Of Blood and Snow: Emerging Narratives from a High-Altitude Himalayan Desert

Jane Orton ()

The Himalayan desert of Spiti is home to the snow leopard, blue sheep, and ibex, and is an area of stunning natural beauty. Yet much of Spiti’s folklore involves non-endemic animals, perhaps due to its confluence of Tibetan Buddhism, Bön and Hinduism. Recently, traditional institutions have been working in tandem with each other, and with various NGOS, to negotiate challenges to the region’s ecology. As a result, emerging wildlife narratives are evolving separately from the transmission of stories and songs. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2018, this paper explores the complexities of Spiti’s folklore and its decentralised decision-making.

Part of 32-02 Multi-Species Relationships from the Margins: Case Studies from North and Northeast India, Wednesday, October 20, 11:15 am–12:45 pm