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Galvao, Eduardo Eneas
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Indians of South America--Brazil
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Full Text



Looking Through the Kaleidoscope :
Essays in Honor of Charles Wagley
Special Publication, Number 6 1990












Officers of the Florida Anthropology Student Association
President Thea de Wet
Vice President Kathi R. Kitner
Secretary James Ellison
Treasurer Judy Anne Sproles
Historian-Recorder Rosina Hassoun


Editorial Staff of the Florida Journal of Anthropology
Editor William Gray Johnson
Editorial Coordinator Judy Anne Sproles
Production Manager George E. Avery
Circulation Manager Susan D. de France
Immediate Past Editor Thomas Hales Eubanks
Book Review Editor Gary W. Shaeff
Current Research Editor Emine Onarana Incirliogliu

Area Editors
Applied Anthropology Kathi R. Kitner
Archaeology James Gregory Cusick
Biological Anthropology Nancy Schoenberg
Linguistic Anthropology Michael A. Farris
Sociocultural Anthropology Edward W. Sirriani


Special Publication, Number 6 1990
Editors Pennie L. Magee and John Wilson
Managing Editor Thomas Hales Eubanks
Initial Special Publication Editor Christopher Ohm Clement
Copy Editor Marta M. Bustillo Hernandez


CoverPhoto: Charles Wagley traveling downstream on theAraguaia River, Central Brazil, 1939. UFArchives










Looking Through the Kaleidoscope :
Essays in Honor of Charles Wagley



















Flrida Journal of Anthropology
Special Publication Number 6 1990











































This publication was designed on an AppleTM Macintosh Plus computer
using Microsoft WordTM and PageMakerTM software,
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Text is set in GaramondTM, PalatinoTM, HelveticaTM, and OptimaTM typefaces.


Copyright 1990 by the Florida Anthropology Student Association.
No portion of this journal may be reproduced, by any process or technique,
without the express written consent of the publisher.

ISSN: 0164-1162












FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Special Publication, Number 6,1990
Pennie L. Magee and John Wilson, Editors


CONTENTS
Preface ............................................................................................................................................................ Editors v

Foreword ...........................................................................................................................................John V. Lombardi vii

Charles Wagley's Contribution to Anthropology .............................................................................Marvin Harris 1

Wagley, Mestre e Amigo Fraterno .................................................................................................. Thales de Azevedo 7

The New Catholic Church in Itd: A Case Study of Liberation Theology,
Ecclesiastical Base Communities, and Social Conflict in an Amazonian
Community of Brazil................................................................................................................................Richard Pace 11

Reconstructing Ethnicity as Class:
The Tawantinsuyu Uprising of Southern Peru ................................................ane Collins and Michael Painter 21

Learning to Leave: Up and Out in the Brazilian Amazon .................................................................Linda Miller 31

O Conceito do Indio no Brasil ..........................................................................................................Mercio Gomes 39

Usage of Botanical Life-Form Labels in Ka'apor (Amazonian Brazil) ........................................... William Balee 55

Siona-Secoya and Inca Religions:
A Comparison of Sacred Systems in the Amazon and the Andes ................................................ William Vickers 63

Kado: The Bakairi Indian Mask Dance .............................................................................................Debra Picchi 73

Cultural Contrasts in Prime Time Society: Brazil and the United States..........................Conrad Phillip Kottak 81

Brazil: A Changing Nation and a Changeless Society?
Further Notes on the Nature of the Brazilian Dilemma ..........................................................Roberto da Matta 93

Wagley no Espelho Triangular .......................................................................... Samuel Sd and Elisa Vianna Sd 105

The Transamazon Highway and Amazonian Development:
Goals, Implementation, and the Reality Twenty Years Later ................................................... Emilio F. Moran 111

A Research Agenda for Studies of Subsistence Hunting
in the Neotropics ........................................................................................... Kent H. Redford and John G. Robinson 117

Charles Wagley's Bibliography ........................................................................................................................... 123
















PREFACE


Shortly after Charles Wagley retired from his teaching position at the University of Florida in 1983,Editorial
Coordinator of the Florida Journal ofAnthropology, Thomas Hales Eubanks, suggested that the journal sponsor a
publication in recognition of his contributions to anthropology.
As editors of the present special publication of the FloridaJournalofAnthropology, we approached the agreeable
task of honoring Charles Wagley in the same spirit as had Margolis and Carter in their 1979 volume entitled Brazil:
AnthropologicalPerspectives; Essays in Honor of Charles Wagley. We too, had witnessed the 'rare qualities that most
distinguish [him] as mentor, colleague and friend'. We also knew that his work had influenced the writings of students
and colleagues beyond those studying Brazilian culture. So we asked the contributors to this volume to write on any
theme which they felt would reflect Charles Wagley's influence on their own research. The resulting collection of
papers covers a wide range of topics, based on research in several countries in Latin America. Presented together, they
are testimony to Wagley's longstanding commitment to humanism.
Dr. Wagley's spirit also has been evident throughout the preparation of the journal. The journal suffered from the
vagaries inherent to student-run publications. Members of the staff were highly mobile, preparing for qualifying
examinations, leavingfor research of their own, or graduating. Yetsomeone always was there to make sure the project
didn't founder. We especially thank Thomas Eubanks for his crucial role in keeping the idea alive, from its inception
to its completion. Brian Fisk was instrumental to the progress of the project in the early years. Later on, students who
had never even met Charles Wagley, nor taken a course from him, contributed their time and skills to the journal. The
members of the journal staff helped edit some of the papers and manuscripts were typed by Arlene Fradkin, James
Gardner and Steve Fadel. Steve Krzyszton contributed his computer skills at important junctures. Cleusa Rancy edited
the manuscripts written in Portuguese. George Avery exceeded the bounds of his responsibility as production
manager, typing certain manuscripts and entering editing corrections. Bill Johnson gave freely of his advice and
support in the endless and complex details of editing a journal. Marta Bustillo provided expertise far beyond that
originally asked of her to format the papers into PageMakerTM; she proved to be a superb copy editor. Her keen eye
for detail, and her persistent concern for accuracy contributed much to the final product E. Michael Whittington
stepped in during the last and crucial stages of the journal to provide expert and meticulous copyediting. His desktop
publishing skills were essential in taking the journal to the camera-ready stage. To him we owe a special debt of
graditude.
The staff of the University of Florida Archives lent their support by giving us access to Charles Wagley's collection
of photographs and slides. The staff of the Office of Instructional Resources at the University did a splendid job of
restoring the old negatives and slides we selected to make into prints for this volume. The Department of
Anthropology, the Florida/Brazil Institute and the Center for Latin American Studies provided valuable infrastructural
support in the way of xeroxing and the use of computers.
Charles Wagley has touched the lives of all of us who contributed to this journal. Hence the title of the volume,
"Looking Through the Kaleidoscope: Essays in Honor of Charles Wagley". Pieces which appear to be unrelated
fragments,come together in multi- colored and symmetrical patterns when they are reflected off of a mirror. When we
hold our ideas and our efforts up to that bright mirror which is Charles Wagley, they form a pattern. The pattern can
change over time, with a metaphorical twist of the kaleidoscope, yet it will always turn around the source of its
inspiration.

Pennie L. Magee
Gainesville, Florida


John Wilson
Washington, D.C.
















FOREWORD

For those of us in the academic generation of the mid-sixties, Charles Wagley assumed totemic proportions.
Amazon Town (1953), his classes at Columbia University, The Latin American Tradition (1968), these represent but
the surface texture of one of this country's premier Latin Americanists. The anthropologists claim him, of course, and
well they should for as the work in this collection illustrates, Charles Wagley contributes to and inspires a remarkable
range of anthropological scholarship beginning with The Economics of the Guatemalan Village (1941), continuing
through an exploration with his colleague Marvin Harris of Minorities in the New Worid(1958), and including a study
of The Tapirape Indians ofCentralBrazil(1977); but we historians, too, through the peculiar transformation Wagley
always inspires and is illustrated in his An Introduction ofBrazil(1963), also claim him for our own.
Perhaps it is his intellectual reach, his sympathetic and intelligent approach to other societies and cultures, his
incredible generosity to students and colleagues, or the elegance of his classics on Brazilian life; who can tell? But the
truth of the matter is that Charles Wagley's intellectual and academic career sets a standard that many of us seek and
few succeed.
Others can assess Charles Wagley's scholarly contributions with expertise and competence, recognizing and
cataloging his remarkable contribution to the revival of American academic interest in Latin America and especially
in Brazil, but throughout my own odyssey through Latin American studies, the image and example of Charles Wagley
stand as powerful reminders of the attitude of sympathetic, critical, and rigorous comprehension that informs his
academic style and his life. All of us touched by this remarkable scholar have our own memories that we cherish, but
my well-worn copy of Amazon Town reminds me how much about life and scholarship I learned from Charles
Wagley's graceful and intelligent approach to understanding people and cultures.
What a pleasure itisto return after some twenty years to join with the scholars represented in this volume in a salute
to one of my academic heroes.




John V. Lombardi, President
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida












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Charles Wagley traveling upstream on the Araguaia River, Central Brazil, 1940. UFArchives


" '











CHARLES WAGLEY'S CONTRIBUTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY


MARVIN HARRIS
University of Florida


L

Charles Wagley's contribution to anthropology has
three facets: Latin Americanist and consummate Brazili-
anist; pioneer of applied anthropology; and tireless
sponsor and advocate of graduate students through and
beyond their Ph.D.'s.
Chuck's influence as an area specialist is based on
field research in a broad range of rural Latin American
subcultures plus extensive informal participation in the
life of Latin America's big cities, especially in Brazil,
through his family and friends. His fieldwork began in
1937 (under the sponsorship of Ruth Benedict) with
dissertation researching Santiago Chimaltenango, aMayan
Indian community in Guatemala (Wagley 1941,1949). In
the typology of Latin American subculture which Chuck
andl later developed (Wagley andHarris 1955), Santiago
Chimaltenango exemplified one kind of "Modern In-
dian" subculture.
With this dissertation written, Chuck felt that he
wanted a new research experience in a part of the world
that was "less well known anthropologically" (Wagley
1977:3). This led in 1939-1940 to eighteen months of
fieldwork, among the Tapirape, a Tupian-speaking vil-
lage-level people located deep in Brazil's Amazonian
backlands who exemplified what we later called the
"Tribal Indian" subculture.
Returning to Brazil in 1941, he carried out a study of
the Tenetehara Indians in the State ofMaranhio, assisted
by Eduardo Galvio and other students from the Museu
National in Rio deJaneiro. In terms of the preservation of
indigenous cultural patterns, the Tenetehara were inter-
mediate between the Tapirap6 and the neo-Brazilian
caboclos (peasants) of the Amazon region (Wagley and
Galvao 1949). We later classified them as a regional
variety of the Modem Indian type (Wagley and Harris
1955:448).
In 1942,1945, and in 1948, Chuck's research focused
on a community of farmers, rubber gatherers, and middle
class patrons, who lived in or near a small town along the
mainstream of the lower Amazon River. Amazon Town:
A Study of Man in the Tropics (Wagley 1953, 1964)
described regional variants of two additional subcul-
tures, the "Town" and "Peasant". As Chuck emphasized
(Wagley 1964:262) the collectors, farmers and traders of
Ita (the pseudonym for the community portrayed in
Amazon Town) could not be taken as representative of


life throughout rural Brazil. Yet there are recurrent fea-
tures of small towns in the Brazilian hinterlands linked to
the predominance of class distinctions and pervasive
dependency relationships that justified the use of Iti as a
tentative ethnographic statement applicable to much of
rural Brazil.
Shortly after returning to New York from Ita, Chuck
began to plan for a coordinated research effort that
became known as the Columbia University-Bahia State
Community Study Project. In 1950-1951 under Chuck's
dose supervision, three of his graduate students-Harry
W. Hutchinson, Benjamin Zimmerman, and myself -
carried out community studies in three different cultural
and ecological zones that intersect in the State of Bahia:
monocrop coastal sugar plantation, the drought-prone
Northeast, and the mineral-rich mountainous interior
(Hutchinson 1957; Zimmerman 1952; Harris 1956).
Hutchinson's communitywas ofspecial interestbecause
it not only contained a specific regional variety of Town
and Peasant subcultures but it also contained two addi-
tional types later called Engenbo (small-scale plantation
with resident patrons) and Usina (large-scale industrial
plantation with rural proletariat). Thus by the end of
1952, Chuck had been directly involved in gathering field
data about six rural subcultural types found in Latin
America: Tribal Indian, Modem Indian, Town, Peasant,
Engenho, and Usina. What was missing in terms of our
typology were the Metropolitan classes.
But as I mentioned at the beginning of this section,
there is another source of Chuck's expertise and influ-
ence as a Latin Americanist and Brazilianist. In 1941
Chuck married Cecilia Helena de Oliveira Roxo who is
the daughter of a prominent Brazilian civil engineer.
Although her father had died and the Roxo family had by
then lost its wealth, it remained well-connected to the
Brazilian upper class. It was primarily through Cecilia,
that Chuck was to acquire his intimate participant knowl-
edge of Brazilian urban subcultures. This is not to dimin-
ish Cecilia Wagley's contribution as a backlands
fieldworker in her own right, for she had accompanied
Chuck to Ita in 1942 and 1948, kept a diary, carried out
interviewswith women, and generally brokered the field
team's interaction with the community. (Eduardo Galvio's
wife, Clara, was also an active participant in the research
at Ita). But it was Cecilia and Chuck's normal, everyday
married social life within her large parentela (extended
family) and her circle of friends over the course of many









2 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


years of visiting and living in Rio (where their two
children were born), Slo Paulo, and Salvador that gave
Chuck the opportunity to know Brazil not only from the
bottom up (as most anthropologists usually do) but from
the top down as well. As he himself put it in his widely
read An Introduction toBrazil(1963:278), he had come
to feel that he knew the culture of Brazil "almost as well
as my own." He knew it well enough in fact to write the
book's most famous and provocative chapter, "If I Were
A Brazilian", in which the narrator speaks from the
perspective of "we Brazilians" about the strengths and
weaknesses, achievements and follies of his beloved
country.

IL

In 1942 while Chuck was a visiting lecturer at the
Museu Nacional, the Brazilian and United States Govern-
ments jointly established the Servico Especial de Saide
Pilblica, SESP (Special Public Health Service) as part of
their common effort in World War II. One of SESP's
principal objective was to find ways of raising the pro-
ductivity of rubber collectors rubber having become
a strategic raw material needed for the war effort by
improving public health services in the Amazon region.
In view of his experience among the Tapirap6 and the
Tenetehara, Chuck was given a deferment from the draft
and asked to join the SESP field staff in the Amazon
Valley. It was as a member of this staff that he first visited
Iti. Between 1942 and 1945 Chuck served consecutively
as the director of a SESP program specifically aimed at
improving the health of migrants who were streaming
into the Amazon Valley from the drought-stricken North-
east, then as the Assistant Superintendent of SESP, and
finally as the Director of SESP's educational division. The
SESP staff concentrated on boring holes for latrines,
distributing anti-malarial medicine, providing emergency
food rations, establishing local clinics, and developing
educational materials such as slides and movie shorts
explaining how malaria and other tropical diseases could
be prevented. Throughout these years Chuck worked
closely with the medical staff at a policy-setting level,
supplying advice concerning how best to implement
SESP's goals. His work must thereforebe regarded as one
of the earliest and most dramatic examples of collabora-
tion between an anthropologist and medical practitio-
ners on behalf of disease prevention. In 1945 and 1946
the Brazilian government expressed its appreciation of
Chuck's contribution to SESP by making him a member
of the National Order of the Southern Cross and awarding
him the prestigious Medal of War.
Chuck's involvement with applied anthropological
projects did not cease with his wartime experiences.
Despite a seemingly exclusive focus on descriptive eth-
nography, the Columbia University-Bahia State Commu-
nity Study Project (see above) was actually conceived
and carried out in pursuit of the policy objectives of the
State of Bahia's Department of Education. The official
government invitation and support for this project was
provided by Anisio Teixeira, one of Brazil's outstanding
intellectuals, and the head of the State of Bahia's educa-


tion department, whom Chuck had met in Rio deJaneiro.
Teixeira, an admirer of John Dewey, was committed to
restructuring the State's primaryschool curriculum which
he regarded as mired in elitist formalisms irrelevant to the
lifeways of the people who lived in Bahia's vast rural
backlands. What he wanted from the North American
researchers was scientific documentation of the "reali-
ties" of everyday life, no punches pulled, in order to
strengthen his hand in his attempt to improve and
modernize the education system. Chuck and the field
team thus found themselves in the enviable position of
being able to do the ethnography we had been trained to
do while feeling that our intrusive and esoteric calling
could have a useful and progressive result for the people
we were studying. Unfortunately, I cannot say how
useful our Bahian research actually proved to be. If
nothing else, it may have strengthened Teixeira's re-
solve. He must have felt that Chuck was making some
kind of practical contribution for when Teixeira moved
to Rio in the early 1950s to become the director of the
Brazilian National Institute of Pedagogical Studies (INEP),
Chuck accepted his invitation to come on board as a
consultant
Despite this record, Chuck does not consider himself
to have been a pioneer in the development of applied
anthropology. Although he attended the first meeting of
the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1940, he never
became a member (personal conversation, March 4,
1990). Clearly Chuck does not consider his professional
identity to be primarily that of an applied anthropologist.
Moreover, it is true that Chuck has had little direct
influence in the development ofapplied anthropology as
a subdiscipline. Nonetheless, almost everything that he
has written since 1952 highlights one or another current
social, political, or economic problem toward whose
resolution he believed anthropological knowledge could
make a contribution. In Amazon Town for example, his
concluding chapter is devoted to the problem of devel-
opment in the Amazon on the grounds that "anthropol-
ogy... has a point of view and a body of knowledge
regarding human behavior which will be helpful in one
way or another for programs of economic development
and technical assistance" (1964:258). Similar preoccupa-
tions pervade An Introduction toBraziland his publica-
tions on race relations (Wagley, ed. 1952; Wagley and
Harris 1958; Wagley and Kimball 1974). Finally, the
whole of his masterpiece, Welcome of Tears (Wagley
1977) can be read as a plea for understanding why it is
important for human beings everywhere thatsmall-scale
societies like the Tapirap6 be given the help they need to
survive.
I stress the applied facet of Chuck's work because
even if it has not helped to shape the development of
applied anthropology, it has had a profound effect on his
students, imbuing in them minimally at least the sense
that anthropology is not an elitist literary exercise but a
vital component of our kind's attempt to understand and
change the world for the better.









Special Publication, No.6,1990 3


The number of graduate students who have benefit-
ted from Chuck's knowledge of general anthropology
and from his Latin American expertise and networks
surely runs into the hundreds. Here I attempt to list only
thosestudents at Columbia University and the University
of Florida on whose Ph.D. dissertation committeesChuck
acted as the principal sponsor. (Since there are no central
files at either institution that provide this information, I
have had to rely on Chuck, Cecilia, and my own memory
to construct this list Special thanks also for help from
Lambros Comitas, and Maxine Margolis. I apologize for
the mistakes of omission or commission that are likely to
have occurred.)

COLMBIA UmVERSITY
" Buechler, Hans (Syracuse University)
Brown, Diana (Bard College)
Brownrigg, Leslie (Consultant)
Carter, William (University of Florida)
Faron, Louis (SUNY Stony Brook) *
Forman, Shepard (Ford Foundation)
Galvio, Eduardo (Museu Goeldi)
Gottlieb, Eric (?)
rGreenfield, Sidney (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
Hammond, Dorothy (Brooklyn College, CUNY) **
Harris, Marvin (University of Florida)
sHorowitz, Michael (SUNYBinghamton)
Hutchinson, Harry (University of Miami) *
Klass, Morton (Barard College)
Leeds, Anthony (Boston University)
Margolies, Luise (Ediciones Venezolanas, Caracas)
Margolis, Maxine (University of Florida)
Moore, Alexander (University of Southern California)
Murphy, Robert (Columbia University)
Riegelhaupt,Joyce (Sarah Lawrence)
SRoss, Hubert (Atlanta University) L ;-:
Safa, Helen (University of Florida)
Seda-Bonilla, Eduardo (University of Puerto Rico)
Shirley, Robert (University of Toronto)
Silverman, Sydel (Wenner Gren Foundation)
Slater, Mariam (Queens College, CUNY)
Strickon, Arnold (University of Wisconsin)
Willis, William (Rice University)
Wilson, Charles (Consultant) *


Butler, John

Collins,Jane
Gomes, Mercio

' Hay, Fred
Jones, James
Lisansky, Judith

Miller, Charlotte
Miller, Darrel
Moran, Emilio


UNIVERSrY OF FLORIDA
(Program Officer, World Wildlife
Funds)
(SUNY, Binghampton)
(University of Slo Paulo, Campinas,
Brazil)
(Kansas State University)
(Consultant, Bolivia)
(American Anthropological Associa-
tion)
(U.S. Department of Agriculture)
(University of South Florida)
(Indiana University)


Nasser, Nassaro

Pace, Richard
Poats, Susan
Sa, Samuel
Stocks, Anthony
Vollweiler, George

Wilson, John
Zarur, George


(University of Rio Grande do Norte,
Brazil)
(University of Wyoming)
(Consultant, Ecuador)
(University of ParA, Brazil)
(Idaho State University)
(Florida State Council for the Humani-
ties)
(Consultant, World Bank)
(National Research Council [CNPq],
Brazil)


* Deceased
** Retired


Although I eventually came to reject Chuck's eclectic
theoretical paradigm in favor of cultural materialism, his
influence remains paramount among those who have
shaped my idea of anthropology as a calling. It was his
presentation of general anthropology during my senior
year at Columbia College that led to the end of my fitful
groping for a profession that I could believe in. Anthro-
pology as Chuck presented, lived, and practiced it was
entirely different from the other academic subjects that I
had sampled. He seemed to be utterly without preten-
sions, down to earth, inspired by an open, friendly,
compassionate desire to learn about the human condi-
tion in faraway places; and further, by a sense of obliga-
tion to share his findings with as many people as possible
by writing and talking in a plain and straightforward
style. In contrast, the English literature majors with whom
I had previously consorted, seemed not to be concerned
with enlarging in an open and frank manner our factual
knowledge of the way human beings live. Instead of
making discoveries about the world outside, they re-
ported on introspective matters of personal taste and
feelings in a private language aimed at excluding ordi-
nary people from understanding what was going on.
Today, as I contemplate the spectacle of post-processual,
reflexive, deconstructionist and other varieties of ob-
scurantist skinheads competing to make their own psy-
ches the center of ethnographic attention, I am more
thankful than ever that my name appears among those
listed above.

References Cited

Harris, M.
1956 Town and Country in BrasiL New York: Columbia
University Press.

Hutchinson, H.
1957 Village and Plantation Life in Northeastern Brazil
Seattle: American Ethnological Society/ University
of Seattle Press.

Wagley, C.
1941 Economics ofA Guatemalan Village. Menasha,
Wisconsin: Memoir of the American Anthropologi-
cal Association 58.




















4 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


1949 The Social and Religious Life of a Guatemalan
Village. Menasha, Wisconsin: Memoir of the
American Anthropological Association 71.

1953 Amazon Town A Study ofMan in the Tropics.
New York: Macmillan.

1963 An Introduction to Brazil New York: Columbia
University Press.

1964 Amazon Town. A Study ofMan in the Tropics
(Reissued with a new epilogue.) New York: Alfred
Knopff.

1977 Welcome of Tears The Tapirape Indians of Central
Brazil

Wagley, C.. (ed.)
1952 Race and Class in Rural Brazil Paris: United
Nations Educational and Scientific Organization.

Wagley, C. and E. Galvio
1948 The Tenetehara Indians ofBrazil. New York:
Columbia University Press.

Wagley, C. and M. Harris
1955 "A Typology of Latin American Subcultures".
AmericanAntropologist57:428-451.

1957 "The Situation of the Negro in the United States".
International Social Science Bulletin 9:427-438.

1958 Minorities in the New World: Six Case Studies New
York: Columbia University Press.

Wagley, C. and S. Kimball
1974 Race and Culture in School and Community.
Washington: Office of Education, Department of
Health, Education and Welfare (Offset).

Zimmerman, B.
1952 "Race Relations in the Arid Sertio". In Race and
Class in Rural BraziL Charles Wagley, ed., pp. 82-
115. Paris: United Nations Educational and
Scientific Organization.









Special Publication, No.6,1990


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Charles Wagley, Eduardo Galvdo and Nelson Teixeira leaving Furo de Pedra, Araguala River, 1940.
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WAGLEY, MESTRE E AMIGO FRATERNO


THALES DE EVEDO
Babia Brasil


A figure do "cientista social" 6 relativamente nova no
Brasil. Nio que inexistisse assim poderiam ter sido
chamados tantos que se ocuparam da sociedade, dos
costumes, dos modos de pensar, dos relacionamentos
entire n6s porm& nao era claramente desenhada com
imagem pr6pria. Todo mundo tinha id6ia do historiador
como um estudioso do passado, do foldorista interes-
sado na literature, no adagiario, nas coisas populares, do
etn6logo como investigator dos costumes, dos mitos e
das linguas dos indios. Como individualidade dedicada
a particulares campos de indagagio e estudo, de fato
poucosseriamidentificados como cientistassociais. Estes,
at sessenta ou talvez cinquenta anosatrs, eramestranhos
enquanto profissionais exercendo atividades pr6prias
ou lecionando. Dai que o soci6logo, o economist,
menos ainda o antrop6logo, comegavam a circular em
institutes e meios universitirios sem serem ainda tidos
como participants das ocupagSes e profiss6es consa-
gradas pelos diplomas de "escolas superiores", a nio ser
uns poucos extrangeiros que nos anos 30 aproximada-
mente vinham em busca de objetos de pesquisa ou
convidados para ensinar nas primeiras faculdades espe-
cializadas. Os iltimos apareceram no Pais como "antro-
pologistas" a maneira norte-americana.
Foi, possivelmente, Anisio Texeira um dos primeiros
homes p6blicos brasileiros a convocar um desses t&cni-
cos para investigagoes e trabalhos que demandassem tal
formagio. Esseveio a ser o ProfessorCharles Wagley, da
Columbia University de New York, para projetar e ex-
ecutar na Bahia, a partir de 1950, um piano de pesquisas
sociais que servisse de fundamento para a educagio e
outros campos da administrator pfblica. Aquele espe-
cialista, aliis, jA colaborara no Brasil na campanha da
borracha, em programs outros que requeriam conheci-
mentos dos modos de ser brasileiros. Coube-me a sorte,
realmente um afortunado acontecimento, deserincluido
no grupo organizado para levar a cabo o mencionado
piano.
O encontro com Wagley veio a ser um moment
marcante de minha vida professional como antrop6logo
e sobretudo de minha exist.ncia humana e pessoal. Logo
nos entendemos de maneira excelente como responsiveis
poruma tarefa fascinante, eu ja lecionando antropologia
na Faculdade de Filosofia da Bahia, desde 1943; tomava
a dificultosa tarefa facilitada pelo apoio incondicional
que nos dava aquele 1cido Secretirio de Educacgo, e a
colaborago inteligente dos jovens components de nossa


equipe, estudantes graduandos e doutorandos da univer-
sidade americana e da que dava passes principiantes no
Brasil. O Dr. Wagley, como comecei a tratA-lo, se foi
mostrando, sem qualquer prop6sito de sua parte, o
cientista qualificado, experience, maduro ainda que de
apenas meia idade, ao mesmo tempo uma pessoa de
modos educados cuja autoridade no grupo lhe vinha
menos da posigo de chefe de equipe do que daseguranca
e precisio de seus avisos. Conquistava naturalmente o
respeito amistoso e a admirago dos que o rodeavam.
Mais pr6ximo dele, como representante official da Bahia
na equipe dirigente, eu tinha condicges para apreciar de
perto o que ele valia como pessoa, al&m de experimental
a decisive influincia do cientista oriundo de um centro
universitirio famoso e com experiencia nos Estados
Unidos, na Guatemala e tamb6m no Brasil onde fizera
alguns anos antes uma das primeiras pesquisas de
comunidades. Ja era uma autoridade reconhecida entire
colegasbrasileiros, ouvido e consultado, recebido como
"de casa" no Museu Nacional do Rio deJaneiro a cerca de
dez anos, como conhecedor direto e competent de
indios nossos, cor trabalhos publicados a respeito.
Aos poucos, com a convivencia que a pesquisa nos
proporcionava, viajando pelo interior do Estado, tracando
rumos do trabalho de campo, debatendo temas da inves-
tigaio, distribuindo encargos, tudo num clima de tran-
quilidade e compreensio, se me foram revelando moti-
vos para o admirar e, acma de tudo, para o querer. Em
algumas families baianas ganhava simpatia, nio mais
como um extranho mas como um amigo tanto por seu
temperament quanto por acompanhar-se da esposa
carioca, inteligente, amrvel. Foi isso que deu lugar a que
quizesse dirigir-se a n6s num dos capitulos de seu impor-
tante livro Introduction to Brazil, como "If I were a
Brazilian", fazendo comentirios e sugest6es que ajudam
a nos ver e sentir. Tive a ventura de "me afinar", como
costumamos dizer, com essa personalidade de atributos
e qualidades pessoais que cedo me atrairam. Tornou-se
para mim um amigo dileto, usando este adjetivo no
sentido brasileiro de muito querido, de preferido, com
um lugar cAlido em meus sentiments como nos de
minha Maria e dos nossos filhos, abrangendo nesse afeto
sua Cecilia. Mais apertados se tornaram esses lagos
quando nossa filha Maria e seu esposo se tornaram
compadres dos Wagley ao escolhe-los para padrinhos de
batismo de seu primogenito. Comove-me lembrar ter
sido Wagley quem, ha muitos anos, me chamou, em suas






















8 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


numerosas cartas, de Amigoo fraterno". Isto decorre de
sua delicadeza e generosidade e do fato de que ele, de hi
muito, nio era mais para mim o "Dr. Wagley", mas
simplesmente "Wagley" e, por fim, Chuck.
Nao admira que isto suceda. Considero-o um mestre
nos saberes que domina e nos fazem colegas, tendo eu
em mente sua apurada formago e seu tirocinio, mas
principalmente seu carter e humor. Quem 16 seus livros
depara, a cada pigina, evidencias do que afirmo. Em Itd,
Comunidade Amazdnica, sobre um povoado do Par!,
percebe-se quantoelesesente conosco. E particularmente
em Ldgrimas de Boas-Vindas versiono brasileira de Wel-
come of Tears, que se traduziria melhor por Saudagao
Lacrimosa, da linguagem traditional de nossos etn6lo-
gos) que faz, ao lado de importantes e originals con-
tribuig6es cientificas, revelag6es mais expontineas de
delicadeza e sensibilidade para com pessoas modestas,
humildes, desconhecidas, indios e brancos, aos quais
atribuo muito do exito de sua pesquisa entire os tapi-
rapes. Era ainda jovem quando entire 1938 e 1939 teve a
coragem de embrenhar-se sozinho pelo alto sertio do
Araguaia para demorada busca antropol6gica sobre
aqueles tupis, vindo a produziruma obra de repercussio
nos circulos especializados. Dessa obra e de toda sua
produdio etnol6gica bem pode ele repetir o que disse
em um de seus livros brasileiros: "It should be dear that
my book on Iti (Amazonas) is not a study in the vein of
modern social science, although ituses the framework of
social anthropology. As Ilook back, I know now thatI am
essentially a humanist; and I realize that this was a
humanist book with a humanistic message". Essa 6 uma
confissio de rara nobreza de sentiments por um
autentico cientista.








Special Publication, No. 6,1990


Sao Benedito (Saint Benedict), Gurupd, Pard, Brazil, 1948. UFArchives


















































































































































































































^ ,











THE NEW CATHOUC CHURCH IN ITA: A CASE STUDY OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY,
ECCLESIASTICAL BASE COMMUNITIES,
AND SOCIAL CONFLCT IN AN AMAZONIAN COMMUNITY OF BRAZIL
RICHARD PACE
University of Wyoming


Introduction


When Charles Wagley and Eduardo Galvio studied
the Amazonian municipality and town of Iti in 1948
(Amazon Town, 1953, Santos e Visagens, 1955), they
observed a community rich in religious belief and ritual,
but poor in the material necessities of life. The Catholic
Church in Ita at the time, represented by an itinerant
Austrian priest who visited primarily during the
community's important saint's festival, was aloof and
detached from both the people's spiritual and material
needs. The Church limited its duties to conducting the
ceremonies of marriage and baptism, and to criticism of
the people's profane beliefs and practices. Thirty-three
years later, in 1983, when I first ventured to Iti I found a
very different scenario. The community was still richly
religious, andstillvery poor, but the Catholic Church has
completely reversed its role. The Church, now repre-
sented by a resident Italian priest, was not only tolerant
of local customs, but was also actively involved in pro-
moting the rights of Iti's oppressed people-which in-
cudes, but is not limited to, the poor and the working
class-in order to improve their material conditions of
life.
This radical change from aloof indifference to active
and controversial participation on behalf of the op-
pressed is part of a nationwide movement by the Brazil-
ian Catholic Church. Ideologically rooted in the evolving
tenets of progressive social Catholicism, or Liberation
Theology, major factions of the Brazilian Church are now
pursuing a policy of reformist social transformation. The
aim of social transformation is to reduce poverty and
mitigate political economic exploitation through grass-
roots mobilization of the Church's laity. In Iti, the pursuit
of Liberation Theology has led to increasing conflict with
the local dominant social class as the realization of the
poor's and worker's rights has begun to threaten the tra-
ditional political economic status quo. Presented here is
a description of Iti's new Catholic Church and its various
struggles for the liberation of its people.

The New Church in Brazil

Brazilian Liberation Theology developed as a polit-
ico-religious response to growing poverty and harsh
military state repression during the 1960s-1980s. Under-


lying the movementwere the declarations of Vatican I in
1962, which linked the global Church's concerns to
plight of the poor and oppressed. In addition, the dete-
riorating relations between the Church and the Brazilian
military regime after the coup of 1964 unified and politi-
cized the Church into active resistance to the state's
repressive policies (1). In increasing numbers, individu-
als within a progressive faction, or Catholic left wing,
began to link the attainment of spiritual salvationwith the
material well-being of the people. Within this faction it
was reasoned that religious influence could only make
sense once material living conditions improved to the
point where people could feel fully human (Bruneau
1982: 50). The progressive faction set out to aid the
oppressed sectors of society through political education,
by promoting their organization and activism (including
protests and strikes), by allowing the Church to be used
as a protective umbrella for meetings by the political
opposition to the military state, and by openly criticizing
the misdeeds of the military state (including kidnapping,
torture, and murders).
Throughout the 1960s-1980s, political education has
been accomplished through politico-religious conscious-
raising. One of the most common methods is to apply
passages in the Bible to contemporary life in Brazil.
Passages relating to resistance to and liberation from
oppression (the Hebrews under Egyptian and Roman
rule, the Christians under Roman rule) and to strength in
unity are frequently used to illustrate contemporary
economic and political exploitation and the power of
worker unity.Jesus Christ is conceived as a revolutionary
living in an unjust world and wanting change. Christ lived
with and supported the poor and marginal, and con-
demned all those who oppressed and alienated them.
Knowing the work of Christ, therefore, is seen to be the
beginning of a material, as well as spiritual, revolution.
To effectively reach to oppressed populations, the
Church created ecclesiastical base communities
(comunidades eclesiais de base). The base communities
are small grassroots lay religious groups. The majority of
them are located wherever the poor live, from the rural
countryside to the urban shantytown. The base commu-
nities meet weekly as reflection groups, prayer groups,
visitation groups, and as mothers' clubs, youth clubs, and
neighborhood cubs. In many, but not all, of the base
communities, Liberation Theology is taught. Members
discuss spiritual as well as material needs and problems.








12 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


They deal with all the material problems the oppressed
suffer: unemployment, low salaries, bad working condi-
tions, lack of basic services, access to land (Boff 1981:
201). The base communities develop various methods to
fulfill some material needs, such as mutual aid, labor
exchanges, collective consumption, cooperatives, and
basic education (Follmann 1985: 89). The base commu-
nities also promote activism in the form of petitioning the
government for basic services (water, electricity, health
care) or resisting expulsion from land. At the same time
the base communities direct their members to other
groups, including unions and political parties, which
participate in promoting their rights.
Through Liberation Theology and the base commu-
nities there have been many successes in achieving the
rights of the oppressed. These successes threatened the
military regime (which ended in 1985) and continues to
threaten various conservative groups which have rou-
tinely retaliated against the Church. Lay members of the
Church, as well as nuns, priest, and bishops, have been
intimidated, beaten, imprisoned and deported while
Liberation Theology has been labeled as communist
propaganda. Even within the Church there is a reaction-
ary movement against progressive social Catholicism
called Tradition-Family-Property. Members of the reac-
tionary movement fear the Marxists have penetrated the
Church and are trying to destroy it from within (Follmann
1985: 98).

The Setting of ItA

Iti is a small rural community located on the lower
Amazon River in the state of Pari. It consists of a town
(population 2,268) and 9,309 square kilometers of rural
countryside (population 13,342) (IBGE 1981). Iti is not
connected td any other settlement by road. Transporta-
tion is by river boat and an occasional small plane which
lands on a crude dirt runway behind the town. The
communities economy revolves around the extraction of
forest commodities such as timber, rubber, heart-of-
palm, cacao and on subsistence agriculture of which
manioc is the staple. The social class system is divided
between the working class (extractors of forest products,
subsistence farmers, and theurban poor who account for
approximately 95% of the population) and the dominant
class (large landowners, merchants, civil servants, and a
few professional who account for approximately 5% of
the population). The dominant class's power stems from
their control of commodity exchange through trading
posts, control of the local state apparatus, and to a lesser
extent, control over access to land.
Ita is a poor community. It has been estimated that
90% of the town's school-age children suffer from malnu-
trition (SESPA 1985). Underemployment and weak
medical and educational facilities plague the community
(there is one doctor for over 15,000 people and a 76%
adult illiteracy rate IBGE 1973). In addition, the
community's economy is structured is such a way that
there is a chronic drain of labor from food production to
natural resource extraction which results in persistent
food shortages and the need to import expensive food.


Extraction is also practiced with minimal resource man-
agement which leads to resource depletion. While re-
source depletion enriches the dominant class greatly and
some workers modestly in the short run, the long range
effects to degrade the environment and severely disrupt
the economy. Historically, depletion of key resources
has created economic depression and increased emigra-
tion from It. By the 1980s, among the crucial resources
whose depletion or near depletion is adversely affecting
workers' standard of living are: several commercially
marketable species of timber, oleaginous seeds such as
andiroba and acuuba (which come from trees that were
depleted for timber), and heart-of-palm, whose harvest
also eliminates a seed used to make an extremely popu-
lar and profitable nonalcoholic drink called agai. The
loss of these resources and the revenues they generate
are further impoverishing the already poor community.
Adding to Iti's economic problems has been an 18-
year span of political repression (1964-1982) by one
faction of the local dominant class. Supported by the
military regime, the local dominant class. Supported by
the military regime, this faction worked consistently in
favor of extra-local and multinational firms' interests at
the expense of the local inhabitants (especially in matters
of land and resource expropriation), used its monopoly
on the local police force to intimidate political opposi-
tion, and allegedly embezzled much of the municipality's
funds. The cumulation of this political corruption and
repression, plus the community's overall poverty and the
growing threat to the workers' livelihood posed by
resource depletion, has created a volatile situation in Itd.
It is in this setting that Iti's new Catholic Church had
evolved.

