Taking Care of Sibo's Gifts

Karen A. Leeson (Karen.Leeson@COLORADO.EDU)
Fri, 16 Sep 1994 08:01:12 -0600

An Environmental Treatise
>From Costa Rica's KekoLdi Indigenous Reserve
By Paula Palmer, Juanita Sanchez and Gloria Mayorga
(Published in San Jose, Costa Rica, 1993)

Rainforest conservation is nothing new! For centuries, the
indigenous people who live in the rainforests have known how to use
rainforest resources without damaging the ecosystem. Their whole way of
life--beliefs about God and Nature, agricultrual practices, handicrafts and
social relations--works to preserve the biological diversity of their
forest home. If we want to save the rainforests, we will find our best
teachers among the rainforests' indigenous inhabitants.

In a unique book, now available in English, the people of Costa
Rica's KekoLdi Indian Reserve share the traditional knowledge that defines
them as a people who "take care of Sibo's gifts", the gifts of forest flora
and fauna. As they tell how their lives and livelihoods depend on
rainforest resources, they appeal to us all to support them in their
struggle for the survival of their forests and their way of life.

North American sociologist Paula Palmer collaborated with two
indigenous women to write this book as part of a long-term project
sponsored by the tribal council of the KekoLdiIndian Reserve. To protect
their forests from destruction by non-Indian squatters, poachers and
commercial enterprises, the KekoLdi people have initiated a three-part
strategy. First, they are completing land tenure and land use studies
which are needed as a basis for legal enforcement of their land rights.
Second, they are educating the public about their way of life in the
rainforest and their struggle to preserve it' Taking Care of Sibo's Gifts,
in Spanish and English and Dutch editions, is part of that effort. Third,
they are raising funds to purchase deforested lands from non-Indian
landholders within the boundaries of their reserve, so that they can
reforest and manage these properties. With income from the sale of Taking
Care of Sibo's Gifts, the KekoLdi people have already reforested critical
watershed areas.

In Taking Care of Sibo's Gifts, the KekoLdi people show how the
rainforest provides them with almost everything they need to live, as long
as they respect Sibo's laws governing the use of natural resources. The
book is illustrated with black and white photographs, maps, and line
drawings by KekoLdi artisan Juanita Sanchez, who normally carves her
pictures on dried gourds. Income from book sales goes directly to the
KekoLdi people, to support their rainforest conservation efforts and their
cultural school.

This book is a unique resource for teachers and students of
cultural anthropology, social ecology, environmental and multicultural
education. It can be ordered at the following address (check made out to
Paula Palmer), for $12/each; $11/each with orders of 5 or more, shipping
included. Please specify the English or Spanish edition.

Paula Palmer
2335 Forest Avenue
Boulder, CO 80304
Tel. (303) 444-0504; Fax. (303) 440-9515