Au service des Saints: Cultiver la forêt, nourrir la terre, protéger la communauté

Translated title of the contribution: Serving the Saints: Cultivating the forest, nourishing the earth, protecting the community

Nicolas Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In a world where different elements of the environment are governed by numerous divinities or masterspirits, the Totonac have progressively made their own the prerogatives of these entities. This papper discusses the implications of this reshuffling of sovereignty over the environment through the example of the negotiations of tree-cutting rights between government authorities and indigenous organisations. Thus it shows how, for the Totonac, the notion of protection is expressed through dwelling. In the case of the forest, protection is understood as depending on a sovereignty asserted through the act of cultivation, be it exercised by a saint or a master-spirit or directly by humans.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages15
JournalCahiers d'Anthropologie Sociale
Publication statusPublished - 2007



  • totonac
  • master-spirits
  • forestry rights
  • coffee
  • dwelling perspective

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