The New Church In ItA

The new Catholic Church in Iti began to take shape
in the early 1970s. In 1972 and Italian-born priest, named
Padre Chico (a pseudonym), came to reside in the com-
munity. In the years that have followed Padre Chico
worked steadily to raise the politico-religious conscious-
ness of his parishioners through the teachings of Libera-
tion Theology. Insermons and various discussions, Padre
Chico has openly criticized local inequalities. For ex-
ample, the Padre points out the unfair exchange rates the
local merchants give their customers for extracted and
agricultural products, which is a fraction of the market
value of the product, and the inflated prices they charge
for imported goods, which are from 70% to 100% higher
than the prices in coastal cities like Bel6m. He encour-
ages workers to form independent cooperatives to by-
pass the merchants' stores and trading posts for the sale
of produce and purchase of basic necessities. He con-
demns land rights abuses by the dominant class (2). He
brings in experts from Bel6m to explain occupants' rights
to land. He attacks political corruption and suppression
of human rights. He asks workers to organize and make
politicians account for their actions. He also urges work-
ers to vote in rural union elections. He speaks of the rural
union as an important tool to resist the dominant class's
economic hegemony. Padre Chico's words and activism








Special Publication, No.6,1990 13


have led him into direct confrontation with the local
dominant class. Church attendance and participation by
the dominant class and its associates have declined.
Dominant class participation in and financial offerings
for religious festivals have also declined. There have
been growing protests that the Padre wishes to divide the
community between the haves and have-nots. The Padre
has been accused of preaching communism and of
plotting to destroy the wealthier members of It. He is a
blamed for inciting workers to take land and resources
form the "rich." The Padre has even been attacked and
labeled a communist in an article published in a regional
right wing newsletter.
By the late 1970s relations between the Church and
Iti's dominant class were severely deteriorating. An
open feud developed between Padre Chico and the
mayor. The mayor began ridiculing the Padre and pub-
licly calling him a communist over the loudspeaker
system which broadcast to the town from the mayor's
house. On two occasions the mayor called in the federal
police to arrest Padre Chico. The mayor charged the
Padre with breaking national security laws by participat-
ing in politics (prohibited for foreigners), and inciting
class conflict The Padre responded to the accusations
and brought in his Bishop to support him. None of the
charges stood up and the Padre was allowed to continue
preaching. But the embitterment grew. The latest round
of confrontation occurred in 1986 during rural union
elections. Wide scale fraud in the registration of voters by
representatives of the dominant class prompted a work-
ers' occupation of the union building. The Padre was
blamed for inciting the occupation. He received death
threats from local thugs and was briefly imprisoned by
the police. Also during the turmoil, the Padre's boat was
stolen and sunk.
Despite the antagonism with the dominant class (or
maybe because of it), the Padre's popularity has grown
among Iti's working class. Buildingupon this popularity,
the Padre has encouraged the workers to form base
communities, or comunidades (communities) as they
are called in Ita. By 1986, 66 comunidades had been
organized. Many of the comunidades are built upon the
old religious irmandades (brotherhoods) that have ex-
isted for decades (see Galvio 1955:48-58 ff. ; Wagley
1976:188-190) (3). The comunidades have expanded the
irmandades' patron saint and community festival in honor
of the saint The Church is also tolerant of the dancing
and drinking that traditionally accompany the festivals,
although the Padre insists that they be separated spatially
and temporally from the religious ceremonies. What is
added is an extended membership that includes more
men, women, andyouths than before. The comunidades
also construct chapels and hold weekly religious services
(cultos) on their own. And they expand the traditional
use of mutual aid as well as participate in local politics.
In terms of mutual aid, the comunidades expand the
use of traditional labor exchanges which have come to be
generally known as mutirdo. Mutirdois used for agricul-
ture, house building, and for various community projects
(building chapels, maintaining a clear waterway or road,
planting a communal garden, or extracting timber). In


addition, mutual aid groups are set up to run small health
posts to provide minimal access to medicine. Small
cantinas(canteens) are established to bypass local trad-
ing posts and provide cheapergoods. Some comunidades
manage to form cooperatives to sell rubber, timber, or
lumber in bulk directly to extraction companies for
higher prices than those in the trading posts. Mutual aid
is particularly important to the comunidades when indi-
viduals confront local landowners and other outside
interest groups, such as timber extracting firms, over
resource extraction and ownership problems. Through
strength in numbers, members of the comunidades are
able to resist abuses by landowners and land invasions
by extraction firms (see below). Each of the 66
comunidadesis organized for maximum lay input. Dur-
ing services, and especially at meetings, individuals are
allowed to offer personal interpretations of religious
messages as well as discuss material problems of daily
life. Despite this openness, there are some problems with
personality conflicts, ideological conflicts, and even
power abuses which result in individuals being excluded
from the groups. This problem is recognized by the
Church as causing a "fechado" or "closed" comunidade.
Most frequently this problem fragments comunidades
along class lines. Large landowners, merchants, civil
servants, and professionals react to the progressive view
of Catholicism and choose not to to attend. They view
Liberation Theology, and especially worker organiza-
tion, as a threat to their privileged position. Usually these
people also persuade certain workers who depend upon
the dominant class for employment not to attend. The
majority of "closed" comunidades exist in town. The
dominant class is strongest in town and better able to
pressure people not to join.
Cases of exclusion from comunidadesare more rare.
In most of these cases a few overzealous members
decide that comunidade members are not participating
sufficiently in group activities, or have not developed
proper attitudes toward liberation. The overzealous
members pressure the nonconforming members to
change. Conflict increases to the point where the non-
conforming members abandon the comunidade.
Exclusion from the comunidade carries certain
penalties which strengthen the ability of leaders to im-
pose conformity. The comunidade decides who can
baptize their children and who can marry in the Church.
In most comunidades there are prerequisites for these
services, usually consisting of attendance at meetings
and participation in comunidadeactivities. Some people
complain that the Church uses the threat of refusal to
baptize or marry to force people into participating in the
comunidade and accepting the progressive view of
Catholicism. In order to resist, these people, if they have
sufficient money, travel to a neighboring town controlled
by more conservative Padres from Spain. The Spanish
Padres require no prerequisites for baptism and mar-
riage.
Due to the high degree of lay control, the
comunidades of Iti demonstrate a wide range of politi-
cally active to totally inactive and internally cohesive to
seriously fragmented. One example of a politically active








14 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


and cohesive comunidade is found in the hamlet of
Camuti. A description of Camuti's organization and
political economic activity follows.

CamutA

Camuti is located on the Pucurui River deep in the
rural countryside of Itd. It is a terra firme (land that is
never inundated by the seasonal flooding of rivers and
streams) farming hamlet is populated by 24 families.
Camuti's comunidade's official name is Nossa Senhora
de Fdtima (Our Lady of Fatima), however, people usu-
ally refer to it simply as Camuti. Camuti is one of the
strongest, most cohesive comunidadesin the municipal-
ity. It was founded by a group of families wishing to
create an agricultural colony to grow and export crops.
The families are all tied by real and fictive kinship
(compadrfo).
Before the Padre arrived Camuti was an active,
united community led by a charismatic man named
Francisco Teixeira. The people had undertaken several
joint projects including building and maintaining a dirt
street through the center of their hamlet and building a
small port on the Pucurui river. They also had an active
irmandade for Our Lady of Fatima. After Padre Chico
arrived and began preaching about spiritual and material
liberation, worker unity, and the formation of
comunidades, the people of Camuti were further moti-
vated to organize and pursue their goal of an agricultural
colony. They formed a unique comunidade based on
communal ownership of land and communal work.
Camuti became the only comunidadein Iti employing
these extensive communal arrangements.
By the mid 1970s Camuti's workers' commune was
fully functional The commune was structured in such a
way that members worked on projects for the comunidade
several days a week according to their time constraints or
personal preference. These projects for the comunidade
several days a week according to their time constraints or
personal preference. These projects included maintain-
ing a communal garden (private gardens were main-
tained also), extracting timber, sawing lumber, running a
small cantina that sold food and medicine, and routine
custodial work in the hamlet (particularly weeding paths
and clearing waterways). Records of days given to
comunidade service were kept (this practice was also
;unique to Camuti). Profits and surplus produce made
from the garden, timber, and lumber sales were then
divided among comunidademembers according to their
labor input.
OnMondays and Thursdays, however, the peopleof
Camuti gave their labor to the comunidade for free.
Profits made from the various projects performed on
Monday and Thursdays were used for a general
comunidade fund to sponsor festivals, purchase tools
and spare parts, finance the cantina, help pay for emer-
gency health needs, and any other necessities that arose.
People in the hamlet were free to join and quit the
comunidade's commune. In fact, two families at Camuti
never joined while eight other families migrated in,


joined, quit, and then moved away. When leaving the
commune, members were permitted to receive compen-
sation for their "free" labor offered on Mondays and
Thursday. While compensation was always given, this
did put severe financial strains on the group which
remained.
Camuti's cohesiveness as an economic, political,
and religious unit has been an important asset in the
survival and prosperity of the comunidade. Through
joint effort in the 1970s the people of CamutA cut a
logging road into the interior and began extracting tim-
ber in order to finance their agricultural colony. Since
they lacked a truck, they hauled logs out on a hand-
pulled cart. At this point Padre Chico aided the
comunidade by obtaining a forty year old logging truck
donated by a Swiss mission in Golas. With the truck,
Camuti increased the rate of extraction.Over the next
several years they used the profits and a bank loan to buy
two chain saws, a second, newer truck,and to install a
small sawmill (the motor was donated by the Padre). The
comunidade also expanded agricultural production,
planting rice, beans, corn, and fruit trees in addition to
their manioc gardens. The profits from lumber and agri-
cultural crops allowed the comunidade to greatly im-
prove their standard of living. New houses with tile roofs
were built, radios, bicycles, home furnishings, and kitchen
utensils were purchased, and even a canoe with a motor
was acquired.
Camuti's success in timber extraction did not come
without external challenges. soon after the comunidade
began extracting and hauling logs out on the hand-
pulled cart, commercial loggers became interested in the
area. On two occasions in the early 1980s timber extrac-
tors attempted to invade the land. The first occasion
involved a company named Banicoba. Banicoba had
been scouting in ItA for various hardwoods to export to
downstream sawmills. They learned from local timber
buyers that there were extensive stands of timber near
Camuta on unowned land, that there was an adequate
port for loading logs onto barges in the area, and that
there were several kilometers of logging road already
built. Banicoba was next introduced to a man who
claimed to own the land where the was located. The
company obtained a verbal agreement to use the port
from him. Several days later a barge loaded with equip-
ment and workers arrived at the port near Camuti. Upon
anchoring, the foreman of the extracting crew asked a
nearby resident if they could unload their equipment
The woman in house told the foreman her husband was
not home and asked him to wait a day until her husband
returned. As the company waited, the word that Bani-
coba wanted to extract timber reached the Camuta
comunidade.
Camuti immediately recognized Banicoba as a threat
to the future of their group. They knew that competition
for the area's timber would rob them of their opportunity
to develop an agricultural colony. The comunidade was
well aware of the practice of outsiders coming to
Iti,depleting resources,and then leaving nothing be-
hind. The comunidade felt that they had first in the area
and since they intended to use the profits locally to









Special Publication, No.6,1990 o


develop their colony, not to transfer profits to some
wealthy family in Bel6m, Sio Paulo, or overseas. The
comunidade was also aware that Camuti had as much
legal right to the land and timber as any timber firm did.
The comunidade called a meeting in the chapel.
People living near Camuti who would be affectedby the
timber extraction were encouraged to attend. Represen-
tatives from Banicoba were also invited and attended.
The representatives were shocked when they saw over a
hundred women and men attending the meeting. The
comunidade started the meeting by informing the com-
pany that the verbal agreement by which they had
received the right to use the port was improper. The
comunidade had built the port and had rights in it (even
though their ownership of the port was questionable). In
addition, the logging road was the property of Camuti.
Following these statements, the comunidade questioned
the company for several hours about labor arrangements
and profit sharing. The comunidade learned the firm
planned to quickly ;cut through the area using chain saws
and imported labor. The firm also did not intend to pay
any fees for using Camuti's port or road. In the debate
that ensued the firm offered to let Camuti's men extract
alongside their workers. However, the company agreed
to pay only a low fee per tree extracted.
After the meeting had ended, the comunidade de-
cided that their interests were not served by allowing the
firm access to the timber. The comunidade realized that
profits would be much higher and timber reserves would
last much longer if they controlled extraction instead of
working for Banicoba. In addition, many members had
fears that Banicoba might opt to buy the land and expel
the people presently living there. They figured it was
better to keep the company as far away from the land as
possible.
When the representatives of Banicobawere informed
of the decision they were furious. They refused to let
simple "caboclos (a derogatory and racist term referring
to rural inhabitants of the Amazon) impede their access
to "free" timber. The representatives of Banicoba went to
Iti's mayor and demanded that he secure access. The
mayor wrote a letter to the people of Camuti telling them
to let Banicoba extract the timber. He stated that Camuti
had no right to the timber or land and that serious
reprisals would follow if they did not submit. The
comunidade met again and discussed the threats. They
took solace in the teachings of Liberation Theology and
realized they could overcome their oppression and
exploitation only if they held fast in their resistance and
stayed united. In the following days more threats were
received. But the comunidade remained united. They
invited Banicoba back for a second meeting. However
before the meeting took place, the main office of Bani-
coba decided to avoid the potential conflict and moved
their operation to another municipality. The comunidade
had resisted and won.
A few years following the Banicoba incident, a
second, indirect invasion occurred. This incident began
when a groups of eight migrant families from a down-
stream municipality (Breves) asked to join the
comunidade of Camuti. They were accepted and inte-


grated into the commune where they worked for a year
without mishap. By the second year, however, a local
timber buyer desirous of Camuti's timber persuaded the
eight Brevenses(people from the municipality of Breves)
families to break from Camuti and extract timber for him.
The timber buyer, namedJos6 Palva, promised to finance
the Brevenses' endeavor and assured them of higher
returns that they earned in the commune. The Brevenses
divested from the commune and with their capital built
a new hamlet which was called Serraria. Jose provided
them with a truck, chain saws, and a sawmill. He told the
Brevenses that they could buy this equipment with
profits from extraction. Jos6 also supplied the hamlet
with food while their gardens matured.
The departure of the Brevense families marked the
second attempt to invade and extract large quantities of
timber. AtfirsttheCamuti comunidade accepted Serraria's
logging. They expected the Brevenses to apply their
profits and develop a agricultural colony as Camuti had.
However, within a year it became obvious that the
Serraria settlement existed only to extract timber for their
patrdo (patron) Jose. The Brevenses put little effort into
planting gardens, spending most of their time extracting
and sawing wood. As a result of not planting, the Bre-
venses relied heavily on importing food and also on
hunting game (fishing was very poor in the area). They
sent individuals out to hunt daily. The daily hunting
quickly began to deplete the game upon which Camuti
also depended.
To make matters worse, Jos6 Palva severely ex-
ploited the Brevenses to the point that they were hope-
lessly in debt. Jos6 paid the workers only a fraction of the
value of the wood, prohibited them from selling logs to
other companies paying higher prices, and charged
dearly for importing food. Jos6 was also tardy in repairing
the truck and chain saws when they broke down. This
impeded the hamlet's ability to produce at the same time
it was importing expensive food. As a result, the Bre-
venses' standard of living was substantially reduced,
especially in comparison to that of Camuti's. The Bre-
venses subsisted on poor diets (especially when game
could not be found), lived in palm-roofed shacks with
few furnishings, and, despite a year's work, were no-
where near paying off their debts for the truck, chain
saws, and food.
Meanwhile in Camuti, nearly a year after the Bre-
venses had departed, the comunidade could no longer
tolerate Serraria's predatory use of the area's resources.
The Camuti residents decided to stop the Serraria resi-
dents from excessive extraction by prohibiting use of
Camuti's logging road. Once this decision was relayed to
Serraria, a Squabble erupted. The Brevenses were forced
to begin the arduous task of cutting a second logging
road parallel to Camuti's. Still upset, the people from
Camuti blocked all roads with downed trees and brought
all logging to a standstill.
This action greatly angered Jos6 Palva who was
enjoying heady profits from Serraria's extraction. Jose
took the matter up with his brother, an ex-mayor of Iti
and an official in a leading political party in Par. He used
his brother's influence to call in an agent from ITERPA








16 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


(Instituto da Terra do Pard or Para Land Institute) to
settle the matter. It was fairly unusual for ITERPA to
directly intervene in such a small dispute, and the ITERPA
agent was slightly amused over the entire case. Neverthe-
less, the ITERPA agent, a topographer by training, re-
viewed the problem and suggested the two hamlets
divide the land between them. He next surveyed a
boundary along the logging road, giving the west to
Camuta and the east to Serraria.
Both sides initially agreed to the land partition and
the ITERPA agent left However, within six months the
dispute arose again as accusations were made that each
hamlet had violated the boundary line and that a logging
road extension made by the people of Serraria curved to
the west The ITERPA agent returned and resurveyed the
line to settle the dispute. He also warned the two groups
that technically neither were extracting timber legally
and they should be more careful about publicizing the
conflict.
At this point it appeared Camuti was resigned to
allow the land invasion and harvesting of timber. But a
second conflict arose that completely changed this sce-
nario. This conflict was between the Serraria residents
and their patrio. After several years of extracting timber
and sawing lumber with next to nothing to show for their
labor, the hamlet of Serraria turned against Jose. The
Brevenses refused to extract exclusively for Jose and
demanded their rights in the truck, which they figured
they had paid for several times over. Jose retaliated and
threatened to remove the truck, chain saws, and sawmill.
He also threatened to import another group of loggers to
replace the Brevenses. But the Brevenses held fast in
their demands. They threatened to take the dispute to
court. At this point Jos6 backed down. He gave up his
claims to the truck and chain saws and his exclusive
rights to buy Serraria's timber. He did retain control of the
sawmill.
The Brevenses' willingness to confront their patrio
was undoubtedly influenced by two factors. First, Jose
did not own the land where they extracted timber. Jose,
therefore, could not invoke the ultimate form of retali-
ation, expulsion from the land. This factor gave the
Brevenses the opportunity to resist Second, the ideol-
ogy, actions, and successes of Camuti motived the Bre-
venses to take action. The Brevenses had lived in Camuti
and had been exposed to notions of workers' rights and
worker resistance. They had heard how Camut resisted
the previous land invasion through community unity.
They were also continuously exposed to the disparity of
their exploited existence and the relative prosperity of
Camuti. The combination of these factors motivated the
residents of Serraria to renegotiate their dependence on
their patrio. With new arrangements, the Brevenses
were free to extract at their own pace and to invest the
higher returns received for agricultural production and
various consumer commodities. Their standard of living
increased substantially. At the same time, the threat to
Camuta was eliminated.The comunidade at Camuti had
never objected to the Brevenses using timber sales to
develop their hamlet It was only the threat of outsiders


depleting timber and exporting the profits elsewhere that
had caused the conflict.
At present the comunidade of Camuta has survived
the two attempted land invasions and has remained
intact However, since this external pressure has dissi-
pated, internal pressure in the comunidade has began to
weaken its unity. The main problem revolves around the
functioning of the commune. The commune does not
operate as members had envisioned. First, profits made
from communal labor do not meet expectations. Fran-
cisco (the leader of Camuta) commented that once prof-
its are assembled and comunidade debts paid. there is
often little left to distribute. There is also a problem with
individuals participating unequally in projects, yet ex-
pecting equal compensation. The problem became so
irritating to several members that they decided to reduce
communal participation and increase individual work.
Soon others followed their lead. By 1986 all communal
labor has been reduced to joint work parties on Thurs-
days only. This limiting of communal work has resulted
in the termination of the communal garden and a decline
in the cantina. People also are extracting timber indi-
vidually, or in small groups exchanging labor (mutirdo).
The truck is still used communally, however.
Another problem affecting the commune system is
the continuous threat of land invasion. The comunidade
realizes that to preserve their rights to land they have to
obtain land titles. However, Brazilian land law will not
allow land tobe registeredin the name ofthe comunidade.
The state and federal land agencies insist on individual
titles to land. The people of Camuta have been forced to
comply to ensure possession of land. Once individual
tides are established, however, the owners are careful to
protect their private resources. This results in a sharp
decline in communal use of the land.
Despite internal disruptions, Camuta has been able
to readjust The communal system is gradually being
replaced by a more individualistic system, although
mutual aid and comunidade unity are still stressed. This
continued cohesion of the group is all-important to its
survival since more and more timber firms are active in
the terra firme surrounding Camuti. The threat of land
invasion is growing steadily. Whether or not the
comunidade can resist these invasions depends heavily
on the unity of workers.
The politico-religious education of Liberation The-
ology pursued in Iti's comunidades such as Camuti have
fed an increasing number of activist workers into other
organizations promoting working class interests. One
example is the formation of the Workers' Party (Partido
dos Trabalbadoresor PT). The Workers' Party is directed
primarily by catechists of the Catholic Church, although
there is no formal tie between the Church and party. The
party has a platform endorsing radical agrarian reform,
worker controlled trading post cooperatives, and an end
to the dominant class's monopoly on the local political
economy. For the 1982 municipal elections, members of
the Workers' Party campaigned extensively among the
comunidades and succeeded in gaining approximately
40% of the municipality's vote. Two candidates for coun-
cil members were elected to office while the mayoral










Special Publication, No.6,1990 I


candidate was barely defeated.
The surprising results of the 1982 elections and
further gains by activist workers in the rural union (which
also endorses agrarian reform and worker cooperatives)
promise to reorder the local political economy and give
workers a dominant role in controlling their affairs. As
such, the workers' and Church's struggle for liberation in
Ita is well underway. The ultimate outcome of the libera-
tion movement, however, will depend on a number of
variables. These variables range from the ever present
threat of violence and suppression by extra-local entities
(the military, timber firms) to the movement's success in
implementing promises made to workers, thereby gain-
ing or losing crucial support


Notes
1 Poor relations between Church and state began when the
new military regime established its decision making appara-
tus in 1964 and completely excluded the Church from any
decision making role. This was a serious breach of normal
state-Church relations (Salem 1981:35). Relations between
state and Church worsened during the late 1960s and
throughout the 1970s and 1980s due to the military regime's
repressive policies toward the poor and working classes.
When the clergy began speaking out against the repression,
the military state initiated a demoralizing campaign against
the Church which included slander, intimidation, imprison-
ment, and deportation (Martins 1985:24).

2 According to Brazilian law, the occupation and use of
state-owned land for 1 year and 1 day qualifies an individual
for ownership of up to 100 hectares in the Amazon. Like-
wise, occupation and use of privately owned land for 10
years qualifies an individual for ownership. Alternatively, if
an occupant resides less than 10 years on property claimed
by another, upon removal from the land the occupant must
have paid an indemnification for improvements to the land
(house built, crops and fruit trees planted). Land right abuse
in ItA frequently occurs when landowners attempt to illegally
extract resources or unlawfully evict occupants from the land
on which the occupants have lived and worked for more
than 10 years. Eviction without indemnification paid is also a
com mon abuse as is invasion of occupants' claims on state-
owned land by timber and other extraction firms.

3 Wagley suggested that the Church and government could
use the irmandades and the festivals to deal with community
problems. He wrote,

". .. the brotherhoods of rural ItA might easily be given
new and additional functions; the leaders of these
neighborhood organizations might, for example, be
persuaded to support programs in health, in agriculture,
and in education (1976:213)."

It appears the Church has been rather successful in following
this advice.

References Cited

Boff, L.
1981 Igreja, Carisma e Poder- Ensalos Eclesiologia
Militante. Petr6polis, Brazil: Vozes


Bruneau, T. C.
1982 The church in BraziL ThePolitics of Religion
Austin: University of Texas Press.

Follman, J. I.
1985 Igreja, Ideologia, e Classes Sociais Petr6polis:
Vozes.

Galvio, E.
1955 Santos e Visagens: Um Estudo da Vida Religiosa da
Itd. Amaz6nas. Sao Paulo: Companhia Edit6ria
National.

IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geogrifia e Estatistica)
1981 Sinopse Preliminardo Censo Demogrdficoe
Agropecudrio de 19890. Volume 1, Tomo 1.
1973 Censo Demogrdfico de 1970. Volume 1, Tomo IV
Rio de Janeiro: IBGE.

Martins, J.de S.
1985 A Militarizao da QuestdoAgrdria no BrasiL
Petr6polis: Vozes

Salem, H.
1981 "Dos Palacios a Miseria da Periferia". In A. C.
Moura, H. Salem, L. C. Antero, L. Maklouf, and S. B.
de Gusmao A Igreja dos Oprimidos Slo Paulo:
Edit6ria Brasil Debates (Brasil/Hoje 3), pp. 17-64.

SESPA (Secretaria de Estado de Salde Piblica)
1985 Unpublished annual statistics for Parl. Beldm:
SESPA.

Wagley, C.
1976(1953) Amazon Town: A study ofMan in the
Tropic. New York: Oxford University Press.









Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a University of
Florida Amazon Research and Training Program grant
and a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. Many thanks to
Charles Wagley, Marianne Schmink, Samuel Sa, and
NAEA (Nicleo de Altos Estudos da Amaz6nia of the
Federal University of Pard) for their support.











Special Publication, No.6,1990


Guajajara-Tenetehara festival, Central Brazil, 1941. UFArchives














RECONSTRUCTING ETHNICrr AS CIASS: THE TAWANTINSUYU UPRISING OF SOUTHERN PERU


JANE COLUNS* AND MICHAEL PAINTER
'SUNY-Binghamton, NY; "InstituteforDevelopment Anthropology, Binghamton, NY


Introduction


In 1923, in Huancane Province, department of Puno
in southern Peru, a group ofAymara-speaking peasants
founded a new town. They declared this settlement to be
the new official capital of the province of Huancane, and
they laid out its streets after the pattern of Lima, the
capital of the Republic. They christened the new town
Wancho Lima and proclaimed that, within its bounda-
ries, no one would wear Indian dress and only Spanish
would be spoken. In a few days, the cornerstones were
laid for a church and a schoolhouse, and a market area
was designated. While the buildings were under con-
struction, schooling was provided for adults in the home
of a community member. Later that same year the peas-
ants of Wancho Lima, in league with hundreds of others
from surrounding communities, assaulted a team of
transporters from the wool export firm of Andres Ratti
and Sons. They attacked at least two haciendas before
they were joined by peasants from other parts of the
province in marching on the nearby town ofVilquechico
and then on to the provincial capital of Huancane.
The 1923 uprising was only one in a series of rebel-
lions and revolts that have taken place in the southern
highlands of Peru. It is but one example of the social
turmoil that resulted as urban growth and the expansion
of a regional export economy prior to and during the first
World War worked changes in the social relations of the
Peruvian countryside. These events are exceptional not
only in revealing the tensions and contradictions in rural
class relations during this period, but in showing how
one class sought to radically redefine the ethnic terms in
which class relations had previously been described.
This paper addresses issues of class and ethnicity as
a subset of a broader question related to class and class
consciousness. It views the labels of ethnicity used in
Andean South America as the product of a colonial
history in which the usurpation of lands and exploitation
of labor were justified in racial and cultural terms. The
responses of Aymara and Quechua peasants to a domi-
nant ideology in which Indian racial heritage formed a
basis for oppression have been multiple and complex.
For many, the solution has been strategies of individual
mobility in which they have sought to exchange the
markers of their heritage for those of the elite classes. At
other times, collective action on the part of the peasantry
has turned the definitions of the elite on their head-
declaring the ascendancy of the indigenous population


and calling for the return of the Inca and the reestablish-
ment of the precolonial social order. The events associ-
ated with Wancho Lima did not represent an adoption of
either of these two strategies. Rather, they represented
for the first time a direct challenge to the myth that class
oppression had a racial basis. The peasants who partici-
pated sought to give the lie to a set of cultural precepts
that linked their poverty to their Indian "nature," and to
reveal the social relationships that denied them access to
land and markets.
Like many such highly localized and spontaneous
movements, the 1923 uprising has not made its way into
the annals of national history. The account provided here
is pieced together from histories produced by the re-
gional elite; from accounts that appeared in local news-
papers of the time (collected and described in Hazen
1974); and from histories provided by those older
members of the communities involved who recall first-
hand the events that transpired (Gallegos n.d.; files of the
authors).
We will begin by giving an account of the move-
ment, contrastingitwhen appropriatewith earlier revolts
in the region. Wewill then place the events in the context
of the international market fluctuations that were directly
and indirectly affecting the land tenure, demography and
markets of the region. Finally, we will propose an inter-
pretation of the collective symbolic actions of the peas-
antry-most notably those related to the construction of
Wancho Lima itself-which sees them as exposing the
contradictions in the dominant ideology of ethnic differ-
entiation and challenging the state and regional elite to
recognize the class basis of their actions.

The Struggle for Schools

In the 1920s, ethnic divisions in southern Peru were
rigid, hierarchical andseeminglyintransigent. The largely
mestizo regional elite was made up of owners of the
region's largewool-producing haciendas, merchantswho
purchased and bulked wool, aswell as a small number of
professionals and administrators. Elite families lived (for
at least part of the year) in the departmental seat of Puno,
provincial capitals, or in the urban center of southern
Peru-Arequipa. They were bound togetherby complex
networks of kin relationships. Tschopik's description of
the highland region south of Lake Titicaca in the 1940s
echoes the descriptions that the Aymara of Huancane
give of the period two decades earlier:









22 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


".... The rigid social hierarchy of Chucuito deserves to
be described as'cast-structured' rather than 'class struc-
tured. There is no 'passing,' and social mobility is
entirely absent, as is formal intermarriage between
members of the two groups. Although Mestizos feel free
to ridicule Indians publicly and to deprecate Indian
customs and 'superstitions,' they demand respectful
and deferential behavior from Indians on all occasions.
Thus Indians tip their hats to Mestizos, address them in
the whining voice of a child, and kneel to kiss their
hands or garments in gratitude for favors granted
(1951:159)."

Indians were not allowed to wear western-style clothing.
Rather, the men wore homespun knee breeches and
women wore full homespun skirts; these were not "in-
digenous" items of dress but were imposed in the colo-
nial period, and had been patterned after 16th-century
Spanish peasant clothing. Indians were to perform only
manual labor, and were not allowed access to the skills
that would permit upward mobility-they were pun-
ished for attempting to speak Spanish and were prohib-
ited from attending school. In this context, any attempt
by Indians to adopt a more "modern," western, or mar-
ket-oriented style of life was considered subversive.
It is not surprising then, that many members of
present-day Aymara communities begin the story of the
1923 uprising with the arrival-in 1909-of Seventh Day
Adventist missionaries in the Department of Puno. The
first Adventist school for members of indigenous com-
munities was built on the south side of Lake Titicaca in
that year. In 1915, missionaries Frederick and Ana Stahl
began visiting communities in Huancane Province, set-
ting up schools and centers of worship. Their work was
complicated by the fact that they spoke no Aymara and
virtually none of their rural followers spoke Spanish. Yet
they attracted many converts by teaching basic literacy in
Spanish. According to Lewellen, who has researched the
impact of Adventism on contemporary Aymara commu-
nities, missionaries presented a package that included
"education, health and religion, roughly in that order,"
and that appealed to the most "progressive" and "innova-
tive" segments of the rural population (1978:127,138).
Survivors of this period remember vividly the estab-
lishment of the first schools by the Adventists. One
woman reports:

"The Adventists taught us to see things dearly and built
schools. We came to school at Muelle. We entered on
Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias, July 28th). A band
came from Umuchi and we marched. We blessed the
building with chewed coca and aguardiente. The pastor
said to us, "you should want to learn to read, you should
want to learn to write." Because ofthe Adventistreligion
there is education.'

They also remember, however, the repression of
these efforts by the regional elite. Members of elite
families burned Adventist meeting places and schools,
and violently attacked converts who supported the
movement. The same woman recounts:


"The mistis (townspeople) would say to us, "who are
these savages to wear shoes and trousers? Who are they
to learn to read and write?" Carmelo Quispe struggled
against them and tried to make them understand. They
tied him up and dragged him on the ground. Then they
made him sing. Then they tied him up again and made
his blood flow. Then they whipped the other known Ad-
ventists.2

These sorts of incidents were not limited to southern
Peru, but seem to have characterized the whole altiplano
region of Peru and Bolivia during this time period. Carter
andMamani, for example, describeAdventist attempts to
establish schools in the altiplano of Bolivia. They report
that the elite of the town of Viacha told the Aymara-
speaking peasants of the community of Irpa Chico that
they would "cut out the tongue of the first one who
learned to read, remove the eyes of those peasants who
tried to write." In this part of Bolivia, as in southern
Peru,schools were held secretly in private homes
(1982:371).
The urban marketplaces of the region also became a
frequent site of struggle during this period. Local officials
are reported to have harassed Adventist converts by
exacting conjured-up "fines," confiscating produce, and
threatening converts with physical violence and judicial
action. Partly, in response to this situation, the mission-
aries supported the establishment of the first rural mar-
kets in the department of Puno in 1915. While designed
initially to avoid confrontations with the local elite, this
strategy would ultimately provide the basis for a new
level of market integration in the department of Puno
(Appleby 1978:197). In 1915, however, the attempt of
peasants to frequent rural markets was seen by the elite
as an act of defiance and every effortwas made to repress
their emergence.
Adventists were not the only "outsiders" who were
interactingwith the peasantry of Puno during this period.
A number of Aymara communities had established con-
tacts with a Lima-based group called the Tawantinsuyu
Pro-Indian Rights Society (Sociedad Pro-Derecha
Indigena Tawantinsuyu), which had successfully organ-
ized several communities in Quechua-speaking areas of
the highlands. The Tawantinsuyu Society was largely
made up of intellectuals, often known as indigenistas,
who placed a high value on Peru's indigenous cultures
and were concerned about the plight of the Indian
population.3 Encouraged by their contact with this group,
members of communities near Huancane began to hold
a school in the house of one Mariano Luque, which was
attended by the adults of the community. They discussed
theTawantinsuyu Society's "platform of liberation" (which
attributed the problems of the Indian to their position as
serfs in a semi-feudal land tenure system). Those who
attended these meetings raised funds to send two repre-
sentatives of their group to Lima to speak directly with
President Leguia about the abuses they were suffering at
the hands of the regional elite (Gallegos n.d.).
Leguia was the first Peruvian president to begin to
establish the authority of the national government over








Special Publications, No. 6, 1990


regional elites in many highland areas of the country. As
part of his effort, he frequently sought to ally the national
government with interests in a way that would under-
mine established regional oligarch in a position to op-
pose him (see, for example, Taylor n.d.). Emerging from
the ranks of the north coast sugar planters who had
dominated Peruvian national politics for the previous
three decades, Leguia was one of the first national leaders
to seek the support of the country's emergent working
class movement (Gonzales 1985:173). However, he also
feared that movement, and sided with planters in the
violent repression of efforts to organize labor on the
sugar estates. Leguia sought to modernize agricultural
production in the highlands after the fashion of the
coastal plantation. In a statement from 1930, he noted:

"... the gamonal (landlord) is not bad by nature. He is
rather diseased in his moral and civic sensibilities, and
retarded in his business... for his failure to realize that
the toil he forcibly extracts from the Indians would
multiply a hundred-fold if he worked to keep them well-
paid, well-fed and content, instead of squeezing out
their very last energies. The gamonal seems to have a
head of stone for the Indian's tribulations because he
has aheadofcementforthe most elementary principles
of modem economics. (PresidentAugustoB. Leguia, La
Prensa, Lima 2/19/30; cited in Hazen 1974:196).

While Leguia's pro-Indian policieswere dearlylinked
to his support for capital investment, members of Peru's
indigenous communities perceived that it provided an
opening for renegotiating their status. Literally hundreds
of peasant communities sent delegations to Lima while
Leguia held office, and most of them were personally
received by him. The two men chosen as representatives
of Huancane communities travelledby train to the coastal
port of Mollendo and then by boat to the capital city.
There, they had an audience with the president and
acquired a map of Lima that was to serve as the plan for
the town of Wancho Lima. It is reported that they re-
turned home dragging a stringbehind them. Leguia, they
said, held that other end of the string, which represented
their links to powerful figures and classes in Lima and the
way in which they had bypassed the elite of the highland
region. All of the community members present stood on
the string and swore to construct a school and to build the
town of Wancho Lima according to the map they now
possessed (Gallegos n.d.).
While some interpretations of peasant unrest during
this period have argued that outsiders were responsible
for sowing discord among the highland peasantry (or for
"opening their eyes" to their oppression), the events
would appear to suggest otherwise. The growth of rural
schools during this period was rapid-Hazen reports
that 170 schools were started in Huancane Province
alone during the 1920s (1974:122). This was a far greater
number than either the Adventists or the Tawantinsuyu
Society could staff, or even visit, and it occurred in the
face of the active opposition of the regional elite. Rural
communities were supported by outsiders, but they
appeared to actively seek this support, drawing on
whatever sources of assistance were available. As one


community leader described their motives:

"We have no more serious crimes than to establish
schools to educate our children, to form centers of rural
industry and to develop indigenous markets and expo-
sitions. As a hardworking people, we have this right,
and believe that our initiatives toward well-being and
progress are neither evil nor harm anyone; to the con-
trary they open a new and grandiose era of National
Industrialization to the honor of Peru and all ofAmerica.
These are our uprisings: to think about educating our-
selves and to work peacefully and thus save our race.
(Carlos Condorena Yujra, expediente n6mero 348,
Archivo de la Secci6n de Asuntos Indigenas, Ministerio
de Fomento, Lima, 1924; published in Reategui Chavez
1978).

The most obvious point of divergence between the
struggles surrounding the building of schools and Wan-
cho Lima, and earlier uprisings of the southern Peruvian
highlands, was the apparent rejection of indigenous
identity on the part of those involved in the struggle. In
1786, when Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui led a major
rebellion in southern Peru, he adopted the name Tupac
Amaru II, recalling the days of Inca rule. In 1921-22,
when Carlos Condori Yujra began to organize the build-
ing of the town of Wancho Lima, he not only advocated
the use ofwestern dress and the Spanish language, but he
adopted a more hispanized version of his own name-
Carlos Condorena. As the peasantry grew in its capacity
to resist, indigenous identity did not become a rallying
point, but the locus of their struggle.
A second point of contrast is not unrelated to the first
Many revolts in the colonial period were led by local
leaders who were the descendants of the kuraka-a
prehispanic official whose rule had been incorporated
into the colonial administrativestructure. In 19th-century
rebellions, mestizo members of the regional elite, such as
Juan Bustamente, organized peasants in opposition to
measures such as the reinstitution of the Personal Contri-
bution. These efforts were linked to political parties at the
national level and to regionalist goals. These individuals
did not share the life experiences of a hacienda worker
or a free-holding peasant, despite the fact that they could
often claim that they had originated in such classes.
While certainly not its only role or meaning, indigenism
lent the cloak of legitimacy to these movements. The
1923 uprising was not led by members of the mestizo
class, but was explicitly directed against them; Aymara
peasants confronted that class, not with the images of a
pre-Columbian past, but with a positivist language of
progress and national development drawn from Euro-
pean and national debates of the period.

The Role of the Wool Trade

As Gordon Appleby has demonstrated for the de-
partment of Puno, changes in the market for a single
commodity can lead to "revolutionary change in the
nature of regional economic organization." An increase
in exports of a single product not only "commercializes"
producers in thatsector, but may determine the level and









24 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


distribution of urban population, expand foodshed ar-
eas, and thus further orient rural producers toward market
production (Appleby 1978:5-6). The depression experi-
enced in Peru following independence in the early 19th
century was mitigated in the southern highlands by the
growth of the wool trade over the course of that century.
By 1824, 16 English commercial houses had been estab-
lished in the southern city of Arequipa and exports of
wool were increasing rapidly (Flores Galindo 1979:118).
After a substantial peak in the 1860s, a period of slow but
relatively stable period of growth began that continued
into the early twentieth century (Jacobsen 1983:102).
With the interruption of normal channels of supply, the
demand for Peruvian wool on European markets in-
creased during the first World War to previously un-
known levels. This boom period, as it is characterized by
Nils Jacobsen, was one of both high prices and high
demand (1983).
Producers of wool in the department ofPuno fell into
three categories during this period: large absentee land-
holders, owners of small haciendas who resided in the
provincial capitals of the region and managed their own
estates to a large degree, and peasant herd owners.
Peasant producers fell into two groups: serfs on hacien-
das who had received permission to run a certain num-
ber of animals on hacienda lands, and members of free-
holding peasant communities. Sheep's wool was pre-
dominantly produced on the large estates of the depart-
ment, while alpaca fiber came primarily from the herds of
the peasantry. Altitude and other aspects of ecology
determined the degree to which both large estates and
peasants would specialize in raising animals and to
which they would incorporate high altitude agriculture
into their productive regimens (Jacobsen 1983; Appleby
1978).
Wool production in the department of Puno pos-
sessed a number of generalized features. These included
the poor quality of the stock, the use of unenclosed
pastures and the exclusive reliance on natural pasture.
The strategy of large and small producers alike was one
of producing many animals of poor quality. The method
of increasing production was thus an extensive one and
involved running more animals on a larger amount of
land (Jacobsen 1983; Orlove 1977).
The wool export hierarchy began with shopkeepers
and itinerant peddlers in the district capitals who bought
and bulked wool and sold it to one of the large British
export houses. From there the product was shipped to
brokers in England. Owners of large haciendas could
often short-circuit this hierarchy by carrying theirwool to
Arequipa themselves, while peasant producers had little
choice but to market through local shorekeepers (Ap-
pleby 1978).
The growth of the wool export economy in southern
Peru was also related to a more commoditization of the
regional economy. Wool production was a major stimu-
lus for the construction of the Southern Peruvian Rail-
way, as was a desire to improve access to the region as a
market for manufactured goods. Puno was joined-
through Arequipa-with the port of Mollendo, in 1876,
and the rail link between Juliaca and the wool bulking


center of Sicuani was completed in 1897. The southern
Peruvian rail network was also joined to Bolivia's rail-
road system via a steamship link across Lake Titicaca.
When the Bolivian links to Cochabamba and Oruro were
completed in the late 1910s (Klein 1982), Puno became
an important transshipment point for goods going to and
from Bollivias's agricultural and mining heartland and
the Southern Peruvian Railway had the highest ratio of
tons of freight hauled to kilometers travelled of any
railroad in Peru (Dobyns and Doughty 1976:201).
The steamship connection also linked a number of
port towns around Lake Titicaca as secondary wool
collection points and distribution centers of manufac-
turedgoods into the rural hinterlands (Appleby 1978:115).
The demand created for manufactured goods was a
stimulus to greaterwool production. However, increased
demand was not limited to the wool-producing zones.
Agriculturalists also sought to acquire manufactured
goods, and financed their purchases through increased
sales of foodstuffs to the growing towns and participa-
tion in wage labor. In addition, because production was
increased by expanding land in pasture, it is possible to
demonstrate a strong relationship between the growth of
wool exports in the 19th and 20th centuries and the
expansion of hacienda lands (Jacobsen 1983:103). Some
of the transfers involved were the result of outright sale;
in others they represented coerced transfer of title; while
in still others they were the product of a long-term
process in which the seller became involved in a relation-
ship of clientage with an hacienda owner, eventually
resulting in the transfer of his or her land. Because of the
significance of land to Aymara communities, monetary
incentives were usually insufficient to motivate peasants
to sell, and landlords resorted to the confiscation of land
in response to indebtedness, its appropriation as a con-
dition for various forms of patronage, as well as violence
against the person and property of individuals (Jacobsen
1983:106).
This then was the situation in Huancane Province at
the end of the first World War. In the booming economy
that prevailed, a relatively large number of individuals-
peasant producers and landlords alike-were receiving
incomes larger than could have been anticipated in any
previous period. AsJacobsen has noted: "All of the social
groups for whom livestock raising was the economic
base were disposed to devise more effective ways of
safeguarding their interests as the price of wool rose and
risks grew (1983:116). For the landlords, this meant
gaining access to increasingly large extensions of land.
For the merchants, it meant retaining control of the
bulking of peasantwool and deriving the profits entailed
in marketing it. For the peasants it meant retaining land
and circumventing local buyers to deal directly with
export houses whenever possible.
Between 1918 and 1921 the price of wool dropped
drastically (from 79.4 to 19.8 English pence per kilogram)
and total exports through the southern port of Mollendo
dropped from over two million kilograms to 576,000
(Jacobsen 1983). Brokers stopped buying all but the
choicest wool. The hacienda owners, while devastated
by the drop in prices, were in a position to meet the









Special Publications, No. 6, 1990 25


limited demand, since theirwool was generally of slightly
higher quality and since they could often transport it
themselves to the export houses. They also responded to
the shortfall in revenues by reducing the number of their
own animals that hacienda workers were allowed to
graze on estate lands. The initial reaction of the peasantry
was to shear their animals twice annually in an attempt to
increase earnings. Then, as prices continued downward
and local merchants (whose interests were tied to those
of the large landowners) refused to buy their dip, they
retreated into subsistence production. According to
Appleby, "they not only cut back on their purchase of
imported commodities, but turned to long-distance bar-
ter to obtain commodities necessary for their survival.
What wool was not needed for domestic use or for barter
was simply left to grow on the animals" (1978:87).
The decline in wool prices actually accelerated re-
gional urban growth in southern Peru, as rural dwellers
sought to replace wool earnings through urban employ-
ment or as petty traders (Appleby 1980:43-44). As urban
food demand grew,merchants tried to increase the sup-
ply through an increased effort to force peasants to sell
food at prices that they dictated. In spite of the pressures
they were able to bring to bear, however, food prices did
increase, driving up the value of agricultural land. Thus,
the sharp decline in wool prices within a more long-term
process of commoditization of the regional economy
intensified the struggle for access to land and markets in
herding and agricultural areas alike.

