Things That Matter

Archaeologists Found 250 Child Corpses In A Sacrifice Site In Peru And We Have Answers

Every once in a while, archaeologists make a finding so incredible, that headlines all throughout the world exploit the sensational aspects of the discovery. Such is the case of a recently unveiled mass grave containing the remains of 250 sacrificed children in Peru. The lead archeologist in the site, Feren Castillo, told AFP: “This is the biggest site where the remains of sacrificed children have been found. It’s uncontrollable, this thing with the children. Wherever you dig, there’s another one”. It is believed that more remains could be found.  

This is what you need to know about this amazing discovery that unearths more knowledge about the Chimú civilization from Northern Peru, specifically from the Moche Valley.  Alongside the Incas, the Chimú created a network of trade, political systems, religious institutions and enviable skills as craftspeople. 

So first things first, who were the Chimú people?

Credit: Instagram. @bygabrielagil

Chimú culture is responsible for much of the development of pre Columbine Northern Peru. Power was concentrated in the city of Chan Chan, a large adobe settlement on what is modern day Trujillo. They succeeded the Moche people and their civilization arose around 900 AD. Their downfall, around the year 1470, was product of an invasion by the Inca emperor Inca Yupanqui. The Spanish obliterated what was left of this proud indigenous civilization. 

We have to get rid of our colonialist gaze before reading the details of the finding!

Credit: Instagram. @isavillanuevav 

When we read stories like this our mind tends to judge them by current standards. Words like “savage” and “barbaric” often are used in media reports and everyday conversations. This inquisitive worldview is product of the mixing of European and indigenous moral and ethical standards. Latin America is largely a mestizo region where European worldviews prevailed. Yes, of course sacrificing children is appalling, but we should not perpetuate the idea that the original inhabitants of the continent were a bunch of blood-thirsty savages before colonization. Doing so only keeps racist ideas alive and this affects indigenous populations even today.

So who were the children and where were they found?

Credit: Programa Arqueologico/AFP/Getty Images

The finding is as important as it is perplexing: the remains of up to 250 underage individuals. According to scientists, the bodies indicate that the children were aged from 4 to 12 years old. As reported by Andina, the Peruvian state media agency, the remains of up to 40 warriors were also found. The sacrifices occurred between the 13th and 15th centuries.  The site is located in Pampa La Cruz, an archaeological site in Huanchaco-La Libertad, north of Lima. The reason for the ritual offering hits close to home in our turbulent times and the climate crisis we are experiencing.

The Chimú knew how to survive in the desert, so any change in the climate was devastating. This is the reason behind the sacrifices.

Credit: Instagram. @sheyllamoncada

Northern Peru is an arid landscape where human settlements need to run like clockwork to guarantee survival. The Chimúdepended on the replenishment of a network of rivers and streams that were fundamental for irrigation and human consumption. Too much water also brought disaster. Changes in the weather spelled doom for the Chimú. In an attempt to make peace with their gods they made an offering of children and warriors. Deutsche Welle reports: “Castillo said in this case he believes they were killed in hopes it would appease the gods and bring an end to El Nino, a cyclical climate pattern that can result in heavy rainfall and storms on the western coasts of South America. His theory is backed up by the fact that soil samples show that the children died during an extremely wet season, and that they were facing the sea”.

Human sacrifice was not uncommon in pre-Columbine civilizations. The Aztecs in what is now Mexico, for example, often sacrificed their own, as well as their adversaries, to their deities.

All hail Pacasmayo: they sacrificed their children to the moon.

Credit: Instagram. @andeanlab

Among the deities that the Chimú worshipped, the moon of Pacasmayo ruled supreme. Because the moon can be seen both during the day and at night, it was believed to be much more powerful than the Sun. Pacasmayo received animal and human sacrifices. Some parents even sacrificed their own children. They believed that through this ritual practice the children, often five years-old, would become deified. The Sun, Mars, Earth and some constellations were also worshipped. The magnitude of the recent discovery implies that the situation was urgent. As Sputnik News Service reports, Gabriel Prieto, professor of archeology from the National University of Trujillo, said: “This number of children, this number of animals—it would have been a massive investment on behalf of the state”.

The Chimú were also very skillful craftsmen, particularly with gold.

Credit: Instagram. @arts_premiers

The Chimú developed large civil engineering projects to irrigate the desert, and they were also very skilled working with metals such as gold, copper, silver, bronze and a mix of copper and gold called tumbaga. To get some of these metals they had to travel for more than three days, which speaks of the reaches of their political power. 

