The Guarani Altar

The Guarani Altar: A Donation Tells a Deep Story

“I know many people don’t know how we really live and taking this altar to the Museum we can show them our culture. That they know about our existence is of utmost importance to us.

“I agreed to the Marangatu for the Museum so that everyone knows about our culture. For me it is important to have the Yvyra Marangatu in this Museum in the United States because then our culture will be recognized in the United States. I am happy that many people could see our culture. That was the reason why I consented to the altar, so people know. I hope to go there [to the Museum] one day and be able to talk about our beliefs.”

L. Antonio Curet is an archaeologist who specializes in Caribbean and Mesoamerican ancient history. He is currently the Curator of Archaeology at the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution. Frank Weaver is a native Paraguayan filmmaker who resides in Florida. His project, the Solar Map Project on the rock art of the Amambay Hills, has led him to live and document the culture of the Pai Tavytera for several years. The interview with Leonido Benitez Romero was conducted in Guarani by Osmar Valenzuela, the first Pai Tavytera to attend college. It was translated into Spanish by Rita Carolina, and into English by the authors of this article. Ethnographic information was provided by Stella Isabel Gonzalez de Olmo.