The Struggle to Redefine Ethnicity as Class

In the light of these conditions, the lines of struggle
in the 1923 uprising become somewhat dearer. For the
peasants, the immediate problem was the control exer-
cised by the regional elite over peasant marketing of
wool and food. The role of the elite as market intermedi-
aries effectively excluded the peasantry from the limited
wool market that remained. This role was maintained by
blocking the access of peasants to the skills and attributes
they needed to market their goods themselves. In this
context, control of the Spanish language, basic literacy
and western dress were more than symbolic. They were
the basic elements necessary to participate in the re-
gional economic system.
They were, however, also symbolic and charged
with meanings imposed by dominant classes. They were
the attributes that in the eyes of the elite, marked peas-
ants as Indians and thus relegated them to the status of
secondary citizens. Members of the League of Southern
Hacienda Owners-an organization created to protect
the interests of landowners during this period-identi-
fied the laziness of Indians, their hatred of their patron,
their ignorance, hunger and alcoholism as the roots of
existing social tensions. While these men recognized that
the abuses of landlords contributed to the problem, and
couched their conclusions in the paternalistic language
of indigenismo, the main thrust of the arguments they
presented was that rural peasants, by virtue of their
indigenous heritage, were culturally (if not racially)
unprepared to function as full citizens of the Republic


(Reategui Chavez 1977; Hazen 1974).
A number of recent works have explored the inter-
section between ethnicity and class in Latin American
contexts. Many of these works contain an implicit as-
sumption that as members of indigenous groups become
incorporated into labor and commodity markets, ethnic-
ity will lose its importance. Stavenhagen (1970),for ex-
ample, has argued that growing market participation
entails leaving behind "colonial" relations (based on
concepts of race and ethnicity) and an increasing ten-
dency to define one's position, and to be defined, in
terms of class relationships on a national level. Friedlan-
der, describing conditions in Morelos, Mexico, has ar-
gued that Indian identity can no longer be taken as
evidence of continuing cultural pluralism, but is rather a
marker of low status in a class stratified society. Use of the
term "Indian" has become another way of speaking of
poverty, lack of sophistication, and lack of education
(1975:71-74).
There is continued skepticism on the part of some
researchers, however, that ethnic distinctions will disap-
pear so easily. Like the "peasantry" it is a social category
that has outlived predictions of its demise. A large num-
ber of writer shave emphasized the potential and actual
contribution ofethnicidentity to popular struggles. Varese,
for example, has argued that movements based on eth-
nicity possess the potential of contributing to a new, anti-
imperialist "civilizing project"that can be a source of
original and effective strategies for opposing exploita-
tion and domination (1982). Warren (1978) has de-
scribed how ethnic identity in highland Guatemala con-
tinues to serve as a source of values that contrast with
those of non-Indian society. At the same time, she em-
phasizes that more than Indian resistance has perpetu-
ated these ethnic boundaries-that is, members of
dominant classes continue to rely on ethnic arguments to
justify/explainsubordination(1978:6,16).
All of these accounts recognize the fluidity of ethnic
definitions. As Stavenhagen and Friedlander indicate,
their significance can be lost, or reduced to a metaphoric
level in the face of certain processes of industrialization.
But as Warren cautionsus, processes of economic change
do not necessarily mean that ethnic categories lose their
significance. Workforce segregation and segmentation
along "ethnic" lines are pervasive features of even the
most industrialized economies.Where oppression has
historically been tied to definitions of ethnicity, popular
struggles have often crystallized around the right to
change those definitions, and to recast the terms in which
conflicts and interests are perceived.
Taken in this context, the events surrounding the
founding of Wancho Lima become more understand-
able. The banning of homespun clothing and the decla-
ration of Spanish as an official language was not a
rejection of indigenous heritage or of collective political
activity informed by common cultural precepts. Rather it
was a rejection of the pejorative content given to ethnic
identity by dominant classes, and of their attempts to
make socially constructed subordination appear as"facts
of nature" determined by an individual's birth.
This view is supported by the closing statement of









26 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


the peasant woman whose account of the establishment
of schools was presented above. "Now that I have told
you how it was between the townspeople and us" she
said, "go and tell others."The word we gloss here as
"townspeople" was misti-which carries many connota-
tions, some of the more favorable of which are upper-
class, urban and of Spanish cultural orientation. The
word we gloss as "us" is jaqi-which is the wordAymara
people use to refer to themselves as distinct from other
social groups. In the new town of Wancho Lima people
did not cease to be Aymara; they ceased being illiterate,
monolingual and poor.
Having accomplished this radical transformation of
the terms of (at least their own) social discourse, the in
habitants of Wancho Lima proceeded to march on sev-
eral haciendas of the district In some cases they took
prisoners, but did not hold them for any length of time.
They attacked a fleet of trucks carrying the wool of large
estate owners out of the province,and they marched on
the urban centers where merchants refused to buy their
wool or to allow them to sell it themselves in urban
markets. By rejecting the imposed markers of the Indian-
ness and speaking in the tongue of Castille, they chal-
lenged racial and cultural explanations of theirstatus and
claimed their rights-not as the oppressed heirs of the
Inca empire-but as citizens of the Republic who raised
livestock and owned land.
This is not the end of the story, however. After the
initial attacks on landlords and the wool merchants,
peasants from Wancho Lima and other communities
throughout Huancane Province marched on the town of
Vilquechico, where a violent altercation took place. Dis-
persing, the peasants regrouped and laid siege to the
provincial capital of Huancane. Armed with slingshots
and knives, they stationed themselves outside of the city
where according to the subprefect, they shouted and
played bugles, pututus, and all manner of drums.
The string held by President Leguia and stretching to
Wancho Lima proved to be fragile. The townspeople
placed urgent appeals to the government and the 9th and
15th regiments of the army were sent out from Puno. The
peasants dispersed and were followed into their homes
and communities where buildingswere indiscriminately
burned, animals were stolen and men, women and chil-
dren were cruelly murdered. After the army had left, the
local police and the regional elite finished what they had
begun. Peasants who had gathered to celebrate a Saint's
Day in the district of Moho were shot, decapitated, and
some were drawn and quartered in the town plaza as an
example. Every district capital in the province has a mass
grave where those who suffered such atrocities were
buried.
One landlord of the period reported:

"We are in imminent danger for our lives and interests.
The uprising of Indians has become general inall of this
province due no doubt to provocateurs and fellow
travelers who have implanted the idea of reclaiming
their lands, which are now estates. My property Nununi,
acquired by its previous owner in that form, is in grave


danger. I am sending men to defend it (Reported from
correspondence of the period in Appleby 1978:88).

Another noted:

"The troops have necessarily had to use their arms in
order to restore orderand little by little they are bringing
the rebellious Indians into submission. (Reported in
Appleby 1978:89).

The 1923 uprising was not a success. Peasants were
d to the jungle regions ofCarabaya Province. The control
of the elite over marketing opportunities was not re-
laxed. As their economic power declined, they responded
by intensifying their efforts to extract labor and wool
from an unwilling peasantry and by reimposing ritual-
ized forms of subservience. Unable to break the eco-
nomic dominance and cultural hegemony of the elite,
some peasant families sought opportunities outside the
region-working for wages in the coastal cities and
plantations, or undertaking production in forests of the
eastern Andean slopes (Collins 1988). Others became
involved in new activities that the elite did not dominate,
most notably the burgeoning truck transport in the re-
gion.
Over the course of the following decades, changes in
the region's role in the international economy would
accomplish what the uprising could not. While wool
prices rebounded somewhat from the plummet that
followed the end of World War I, they remained de-
pressed through the period between the World Wars.
The corporate buying houses entered directly into wool
production, hoping to maintain a minimal profit by
combining this with their export businesses. A number of
estates were sold to the export houses during this period,
and those that continued to produce suffered (Appleby
1978:50-51). Rebounding during the years of World War
II and the Korean War, the wool economy again went
into decline during the late 1950s, and it has remained
depressed since that time. The agrarian reform programs
of the 1960s and '70s found the landlord class decapital-
ized and in crisis; by 1975 most had reinvested their assets
in other regions and left.
The depression in the regional economy fueled
continuing rapid urban growth, and the demand for food
surpassed the capacity of the merchants to extract agri-
cultural products from the peasantry at a dictated price.
The slow, steady growth of rural markets that began in
the 1920s continued into the 1960s, and the price offered
for peasant food production began to be more closely
related to supply and demand (Appleby 1976,1978:188).
Ultimately, a combination of drought in the late 1950s
and national agricultural policies, which subsidized food
imports and undercut prices to domestic producers in
order to provide cheap foodstuffs to urban centers,
destroyed the regional agricultural market and turned
the entire region into a food deficit area. Food production
became a subsistence activity that subsidized other forms
of market participation. Rural markets proliferated even
more rapidly than before, but as mechanisms for purvey-
ing goods imported into the region from elsewhere in the




Special Publications, No. 6,1990 27


wake of an explosion in petty trade (Appleby 1979;
Caballero 1984; Painter 1983,1986; VelasquezRodriguez
1978).
The Tawantinsuyu Uprising was not an attempt, in
the optimistic words of one regional historian, "to con-
front their oppressors and construct a society without
classes" (Gallegos n.d.). It did, however, recast in a
radical way the relationship between class and ethnicity
in Huancane. The rejection to the markers of ethnicity
imposed by the elite cannot be understood as a simple
variant of the attempts of individuals to achieve upward
mobility by assimilating to hispanic culture. It was a form
of collective action in which the threads of an argument
woven by the hispanized elite wereunraveled and evalu-
ated. The actions of the elite were revealed to be, not
"natural" responses to the "ignorance" of the Indian, but
part of a struggle for markets and a struggle for land.
Ultimately, the battle over locally constructed defini-
tions of ethnicity would become irrelevant before it was
won. As the power of the elite declined and they invested
their remaining resources in other regions, and as Ay-
mara families labored in factories, plantations and coffee
plots outside the region, the dimensions of class conflict
changed. Ethnicity remained an issue, but the struggle
over its meaning took place in a national context In this
new setting, the goal of the powerful classes that used it
was not to extract unpaid labor or to restrict access to
markets, but to retain the department of Puno as a labor
reserve. These broaderbasedstruggles wouldbeshaped,
however, by contestations like the Tawantinsuyu rebel-
lion, which unravelled and evaluated a racial mythology
that linked Indian culture and subordination.

Notes
1 Our translation from a transcription of the original Aymara.
2 Also a translation from a transcription of the original
Aymara.
3 For a discussion of indigenismo and its manifestations in
groups like the Tawantinsuyu Society, see Chevalier 1970.

References Cited

Appleby, G.
1978 Exportation and its Aftermath: The Spatio-eco-
nomic Evolution of the Regional Marketing System
in Highland Puno, Peru. Phd. dissertation, Depart-
ment of Anthropology, Stanford University.

1980 Markets and the Marketing System in the Southern
Sierra. Paper presented to the Symposium on
Andean Peasant Economics and Pastoralism, Co-
lumbia, Missouri.

Caballero,J.M.
1984 Agriculture and the Peasantry under Industrializa-
tion Pressures: Lessons from the Peruvian
Experience. Latin American Research Review 19:3-
41.

Carter, W., and M. Mamani.
1982 Irpa Chico: Individuoy comunidad en la cultural
aymara. La Paz: Editorial "Juventud."


Chevalier, F.
1970 Official Indigenismo in Peru in 1920: Origins,
Significance, and Socioeconomic Scope. In Race
and Class in Latin America. Magnus Morer, ed.
New York: Columbia University Press.

Collins,J.L.
1988 UnseasonalMigration: The Effects of Rural Labor
Scarcity in Peru. Princeton: Princeton University
Press.

Dobyn, H., and P.L. Doughty.
1976 Peru: A Cultural History. New York: Oxford
University Press.

Flores Galindo, A.
1979 El militarismo y la dominaci6n britanica (1825-
1845). In Nueva Historica General del Peru (no
editor). Lima: Mosca Azul.

Friedlander,J.
1975 Being Indian in Hueyapan A Study of Forced
Identity in Contemporary Mexico. New York: St.
Martin's Press

Gallegos, L.
n.d. Wancho Lima. Unpublished manuscript, files of the
author.

.Gonzales, M.J.
1985 Plantation Agriculture and Social Control in
Northern Peru, 1875-1933. Austin: University of
Texas Press

Hazen, D.
1974 The Awakening ofPuno: Government Policy and
the Indian Problem in Southern Peru, 1900-1955.
Ph.D.dissertation, Department of History, Yale
University.

Jacobsen, N.
1983 Ciclos y booms en la agriculture de exportaci6n
latinoamericana: El caso de la economic ganadera
en el sur peruano, 1855-1920. Allpanchis 18(21):89-
146.

Klein, H.
1982 Bolivia: Evolution ofa Multi-ethnic Society. New
York: Oxford University Press.

Lewellen, E.
1978 Peasants in Transition: The Changing Economy of
the Peruvian Aymara: A General Systems Ap-
proach. Denver: Westview.

Orlove, B.
1977 Alpacas, Sheep and Men. New York: Academic
Press.

Painter, M.
1983 The Political Economy of Food Production in Peru.
Studies in Comparative International Development
19:34-52.











28 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


1986 The Value of Peasant Labour Power in a Prolonged
Transition to Capitalism. Journal ofPeasant Studies
13(4):221-239.

Reategui Chavez, W.
1978 Mobilizaci6n campesinaen Huancane (Puno).
Actasy memories del III congresoperuano del
hombrey la cultural andina. Ramiro Matos M., ed.
Vol. 3.

Stavenhagen, R.
1970 Classes, Colonialism and Acculturation. In Masses
in Latin America, Irving Louis Horowitz, ed. Pp.
235-288. New York: Oxford University Press.

Taylor, L.
n.d. Bandits and Politics in Peru. Landlord and
Peasant Violence in Hualgayoc, 1900-1939.
Cambridge: Centre of Latin American Studies.







Special Publications, No. 6, 1990


.. i


Gurupd, Pard, Brazil, 1948. UFArchives


"~g~p~arrr














LEARNING TO LEAVE: UP AND OUT IN THE BRAZILAN AMAZON


LINDA MILER*
University of Florida


Introduction

In the Brazilian Amazon frontier community of Itai-
tuba, the eighth grade is the terminal year of schooling,
the final year of a First Level education.' Eighth graders
are the fortunate few, since most Brazilians continue to
receive only a fewyears of primary schooling (Haussman
and Haar 1978; HavighurstandMoreira 1965). The eighth
graders are, therefore a valuable human resource to their
community. Unfortunately, the community will proba-
bly lose this resource, since all the eighth graders plan to
migrate.2 What accounts for this unanimous decision to
leave?
The premise of this article is that a compatible
combination of social structural and cultural characteris-
tics interact to produce a highly favorable climate for the
personal decision to migrate. Taken together, these
characteristics create a situation in which major agents of
socialization the family, school, and peers 3 are
quite effective in socialization to geographical mobility
in search of social mobility. In particular, the role of
formal schooling in this process is emphasized.
However, these agents of socialization, while pres-
ent and important, are inadequate to understand sociali-
zation to migration. Instead, the crucial variable is com-
munity, both as type and as context. Itaituba is a particu-
lar type of community, one which regularly attracts,
reproduces, and exports migrants. The community must
also be seen as "the context within which the individual
derives identity and personality viewed as the expres-
sion of the group-shared cultural heritage of world view"
(Kimball 1982:126). In other words, the community
becomes an agent of socialization in its own right, sup-
plementing and integrating other agents. Moreover, the
community is the locus of learning to leave, because it is
the arena in which other socializing agents play their
parts. It is at the community level that structural and
cultural characteristics deriving from local, regional,
national, and international levels have a day-to-dayimpact
on individual students making personal decisions.
A final purpose of this article is to contribute to the
understanding of Latin American migration by examin-
ing a less-studied aspect, i.e., middle class migration. As
Butterworth and Chance observe, "it has been said,
facetiously no doubt, the middle-class people move but
lower-class people migrate" (1981:34). Since the lower
class is the majority social class in LatinAmerica and since


massive rural-urban migrationsince the 1940's has brought
millions of lower class people such as peasants to
cities (cf. Mangin 1970; Roberts 1978), neglect of other
subcultural types-such assmall town elites-hasbeen
understandable, if not desirable. Furthermore, while it is
considered a universal that the young and flexible pre-
dominate in migration and that formal education corre-
lates positively with migration (Butterworth and Chance
1981:52,59), the actual process of socialization to migra-
tion among middle class young adults is seldom de-
scribed. In a complex nation like Brazil, where diverse
types of people migrate not just to cities but also to
frontiers, it is especially important to specify who mi-
grates, where, andwhy, and to understand the context in
which people make these decisions.
In summary, the purpose of this article is to describe
how students are socialized to migration, to explain the
importance of the community in this process, and to
contribute to the understanding of middle class migra-
tion in LatinAmerica. In the next section, the community
context in which migration and education occur is pre-
sented.

The Community, Migration, and Education

The community ofltaituba, in the state of Para, was
transformed in the 1970's. Once a small, riverine munici-
pal seat which served as an administrative center and a
way station for the collection of rubber and other tropical
forest products in the municipio's rural neighborhoods,
Itaitubabecame a staging area for the extraction of fluvial
gold deposits in the late 1960's. Air transportation was the
key to gold mining, but an even more far-reaching
change in transportation and settlement patterns oc-
curred with the construction of two national highways
through the municipio in the early 1970's. National media
attention and government colonization and develop-
ment programs accompanied the Transamazon and
Cuiaba-Santarem highways. A populationboom resulted,
as migration increased the town's numbers tenfold by the
time of my fieldwork there in 1976-77. The town experi-
enced rapid commercial and government agency growth
(D. Miller 1982). A significant part of the urbanizing
process was the growth of a nascent middle class.
Itaituba's growth in population, commerce, bureauc-
racy, and social class heterogeneity must be seen in
regional, national, and international contextto beunder-









32 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


stood. First, Itaituba is an Amazon community which
shares their characteristic fragmentation and lack of
cohesiveness. Amazon communities typically comprise
a county seat with an urban orientation as well as links to
various rural neighborhoods which specialize in extrac-
tive economic pursuits (Wagley 1971). The county seat's
residents are divided among themselves by social strati-
fication, uniting only in a shared feeling of superiority to
their rural neighbors. This is because they consider
themselves urban, adopt as urban a life style as possible,
promote ties to larger urban centers through kinship,
friendship, and economic activities, and usually manage
to secure a plaza and a monument or two for their town
as a symbol of urban civilization. The modest services in
health and education which are available to the region
are concentrated in the town. The rural neighborhoods,
on the other hand, may be fragmented due to their
dispersed, line settlement patterns along rivers and
streams. A final source of lack of community cohesive-
ness for all residents is the high rate of migration due to
boom and bust economic cycles (cf. D. Miller 1979).
Market prices set at the international level have a
profound effect on Amazon communities because eco-
nomic activity is geared to the export ofraw materials and
import of consumergoods. This is supportedby national
economic policy in which efforts to promote small-scale
agriculture tend to be outweighed by emphasis on large-
scale economic activities geared to export. Moreover, the
Amazon, as part of northern Brazil, isunderdeveloped in
comparison to the industrialized south.
Migration spurred by boom and bust economic cycles
may be to major urban centers such as state capitals and
industrial cities in the south, or to frontier areas. The
Brazilian value of urbanism is reflected in the fact that
even when Brazilians migrate to frontier areas during
economic booms, many move to frontier urban centers.
When the latter occurs, a small backwater town with
what seems to outsiders from cities to be unfounded
urban pretensions is transformed into a rapidly urbaniz-
ing boom town or small city in which an urban infrastruc-
ture (e.g. banks, movie theaters, high schools, hospitals,
piped water, paved roads, separate urban neighbor-
hoods, a significant middle class) becomes elaborated. In
short, migration accelerates the urbanization process in
towns which already have some valid claims to urbanism
(Gulick 1973:994). However, urbanization in the Ama-
zon region occurs without industrialization, since the
economic base remains extractive. This has important
consequences for migrant (and native) families, espe-
cially in relation to children and education.
Although single male miners and female prostitutes
have migrated to the gold mines and some male entre-
preneurs and bureaucrats leave their wives and children
behind, migration to Itaituba for the most part has been
family migration. Families settled in small farm plots
along the new highways. Gold miners located their
families in town, to be near health and educational
services. State and parastatal agencies such as the army,
the Bank of Brazil, and Project Rondon' built housing for
families as well as for single staff. This meant that there
was a greatly increased demand for educational services,


among others.
The government responded with development
programs to increase and improve educational services,
rationalizing this as "human capital" development
(Havighurst and Moreira 1965; Miller 1983). New schools
were built, new local branches of education bureaucra-
cies started, educators were given in-service programs to
improve teaching and to increase their level of qualifica-
tions, a bonus was added to educators' salaries, and night
school and "recuperation" programs in schools made it
possible for some students to gain more years of school-
ing.
However, students can go no further than eighth
grade in Itaituba, because there is no high school. The
closest one is in Santarem, the only city in the Tapajos
River Valley, downriver from Itaituba where the Tapajos
meets the Amazon River. There have always been a few
students from Itaituba who have been fortunate enough
to be able to continue their schooling by moving to
Santarem. They are either children of the old local elite or
children who received scholarships (bolsas) or made
arrangements with Catholic priests or nuns who have
historically founded and run Amazon schools. Families
could either send children to board with relatives or
friends, or relocate part or all of the family in a city
residence (cf. Smith 1974:223).
Thus, education has always been a factor in rural to
urban migration in the Brazilian Amazon. Rural elite
families have moved or sent their children to county seats
fora complete First Level education. Families from county
seats without high schools have migrated to the nearest
city or the state capital. In Santarem, a former director
(principal) of the city's most prestigious Catholic high
school ruefully acknowledged his school's role in what
he called, "education for export." The privileged few
who finished high school headed for the state capital,
Belem, to try foruniversity admission or to secure a white
collar job. The director urged them to stay or return to
Santarem to better their community, usually in vain,
given the norm of lack of allegiance to Amazon commu-
nities on the part of their residents. These educational
migration patterns fit into the step-migration, rural to
urban population movement They also fit into the eco-
nomic orientation of the region and nation, i.e., produc-
tion for export.
The problem of "education for export" in the Ama-
zon is acknowledged by Brazilian planners and scientists
(SUDAM 1976; Machado 1974). Planners summarize the
problem and its consequences as follows:

1) Local professionals educated outside the region
seldom return because of betterworking conditions
and pay elsewhere.
2) Both professional and semi-skilled labor histori-
cally have been imported from other regions.
3) As a result, education and the accumulation of
human resources and "know-how" from within the
region is not stimulated (SUDAM 1976:74).

Middle class status is central to the "education for
export" problem, because three important factors in
migration are related to this status: education, occupa-








Special Publication, No.6,1990 33


tion,. and urbanism. Students who manage to reach
eighth grade are the minority in Brazil, just as the middle
class remains a minority compared to the much larger
lower class.' Eighth graders may be carrying on a family's
small town elitestatus,validating a family'snewly achieved
rise from the lower class, or attempting upward social
mobility from lower to middle class status in one genera-
tion. Whatever their origins, eighth graders learn middle
class values and behaviors from their teachers in school
Brazilian middle class values and behaviors differ
from those of North Americans. A minority, heterogene-
ous social class, middle class Brazilians tend to adopt
upper class values and lifestyle aspirations but lack the
economic means to achieve them. With the Latin Ameri-
can pattern of negativelyvaluing manual labor, they seek
prestige white-collar occupations. As more of them
compete for these jobs, the credentials employers re-
quire become based on higher levels of schooling. This
schooling is found in cities. Added to the educational
"pull" of cities is their cultural "pull," the Latin American
pattern of valuing urban life, which derives from the
Mediterraneanheritage(WolfandHanson 19721972:160).
The final "pull" is occupational, since the Latin American
middle class depends largely on government employ-
ment (Wagley 1968:207; U.N. 1968; Ratinoff 1967) and,
with its highly centralized organization, these jobs have
been concentrated in cities. Therefore, as Wagley notes,
"many members of the middle class have been forced to
migrate from small towns to cities" (1971:116).
This last "pull" factor has become more complex in
recent years, at least in one middle class employment
sector, education. Several educators who migrated to
Itaituba told me of occupational overcrowding in the
south of Brazil, which had made the frontier attractive to
them as a place to find suitable middle class employment
This seeming reversal can be explained to some extent
by the Education Reform Law of 1971, which mandated
decentralization of education bureaucracies, and also by
the development programs which were focused on the
Transamazon municipios in the 1970's. The result in
Itaituba was the creation of many new jobs for educators
as teachers, school directors, and bureaucrats in educa-
tion agencies. In practice, decentralization meant bu-
reaucratic expansion into the frontier, and the middle
class followed the job opportunities to Itaituba.
Younger Itaitubans (migrant and native) will not
have thesame opportunity, since Brazilian frontierbooms
have tended to create only temporary opportunities for
upward social mobility, for those who arrive at the right
time (Margolis 1973:222-223). Even if employment op-
portunities remain, students must still leave temporarily
to finish their education, and the cultural attraction of
cities remains powerful.

The Students

I would like to turn now to the eighth graders, whom
I surveyed in their schools about their plans after gradu-
ation. Eighty-six students were surveyed in all, in two
schools. The first school is a Catholic regional normal
school, roughlyequivalent to a U.S. middleschool (grades


five through eight), but specialized in preparing teachers
for careers in rural primary schools. It was in its final year
of operation, and classes met only at night Sixty-one
eighth graders were surveyed (out of 73 officially en-
rolled). The second school is a new state middle school
which also has vocational emphasis, in this case, on
industrial arts. There were two eighth grade classes, one
in the afternoon session and another at night; I surveyed
the 25 afternoon students. The two schools and their
background in Brazilian educational history and policy
are an interesting story in their own right (L. Miller 1982),
but the main point is that both schools were officially
oriented toward work through their vocational curricula.
In Brazil, these are the types of schools which tend to be
started in rural areas; academically oriented schools are
reserved for cities. Brazilians have an overwhelming
cultural preference for academic schooling. If a vocation-
ally oriented school is the only one in town, as often
happens, they use it as an academic school, that is, as a
stepping stone to higher education (Teixeira 1977).
Therefore, it is not surprising that Itaituba's regional
normal school produced only twenty per cent of the
municipio's educators. This can be explained both by
migration (students became teachers elsewhere, and
new migrants arrived to take available jobs) and the use
of the school as an academic stepping stone (students
migrated to attend high school, especially males, who
seldom become primary school teachers).
Dividing the students by school reveals contrasts in
age, sex, birthplace, and work experience, but these
differences only serve to make the students' common
characteristic their decision to leave Itaituba all the
more significant as an example of community socializa-
tion rather than just school socialization. In other words,
schools in this community have been diverse, but they
have tended to function in ways which contribute to a
common result.
Looking first at age of the students, those from the
regional normal school were older, ranging from 13 to 36
years old, but most within the 17 to 21 age range. State
middle school students ranged from 14 to 18 years old,
with most between 15 and 17. If night session eighth
graders atthestate middle school hadbeen included, the
age difference probably would have been less.
The schools also differed in sex ratios. Females
outnumbered males two to one at the regional normal
school, and the opposite was true of the state middle
school. This may be related to the occupational goals of
the two schools, since primary school teaching is consid-
ered a "female" occupation.
Another difference is in birthplace. Locals (born in
the municipio) were a majority in the regional normal
school (58 per cent), but were a minority in the state
middle school (40 per cent). In both student and educa-
tor categories, the regional normal school was the "lo-
cals" school, while the state middle school was the
"outsiders" school. However, plans to migrate for higher
education and white collar/professional occupationswere
the norm in all categories: students and educators, locals
and outsiders.
"Education for work" is an important factor in the









34 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


official school curricula and in the informal socialization
which occurs in school and elsewhere in the community.
Officially, both schools were vocationally oriented, but,
as mentioned previously, Brazilian students tend in
practice to transform them into the frontier equivalent of
academies. Nonetheless, students did receive strong
socialization to work from the role models offered by
teachers, the students' own families, and from peers who
worked, as well as from their own work experiences.
Many of their teachers exemplified the Brazilian middle
class pattern of multiple job-holding, called a "hatstand
of jobs" (cabide de empregos) (Wagley 1971:289). The
jobs were all white collar. Students were exposed to the
fact that in middle class families, husbands and wives
may both have salaried employment, and older children
often combine work and school. Forty-three per cent of
the night students at the regional normal school worked,
and 35 per cent of the afternoon students at the state
middle school worked (the latter working students were
all male).
The schools were successful, therefore, in their goal
of orienting students toward work, but the reason for
their success was socialization rather than education.
Another important and related aspect of socialization to
work in school is socialization to middle class values and
behaviors concerning work. When work becomes de-
fined more specifically as suitable middle class work,
migration for more education to qualify for white collar
or professional jobs becomes essential.
Socialization to the middle class in school prepares
students tovalueurbanism, devalue manual labor, and to
cope with their probable future employer a govern-
ment or private bureaucracy. Through repeated class-
room observations, I saw a pattern of teachers rewarding
students for behaving independently but within the
constraints of school rules and community standards of
good manners (L. Miller 1982). To work effectively in
bureaucracies, employees must take orders from above,
transmit them below, avoid direct confrontation, yet be
capable of solving problems through manipulating the
informal as well as the formal structure of the workplace.
These behavioral goals were socialized through school
and classroom interaction patterns among educators and
students. In addition, there was a strong emphasis on the
art of appearances in the school's outward appearance,
administrative pressures on teachers to decorate class-
rooms, customary dress of educators and students, for-
mal good manners between social unequals, and the
presentation of the school's "cultural" face to the commu-
nity in public entertainment events. This emphasis also
conformed to middle class, urban values.
Students at both schools shared the aspiration to
further schooling and the willingness to migrate for
educational opportunities. For some students, who came
to Itaituba with their parents/relatives, return migration
was a goal. For others, natives of Itaituba, there was
dissatisfaction with the hometown and the desire for
cultural or occupational opportunities elsewhere. As one
student wrote, "I would like to.stay in Itaituba, but it has
not developed on the cultural level." Only one student
wrote that she would like to stay in Itaituba forever, but


even she planned to migrate temporarily for more school-
ing. Her occupational goal was to be an office worker,
which would be possible in Itaituba. Other students had
professional goals requiring higher education for occu-
pations inwhich theywere less likely to establish a career
in Itaituba architect, for example.
The influence of the industrial arts program of the
state middleschool mightbe related to the preference for
a technical high school cited by many students'in that
school, in contrast to the more common Brazilian prefer-
ence for academic high schools. However, when asked
what profession or employment they would like to
pursue, 52 per cent of the students named the three
professions traditionally preferred in Brazil: engineer
(six students), doctor (five students), and lawyer (two
students). Two students each chose veterinarian, ac-
countant, secretary, and "not sure." One student each
chose clerk, small businessman, telegraph operator,
journalist, and naval officer.
In summary, both schools and educators served as
middle class role models for students, socializing them to
value suitable middle class employment and accustom-
ing them to the idea of migration as the way to achieve
educational credentials. The schools' vocational goals,
their actual use as stepping stones by work-oriented
students seeking better credentials, and educators' per-
sonal examples and interaction patterns with students all
prepared eighth graders to migrate "up and out."
In effect, the Brazilian Amazon community which
changed so much in the 1970's remains the same in
fundamental ways. It still has an export economy and
one of its finest export products is the educatedyoung.
They are socialized to middle class values and behaviors
which give them a common resolve despite their differ-
ences in background, motivation, and aspirations. All
learn to leave this community, whether their plan in-
volves a temporary absence and return, escape from a
backwater town, or pursuit of occupational mobility.

Conclusions

This case study provides evidence that structural and
cultural characteristics, i.e., a particular type of commu-
nity, social class characteristics, and Brazilian cultural
values, outweigh individual, psychological characteris-
tics in socialization to migration. Despite their differ-
ences in age, sex, birthplace, and personal work experi-
ence, all of the eighth graders I surveyed hoped to leave.
To be sure, both individual psychological characteristics
(such as achievement motivation) and other factors such
as family resources probably will influence which stu-
dents actually do leave. Nevertheless, students have
learned to/want/ to leave. Socialization to migration has
occurred, whether or not actual migration follows.
This case study also provides evidence that the
community in which socialization to migration occurs
may also play an important role in the learning process.
There are the obvious "push" factors so often cited in
studies of rural-urban migration: lack of schools and
other services, lack of jobs, lack of recreational facilities
and cultural amenities (Butterworth and Chance 1981:47-









Special Publication, No.6,1990 35


48). Beyond these, however, are less quantifiable butstill
observable features of community life and attitudes of its
residents which create a climate favorable to migration.
Young people who group in such a community or who
move there and attend its schools learn that it is permis-
sible, possible, and perhaps necessary to leave the com-
munity.
In conclusion, the case study supports and expands
on the conclusions reached by Butterworth and Chance
in their synthesis on LatinAmerican urbanization. As they
write,

"In a very real sense, urban development in Latin
America has occurred partially at the expense of
rural areas. As cities have expanded during the last
several decades, large portions of the countryside
have stagnated, much of their resources and many
of their most talented people being funnelled into
the urban centers "(1981:201).

While Itaituba is an urbanizing community, its eco-
nomic base and its educational services are not as yet
sufficiently developed beyond its rural past As a result,
even though the region is certainly no longer "stagnant,"
especially since its gold boom has attracted world-wide
attention, the pattern of migration for education and
middle class employment opportunity has no immediate
end in sight.

Notes
* This article is based on research conducted in Brazil in
1976-77, with funding from the Tropical South America
Fellowship Program of the University of Florida. An earlier
draft was presented at the American Anthropological
Association meetings in 1983.
1 As of 1971, according to Brazil's Basic Education Reform
Law 5692, First Level education includes grades one
through eight. In Itaituba, grades one through four are
offered in both town and rural neighborhoods. Grades five
through eight are available only in town.
2 This statement is based on a survey of eighth graders in
Itaituba, Para, in the spring of 1977.
'The fourth major agent of socialization, mass media, played
a lesser role in this isolated community at the time the research
was conducted. Newspapers from Belem, state capital of Para,
arrived three times a week by air. Television did not reach
Itaituba until 1980 (Brian Burkhalter, personal communica-
tion).
'Project Rondon is a national program in which individual
universities operate extension campuses in regions different
from the host university. Its goals are to expose students to a
region different from their own, promote national integration,
and perform community service. The University for the Devel-
opment of the state of Santa Catarina (UDESC) sponsored the
program in Itaituba.
'The recuperation program was mandated by Law 5692 in
1971 and implemented in 1976-77 in Itaituba to reduce the
high failure rate among students in the First Level grades. It
provides fifteen days of remedial instruction at the end of the
school year to students who fail one or more subjects.
Students can then retake final exams.
'As Haussman and Haar note for Brazil as a whole, "only
one-fourth of the children in first-level schools can expect to
complete the eighth grades" (1978:60). Concerning social


class, based on community and neighborhood surveys in
Itaituba, the old elite or upper class is estimated to be three
to five per cent of the town population, while the new
middle class is approximately seventeen per cent, and the
lower class majority is about 80 per cent.

References Cited

Butterworth, D., andJ.K. Chance
1981 Latin American Urbanization. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Gulick,J.
1973 Urban Anthropology, In Handbook ofSocial and
CulturalAnthropology, ed.JJ. Honigman, Chicago.

Haussman, F., andJ. Haar
1978 Education in Brazil Hamden, Connecticut: The
Shoe String Press.

Havighurst, R., andJ. R. Moreira
1965 Society and Education in BraziL Pittsburgh:
University of Pittsburgh Press.

Kimball, S. T.
1982 Community and Hominid Emergence. Anthropol-
ogy and Education Quarterly 13(2):125-131.

Machado, P. de A.
1974 The Role of Education and Research in the
Development of the Amazon. In Man in the
Amazon. C. Wagley, ed., Gainesville, FL: University
.Presses of Florida.

Mangin, W., ed.
1970 Peasants in Cities: Readings in the Anthropology of
Urbanization Boston: Houghton Miffin Co.

Margolis, M. L
1973 The Moving Frontier Social and Economic Change
in a Southern Brazilian Community Gainesville,
FL: University of Florida Presses.

Miller, D. L
1979 Tmnsamazon Tovwn Transformation of a Brazil-
ian River Community, Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of
Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.

1982 Entrepreneurs and Bureaucrats: The Rise of an
Urban Middle Class. In The Dilemma of Ama-
zonian Development E. Moran, ed. Boulder, CO:
Westview Press.

Miller, L.
1982 Schools, Community, and Change: The Role of
Educators in the Development ofMuitaspedras,
Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Anthropology, Univer-
sity of Florida, Gainesville.

1983 Female Educators, Development, and Human
Capital: A Brazilian Case. Women in International
Development Working Paper #35, Michigan State
University.

Ratinoff, L
1967 The New Urban Groups: The Middle Classes. In












36 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Elites in Latin America Seymour M.L. and A.
Solari, eds. New York: Oxford University.

Roberts, B.
1978 Cities ofPeasants: The Political Economy of
Urbanization in the Third World Beverly Hills:
Sage Publications.

Smith, T. L.
1974 Brazilian Society. Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press.

SUDAM (Superintendencia para o Desenvolvimento da
Amaz6nia)
1976 I Piano de Desenvolvimento daAmaz6nia:
Detalhamento do IIPlano Nacional de Desen-
volvimento (1975-1979). Bel6m: SUDAM.

Teixeira, A.
1977 Educagdo ndo e PriviMgio. Fourth Edition. Slo
Paulo: Companhia Editoria Nacional. (first pub-
lished in 1953)

United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America
1968 Education, Human Resources, and Development
in Latin America. New York: United Nations.

Wagley, C.
1968 The Latin American Tradition. New York:
Columbia University Press.

1971 An Introduction ofBrazil Revised Edition. New
York: Columbia University Press.

Wolf, E. R., and E. Hansen
1972 The Human Condition in Latin America. New
York: Oxford University Press.








