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Bridging the Generation Gap: Creation (Hi)Stories and the Visual Arts in Tamulté de las Sabanas, Mexico

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This paper results from research conducted between October 1994 and August 1995 on the oral tradition of the Yokoyinik'ob, the “true people” of Chontales in Tamulté de las Sabanas in the Mexican state of Tabasco. A little over sixty stories were recorded and transcribed in the research. Some of the stories that are considered to be “creation stories” or “creation histories” will be discussed in this paper. In Tamulté stories are not classified as “myth” but are called “historias” (hi)stories. Some stories, like creation narratives for example, do refer to primordial times: times before corn existed or times when the skies had not yet risen. Much in the same way, what is often referred to as the “supernatural” in Tamulté is actually not “super”-natural; it is very much part of the natural. The supernatural world is neither myth nor legend; it is a reality. During the course of the research a young group of artists illustrated the stories that were collected and painted images of their worldview. Through the use of visual arts, Tamulté's younger generation was enabled to re-connect with their grandparents' stories, thereby bridging a generational gap that is predominant in other communities.

Affiliations: 1: National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden


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