Amazonia and the Orinoco


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Survey of the peoples of the Amazonian and the Orinoco regions of South America

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Amazonia and the Orinoco

  1. 1. Amazonia and the Orinoco Tribal Peoples of the Region
  2. 2. Location of South America <ul><li>South America is located </li></ul><ul><li>North of Antarctica </li></ul><ul><li>South of North and Central America </li></ul><ul><li>East of Africa (portion of continent to the right) </li></ul><ul><li>Southwest of Europe (upper right corner) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Location of Amazonia and Orinoco <ul><li>The green represents tropical rain forest </li></ul><ul><li>Amazonia covers Brazil, but also 8 other countries (map) </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Venezuela is home to the Yanomamö (reading assignment here) </li></ul><ul><li>Central Brazil is home to the Kayapó (film in this course) </li></ul><ul><li>Ecuador is home to the Waodani (film in this course) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Yanomamö of Southern Venezuela <ul><li>They are a tribal people </li></ul><ul><li>They cultivate gardens, principally the root known as manioc (upper left) </li></ul><ul><li>They use slash-and-burn techniques (lower left) </li></ul><ul><li>They tend to be warlike </li></ul><ul><li>These features are common to other South American tribal peoples in Amazonia </li></ul>
  5. 5. Shelter <ul><li>Like other peoples, they live in thatch housing </li></ul><ul><li>Yanomamö live in shabonos, circular palisade housing surrounding a plaza (upper left) </li></ul><ul><li>Others may differ in design, (like the Kayapo, left) </li></ul><ul><li>But they reflect moieties, a kin-based organization divided into two parts (lower left) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Kinship: A Quick Introduction, The Basics <ul><li>Almost all nonwestern cultures are family based </li></ul><ul><li>Often, they comprise extended families </li></ul><ul><li>That is because there is so much work to do—tending gardens, herding cattle—a lot! </li></ul><ul><li>Extended families usually involve three or more generations of married kin. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes there is a lot of work to do </li></ul><ul><li>So they form lineages and clans beyond the extended families </li></ul>
  7. 7. Kinship: A Quick Introduction, Descent Rules <ul><li>All cultures have different rules of descent </li></ul><ul><li>We recognize our kin through both sides of the family </li></ul><ul><li>But Yanomamö recognize only one side: the father’s side </li></ul><ul><li>And within that they recognize only one line of males </li></ul><ul><li>So there is one unbroken line of males </li></ul><ul><li>Daughters do not pass the affiliation down to their children </li></ul>
  8. 8. Kinship: A Quick Introduction, Bilateral Descent <ul><li>This is bilateral descent </li></ul><ul><li>Notice everyone is affiliated with ego (that is, you!) </li></ul><ul><li>They are labeled by red </li></ul><ul><li>In some schemes, in-marrying relatives are excluded </li></ul><ul><li>See also diagram on page 72 an description on page 72 in McDowell’s Cultural Anthropology: A Concise Introduction </li></ul>
  9. 9. Kinship: A Quick Introduction: Patrilineal Descent <ul><li>This is patrilineal descent </li></ul><ul><li>All the men are colored red </li></ul><ul><li>All the affiliated women are colored red </li></ul><ul><li>But the offspring of the men are colored res </li></ul><ul><li>Not the offspring of the women </li></ul><ul><li>So you have affiliated only the line of males and their siblings </li></ul>
  10. 10. Kinship: A Quick Introduction: American Surname Assignment <ul><li>Take your own surname (or last name) </li></ul><ul><li>From whom did you get your surname? Your father, right? </li></ul><ul><li>That was your mother’s name too, but she got it my marriage </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re male, you’ll pass it on to your kids </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re female, your maiden name will not pass on to your kids. </li></ul><ul><li>Patrilineal descent operates on that same principle </li></ul><ul><li>More details: check pp. 72-76 of the McDowell text, and diagram on p.74 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Demonstrated and Stipulated Descent: Basis of Lineages/Clans <ul><li>Demonstrated Descent: </li></ul><ul><li>Descent is traced </li></ul><ul><li>through all linking males/females </li></ul><ul><li>to ancestor </li></ul><ul><li>Stipulated descent: </li></ul><ul><li>Descent from ancestor </li></ul><ul><li>Is assumed and </li></ul><ul><li>cannot be traced through linking kin </li></ul>
