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Materials of the Omagua Documentation Project

Collection number: SCL 2014-01
Primary contributors:  Lev Michael (researcher, author, donor), Vivian Wauters (researcher, donor, author), Lino Huanío Cabudivo (consultant), Zachary O'Hagan (researcher, predepositor, donor, author), Amelia Huanaquiri Tuisima (consultant), Arnaldo Huanaquiri Tuisima (consultant), Lazarina Cabudivo Tuisima (consultant), Clare S. Sandy (researcher, donor, author), Manuel Cabudivo Tuisima (consultant), Tammy Stark (researcher, donor, author), Alicia Huanío Cabudivo (consultant)
Additional contributors:  Demie Cheng (researcher), Rosa Vallejos Yopán (donor, author, researcher), Zachary O'Hagan (transcriber), Christine Beier (donor, researcher), Brianna Grohman (researcher), Arnaldo Huanaquiri Tuisima (author), Teresa McFarland (researcher), Marc Januta (researcher)
Language: Omagua
Dates: 2003-
Historical information: Omagua is a Tupí-Guaraní language that was originally spoken along the main course of the Amazon River between the mouths of the Napo (modern-day Peru) and Juruá rivers (modern-day Brazil), as well as in the headwaters of the Napo, in and around the Aguarico and Tiputini basins. In the pre-Columbian period Omaguas were one of the most numerous ethnolinguistic groups of lowland South America. First contacted in 1542, they subsequently suffered from several epidemics throughout the remaining 16th and 17th centuries. Although a handful of Catholic missionaries proselytized among them in this early period, it was not until 1685 that intensive Jesuit efforts undertaken by Father Samuel Fritz began to have long-lasting effects on Omagua lifeways, especially settlement patterns. By the 1690s, Omaguas, already relocated to large islands in the middle of the Amazon due to demographic pressures from unrelated, neighboring upland peoples, began to flee the onslaughts of Portuguese slave raiders, which came to a head around 1710. By the early 1720s, they had resettled with the assistance of Jesuit priests on the left bank of the Amazon upriver of modern-day Iquitos, far outside their traditional territory. Their principal community, San Joaquín de Omaguas (SJQ), originally founded in a different downriver location by Samuel Fritz, became the seat of the lower Jesuit missions in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Maynas, administered from Quito. Here at least three unrelated ethnolinguistic groups came to coreside with Omaguas (i.e., Yameos, Yurimaguas, and Matses (then known as Mayorunas). Related Kokamas were also present. This mission site declined dramatically in importance on the regional stage following the expulsion of the Jesuits by Carlos III in 1767, and in the 1880s, at the onset of the Rubber Boom, it changed locations yet again. By the early 20th century Omagua speakers were severely reduced in numbers, due to some 50 years of sustained contact with lowland Quechua and Spanish speakers, and the disastrous effects of the Rubber Boom. The last generation of Omagua-dominant individuals was born in the 1910s, although this generation later became fully bilingual in Spanish. The materials that constitute the present collection derive from a research project begun by Lev Michael (LDM), Christine Beier, and Catherine Clark, then of the University of Texas at Austin, in 2003 to assess the sociolinguistic situation in SJQ and evaluate the possibility of carrying out future language documentation work in the area. Subsequent field trips in 2004 (Michael, with Edinson Huamancayo Curi, then of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima) and in 2006 (Brianna Grohman (BGG), then of UT Austin) built a base of recordings of oral narratives and a practical orthography that was subsequently used by speaker Arnaldo Huanaquiri Tuisima to produce a large, written text corpus of the language, with interlinearized Spanish translation. This corpus (item 2014-01.002) formed the basis of a team-based project at the University of California, Berkeley, headed by Lev Michael, which began in January 2009 and focused on the digitization, segmentation, and grammatical analysis of these texts. The first team members were Demie Cheng, Marc Januta (undergraduates), Teresa McFarland (graduate), Lev Michael (faculty), Zachary O'Hagan (ZJO), Tammy Stark (TES), and Vivian Wauters (VMW) (undergraduates). In Fall 2009, Cheng, Januta, and