Implicaciones éticas de narrativas Yaganes y Mapuches sobre las aves de los bosques templados de Sudamérica austral


This article discusses the ethical implications of Yahgan and Mapuches narratives of the birds of the temperate forests of southern South America.

Creator(s): Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-
Creation Date: 2004
UNT College of Arts and Sciences
UNT Scholarly Works
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Creator (Author):
Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-

University of North Texas; ONG Omora, Universidad de Magallanes

Publisher Info:
Place of Publication: [Caracas, Venezuela]
  • Creation: 2004

This article discusses the ethical implications of Yahgan and Mapuches narratives of the birds of the temperate forests of southern South America.


Abstract: This paper analyzes the ethical implications of Yahgan and Mapuche stories about forest birds of southern Chile and Argentina, from the perspective of biological conservation and environmental philosophy. To allow comparisons among notions of traditional ecological knowledge, evolutionary-ecological sciences, and environmental ethics, the author focuses in two well known metaphors: the "tree of life" and the "web of life". The analysis of the first metaphor allows to conclude that both modern sciences and the Yahgan and Mapuche indigenous cosmogonies affirm a common origin for birds and humans. This notion supports the intrinsic value of the avifauna, because birds are regarded as our evolutionary relatives. This implies that, to a certain degree, the life of birds can be subject to moral considerations based on ontological and ethical judgements commensurable with those involved in assessing the value of human life. The analysis of the metaphor of the "web of life" also reveals essential correspondences between contemporary scientific knowledge and Yahgan and Mapuche traditional ecological knowledge regarding the net of biotic interactions and ecosystem processes. Bird stories such as the Green-backed Firecrown (Sephanoides sephaniodes) or omora (in yagán) and the Andean Tapaeulo (Scytalopus magellanicus) or tiftifken (in mapuche) affirm, as much as sciences, that it is necessary to preserve the community of birds, and biodiversity in general, to ensure water supply and other ecosystem services and goods in the long term. The ethical imperatives, implicit in the second metaphor, are consistent with the notion of instrumental value. According to it, the conservation of birds can be regarded as an instrument for human survival. Traditional ornithological knowledge and modern sciences provide support for the instrumental and intrinsic value of biodiversity, today both values appeal for a respectful living together with birds.

Physical Description:

10 p.

Keyword(s): Avifauna | Chile | environmental ethics | ethno-ornithology | intrinsic values | instrumental values | Mapuche | metaphors | temperate forests | Yahgan
Source: Ornitologia Neotropical, 2004, Caracas: Neotropical Ornithological Society, pp. 435-444
Parallel Title: Ethical implications of Yahgan and Mapuche indigenous narratives about the birds of the austral temperate forests of South America
Series Title: Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program
UNT College of Arts and Sciences
UNT Scholarly Works
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc102288
Resource Type: Article
Format: Text
Access: Public
Publication Title: Ornitologia Neotropical
Volume: 15
Page Start: 435
Page End: 444
Peer Reviewed: Yes