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Paving stone road, Punta Islita
Inauguración, palabras del Señor Harry Zürcher, Presidente del Grupo Islita

Inauguración, palabras del Señor Carlos Ricardo Benavides, Ministro de Turismo

Inauguración, palabras de la artista Rosemary Golcher, diseñadora de la obra

The artist with her team

Construction in process.

Detail of the paving stone road.

Detail of the paving stone road.

Detail of the paving stone road.

Calle de Adoquines, Punta Islita

. . . and wore it out until obtaining the required size.  So it was with the metate, sculpture, etc. It was cut on the surface with an object that could be a chisel or a stone instrument or else in some cases abrasives such as sand and water.

The metates were made with flat or concave stones, of rectangular shape, that were used for grinding with another stone called hand or stone hand.  There are metates with no legs, with three or four legs.  All metates are approximately symmetrical and the shapes double from one side to the other. Vertical or horizontal lines predominate in all the objects; curved or diagonal forms are very rare.

-The Ceramic
The ceramics found in different parts of the country reflect great knowledge in the art of molding clay.  Decorated with diverse motives with shapes of animals, or human, abstract or geometric shapes and lines, they were painted with one or more colors.  The colors were obtained from clay, and it is believed that they used brushes made of human or animal hair.

In Costa Rica the production of gold objects demonstrates a singular style, different from the gold worked by other indigenous groups in the South American countries. Pieces stand out with common features in the representations with such motives as birds, bird-men, jaguar-men, pectoral, circular or U-shaped.  Two specific techniques were used in the elaboration of the objects: hammering and forging.

 -Socio-political Organization
The natives were organized in cacique-like societies where, as a result of his leadership over the others, one of them was appointed as cacique. He had the power of decision-making in all matters concerning the community.  Some cacicazgos (chieftanships) were more important than others.

-The Palenques (Costa Rican indigenous ranches)
The natives lived in palenques which were circular housings mounted on soil or stone hillocks, covered with straw.  They had front steps on the sides fending off the dangers of rain.

-The “Orígen del Indígena” Road
Today in Costa Rica we have several indigenous reservations where many people struggle day after day to preserve their language, customs and identity in spite of the hardships.  With the street that goes from the pulpería to the daycare, I illustrate part of the story told by the native Juan Vargas, from the Keköldi Reservation.  He tells the account of the Creation of the Aboriginal, one of the stories which unfortunately very few people know.  These tales are included in the book Vías de extinción, vías de supervivencia, by Paula Palmer, Juana Sánchez and Gloria Mayorga, of the Universidad de Costa Rica Editorial, 1992.

The book´s authors, Juana Sánchez and Gloria Mayorga, were members of the Junta Directiva de la Reserva Keköldi, and Paula Palmer is a sociologist with many years working in the region.  They set out to collect interviews among the reservation´s inhabitants, which were recorded and then translated from Bribrí to Spanish.

When the book was published, there were 30.000 indigenous people in Costa Rica. They represented 1% of the Costa Rican population and some of them still maintain their own identity in spite of the difficulties.  The majority live in 21 areas denominated “indigenous reservations,” created since 1976 under law 6172, known as Ley Indígena.

The Cocles / Keköldi indigenous reservation has 200 inhabitants who belong to the Bribrí and Cabecar tribes. They are determined to preserve what few forests there are still, besides their knowledge and traditions.

Next I present a textual segment of Juan Vargas´ narrative entitled “Orígenes del Indígena,” from the book Vías de extinción, vías de supervivencia:

“Sibö made the first aboriginals out of corn/dtsól/ seeds. He brought the seeds from a place called SuLa´kaska (place of destination).  Thence he brought seeds of many colors, like black corn, white, yellow and purple corn. This is why some of us are the color black, others almost white, others yellow, etc.

Thus he created the aboriginals with corn; he made us at night and said, ´I am your master.´ This is why the aboriginals know that Sibö and all spiritual beings are not the aboriginal´s relatives.  On this account Sibö taught us a different science.  He explained to us their birth, told us about their parents and about how he made the universe, the planets, the earth; he told us about the creation of humanity, of everything that exists.

In the same manner he taught us how we should live in this world. In some clans he instructed the males to be doctors/awapa/ and others to be masters of ceremonies, etc. He also said: ´You should not create disturbances, nor mention the supernatural beings´ names without a purpose so as not to offend them. Neither should you walk on sacred places, nor in the dark of night.’  And he forbade the aboriginals to invent things he had not taught them. 

Sibö said all this so that there would be a good relationship between the aboriginal, nature and supernatural beings . . . “

Juan Vargas
(pg. 36, Vías de extinción, vías de supervivencia).