- A landscape short tautology
We have confronted the use of terms like Abya Yala, Cem Anahuac or Pacha, among many others names given by as many different groups and languages living or having lived in “America” or the “New World”, these last words unaffiliated with the vision of the people from the lands they express. This new use of terms, besides the aim of vindication of an autochthonous vision from the territories, carries an important ideological sense in opposition to eurocentrism. We assume categorical statements that may generate confusions in imaginary configurations of spaces when we name them, thus in a romantic and semantical eagerness to apprehend the spaces, frequently without any basis.
As tourist guides we try to interpret the places we visit by exchanging considerations and information about several topics related to the territory: this place we live, we learn to know and we share through our job. In this blog entry, we will address a couple of thoughts about the name of two iconic spaces in this land that may generate misunderstandings or weakness since the moment people want to stablish any signification.
Let us start with the name of the department: Guaviare, namesake for the main river in the region and a very important tributary in the Orinoco basin. Guaviare River originates at the confluence of Guayabero and Ariari Rivers, both coming from eastern mountains in Meta department. People have lain down an etymology for Guaviare following hydrological phenomenon in the phonetical confluence of terms: GUAYABERO + ARIARI = GUAVIARE as a fact. Even if it makes sense, we have not found any linguistic evidence to set it categorically. It would imply the need to delve into the meaning of Guayabero and Ariari terms. Guayabero from Taino language in The Caribbean. Ariari with unknown origin, related to Guayupe culture in Meta department. Both terms appear in historical records long time before actual populations who try to stablish unfounded explanations of their meaning. It is important to mention that Taino and Guayupe languages are part of Macro-Arawakan language family.
Guayabero’s etymology is in relation with the root of goyaba fruit word “Guayaba” in Spanish. It also names a human culture from Guahibo linguistic family affiliated by location along the homonym river. Some registers say that Guayabero people prefer we call them JIW (people, in their own language).
In the absence of evidences for us, Ariari word seems to be the reprise of ARI as a suffix related to water surfaces, as we find it frequently naming several rivers in the Orinoco system, which is the main location for Guahibo and Guayupe cultures. Names as SiARE, CasiquiARE, CasanARE, IteviARE, VentuARI, GuaviARE… they also say that Guaviare was former named GuaviARI…
We have another situation with the name of the space in where the main tourist activity in the region takes place: La Lindosa Plateau. Some say that Lindosa is a word created by explorers. When they saw the rocks in the shape of flagstones (“losa” in Spanish), they would have been captivated with their beauty (“linda” in Spanish) and would have given the name of LINDA LOSA (beautiful flagstone) becoming LINDOSA. Such a theory sounds quite forced for us, as “lindoso/lindosa” words appear in Spanish and Portuguese long time ago, in reference to villages and families from Lusitania. It shares Latin etymology from Indo-European origin with “lindo/linda” (Beautiful) but no mention of LOSA word is registered. “Losa” has an unknown origin; it comes probably from Celtic and it is related to the same Lusitanian region when it appeared.
Anyway, if they arrive to find any proof of Ursidae somewhere around, there will be for sure a theory about the charm of bears (“oso/osa” in Spanish) as a new etymological cause: LINDA OSA = LINDOSA?