Northern New Mexico College Course PIS 283-201
TEWA ETHNOBIOLOGY NorthernNew Mexico College
Course PIS 283-201
"Tewa Ethnobiology: Plants and Animals of the Tewa World”
Each culture names and behaves in particular ways toward the natural resources in its environment. These are part of what social scientists call “ethnoscience,” or the way the world is organized and acted upon by the cultural groups that live within it. The Tewa, other Pueblos, Spanish people, and Anglos are no exception.
This course will examine a particular part of the “ethnoscience” of the Tewa Pueblos in the Tewa Basin or Greater Espanola Valley. It will describe how the plants and animals, including birds, are named by the Tewa and how the names are organized into biological taxonomies and useful purposes. The names will be taught in the Tewa dialect of Ohkay Owingeh but words in the other Tewa Pueblos will be taught. The Spanish and English names will be used as well since names and meanings (translations) have been borrowed from the Tewa during the 400 years of contact with European cultures. The Tewa and Spanish names are for your information. You do not have to learn them unless you wish to do so.
The course will examine how the Tewa cultures reproduce ethnoscientific knowledge over the generations through an acute knowledge of nature, the telling of stories about plants and animals, and their respect for elders. Knowledge will be viewed from the perspectives of gender and social organization and and how it is shared differentially throughout each Pueblo for the benefit of all.
Part of this knowledge of nature is how the named organisms are used for food, medicine, utilitarian purposes, and religious activities. The course will teach common knowledge (household) and not ceremonial secrets.
Each culture has rules for behaving toward nature. The results of their actions determines, in part, the distribution and amount of the useful organisms, their survival over time, and changes in their appearance and structure. The Tewa are the stewards of their traditional homeland. Because of their rules for interacting with nature the Pueblos at contact had a landscape that was more diverse and richer in organisms that we find today. Even the appearance of plants was different because of Tewa management practices.
The Spanish colonists and later American settlers introduced new crops, medicinal plants, animals, and “weeds.” How they were integrated into the Tewa World will be an important aspect to understanding Tewa ethnoscience.
The course will contrast Tewa ethnoscience with the Spanish and Anglo ways of environmental management. By doing so, the similarity and differences of these interacting cultures will be better understood. Tewa Ethnobiology is important for Pueblo Indian Studies and is useful for Biology and Environmental Studies students.
Dr. Richard I. Ford will teach this course
Pueblo Indian Studies
Northern New Mexico College
Cell phone: 505/699-6224
Course Outline and Assignments: http://tewaethnobiology.googlepages.com/
Directory of Lectures and Assignments
May 12, 2009 - FINAL EXAMINATION
Southwest Plant Uses http://www.lsa.umich.edu/umma/research/onlinecatalogs/