Native Planet > Indigenous Cultures > Pech > Religion

  The Pech
Religion and Culture

Religion has had a shockingly profound effect on the lives and culture of the Pech people. The detrimental effects of western ideals of Christianity and "civilization" can be seen in all aspects of their lives. Many of the traditional practices that made culture uniquely identifiable as Pech culture have been banned by the church. One of the most insidious ways imperial nations used to subjugate colonies and their indigenous inhabitants has always been religion. The remote areas of La Moskitia are no different (read the history section). And even today, despite the good intentions of a few religious leaders, most often they cause more harm than good.

We have encountered Pech pastors and religious devotees who take a strong stand in denouncing traditional practices (such as herbal healing, dancing, etc.) as primitive and satanic. They describe the work of the Watas, traditional shaman as witch-craft. Today they are no longer any Pech Shamans. Due to persecution or lack of interest, it appears that the teachings of the last shamans have been lost on recent generations most influenced by religion and the Latino culture. The spiritual and natural knowledge of the ancestors has been demonized.

Most Pech today are fervent followers of the Church. A few only attend as a social event and disagree with some of the teachings as they try to preserve their indigenous identity and culture. These people are few and in much need of support if they are going to succeed at reviving a dying culture.



Note: Background photographs and design by Jean-Philippe Soule 1997

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