Bolivia’s Ousted President Won’t Run Again As Indigenous People March In Guatemala In Solidarity With Him

Things That Matter

Bolivia’s Ousted President Won’t Run Again As Indigenous People March In Guatemala In Solidarity With Him

evoespueblo / Twitter

South America’s poorest country, Bolivia, is in the midst of a political crisis, and Guatemala’s indigenous people are marching in solidarity with ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. After the Guatemalan government joined the United States in recognizing extreme right self-appointed Jeanine Anez as the interim president of Bolivia, Guatemala’s indigenous people expressed their outrage in an organized protest. Hundreds of indigenous people marched in Guatemala’s capital Thursday to protest the change of government, which they view as a coup d’etat of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. With a “Brother Evo, Guatemala is with you” banner in hand, the protesters marched toward a heavily guarded US embassy. The next day, Morales announced that he won’t be “taking part in new elections.”

Before Morales rose to the presidency, he was a campesino activist, representing indigenous traditions and customs under attack by the US government. “We are repudiating the discriminatory and racist coup d’etat that took place in Bolivia,” said Mauro Vay, march organizer and head of Guatemala’s Rural Development Committee. 

Protesters proudly waved the wiphala flags, an indigenous symbol of solidarity.

CREDIT: @UKREDREVOLUTION / TWITTER

This man held an image that told the story of a thousand words. As a child, Evo Morales’ family were subsistence farmers, which allowed him to enjoy a basic education. He later moved to grow coca, the raw plant used to make cocaine. During the U.S.’ “War on Drugs,” coca farmers were under attack. Morales rose to defend the campesinos from what he called an imperialist violation of indigenous culture. His protests may have led to several arrests, but his notoriety grew to elect him to Congress as the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party. 

In Paraguay, Bolivian ex-patriates went up against the police to rehang the wiphala flag at the Bolivian embassy.

CREDIT: @WILL_J_COSTA / TWITTER

Several indigenous residents of Paraguay arrived at the Bolivian embassy to hang the Wiphala flag, which was reportedly taken down. They faced police resistance but eventually succeeded. The next day, the flag was removed. 

In 2005, Morales ran against former President Carlos Mesa and won, becoming the first indigenous president of Bolivia. 

CREDIT: @BRETGUSTAFSON / TWITTER

Then, it gets murky. By the time his first term was over, MAS rewrote their constitution to lift the one-term limit on presidents. Morales ran for a second term and won. Even though he claimed he wouldn’t run for a third term, Morales claimed the first term didn’t count because it was completed under the old constitution.  So he ran again and won for the third time. In October 2019, Morales ran for his fourth term, and won by a small margin, prompting a recount.

Just 24 hours into the recount, Morales ordered the recount to an end and declared himself president over his opponent, former president Mesa. the Organization of American States (OAS) conducted an audit that flagged the election as possibly fraudulent.

The OAS is not in the service of the people of Latin America, less so the social movements. The OAS is at the service of the North American empire,” Morales later said. Still, protests erupted across the country.

In a quickly developing government coup, military chiefs removed Morales.

CREDIT: @FAFASCHMITT / TWITTER

On Nov. 10, General Williams Kaliman, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, decided, along with other military chiefs, that Morales should step down. Morales tweeted, “I denounce to the world and the Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he is instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; likewise, violent groups assaulted my home. A coup destroys the rule of law.” He added, “After looting and trying to set fire to my house in Villa Victoria, vandalism groups of the Mesa and Camacho coup docked my home in the Magisterio neighborhood of Cochabamba. I am very grateful to my neighbors, who stopped those raids. A coup destroys peace.”

Mexico offered him asylum and sent a plane to escort Morales to Mexico City.

CREDIT: @EVOESPUEBLO / TWITTER

“This was my first night after leaving the presidency, forced by the coup of Mesa and Camacho with the help of the Police. There I remembered my times as a leader. Very grateful to my brothers from the federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba for providing security and care,” Morales tweeted. Right-wing Christian opponent, Luis Fernando Camacho, also called “Bolivia’s Bolsonaro,” led violent protests against Morales and his Indigenous supporters, burning Bolivia’s Indigenous Wiphala flag. 

Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentina have maintained that his removal from office was a coup. The United States, led by a right-wing president, has recognized Bolivia’s interim right-wing president as valid.

Morales announced Friday that he won’t run for president in the reelection “for the sake of democracy.”

CREDIT: @VERSOBOOKS / TWITTER

Morales resigned Sunday after protests left four people dead. “For the sake of democracy, if they don’t want me to take part, I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told Reuters while remaining in asylum. “I just wonder why there is so much fear of Evo,” he offered.

READ: A US-Backed Opposition Leader Has Declared Herself President Of Bolivia Amid Outrage At Her Comments About Indigenous Bolivians

An Indigenous Group In Panama Holds The Guinness Record For World’s Largest Patacón

Culture

An Indigenous Group In Panama Holds The Guinness Record For World’s Largest Patacón

elpataconpty / Instagram

After a coordinated six-month effort, Panama’s Emberá de Ipetí indigenous community broke the Guinness World Record for the largest patacón in the world. How many plátanos does it take to make the worlds largest was that patacón, you ask? Weighing at 245 pounds and measuring over 11 feet in diameter, the World’s Largest Patacón required 1,200 plátanos and 330 gallons of frying oil. The long-anticipated event drew in a sold-out crowd of 700 celebrators who took part in Emberá traditions, dance, and plenty of comida.

“We no longer want to be this statistic of vulnerability,” Emberá de Ipetí’s community leader, Sara Omi, told CNN. “We are rich in knowledge and that’s what we’re demonstrating here today.”

As visitors arrived for “Patacón Day,” they were invited to participate in a hand-washing ritual.

Credit: ELPATACONPTY / Instagram

At the entrance of the events, guests could participate in this Emberá ritual that uses plants to cleanse “malas vibras,” or bad vibes. “The plants we use to wash our hands has a lot to do with our worldview,” Sara Omi said. “For example, if you arrive at your home and bring bad malas vibras, washing your hands will take away those malas vibras. You become more open for everything that comes.” Then, the guests could go ahead and dance and eat with everyone else.

Over 100 volunteers worked to make individual tostones that were spread across an enormous steel mold.

CREDIT: ELPATACONPTY / INSTAGRAM

It takes a lot of labor to peel, chop, fry, grind, knead and finally assemble 1,200 plátanos. Volunteers would fry individual plátanos in this enormous, 330-gallon vat of oil, and bring it to the steel mold for others to assemble. Then, the crowd gathered around to watch the tense moment that volunteers carefully carried 245 pounds of plátanos back to this vat of oil. Then, it was dropped into the oil for its final fry, and lifted out of the vat to become the world’s largest patacón. This wasn’t their first rodeo either. It took six months for the 134 Emberá de Ipetí indigenous volunteers to practice and perfect the enormous feat. 

According to Carlos Tapia, the official adjudicator of the Guinness World Records, there were three requirements to ensure the attempt would be a success. 

CREDIT: ELPATACONPTY / INSTAGRAM

The first was that the patacón remained an intact, single patacón. It could not break once it was removed from the oil. Secondly, there had to be several professionals present. A metrologist could certify that the final weight was at least 220 pounds to break the previous record. There also had to be a cultural expert present to ensure the patacón was true to its roots. A health and hygiene inspector was also present to ensure that the food was prepared in such a way that it didn’t violate any health codes. 

The final requirement to break the record was to make sure none of the food goes to waste.

CREDIT: ELPATACONPTY / INSTAGRAM

We love that, Guinness World Records. That means the pressure isn’t off once the patacón is flawlessly assembled and beats the previous weight record. Then, came the universal tradition: eat as much food as you possibly can, and then have seconds. With a sold-out crowd of folks there to witness history, it goes without saying that the Emberá de Ipetí pulled off the feat. Maybe it was because the record was broken on the auspicious Oct. 14, or World Food Day. While folks were feasting, they could also support the women artisans selling their crafts, entirely inspired and created from the nature surrounding them.

The Patacón has become a symbol of unity and the greatness of indigenous peoples and of Panama.

CREDIT: ELPATACONPTY / INSTAGRAM

“I would like to tell everyone who is here, my perfect Patacón staff, those who have been part of a little piece of patacón and all the people who joined this dream, never forget that, together, we can achieve what we set out to do,” Patacón director, Sabrina Naimark, told the crowd. “We managed to unite as a country, make the Emberá de Ipetí Indigenous community visible, and achieve the Guinness World Record Holder Record so that the world knows how big Panama is and what we are able to do when we put soul, passion, and dedication to an idea. That idea became a reality, creating a true social impact in Panama and the world.”

READ: Kanye West Fans Are Upset After Paying $55 For Food At His Sunday Service Concert Only To Get Bad Food