Cultural Centre - Kamarata

With the community’s full participation in the creation of a Cultural Centre in the Kamarata Valley it is under construction where all the written, photographic, film and video materials which narrate the history and culture of the Kamarakotos can be stored. This Centre will have a library and a small museum with a permanent exhibition.

The Centre will be a very important element for the cultural identity of the tribe, it will bring education, development, information, and also new opportunities of work and a good encouragement for the tourism model.

Permanent Exhibition

Thanks to an initial grant from a University in Spain a permanent exhibition will be mounted in the museum (a stand-alone churuata) consisting of historical presentations of local and foreign figures who were an integral part of the Pemón’s past, such as Ruth Robertson and Jimmie Angel.

Video and other documentation

Through this program we are preparing a file with interviews from the elders of the tribe. Hortensia Berti, a young Kamarakota, is the guide in this project. She is the great-granddaughter of the legendary Kamarakoto, Alejo Calcaño, Captain General of the Pemón and first Pemón to be recognized as a representative of his group by the government of Venezuela during the command of General Lopez Contreras. Calcaño was taken out of the Kamarata Valley when he was thirteen years old and educated by an ex-army General of Venezuela. When he came back to his land as an adult, he quickly realized that he was the only Pemón who was able to communicate with the outside world. He educated his people with a basic objective: to prepare them for the upcoming entrance of the outside civilization, making sure that they would keep their traditions and culture as strong as possible. His teachings were never written and they are almost disappearing.

A letter written to Alejandro Calcano (the first Capitan of the Kamarakotos) in July 1955

The video out-takes follow Hortensia’s steps as she goes from hamlet to hamlet asking the elders about the history of her grand-grandfather and the rest of the “pormenores” of her culture: the mystical stories, the traditions in art and music forms. The material in the video tells also of the traditions that are part of the daily life of the tribe: the elaboration of the “cachiri” (a drink from yucca) and the casabe, the houses, the methods of transportation and the traditions that they have implemented in their actual life (sports, religions, etc). 

From this video different programs will emerge that will be conducted in the Centre (see below):

  • A database that will have all the footage of the interviews in a video clip form, the legacy of which will become part of the Kamarakoto community for their own utility and profit. This material will be produced for investigation, reference and education.
  • A short documentary film with subtitles in Spanish and English (the interviews are done in the Pemón dialect), it is done in a manner in which the Kamarakotos are talking to the rest of the world, and they, thanks to Hortensia, describe their land, their history, and their culture. This documentary will be released internationally.
  • To train personnel to help catalogue, utilize and teach the material from the interviews.
  • A series of art and music workshops