Dannenberg, Maria

Maria Donnenberg

Maria Dannenberg responds to the question: Does some knowledge belong only to a particular community of knowers?

Object One: Shaman

In this photo we can see a shaman umutima in 1957. In 1969 most of them no longer lived as there was a big flu that killed them.

These people called shamans, are considered a kind of magicians since they perform different shamanic rituals and they are considered the one that are responsible for healing and restoring balance through different techniques, to which they refer to restoring balance? for shamans if a person suffers form any type of mental health or disease, is related to a spiritual unbalance.

This wisdom that they consider they have, is not possessed by any other person of the indigenous community. Shamans employ many methods that were developed thousands of years ago and have been passed on from generation to generation. They have an ancestral and spiritual world wisdom among the natural world.

For example, there is a ritual that is used with people who are going through problems after the loss of a loved one. For example, there is a ritual called ayahuasca. This ritual is only known by the shamans of the Amazonas, in Brazil, because to complete this ritual you need two plants that you can only find in the Amazonas. The shaman in our picture is one of the most known shaman in Brasil as he is the one that started with the ayahuasca ritual.

Here we can see how this knowledge is only known by a small group of people, indigenous communities of the Amazonas and of these peoples only the shamans know how to complete all these rituals.

But outside these indigenous communities we see it in a different way, because they have that wisdom, but the modern and current world is similar only that we have science, so we have different rituals such as going to the doctor and being prescribed medicine. We have diverse types of wisdom, but they end up with the same purpose, because just as they do not know science and medicine, we would not know how to complete those rituals.

Object Two: BOW

In this image we can see a bow found on the acres houses in Brazil. In these houses we can find Indian families living in them. This photography represents the bow that was found in this houses but is not the actual one as there is no photo of it.

In this indigenous community as in many others, they have no contact with the outside world and live among themselves and are isolated. Their lifestyle in this indigenous community in Acre is hugely different from ours since they do things like hunt with huge arrows and bows, we know this since a bow was found and was about four meters long. We do not have this lifestyle as we live in a different way, in a “different world” we interact with more people, and we do not live isolated from the world, and this allows us to know things that they will never know.

Talking about what we know and what they do not, we live in a world with such technology that as soon as there is some event of minimal importance we can get through the news on television, newspapers, magazines, and even social media. Indigenous societies do not know this world, they get what they know from generation to generation and if something new happens they will only know it among themselves as they have no way to share it with the world as they do not know the technology.

A clear example of this is how we get our food, if we need some food to eat we just go to the supermarket and get what we need, in this indigenous societies we can see they don’t have supermarkets so what they do is go and hunt, thats why they have massive bows they can use to hunt animals and eat them. Here we can see that we don’t have the knowledge of hunting as we have never need it, the knowledge of hunting is owned by this type of societies we don’t know how to hunt as we have never been taught how to do it.



The wajapi community is formed by Indians who speak the Tupi language and these live in Brazil exactly in the region of the lower Xingu River.

This town is characterized by its form of oral and graphic expression, the graphic is very colorful and to make these graphics like the one in our photo use vegetable dyes and other objects of their environment.

They use these graphs called kusiwa to transmit from generation to generation their knowledge, but above all to transmit their knowledge about the origin and creation of man.

Kisuwa are not simple drawings but to make them you have to learn about the preparation of dyes and representations.

But the kusiwa right now is in danger of disappearing from this culture. This would make the indigenous people change completely, since they would change their aesthetic and social ideas. This danger has appeared since the younger ones are not interested in learning it, there are few who know Kisuwa well and can teach it as it is do to. Hear we can see how the knowledge of the Kusiwa it’s know by a few people and not to the younger people as they didn’t learned it.

But of course here we are seeing a big problem since this community is transmitting its knowledge through these paintings and surely they can no longer continue doing so with which the new generations will not be able to obtain the knowledge that others did. Good The knowledge we have thanks to the communication we have with the outside world they cannot get, and if they somehow get it we can see that their method of sharing what they knew is not appropriate? as it is ending.

Here we can see how some enjoy knowledge that others can never obtain, that is, knowledge if it belongs to that small group of people who know Kusiwa well.

Works Cited



KUSIWA https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fotrasvoceseneducacion.org%2Farchivos%2Ftag%2Farte-grafico-kusiwa-de-los-wajaki&psig=AOvVaw33XfpIk1DCaDclmFAcQqRA&ust=1646383816374000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCMjfmejHqfYCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD