|About the Book|
For four centuries, the indigenous Campa Ashaninkas of the Peruvian Amazon have fought for their identity and independence in the face of Spanish colonialism and Peruvian national expansionism. Stefano Varese originally wrote about the CampaMoreFor four centuries, the indigenous Campa Ashaninkas of the Peruvian Amazon have fought for their identity and independence in the face of Spanish colonialism and Peruvian national expansionism. Stefano Varese originally wrote about the Campa Ashaninkas in the mid-1960s after three seasons of field research among them and three years of archival research, titling his book La Sal de Los Cerros after the invaded Mountain of Salt that had been the center of Campa Ashaninka trade and power for millennia. Updated with a new preface and introduction by the author, Salt of the Mountain makes Vareses classic work of anthropology available in English for the first time.This book has special significance as an early example of engaged anthropology. Varese conducted his research with an explicit commitment to letting the Campa Ashaninkas speak for themselves, using their myths and cosmological interpretations as source material and, with this in mind, attempting new readings of both colonial Spanish and modern Peruvian documents relating to the tribe. He chronicles the relentless success of European geographic annexation and the continuing failure of European cultural assimilation. Living among the Campa Ashaninkas, Varese found that their worldview rejects the modern notion that assimilation is inevitable, and he developed a deep respect for the Campa Ashaninkas fiercely independent spirit. For this reason, he calls his work an approximation of their world rather than a description or history.