McFarland stepped aside and Clare Sandy (CSS, graduate) joined the project. At other points during the 2009-2010 academic year, Michael Roberts and Natalie Lloyd also participated in the project, mainly carrying out a first round of transcriptions of the audio recordings produced by Huamancayo in April 2004. In September 2009, Lev Michael and Rosa Vallejos, then of the University of Oregon, successfully applied for an NSF DEL grant (award #0966499 "Collaborative Research: Kokama-Kokamilla (cod) and Omagua (omg): Documentation, Description and (Non-)Genetic Relations"), which, in part, funded 8 weeks of in-situ fieldwork in SJQ for O'Hagan, Sandy, Stark, and Wauters between June and August 2010. (O'Hagan was also funded by UC Berkeley's Haas Scholars Program at this time.) O'Hagan and Sandy returned to SJQ and the nearby urban center of Iquitos for 8 more weeks of fieldwork between June and August 2011. During the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years, Michael, O'Hagan, Sandy, Stark, and Wauters met for a weekly seminar dedicated to the collaborative description of Omagua based on the materials that had been collected to that point. In July 2013, O'Hagan returned for additional brief fieldwork. Beginning in Spring 2010, Michael and O'Hagan began collaborating on a detailed analysis of four Jesuit-era ecclesiastical texts written in Omagua (two catechisms, the Lord's Prayer, and the Act of Faith), which formed the basis for the 2016 book that constitutes item 2014-01.017. Beginning in Spring 2011, while Michael was away on sabbatical, O'Hagan and Wauters (the latter by then a graduate student at UC Berkeley) began collaborating on the phonological and morphological reconstruction of Proto-Omagua-Kokama. This work later came to include Michael and Vallejos, and is ongoing (see item 2014-01.018). Omagua speakers Arnaldo Huanaquiri Tuisima (b. 1933, AHT) and his first cousin, Manuel Cabudivo Tuisima (1925-2010, MCT) were the first to collaborate with Michael, Beier, and Clark in 2003, and were the first to record oral narratives in the language (2014-01.001). At the time that longer-term, in-situ fieldwork was first carried out in 2010, they were thought to be the only remaining two speakers of the language. Unfortunately, Cabudivo Tuisima passed away in February of that year, before he could participate further in documentation of the language. Toward the end of the Summer 2010 field season, however, four additional speakers of the language were located: Alicia (b. 1932, AHC) and Lino (b. 1936, LHC) Huanío Cabudivo, the niece and nephew of Manuel Cabudivo T.; Amelia Huanaquiri Tuisima (b. 1930, AmHT), sister of Arnaldo Huanaquiri T.; and Lazarina Cabudivo Tuisima (1919-2014, LCT), sister of Manuel Cabudivo T. (In fact, an additional speaker, Paula Tuisima Huaní (c1919-2013), the maternal aunt of Lazarina and Manuel Cabudivo T., came to be known in 2011, but her health prevented her participation in the project.) The linguistic data gathered from these speakers radically changed the team's understanding of Omagua grammar, which had previously been based solely on the text corpus produced by Arnaldo Huanaquiri T. This results in the earliest preliminary descriptions of phonological and grammatical phenomena in the language, some of which are archived as part of this collection, being unreliable for the purposes of linguistic description. With that in mind, preference should be given to materials with a date of 2011 or later. File names are largely self-explanatory, typically consisting of some combination of date, initials of participants (see above), the language's ISO code (OMG), and other pertinent descriptive information. Materials deposited as of June 2016 will be augmented as future materials are processed.
Scope and content: Audio recordings of elicitation sessions and narrative texts; field notes; written narrative texts; derivative products (e.g., theses, dictionary drafts, conference handouts, etc.); preliminary grammatical descriptions; FLEx back-ups; historical and genealogical materials; grant proposals and budgets; personal correspondence; research products on colonial-era Old Omagua (OOMG) and Proto-Omagua-Kokama (POK)
Repository: Survey of California and Other Indian Languages
Preferred citation: Materials of the Omagua Documentation Project, SCL 2014-01, Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, University of California, Berkeley,