Llamas, Weavings, and Organic Chocolate: Multicultural Grassroots Development in the Andes and Amazon of Bolivia

Nov 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 17-2: Sustainability, Media Reviews

LLAMAS, WEAVINGS COVERby Kevin Healy
University of Notre Dame Press (2001), Notre Dame, IN
485 pages
ISBN 0-2680-1326-8
Paperback $30.00

Review by Stephanie Owen

What at first appears to be a book about weaving becomes something much more upon closer inspection. Making connections between llamas and weaving is easy, but organic chocolate?

Those three topics, as well as six additional ones discussed by Healy, are examples of successful grassroots programs implemented in Bolivia, programs that incorporate indigenous cultural resources.

Based on Healy’s experience as the Bolivia Foundation Representative for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), this book explores various grassroots initiatives.

After many failed attempts to mimic Western modes of development (especially technological) and under the weight of decades of anti-indigenous discrimination, these programs ultimately helped to revitalize Bolivia’s cultural traditions.

The book has three main parts: an examination of Bolivia’s historical and contextual framework, a narrative exploration of nine successful programs, and Healy’s analysis of what brought about such successes. The book is thoughtful and well written.

Stephanie Owen is the cataloging librarian at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

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