Special Publication, No.6, 1990


Tapirape newborn, Central Brazil, 1939. UFArchives














0 CONCERTO DO INDO NO BRASIL


MER o GOMES
University of S&o Paulo, Campinas, Brazil


O que 6 indio? A qualquer estudante de Antropolo-
gia que se faca esta pergunta, a resposta surge de imedi-
ato, sem titubeios, emuma, duas ou tresvers6es padroni-
zadas. Nessasvers6es podemvir induidos ou no critarios
de raca, evolugo biol6gica, migragio hist6rica, cultural,
comportamento, nivel econ6mico, ou, simplesmente, o
sentiment de auto-identificacgo e de reconhecimento
diferenciado por outras categories socials. Definir o
indio, portanto, nro 6 dificil, nem constituium problema
para a Antropologia. Parece que essa definiio ou recon-
hecimento tamb6m nio 6 dificil para o todo da popu-
laio brasileira.
Por6m ao fazermos a pergunta sobre o que n6s
antrop6logos pensamos e o que em geral se pensa do
indio, veremos que a questdo se toma mais rica e com-
plexa, carregada de sentiments ambiguos, de atavismos
e preconceitos que refletem toda a hist6ria da formag~o
da nacgo brasileira, e que corre paralela ao desen-
volvimento do concerto que a civilizaio occidental faz
do indio.
Seria ate facil distinguir entire o pensamento antro-
pol6gico (cientifico) e o pensamento popular sobre o
indio. Frequentemente isso 6 feito de tal modo que o
pensamento popular sempre aparece como irrational e
utilitarista, enquanto o pensamento antropol6gico surge
como rational e humanitario, se nio igualitarista. O
present artigo pretend mostrar que essa distinoio nio
6 de todo correta, e que na hist6ria da civilizagio ociden-
tal, muitas vezes o pensamento cientifico foi o mais
emotivo e preconceituoso e que ainda hoje carrega
ambiguidades e falta de careza, sinal de que permanece
em construgo. Veremos tambem que esse pensamento
nio esti tio distant do pensamento popular, como
desejariam os antrop6logos, e que ambos se formaram
em virtude das relac6es hist6ricas entire indios e brancos,
e que se modificam na media em que essas relac6es se
transformam ao long do tempo. Veremos, por fim, que
os indios atualmente demandam uma reformulagio das
suas relacges com a sociedade national e que isso
implica uma nova conceitualizagio sobre a sua ex-
istencia e sobre o seu papel na vida social e political do
pals. E ai tanto o pensamento antropol6gico quanto o
popular vio ter que se adaptar a essa nova realidade.
Terio, sobretudo, que repensar a distingo entire primi-
tivo e civlizado, para dal se posicionarem mais corret-
amente face ao indio como ser hist6rico e como povos
permanentes no mundo modern.


0 Discurso Invertido

Comegariamos perguntando: 0 que o indio pensa
de n6s e do nosso mundo? Escrever sobre isso corn muita
convicio seria uma ousadia, ji que, a rigor, esta 6 uma
tarefa para os pr6prios indios. O que sabemos realmente
sobre o que o indio pensa do nosso mundo constitui um
conjunto heterogineo de afirmag6es, pequenas hist6rias,
anedotas e interpretagoes secundirias de depoimentos
indigenas, coletados por pessoas cor os mais diversos
interesses e prop6sitos; antrop6logos, viajantes, indi-
genistas, missionarios, pessoas do campo e da cidade,
curiosos e mentirosos.
Vejamos o interessante relato do fil6sofo renascen-
tista francs, Michel de Montaigne, que diz que certa vez,
por volta de 1565, teve a oportunidade de perguntar a
alguns indios Tupinambi, que estavam morando na
Franga, e ate haviam se casado corn mulheres francesas,
o que elas achavam desse mundo europeu, tio diferente
do seu. Teriam respondido tres coisas, uma das quais
Montaigne esquecera. Das outras duas, uma era que
haviam observado muita desigualdade entire os franc-
eses, uns muito ricos e poderosos, e a outra parte pobre
e carente, e se surpreendiam que esses pobres nio se
rebelassem contra os ricos. A outra C que achavam
absurdo que uma mera crianca (o infante Charles) fosse
o rei dos franceses, quando havia tantos homes fortes e
bern dispostos que pareciam poder exercer melhor essa
funo.'
Conquanto este pareca ser um caso de elaboraglo
literiria, como, de rest, o e a maioria das anedotas sobre
os indios, ele 6 perfeitamente verossimel. Antrop6logos
e indigenistas que mantem relag6es amigiveis e pr6xi-
mas corn indios, e ja os acompanharam em suas an-
dancas pelas cidades brasileiras, relatam observances
semelhantes. Os temas da desigualdade e da hierarquia
parecem ser bastante comuns nessas observagCes e nos
questionamentos subsequentes. A visio sociol6gica
indigena demonstra ser concrete e empirica, como a de
um observador estrangeiro que ainda desconhece a
hist6ria, a estrutura e os simbolos da sociedade obser-
vada. Como um aprendiz de antrop6logo.
Nio sio muitos, mas ha relates, desde o s6culo XVI,
em que a voz do indio se faz present, se nio ao p da
letra, pelo menos da forma mais aproximada que a
literature da 6poca permitia, embora, quase sempre, sem
o acolhimento tolerante de um Montaigne. Jean de Lery,









40 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


que esteve cor os Tupinamba do Rio de Janeiro por
volta de 1560, transcreve um dialogo que teve cor um
indio, na pr6pria lingua tupinambi. Em 1614, ji no
Maranhio, o Padre Yves d'Evreux faz o mesmo, interpas-
sando frases dos tupinambi cor a traduglo em frances,
embora, nesse caso, as frases nativas sejam reconstruidas
um tanto falhas. Por sua vez, os jesuitas inauguraram os
estudos de conhecimento das linguas indigenas a partir
da gramAtica que Jos6 de Anchieta elaborou sobre a
mesma lingua tupinambi, que, de tio ubiqua no Brasil,
transformou-senuma linguafranca, meiodecomunicaio
generalizado no pais e base da catequese para quase
todos os povos indigenas que eram congregados em
misses religiosas. 2
Por6m, nro foi permanent o interesse cultural dos
europeus sobre os indios, uma vez passados os pri-
meiros anos de espanto e curiosidade. Assim 6 que,
excetuando os Tupinambi, foram poucos os outros
povos indigenas que receberam descricges detalhadas
de suas cultures e de suas linguas. Parece que, es-
tabelecido o dominion politico e criadas as bases econ6mi-
cas da colonizago, os cronistas portugueses e osjesuitas
deixaram de lado a sua curiosidade initial e passaram a
cuidar dos seus neg6cios mais importantes. E surpreen-
dente tamb6m que tampouco os holandeses demon-
straram interesse cultural pelos indios, sendo que os
relates que deixaram, expressam quase que exclusiva-
mente a busca de aliangas political, com poucas infor-
macqes etnogrificas de algum significado. Os
estere6tipos construidos no s6culo XVI passam a domi-
nar a literature sobre indios, com poucas modificag6es,
pelo menos ate o s6culo XIX Como raras excecges,
temos um relato sobre os indios do m6dio rio Sao
Francisco feito pelo padre capuchinho frances Martinho
de Nantes, e uma gramitica da lingua dos indios Kariri
feita por Mamiani, ambos em fins do s&culo XVII.
Durante as guerras entire luso-brasileiros e holande-
ses pelo control do Nordeste agucareiro, os indios
Tupinambi-Potiguar se dividiram e se confrontaram
entire si, uma parte se aliando aos holandeses, a outra aos
portugueses. De um lado estava o indio Pedro Poti, que
havia sido levado para viver alguns anos na Holanda,
onde fora educado; do outro, o nosso conhecido Felipe
Camarno. Entre eles foi trocada uma correspondencia
escrita das mais interessantes, na qual cada parte acusa a
outra de deslealdade political e infidelidade religiosa,
sem que nenhum fosse convencido pelo argument do
adversirio. Esse testemunho literirio, trigico em suas
consequencias, mostra a voz do indio em dissondcia
intema, tragada pelas contradigoes hist6ricas que o
envolveram. 5
Na literature sobre os indios, h! observag6es e inter-
pretag6es de pensamentos e attitudes supostamente
indigenas que confundem mais do que esclarecem. Fala-
se, repete-se e ate se ensina nas faculdades que os
Astecas e Incas foram batidos e conquistados pelos
espanh6is, numericamente muitissimo inferiores, espe-
cialmente pelo pavor paralisante e desorientador que
sentiram do cavalo, ou melhor, do conjunto homem-
cavalo, animal este que ate entao desconheciam, e que


os espanh6is usaramembatalhascampais coma destreza
que Ihes era caracteristica. Na verdade, como bons ob-
servadores que sio os indios, e os Astecas e Incas nao
fugiam a essa regra, esse estranho centauro deve ter sido
logo compreendido corretamente, isto 6, como um
home sobre um cavalo, e que ambos eram mortais,
embora nem por isso deixasse de causar, pela sua forgade
ataque, tamanho assombro e temor aos indios.6 Mas a
anedota, sugerida nos relates dos primeiros conquista-
dores, permaneceu, e muitos gostam de repeti-la como
exemplo do curioso, do ex6tico, e mesmo do pensa-
mento inferior dos indios.
Outro exemplo semelhante 6 o de que os indios da
ilha de Hespanhola, atualmente Slo Domingos, tiveram
tanta duvida a respeito da humanidade dos espanh6is
que, certavez, chegaram a mataralguns deles, afogando-
os na agua, e mantendo os seus caciveres submersos
para testar se.eram imunes a putrefacio. Tal hist6ria, ou
melhor, a interpretagio subsequent de que isso era sinal
do quanto os indios se desvaneceram cor a maravilha
que viram pela frente, acreditando-os series excepcion-
ais, 6 recontada por um antrop6logo de grande de-
scortinio intellectual e humanista, o frances Claude Levi-
Strauss. 7 Na mesma linha, outro antrop6logo analisou
apressadamente o fato de os Tupinambi chamarem os
franceses de "mar", quequerdizer"demiurgo", ou "encan-
tado", como se eles os considerassem como tal, isto 6,
como semi-deuses. Ora, por que entio chamaram os
portugueses de 'erd", cujo significado parece perdido e
que talvez nio fosse mais do que a deturpagio da palavra
"pedro", como supbem alguns historiadores brasileiros.
iSeri que a p6lvora, as naus e o ago dos portugueses nio
encantavam tanto quanto os dos franceses?8
Se os indios se deslumbraram tanto cor os brancos,
a ponto de nro compreenderem as novidades que repre-
sentavam, nio era por acaso, no entender do mundo
civilizado. Eles tampouco tinham clareza sobre a reali-
dade concrete do mundo. J! na d&cada de 1550, o padre
Jos6 de Anchieta conta que certa vez uma india Tupi-
nambi acusou outro padre jesuita de ter tido relacges
sexuais corn ela. Sabedor e confiante na castidade do seu
companheiro, Anchieta interroga essa mulher mais de
perto e logo descobre que isso se deu s6 em sonho. Dai
tira a conclusio de que os indios Tupinamba nio distin-
guem entire sonho e realidade. S&culos depois uma
variagio dessa hist6ria 6 recolhida pelo antrop6logo
frances Lucien LIvy-Bruhl como tendo-se passado cor
um ingl&s, entire os indios da regiio do Chaco. Um indio
acusa um surpreso Mr. G rubb de ter-lhe furtado legumes
de sua roca. O ingles retorque que nessa ocasiio estava
a 150 milhas do local do furto. Ai entio se descobre que
o indio havia sonhado corn esse incident, mas contin-
uava a afirmi-lo como se fosse um fato real. Esses
exemplos sao usados acriticamente pelo mesmo an-
trop6logo e por outros pensadores modernos como
mostras do pensamento indigena, supostamente inca-
paz de se situar no campo da objetividade. 9
Certamente que essas interpretac6es nio nos aju-
dam a saber o que os indios pensam de n6s. No fundo,
representam mais o que muitos civilizados pensam deles.









Special Publication, No.6,1990 41


Quem os conhece de perto, no entanto, sabe que eles
nio nos consideram deuses e sao perfeitamente capazes
de entender o process de combustio da p6lvora, a
fabricaio do ago e outras coisas mais, mesmo sem ver e
compreender a teoria por tris e o seu desenvolvimento.
Afinal, poucos entire n6s compreendem a teoria do
Atomo e a energia nuclear, mas entendem o que ela 6, de
alguma forma. Alguns ate ji a sentiram na pele.
Diminuir, desmerecer e mistificar o pensamento
indigena foi, durante muito tempo, quase uma necessi-
dade do mundo ocidental, e ainda hoje esse vicio nos
persegue. Nem sempre por mi vontade, quase sempre
por ainda nro sabermos como nos posicionar condig-
namente em relagio a esses povos.
De qualquer forma, 6 provivel que os indios ad-
mirem a civilizaCio occidental pelos seus feitos, sua pro-
dugo material, sua potencia e capacidade de expansion.
E inteiramente improvivel que admirem as desigual-
dades sodais, a pobreza e a mis&ria de muitos, a viol&ncia
explosive, o disciplinamento excessive das criangas, a
falta de generosidade, o egoismo desenfreado, o desre-
speito a natureza. Sabem, perfeitamente, que slo os
parceiros menores nesse inopinado enlace de civili-
zacges, e que vivem perigosamente. Haverdo de nos
explicar melhor sobre tudo isso algum dia.

A Humanidade dos Indios

Ao long da hist6ria occidental das Americas, os
indios percorreram uma gama de interpretaCges e estig-
mas, muitos dos quais ainda permanecem calados no
fundo de nossa mente hierarquizante e preconceituosa.
Essas vis6es foram elaboradas no pensamento ideol6gico
e nas relacges sociais construidas em fungo do papel
desempenhado pelos indios na formagio de cada uma
das nag6es americanas, e para as suas matrizes political,
seja como mio-de-obra escrava, liberta, servil, encom-
endada ou assalariada, seja como aliados em guerra,
como inimigos ferozes, empecilhos a expansao, atravan-
cadores do progress, etc.
O sentiment do novo, do desconhecido, que os
indios provocaram de imediato nos europeus, desde a
primeira viagem de Vespicio pela costa brasileira, e em
particular, nos portugueses, levou-os a trabalhar a sua
imaginago e a sua razio para tentar former uma id6ia
clara a seu respeito. Sio os descendentes de um dos
filhos de No6 iForam visitados por um dos ap6stolos?
Considerando os seus hibitos cru6is, como o do canibal-
ismo, a sua indiferenga para com os simbolos materials
do poder europeu, como o ouro, a sua intemperanga, e,
sobretudo, o seu irrefreivel desejo de viver em liber-
dade, pelos matos afora, perguntaram-se, sao series
humans realmente iPossuem racionalidade?
E claro que esta iltima pergunta era um tanto ret6rica,
ja vinha viciada, pois servia diretamente ao prop6sito de
reduzir o indio a condigio de animalidade com o fito de
justificar mais facilmente a escravidio que se pretendia
praticar sobre eles. Poucas vezes na hist6ria da huma-
nidade algum poder constituido chegou a questioner se
algum povo era ou nio human, embora como attitude


psicol6gica isso seja bastante comum entire povos en-
galfinhados em rivalidade. Mas, entire portugueses e
espanh6is, entire seus juristas e religiosos, e, certamente
tamb6m entire o povo criou-se uma celeuma sobre essa
question, de tal ordem que precisou a manifesta4ao da
Igreja, instincia mixima dejulgamento do mundo ociden-
talat entio.Atravs da Bula Veritae psaexpedida em9de
junho de 1537 pelo Papa Paulo I, os indios foram
colocados no piano da humanidade, junto aos demais
homes, e ficou proibida a sua escravidao sob pena de
excomunhio. Isso foi precise para tentar frear o nivel de
crueldade que era exercido nas col6nias espanholas
contra os indios, fato denunciado com veemancia pelo
frade dominicano Bartolom6 de las Casas. Quanto ao
Brasil, conv6m frisar, essa Bula s6 foi dada a conheci-
mento um s6culo depois, quando foi expedida a Bula
ComitsumNobispeloPapaUrbanoVinIem22deabrilde 639,
que vinha reafirmar os terms da anterior e ameacar pela
mesma pena os escravizadores de indios.
Por outro lado, nas interrelagoes concretas, no nivel
individual, a humanidade fisica dos indios foi reconhe-
cida desde o principio. Sabiam-no habilidoso, sagaz,
inteligente, mas punha-se em dfivida a sua espirituali-
dade especialmente, por se mostrarem tio infensos a
abragar o cristianismo para a sua salvagio, a adorar a
Deus e aos santos e a abandonar sua religiio, seus mitos
e seus costumes. Mais tarde, por6m, as teorias racists
iriam p6r em dtvida ate essa humanidade fisica. A busca
de sinais de desumanidade cultural e spiritual era tio
determinada que, ao notarem que a lingua tupi nio tinha
os sons f, 1, e r(spero), deduziram perversamente que
nio os tinha porque osindios nio possuiam nem f6, nem
lei, nem rei. Como algum povo poderia prescindir desses
atributos, e ser human? E repetiram essa primeira bril-
hante dedu~o linguistico-estruturalista praticamente ate
o seculo XX.
Antesdevirarem os "nobresselvagens" pelas analises
ambiguas e claudicantes dos fil6sofos iluministas, os
indios permaneceram por um long period de tempo
naquele limiar perigoso entire a natureza e a cultural, entire
a animalidade e a humanidade A doutrina de que a
natureza 6 boa e a civilizagio 6 mi, o paradigma
rousseauniano, por assim dizer, final de contas, se
desenvolveu paralelamente ao seu inverse hobbesiano,
digamos, de que a natureza 6 rude e cruel, e a civilizacio
necessIria. 10 Na prtica, 6 mais provivel que a version
hobbesiana tenha tido mais vigencia e aceitabilidade do
que a visio rousseauniana. Certamente o foi na mentali-
dade mais moralista, da qual, aliis, nao escapavam esses
fil6sofos.. mais ficil achar os indios, com o seu modo de
viversimplese despojado, series "brutos, crueis, e devida
curta", para usar a frase de Hobbes, do que representan-
tes de uma era pristine de felicidade paradisiaca. E mais
ficil, em todo caso, usar dessa imagem grosseira para ir
justificando os fatos hist6ricos que levaram i destruirio
muitos povos indigenas, do que argumentar a outra
version para tentar esbarrar esse process.
O mito do Nobre Selvagem foi resultado mais de
uma frase de efeito do que de um inten~io filos6fica. Os
iluministas que trabalharam a id6ia do progress hu-









42 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


mano a partir do desabrochar dos germes da potenciali-
dade humana, encontrada na natureza, nao viam, emsua
maioria, corn bons olhos, o estado de ser dos indios
americanos. Em grande parte eram considerados estados
degenerados de um ideal anterior que nio conseguira
progredir em virtude do clima ou de events catas-
tr6ficos. Buffon,nasuaHstdtiaNaturaldoaPoYts,interpretaa
sociedade selvagem como "urn ajuntamento tumultuoso
de homes birbaros e independents que s6 obedecem
a suas paix6es particulares". Era necessirio haver algum
regramento desse estado de existancia para que hou-
vesse vida social e a razio florescesse junto cor a
felicidade. Mesmo para Rousseau a vida regrada i
imprescindivel para o home ser feliz, junto com a
propriedade privada e ate um certo nivel de desigual-
dade. Sua visao a de que o selvagem 6 o primitive
estigio da humanidade, e a quase natureza, onde os
homes so guiados excusivamente pelos instintos, nao
distinguem a beleza da feiura, nio tam curiosidade, nem
reconhecem o pr6prio filho. Essa visao nio e nada
lisongeira. Por6m, ao contrario dos partidArios da degen-
erescancia, Rousseau acha que nio hi nenhum povo
vivo nesse estagio, e sim num mais superior, entiree a
indolEncia do estado primitive e a petulante atividade do
nosso amor pr6prio". Este seria o estado ideal do home,
no seu entender, e 6 nele que se situariam os atuais povos
selvagens, os nobres selvagens. 12
E certo que, cor esse respaldo filos6fico, deu-se
uma guinada no pensamento occidental sobre os povos
indigenas, provocando uma forte influ.ncia em filosofias
political utopistas ou revolucionarias, e sobrepujando,
no desenvolvimento cientifico, o paradigm hobbesiano
e a teoria da degeneresc&ncia. Por6m a influencia dessa
iltima 6 mais forte e determinante nas esferas politico-
administrativas das metr6poles colonialists e nas elites
das suas col6nias. Como um dos principals motives da
degenerescdncia indigena era de ordem geogrifica, e
atingia today a America, sobretudo os tr6picos 6midos,
ficava dificil fugir a id&ia de que isso tamb6m, eventu-
almente, abrangeria os brancos que vivessem muito
tempo nessas regi6es. Por isso se preferiu atribuir a
biologia a culpa pela degenerescencia. At6 meados do
s&culo XIX, historiadores como Adolpho de Varhnagen
e politicos como o Senador Dantas de Barros Leite, viam
nos pobres remanescentes indigenas, sem terras e sem
possibilidades de viver com autonomia, sinais desse
estado natural irreversivel, e nio resultados de um
fenomeno social. "1
Na verdade, a elaboracgo intellectual sobre o indio
nao foi abundante no Brasil colonial. Os jesuitas nao se
interessaram em desenvolver nenhuma argumentacio
mais aprofundada a esse respeito, nada mais alem do que
a discussio sobre a capacidade ou nio do indio de se
converter a f6 cristi, tanto porque a sua base intellectual
era a escolistica, quanto porque o seu interesse era
puramente utilitarista e religioso. Nesse mister logo
descobriram que a conversAo nio viria simplesmente
pela palavra, mas s6 depois da subjugacio fisica e cul-
tural. S6 pelo jugo da espada e da vara de ferro, no dizer
do PadreJos6 deAnchieta, e que a catequese poderia ser


efetuada. Com isso abandonou-se inclusive aquela curi-
osidade pelas formas culturais especificas dos indios,
que tiveram os jesuitas nos primeiros tempos de cate-
quese. Praticamente 6 Fernio Cardim, nos fins do seculo
XVI, o iltimo jesuita a fazer uma descriglo etnogrifica, e
mesmo esta 6 sobre os Tupinamba, j! amplamente con-
hecidos. Simlo de Vasconcellos, o cronista jesuita que
escreve em meados do s&culo XVII, j! nio acrescenta
informag6es etnogrificas. Antonio Vieira, o grande de-
fensor dos indios e da obra catequ&tica da sua ordem,
contra a sanha dos colonos, em nenhum moment
demonstra o menor interesse cultural e intellectual pelos
povos que defended, a quem faz descer os rios ou a quem
pacifica. 14
Os jesuitas logo descobriram que o melhor veiculo
da catequese seriam as criancas indigenas, ap6s a domi-
nagio political dos seus pais. E investiram todo o seu
esforo em alfabetizi-las, ensinar-lhes canc6es sacras,
peas teatrais, artes e oficios em madeira, alvenaria e
marcenaria, e aprimori-las em aritm6tica e latim. Obvia-
mente os indios aprenderam, nio deixando d6vidas
sobre a sua capacidade intellectual. Se no inicio era irdua
a tarefa, ela foi ficando cada vez mais ficil na media em
que a vida cultural indigena, agora duramente combat-
ida, perdia rapidamente a sua razio sociol6gica de ser. A
sobrevivencia dos indios catequisados se dava como
resultado de sua transfiguragio cultural, viravam indios
de missio, e nem sobre eles os jesuitas se interessaram
em refletir filosoficamente.
Porem, nem todos os indios estavam em misses,
nem agrilhoados nas fazendas e nas vilas portuguesas.
Fazia-se necessario compreender os impasses observa-
dos na vida indigena aut6ctone. De um lado, tanta
generosidade, tanto espirito coletivo, tanta alegria de
viver; de outro, tanta licensiosidade sexual, tio arraigado
sentiment de liberdade, o canibalismo. Era precise
algu6m que estivesse numa posiiao mais instivel, menos
sedimentada, entire a posicio de poder colonialista e o
espirito de curiosidade, para apreciar esses impasses e
tentar resolve-los pelo pensamento. Algu6m como Yves
d'Evreux, padre capuchinho, frances, integrante da mission
religiosa que fora ajudar a estabelecer a col6nia que os
franceses pretendiam instalar no Maranhio, no inicio do
seculo XVII. Nos dois anos que l1 esteve (1614-1616)
d'Evreux conversou com dezenas de indios atrav6s dos
turgimons, os interpretes franceses que moravam corn os
pr6prios indios e conheciam bem a sua hist6ria e sua
cultural. A partir dessa experiencia, elaborou o seguinte
argumento:a natureza 6 boa, os Tupinambi sao naturals,
de poucas regras, portanto tamb6m slo bons intrinse-
camente. Mas se tornaram maus, agem corn imperfeii;o
porque o Santanis esta no meio deles, os inspira e os
deturpa. E precise extirpi-lo de sua convivencia, eis a
funnco da catequese. 5
Essa deducgo de 16gica impecdvel, especialmente
quando se acredita no Satanis, produzida em 1616, e
uma precursora da representagio clissica do mito do
Nobre Selvagem. t ainda mais apelativa do que a expla-
naclo original de Rousseau porque esta 6 posta num
piano evolutivo, pretensamente cientifico, enquanto









Special Publication, No.6,1990 43


d'Evreux coloca a sua num piano atemporal, portanto
mitol6gico. Quantos de n6s ainda nio pensamos assim,
que o indio 6 puro, livre, sem maldade natural mas que,
ao contato cor a civilizacao (o Satanis), se deturpa e se
degenera?
0 mito do Nobre Selvagem, nascido das divagac6es
sobre a natureza, a cultural, o progress e a degener-
escancia dos povos indigenas embora, no nivel politico,
a sua intenco fosse o fmu da realeza francesa insere em
si uma vislo generosa e idealista sobre os indios, e
implica um posicionamento mais humanitirio sobre a
questio indigena. Porem a sua perman&ncia no cenario
intellectual emotional dos tempos atuais se deve a outros
fatores ate menos positives. O mito p6e o indio numa
posigo na escala evolucioniria e ao faze-lo apresentao
principal motivo da sua propalada morte e exterminio,
considerando-o como uma fase, um estAgio passado do
desenvolvimento human, portador de uma cultural
inviivel aos tempos modemos. O mito explica a bon-
dade e a crueldade dos indios, a sua liberdade, a sua in-
genuidade e a sua sagacidade, a preguica e a resistincia
fisica, enfim, a sua vida e a sua morte. Do ponto de vista
cientifico, o mito toma a feigio evolucionista nos escritos
de Darwin e Spencer, Marx e Morgan, Childe e Stewart,
ou a feicao aculturativa, aparentemente mais piedosa e
empirica, ao gosto modern. Constitui, junto cor outros
penamentosesentimentosmenosrigorosos,opamdngmada
acuauradam Nenhuma dessasvariaesacredita na sobre-
vivencia dos indios, no miximo a sua assimilago fisica
e a perman.ncia difusa de alguns deseus tragos culturais
na dinnmica social (brasileira). A Igreja ate conceitu-
almente se preparou para dar a sua extrema-ungo ao
considerar a causa indigena uma causa perdida, compar-
ando o sofrimento do indio a paixio do Cristo (que
sendo Deus ressuscita, mas nio o indio).
Foi e est! sendo uma verdadeira surpresa para todos
descobrir que muitos povos indigenas estio recuper-
ando suas populac6es, e que, portanto, o indio se torna
vilvel hist6ricamente. Nem todos se dio conta desse
fenomeno, mas s6 das suas repercuss6es, como as
mudancas de comportamento politico do indio perante
a naago, particularmente perante a FUNAI. A sociedade
civil observa essas mudancas, is vezes apoia, no mais das
vezes se espanta, e, sem querer, se retrai na sua solidar-
iedade. O indio nio Ihe parece mais o Nobre Selvagem,
e nio se sabe mais como interpreti-lo. O mito se esvazia
e more na media em que o indio vive. Se nio for
substituido por um novo mito, baseado em novas expli-
cacges dessa realidade cambiante, ele terminart ressus-
citando por outra forma.

A Integracio do Indio na NaVio Brasileira

Em 1820, a presenga indigena no pais era ainda tio
macica, compreendendo entire 500.000 e 800.000, pelos
cAlculos de virias autoridades do Imp&rio(cerca de 15 a
20 porcento da populacio global) que, a contragosto, os
ide6logos da insurgente nacio imperial nao consegui-
ram evitar de considerar os indios como parte da nagao.
A ameaca indigena ao projeto colonial ji se esvaziara,


aparentemente, por quase todo o territ6rio, excetuando
as regi6es mais isoladas, como a Amaz6nia e alguns
bols6es de resistnncia na Bahia, em Minas Gerais e nos
estados sulinos. S6 mais tarde 6 que essas areas iriam
preocupar, massem grandes perigos. O que preocupava
realmente era a possibilidade de indios se aliarem cor
negros libertos e fugidos, como veio a acontecer na
Balaida (1838-1841) e, corn maior intensidade,na Ca-
banagem (1835-1841)Essas rebeli6es tiveram motives e
inspiragoesgenuinamentepopularesquearregimentaram
espontaneamente um enorme contingent de negros e
indios que viviam ou como escravos e artesios ou como
remanescentes das antigas aldeias jesuitas transforma-
das em povoados e vilas mesticas, mas essencialmente
regidas por um sistema econ6mico coletivista. A Ca-
banagem aliciou muitas aldeias indigenas aut6nomas,
que mal falavam algum portugues, mas que viviam sob
o jugo occasional de recrutamento de trabalho e apro-
priagio de seus bens extrativos. Os Mura, os Mawe, os
Satere, junto cor os genericamente chamados Tapuios,
formaram boa parte das forgas rebeldes que chegaram a
tomar Belem, mas que, traidas pelos interesses dassistas
dos lideres, recuaram, foram combatidas e perseguidas
sem clemencia por todo o Baixo Amazonas. O resultado
6 que esta regiao, antes a mais densamente indigena do
pals e tio desert de indios atualmente quanto as caatin-
gas do Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Ceari e Piaui, palco
da guerra dos Barbaros (1654-1714). "7
O susto dessas rebeli6es provocou as maiores vocif-
eracges anti-indigenas do inicio do Imp6rio. A Balaiada,
por exemplo, levou o future grande historiador mara-
nhense, Jolo Francisco Lisboa, a renegar os seus com-
promissos cor o brago politico da rebeliio, seu pr6prio
partido, e, posteriormente, desenvolver uma intense
pesquisa hist6rica para provar o carter inconflivel,
traigoeiro, desonesto, destruitivo, preguicoso, covarde,
inferior intelectualmente, inconciliivel cor a civilizagio,
e degenerado, do indio brasileiro. Sua base de argumen-
tagio e a hist6ria do Brasil e a realidade que conhece das
antigas e decadentes comunidades indigenas do Mara-
nhio, e alude a teoria da degenerescencia. Lisboa vai
aproveitar dessa pesquisa para ironizar os arroubos
rominticos e po6ticos do seu conterrineo Antonio
Gongalves Dias, rotulando-os de "falso patriotism cab-
odo". Curiosamente, o poeta, que, por esse tempo
(decada de 1850), fazia sucesso na Corte, corn o jovem
Imperador, e nas pragas de Slo Luis, consider os atuais
indios formas decadentes de seus esplendores passados,
mas culpa a civilizagio e seus agents por esse estado de
coisas. 1a
Se num primeiro instant Lisboa e virulentamente
anti-indigena, vai mudar depois, ao fazer sua primeira
viagem ao Rio e em seguida ir para Portugal, seja em
fungio de novos conhecimentos adquiridos, seja pelo
alargamento de sua visio cultural, o certo 6 que ele passa
a polemizar corn Varhagen, o historiador-mor do
Imp&rio, precisamente sobre o carter do indio, sua
origem e sua posicio no cenirio national. Em diversos
escritos, inclusive na sua obra prima sobre a hist6ria do
Brasil, e especialmente no seu "Memorial Orginico",









44 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Vamhagen usa de arguments morais, hist6rico, biol6gi-
cos e filos6ficos para descartar o indio como parte
fundamental da naclo brasileira, dedarando ate que eles
sao invasores do territ6rio brasileiro, e sugerindo, se nio
a extincgo por forga das armas, como parecia ser a
political indigenista norte-americana da 6poca, uma
educago forgada e rigida dos indios, por um period de
15 anos, ap6s o que esperar-se-ia que eles se tornassem
cidadios bem comportados e produtivos.19 Lisboa con-
testa Varnhagen pela hist6ria, mostrando o carter vi-
olento da colonizacio portuguesa e atribuindo a reacio
indigena a necessidade de sobrevivencia. Ja a proposta
do uso de forga ofendeu o pensamento liberal que se
formava no pais, e levou Manoel Antonio de Almeida, o
fiutuoaulordolivroma diardeumSCgeodei apubliar
um artigo intitulado "Civilizacio dos Indigenas", conde-
nando as anilises e as propostas de Varnhagen, como
desumanas, nocivas ao pais eutlrapassadas. SeVarnhagen
se vale de De Maistre e Vatel para justificar o uso da forca
e ainferioridade biol6gica dos indios, ManoelAntonio de
Almeida era leitor de Humboldt, e p6e como epigrafe de
seu artigo um parigrafo de avanpada conceituaglo an-
tropol6gica, retirada do livro Cosmos, o qual merece ser
reproduzido aqui como mostra da qualidade da dis-
cussio naquela 6poca:

"Ao manter a unidade da esp&cie humana, rejeita-
mos, por consequencia necessAria, a distinglo desoladora
entire ragas superiores e raqas inferiores. Sem dtvida hi
famiias mais suscetiveis a cultural, mais civilizadas, mais
esclarecidas; mas elas nao sao mais nobres que as outras.
Todas sao igualmente feitas para a liberdade. .. 1O

Os tempos sao de definicgo, porque tocam em
interesses econ6micos que dominam a political da 6poca.
Nio 6 por outra razio que, frequentemente, Varnhagen
utiliza-sedeargumentosveiculados porpoliticos podero-
sos, como o Senador Vergueiro e o Senador Dantas para
caracterizar melhor seus arguments anti-indigenas,
mostrando o horror que esses povos causavam a elite
dominant brasileira, e o desaflo que aparentemente
forcavam a hegemonia political e econ8mica em suas
regi6es de influencia. O pr6prio Varnhagen relata que a
origem de sua m! vontade para cor os indios vem de
uma experiencia pessoal, emsua regilo natal, Sorocaba,
no interior de Sgo Paulo, onde ainda havia indios aut6no-
mos que vez por outra atacavam viajantes que incur-
sionavam por seus territ6rios.
Por outro lado, tal radicalismo anti-indigena ja era
sinal da existancia de posic6es contrrias, do surgimento
de uma consci6ncia critical mais ampliada sobre a question
indigena. Gongalves Dias simbolizava o movimento lit-
eririo indigenista que vai culminar nas obras deJose de
Alencar. A diminuta classes m6dia 1e esses romances e os
artigosquesaememrevistas ejornais, como Guanabaraea
prpriaRevstadoh st oHisticoeG'ect oBmsin o,eat6
incentive a fundago de sociedades contra o trifico de
escravos africanos e a favor da colonizag~o e da civili-
zagco dos indios. Uma tal sociedade foi criada em 1850
porum Dr. Nicolau Franca Leite, e parece ter tido alguma
duracQo, pois 6 citada no livro de Perdigdo Malheiros,


escrito em 1866.
A visao romrntica indianista foi iniciada pela publi-
caaiodolivroA Confederan2dods Tamoios, deGongalvesde
Magalhies, aparentemente por encomenda do jovem
Imperador. De qualidade literaria duvidosa e corn emba-
samento hist6rico fantasioso, mesmo assim esse livro
catalizaria um sentiment de interesse pelos indios e
uma polemica sobre a melhor forma de civilizi-lo, du-
rante toda a d&cada de 50, encontrando os seus pontos
de melhor qualidade literria nas poesias de Gonialves
Dias e de maior relevo ideol6gico nos romances deJose
de Alencar, a partir de O Guarani. Neste livro o indio 6
idealizado comoum representante americano equivalent
ao portugues medieval, em terms da honra, dignidade
e altivez, e a junco desses dois elements 6 que viria a
former a nacao brasileira. t um livro sobre o mito da
criaoo do Brasil, e, como no mito do Nobre Selvagem,
o destiny do indio 6 a sua extinglo, no moment mesmo
em que 6 criada uma nova instincia humana e cultural.
Sem sombra de dividas, a obra maxima do liberal-
ismo indigenista 6 o livro do deputado e jurista mineiro
PerdigaoMalheiro,A4EmmacAdonoBuasi,publicadoem 1866-
67, e que dedica a segunda parte a questio indigena.21
Alm do valor da pesquisa, o livro apresenta, sem apolo-
gias i escravidio, a crueldade e a desumanidade das
political indigenistas at6 entio praticadas. Mas, como
bom liberal, o autor guard esperancas de que a lei de
1845 colocaria nos trilhos certos uma political de cate-
quese e civilizago dos indios. Perdiggo Malheiro senate
que a Lei de Terras, de 1850, propicia a extincgo de
aldeamentos indigenas em virios estados, como Sio
Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ceari, Sergipe, etc. durante a
d6cada de 1860, por6m consider que a lei de 1845
defended os indios dos ataques oficiais e particulares,
probe a escravidao e o serving obrigat6rio, demarca as
terras e promove a educacgo, tudo isso sob a 6gide da
id6iadacristianizaio dosindios,passosinequanonparaa
sua civilizaco. Ele se posiciona contra a visio de
Varnhagen, e,"entre perseguir os indios, dar-lhes caca
como a animals ferozes, extermini-los ou afugenti-los
ou deixa-los livres para vagar pelos sert6es na sua vida
errante como nos primitives tempos" ele prefer esta
segunda opgio. A civilizagio nio deve ser imposta ao
indio, eis a sua conclusio liberal. Por6m nio alimenta
ilus6es sobre o future dos indios:" A proporgio que o
Estado crescer em populagio, em facilidade de comuni-
cag6es por terra e por igua, a proporgio que o territ6rio
se for cobrindo de mais povoados, e se forem descorti-
nando os sert6es, o facho da civilizacio abrird caminho,
espancando as trevas da selvageria, e ou eles se hio de
necessariamente acolher nos bragos do home civili-
zado e confundir-se assim na massa geral da populacgo,
ou serio forcados a ceder o campo nessa luta desigual,
em que a vit6ria, enquanto incerta na 6poca, 6 certa e
infalivel, por ser o decreto de Deus onipotente na ordem
providencial das Nac6es, manifestada pela Hist6ria do
Mundo". 2
Desde a segunda metade do Imp6rio, o indio re-
almente passa a ser oficialmente uma parte da nacao
brasileira. A sua condig~o juridica de "6rfao" o coloca









Special Publication, No.6,1990 45


como dependent e parcialmente incapaz, precisando
assim da proteglo especial do Estado. Por outro lado,
mantem-se tanto as vis6es rominticas e liberals que
colocam o indio como vetor de fundago da naco, como
noromanceOGuaranideJos6deAlencar,quantoasatitudes
depreciativas de que ele 6 um selvagem inconcililvel
cor a civilizagio.
A sua redencio s6 poderia vir pela catequese, j! que
era reconhecido como ineficaz, devido a incfria admin-
istrativa e aos interesses econ6micos e politicos, o tra-
balho dos administradores das aldeias indigenas tanto os
atuais quanto aqueles que substituiram os jesuitas, ap6s
1759. A Lei de 1845, que instituira as diretorias parciais
dos indios, fora precedida pelo Decreto no. 285, de 21 de
junho de 1843, que praticamente colocava nas mios dos
capuchinhos italianos toda a administrago dessas dire-
torias e das col6nias indigenas. Isso s6 nio se realizou
efetivamente porque nio havia capuchinhos suficientes
para cobrir a demand existente, e porque na maioria
dos casos esses frades nio se adaptaram is dificuldades
da vida missioniria nos sert6es mais ermos do pais.
Mas o indio n~o 6 mais esquecido. Comegam a se
manifestar intelectuais e cientistas que querem ver o
indio respeitado e aceito por todos, cor suas peculiari-
dades e cor a benevolencia dos outros cidadios do
Imp&rio. Esse sentiment estA contido, por exemplo, no
livro OSevagem, doGeneralCoutodeMagalhaes,escrito em
1870.S O autor havia sido president da provincia de
Goils, e, nessa fungio, como outros presidents da
ipoca, havia-se preocupado em dar condig6es objetivas
para que o indio pudesse "progredir" da sua realidade
social para se transformar em cidadao pleno. Nesse
espirito, Couto de Magalhies fundou um educandario
para indios, nas margens do rio Araguaia, a Escola Santa
Izabel, nos moldes de um outro experiment criado em
1832 para os indios de Minas Gerais, onde a educaio de
letras e os oficios seria dada aos indios a partir dos cinco
anos de idade ati os doze, em regime de intemato,
podendo aceitar indios adults como alunos e mesmo
pessoas civilizadas vizinhas ao col6gio. O coligio fun-
cionou enquanto o seu idealizador foi president da
provincia, ap6s o que entrou em decadencia e se acabou,
dando lugar hoje a cidade de Aruani, onde ainda vivem
algumas Karaja descendentes dos remanescentes daquele
tempo.
Note-se que a experiencia educational proposta em
1832, da qual nio temos informag6es posteriores, bem
como a de Couto de Magalhies e as de Guido Marlibre,
para os indios do Vale do Rio Doce, e dos irmios Ottoni,
queincluia indios do vale do Mucuri (bemcomo imigran-
tes alemies), sio todas experi6ncias baseadas na antiga
pedagogia jesuitica, que focaliza seu trabalho na crianca,
mas se reveste de uma attitude social de integrario
imediata do indio cor elements da sociedade en-
volvente." Nesses casos, como em muitas diretorias
parciais, a entrada de imigrantes e lavradores sem terra
resultou na descaracterizacio indigena e na sua transfor-
magio em caboclo ou indio gen6rico.
Outros intelectuais do Imp&rio dedicaram algum
esforgo aos indios, vendo-os, j! sob a 6tica evolucionista,


como primitives, resquicios de um passado que cer-
tamente nao sobreviveria ao desenvolvimento da nacgo.
Jolo Barbosa Rodrigues, talvez a quem podemos chamar
o primeiro antrop6logo brasileiro, conheceu e trabalhou
pessoalmente cor alguns povos indigenas, como os
Crishan, sobrequem escreveu oseu livroAPacifcagdodos
Crisharlds. Como director do Museu Nacional, organizou a
Exposiqo Brasileira de Antropologia para o que escre-
veu descrig6es de diversos povos indigenas do Pari e
Amazonas.JosiVerissimo, que escreveu nosseus Estudos
Amaaz6nicsobreosantigosaldeamentostapuiosedescobriu
o caboclo como descendente biol6gico e cultural do
indio, 6 outro exemplo digno de nota.26 Muitos deram
suas contribuic6es para a reflexio nacionalsobre o indio
traduzindo obras de estrangeiros e viajantes ao Brasil e
escrevendo artigos e cronologias hist6ricas dos seus
estados, que reconstituiam os povos indigenas nesses
territ6rios, algumas das quais iam sendo publicadas na
Revista do Instituto Hist6rico e Geogrnfico Brasileiro. 2
De forma geral, pode-se concluir que os intelectuais
do Imperio, que optaram por uma visio liberal ou
romintick dos indios, tinham uma attitude de simpatia e
comiseracio pela sua situago, por6m, excetuando as
idaias de um Couto de Magalhies e a political indigenista
em vigor, nio tinham nenhuma proposta a oferecerpara
solucionarosproblemasqueviam. Poroutro lado, aqueles
que consideravam os indios como empecilho ao desen-
volvimento national e como simbolo de algo que tinha
que ser destruido para a salvagio da naglo, j! nao
perdiam tempo em escrever sobre os indios. Ao virarem
assunto de liberals, exdusivamente, os indios passaram
a ser considerados caso perdido, de idealistas.

