about the talk
Mario Blaser is an anthropologist, teaching at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires, and at Carleton and McMaster Universities in Canada. He has worked with the Yshir Nation of Paraguay for nearly 30 years and for the past 10 years has also worked with the Innu Nation of Labrador, Canada. Mario has situated his professional practice as a collaboration that is both practical and more strictly academic. Thus, with his collaborators Yshir and Innu, his research has focused on finding answers to concrete problems that these communities have had or still have to face, particularly the problems generated by so-called development projects as well as environmental conservation projects. The practical approach to these problems, how they are discussed and decisions are made in the communities, and the negotiations with external agents is the analytical field on which Mario produces his most scholarly work. Given this focus, Mario's output has been very varied in its format, ranging from technical reports, to academic publications, and even documentaries. Among his publications is the book Un relato de la Globalización desde el Chaco.
Cerro El Plomo (Apu Wamani) is a mountain located in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. With an altitude of 5424 meters, it is the highest point visible from the city of Santiago de Chile. On September 1, 1998, it was included in the tentative list of properties that could be considered for a potential nomination to World Heritage by UNESCO. It was named Apu (Quechua: Lord) by the Incas, and on its slopes several remains have been found that show its importance as a ceremonial center. Since the beginning of the 20th century, muleteers and climbers knew of the existence of ruins on the summit of El Plomo hill, which were known as 'Indian Pircas'. The first news of a sport ascent dates from 1896, when two European mountaineers believed to be the first to attempt the feat of reaching its summit. It must have been a huge surprise for them to find the ruins of the Inca sanctuary, and among them, a sardine can.In the following decades some muleteers and andinists partially excavated the ruins and discovered several anthropomorphic and camelid figures in gold, silver and Spondylus shells.
The rumor that 'a hidden treasure' was found by the Incas near El Plomo spread among muleteers and miners. The most important finding was this mummy of a 9-year-old boy, found on February 1, 1954, by Luis Gerardo R os Barrueto, Jaime Rios Abarca and Guillermo Chacon Carrasco; the child would have been sacrificed to transform the hill into a sacred place. The Incandairy farm used as a base camp by them was located in Corral Quemado; there the Incan priests rested when they went to make offerings to the Ushnu of Cerro El Plomo. The most important ceremonies carried out were the Capac cocha, in which young individuals, sons of princes, were sacrificed to pacify Viracocha.