Page of

No Word

No Word

Chapter:
(p.24) 3 No Word
Source:
Wildness
Author(s):
Enrique Salmón
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226444970.003.0004

There is no word for the concept wild in the Rarámuri language, a culture indigenous to Chihuahua, Mexico, where there is a strong link between cultural diversity and biodiversity and where land managers have practiced sustainable lifeways for several centuries acting as keystone species in this ecosystem. This chapter explores the ways in which certain human communities might actually play a role in increasing diversity and can be as essential to the ecological functioning of a landscape. Wherever people have practiced sustainable cultivation of a landscape, there has emerged a culturally recognized and sanctioned pattern of sustainably interacting with that environment. A Rarámuri worldview does not differentiate or separate ontological spaces beyond and between the human and nonhuman worlds. All life is related. If everything is a relative, there is no room or need for a category such as the notion of wild. It seems today that when speaking of the environment, most modern people are extending the original meaning of the word, making reference to nonurbanized ecosystems. We have altered the meaning and the grammatical use of a term to fit today’s needs and culturally shared mental spaces. What if the wild began to mean something else?

Keywords:   Rarámuri, Tarahumara, keystone species, sustainable lifeways, language, relational ontology

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