0 Indio Republicano E uma Crianca

Se o liberalism e o romantismo indianistas se al-
imentavam da mr conscidncia da elite imperial, o positiv-
ismo que surge em seguida, e estabelece a Republica,
procura encontrar solucges, porque se senate capaz para
isso, ou pelo menos faz um grande esforgo para acreditar
nisso. Como ideologia de classes m6dias basicamente
inseguras e dependents, o positivismo prop6e uma
visao bastante ortodoxa e inflexivel da humanidade e da
sua evolugio, conjugando uma id6ia de cidncia a uma
ideia de moral. Quer se libertar do jugo dos escravocra-
tas, dos imperials, dos dericais, enfin, das classes domi-
nantes. Para alcangar esse fim, compreende a sociedade
brasileira dentro de um rigido disciplinamento intelec-
tual-moral, onde os trabalhadores se tornam os bragos da
Repiblica, as mulheres a sua forga moral, e os patricios
a cabera da organizaoio. Entre os patricios estio eles, os
industrials, os intelectuais, os advogados, os m6dicos, os
militares. Dessa filosofia resultou uma ideologia religi-
osa, quase uma teologia, e foi criada a Igreja do Aposto-
lado Positivista, cuja influ6ncia 6 reconhecida por todos
os historiadores para o period que vai de 1880 a 1930,
embora sem se precisar o seu grau real. Era uma teologia
sem deuses, s6 cor grandes her6is humans. 2
O positivismo, baseado na filosofia de Auguste
Comte, 6, naturalmente, evolucionista. Os indios sio









46 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


vistos como exemplos do primeiro estagio da evolugio
humana, o animista, em que a visio do mundo 6 baseada
na crenca de que qualquer objeto natural pode ter uma
alma,um espirito, uma anima. Portanto, osseusmembros
nio seriam capazes do pensamento rational e objetivo,
pois nao conheciam o principio da causalidade. Mas,
poderiam evoluir e passar de um estagio a outro atrav6s
da educaco. Eis a esperanga dos positivistas em relagio
aos indios. A solugo estaria em dar-lhes condig~es para
que caminhassem para o entendimento da sua posigio e
da sua integracgo a nagio brasileira.
Na Constituinte de 1890, o Apostolado Positivista
apresentou as suas propostas para a nagio brasileira.
Nelas, vimos no capitulo anterior, cabia aos indios o
singular papel de se constituir em nag6es livres e sober-
anas e de se organizarem empiricamente (sic) em esta-
dos. O seu lugar na nagio brasileira advinha de seus
antecedentes hist6ricos, mas o seu future seria a sua
incorporagio fisica e cultural, o que viria a modelar uma
fisionomia especial do brasileiro.
Essas id6ias nio geraram fruto imediatamente. A
nivel administrative, a political indigenista continuava a
ser regida nos moldes do Regimento das Miss6es de
1845, isto 6, persistia o bin6mio civilizagio e catequese,
mas no imbito dos estados federados, nao mais pelo
governor central. A Igreja havia se separado do Estado,
mas a influencia religiosa era ainda de grande importincia,
e muitos estados continuavam a convidar ordens religio-
sas para criar misses entire os indios de suas jurisdig6es.
Por&m 6 Apostolado Positivista, atraves sobretudo de
Teixeira Mendes, continuava a manifestar sua visao inte-
grativa e racionalista do indio, em artigos e ensinamentos
na Escola Militar, e atraves da sua revista official no Rio de
Janeiro, e de uma sociedade afiliada, o Centro de Ciencias
Letras e Artes, de Campinas, Slo Paulo. Por esses meios,
conclamava o Estado a exercer a fungfo gestora da
political indigenista.
Em 1906 a administration dos problems indigenas
passa para o Minist&rio da Agricultura, por6m s6 em
1910, comoj! vimos, e depoisdeuma campanha national
degranderepercusso,6que criado oSenr odeProtegdoaos
Indios(SPI), quefica sob o controleeainspiraCioimediata
do positivismo. Esse movimento, que congregou positiv-
istas, liberals e nacionalistas, parte das classes medias,
das Forcas Armadas e da burocracia estatal, representou
a concretizagio political do sentiment national que
consider os indios parte integrante da nacionalidade
brasileira. De certa forma, ele antecipou os aspects
nativistas e nacionalistas que estariam presents no
movimento criado a partir da Semana de Arte Moderna.
Se bem que 6 o positivismo official, representado
pelo entio Coronel Cindido M.S. Rondon e seus com-
panheiros, que vai dominar a visao sobre o indio nos
pr6ximos 30 ou 40 anos, j! ha exemplos de pensadores
brasileiros que evoluem na conceituacio do indio dentro
da hist6ria brasileira e em relago aos fundamentos
cientificos da Antropologia modern. Capistrano de
Abreu, cuja visio do Brasil realcou sobremaneira o papel
trabalhador e generoso do seu povo, em oposigdo a
in&rcia e o egoismo de suas elites, naturalmente iria se


interessar political e intelectualmente pelo indio.
Embora inicialmente tivesse sido um positivista,
Capistrano foi posteriormente influenciado pelos cultu-
ralistas alemies, sobretudo Ratzel, o que o levou a
elaborar uma visao mais dial&tica da hist6ria do Brasil.
Ele se interessou especialmente pela hist6ria do que se
chamava entoo hinterland, o grandesertio, que, do seu
ponto devista, representava mais organicamente o Brasil.
O seu interesse pelo indio o levou a manter uma copiosa
correspondencia com diversos viajantes e cientistas que
vieram a conhecer o interior brasileiro, como Von den-
Stein, Max Schmidt, Ehrenreich, e, inclusive, ate o jovem
Franz Boas, que entio estudava os povos do noroeste
canadense e que viria a ser o pai da Antropologia mod-
erna norte-americana. Em 1895, Capistrano publicou um
livro sobre os indios Bakairi, do Mato Grosso, e em 1912,
outro sobre os Caxinlua, ambos com estudos sobre suas
respectivas cultures e linguas. Parte dos dados obtidos
vieram das informac6es que Ihe traziam outros cientistas
e militares que faziam part da Comissio Rondon. Outra
parte ele obteve de entrevistas diretas com indios que
vinham ao Rio de Janeiro, trazidos especialmente para
esse fim.29 Uma forma usual, para a ipoca de se fazer
Antropologia, que poderia produzir resultados mais ou
menos confiaveis, conforme a sensibilidade do pesqui-
sador e a boa vontade do informant.
Num pais ainda sem universidades e sem cursos de
Antropologia indigena, o conhecimento que se obtinha
sobre os povos indigenas s6 podia vir de entidades como
o SPI. Havia, naturalmente, os relates de missionarios e
viajantes, dispersos em livros e artigos, muitos j:
traduzidos e comentados. Fazia-se mister sistematizi-los
de alguma forma e inseri-los no conhecimento geral e
nas teorias antropol6gicas mais recentes. A qualidade
intellectual de muitosajudantes deRondonfoiresponsivel
poruma considerivel produgoo de artigos e livros sobre
as sociedades indigenas, a descriio de muitas cultures
indigenas, a produgio de discos, fotografias e filmes de
grande valor etnogrifico e hist6rico, que contribuiram,
nos anos em curso, para consolidar a image do indio
como um ser digno de viver, e que precisava da nossa
compreensio e ajuda.
Como ideologia political, o SPI se caracterizou pelo
seu anti-clericalismo e pelo seu cientificismo. No pri-
meiro caso, atacou desde o clero secular at6 as misses
tradicionais e as novas, como a dos jesuitas, dos sale-
sianos e dos domenicanos, e as missSes protestantes
rec6m-chegadas ao Brasil. Porem nao conseguiu a he-
gemonia da agco indigenista, tanto por causa do poder
de influencia da Igreja sobre o Estado, quanto porque,
em alguns casos, a presenga missioniria antecedera a sua
criaglo. Assim, o SPI abriu mio de algumas areas indige-
nas, como o alto rio Negro, e algumas aldeias e ireas
indigenas, como a missAo Meruri, dos indios Bororo, e
outras mais. "
Pelo seu lado cientificista, o SPI se enrigeceu de-
masiadamente nos principios positivistas, ate meados da
d&cada de 40, o que dificultou a sua reflexio diante dos
avangos te6ricos da Antropologia. Por exemplo, durante
muito tempo, sua agco indigenista se pautou pela id6ia









Special Publication, No.6,1990 47


de que todas as sociedades indigenas eram matriarcais,
porque esse trago cultural e o que caracterizaria, te-
oricamente, sociedades de pequena agriculture. Ora,
essa propugnagio havia sido feita quase um s&culo antes
e ji sofria muitos reparos empiricos indiscutiveis. 3
Os antrop6logos que de alguma forma participaram
ou colaboraram nos primeiros tempos, como Curt Ni-
muendaju, Roquette-Pinto, Herbert Baldus, Heloisa
Alberto-Torres, eventualmente chegaram a ter influ.ncia
sobre a orienta~io filos6fica do 6rglo o que ajudou a dar-
Ihe uma qualidade exceptional quando comparado corn
6rgios equivalentes em outros paises. John Collien, que
foi director doBureau oflndianAfairs, o equivalentenorte-
americano ao SPI, entire 1930 e 1945, elogia o SPI sem
meiaspalavras, reconhecendo oseu esforgo esua filosofia
humanista em relago ao indio.32 No p6s-guerra, e ata os
fins da d&cada de 50, o SPI viveu outro grande moment
intellectual, tendo no seu quadro antrop6logos como
Darcy Ribeiro, Eduardo Galvio, Roberto Cardoso de
Oliveira e Carlos Moreira Neto, sendo, de fato, porta-voz
dos sentiments indigenistas do Brasil da ipoca. Acriaio
do Museu do Indio, dedicado a coletar material sobre as
cultures indigenas, produzir conhecimento e repassA-lo
a comunidade brasileira com o fim de combater o pre-
conceito anti-indigena ativico, 6 exemplo dessa car-
acteristica cientifica de alto nivel.
A presence desses antropol6gos junto aos militares
e intelectuais positivistas, como Luis Bueno Horta Bar-
bosa, Alipio Bandeira, Jose Maria de Paula, Vicente de
Paula Teixeira da Fonseca Vasconcelos, Mauel Rabelo,
al6m daquelas pessoas entio chamadas de "sertanistas",
como Pimentel Barbosa, Eduardo Hoerhann, Francisco
Meireles, Cicero Cavalcanti, os irmios Vilas-Boas, o
m6dico sanitarista Noel Nutels, e outros mais, todos
trabalhando para um mesma finalidade, demonstra a
tentative de se encontrar uma ideologia que aliasse o
pensamento a ag o, num process de enriquecimento
mOtuo. Todas essas pessoas eram capazes tanto de
escrever quanto de dialogar corn um povo indigena,
fundar um post de assist.ncia ou fazer um discurso de
defesa do indio numa solenidade p6blica ou no Con-
gresso Nacional. Esse foi, sem d6vida, um fator de coesio
e qualidade do SPI, sob a lideranca moral do Marechal
Rondon, que a FUNAI jamais obteve em moment algum,
pelo contririo, criou motives para provocar uma cislo
entire antrop6logos e indigenistas que s6 causou pre-
juizos ao indigenismo brasileiro.
Uma das mais permanentes caracteristicas do SPI foi
a sua filosofia de "pacificag~o" dos chamados indios
arredios. Anocio de pacificacao talvez tenha surgido em
fins do sculo passado, como bern exemplifica o livro de
Barbosa Rodrigues, e represent um pass adiante das
noC6es de "domesticagio" ou "amansamento". Esses
terms sio usados ainda hoje para significar o sentido da
relacio de primeiro contato que se faz cor um povo
indigena. Na pacificagio o indio 6 compreendido como
um ser bravio e agressivo, nas outras, como um animal.
A nogio de pacificag~o 6 preconceituosa, alem do mais,
porque subtrai do indio o seu carter de povo, de
unidade socio-politica aut6noma, corn quem se deve


procurar relac6es amistosas pelo dialogo franco e re-
speitoso. Ela implica uma posigo de superioridade por
parte do "pacificador". E sempre um ato politico de
intervenco e control, que muda um povo de aut6nomo
para heter8nimo.
De qualquer modo, "pacificar" era a tdtica mais
humanista da 6poca, o contrdrio da guerra. O m6todo de
pacificaio foi desenvolvido antes do SPI, pela Comissio
Rondon, nos contatos que teve cor indios do Mato
Grosso. Baseava-se no principio de que uma turma de
pacificagio estava invadindo um territ6rio indigena, e
que o indio tinha todo o direito de defend6-lo, inclusive
atacando quem o estivesse invadindo. Assim, era dever
moral aceitar essa realidade, procurar mostrar sinais de
boas inteng6es e nunca revidar ataques. Dai foi criada a
c6lebre maxima de "morrer se precise for, matar nunca",
como guia das ages de uma e qualquer turma de
pacificaco.
Muita gente morreu e passou perigo seguindo esse
principio, numa prova irrefutdvel da sua dedicago, da
fora moraledo espritdecorpsqueregia o SPI.
Embora o resultado final das dezenas de pacifi-
cacges feitas, dos Nambiquara, Kaingang e Xokleng, no
inicio do SPI, passando pelos Botocudo, Gueren, Bae-
nan, Umotina, Parintintin, Urubu-Kaapor, Kayap6,
Xavante, Surui, Xikrin, Gavi6es, Cinta-Larga, ata os casos
mais recentes dos Kubenkrakem, Txicio, Suyd, Par-
akani, Arara, Uruyeuauau, e outros mais, nio corre-
sponda ao que se esperava, mas, pelo contr;rio, levou
algumas dessas tribes ao exterminio e a dolorosas perdas
populacionais e imensas perdas territoriais, podemos,
no entanto, considerar essa filosofia como uma con-
tribuigo ao humanismo brasileiro. Mesmo no period
mais autoritdrio e anti-indigena que o Brasil ji passou,
recentemente, essa filosofia se impos como principio e
ideal. E daro que sempre houve e continue a haver casos
individuals de mi f6 e irresponsabilidade, adicionando-
se ao fato de que a nocio de "atrago, usada pela FUNAI,
e mais insidiosa e dibia, carregada de armadilhas e
sensacionalismos, mais ao gosto desses tempos.
Porm nem pacificar nem tampou.co atrair a question.
O que deve prevalecer 6 a id6ia e o estatuto juridico de
que os indios estio no seu territ6rio, quase sempre
pacificamente, e s6 por uma motivago muito superior 6
que se deve procurar um relacionamento com eles, e
sempre atrav6s de principios morais e m&todos honestos
que estabelecam um acordo de respeito aos seus direitos
individuals e sociais e sobretudo 1s suas terras. Es-
tabelecer boas relacges cor um povo indigena para
depois explorer o seu territ6rio e o equivalent modern
de dedarar uma guerra ofensiva no seculo XVII.
O positivismo e o SPI tamb6m tiveram o merito de
equacionar o problema indigena brasileiro, o seu de-
cr&scimo populacional e a sua inedequaggo i dinimica
political do pals, como um problema hist6rico, cor
solucges hist6ricas. Rompeu definitivamente como o
bin6mio "catequese e civilizag~o", focalizando a filosofia
do trabalho indigenista numa sociologia modern (para
a 6poca e para o Brasil), centrada no home.
Paralelamente, estavam se constituindo as nogces e









48 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


conceitos que formam o escopo da Antropologia mod-
erna, onde o home 6 visto como um ser fundamen-
talmente cultural, isto 6, determinado mais por suas
acoes sociais, seu passado constituido e seu interrela-
cionamento com os outros homes, do que por determi-
naCges geogrificas ou pela biologia. Por essa perspec-
tiva, o home torna-se responsivel por si mesmo e,
portanto, capaz de aio consciente de mudanga. Em-
bora a Antropologia tenha surgido das mesmas fontes de
onde brotou o positivismo, isto 6, o Iluminismo e o
Evolucionismo, a partir do inicio deste s6culo, desen-
volve uma forte critical ao esquema evolucionista de
desenvolvimento human (nio a teoria da evolucgo,
como pensam alguns). Os estudos empiricos, baseados
na presence do antrop6logo entire o povo indigena em
question, j! vinham demostrando que a variedade das
sociedades humans era maior do que suponham os
evolucionistas clissicos e tambnm o positivismo, e suas
formas de viver e pensar muito mais complexes. Foi
provado e comprovado que os chamados povos primiti-
vos possuiam cultures funcionais e completes e nada
deviam aos chamados civilizados em sofisticacao e
sutileza de pensamento. Portanto, a escala de potancia
cultural nao se correlacionava com uma putativa escala
de inteligencia e mesmo de valores morais.
Pela nogio de relativismo cultural, segundo a qual se
compreende que todas as sociedades e cultures hu-
manas slo tio singulares que s6 se explicam pelos seus
pr6prios terms, e portanto nio podem ser comparadas
umas corn as outras, nao havendo assim costumes su-
periores ou inferiores, as cultures indigenas foram ele-
vadas ao p6 de igualdade cor qualquer outra cultural,
inclusive a brasileira, por exemplo. A partir dessa nocio
muito se aprendeu sobre o indio, pela atenglo que se
deu ao conhecimento dos minimos detalhes de sua vida,
s suasvis6es de mundo, s suassingularidades culturais
e, enfim, i totalidade integrativa de suas sociedades.
Por6m, tal como na mA conscidncia liberal, tinha-se
que encarar a realidade. Os indios podem at6 ser vistos
como iguais a n6s, mas, de fato, pareciam estar per-
dendo. Suas populac6es vinham constantemente dimi-
nuindo, suas cultures se bastardizando, suas visoes de
mundo ficavam cada vez mais confusas e indinadas a
acatar as concepCges dos civilizados. Chamou-se a isso
oprocesodeaculturma Oindio,enfim,estavaderrotado,era
um ser fadado i extingco, dizia-se aos quatro ventos. E
por que? Por causa da forca da civilizagio, por causa da
sua inadaptabilidade cultural, e quiiA biol6gica, 6m
suma, por causa da sua inferioridade, mesmo que fosse
s6 relative ou setorial. Dessa forma, o relativismo cultural
tornou-se, na melhor das hip6teses, um principio meto-
dol6gico, uma attitude em relag~o is cultures humans,
nio uma base te6rica para substituir o evolucionismo
cultural, como pretendia uma corrente da Antropologia
norte-americana at6 a Segunda Guerra Mundial, e diver-
sos antrop6logos europeus, Malinowski em especial.
Na verdade, o avanco conceitual da Antropologia
modern nio foi tio revolucionirio quanto se sup6e. A
critical feita ao esquema evolucionista nio desbancou a
validade dos estudos empiricos anteriores de sociedades


indigenas, nem as premissas que organizavam as analises
decorrentes. Os grandes pensadores do nosso s6culo,
como Durkheim, Freud, Piaget, Levi-Strauss, analisaram
diversos aspects dos povos e cultures indigenas como
base no conhecimento cientifico de suas 6pocas que se
estendem ao present o qual, em muitos casos, ecoa as
mesmas vis6es quinhentistas sobre os indios.
Para desenvolver suas id6ias sobre o complex de
tdipo, por exemplo, Freud buscou nos livros de an-
trop6logos como R.R. Marret,James Frazer, Spencer and
Guillen, Robertson Smith, Durkheim, Mauss e outros
mais, os fundamentos empiricos e as analises parciais
que o levaram a concluir que os povos primitives, os
selvagens, tm& uma mentalidade equivalent i de uma
crianca civilizada, e suas religi6es, de natureza animista,
slo baseadas em sentiments psicol6gicos correspon-
dentes aos de um neur6tico. O primitive, no seu enten-
der, vai al6m do neur6tico, pois ele nao somente nio
consegue fazer uma nitida distincao entire o pensar e o
fazer, como nio se inibe de tentar converter o pensa-
mento em ato. 3 Em que isto difere da anedota do Padre
Anchieta sobre a india Tupinambi que acreditava ter tido
relacOes sexuais corn um padre porque assim o sonhara?
Nos virios livros sobre o desenvolvimento da inte-
ligencia na crianga, Jean Piaget sugere frequentemente
que o pensamento dos povos primitivos esti no mesmo
nivel daquele de uma crianga de 7-8 anos, caracterizado
por um realismo ing&nuo, uma visio egocentrica, pr6-
16gico, pr6-causal, baseado no raciocinio transdutivo
(em oposiiao i dedugio e indugo), "impermeivel i
experiencia", dominado pelo vigor da conviccio (ou o
que Freud chama de "onipot&ncia do pensamento"),
enfim, incapaz de distinguir o mundo real exterior da sua
objetividade. ` Mesmo depois de ter lido criticamente, a
luz das anlises de Lvi-Strauss, as idiasdo antrop6logo
Lucien LIvy-Bruhl, que categoricamente afirmara que o
pensamento primitive era pr6-l6gico porque a realidade
exteriors6 era concebida pelaparticipafdodo individuo,
Piaget tenta reconduzir esse filtimo conceito para o
sentido de uma relacgo entire o individuo e o objeto, nio
como umsentimento mistico, como parecera inicialmente
a L6vy-Bruhl, e que era o grande motive da sua rejeigio
pela maioria dos antrop6logos. Dessa forma, Piaget
reafirmaria a correspondencia do pensamento primitive
ao da crianca que ainda vive o estigio egocentrico.35
Nio foram somente os grandes psicol6gos que
pensaram assim. A heranca evolucionista esti present
na antropologia de um Franz Boas, quando diz que o
pensamento primitive 6 caracterizado por "associagces
emocionais" que obscurecem a objetividade, na de um
Evans-Pritchard, quando enfatiza a necessidade do primi-
tivo debuscar explicaq6es para tudo e ignoraro acaso, e na
pr6pria antropologia de um ILvi-Strauss, quando cria a
nogio de "pre-ceito" para caracterizar o pensamento
concrete das cassificag6es primitivas, em oposicio ao
"conceito", que caracterizaria o pensamento cientifico. 6
E verdade que esse chamado pensamento selvagem 6
relativizado pelo autor, ao afirmar que esse tipo de
pensamento tambmm esti present no mundo civilizado,
e que portanto nio represent uma atribuigio excusiva









Special Publication, No.6,1990 49


dos primitivos. Pormn essa concessio parece, sem divida,
gratuita, ja que suas anilises mostram o pensamento
primitive como dominado pela 16gica do concrete,
enquanto que entire os civilizados essa forma de pensa-
mento nio seria mais do que resquicio de eras anteriores,
relegado a esferas menos importantes da vida social
civilizada.
A equiparacio do primitive com a crianca 6 arguida
por esses cientistas como base na correspondencia on-
togenese/filog.nese, segundo a qual o ser human se
desenvolve por formas id&nticas, iquelas por que teria
passado o Homem enquanto espcie e enquanto cultural.
Piaget, especialmente, diz que, se nio Ihe 6 dado con-
hecer o primitive ser human, ji desaparecido, ele o
encontra na crianca e nos povosprimitivossobreviventes.
Freud e muito mais do que ele, Jung, concebe a psicolo-
gia humana, sobretudo a psicologia de grupo, como
portadora de elements atIvicos pr6-hist6ricos, talvez
at6 pre-humanos. Os povos primitivos seriam exem-
plos correspondents dessas diversas fases do desen-
volvimento do individuo home.
Vale a pena esdarecer, como um parentese, que
nenhum dresses autores assim escrevem como modo de
menosprezar os povos primitivos, suas cultures e suas
formas de pensar. Freud, quando equaciona o pensa-
mento primitive ao do neur6tico, nio o dimimui neces-
sariamente, j! que consider que 6 esse tipo de pensa-
mento que gera as artes e as religi6es, fundamentos e
esteios das cultures. Piaget, por sua vez, diz que "A
atividade 16gica nao 6 toda a inteligencia. Pode-se ser
inteligente, sem ser muito 16gico. As duas fun(ces essen-
dais da inteligancia, a de inventar solucSes e a de
corrobor~-las, nio se acarretam, necessariamente, uma a
outra: a primeira participa da imaginagio; apenas a
segunda 6 propriamente 16gica". ` Quanto aos antrop6lo-
gos, em geral, seus livros e teorias demonstram cara-
mente a sua visao empitica e a sua busca de igualdade
em relago ao primitive.
Por6m, embora combatida pelas pesquisas empiri-
cas que os antrop6logos vem fazendo nos iltimos 100
anos, onde foireconhecido ao primitive os fundamentos
do pensamento cientifico, porum lado, e onde se perce-
beu o pensamento migico ou a recusa ao acaso tamb6m
entire os civilizados, sobretudo nos estamentos sociais
ainda nao integrados a modemidade, por outro, essa
visso te6rica preenchia e justificava um sentiment
generalizado e arraigado, no civilizado, de que este 6
essencialmente diferente do primitive, e seu superior. A
imputagio de uma infantilidade se coadunava corn a
teoria da evolugo, cor a correspondencia ontogenese/
filog6nese, e com a id&ia de que os povos primitivos
atuais representam sobrevuivnciasdo nosso passado mais
remote.
Esse sentiment nio deixava de pesar na consciancia
liberal da Antropologia que defendia a igualdade dos
povos e o relativismo cultural. Havia, de fato, um dilemma
que influenciava, na prtica, as relac6es entire o an-
trop6logo e o seu informant indigena (que, no caso dos
paises colonizadosdaAfrica eOceania, era quasesempre
um criado, um empregado temporario) e que, obvia-


mente, estava marcado nas relaoges colonialistas ou,
como no Brasil, na relacQo de tutor para tutelado. Como,
entio, o indio ser ao mesmo tempo igual ao civilizado,
mas ser seu tutelado, ou o africano ser o seu criado? Ser
como uma crianca, assim, at6 que nio seria de todo mal.
E extremamente significativo que, para fugir a esse
dilema, a Antropologia norte-americana tenha deter-
minado por conceituar como um principio metodol6gico
a id6ia de que um antrop6logo ao estudar um povo
primitive e praticar o m6todo da observaoo partici-
pante, pelo qual ele se insere no context cultural desse
povo, ele vira uma crianca aos olhos desse povo, e de
certa forma, ate para si mesmo. A id6ia 6 que ele penetra
num novo mundo desconhecido como um ing&nuo, e s6
aos poucos vai entendendo-o, at6 que, ao cabo desse
period, ele vira adulto perante os membros nativos da
cultural pesquisada. Conduia-se dal que ser crianca era
uma situacio temporaria, dependia do ponto de vista
que se adotasse. Ate um civilizado o seria em determina-
dos contextos. Tudo afmnal era relative. Muitos estudos
foram realizados a partir desse entendimento e desse
suposto principio metodol6gico. Pareciam suavizar o
dilemma antropol6gico e a real situagio political, por uma
dissimulada inversio psicol6gica.
A resolugio desse dilema, no entanto, nio veio por
obra da Antropologia, e sim em fung~o das mudangas
political, pelo fim do colonialismo traditional e o surgi-
mento das nacges africanas modernas, e cor a presence
doindio, do primitive, nos cenirios politicos maiores. Ao
adotar, cor idantica verve e competEncia, um discurso
politico equivalent ao do civilizado, os chamados primi-
tivos comeCam a mudar a id&ia de que slo como criangas,
neur6ticos, ou incapazes de distinguir o objetivo do
subjetivo. Para os indios do Brasil, isso s6 passou a ser
possivel, verdadeiramente, quando as suas populac6es
pararam de diminuir, revertendo uma tendancia que
vinha desde 1500, e eles passaram a lutar por sua sobre-
vivencia corn os instruments que dispunham e cor
suas pr6prias forcas, antes irreconheciveis.
E 6bvio que aAntropologia, enquanto ciencia, ainda
nio formulou uma visio nova e integradora que abarque
essa mudanca fundamental. Apenas fez a sua critical, sua
auto-critica, em relaico i sua participacio political no
colonialismo" E necessario agora pensar firmemente a
igualdade dos homes e das cultures como realidades
potenciais e necessirias, e assim fornecer as bases argu-
mentativas que possam produzira reformulagio de outras
ci&ncias afins, como a psicologia, e a pr6pria filosofia, no
que diz respeito i id6ia que tmr do primitive e das
diferencas culturais.
No novo process politico que presenciamos,
mantem-se ainda, na concretude das relac6es inter6tni-
cas no Brasil, a visao infantilista do indio, atraves do seu
reconhecimento legalcomo menordeidade.Procura-sejusti-
ficar essa condiaio cor arguments politicos realistas,
como a alegagio de que s6 assim 6 que o Estado brasil-
eiro pode defender o indio das injusticas sociais e
economics que sio cometidas contra si e suas cultures,
e proteger as suas terras da permanent ameaca de
esbulho. (Ora, infelizmente, pesa dizer, E o pr6prio









50 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Estado que esta se encarregando atualmente de efetuar
essa tarefa para os interesses econ6micos). O paternal-
ismo 6 justificado como uma necessidade hist6rica e
como resultado de um pacto social criado no interior do
conjunto de forcas que compoem a nacionalidade brasil-
eira. O indio tornou-se, assim, um filho bastardo da nossa
civilizacgo. Al6m de crianpa, o indio ainda tern sido visto
como se estivesse sofrendo de uma doenga terminal,
condenado inexoravelmente ao seu fim para o que seria
dever social e humanista, se nio cristio, do Estado,
amenizar o seu sofrimento e cuidar para que venha a ter
uma boa morte.

A Busca de uma Identidade Malor

Muita gente continue a pensar que o indio esta
fadado ao exterminio, seja fisico, seja por assimilagio
cultural, nos mesmos terms do lamento liberal de Per-
diggo Malheiro ou naqueles do cientificismo positivista
ou pela aculturagio antropol6gica. Mas as estatisticas
apontam uma nova realidade, e muita gente ji percebe a
diferenca demogrifica de determinado povo indigena,
agora, para o que era vinte ou trinta anos atris. E percebe
a sua mudanca de comportamento. A passage de
diversas personalidades indigenas no cenirio national
nos fltimos anos, fruto dos movimentos indigenas e dos
pr6prios movimentos intemos da sociedade brasileira,
causou esp&cie e abalou a vislo que tinhamos do indio,
este Nobre Selvagem, esta nossa crianca. Entio, eles se
articulam tio matreiramente assim? Ameacam corn vi-
olencia? Manipulam a opiniio piblica? Se corrompem, se
vendem, traem seus valores? Fazem political e viram
deputado? Onde estao a sua ingenuidade e a sua pureza?
A opiniao piblica nio entende mais o indio, mas
tambem estio perplexos o Estado e at& os especialistas
antropblogos. Comega a ficar esclarecido que os indios
nio sdo como criancas, mesmo que riam mais do que
n6s, que sejam egoistas corn suas pequenas coisas e
generosos no dare no receber. Querem o direito aosseus
bens patrimoniais e de serem tratados como iguais,
cacique cor president, lider cor lider, home corn
home. E daro que ha desentendimentos e incom-
preens6es por parte deles, mas, basicamente, tmr uma
nooo geral do funcionamento de nossa sociedade, e dal
querem um relacionamento paritirio. Meio desen-
gongadamente procuram o seu lugarna sociedade brasil-
eira. N6s 6 que nio sabemos que espaco abrir para o seu
avango, fundamentalmente porque nio sabemos que
tipo de sociedade nos sera dado construir.
Durante os iltimos quinze anos, dezenas de teses e
livros foram escritos para tentar definir o que faz o indio
ser e se manter indio, sobretudo aqueles que vivem ha
muitos anos em contato permanent com a civilizagio
brasileira. Os estudos, infelizmente em sua maioria de
casos, foram feitos sem uma perspective hist6ria, bus-
cando apenas o delineamento de um quadro conceptual
psicologizante e indefinido no tempo, slo os estudos
sobre identidade 6tnica. Essa preocupagio, no entanto,
reflete uma realidade nova que certamente iri mudar de
forma significativa a posioo do indio no Brasil e o que se


deve pensar sobre ele. Reflete tambem uma busca nossa
de recriar a nossa identidade national.
Antropblogos e outros intelectuais pressentem que
a presence hist6rica e continue dos povos indigenas no
Brasil pode criar novas feic6es para a nossa sociedade.
Nio sendo mais um morto-vivo, o indio tern que se
compor corn a nossa realidade e n6s 6 que fazemos essa
realidade e influenciamos pesadamentena ago indigena
real e possivel. Entio, n6s, sociedade brasileira, 6 que
temos que nos definir, e dialogar corn eles a respeito da
nossa posicQo.
E bom que os indios controlem sete por cento do
territ6rio national? t bor que suas riquezas sejam pre-
servadas como aval do nosso future, sobretudo na
Amaz6nia? O modo econnmico indigena 6 saudavel para
a preservagio de nossas florestas? E possivel de ser
emulado por projetos sociais corn nossas populag6es
rurais? O indio 6 uma ameaa a seguranga de nossas
fronteiras ou 6 um baluarte de sua defesa? A identidade
especifica indigena ameaca a integridade da nacionali-
dade ou a complement, colora-a, enriquece-a?
Eis as grandes quest6es que estio em pauta, e cujas
respostas dirigirio nossas novas attitudes e pensamentos
sobre os indios. As mesquinhas e injustas opini6es que se
veiculam contra osindios e suas cultures nio passario de
preconceitos sem sentido, pois nio mais balizario a
nova realidade.

NOTAS

1) Montaigne, "On Canibals" In the EssentialMontaigne
(New York: Mentor Books, 1970) pp. 264-276.

2) Jean de IAry, Viagem a Tera do Brasi4 3a. edigo (Sio
Paulo: Liv. Martins Editora, 1960); Yves d'Evreux, Viagem ao
Norte do Brasil (Slo Luis: Typ. do Frias, 1874);Jose de
Anchieta, Arte de Grammatica da Lingua Mais Usada na
Costa do Brasil (Slo Paulo: Editora Anchieta, 1946). Sobre o
uso da linguafranca Tupinambi, ver Plinio Ayrosa,
Primeiras NoAbes de Tupi (Sao Paulo: Typographia Cupolo,
1933);Jos6 Ribamar Bessa Freire, "Da 'Fala Boa' ao Portu-
gu&s na Amaz6nia Brasileira" in Amenindia, no. 9,1983, pp.
39-83.

3) Gaspar Barl6u, Hist6ria dos Fatos Recentemente Pratica-
dos durante Oito Anos no Bmsil(Belo Horizonte e Sao
Paulo: Editora Itatiaia e Editora da Universidade de Sio
Paulo, 1974),Joan Nieuhof, Memordvel Viagem Maritima e
Terrestre ao BrasiL (Belo Horizonte e Slo Paulo: Editora
Itatiaia e Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1981).
Rouloux Baro e Pierre Moreau, Hist6ria das Ultimas Lutas
no Brasil entire os Holandeses e os Portugueses e Relado da
Viagem ao Pais dos Tapuias. (Belo Horizonte e Slo Paulo:
Editora Itatiaia e Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo,
1985).

4) No seculo XVIII as descrio6es passam a se encaixar no
figuring das id ias iluministas. Ver H&lnne Clastres, "Primitiv-
ismo e Ci&ncia do Homem no S&culo XVIII" in Discurso, no.
13, 2o semestre de 1980. Ver Martinho de Nantes, Relagio
Suscinta de uma Miss4o no Rio Sao Fmncisco. Brasiliana,
vol. 368, Tradugo e Notas de Barbosa Lima Sobrinho. (Sio
Paulo e Brasilia: Companhia Editora Nacional e Instituto
Nacional do Livro, 1979). Luis Vicencio Mamiani, Arte e










Special Publication, No.6, 1990 51


Grammatica da Lingua Brasilica da Nagam Kiriri (Rio:
Biblioteca Nacional, 1877).

5) Oito dessas cartas foram publicadas em Pedro Souto-
Maior, Fastos Pernambucanos, (Rio: Revista do Instituto
Hist6rico e Geogrifico, vol. 75, part I, 1912), pp. 403-414.

6) Ver Bemal Dias del Castillo, Histo6ia Verdadera de la
Conquista de la Nueva Espaia (M6xico: EditoraJ. Ramirez
Cabanas, 1944); Heman Cortez, A Conquista do Mexico
(Porto Alegre: L & PM Editores, 1986). Para uma visio
intema dos indios, ver, em especial, Miguel Leon-Portilla
(org.) A Conquista da America Latina Vista pelos Indios.
Relatos Astecas, Maias e Incas. 3a. edigio (Porto Alegre: L &
PM Editores, 1987).

7) Ver Claude IMvi-Strauss, Antropologia Estrutural (Rio:
Biblioteca Tempo Brasileiro, 1976), pp. 334-335.

8) t interessante notar que os indios Tapirap6 chamam os
brancos genericamente de "maira" quando a grande maioria
dos povos de fala tupi-guarani usa o termo caaiba ou
variac6es. Esse l1timo termo significava, aparentemente,
"grande paj6". Ver Charles Wagley, Welcome of Tears (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

9) Estes casos sao citados por Mecenas Dourado em A
Conversdo do Gentio, (Rio: Livraria SioJos6, 1958), quando
analisa os motives das dificuldades dos missionarios em
converter os indios. Sobre as id6ias de Lucien LIvy-Bruhl,
ver o seu Le Surnaturel et la Nature dans la Mentalite
Primitive (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1963).

10) Ver Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Ensaio sobre a Desigual-
dade entire os Homens" in O Contrato Social(Sio Paulo:
Editora Cultrix, 1977); Thomas Hobbes, Leviatr, ouMatria,
Forma e Poder de um Estado Eclesidstico e Civil Colegio
"Os Pensadores" (Sio Paulo: Editora Abril Cultural, 1974),
"Primeira Parte: Do Homem".

11) Ver H6elne Clastres, "Selvagens e Civilizados no S6culo
XVIII". Manuscrito datilografado, Unicamp, s/d, p. 6.

12) Rousseau, op.cit, p. 183.

13) Ver F.A. de Vamhagen, "Os Indios perante a Nacionali-
dade Brasileira: Discurso Preliminar" in Hist6ria Geraldo
Brasi 5 vols. Revisio e Notas de Rodolpho Garcia (Rio: Ed.
Melhoramentos, 1962); "Os Indios Bravios e o Sr. Lisboa:
Segunda Parte", ibid., onde o autor cita o exemplo ameri-
cano, contest os defensores dos indios e apresenta os
arguments anti-indigenas dos Senadores Vergueiro e
Dantas de Barros.

14) Ver Fernmo Cardim, Tmtados da Terr e Gente do Brasil,
Brasiliana, vol. 168 (Sio Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional,
1978); Simro de Vasconcelos, Crdnica da Companbia de
Jesus, 2 vols. (Petr6polis: Ed. Vozes, 1977); Antonio Vieira,
Obras Escolbidas, vol. V (Lisboa: Livraria SA de Cortes, 1951).
Ver, tamb6m, Joao Licio de Azevedo, Histdria de Antonio
Vieira, 2 vols., 2a. ediago (LIsboa: Livraria ClAssica Editora,
1931).

15) Ver Yves d'Evreux, Viagem ao Norte do Brasil, op.cit

16) As obras de Charles Darwin e Herbert Spencer constit-


uem os alicerces do que veio a ser chamado de "darwinismo
social", que justificava o status quo politico europeu de
domina;io de classes e racism. Ver Charles Darwin, A
Origem das Espicies(Sio Paulo: Hemus, s/d). Herbert
Spencer, Principles ofSociology(New York: D. Appleton,
1886). As obras de Karl Marx e Friedrich Engels sobre povos
primitives se resume a Origem da Familia, da Pro-
priedade Privada e do Estado(Rio: Editora Civilizacao
Brasileira, 1974); Formag.esEcon6micasPrn-Capitalistas
(Rio: Paz e Terra, 1975) e aos seus cademos etnol6gicos
editados por Lawrence Krader, Marx's EthnologicalNote-
books(Asden: Van Gorcum, 1972). HA tamb6m comentArios
esparsos em outros livros, como na Ideologia Alem, 2a.
part (Lisboa: Editorial Pretensa, 1980), nos Manuscritos
Econ6micos e Filos6ficose no pr6prio Capital Lewis Henry
Morgan foi o grande antrop6logo americano do s6culo
passado, autor de Ancient Society(Gloucester, Mass.: Peter
Smith, 1974), que influenciou a visao de Marx sobre o
primitive. Na d6cada de 1930, o termo aculturaqio ganha
foros academicos e jomalisticos a partir do artigo de R.
Redfield, R. Linton e M. Herskovitz, "Memorandum on the
Study of Acculturation" in American Anthropologist, vol. 38,
1936, pp. 149-152. O conceito ai exposto nao leva em
consideraao a evoluago enquanto tal, mas simplesmente
consider a passage de uma forma social a outra por forga
do contato com outra forma social mais poderosa. Na boa
vontade dessa teoria, considera-se at( possivel a relaaio
inversa, de influencia do mais fraco sobre o mais forte,
embora nao no mesmo nivel e intensidade da relacao
anterior. No fundo, essa teoria, que se tomou bastante
difundida, e 6 um dos poucos terms da Antropologia
modern que 6 usada por muita gente, indiscriminadamente,
dilui a relaiao political entire povos e apazigua o sentiment
de culpa liberal, ao considerar como de natureza cultural o
process de exterminio dos povos indigenas que vinha
ocorrendo Aquela 6poca. Ele 6 um termo mais ideol6gico do
que "evolucao". Eis porque o escolhemos para caracterizar
os fen6menos gerais que falam sobre os povos indigenas,
sobre o primitive, desde o Iluminismo. Outros antrop6logos
modemos, que teorizaram sobre o conceito de evoluaio
tomando em conta a ampliaao dos primeiros estudos,
foram, V. Gordon Childe, Wbat Happened in History
(Hardmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1942,1964) e
Man Makes Himself(New York: The New American Library,
1951); Leslie White, The Evolution of Culture(New York:
MacGraw-Hill, 1959) e Julian Steward, Theory of Culture
Change(Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1955).

17) Ver Carlos de Araujo Moreira Neto, Indios da Amaz6nia:
DeMaioria aMinoria(Petr6polis: Ed. Vozes, 1988).

18) De Joao Francisco Lisboa, ver Obras, 4 vols. (Sao Luis:
Typ. B. de Mattos, 1865). Sobre indios, ver, especificamente,
vol. I, Livro 5, e vol. IV, Nota C, pp. 462-515. O texto mais
indigenista de Goncalves Dias 6 o seu prefacio A 2a. edicao
da cr6nica de Bemardo Pereira de Berredo, Annaes Hist6ri-
cos do Estado do Maranhao, 2a. edigio (Sio Luis: Typ. B. de
Mattos, 1849).

19) Ver Vamhagem, "Memorial Organico" in Revista
Guanabara, Tomo I, 1851, e tamb6m no seu Hist6ria Geral
do Brasil, op. cit

20) Apud Manuel Antonio de Almeida, "Civiliza(ao dos
Indigenas" inJomal do Commercio 12/02/1852, citado em
Marques Rabelo, Vida e Obra deManuelAntonio de










52 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Almeida(Sgo Paulo: Liv. Martins Editora, 1943).

21) A segunda ediqgo foi publicada pela Editora Vozes, 1976.

22) Perdigio Malheiro, Ibidem., p. 249.

23) Ver, em edicgo recent, General Couto de Magalhies, O
Selvagem (Belo Horizonte e Slo Paulo: Editora Itatiaia e
Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1975). Tamb6m no
seu livro Viagem ao Amguaia, Brasiliana vol. 28 (Sao Paulo:
Companhia Editora Nacional, e Instituto Nacional do Livro,
1975) o autor tece comentArios sobre os indios que visit e
sobre o seu aproveitamento na economic national.

24) Ver Theophilo B. Ottoni, "Carta ao Dr. J. M. de Macedo
em 1858 sobre os selvagens do Mucuri" in Revista do
Institute Hist6rico e Geogrdfico Brasileiro, Tomo XXI, 1858.
Guido Marliere, "Notas e Documentos" in Revista do Arcbivo
PthblicoMineiro, Ano X, Fasciculo III e IV, e Ano XI, Fascicu-
los I, II, III e IV, 1906-1907.

25) Jolo Barbosa Rodrigues, A Pacificaado dos Crishands
(Rio: Imprensa Nacional, 1885).

26) Jos6 Verissimo, Interesses da Amazdnia (Rio: Typogra-
phia do Jomal do Commercio, 1915).

27) Esta 6 a principal revista intellectual do Imperio e cont6m
muitos artigos sobre indios ate o inicio do seculo XX.

28) Ver Ivan Lins, 0 Positivismo no Brasil. (Sao Paulo: Com-
panhia Editora Nacional, 1964).

29) Jolo Capistrano de Abreu, Correspondncia ediqio
organizada e prefaciada por Jos6 Hon6rio Rodrigues, 3 vols.
(Rio: Instituto Nacional do Livro, 1954); "Os bacaerys" in
Revista Brasileim, Ano I, Tomo III, Rio de Janeiro, 1895, pp.
209-228; Tomo IV, pp. 43-50, 234-243. Reproduzido em
Ensaios e Estudos (Critica e Hist6ria), 3a. s&rie (Rio de
Janeiro: Sociedade Capistrano de Abreu e Livraria Briguiet,
1938) pp. 217-274; Rd-txa bu-ni-kuai: A Lingua dos
Caxinauds do Rio Ibuacu, Afluente do Muni (Rio: Typogra-
phia Lenzinger, 1914), 2a. ed. (Rio: Sociedade Capistrano de
Abreu e Livraria Briguiet, 1941).

30) Ver, de Alipio Bandeira, A Mystificaqao Salesiana (Rio:
Lithotipo Fluminense, 1923); A Cruz Indigena (Porto Alegre:
Livraria do Globo, 1926).

31) As principals obras foram publicadas ou republicadas na
Coleo do Conselho Nacional de Proteio aos Indios, a
partir de 1941. Pode-se sentir o rango bacharelesco e
dogmitico do SPI, por exemplo, num livro comemorativo ao
Dia do Indio dos anos de 1944 e 1945, publicado em 1947
(PublicaAo no. 100 do CNPI). A partir dai o SPI iria se
rejuvenescer nas suas pesquisas e no seu diAlogo com o
conhecimento antropol6gico at6 meados da decada
seguinte, quando sucumbe finalmente ao anti-intelectual-
ismo politico.

32) Ver John Collier, Los Indios de las Amdricas (Mexico:
Fondo de Cultura Econ6mica, 1960), pp. 273.

33) Ver Sigmund Freud, "Totem and Taboo" in The Basic
Writings ofSigmund Freud, pp. 807-930 (New York: The
Modem Library, 1938); Psicologia de Grupo eAndlise do Ego


(Rio: Imago, 1976).

34) Ver Jean Piaget, O Raciocinio da Crianfa. (Rio: Editora
Record, s/d).

35) VerJean Piaget, Stucturalism (New York: Harper and
Row, 1970), pp. 115-118, onde discute a sua comparaqio
entire o primitive e a crianga em relaqCo aos conceitos de
Lucien Levy-Bruhl e Claude Levi-Strauss.

36) Ver Franz Boas, The Mind ofPrimitive Man, Revised
Edition (New York: MacMillan, 1938). E.E. Evans Pritchard,
Bruxaria, Ornculos eMagia entire osAzende(Rio: Zahar
Editores, 1978). Claude Levi-Strauss, O Pensamento Sel-
vagem (SSo Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1970).

37) Ver CarlJung, 0 Homem e seus Simbolos(Rio: Nova
Fronteira, 2a. ediqio, 1981).

38) VerJean Piaget, O Raciocinio da Crianga, op.cit. p. 189.

39) Ver, por exemplo, Gerard LIclerc, Critica da Antropolo-
gia(Lisboa: Editorial Estampa, 1973). AliAs, quase today a
Antropologia mexicana e a brasileira estgo marcadas por
este sentiment de auto-critica.








Special Publication, No.6,1990


Tapirap6 woman making wrist ornaments, Central Brazil, 1939. UFArchives

















USAGE OF BOTANICAL LIFE-FORM LABELS IN KA'APOR (AMAZONIAN BRAIL)


WHLLnu BALIE
Museum Paraense Enmlio Goeldi


Introduction

The objective of this article is to show that the plant
nomendatural system of the Ka'apor Indians of Brazil
has been conditioned mainly by the special purpose
factor of horticulture, not the general purpose factor of
stem habit (cf. Berlin 1976; Berlin et al. 1973, 1974; see
Gilmour 1961 and Hunn 1982). I suggest that words for
'tree,' 'herb,' and 'vine,' in the Ka'apor language, may be
used in everyday speech to distinguish undomesticated
from aboriginally domesticated plants.
Words for 'tree,' 'herb,' and 'vine' are botanical life-
form labels. In most languages, the absolute number of
life-form taxa is small and these taxa are polytypic (Berlin
et al. 1973:215, 1974:26; Brown 1977). Hence there are
many kinds of 'tree' (oak, maple, pine, etc.) in folk
English ethnobotany. The life-form labels, moreover,
generally denote a habit of stem growth, according to
conventional wisdom. 'Trees' usually display a habit of
erectness, tallness, and woodiness. 'Herbs' tend to
manifest smallness and succulence. Vines tend to have
tortuous, climbing habits (Berlin 1976:385; Berlin et al.
1973:219,1974:30; Brown 1977:319-320).
Botanical life-form labels in the language of the
Ka'apor Indians are mira ('tree'), ka'a ('herb'), and sipo
('vine').' These taxa are polytypic; each encompasses
many folk generics. Of 406 Ka'apor generic plant names
that I have collected, 221 (54%) denote "trees" (mira), 62
(15%) refer to 'herbs' (ka'a), and 47 (11.6%) denote
'vines' (sipo). That is, 330 (81%) of 406 folk generics
belong to one of these life-form taxa, according to Ka'apor
informants (Bal6e 1989:11). Of the 76 (19%) folk generics
not so classified, 26 (6.4%) refer to grasses and/or mor-
phologically unusual plants (e.g., bamboos and
palms-cf. Berlin 1976:387) and 50 (12.3%) denote in-
tensively cultivated plants. This represents Ka'apor plant
classification based on the elicitation of the immediate
constituents of the inclusive life-form taxa alone. The
absence of cultivated plants (in particular, traditionally
cultivated plants) under the rubric of any life-form taxon
is supported in the nomenclature itself. Here, the obser-
vation that "nomenclature is often a near perfect guide to
folk taxonomic structure" (Berlin et al. 1973:3216,
1974:27), is most appropriate.


The free morphemesmira ('tree'), ka'a ('herb'), and
sipo ('vine') are not, apparently as a rule, affixed to
names for traditional plant domesticates, although these
free morphemes frequently are incorporated in names
forundomesticated plants. Further, while generic names
for plant domesticates may appear to be constituents of
words referring to undomesticated plants, in which case
the word is based on analogy, folk generic names of
undomesticated plants do not obtain in reference to
traditional plant domesticates. In other words, the no-
menclature ofundomesticated plants appears to be partly
an extension of the nomenclature for traditional domes-
ticates.
As such, names for traditional domesticates are not
simply "unaffiliated" with any life-form taxon (cf. Berlin
1976:387-388; Berlin et al. 1973:219, 1974:30 etpassim).
Rather, it may be more precise to argue that plant names
exhibiting free morphemic constituents for 'tree,' 'herb,'
and 'vine' are "unaffiliated" with the domain of domesti-
cated plants, in Ka'apor ethnobotany.

The Ka'apor

The Ka'apor Indians speak a Tupi-Guarani language.
At present, they number about 500 persons. Ka'apor
population is dispersed in about 14 semi-permanent
settlements on a reserve of 530.524 hectares in north-
western Maranhio State. The historical and cultural ante-
cedents of the Ka'apor were to the north, in the state of
Park. The Ka'apor migrated from Pari to Maranhio prior
to the establishment of peaceful relations with Brazilian
society in 1928 (Bal&e 1988; Ribeiro 1970:181-182).
The economy of the Ka'apor is based on hunting,
fishing, gathering, and horticulture. Of these productive
activities, most energy is invested in and returned from
horticulture. The essentials of Ka'apor horticulture seem
to be traceable to proto-Tupi-Guarani society, which
existed about 2000 years before the present, or less
(Migliazza 1982:502). Modem Tupi-Guarani words for
manioc and maize, for example, reconstruct in proto-
Tupi-Guarani (Lemle 1971:122,123) as well as do many
other words for plant domesticates. It has been even
suggested that earlyTupi-Guarani peoples domesticated









5 6 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


the peanut (David Williams, personal communication)
and the pineapple (see Pickersgill 1976:16). One can
show, moreover, that modem hunting and gathering
speakers ofTupi-Guarani such as theAch6,Avi-Canoeiro,
Guaji, and Het! were previously horticultural. Evidently,
these groups lost horticulture through sociopolitical pres-
sures from other indigenous groups and expanding
nation-states(e.g., Bal6e 1988; Clastres 1968:51-52; Kozak
et al. 1979:366). The economic importance of horticul-
ture in Ka'apor society is no a prior result of cultural
borrowing; rather, it reflects a long heritage of intensive
plant management by the indigenous, Tupi-Guarani
speaking forebears of the Ka'apor.
I suggest that the historical dependence of the Ka'apor
on horticulture further conditions the ways in which they
name undomesticated plants. This is evinced in the
Ka'apor usage of botanical life-form labels.

Botanical life-form labels and
undomesticated plants

Examples of the incorporation of life-form labels in
names for undomesticated plants are shown in Table I.
The Ka'apor do not plant any of the species in Table I,
and most of these grow only in primary terrafirmeforests
and/or swamp forests in the local environment. The
names listed in Table I are legitimate folk generics, since
the words affixed with 'tree' labels are classified as mira,
those with 'herb' labels are classified as ka'a, and those
with 'vine' labels are classified as sipo by Ka'apor infor-
mants. Linguistically, all these words are primary, analyz-
able, productive lexemes primary because they are
unmodified terms exclusively denoting plants, analyz-
able since they are polymorphemic, and productive
because each expression denotes a super-ordinate taxon
to which it, in fact, pertains (see Berlin et al. 1974:28-29).
All these names are, moreover, partly descriptive.
The non-life-form constituent in each such name gener-
ally refers to a non-botanical object, usually to an animal
(e.g., to electric eel in the expression in the purake-ka'a
[see TableID. The analyzable and descriptive nature of
these plant names suggests the possibility of a more
recent currency than that for names such as mani'I
(bitter manioc) and awail (maize), folk generics for
traditional domesticates which are at once un-analyzable
and literal (see Sapir 1949:434).

Names for Plant Domesticates

Table II shows all 50 Ka'apor generics for intensively
cultivated plants that I have obtained to date. These
include traditional domesticates and plants that have
been introduced in post-Columbian times. The number
of folk generics denoting traditional domesticates is 26
(52%), while the number of folk generics referring to


introduced domesticates is 24 (48%). The words in Table
II are, in general, different in structure than those of Table
I. First, only 10 are linguistically analyzable (i.e., poly-
morphemic). All these refer to introduced plants. Of the
10 linguistically analyzable expressions, nine are de-
scriptive as well. Of these descriptive expressions, all
denote introduced plants. In addition, one un-analyz-
able word tawa, is also descriptive. It refers both to
turmeric (Curcuma sp.) of the ginger family and to the
color yellow. The genus Curcuma is native to Asia,
however, not to South America (Willis 1985:318).
Of the 14 names for introduced plants that are
linguisticallyun-analyzable (monomorphemic) and non-
descriptive (i.e., literal), 9 (64%) are dearly borrowed
from Portuguese (irimA from Uimno, kaka fromcacao,
kA from cana, koko from coco, mA from manga,
mirima from biriba, motorol from mastrugo, narai
from laranja, and piyl frompiao) [see Table II].
The incorporation of botanical life-form labels in
domesticated plant names is distinctive. There are at least
four such names: tupl-ka'a (Hibiscussp.), mikur-ka'a
(Petiveria alliacea), ka'a-piher (Eryngiumfoetidum),
and ka'a-pe (Desmodium adecendens). Like the words
for non-domesticates in Table I, all these words are
linguistically analyzable and descriptive. Unlike those
words, however, these domesticated plant names are
unproductive; these are not considered by informants to
belong to any of the life-form taxa, no doubt because
they are intensively cultivated. As such, these words
seem to belie the well-known statement by Berlin et al.
(1973:216, 1974:27) that folk nomenclature may be a
"near perfect guide" to folk classification. But in an
historical sense, these plant names merely reflect the
relative newness of their usage. All these names refer to
introduced species. Hibiscus sp. was introduced as an
ornamental in 1980 by the Indian agent; the Ka'apor
obtained Petiveria alliacea (a medicinal) and Eryngium
foetidum (a spice), respectively, from the Temb6 and
Guajajara Indians in this century; and Desmodium
adecendens was introduced in about 1986 by the Sum-
mer Institute of Linguistics missionary as feed for mules.
One other plant name from Table I may considered
to exhibit a life-form constituent. This is klpT-piher
('grass-aromatic') or lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus).
I have not included kapl ('grass') as a life-form label
since its constituent generics would be very few in
number (at most 3). The term does embrace, however, a
large number of botanical species, mostly to be found in
swamps, secondary forests, and clearings. Were on to
consider kIpl as being a life-form label, the occurrence
of kApF-piher on the list of domesticated plant names
does not alter my hypothesis that life-form labels are not
incorporated into names for traditional domesticates.
Cymbopogon citratus(lemon grass) is a native of Ceylon
(Willis 1985:328) and was introduced to the Ka'apor
some time after 1928.









Special Publication, No.6,1990 57

TABLE I. FOLK GENERICS IN KA'APOR EXHIBmNG LIFE-FORM CoNffrnmUS THAT REm TO UNDOME0mCATED PLANTw


MORPHEMIC GLOSSES


COLL. NO.


BOTANICAL REFEREMS


'Trees'
arapuha-mira brocket deer-tree B784 Conceeiba guianensis
inamu-mira tinamou-tree B326 Exeledendron arbatum
makahi-mira collared peccary-tree B2665 Duguetia yesdah
mitu-mira curassow-tree B2878 Erisma uninatum

'Herbs'
irakahu-ka'a weasel-herb B2967 Schida orincensis
irahu-ka'a harpy eagle-herb B940 Lomariopsisapurensis
purake-ka'a electric eel-herb B815 Laportem atans
suruwi-ka'a surubim-herb B2297 Calathe sp,

'Vines'


arapuha-sipo
irai-sipo
parawa-sipo
so'oran-sipo


brocket deer-vine
(masculine personal name)-vine
mealy parrot-vine
rabbit-vine


B943
B1024
B3423
B885


Coccloaw sp.
Schubertiagandiflor
Uncariaguianensis
Stigmaphylonhypoleucum


1. Collection numbers refer to vouchers in the series Bale. These are deposited at the New York Botanical garden with duplicates at
the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi

TABLE II. FOLK GENERICS IN KA'APOR FOR INTENSIVELY CULTIVATED PLANTS


Ka'apor

akayu
arapawak2
arasiku-ran2
awai
awasi
irima2
kaka
kanami
kara
karapuwa2
karapatu2
kawasu
ka'a-piher3
kA2
kirawa
kapi-piherP
ki'i
koko2
kamana

kiwi
makaser
maneyu
mani'i
marakatai2
mi2

mikur-ka'a2


Morphonic
Glosses












vessel-big
herb-aromatic


grass-aromatic












opossum-herb


ColL No. English


B856
B931
B3090
B798

B1010

B795
B927
B905
B930
B906
B941

B953
B955
B904

B3099

B814
B870
B849
B848
B1075
B1009
B918
B841


cashew
basil

canna
maize
lime
cacao
fish poison
yam

castor
gourd

sugar cane

lemon grass
chili pepper
coconut
bean

calabash
sweet manioc
cotton
bitter manioc
ginger
mango
papaya


Botanical Referents

Anacardium occidental
Ocimum micranthum
Annona montana
Canna indica
Zea mays
Citrus aurantifolia
Theobroma cacao
Clibadium sylvestre
Dioscorea spp.
Ocimum sp.
Ricinus comunis
Lagenaria siceraria
Eryngium foetidum
Saccharum officinarum
Neoglaziovia variegata
Cymbopogon citratus
Capsicum spp.
Cocos nucifera
Phaseolus spp.
Vigna adnanthera
Crescentia cujete
Manihot esculenta
Gossypium barbadense
Manihot esculenta
Zingiber officinale
Mangifera indica
Carica papaya
Petiveria alliacea


KA'APOR









58 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


TABLE II. (Continued)
mirima2
motoroi -
munuwi
murukuya
narli2 -
nana
pako
piy2 -
pipiriwa

pu'i-pirag2 bead-red
pu'i-risa2 bead-cold
simo-'i 2 Derris utilis-little
tawa2 yellow
taya
tupa-ka'a 23 thunder herb
u'i-hu-ruwP2 arrow-big-blood


u'iwa
uruku
warasi2


waya
yitik
yurumu


arrow-maker


B3087
B821
B894
B801
B852
B1020

B819
B961
B935
B797
B928
B814
B823
B3554

B965

B917
B801
B803


B903
B804
B850


peanut
passion fruit
orange
pineapple
banana,plantain


tobacco

Job's tears
fish poison


hibiscus
bath sponge
(shotgun-blood)
arrow cane
annatto
watermelon,
West Indian
gherkin
guava
sweet potato
Musk Mellon


Rollinia mucosa
Chenopodium ambrosioides
Arachis hypogaea
Passiflora edulis
Citrus sinensis
Ananas comosus
Musa spp.
Jatropha spp.
Cyperus corymbosus
Nicotiana tabacum
Adenanthera pavonina
Coix lacryma-jobi
Tephrosia sinapou
Curcuma sp.
Xanthosoma sp.
Hibiscus sp.
Luffa egyptiaca

Gynerium sagittatum
Bixa orellana
Citrullus lanatus
Cucumis anguria

Psidium guajava
Ipomoea batatas
Cucurbita moschata


1. Collection numbers refer to vouchers in the series Bale. These are deposited at the New York Botanical Garden with duplicates at
the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
2. Botanical referent(s) of the folk generic name are introduced species to the Ka' apor.
3. One of the constituents of the folk generic name acts as a life-form labeL


Words for non-domesticates may be modeled by
analogy on words for traditional domesticates (see Berlin
et al. 1974:38), butthe reverse procedure does not occur.
A seeming exception to this is the word for a cultivated
fish poison, Tephrosia sinapou, which the Ka'apor call
simo 'i ('Derris utilts little'). This name is modeled on
the name for an undomesticated fish poison, Derris
utilis, a large liana which grows in swamps. Even though
T. sinapouappears to be native to South America (Moretti
and Grenand 1982:148-149), the species was introduced
to the Ka'apor in this century. The fully horticultural,
Tupi-Guarani speakingWaylpi ofFrench Guiana, do not
know the plant (Grenand et al. 1987:247), suggesting the
possibility that this species is not a traditional cultigen of
Tupi-Guarani peoples.
In contrast, generic names of many undomesticated
species are modeled by analogy on domesticated plant
names (Bal6e,1989). For example, the Ka'apor refer to a
marantaceous herb of the terra fire forest floor as
tayahu-munuwi (white-lipped peccary-peanut'), even
though the peanut is quite a different kind of plant, both
biologically and ethno-semantically. A life-form label in
one instance, moreover, is proposed to a name for a


domesticated plant: the entire expression, mira-kirawa
(tree Neoglaziovia variegata) denotes mallow (Urena
lobata), an uncultivated agrestic in the Ka'apor habitat

Historical Considerations

It is pertinent to observe that no names for traditional
plant domesticates (Table II) appear to have been bor-
rowed. Curiously, the only incontrovertible evidence for
borrowing of generic plant names, whose referents could
not have been borrowed, is to be found among undo-
mesticated plants. At least three such generic names exist
in the Ka'apor botanical lexicon. These are kanei-'i
(Protium spp.), kasima 't (Mabea caudata), and
kuyeri'i (Lacmellea aculeata), which all denote trees of
primary, terrafirme dense forest.2
Kanel refers to 'resin' exuded by various species of
Protium (incense trees). The term evidently was bor-
rowed from Portuguese candela which in turn de-
scended from Latin candela, meaning 'wax candle'
(Holanda Ferreira n.d.:267). In fact, the Ka'apor and
many other Indians utilize the terpine-rich resin of these
Protium species in illuminating the interiors of their









Special Publication, No.6,1990 59


houses at night. The term kasima denotes 'pipe' in
Ka'apor. It is apparently derived from Portuguese
cacbimbo, which came fromkixima ('pipe') of a Bantu
(or Creole) language spoken by Angolan slaves in Brazil
(Holanda Ferreira n.d.:245). The Ka'apor use the wood
from this tree to fashion pipe stems. The word kuyer
means 'spoon' in Ka'apor. It is obviously derived from
Portuguese colber, which in turn came from Latin
colligere ('spoon'), according to Holanda Ferreira
(n.d.:345). The Ka'apor make spoons and ladles from the
wood of this tree.
In addition to linguistic borrowing in the category of
undomesticated plants, there is further evidence for the
relative antiquity of generic names for traditional domes-
ticates in Ka'apor. Sapir (1949:434) made the point first:

One of the most useful principles for the de-
termination of the age of a word is a consideration
of its form; that is, whether it can be analyzed into
simple elements, its significance being made up of
the sum of these, or is a simple irreducible term. In
the former case we suspect, generally speaking, a
secondary or relatively late formation, in the latter
considerable antiquity."

It is immediately clear that of the 26 folk generic
names for traditional domesticates in Table II, 24(92%)
are monomorphemic. On the other hand, with negligible
exceptions, names for non-domesticates loanwordss
aside) are polymorphemic. Most commonly, a life-form
label is incorporated in these names. This suggests the
distinct possibility, according to Sapir's insight, that the
corpus of Ka'apor words for domesticated plant names
preceded that for many undomesticated 'trees,' 'herbs,'
and 'vines'. Words for traditionally domesticated plants
may serve as models for undomesticated plants, but not
vice-versa. One can reasonably argue, hence, for histori-
cal primacy in the nomenclature of domesticates, as
opposed to non-domesticates, in Ka'apor ethnobotany.

Conclusions

I do not mean that proto-Tupi-Guarani lacked words
forundomesticated plants, that none of these words have
been retained in Ka'apor, nor that words for plant domes-
ticates would have tended to be older that words for non-
domesticates in proto-Tupi-Guarani. I merely contend
that words for non-domesticates appear to be more labile
that words for traditional domesticates.
Given such liability, it is quite possible that many
generic names for non-domesticates appeared after the
establishment of a basically homogeneous corpus of
generic names for domesticates. Because life-form labels
are not used in reference to traditional domesticates, the
glosses usually assigned to words for 'tree' (mira), 'her'


(ka'a), and 'vine' (sipo), are semantically inadequate. In
other words, glosses indicating only the stem habit of
these taxa obscure a fundamental rift between aboriginal
domesticates and non-domesticates in Ka'apor ethnobo-
tany. Words for 'tree,' 'herb,' and 'vine,' in Ka'apor, refer
not merely to general characteristics of stem habit, but to
the special purpose condition of being traditionally un-
domesticated.
Hence, traditional domesticates should not be per-
ceived as being "unaffiliated" with life-form taxa. As an
entire category, 'traditional domesticates" would logi-
cally occupy an ethnobiological rank that is even higher
than that of life-form taxa, to which the life-form taxa are
"unaffiliated". The special purpose factor of horticulture,
with its historical importance in Ka'apor society, seems to
have provoked a nomenclatural dichotomy between
traditional plant domesticates and undomesticated plants
in Ka'apor ethnobotany. From a linguistic point of view,
traditional domesticates are in a kingdom by themselves.

Notes:
' I use the phonemicization of Ka'apor speech as given in
Kakumasu (1986: 399), with minor changes in orthographic
symbols, throughout. Stress in Ka'apor is not indicated; since
primarystress almost always falls onthe finalsyllable (Kakumasu
1986: 401).
2 The bound suffix't which occurs in all three expressions may
be glossed as "organism of erect woody habit," though it is not
coterminous, for both syntactic and semantic reasons, with the
free morpheme mira ('tree'). Mira is more polysemous, refer-
ring not only to'tree' in a conventional sense, but to 'wood' and
woody products, such as 'stick,' 'pole,' and the like. The suffix
'i is affixed only in the denotation of an entire botanical
organism or of its stem alone. (see Balee 1989).


References Cited

Bal6e, W.
1988 The Ka'apor Indian wars of lower Amazonia, ca.
1825-1928. In R. Randolph, M. Diaz, and D.
Schneider (eds.), Dialectics and gender, 155-169.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

1989 Nomenclatural patterns in Ka'apor ethnobotany.
Journal of Ethnobiology9(1): 1-24.

Berlin, B.
1976 The concept of rank in ethnobiological classifica-
tion: Some evidence from Aguaruna folk botany.
American Ethnologist3:381-399.

Berlin, B., D. E. Breedlove, and P. H. Raven
1973 General principles of classification and nomencla-
ture in folk biology. American Anthropologist
75(1):214-242.

1974 Principles ofTzeltzalplant classification. New
York: Academic Press.











60 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Brown, C. H.
1977 Folk botanical life-forms: Their universality and
growth. AmericanAnthropologist79:317-342.

Clastres, P.
1968 Ethnographie des Indiens Guayaki (Paraguay-
Bresil). Journal de la Socidt des Americanistes.
57:9-61.

Gilmour,J. S. L
1961 Taxonomy. In A. M. MacLeod and L. S. Cobley
(eds.), Contemporary Botanical Thought, 27-45.
Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.

Grenand, P.
1980 Introduction a '&tude de l'univers WayApi. Langues
et Civilisations a Tradition Orale, 40. Paris: SELAF.

Grenand, P., C. Moretti, and H. Jacquemin
1987 Pharmacopees traditionelles en Guyane. Collection
MWmoires n. 108. Paris: ORSTOM.

Holanda Ferriera, A. B. de
n. d. Novo Dicion4rio da Lingua Portuguesa Rio de
Janeiro: Editora Nova Fronteira.

Hunn, E.
1982 The utilitarian factor in folk biological classification.
AmericanAnthropologist84(4):830-847.

Kozik, V., D. Baxter, L. Williamson, and R. L. Carneiro
1979 The Hetl Indians: Fish in a dry pond. Anthropologi-
calPapers of the American Museum of Natural
History55(6):351-434.

Kakumasu,J.
1986 Urubu-Ka'apor. In D. C. Derbyshire and G. K.
Pullum (eds.), Handbook ofAmazonian lan-
guages, 326-403. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Lemle, M.
1971 Internal classification of the Tupi-Guarani linguistic
family. In D. Bendor-Samuel (ed.), Tupi studies I,
107-129. Norman, OK: Summer Institute of
Linguistics.

Migliazza, E.C.
1982 Linguistic prehistory and the refuge model in
Amazonia. In G.T. Prance(ed.), BiologicalDiversi-
fication in the Tropics, 497-519. Columbia Univer-
sity Press.

Moretti, C. and P. Grenand
1982 Les nivrdes ou plants ichtyotoxiques de la Guyane
Francaisde. Journal ofEthnopharmacology 6:139-
160.

Pickersgill, B.
1976 Pineapple, Ananas comosus (Bromeliaceae). InN.
S. Simmonds(ed.), Evolution ofCrop Plants 15-18.
London: Longman.


Ribeiro, D.
1970 Os Indios ea Civilizagdo. Rio de Janeiro: Civili-
zacdo Brasileira.

Sapir, E.
1949 Time perspective in aboriginal American culture: A
study in method. In D. Mandelbaum, (ed), Selected
writings ofEdward Sapir, 389-462. Berkely: Univer-
sity of California Press.

Willis,J. C.
1985 A Dictionary of tbeFlowering Plants and Fems, 8th
ed. Revised by H. K. Airy Shaw. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.




Acknowledgements

This paper is dedicated to Professor Charles
Wagley, who generously guided me in undergradu-
ate honors research in anthropology at UF and who
first suggested that I work with the Ka'apor. I hope
this paper proves worthy of Chuck's excellent advice
over the years.










Special Publication, No.6,1990


~~5 '.'~

~r




., ~ -f-i~, .= .~
*, -


Tapirapd shaman in trance, Central Brazil, 1939. UFArchives


.-2


.~

21-:.


~uC; ~














SIONA SECOYA AND INCA RELIGIONS:
A COMPARISON OF SACRED SYSTEMS IN THE AMAZON AND THE ANDES


WHIUAM VICKERS
Florida International University


Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to investigate similarities
and differences in the religions of two South American
Indian societies, the Siona-Secoya of the northwest
Amazon Basin and the Inca of the Andean highlands. At
first this match of cultures appears incongruous, for the
Inca represent the highest level of social and political
developmentin native SouthAmerica, whereas theSiona-
Secoya are a tropical forest people with village-level
organization. Yet, the Siona-Secoya and Inca religions
have remarkable similarities, as well as notable differ-
ences. The goal here is to bring these similarities and
differences into focus so that they may be explained in
theoretical terms. As is necessary in comparative analy-
ses, emphasis will be given to selected traits or character-
istics. Some anthropologists object to such comparisons
because they feel features cannot be extracted from their
cultural and symbolic totalities. I take the opposing view
that cross-cultural comparison and explanation are es-
sential anthropological activities, and that anthropolo-
gists must develop theories to account for cultural simi-
larities and differences (cf. Harris 1968, 1979).
The data to be presented on the Siona-Secoya were
collected in several periods of fieldwork conductedsince
1972. Information on the Inca is drawn from published
sources. Fortunately, Inca culture has captured the atten-
tion of many historians and anthropologists, and there is
general agreement on the outlines of their religious
system. This paper will show that Siona-Secoya religion
is essentially naturalistic and animistic, and has an egali-
tarian structure. Inca religion also has a naturalistic and
animistic orientation, and many of its concepts parallel
those of the Siona-Secoya. These similarities in the two
religions probably derive from common origins in an-
cientAmerindian traditions (cf. Mason 1957:211), aswell
as occasional contacts and sharing of ideas between
highland and lowland peoples. Numerous similarities in
native myths and religious elements exist throughout
South America, although changes in content, emphasis,
and complexity have occurred as populations spread
and diverged (cf. M6traux 1949; Roe 1982; Weiss 1969).
Inca religion is more complex than that of the Siona-
Secoya in its bureaucratic organization, ceremonial cycle,
religious architecture, and veneration of the dynastic
rulers of the Inca elite. These major religious differences
reflect the greater social, political, and economic com-


plexities of the Inca state. Hence, the explanatory ap-
proach in this paper is based on the theoretical models of
cultural evolution and adaptation to the material condi-
tions of existence.

The Siona-Secoya

The Siona and Secoya Indians of Ecuador, Peru, and
Colombia are lowland tropical people who live in scat-
tered and impermanent settlements, and have no politi-
cal organization beyond that of the household and vil-
lage. Theybelong to the western branch of the Tukanoan
language family and, when first contacted by Spanish
explorers and missionaries, were referred to as the
Encabellado (Vickers 1976; Steward 1948). The Siona-
Secoya economy is based on shifting horticulture, hunt-
ing, fishing, and collecting. Siona-Secoya religion is ani-
mistic, for the people believe that manyspirits inhabit the
earth, rivers, trees, animals, and celestial bodies. The
actions of these spirits account for a wide range of
phenomena, including the movements of the sun, moon
and stars, the weather, the abundance or lack of game,
and human well-being, illness and death. Spirits have
certain powers, but exercise them in an amoral manner.
Acts by spirits may affect people in "good" or "bad" ways,
and may be intentional or unintentional. Humans may
attempt to influence the actions of some spirits via
specific ritual or magical acts.
Such animistic belief systems are found worldwide
and constitute a fundamental religious type that was first
defined by the great 19th-century anthropologist Edward
Tylor (1871). They are typically associated with simpler
foraging and horticultural societies that have egalitarian
social structures. Division of labor is based on age and
sex, rather than differences of economic or political
status. Leadership is weakly developed and limited to a
band or village headman who exercises personal influ-
ence rather than authority. The religious practitioner is a
part-time shaman or medicine man who performs cere-
monies to contact and influence the numerous spirits
who populate the universe (cf. Mallol de Recasens 1964-
65; Wagley 1943). He may also be viewed as a sorcerer by
those who feel his actions are harmful.
Among the Siona and Secoya, the simple shaman or
medicine man is known as yahe unkuki or "drinker of
yah" (yabeis the native term for vines of the genus
Banisteriopsis, these contain a number of psychoactive









64 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


alkaloid compounds [Schultes and Hofmann 1980D. The
Siona-Secoya prepare a hallucinogenic Banisteriopsis
potion that is consumed in their most important religious
event, the yahe'ceremony. Yaheserves as the medium
through which individuals experience the spirit world.
People of both sexes and most ages (except infants)
partake of the yabh potion at these ceremonies. The
shaman who leads the rite is an adult male who has
successfully completed a demanding apprenticeship,
and who has shown himself capable of mastering the
complexities of the ritual performance, including the
singing of songs in a special shamanic dialect, the ability
to maintain lucidity and self-control while under the
influence of the hallucinogen, and the ability to see and
interpret the yaheinduced visions and experiences to
his group.
While under the influence of yahe, the spirit of the
shaman may depart his body and "fly" to the various
realms of the universe (soul flight), or spirits may enter
his body and assume control of his actions (spirit posses-
sion). During these periods the shaman enters into
communication with the spirits and may seek their assis-
tance in diagnosing and curing illness, locating game, or
in influencing the weather. He may also employ spirit
helpers to punish any sorcerer who sends illness to his
community.
The only status in Siona-Secoya society that ranks
above the shaman is that of the intiba'ii, or headman-
shaman. The intiba'ikis the most respected and influen-
tial shaman in a given settlement or section of a river. Not
all shamans are intiba'iki, but all intiba'ik are shamans.
Like shamans, the intiba'ik leads by influence rather
than authority. He must also garden, hunt, and fish to
support his family. The title of intiba'iki is bestowed on
an individual when there is a consensus that he is the
most able and knowledgeable shaman. Hence it is an
achieved status rather than an inherited one.
The Siona-Secoya universe is layered (cf. Cipolletti
1985; Langdon 1974), with a heavenly realm (matlmo),
and earthly realm (yiha), and an underworld (yihdwe'e'
wiu. The creation myth features the culture hero Baina,
and his deeds account for the elements of the universe,
as well as the emergence of human beings from the
underworld to the earthly realm. Siona-Secoya belief is
one variation on a set of religious themes that has wide
distribution throughout South America (MWraux 1949;
Reichel-Dolmatoff 1971; Roe 1982; Weiss 1969).

The Inca

The Inca Empire was the dominant polity in western
South America at the time of the Spanish Conquest, and
represented the last in a long series of Andean states
whose economies were based on intensive agriculture
(Bennett and Bird 1964; Lanning 1967; Mason 1957). The
development of agricultural techniques began around
2500 B.C., and was the key to the increasing population
growth and sedentism in Peru by 1500 B.C. By 200 B.C.,
the Moche culture of Peru's north coast demonstrated
traits of civilization such as occupational specialization,
social stratification, bureaucracy, monumental architec-


ture, and public works.
By the beginning of the 16th century, the Incas had
achieved a vast empire that stretched along the Andes
and Pacific coast from southern Colombia to northern
Chile (Lumbreras 1974; Rowe 1946). This empire was
built through military conquest and political coercion,
and made many neighboring peoples subjects of the Inca
realm. It was ruled by a complex bureaucratic apparatus
at the command of a royal elite. Inca society had occupa-
tional specializations and a hierarchical social structure.
The economy was based on agriculture in the intermon-
tane valleys of the Andes and the river valleys of the
Pacific coast. Cultivation was intensified by highly so-
phisticated terracing and irrigation systems, and the
system fed a dense and settled population.
Inca religion and cosmology were based on a natu-
ralistic interpretation of the universe (Mason 1957:206-
211; Rowe 1946:293-298). The Inca believed in a variety
of natural spirits or forces, including the sun (Int), moon
(Killa), earth (Paca mama), thunder (Ilyap'a), stars
(Koyllur), and specific constellations, such as Qaga, or
the Pleiades (Rowe 1946). The sun, Inti, received great
emphasis in Inca culture as the "giver of life," but the Inca
were not monotheistic.
The Inca universe was stratified into layers or do-
mains. These included the heavenly realm (HanaqPaca),
earth (Mama Paca), and the underworld (Okho Paca).
The Inca creation myth featured Viracocha, a culture
hero whose deeds accounted for the nature of the known
world. Day-to-day events were interpreted as the result
of various natural forces and spirits (Sopay).
Inca religious practitioners reflected the society's
occupational specialization, social stratification, and
bureaucratic tendencies. As in simpler societies like the
Siona-Secoya, there were local shamans who practiced
curing, divination, sorcery, and communicated with
spirits. But such shamans represented only the lowest
level of the state's religious hierarchy (Rowe 1946:298-
300). At the head of this hierarchy was the high priest
(Wilya Oma), who was usually a close kinsman of the
ruling Inca. The high priest was served by a council of
priests who were of the high-ranking Tarpuntary ayllu.
Next were the priests who attended the major state-
supported temples and shrines. These state-supported
priests, unlike simple shamans, were full-time specialists
who were freed of everyday labor obligations. The re-
sources to support this priestly class came from peasant
farming communities throughout the empire, which
cultivated a portion of their lands for the benefit of the
state religion.
The domestic needs of the priests were attended to
by the Mama Cuna and Aclla Cuna, who were their
female auxiliaries (Rowe 1946). These women performed
housekeeping functions in the temples, prepared food
for the priests, and wove fine garments. The Mama Cuna
were a permanent group, whereas the Aclla Cuna were
temporarily recruited from peasant communities.
Just as secular architecture and public works became
elaborate under the Inca state, so did religious architec-
ture. The foremost shrine was the Qori Kancha ("Build-
ing of Gold") in the Inca capital of Cuzco. This was a








Special Publication, No.6,1990


walled compound containing a number of temples or
shrines within. The following description of the Qort
Kancha by William Prescott (1936:780-781) is based on
accounts from Francisco Pizarro's expedition:

The interior of the temple was the most worthy
of admiration. ... On the westem wall was embla-
zoned a representation of the [sun] deity,... looking
forth from amidst innumerable rays of light, which
emanatedfrom it in every direction ... The figure was
engraved on a massive plate of gold ... It was so
situated in front of the great eastern portal, that the
rays of the morning sun fell directly upon it at its
rising, lighting up the whole apartment with an efful-
gence that seemed more than natural, and which was
reflected back from the golden ornaments with which
the walls and ceiling were everywhere encrusted.

Although the Qori Kancha is commonly referred to
as "The Temple of the Sun," it was also a repository of
sacred artifacts representing many elements of Inca
cosmology:

Adjoining the principal structure were several
chapels of smaller dimensions. One ofthem wascon-
secrated to the Moon, the deity held next in rever-
ence, as the mother of the Incas. Her effigy was
delineated in the same manner as that of the Sun, on
a vast plate ... But... of silver, as suited to the pale
silvery light of the beautiful planet. There were ...
other chapels... to the host of Stars... the Thunder
andthe Lightning... and.. the Rainbow... (Prescott
1936:781).

Hence, the Qort Kancha reflected the naturalistic and
animistic foundations of Inca thought, and was not a
temple dedicated to a single "deity."
The temple also contained the mummified bodies of
past Inca rulers who were venerated as divine mon-
arches. These mummies were paraded through the streets
of Cuzco during important religious festivals (Bennett
and Bird 1964:175). The Qort Kancha was looted by the
Spanish in 1533, and they subsequently constructed the
Convent of Santo Domingo on the same site.
Other Inca temples and holy sites (huacas) were
also attended by priests. Some were shrines that had
been important before the Inca expansion, such as the
temple of the Oracle of Pachacamac on the central coast.
The Inca incorporated many cultural groups into their
empire, and this process had religious as well as social
and economic dimensions. The Incas demonstrated
respect for the religious beliefs of new subjects because
many of the beliefs were shared ones.
Inca ceremonials were numerous and were often
linked to the agricultural cycle. Special rites also focused
on drought and other natural disasters, the life cycle, and
the ruling dynasty. Among the annual rites were the
following (Rowe 1946:308-311):


Waracikoy
(month of Qhapaq Raymi; December)
A ceremony to the sun and other spirits; it in-
cluded a puberty rite foryouths of the royal line-
age; agricultural products for the church and
state were brought in from the provinces.

Hato fPoqoy
("great ripening"; February)
Sacrifices were made to the sun for favor on the
crops.

Aymoray orHatof Koski
("great cultivation"; May)
Maize harvest festival; sacrifices made to the
sun.


Cawawarkis
(July)
Sacrifices made to the huacaofTocari, the spirit
of the irrigation system.

Yapakis
(August)
New maize crop sown in sacred field; sacrifices
made to the spirits of the air, frost, water, and
sun.

K'antaray
(October)
Festival for the well-being of the crops; a rain
ceremony was performed in times of drought

These festivals demonstrate the close articulation be-
tween Inca ceremonial life and agriculture, and the pre-
occupation with natural elements and forces that could
benefit or harm the agricultural production that was their
economic foundation.


Some Comparisons of the Two Religions

CULTURE HEROES AND CREATION MYTHS
The Siona-Secoya and Inca differ in language and
cultural complexity, buttheirbelief systems are remarka-
bly parallel. Their creation myths have many similar
elements and themes. The Siona-Secoya culture hero
Baina ("With the People") walked upon the earth and
transformed it with flood, fire, and other magical inter-
ventions until it became the rivers and forests of the
present world. Baina went unrecognized by earthly
beings because he was "ugly and covered with fungus"
(Vickers 1976:148). He faced antagonists during his trav-
els, but always bested and punished them in wondrous
ways. The Siona-Secoya originated as monkey-like beings
with tails, who emerged from a hole in the earth. They
became fully human when Baina retired to the great
heavenly river Umesiaya ("Burning Rope River").
Ilya Tiqsi WiraqocaPacayacaciq("Ancient Founda-
tion, Lord, Instructor of the World") or Viracocha, the









66 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Inca culture hero, likewise traversed the earth and
employed flood, fire, and magical acts to transform it
(Rowe 1946:315-318). He made living giants from stone
and then subdued them and changed them into monu-
ments when they displeased him. The people of the earth
did not recognize him because he appeared as an old
man carrying a staff. He made people from clay and sent
them underground. Later they emerged from caves as the
Inca people. After the earth was transformed into the
familiar mountains, hills, and valleys of theAndes, Vira-
cocha retired across the Pacific Ocean. Hence, both the
Siona-Secoya and the Inca trace their origins to the inter-
ventions of their respective culture heroes, and both
accounts involve the emergence of newly formed hu-
mans from the earth (cf. MWtraux 1949:559-563).

SPIrr BEINGS
Siona-Secoyabeliefs conceringotherspiritual beings
also reveal similarities of thought. Mubhi, the Siona-
Secoya spirit of thunder, is a male figure who carries a
machete. When he is angry at his wife he swings the
machete with such force that thunderclaps are created.
Lightning is the flashing reflection of light from the blade.
For the Inca, thunder was Ilyap'a, who carried a war club
and sling. In Rowe's (1946:295) account, "The thunder
was the crack of his sling, the lightning the flash of his
garments as he turned, and the lightning bolt was his
slingstone."
Beliefs concerning the stars, constellations, lunar
eclipses, the rainbow, and miscellaneous spirits are also
similar. For the Siona-Secoya, a lunar eclipse occurs
when the moon is eaten by a jaguar (the largest feline of
the tropical forest). For the Inca, the moon was being
eaten by a puma (the largest feline of the Andes), or a
serpent. And in both societies, the celestial movements
of the constellation Pleiades (Usebo balffor the Siona-
Secoya, Qaga for the Inca) are associated with the culti-
vation cycle.

DISEASES AND CURING
Both the Siona-Secoya and Inca believed that the
causes of most diseases are supernatural. Illness could be
caused by the evil spirits sent by a sorcerer, or by coming
into contactwith a powerful spirit. Both employed curers
who used divination, massage, sucking, and herbal
remedies in the treatment of patients. Among the Inca,
medical experts were known as hamp'i kamayoq, divin-
ers as huatuysapa, and sorcerers as omo (Rowe
1946:292,312-314). Siona-Secoya curers and diviners are
yaheunkukf, and sorcerers dawf These aspects of medi-
cal theory and practice are almost universal in Amerin-
dian societies, and suggest ancient and shared origins
that may date to the "Paleoindian" period when nomadic
hunters and gatherers first populated South America.

Some Major Divergences

The major differences in the Siona-Secoya and Inca
religions relate to the latter's social complexity. These
include the stratification of the priestly bureaucracy, the
incorporation of dynastic content into myths and rituals,


emphasis on attitudes of reverence, and supplication,
human and animal sacrifice, concepts of sin, confession,
and penance, elaboration of religious architecture, and a
more complex ritual cycle. Such features can be under-
stood in terms of the evolutionary trends of Andean
civilization prior to the Spanish Conquest. By the Late
Horizon (A.D. 1476), the dominant political form was the
state, whose ruling elites consolidated their positions by
military, legal, and religious means. The rule by elites was
justified by oral traditions that proclaimed the divine
origins of the royal dynasties. As discussed earlier, the
mummies of Inca rulers were housed in the most sacred
temple and were displayed to the populace during
important rituals.
The existence of the state diminishes the individual
freedoms of its common citizens, who are subject to its
laws and enforcement agencies, including the state reli-
gious apparatus. Individuals who are members of egali-
tarian societies have far fewer constraints on their per-
sonal autonomy. The perceived power of spirits and
deities is also related to such social and political condi-
tions. In egalitarian societies, where socioeconomic power
is diffuse, the people believe in a variety of spirits whose
power is likewise diffuse. In state societies, were power
and wealth are concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite,
the people are taught to believe in stronger spirits or
gods, or even one, all-powerful god. The great Inca
emphasis on Inti, the sun deity, demonstrates this ten-
dency.
The demands for reverence, supplication, sacrifice,
confession, and penance become more evident in state
religions '(Bennett and Bird 1964:173-177; Rowe
1946:299). The Inca statuses of fchorf ("confessor") and
kal'pa rikoq("diviner of the lungs of sacrificed animals")
have no equivalents in Siona-Secoya society. Inca spirits
could punish individuals for offenses against the state via
misfortune to oneself or one's family. Commoners con-
fessed their misdeeds to priests, while the Inca elite
confessed only to the sun deity. Penance involved fast-
ing, praying, and washing in streams. Spirits and gods
were to be respected and appeased, for they had great
power, as did the state itself. The priestly class, as the
servants of these powerful spirits and the state, inter-
preted these "truths" to the common people, and at-
tended to their "spiritual needs" by performing appropri-
ate rituals and ceremonies. The Inca High Priest and
Council of Priests supported the ruling Inca elite. Their
lavish rituals and elaborate temple architecture impressed
the citizenry with the power of the Inca spirits and deities,
the power of the Inca state, and the divinity of the Inca
rulers. Incontrast, theyahebwl'("Banisteriopsishouse"),
the only religious architecture of the Siona-Secoya, is a
modest thatched structure, and the yahe ceremony is a
simple and communal ritual.
Another divergence in Siona-Secoya and Inca reli-
gion is the comparatively greater emphasis that the latter
gave to sacred places, objects, or natural features of the
landscape (buacas). These were revered, and were
sometimes attended by priests. The Siona-Secoya recog-
nize certain locations as the sites of supernatural events
in mythical times, but do not attach feelings of great








Special Publication, No.6,1990


reverence to them. The Siona-Secoya move about fre-
quently because their economy is based on shifting
cultivation and foraging. Hence they do not invest great
effort in a single location. Inca communities, in contrast,
were composed of sedentary farmers who spent genera-
tions in particular locales and invested heavily in their
lands (e.g., in the building of agricultural terraces and
irrigation systems). Hence, they had strong associations
with specific mountains, rivers, and other environmental
features, all of which were believed to have resident
spirits. Further, the Inca were more anxious about the
environmental hazards that threatened their agricultural
economy (e.g., droughts, earthquakes, frost, and hail).
Given these conditions of sedentism and absolute de-
pendence on agriculture, a reverential attitude towards
local places and spiritual forces becomes intelligible.
A final divergent aspect of Siona-Secoya and Inca
religion is the former's emphasis on the ritual use of the
hallucinogenic Banistertopsisvine. Banisteriopsisuse is
a phenomenon of the native cultures of the northwest
Amazon, where plants of this genus grow in a wild state
and are also cultivated (Harner 1973; Reichel-Dolmatoff
1975; Vickers and Plowman 1984). Native peoples in
some parts of the South American lowlands use other
hallucinogens (e.g., the Yanomam6 use of a snuff pre-
pared from the bark of Justicia or Virola [Schultes and
Hofmann 1980:125,307D, or may use tobacco (Nicotiana
tabacum) as the principal ritual plant (e.g., the TapirapE
of central Brazil [Wagley 1977D. The Inca, in contrast,
employed Erythroxylum coca in divination rituals and
included it in offerings to the spirits.

THE IMPACT OF WESTERN RELIGIONS ON NATIVE BELIEFS
The Spanish Conquest instituted Catholicism as the
new state religion for western South America, but the
impact of this new religion varied with the degree of
Spanish penetration and domination in various regions.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the major loci of
Spanish activity and settlement were in the Andes and
along the Pacific coast, or precisely those areas that had
been under the dominion of the Inca Empire. Inca
religion and Catholicism shared some structural similari-
ties; both were state religions with priestly hierarchies,
female auxiliaries, and monumental religious architec-
ture, and they both demanded tribute. But Catholicism's
monotheism was very different from the multitude of
Inca spirits and huacas.
The Spanish baptized many Andean Indians during
the Conquest and early colonial periods, but often with-
out adequate doctrinal instruction (Kubler 1946:395).
Such baptisms did little to change the patterns of native
religious thought. The basic tenets of native religion
survived in the 17th century, and priests like Father
Arriaga (Kubler 1946:396) were propounding the key
points of Catholicism that were seen as necessary for the
"true conversion" of the Indians (the existence of one
true God, the creation of the Universe by this God, and
the presence of Satan in the "idols" of Indian worship).
Seventeenth-century Quechua religion still included
such Andean elements as the adoration of the sun,
huacas, mummies, guinea pig sacrifices, sorcery and


shamanic curing, and agricultural festivals such as Inti
Raymi and Amoray. Some native rituals incorporated
Christian elements (e.g., kneeling before the cross, and
the sprinkling of holy water), but Christ and the saints
were often viewed as little more than new huacas (Kul-
ber 1946:396-403). The Church responded by instituting
instructional programs for Indian children, removing
shamans from native communities, and destroying the
religious artifacts of the Indians.
By the end of the 17th century, the Church declared
that idolatry had been extirpated in Peru, although
"ignorant" Indians still harbored many "superstitions"
and "vain observances." In those communities served by
priests, the establishment of the cofradia system of
religious modalities facilitated the catechization of Indi-
ans and familiarized them with the Catholic ceremonial
cycle and its rituals and paraphernalia. Regardless, many
elements of native religion survived and even threatened
the Spanish presence during periods of Indian messianic
revival. Today, the folk religion of Andean Indians still
preserves many ancient beliefs and practices (Bastien
1978; Isbell 1978; Mishkin 1946). Among these are the
continuing beliefs in spirits of the sun, thunder, and
huacas, practitioners such as sorcerers and diviners,
guinea pig sacrifices, amulets and love potions, and
fertility rites for domesticated animals and fields.
In the remote Amazonian region inhabited by the
EncabeUado there were sporadic contacts with Francis-
can andJesuit missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries,
but the mission outposts declined and left no lasting
impact on the native belief system (Vickers 1981, 1983).
The primary legacy of these early missions was the
introduction of diseases that decimated the Encabellado
population. Few Spanish entered the region because
they preferred the temperate Andean valleys where they
could exploit native labor for mining, weaving, the
cultivation of wheat and barley, and the raising of horses,
cattle, pigs, and sheep.
In the mid-1950s, the Siona-Secoya became hosts to
a family who were members of the Summer Institute of
Linguistics (SIL), a Protestant missionary organization
(Hvlakof and Aaby 1981; Stoll 1982). The SIL employed
modern technology such as aircraft and radio communi-
cations to overcome the physical barriers of the Andes
and the lowlands. Thus, the confrontation between dif-
ferent religious ideologies was recently revived. Several
hundred of the Siona-Secoya in Ecuador now declare
themselves to be creyentes ("believers") in the Protestant
mold, but a like number reject the missionary message
(Vickers 1981). Like the colonial Quechua, most Siona-
Secoya incorporate some Christian elements into their
religious thinking, while still holding to their ancient
animistic beliefs. Even the most dedicated of the new
"Christians" still express fears of sorcery and forest
demons. And the few shamanswho continue the Banis-
teriopsis ceremonies sometimes equateJesus Christwith
the culture hero Baina.










68 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


Conclusion

While the Siona-Secoya and Inca represent different
levels of sociocultural complexity and integration, it is
possible to analyze their religious expressions within a
comparative theoretical framework. The similarities and
differences in the religions, as well as the post-Conquest
influences upon them, are best explained by the theories
of cultural evolution and materialism. Animistic beliefs
such as those of the Siona-Secoya represent the most
fundamental of human attempts to bring comprehension
to the physical universe. The multiplicity of free-willed
spirits and absence of formal religious organization mirror
the egalitarian structures of band and village-level socie-
ties practicing subsistence economies.
The animistic beliefs in Inca religionsuggest obvious
links to ancient Amerindian traditions. But by 900 B.C.,
Andean agriculture had become sufficiently productive
to support the denser populations that gave rise to
occupational specialization and class stratification. The
temples of Chavin de Huantar dearly illustrate the dose
association between developing civilizations and the
elaboration of religious architecture and iconography.
By A.D. 600, Andean religion received even greater
elaboration in the Tiahuanaco civilization, and the pat-
tern of complex, stratified societies supported by inten-
sive agriculture was firmly established throughout the
central Andes. Finally, the 15th-century conquests of the
Inca integrated whole regions into a single imperial
system. The power, ranking, and wealth inherent in Inca
society were reflected in the bureaucratic apparatus of
the state religion, the veneration of divine monarches,
and the elaborate architecture and furnishings of the
temples.
Missionary religions, in turn, are ideological compo-
nents of conquest colonialism, and, more recently,
"development." The Spanish succeeded in destroying
the Inca state and in imposing a colonial orderwith a new
state religion. Still, the animistic spirits of ancient Amer-
indian traditions persist in Andean folk religion. Ama-
zonian lands were less desirable, so people like the
Siona-Secoya did not suffer immediate expropriation of
their lands. Disease thinned their numbers, but the survi-
vors continued their animistic beliefs. Modem technol-
ogy has now opened Amazonian development in ear-
nest, so once again missionaries go forth to capture men's
"minds."


References Cited

Bastien,J.W.
1978 Mountain of the Condor Metaphor and Ritual in
an Andean Ayllu. St. Paul, Minnesota: West
Publishing Co.

Bennett, W.C., andJ.B. Bird
1964 Andean Culture History Garden City, New York:
The Natural History Press.


Cipolletti, M.S.
1985 La concepci6n del cosmos de un shaman Secoya
(Amazonia ecuatoriana). Revista Espanola de
Antropologia Americana 15:305-322.

Harer, M.J. (ed.)
1973 Halucinogens and Shamanism London, Oxford,
and New York: Oxford University Press.

Harris, M.
1968 The Rise ofAnthropological Theory: A History of
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1979 Cultural Materialism. The Struggle for a Science of
Culture. New York: Random House.

Hvlakof, S., and P. Aaby (eds.)
1981 Is God an American?An Antbropological Perspec-
tive on the Missionary Work of the Summer
Institute ofLinguistics Copenhagen and London:
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
and Survival International.

Isbell, B.J.
1978 To Defend Ourselves: Ecology and Ritual in an
Andean Village. Austin: The University of Texas
Press.

Kubler, G.
1946 The Quechua in the Colonial World. In Handbook
of South American Indians, Vol. If, The Andean
Civilizations. J.H. Steward, ed. pp. 331-410.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Langdon, EJ.M.
1974 The Siona Medical System: Beliefs and Behavior.
Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology,
Tulane University.

Planning, E.P.
1967 Peru Before the Incas. Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Lumbreras, L.G.
1974 The Peoples and Places ofAncient Peru. Washing-
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M. de Recasens, M. Rosa, andJ. de Recasens T.
1964-65 Contribuci6n al conocimiento del cacique
curaca entire los Siona. Revista Colombiana de
Antropologia 13:91-145.

Mason, J.A.
1957 The Ancient Civilizations ofPeru. New York:
Penguin Books.

M&traux, A.
1949 Religion and Shamanism. In Handbook ofSouth
American Indians, Vol. V, The Comparative
Anthropology of South American Indians.
J.H.Steward, ed. pp. 559-599. Washington, DC: U.S.
Government Printing Office.










Special Publication, No.6,1990 69


Mishkin, B.
1946 The Contemporary Quechua. In Handbook of
South American Indians, Vol. II, The Andean Civi-
lizations. J.H. Steward, ed. pp.411-470. Washing-
ton, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Prescott, W.H.
1936 History of the Conquest ofMexico and the Con-
quest ofPeru. New York: The Modem Library.

Reichel-Dolmatoff, G.
1971 Amazonian Cosmos. The Sexual and Religious
Symbolism of the Tukano Indians Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press.

1975 The Shaman and the Jaguar A Study of Narcotic
Drugs Among the Indians of Colombia. Philadel-
phia: Temple University Press.

Roe, P.G.
1982 The Cosmic Zygote: Cosmology in the Amazon
Basin. New Brunswick, NewJersey: Rutgers
University Press.

Rowe, J.H.
1946 Inca Culture at the Time of the Spanish Conquest.
In Handbook of South American Indians, Vol. II,
The Andean Civilizations. J.H. Steward, ed. pp. 183-
330. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office.

Schultes, R.E., and A. Hofmann
1980 The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens, 2nd
edSpringfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas,
Publisher.

Steward,J.H.
1948 Western Tucanoan Tribes. In Handbook ofSouth
American Indians, Vol. 1I, The Tropical Forest
Tribes. J.H.Steward, ed. pp. 737-748. Washington,
DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Stoll, D.
1982 Fishers of Men orFounders of Empire? The Wycliffe
Bible Translators in Latin America London: Zed
Press.

Tylor, E.B.
1871 Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development
ofMythology, Philosophy, Religion, Language, Art,
and Custom. London: J. Murray.

Vickers, W.T.
1976 CulturalAdaptation to Amazonian Habitats. The
Siona-Secoya ofEastern Ecuador Ph.D. disserta-
tion, Department of Anthropology, University of
Florida.

1981 Ideation as Adaptation: Traditional Belief and
Modem Intervention in Siona-Secoya Religion. In
Cultural Transformations and Ethnicity in Modern
Ecuador. N.E. Whitten, Jr., ed. pp. 705-730. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press.


1983 The Territorial Dimensions of Siona-Secoya and
Encabellado Adaptation. In Adaptive Responses of
Native Amazonians R.B. Hames and W.T. Vickers,
eds. pp. 451-478. New York: Academic Press.

Vickers, W.T., and T. Plowman
1983 Useful Plants of the Siona and Secoya Indians of
Eastem Ecuador. Fieldiana Botany, New Series No.
15. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.

Wagley, C.
1943 Xamanismo Tapirap6. Boletim do Museu Nacional,
Antropologia No. 3. Rio de Janeiro.

1977 Welcome of Tears: The Tapirapd Indians of Central
Brazil New York: Oxford University Press.

Weiss, G.
1969 The Cosmology of the Campa Indians of Eastern
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ogy, University of Michigan.


Acknowledgments

On the occasion of this special issue of the Florida
Journal ofAnthropology in honor of Charles Wagley, I
would like to express my profound appreciation for
his support and encouragement throughout my
graduate education and career. Put simply, Charles
Wagley is one of the finest men that I have ever
known. Few can aspire to duplicate his brilliant
achievements, but I will always aspire to emulate his
love of learning and humaneness.
The Siona-Secoya fieldwork has been supported
by the Doherty Foundation, NMH (1Fil MH58552-01),
Cultural Survival, Inc., and the Florida International
University Foundation, Latin American and Caribbean
Center, and College of Arts and Sciences of Florida
International University. Host-country affiliations in
Ecuador were provided by the Instituto Nacional de
Antropologia e Historia and the Instituto Nacional de
Colonizaci6n de la Regi6n Amaz6nica Ecuatoriana.
The cooperation of the Siona-Secoya people was
essential. I thank them all.









Special Publication, No.6,1990


I


Tapirapeancbungas (masked dancers), Central Brazil, 1939. UFArcives
















KADO: THE BAKARI INDIAN MASK DANCE


DEBRA PIccm
Franklin Pierce College


Introduction

"In recent years, there has been an increasing inter-
est in the general processes of culture change resulting
from contacts between European and native peoples"
(Wagley 1940). So begins Charles Wagley's much studied
article about the effects of acculturation on the social
organization and ritual life of the Tapirape Indians of
Brazil. This article is now over forty-five years old and the
fieldwork on which it was based took place in 1939.
However, it continues to speak to behavioral scientists
and governmental officials who are committed to the
survival of plural societies and to the importance of
ethnic minorities and their cultural traditions.
The central issue remains the same. In most cases,
Western traditions all too frequently eclipse the cultures
of small indigenous societies when they come into con-
tinuous contact. Disease, depopulation, loss of lands, a
deluge of sophisticated technology, exploitation and
sometimes virtual enslavement combine to either radi-
cally alter the indigenous culture or to set the stage for its
disappearance. Yet, what Wagley calls recovery and
even expansion are alternative possibilities for non-
Western peoples. The Tenetehara Indians of northeast-
ern Brazil number about 2000 and retain a significant
portion of their culture even after 300 years of contact
with Europeans (Wagley 1951). Understanding the proc-
ess whereby cultures, or specific cultural traditions, ei-
ther survive the shock of contact or vanish is a practice
grounded in the work of Wagley and his generation of
anthropologists. We build on the foundation they care-
fully laid.
This paper investigates a specific cultural tradition
observed by the Bakairi Indians of central Brazil. Ritual
mask making and mask dancing have a long history
among these people. However, following extensive
contact with national Brazilians in the middle of this
century, the Indians allowed the tradition to lapse, and
their masks were almost forgotten. Between 1979 and
1981 I spent fourteen months in the Bakairi village
evaluating the impact of a mechanized agriculture proj-
ect on the Indians' culture. At that time, I noted with
surprise the dancing masks, which I thought had disap-
peared before the 1930s. I later discovered that National
Indian Foundation officials encouraged the Bakairi lead-
ers to resurrect the practice a short time before my study
began.


Mask making and mask dancing are important ritu-
als which relate to many aspects of Bakairi culture.
Contact with Brazilians over the last seventy years has
altered features of this tradition, but Western influence
has not transformed the essence of mask dancing, nor
has it diminished the power of the masks. Rather, these
rituals continue to function in the face of fierce competi-
tion with non-Indian ways. Although this tenacity dem-
onstrates the resilience of Bakairi culture, concern exists
that this practice may disappear again, this time forever.
This paper reviews the fragmented history of the masks
andgoes on to describe rituals associated with them in an
effort to understand their relation to the rest of Bakairi
culture. It concludes by evaluating their chances for
survival.

The Bakairi Indians and Their Masks

The Bakairi Indians are located in Mato Grosso, a
central Brazilian state. They total about 450 but are
divided between two reservations. Both groups cultivate
subsistence crops, such as manioc and rice, and rely on
fish as an important food source. They are Carib speak-
ers; however, relations with Brazilians encouraged them
to learn Portuguese. Many Bakairi men and several
women are now proficient in that language.
The Bakairi people have been associated with mask
rituals for some time; however, the history of mask
making and dancing is tangled. Explorers in contactwith
the Bakairi in the 1700s and early 1800s did not mention
them (Pires de Campos 1862, Rodrigues Torres 1738).
These men penetrated the interior of the South American
continent in search of slaves, gold and silver. Their
interest in indigenous people concerned the sizes of their
tribes and territories rather than their cultural traditions.
German and Brazilian ethnographers who visited the
area in the late 1800s and early 1900s provided more
details. Men such as von den Steinen (1940, 1942),
Ehrenreich (1929), Meyer (1897,1899), Schmidt (1947),
Hintermann (1925, 1926) and Dyott (1929, 1930) con-
tacted and wrote about the Bakairi. Their records indi-
cated that at first they lived in three different areas. One
group was located in the Alto Xingu culture area and was
relatively isolated. Two other groups residedsouth of the
Xingu headwaters on the Paranatinga and Nova Rivers.
By 1920 the Xinguano faction had moved to the Par-
anatinga River area as a result of depopulation and








74 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


conflict among the Alto Xingu groups. They never re-
turned to their former homeland.
Von den Steinen, Ehrenreich, and Schmidt men-
tioned the ritual masks in connection with theAlto Xingu
group, but not with the Paranatinga or Nova groups.
They described the masks as being large and decorated
with geometric designs of red and black. Male dancers
who used the masks also wore palm costumes that either
had sleeves for their arms or fell over their shoulders like
capes. The masks were stored in huts designated solely
for ritual purposes which women were forbidden to
enter. Von den Steinen suggested thattheMehinaku may
have made the masks and traded them for other artifacts
with neighbors such as the Bakairi and Nafuqua. Levi-
Strauss (1948) noted that the masks were no longer made
or used in the Alto Xingu culture area. Certainly, I saw no
evidence ofthemin 1977 during a brief stint of fieldwork
with the Nafuqua. However, Ireland (1987: personal
communication) saw ritual masks and costumes in the
early 1980s during her fieldwork with the Waura, another
Xinguano group.
Other researchers who followed explorers such as
von den Steinen and Schmidt visited the Bakairi on the
Paranatinga River. For example, Petrullo (1932) observed
that by 1930 the Indian population was decimated and
their culture in danger of disappearing. He did not
mention mask making. Oberg (1948, 1953) reported a
1948 visit to the Paranatinga village at which time he
interviewed Indians who had left the Xingu some 40
years previously. Although he discussed the masks, it
was in the past tense. It seemed they were no longer
made. One would conclude that the Bakairi left their
masks behind them when they left theAlto Xingu, except
for a report published in 1966 in a Brazilian academic
journal by an American missionary. This brief article
followed a visit to the Bakairi by James Wheatly who
worked with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. He
described how the Indians showed him a dance which
involved large painted masks. Wheatly may have ob-
served something which only sporadically appeared
because according to Indian Protection agents who
worked with the Bakairi through the 1960s and 1970s,
and according to the Bakairi themselves, the Indians did
not resurrect the masks until after 1975 (Fundacio
Nacional do Indio 1979).
The history of the masks is unclear, but their mean-
ing is even harder to interact Some researchers such as
Ehrenreich (1929) concluded that the masks lost their
symbolic and sacred identify before the Indians were
contacted by Westerners. They no longer had any real
meaning, even in the late nineteenth century. Others,
such as von den Steinen (1940, 1942) and Levi-Strauss
(1948), stated that the masks were associated with fish
and birds and that they danced in honor of these animals.
Still other groups of researchers, such as Oberg (1948,
1953) proposed they were guardian spirits of the fish and
birds who were responsible for the proliferation of the
animals. Finally, anthropologists such as Krause (1960)
and Galvio (1953) discussed the masks as markers that
distinguished the Singuan culture area from others around
it.


Although we may never conclusively know the his-
tory of the Bakairi masks, we can describe them and try
to understand them as they are today. The masks are
large and either oval shaped or rectangular. They are
made of wood or tree bark and are decorated with black,
red and white colors. The masks are attached to palm
costumes which are made by the women. There are two
kinds of masks: kwamba and yakwigado. The former is
oval shaped and the latter is rectangular. Kwamba is a
trickster and a joker who races around the village annoy-
ing people. He represents agitation, frenzy and speed.
Yakwigado, on the other hand, is slow moving and
dignified. He is associated with solemnity, tranquility
and moderation.
The women are the "owners" of the masks. They
hand them down from generation to generation through
the female side of their kin they choose the men who
dance inside of their masks. The old women with the
help of older men, teach the boys the songs and chants
the masks sing. Men inside masks are sometimes allowed
to invent songs. They may sing about events that have
taken place or about love. Although they are ostensibly
required to be respectful, kwamba masks are allowed to
joke in an overt sexual fashion with women.
Once inside a mask a man temporarily adopts the
name and identity of its spirit. Name changing lends an
air of secrecy to the rites. Although almost everyone in
the village knows who is inside any given mask, people
avoid discussing this information publicly. In fact, if
asked point-blank, they deny anyone is inside of one.
This secrecy is not only related to identity, it is also an
expression of respect for the dangerous spirits inside the
masks who can injure or kill people. For example, one
man, while making a mask, discovered his wife was
pregnant He turned the project over to a friend rather
than risk causing his wife to miscarry. Female owners of
masks refuse to sleep in the same hut as a mask while it
is being prepared for a dancing season out of fear that the
spirit of the mask will rape them.
The masks are kept inside of the men's house, which
is located in the center of the village. This structure
continues to be built in the traditional Alto Xingu ellipti-
cal style, unlike the Indians' wattle-and-daub houses. It
is the focus of village politics, socializing and ritual
activity. Women are forbidden to approach or enter it.
Masks dance in the Bakairi village in the dry season,
or between the months of April and November. In April,
when the rains have stopped, the dancers take the masks
out of hiding and bring them to the men's house at night
when everyone is asleep. Each mask is dramatically
introduced to the people on the following day, when
they burst, one by one, out of the men's house and into
the plaza. When they have all made their debuts, they
form a line and dance around the village, visiting each
house. The dancing and singing continue into the night.
In November, the masks are put to sleep. In an all-night
ritual which cannot be observed by women, they dance
around the village and then down to the river where their
costumes are shredded and thrown into the water. Then
the masks are hidden away in such places as the rafters
of houses until the next year.








Special Publication, No.6,1990 75


The masks also perform ceremonies of a more rou-
tine nature. They generally dance on a daily basis both in
the morning and in the evening. They go to the houses of
their "owners" where they perform for five or ten minutes
and receive a package of fish or manioc which is later
shared with the other men who wait in the men's house.
Several times a season, the masks dance all night. This
generally occurs at moonless times. During these all-
night vigils, the masks dance from house to house sing-
ing in front of each one, rather than remaining inside their
"owners'" houses. Women are not allowed to attend
night rituals. In fact, they are forbidden even to look out
of their huts if a mask is singing in the area.

The Impact of Contact on Bakairi Mask Rituals

In addition to being rituals of great beauty, the mask
traditions are related to ecological, economic, social and
ideological aspects of Bakairi culture. They are dearly
important to the Indians' adaptation to their ecosystem.
For example, the faces on the masks represent animals
that are part of the every-day life of the village. The most
widespread type used for illustration is the fish. Abstract
expressions of various kinds of fish can be found on two-
thirds of all masks. The Bakairi illustrate fewer masks
with birds; terrestrial animals such as deer, capybara or
anteaters are not depicted at all.
An interesting connection may be drawn between
the Indian diet and the faces on the masks in that fish is
the most popular food for this population as well as its
main source of high-quality protein. They consume birds
and game but much less frequently. In placing the like-
nesses of important animals on masks, the Indians honor
those resources that are so important to theirsurvival and
celebrate their dependence on the natural world around
them.
Yet, the Bakairi world is changing. Encroaching
ranchers surround their tiny reservation and preclude the
frequent relocation of both gardens (necessary for suc-
cessful food production given theirslash-and-burn tech-
nology), and fishing waters (to prevent overexploitation
of specific areas). As a result, stress on available re-
sources in the reservation is evident. The Indians re-
spond to this pressure by working in the dry season as
manual laborers on nearby ranches where they are paid
in cash. They buy canned goods, (e.g. tuna fish) and
dried foods, (e.g. macaroni) with this money. These food
supplements enable the Bakairi to continue eating when
traditional food supplies are inadequate.
The Bakairi have introduced these foods into the
mask dance without ritual pollution. When masks go to
their "owners'" huts to collect gifts of food to carry back
to the men's house, they may hope for fish wrapped in a
piece of manioc, which is the preferred traditional meal.
But it is not uncommon to receive canned sausage, or
bread. These presents are carried back to the men's
house without the tradition being affected in any nega-
tive way.
The masks do not only relate to ecological aspects of
Bakairi culture, they also have economic functions which
involve the redistribution of food in the village. For


example, men in masks dance in the morning and in the
evening, effectively gathering food from their "owners'"
houses twice a day. Although not every man has a mask
in which to dance, all men are allowed to eat the food
brought to the men's house. Furthermore, male children,
who often help the masks carry food from the "owners'"
houses, are given bits of food to take home to the wives
and other family members who are forbidden to ap-
proach the men's house.
In that food collected by the masks ripples out to
every corer of the village, we may conclude that mask
dancing results in a general pooling of all surplus food in
the village and in a redistribution of the resources to the
entire group. It is one expression of an indigenous
economic system which is built on the equitable distribu-
tion of wealth and on reliance on kinsmen and friends in
times of need.
Yet contact with Brazilian ranchers and National
Indian Foundation agents suggests to the Bakairi a differ-
ent way to manage economic distribution. Western as-
sumptions about how accumulated wealth should be
handled differ from indigenous premises, and these
discrepancies are reflected in the Brazilians' criticism of
the Indians for doing what they call squandering valu-
able goods during the mask dance. The non-Indians
question why the Bakairi give away the food they so
carefully grow in their gardens or buy with their hard-
earned money. They try to teach the Indians about the
Western economic system which emphasizes the impor-
tance of saving and investing.
In addition, contact has created a heavier burden for
the masks than previously carried. In the past, economic
inequities arose as a result of members of a family being
luckier or more industrious or more skilled. The returns
on their labor were modest compared to today's returns
as entrance into the cash economy and interaction with
ranchers complicate thesituation. For example, a Bakairi
male who speaks some Portuguese and has a basic
understanding of Western ways may earn a sum of
money unimagined twenty years ago. It is one of the
responsibilities of the masks to spread this wealth around
so that the egalitarian character of the village can be
retained. They must work harder than ever before to
ensure each household a fair share of what is available.
Mask rituals are also important to the social organi-
zation of the Bakairivillage in that they act as a barometer
measuring fluctuations in relations between two impor-
tant groups: males and females. Bakairi men and women
are more dependent on each other than are men and
women in many Western societies. Responsibilities and
rights associated with each gender role are more rigidly
defined among the Bakairi in comparison to those in
industrial societies where overlapping occurs. For ex-
ample, Indian men fish, hunt, make gardens and con-
struct houses, while women cook, dean clothes and
harvest foods in the gardens. Women are not allowed to
hunt and men do not cook or wash clothes. The interde-
pendency which results from dear definition of roles is
positive because important components of society are
therefore firmly interlocked. However, it has an unfortu-
nate side effect; sexual antagonism increases as women









76 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


and men experience anxiety about the limited amount of
control they exercise over important life-sustaining ac-
tivities.
The mask's chants frequently allude to the tension
that exists between Bakairi men and women. Texts of the
songs constitute a running commentary on daily con-
frontations between the sexes in the village. Some of the
disputes are trivial, but others are serious in that they may
break up families and threaten to awaken (never totally)
dormant political factions.
Contact has exacerbated this situation in that Bakairi
women now have more opportunities to interact with
Brazilian men. Brazilian men pose a real threat to the
power of the Bakairi men, since the possibility of an
Indian woman having sexual relations or leaving the
reservation with a non-Indian exists. This is not to sug-
gest that the Bakairi do not frequently engage in premari-
tal and extramarital sexual relations. They do. However,
relations can be carefully monitored by the group if they
take place between villagers. Once non-Indians break
into the system, it is impossible to control interactions,
and the resultant strain is highly visible at times.
For example, men from a nearby ranch came to visit
the Bakairi village, and the Indian men killed a cow and
shared the meat with them. At the same time, the Bakairi
women chatted and flirted with these non-Indians, and
rumor had it that some of them had affairs with the men.
As a result of the women's friendly behavior toward these
outsiders, the masks sang highly critical songs about the
women for a week. The women were very angry and
complained about the unfairness of the public and con-
troversial nature of the denunciation of their actions.
However, retaliation against the masks was impossible.
Rituals associated with mask dancing are related to
the Bakairi ideological system. The masks, through their
chants, publicly set forth the values and ideals that guide
the society. In addition to complementing such behav-
iors as generosity and humility and condemning stingi-
ness and boasting, the masks now reveal some anti-
Western sentiments. They frequently discourage the
Bakairi from interacting too closely with Westerners by
advocating traditional values and by criticizing those
who do not exemplify them. For example, one of the
men who was headman and representative to the Indian
Foundation office in the state capital was thought by the
Indians to be too aggressive in his pursuit of services for
the Bakairi. In addition, he frequently neglected to deter-
mine what the consensus of the village was about a
particular issue before he discussed the matter with
Brazilian authorities. He was considered arrogant and ir-
responsible, and the masks publicly announced his vari-
ous faults until he was eventually replaced by another
headman.

