January 01, 2008

Huacas in The Emperor's New School

I think I found the source for the "shuacas" that appeared in one episode of The Emperor's New School. Here's the story I'm talking about:Gold Fool's: When Kuzco needs money for a cartcycle, he enlists Kronk and Malina's help to hunt down a huaca, a magical creature that gives out gold. But when they actually find the huaca, it's not as easily as they had hoped.Never mind that they clearly pronounced the word "shuaca," not "huaca." Somebody screwed up somewhere. No matter...we're now on the trail.

HuacaIn Quechua, a Native American language of South America, a huaca or wak'a is an object that represents something revered, typically a monument of some kind.

A huaca can be a place honored such as a high mountain pass, an origin or emergence or place of creation (pacarina), a place of traditional significance such as a spring, a mountain top (apu) where rain and water originates, an astronomically aligned location, or a place of historical or mytho-historical significance.

The European conquerors considered huacas to be idols to lesser gods than theirs, but they could not easily destroy a mountain or even a rock with their primitive technologies. If they suspected there was gold inside, they might change the course of a river to wash away an adobe burial mound, as they did at Huaca del Sol.
So huacas were places, not people. They were sacred places that might have gold inside them.

The Emperor's New School changed huacas into underground guardians of treasure a la trolls, dwarves, or leprechauns. And when Kuzco and company captured a huaca, it turned out to be a fraud--a human pretending to be a spirit.

So what do we learn from this episode? In Disney's Inca-world, deities have material goals such as hoarding gold and retrieving gold masks. That would be pretty crass, especially for a supernatural being, but not to worry. Since every Inca deity so far has turned out to be false, it doesn't matter if their goals are selfish or greedy. They don't exist.


dmarks said...

Continuing from the earlier item... are they doing this out of contempt for Natives and out of buying into old stereotypes?

Or are they just strip-mining "ancient vanished culture" material the same way that other efforts have done with old Romans, Greeks, and Norse? ....albeit a culture that has never been used this way before?

Rob said...

I'd say it's conscious strip-mining and unconscious contempt.

I compared the strip-mining of ancient Greek and Inca religions in my comments on The Emperor's New Sacrilege.