18 Chapters
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CHAPTER SIXTEEN. Ethnogenesis and Interculturality in the “Forest of Canelos”: The Wild and the Tame Revisited

Alf Hornborg University Press of Colorado ePub

Norman E. Whitten Jr.

In this chapter I focus on indigenous ethnogenesis and interculturality of the Canelos Quichua and Jivaroan people of the “forest of Canelos” as the former perceive themselves as emerging in a regional cultural system. I also focus on historical ethnogenesis wherein the portrayal of Quichua-speaking and Jivaroan-speaking people in Dominican archives established a strategic polarity seized upon by some scholars who, however inadvertently, subvert the epistemology revealed in serious, extended ethnography.

In 1536 Gonzalo Díaz de Pineda identified a place or region known as Canelos from his expedition’s terminal point of sub-Andean Quijos. This region constituted a crucial trade node between Amazonia and Quito that predated the Inca. The Inca continued to exploit the resources of the region radiating out of Quijos, although it constituted a land beyond their dominion. The tierra de la canela was said to be inhabited by dispersed people who spoke different languages and were aggregated under the rubric “Canelos.” There followed a period of violence initiated by the atrocities of the expedition led by Gonzalo Pizarro and continuing until the Quijos revolts beginning in 1579. Somehow, by 1581, the mission of Canelos, to the south of Quijos, was founded in various locations from Puyo to Canelos, and Dominican ecclesiastical territoriality rhetorically divided the region into “wild” Jívaro and Záparo “indians” on one side and “tame” Quichua “indians” on the other (see Whitten 2008 for specific references).

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CHAPTER SIX. An Attempt to Understand Panoan Ethnogenesis in Relation to Long-Term Patterns and Transformations of Regional Interaction in Western Amazonia

Alf Hornborg University Press of Colorado ePub

Alf Hornborg and Love Eriksen

This chapter will explore the regional context and reproduction of the Panoan ethnolinguistic family in western Amazonia. The argument is a specific case within a more general project1 aiming to build a database for correlating the geography, linguistics, material culture (e.g., ceramic styles, rock-art styles, horticultural systems, etc.), trade routes, and political projects of indigenous Amazonia over time (Eriksen 2011). We believe that correlations thus established can be used to test or at least illuminate various hypotheses on the emergence and history of specific ethnolinguistic groups. The Panoan language family provides an appropriate illustration of this more general perspective. In the area occupied by these groups, archaeological, linguistic, historical, and ethnological data jointly suggest that the sharp ethnic contrast between highland Quechua speakers and lowland Panoans for a very long time has been mediated by Arawakan groups occupying the Andean foothills and western margins of Amazonia. These sub-Andean Arawak speakers, we argue, represent the western reaches of a pan-Amazonian network of long-distance trade that once used a proto-Arawakan language as a lingua franca.2

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN. Constancy in Continuity? Native Oral History, Iconography, and Earthworks on the Upper Purús River

Alf Hornborg University Press of Colorado ePub

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen

When I was working with the Manchineri in Acre state, Brazil, I asked young people to produce drawings as a way of gaining more insight into their lived worlds. Once a young man drew the ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis) vision he had seen during a shamanic ceremony. When I later compared this shamanic Manchineri design with a satellite photo of an earthwork of the same region, I was surprised by how similarly the drawing followed the geometric forms of the earth structure. According to the young man, the geometric design was the “vehicle” of a palm spirit, which he depicted above it.1

According to Manchineri people, the shamanic visions come from entities such as palm spirits, one of the most powerful non-human beings in Manchineri sociocosmology. These visions, similar to dreams, provide an important source of knowledge from non-human beings. The visions allow transformation through the interaction with non-humans whose real nature and forms are expressed. They are experienced at a very personal level and represent a totalizing image of the world in which things are connected in complex invisible ways.

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN. Sacred Landscapes as Environmental Histories in Lowland South America

Alf Hornborg University Press of Colorado ePub

Jonathan D. Hill

In this chapter I will focus on ritual practices as active components in the ways that indigenous peoples of lowland South America have historically constructed power relations and the material, ecological landscapes that these different ritual practices have produced. The term “landscape” is used here to refer to a “historical construct, the visible imprint of past human agency” (Neves and Petersen 2006:279), or reflections of interactive processes that are at once organic, inorganic, and semiotic. Ritual practices and associated mythic narratives play a central role in the way material and organic phenomena are signified (i.e., named, classified, consumed, handled, or otherwise transformed) or imbued with culturally specific patterns of meaning, intentionality, and emotion.1 Significant features of the landscape are in turn recursively introduced as signifiers into the processes of reproducing human social relations.2 In this chapter, special attention is given to indigenous verbal artistry, including chanted, sung, and other musically performed ways of speaking in ritual settings as well as narrative discourses that explain the origins of such ritually powerful ways of speaking.

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN. Afterword: Ethnicity in Ancient Amazonia

Alf Hornborg University Press of Colorado ePub

Neil L. Whitehead

This volume makes a major contribution to rethinking the history of South America by directly confronting some of the major theoretical constraints that have interfered with a better appreciation of the nature of ancient Amazonia. Several authors in the volume use the lens of Arawakan peoples to begin to provide a coherent ethnological framework for thinking through the interrelationships of language, society, culture, and history over extended time frames. This necessarily means that archaeological, no less than linguistic and sociocultural, materials are brought together into an emerging theoretical and historical paradigm. This has been achieved by rejecting earlier simplistic conceptions that picture a series of “peoples” distributed across a static landscape and forming neat, coherent, bounded populations linked by a common language, which, it was supposed, gave rise directly and distinctly to equally discrete and bounded “cultures” and “ethnic identities.” The apparent plausibility of this model no doubt has many roots, including inherent biases deriving from the colonial entanglements of anthropology and archaeology as intellectual projects; a lack of basic information on the archaeology, ecology, and ethnology of many parts of this vast region; and the resulting assumptions that the character of groups encountered in twentieth-century ethnography was essentially unchanged “survivors” from earlier times. Nothing could be further from the truth of the matter, and in fact the situation, demographic and sociopolitical, of modern Amazonians is more in the character of refugees from genocide than of untouched relics of a sylvan past.

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