new perspectives about collapse and extinction anchored in indigenous narratives from the Global South.
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