Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life - download pdf or read online

By Lucas Bessire

ISBN-10: 022617560X

ISBN-13: 9780226175607

In 2004, one of many world’s final bands of voluntarily remoted nomads left at the back of their ancestral existence within the dwindling thorn forests of northern Paraguay, fleeing ranchers’ bulldozers.  Behold the Black Caiman is Lucas Bessire’s intimate chronicle of the adventure of this small team of Ayoreo humans, the terrifying new global they now face, and the precarious lives they're piecing jointly opposed to the backdrop of soul-collecting missionaries, humanitarian NGOs, overdue liberal fiscal guidelines, and the top deforestation price within the world. 

Drawing on ten years of fieldwork, Bessire highlights the stark disconnect among the determined stipulations of Ayoreo existence for these out of the woodland and the well-funded worldwide efforts to maintain these Ayoreo nonetheless residing in it. via displaying how this disconnect reverberates inside Ayoreo our bodies and minds, his reflexive account takes target on the devastating outcomes of our society’s persisted obsession with the primitive and increases vital questions on anthropology’s effective means to extra or hamper indigenous struggles for sovereignty. the result's a well timed replace to the vintage literary ethnographies of South the United States, a sustained critique of the so-called ontological turn—one of anthropology’s most well-liked trends—and, chiefly, an pressing demand students and activists alike to reconsider their notions of difference. 

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This represents a form of “perspectivism,” in which the point of view creates not the object but the subject. ”18 According to the model of ontological anthropology, Amerindian multinaturalism holds a radical potential because it is presumed to exist external to modernity. Primitive society is valuable not for its political distinction, as Clastres would have it, but for its cosmological alterity. ”19 As such, Amerindian worldviews are imagined to hold a revisionary potential for modernity.

35 As Viveiros de Castro puts it, “One culture, multiple natures—one epistemology, multiple ontologies. Perspectivism implies multinaturalism, for a perspective is not a representation. ”36 In such a schema, not only humans and animals but Indigenous peoples and “moderns” inhabit fundamentally different worlds. Like Bórmida’s “mythic consciousness” or Fischermann’s “immutable orderings” of the world through myth narratives, this “Amerindian cosmology” is taken as a self-evident and valuable object.

I learned that Totobiegosode had made a self-conscious decision to abandon nearly all of the past practices that count as authorized “traditional culture” or ontological alterity in Latin America, such as shamanic rituals, curing techniques, magical songs, myth narratives, and ceremonial aesthetics. Moreover, this decision was not localized but was seen as a necessary precondition for Totobiegosode to join a wider, cross-border network of Ayoreospeaking people predicated on a shared Christian morality and spread through two-way radio technology.

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Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life by Lucas Bessire

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