  12. 12. Lineages <ul><li>Lineages are unilineal descent units whose members </li></ul><ul><li>Can demonstrate their descent </li></ul><ul><li>To a common ancestor </li></ul><ul><li>Lineages divide or segment into smaller ones </li></ul><ul><li>This model of a segmentary lineage shows how it works </li></ul>
  13. 13. Clans <ul><li>Clans are unilineal descent units </li></ul><ul><li>Whose members can only stipulate </li></ul><ul><li>Their descent to a common ancestor </li></ul><ul><li>Clans tend to include smaller lineages, as shown here </li></ul><ul><li>There are no clans among the Yanomamö </li></ul>
  14. 14. Dual Social Organization: Formation by Marriage <ul><li>The Yanomamö and Kayapo are both organized into two moieties </li></ul><ul><li>They reflect the requirement that a man marries his cross-cousin </li></ul><ul><li>Notice that a man (red) from Lineage A </li></ul><ul><li>Marries a woman (blue) from Lineage B </li></ul><ul><li>She is both his mother’s brother’s daughter and </li></ul><ul><li>His father’s sister’s daughter </li></ul><ul><li>Isn’t that incest? </li></ul><ul><li>No, because she belongs to a different lineage (Read Chapter 10, McDowell text) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Dual Social Organization: Results <ul><li>Moieties have been found in many tribal Amazonian peoples </li></ul><ul><li>This is the result of bilateral cross cousin marriage just described </li></ul><ul><li>This Kayapo moiety is the result of that marriage rule. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Yanomamö as Tribal Organization <ul><li>Because they are organized into two lineages </li></ul><ul><li>And these lineages intermarry </li></ul><ul><li>They are by definition a tribe </li></ul><ul><li>Villages comprise two segments called lineages </li></ul><ul><li>And so are linked by an institution, namely marriage. </li></ul><ul><li>When they migrate, the two lineages stay together </li></ul>
  17. 17. Cousin Terminology Reflects this Dual Structure <ul><li>Notice that brother and sisters are named the same as parallel cousins (MoSiCh and (FaBrCh) </li></ul><ul><li>But cross-cousins are given distinct terms: MoBrDa and FaSiDa are Suaboya and </li></ul><ul><li>MoBrSo and FaSiDa are called shoriwa. </li></ul><ul><li>Guess whom you could marry in Yanomam ő land—and not go to jail! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Politics of the Yanomamö: The Feasts <ul><li>The Yanomamö don’t get along too well </li></ul><ul><li>They hold feasts to create alliances </li></ul><ul><li>But feasts are a risky proposition for both guest and hosts </li></ul><ul><li>The guests could turn against the hosts </li></ul><ul><li>The hosts could massacre the guests </li></ul><ul><li>So they have a built-in device to defuse tensions </li></ul>
  19. 19. Levels of Violence at Feasts <ul><li>If things get out of hand, both parties agree to a chest pounding duel </li></ul><ul><li>If chest pounding doesn’t work, they resort to side slapping using spears (upper left) </li></ul><ul><li>Then come the club fights </li></ul><ul><li>Only then do the arrows start to fly </li></ul><ul><li>At every stage, every effort is made to defuse the tension </li></ul><ul><li>But tension is always present at feasts (lower left) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Reciprocity <ul><li>Yanomamö trade is the first step to forming alliances </li></ul><ul><li>A gift made is always acrimonious </li></ul><ul><li>Repayment is expected soon, often at the next feast </li></ul><ul><li>Mauss’s obligations (see module on Tribal Society) is present here </li></ul><ul><li>The market is also present; here a “chief” (actually a powerless headman) is selling baskets. </li></ul>
  21. 21. World of the Hekura: Yanomamö and the Supernatural <ul><li>Yanomamö also try to enter the spirit world </li></ul><ul><li>A hallucinogen called been </li></ul><ul><li>Is used to invoke the hekura spirits </li></ul><ul><li>Here a group blows been into each others’ nostrils </li></ul><ul><li>Sometime they may be used to bring harm to one’s rival </li></ul><ul><li>Here a shaman strikes a blow at some unseen hekura </li></ul>
  22. 22. The Cosmos of the Yanomamö <ul><li>The Yanomamö conceive of four planes of existence </li></ul><ul><li>The lowest plane, their hell, is punishment for being stingy among other sins </li></ul><ul><li>Earth is the third plane from the bottom </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusion: Implications for Comparison <ul><li>For further details, consult Johnson and Earle’s “Case 5: The Yanomamö of the Venezuelan Highlands,” pp. 142-169 </li></ul><ul><li>One video covers the cases of two Kayapo groups as they deal with the gold mining industry </li></ul><ul><li>The second video looks at the Waodani as they confront Protestant missionaries </li></ul><ul><li>Note how each group differs in working—or not working—with Western outsiders. </li></ul>