Conclusion

The ritual masks are related to Bakairi culture in a
number of important ways. Connections between the
masks on the one hand and ecological, economic, social
and ideological institutions on the other are apparent. As
Bakairi culture alters as a result of contact with national


Brazilians, the mask traditions alsb change. To date,
however, they maintain their integrity. If purists insist
that Indians eating tuna in their men's house while they
argue about the possible sexual affairs between their
girlfriends and Brazilian ranchers is not what Bakairi
mask dancing was like a hundred years ago, they would
be right Yet, one hundred years ago Bakairi men proba-
bly did sit in a men's house eating and complaining about
something. The continuation of both the form of the
ritual and the general types of behaviors and values
surrounding them is what is critical.
The question Wagley and his contemporaries asked
about indigenous groups in Brazil continue to be studied
today. The anthropological legacy they bequeathed
remains as vital as it was forty years ago. As we look at
groups like the Bakairi whose cultural identity survives
against incredible odds, it is dear that their futures are
inextricably linked to the many contributions Charles
Wagley and other like him made in the past.


References Cited

Dyott, Gerald
1929 The Search for Colonel Fawcett. Geographical
Joumal74:513-42.

1930 Man Hunting in the Jungle Indianapolis.

Ehrenreich, P.
1929 A Segunda Expediqlo Alema ao Rio Xingu. Revista
doMuseu Paulista 16. Slo Paulo.

Fundacao Nacional do Indio (FUNAI)
1979 Os Bakairi:MAscaras, Dan:as, e Rituais. Fundagdo
Nacional do Indio 17. Brasilia.

Galvio, E.
1953 Culturae Sistema de Parentesco das Tribos do Alto
Rio Xingu. Boletim do Museu Nacional.Antropolo-
gia, Nova Seriel4. Rio de Janeiro.

Hintermann, H.
1925 Beitrag zur Ethnographie der Kuluena-und
Kulisevu-Indianer. VerbandlungernderSchweize-
riscen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft106.

1926 Unterindianen indRiesenschlangen. Zurich.

Krause, F.
1960 Mascaras Grandes do Alto-Xingu. Revista doMuseu
Paulista, Nova Serie 12. Slo Paulo.

Levi-Strauss, C.
1948 The Tribes of the Upper Xingu River. In Handbook
ofSouth American Indians, Vol. 3. J. Steward, ed.
pp 321-48. Washington: US Government Printing
Office.

Meyer, H.
1897 Tagebuch meinerBrasilienreise 1896 Leipzig,
Deutschalnd: Zweites Heft.









Special Publication, No.6,1990 77


1899 Nos arredores das fontes do Xingu. Paizagens e
povos do Brazil Central. Revista Brasileira 5(27).
Rio de Janeiro.

Oberg, K.
1948 The Bacairi of Northern Matto Grosso. Southwest-
ernmournal ofAnthropology5(3):305-19.

1953 Indian Tribes ofNorthern Mato Grosso, Brazi
Washington: US Printing Office.

Petrullo, V.
1932 Primitive Peoples of Matto Grosso, Brazil. The
Museum Journal, Philadelphia, University Museum
22(2):83-173.

Pires de Campos, A.
1862 Breve Noticia que di o Capitio Antonio Pires de
Campos do Gentio Barbaro que Ha na Derrota da
Viagem das Minas do Cuyaba a Seu Reconcavo etc.
R. Trimensal do Instituto Historico, Geographico e
Etbnogmrpbico do Bmsil25:437-449. Rio de
Janeiro.

Rodrigues Torres, M.
1738 Intendente e Provedor da Fazenda Real de Cuiaba,
a Sua Majestade D. Joao V. Papeis Avulsos de Mato
Grosso, Caixa 2, Doc. 83-84. Arquivo Historico
Ultramarino de Lisboa.

Schmidt, M.
1947 Los Bakairi. Revista doMuseu Paulista, Nova Serie
1. Sio Paulo.

Steinen, K. von den.
1940 Entre osAborigenesdo Bsil CentraL So.Paulo:
Departamento de Cultura.

1942 OBmsil CentraL Brasiliana Formato Grande, Vol.
3. Sio Paulo: Slo Paulo Cia. Ed. Nacional.

Wagley, C.
1940 The Effects of Depopulation upon Social Organiza-
tion as Illustrated by the Tapirap6 Indians. Trans-
actions of the New York Academy of Sciences
3(2):12-16.

1951 Cultural Influences on Population: A Comparison
of Two Tupi Tribes. Revista do Museu Paulista,
Nova Serie 5.

Wheatly, J.
1966 Revivescancia de Uma Danca Bakairi. Revista de
Antropologia 14. Sio Paulo.


Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Tom Desrosiers and Ann
Burke-Lannin from Franklin Pierce College for their
support, encouragement and many helpful sugges-
tions. I would also like to thank those who attended
the Eleventh Conference of South American Indianists
in Bennington, Vermont, in August of 1987. They
listened to me fumble through a discussion of some
ideas that eventually became this paper. Janet
Chemela, William Crocker, Ken Kensinger, Waud
Kracke, Emilene Ireland and David Price made
particularly insightful remarks and suggestions.
However, as always, I take full responsibility for any of
the mistakes or problems in this paper.











Special Publication, No.6,1990


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CULTURAL CONTRASTS IN PRIME TIME SOCIETY: BRAZ. AND THE UNITED STATES


CONRAD PHnP KorrAK
The University of Michigan


Introduction

Many researchers have commented on television's
pervasive impact on contemporary society, and conclu-
sions once reached about other major institutions ( e.g.,
religion, the school system) have been extended to
television. Comstock' sees television as a major social-
izing agent competingwith more traditional agents, such
as family, school, peers, community, and church. Gerbner2
likens television to a new religion, cultivating a homoge-
neous outlook on social reality, uniting the population
exposed to it in a common set of images and symbols.
Hirsch3 underscores television's role in focusing viewers'
attention on national-level events. The media have been
labeled "narcoticizing,"' diverting attention from serious
social issues and replacing effective thought and action
with passive absorption in portrayals. Gerbner and Grosss
have argued that television reinforces the existing hierar-
chy and impedes social reform through its frequent
portrayals of wealthy and powerful people. Television
executives have become "key gatekeepers"' regulating
public access to information, a role played historically by
political and religious leaders. Television also contrib-
utes to consumerism stimulating participation in a
worldwide cash economy.7 Gerbner and Gross' call at-
tention to television's agenda-setting function, its power
in directing our attention toward some things and away
from others. Although television may not succeed in
telling us what to think, it is stunningly successful in
telling us what to think about9
Particularly important contributions to TV research
have been made by the ongoing Cultural Indicators
Project of George Gerbner and associates at the Univer-
sity of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communica-
tions. They have found a positive linear relationship
between the time spent watching television and the
extent to which people perceive the real world as being
similar to that of television."o In the United States:

"Heavy viewing is part and parcel of a
complex syndrome which also includes lowereduca-
tion, lower mobility, lower aspirations, higher anxi-
eties, and other class, age, and sex related character-
istics. ... Television viewing also makes a separate
and independent contribution to the 'biasing' of
conceptions of social reality within most age, sex,
educational, and other groupings, including those
presumably most 'immune' to its effects.""


Labeling this the "cultivation effect," Gerbner and associ-
ates have devised means of testing relationships be-
tween heavy television watching and distorted percep-
tions of social reality.
As one of the most powerful information dissemina-
tors, socializing agents and public-opinion molders in
the contemporary world, television has been studied
extensively, but there has been too little cross-cultural
research. Although there have been studies of television's
effects in other countries, most have been in English-
speaking nations, and have focused on a limited target
group or range of effects -such as children or violence.
Furthermore, the studies that have been done in other
cultures are rarely mentioned in the North American
literature, nor, despite television's huge cultural signifi-
cance, do TV researchers often cite cultural anthropolo-
gists. Actually, anthropologists have not paid much at-
tention to television. To be sure, some anthropologists
have applied qualitative analytic techniques (including
structuralism) to mass media content," but most of these
studies havebeen interpretive essays rather than detailed
analytic reports based on in-depth field research either
inside or outside the United States."
In 19821 began to develop an interest in television in
Brazil, which now has the world's most watched com-
mercial network (Rede Globo). Brazil has had television
since 1950. In 1979, according to the news magazine
Visdo," it had the world's fifth largest TV audience size,
and more sets than the rest of Latin America combined."
Reflecting its huge overall population size (143 million
people) and its degree of economic development, Brazil's
middle class includes 40 to 50 million people, a tantaliz-
ing market (number two in the western hemisphere) for
television and consumerism. The Globo network, which
blossomed under the aegis of an extremely authoritarian
centralized state, moved quickly and effectively to hook
a product-and-information-hungry population. Today,
Globo, which dominates Brazil's air waves as no single
network has ever done in North America, shows mainly
its own productions and consistently attracts a nightly
audience of 60-80 million people. The research project I
planned and eventually directed included content study
- the focus of the present article followed by system-
atic field work by Brazilian and American researchers
beginning January, 1985 in six communities and sixteen
neighborhoods in different regions." As we investigated
television's role in molding knowledge, attitudes, per-
ceptions, emotions, and images of the world, and in









82 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


stimulating economic development, we asked some of
the questions asked by the Gerbner group in the United
States, to determine whether television has comparable
"cultivation effects" in the western hemisphere's second
most populous nation.
If a cultivation effect does also operate in Brazil, it is
not simply television as medium, but specific TV content
(different from that to which Americans are exposed)
that does the cultivation. An early step in our project was
a qualitative study of Brazil's most popular programs
with reference to the sociocultural phenomena that
dominate their content. Our guiding assumption was that
the social worlds encapsulated in television programs
are constructed not just artistically and technically but
culturally, within the societies in which they are imag-
ined, written, performed and produced. Brazil's charac-
teristic problems, issues, and social units differ from
those of the United States, and this affects TV content.
Prominent recurring themes in the content of the most
popular programs led to many questionswe asked in our
field sites. However, this later phase of our research (the
local impact study) will be described elsewhere and is
beyond the scope of the present article.
All of Brazil's most popular TV programs are native
productions, rather than imports. Unlike many Europe-
ans, Brazilians do not wait with bated breath for the next
Dallas episode, because they have their own night-time
"soaps." Brazil's most watched television programs are
the Globo network's national news and its "soaps" or
telenovelas(or, more simply, novelas), broadcast nation-
ally six nights perweek, consistently drawing60% to 95%
audience shares. These novels have three time slots.
Known as the novelas of six, seven, and eight, they
actually air at 6:10, 6:55, and 8:25. The seven and eight
o'clock novels, separated by local and national news,
get the biggest audiences. Globo's national news is
broadcast between 7:55 and 8:25 P.M. six nights a week.
Unlike American soap operas, Brazilian telenovelas
appear six (rather than five) times per week and at night.
Perhaps the most important difference is that telenovelas
end, whereas American soap operas can continue for
years. The typical Globo novel has 150 to 180 chapters
and lasts six or seven months. Like the novels of Charles
Dickens, most of which were written in (monthly) install-
ments and originally published as pamphlets of a set
length, 7 elenovelasuse the serial (folbetim) form to treat
a series of characteristic conflicts and problems, most
often related to status reversals, and usually with urban
settings. The final chapter of a telenovela is broadcast
Friday night and re-broadcast Saturday night, with a new
serial moving into itsslot the followingMonday. Telenov-
ela debuts are staggered throughoutthe year, with a new
one starting every two months or so in one of the time
slots. It takes a few weeks for viewers to get accustomed
to new settings and characters and interested in the story
line. But Globo manages to retain its audience because
they are already hooked on novelas that progressed
further in other time slots. As a result, seasonality is less
marked than on American TV, with no spate of reruns or
massive prime-time programming changes during the
summer.


Family Affairs

We now examine several domains in which popular
television contentillustrates fundamental cultural values
and institutions. One striking contrast between American
and Brazilian cultures, reflected in TV content, is in the
meaning and the role of the family. North American
adults usually define their families as consisting ofwife or
husband and children. However, when Brazilian adults
speak of theirfamilia they normally mean their parents,
siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Bra-
zilian adults may include their children asfamilia, but
often exclude husband or wife, who has his or her own
familiar. Comparing American and Brazilian television,
the presence or absence of spouse and young children)
is more important in defining social identity on TV in the
United States, whereas relationships between adult
characters and theirparents are more important in Brazil.
Brazil has less geographical mobility, and relationships
between parents and their adult children, and among
extended family members, are more significant, and TV
reflects this.
Because contemporary Americans tend to lack an
extended family support system, marriage assumes tre-
mendous importance. This creates severe strains for the
marital relationship, and many social issues addressed
on American television reflect this. Interestingly, how-
ever, marriages are at least as unstable in Brazilian
novelasas inAmerican prime-time series, despite the fact
that divorce is less common in Brazil. This can be inter-
preted as reflecting a social reality that places somewhat
less emphasis on the family of procreation (spouse and
children) and more on the family of orientation (parents
and siblings).
As I watched telenovelas during 13 months in Brazil
in 1983-84, it struck me that nuclear families of procrea-
tion did not have much luck. Unlike the durable Bradies,
Cleavers, Cosbys and Keatons and dozens of other
American TV families the young families depicted at
the beginning of a Brazilian telenovela rarely survived its
course. In the 8 o'clock novela "Crazy Love", for ex-
ample, a young married couple with a small son eventu-
ally separated, because the wife, a deceptive schemer,
was a social climber obsessed with money. Another
couple with an 8 to 10 year old son broke up because the
husband mistreated the wife and resented her career. At
novela'send, he was revealed to be the murderer. (Each
8 P.M. telenovela has a murderer.) The next novela to
occupy this time-slotsplitup a happy family consisting of
father, mother, son and daughter by again making dad a
killer. There were similar developments in the next
telenovela. Barely a month into the program, one hus-
band had committed murder and cheated his wife, her
father, and her aunt out of a business and a fortune. He
had also legally maneuvered for undeserved custody of
their son.
Marriage provides theme, context and stability for
many American programs. Even stormy marriages of
"Dallas" and "Dynasty" manage to survive temporary
break-ups (and, in the case of "Dallas's" Bobby Ewing,
even apparent death). In Brazilian productions, the








Special Publication, No.6,1990 83


constancy of marriage yields to the continuing relation-
ship between adult characters and their parents, siblings,
and extended kin. Related to the lesser focus on marriage
in Brazilian productions, the constancy of marriageyields
to the continuing relationship between adult characters
and their parents, siblings, and extended kin. Related to
the lesser focus on marriage in Brazilian society real
and televised-the types offamily disaster so popular on
contemporaryAmerican television rarelyinvade telenove-
las. Incest, for instance, has been depicted in a Globo
telenovela, but generated such adverse fan reaction that
the production was truncated. (Euthanasia in the same
novela also drew severe criticism and was another rea-
son for that program's hasty conclusion.) Incest and
intrafamily violence do not attract much media attention
in Brazil, where one hears much less than in the United
States about wife or child abuse.

Strangers, Friends, and Workmates

Brazilian television reflects the fact that the contem-
porary Brazilian's social world is more exclusively famil-
ial than is an American's. Here is where a characteristi-
cally American theme preparing to leave home and to
live with strangers can be contrasted with Brazilian
themes. Americans live with strangers more and more,
even at home. According to U.S. census date, only 73% of
American households were made up of family members
in 1980, compared with 89% in 1950.18 Simultaneously,
the central themes of contemporaryAmerican television,
films and literature, revolve around problems that arise in
dealing with strangers. This is true of all our genres -
adventure, suspense, fantasy, and science fiction. The
preoccupation with the stranger is missing and the popular
genres are different in Brazil, where television shows
people almost always interacting with their families and
friends, and rarely with such aliens as roommates, police
officers, extraterrestrials, pets, wild animals, or mass
murderers. Intervention in personal and family matters
by hospitals, courts, social workers, physicians, and
other experts is one of the most prominent features of the
contemporary United States, supplying fodder for count-
less television programs and films, and offering yet
another illustration of the overwhelming importance of
the stranger, rather than the kinsman. On Brazilian TV in
contrast, such experts are conspicuous only by their
absence.
America's cultural traditions constantly prepare us to
leave home and family for faraway places and life among
strangers. Familiar themes in American history fre-
quently seized by literature and the mass media are
pioneer spirit, expanding frontier and wide open spaces.
Americans need space because we remain much more
private people than Brazilians or Samoans, whom
MargaretMead describes as living in a "civilization which
suspects privacy."'9 Brazilian anthropologist Roberto
DaMatta0 likes to contrast Greta Garbo's famed line "I
want to be alone" with the Brazilian equivalent, "Please
don't leave me!" These cultural preferences are rooted in
experience. It's hard to be alone, ever, on a tropical
island, or in a torrid and densely-packed city where


windows and doors are almost always open.
Another content contrast is in the frequency of
domestic (family-oriented) versus public (non-kin-ori-
ented) settings. Brazilian novelas are usually set at home.
However, despite the recent popularity of programs
about families, American television still shows many
more of its characters in public and work settings -
reflecting both the North American "work ethic" and the
larger real percentage of externally employed Ameri-
cans. Another reflection of the contrasts involving do-
mestic versus public settings and family members versus
non-relatives are cross-cultural differences in the repre-
sentation ofthe sexes. In 1975, American prime-time had
three men for every woman. By 198421 the ratio was
equalizing; 47 per cent of 143 new characters were
female. Brazilian telenovelas, which are supposed to
represent real-life (usually domestic) settings, have al-
ways had a more equal sex ratio than American prime-
time shows. Brazilian television is true to the fact that in
the home there are as many females as males. American
television also mirrors a changing reality. As more and
more real-life women enter the work force, more and
more television characters are female populating the
workplace settings that dominate programming. "The
Mary Tyler Moore Show" helped usher in the era of
unmarried workplacewomen inAmericantelevisionland.
By 1984 young, never-married women comprised the
majority of TV women (55%), whereas divorced (10%)
andwidowed (9%) women reduced the figure of married
women to just 26%. Three-fourths of the adult female
characters introduced to American television in 1984 had
paid employment"
Brazilian television characters, especially women,
more often raise theirstatus through marriage than through
education or work illustrating contrasting values
concerning work, individual achievement and family
connections. Premier Brazilian telenovelistJanete Clair
was criticizedby Brazilian feminists, who alleged that her
female characters (particularly her long-suffering hero-
ines) were too dominated by their husbands and lovers,"
but since the mid-1970's, independent women and
working women have appeared more frequently on
Brazilian television. Furthermore, despite the machismo
of the larger society, novelas have as many women as
men, and telenovela men are just as fallible as women-
with lowerclass men in particular often depicted as emo-
tionally and/or morally weak.

Occupations and Social Status in Televisionland

Despite the presence of more working women,
certain stereotypes persist. A bias against lower-status
occupations and characters is common to Brazilian and
American television. In both countries TV characters
tend to have higher-status occupations than do people in
real-life. For example, in contrast to the "real life" work
force in the United States in 1984, in which 51% of women
held clerical and service jobs, 75% of the TV women
introduced that year were doctors, lawyers, or other
professionals.2' Although prestige occupations, which
can best support and exemplify consumerism,









84 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


dominate both American and Brazilian television, actual
occupations differ. Prestige occupations in the United
States are in medicine, law, science, engineering, and the
top ranks of business and industry." Brazilians also re-
spect successful businessmen, engineers, and architects,
as well as actors and entertainers, but professors and
writers have more prestige in Brazil than in North Amer-
ica, outranking all but the most famous physicians, who
themselves become celebrities. Doctors, lawyers, detec-
tives and police officers have less prestige in real life and
are much rarer on Brazilian than American TV. Politicians
lack respect in both countries, but Americans are a bit less
blatant about calling their politicians crooks.
Certain occupations predominate in particular time-
slots. The six o'clock telenovela usually has a doctor,
because county seats, where this program is typically set,
include at least one general practitioner, who is a valued
community member. However, physicians are much
rarer in Globo's other prime-time shows. When they do
appear, they are usually plastic surgeons, cardiac sur-
geons or psychiatrists, which, in that order, are the most
prestigious medical specialties in Brazil. Significantly, all
these specialists are used mainly by wealthy people.
Brazil's celebrity face-lifters, such as world-renowned
Ivo Pitanguy, usually donate some of their time to the
poor, but their reputations are based not on theirMother-
Teresa-like goodness but on the services they provide for
the rich and famous. Maintaining beauty is an obsession
among the Brazilian elites, in a culture where women are
still viewed mainly as sex objects and reproducers, rather
than producers. Women who can afford to lift sagging
faces and bodies do so.
In both countries, television dotes on people who
can afford to live or aspire to glamorous lives. In Brazilian
telenovelas a rich family is always included to demon-
strate consumerism; one family must be able to afford all
the products that sponsor the show. (New products are
occasionally demonstrated and discussed as part of the
story line, for instance as women talk in the kitchen.) In
the United States, the popularity of "Dallas", "Dynasty"and
other "night-time soaps" confirms that Americans are as
fascinated by the lifestyles of the rich as Brazilians are.
Consumers everywhere like to see evidence of the re-
wards that come at the pinnacle of whatever path takes
one to the top. However, television productions illustrate
that different cultures lay out different paths and have
contrasting values concerning work. Glamorous Brazil-
ian characters often do not work if they are independ-
ently wealthy. In contrast, indolent playboys are rare TV
characters north of the border. Despite their inherited
wealth, many of the Ewings of "Dallas" and Carringtons
of "Dynasty" are workaholics; the office is a common
setting on those programs.
Our research in Brazilian communities confirmed
the contrast with American cultural values about work
for its own sake suggested by Brazilian television. When
asked if they would continue working if they won the
lottery, most Brazilian respondents said no. How strongly
this contrasted with one of the first programs I watched
when I returned to the United States in 1984 a 20/20
story about Gordon Getty, America's richest man. In a


post-story discussion, the well-paid hosts, Barbara Wal-
ters and Hugh Downs, both proclaimed that they would
want to go right on working even if they were as rich as
Getty.

Social Class and Ways to "Rise in Life"

Many social and cultural differences between the
United States and other countries, including Brazil, are
related to socioeconomic stratification, the allocation
and distribution of income. Although the distribution of
income in the United States is not as even as in Japan or
the Netherlands, it is much more so than in Brazil. Latin
nations with strongly hierarchical systems of vested wealth
and power resist competition and change, because these
values of more open societies can only oppose en-
trenched privileges. Brazilian society, for instance, is self-
consciously hierarchical whereas American society is
self-consciously democratic. This does not mean that the
United States lacks socioeconomic contrasts and social
classes. However, Brazilian poverty is more extreme
than anything in the United States. The most affluent 20%
of American households average 12 times the income of
the poorest fifth; the comparable multiple is 33 in Brazil."
Thus, comparing the distribution of resources, Brazil
has a much wider gap between richest and poorest, and
Brazilians are much more class conscious than Ameri-
cans. Most Americans, regardless of income, consider
themselves to be middle class, and most really are.
Americans have a hard time dealing with even recog-
nizing class differences. Americans prefer to make
social distinctions in terms of region, ethnicity, race, or
occupation, rather than by using such labels as "lower
class," "working class" or "upper class." Americans are
reluctant to give verbal recognition to class differences
because we believe that ours is an open society in which
capable and industrious people can rise through their
own efforts. The class position of parents and children
will not necessarily be the same. Self-sufficiency and
individual achievement are such powerful American
values that we resent, and often deny, the fact that class
does affect chances for success. As our culture recon-
structs its history, we forget that many of our "self-made
men" came from wealthy families.
The United States has a pervasive, although ideal-
ized, egalitarian ethos that is notably absent in Brazil. Our
constitution tells us that all men (and, by extension,
women) are created equal. Although it is well known that
in practice American justice is neither blind nor equal,
there is supposed to be equality before the law. But in
Brazil all is hierarchy. The penal code authorizes privi-
leged treatment for certain classes of citizens, for ex-
ample, those with university degrees. High-status Brazil-
ians do not stand patiently in line as Americans do.
Important people expect their business to be attended to
immediately, and social inferiors are docile about yield-
ing to elites. Rules do not apply uniformly, but differen-
tially, according to class. The final resort in any conver-
sation is "Do you know who you're talking to?" The
American opposite, reflecting our democratic and egali-








Special Publication, No.6,1990 85


tarian ethos, is "Who do you think you are?"
The contrast is one of doing (United States) versus
being (Brazil).Y In the United States identity emerges as
a result of what one does. In Brazil, one's social identity
is based on what one is, a strand in a web of personal
connections, originating in the extended family. In socie-
ties that are more consciously hierarchical than the United
States, social status is calculated on the basis of the extent
and influence of the personal network. Brazilian's social
identities are based in large part on class background and
family connections, which Brazilians see nothing wrong
with using for all they are worth. Parents, in-laws, and
extended kin are all tapped for entries to desired posi-
tions. When Brazilians ask "Do you know who you're
talking to?", they are conjuring up all the well-connected
people included within their personal networks -
whether relatives, in-laws, school chums, business asso-
ciates, or friends.
Most Americans, on the other hand, would say that
what a person does, what people achieve on their own,
is more important than family background or connec-
tions. American culture sees reason for pride in excel-
lence in any line of work. "I may be just a plumber, but
I'm a good plumber" is a much likelier American than
Brazilian statement. The work ethic influences televi-
sion. Unemployed people, rich or poor, are suspect in
American culture and are absent among TV heroes. The
lazy rich man, who in the United States is a "playboy" or
"ne'er-do-well," in Brazil is allowed to enjoy gracefully
what family status or fortune was generous enough to
provide. Whereas Americans believe that personal worth
and moral value come through work, Brazilian culture
has had a "gentleman complex" for centuries." People
who can afford to hire others are not expected to work,
especially with their hands. Menial jobs should be done
by menials, millions of whom are available to do them.
The "do-it-yourselfer" or "home handyman" valued by
North American culture would only take jobs away from
millions of lower class people in Brazil. Because of this,
one rarely sees those home tool ads that are common on
American television. Why would a self-respecting middle-
class Brazilian want a drill set or chainsaw for Christmas?
Brazilian consumers do not want to spend their week-
ends fixing things around the house. Their wives should
have repairs done by appropriate working class special-
ists during the week, so that the weekend can be devoted
to leisure at the club or beach.
Reflecting their respective societies, then, class
contrasts are much more obvious on Brazilian than
American television, and characters' class identities are
discussed more openly." Subir na vida, to rise in life, is
one of the most common telenovela expressions. Every
telenovela has a lower-middle class family whose lives
become entwined with those of an upper-class or upper-
middle class family. Novelas are modern-day "Cinder-
ella" stories, in which a girl or boy from the lower-status
family falls in love with and eventually marries someone
from the richer family. The interclass friendships and
romances shown on Brazilian television link members of
classes A (upper), B (middle), and sometimes C (upper
working). Only occasionally is there a romance between


a working class character and someone from the upper
orupper middle class. Rarely portrayed in entertainment
programming, class D Brazilians (lower working, unem-
ployed poor), with their bleak, impoverished lifestyles,
have no chance to "rise in life" by marrying someone
from the elite group.
Obvious class contrasts are far less developed in
American productions. The film "BreakingAway", which
became the basis for an unsuccessful television series,
stands out as one of the few American movies of recent
years to focus on issues of social class, and it recalls
Brazilian telenovela themes. Its central romance is be-
tween a lower-middle-class boy and a girl from a wealth-
ier family. The boy's father is a used-car salesman and
retired stone cutter. The girl is a college student. The hero
enchants her by pretending to be an Italian exchange
student. He and his friends are ridiculed by college
students because of their background and their lack of
talents and skills that come from being raised in privi-
leged families. However, in contrast to Brazilian televi-
sion, where the couple might well have married, with the
socially-adept boy getting a job with his father-in-law,
"BreakingAway" terminated their romance, sending him
to college, where presumably, his social status will rise
through education.
Americans, raised in a society in which self-reliance
is a dominant value," voice disapproval of use of mar-
riage or kin ties to get money, position, or status. Rela-
tives who work in the same firm, like the children of
famous people who follow their parents' profession, are
expected to "prove themselves" and "make it on their
own." This, of course, is in the ideal culture. Relatives
often do help each other professionally, though more
covertly in the United States than in Brazil. If young
Americans are to succeed in a family business, we expect
them to work as hard as they would in any other firm.
The themes of work and individual achievement
emerge almost every time the successful child of a
famousAmerican isinterviewed. If child and parent have
the same profession, the child is invariably asked if
famous parentage was a help or a liability. The stock
answer is that the relationship helped at the beginning,
but was more of a hindrance later, because the child's
achievements were constantly compared to those of the
successful parent. The newcomer had to convince others
in the profession that he or she could "make it on their
own." Success achieved merely through family connec-
tions without hard work is anathema in American
culture.
In both Brazil and the United States, the proportion
of occupations and social classes on television contrasts
markedlywith reality. Not only are physicians, attorneys,
and other professionals much more common among
American television characters than in real life, TV char-
acters also include a much higher percentage of cops and
robbers than there are in the American population. Here,
too, a cultural difference gives rise to a contrast between
American and Brazilian TV content. Although neither in
Brazil nor the United States is police work a prestige
occupation, Brazilians give law enforcement officers less
respect-and much less TV coverage -than Americans









86 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


do. The difference has to do with regard for law, and the
derivative prestige that goes to those who uphold and
enforce it Brazilian anthropologist Roberto DaMatta,
who has spent several years in the United States, ex-
plained to me why Brazilians have so little confidence in
the police. In the United States, he says, police are seen
as figures who uphold the law. In Brazil, on the other
hand, they are considered similar to politicians, people
who use government and legally constituted power for
their own advantage and who have little actual respect
for the law. Another reason why attorneys and law
enforcement officers are so much more common on
American than Brazilian television is because laws are
rules designed to regulate behavior in public. Public
scenes and relationships between non-relatives are
common on American television, whereas domestic
settings and family relationships dominate Brazilian TV.
Social class is another reason why police officers are
so rare on Brazilian television, and why state intrusion on
the family is so much less characteristic of Brazilian
society, televised or real, than of the contemporary
United States. The social network of virtually every
middle-class Brazilian includes lawyers and other pro-
tectors of private rights. Brazilian police officers, who
usually have no more than lower-middle-class status, are
reluctant to interfere in the private affairs of their social
"betters" or even to regulate their public behavior.

Dark-Skinned Actors and Characters

Another culturally-derived contrast betweenAmeri-
can and Brazilian television is in representation of dark-
skinned characters. Although Brazil has been called a
"racial democracy,"blacks (who are just as obvious in the
Brazilian as in the American population) are much rarer
on Brazilian thanAmerican TV. Only recently have dark-
skinned Brazilian actors started making concerted de-
mands for more, better and different kinds of parts (but
without much obvious success). Traditionally, blacks,
when present on Brazilian television at all, have played
the same kinds of menial roles they typically play in real
life. (This was also true of American blacks' movie and
television roles up to the 1960's.) Dark-skinned Brazilian
actors still mostly play cooks, maids, drivers, and thugs.
Yet the poverty.that affects a disproportionate number
off dark-skinned Brazilians means that there are many
fewer trainedblack actors there than in the United States.
Because of this, even maids and cooks on Brazilian TV
are often played by whites.
Another reason for the paucity of blacks on televi-
sion there is Brazilian racial classification, which is much
more fluid than the American system, impeding the
emergence of black identity and any push for group
betterment. In American culture, race is determined at
birth. "Racially-mixed" children are assigned to the "the
black race" regardless of appearance; in some states,
anyone known to have any "black" ancestor, no matter
how remote, is classified as black. Such a rule, called
"hypodescent,"3 assigns offspring of a union between
members of different groups to the one that ranks lower
socioeconomically. Traditionally, hypodescent has been


used to split American society into'two groups with
unequal access to wealth, power, and overall prestige.
AnAmerican's race, determined at birth, does not change,
buta Brazilian's race can change, depending on personal
appearance, economic situation, or the person doing the
classifying. Furthermore, because race in Brazil is not
based on a rule of descent, full siblings can belong to
different races, which can not happen in the United
States."
In contrast to the American system, which recog-
nizes only "blacks" and "whites," Brazilian culture uses
many more terms to describe an equivalent range of
physical variation. Traditionally, when Brazilians -
particularly rural ones" identified someone's race,
they could choose from dozens of terms. (More than 500
racial terms have been identified throughout the coun-
try.) In just a few weeks in 1962, I collected more than
forty such terms in daily use in one of our (eventual)
project field sites (Arembepe, Bahia), which had just
eight hundred people." Fewer racial terms are em-
ployed, and they are used more consistently, exclusively,
and pejoratively, in Rio and Sio Paulo, where most
Brazilian TV programs are produced and set, than in rural
communities. We hypothesized, as a TV effect, that racial
terms would be reduced as rural folk were regularly
exposed to urban settings, characters and vocabulary.
Our data seem to be confirming this impact hypothesis.
Brazil has no distinct and coherent "black" category.
Indeed, Brazil generally lacks ethnic and minority groups
with a strong sense of social identity. In the United States,
blacks have such a sense although comprising a
physically and socioeconomically diverse group. Ameri-
can "blacks" are both dark and light, rich and poor. In
contrast to Brazil, the United States has a substantial
black middle class -millions of black consumers, offer-
ing an economic incentive to have black actors on TV.
Furthermore, food stamps and welfare payments -
absent in Brazil mean that even poor blacks partici-
pate much more in the consumer's economy than do
poor people in Brazil. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, black households spend a higher percentage of
their income on living expenses and consumer products
than do non-blacks." Related to this is increasing repre-
sentation of black characters, particularly middle-class
ones,3 on American television. Blacks tend to have a
certain loyalty to shows with black actors and watch
them in greater relative numbers than do whites.7 Ameri-
can black actors have demanded more and better parts
and gotten them, not because of network executives'
enlightened benevolence but in recognition of habits
and preferences of target audiences.
There are other compelling marketing reasons to
have more blacks on American television. In 1986 blacks
represented 12 per cent of the American population and
9 per cent of television households, but 14 percent of all
household viewing. Black viewers are growing as a
commercial force and target audience, with black house-
holds currently averaging 10 hours of weekly teleview-
ing more than the population average. A study by one of
the largest advertising concerns in the United States
predicts that by 1991 black households will account for









Special Publication, No.6,1990 87


one-fifth of network televiewing.-
Despite American TVs growing attention to black
middle-class viewers, only eight per cent of the new
characters on American television in 1984 were members
of minority groups. Among female characters, the figure
was much higher (15%) than for males. Ten black female
characters were introduced on prime-time series in 1984,
compared to one in 1983. The number of new black male
characters, two each year, did not change. Still, the
representation of successful black characters can be
predicted to increase. "The Cosby Show", which attracts
almost half the black audience, versus just over a third of
white households, with its doctor-lawyer parents and
consuming yuppie kids, proclaims to millions of black
(and white) Americans that hard-working blacks can
aspire to and achieve the same lifestyle as white profes-
sionals." Sponsors hope that middle-class blacks will
identify with their television counterparts, be motivated
to emulate their lifestyles, and buy the products they use
and the ones that "bring them to you." Sponsors also
know that whites are more sympathetic to and accepting
ofsuccessful than unsuccessful blacks. As TheJeffersons
theme song, which proclaims "We're moving on up,"
makes dear, commercial television's message to blacks
-as to whites -is that it is good to be upwardly mobile,
to escape poverty, forego welfare, join the middle class
and become full participants in the consumers' society.

Notes
' Comstock et al. 1978
2 Gerbner, 1967
SHirsch, 1979
4 Lazarsfeld and Merton, 1971
5 Gerbner and Gross, 1976; cf. Dorfman, 1983.
6 Saldich, 1979, p. 22.
SSee Hujanen, 1976.
8 Gerbner and Gross, op cit.
9 Comstock et al., op cit
10 See Gerbner and Gross, 1976; Gerbner, Gross, Signorielli,
Morgan, andJackson-Beeck, 1979; Gerbner, Gross, Morgan,
and Signorielli, 1980; Signorielli, Gross, and Morgan, 1982.
" See Gerbner and Bross, 1976, p. 191.
2 See, for example, Arens and Montague, eds., 1981; Kottak,
ed., 1982.
1 An important exception, based on decade-long research
involving intercommunity comparison among Canadian
Indians, is Granzberg and Steinbring, eds., 1980.
" July 9, 1979.
s Miranda and Pereira, 1983, p. 48.
6 I gratefully acknowledge grants from the Wenner -Gren
Foundation ffor Anthropological Research ("The Electronic
Mass Media and Social Change in Brazil" 1983-84); The
National Science Foundation (NSF-G-BNS 8317856-Kottak,
"Social Impact of Television in Rural Brazil," 6/84-11/86),
and the National Institute of Mental Health (DHHS-PHS-G-5-
R01-MH38815-03-Kottak, "Television's Behavorial Effects in
Brazil," 1/1/85-12/31/87).
'7 David Copperfield, for example, was written in nineteen
monthly installments, each 32 pages long, between May
1849 and November 1850.
1S To confirm this, one must very carefully analyze media
use of statistics. For example, a late 1985 Census Bureau
report apparently contradicted our growing tendency to live
with strangers. The report stated that more young adults


(20-24) were remaining, or moving back in, with their
parents. A census statistician blamed this on the 1981-82
recession and on an increase in the divorce rate. The later
marriage age was obvious and indisputable, with 75 per cent
of young men single in 1980, versus just 55 per cent in 1970.
About half (52%) of men 20 to 24 were living with their
parents in 1980, versus 43% in 1970. What happens,
however, when we determine who was living with relatives
in 1970 and 1980 by adding together the married men and
those living with their parents for the two years. In 1970
88% of young men were either married (45%) or living with
their parents (43%), versus just 77% (25% + 52%) in 1980.
Therefore, despite the media suggestion that more Ameri-
cans were living with family members, more were actually
living with strangers, as I contend. See "More Young Adults
are Postponing Marriage, Living with their Parents," UPI, Ann
Arbor news, November 10, 1985.
19 Margaret Mead. Coming of Age in Somoa. Morrow, orig.
1928, p. 219.
" Personal communication.
" "Study Shows Increase in Women, and their Authority, on
TV," Report of the National Commission on Working
Women. Ann Arbor News, December 23, 1984, p. F10.
2 Ibid.
" Artur da Tavola, Obituary ofJanete Clair, Rio: Manchete,
November 29, 1983.
" Ibid.
2 In a 1986 survey, lawyers ranked low among American
respondents asked which profession they respected most,
with 5 percent for teachers, and 3 percent for executives and
journalists. However, when people were asked what
profession they would recommend for a son or daughter,
twelve percent opted for law, with business (at 36 percent)
and medicine (at 24 percent) the top choices. Just 8 percent
wanted their children to become teachers, and only 3
percent would suggest joining the clergy. (Ruth Marcus and
Kenneth E. John, "In the Voice of Public Opinion. Lawyers
Rank Low," The Washington Post National Weekly Edition,
September 1, 1986.
SAnn Arbor News, 11/4/84.
27 Long ago, Sir Henry Sumner Maine, in Ancient Law (1888,
orig. 1861), his well-known treatise on the evolution of law
and society, characterized the transition from primitive to
modem society as the movement from status to contract.
This parallels the distinction between being (status) and
doing (contract). A related opposition is that of ascribed to
achieved status.
2 Charles Wagley, An Introduction to Brazil, rev ed. New
York: Columbia University Press, 1971.
9 Some of the questions we asked during our rural field
work were designed to determine effects of this on class
consciousness.
" Hsu, 1975.
3' For a historical explanation of these contrasts see Marvin
Harris. Pattern of Race in the Americas. New: Walker, 1964.
" Marvin Harris and Conrad P. Kottak. "The Structural
Significance of Brazilian Racial Categories." Sociologia 25
(1963):203-209.
3 As reported in Charles Wagley, ed. Race and Class in Rural
Brazil, Paris: UNESCO, 1952.
4 Conrad P. Kottak. Assault on Paradise: Social Change in a
Brazilian Village. New York: Random House, 1983.
" Thomas Morgan, "Black TV Viewers Seen as Major Force
by Networks," The New York Times, December 7, 1986.
" Hill, 1982.
7 In prime time, blacks were loyal to programs featuring
black actors and actresses, but black performers were not.










88 FLORIDA JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY


7 In prime time, blacks were loyal to programs featuring
black actors and actresses, but black performers were not
absolutely essential for popularity among blacks, who also
liked night-time soaps, action-adventure and Steven
Spielberg's Amazing Stories. (Thomas Morgan, op. cit.)
8 Thomas Morgan, op. cit.
"In one survey The Cosby Show got a 34.9 rating overall
and 48.7 among blacks (Thomas Morgan, op. cit.)

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