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5439 - Tales of Huaorani encounters with capitalism.

We are invited to discuss whether Amerindian uses of modern technologies of exchange and communication represent instances of ‘indiginization of modernity’ and whether such uses indicate any clear ontological break or continuity.

In order to investigate Huaorani ways of confronting the ‘modern,’ I shall focus on three events I documented in the field over the last six years: a mass, albeit short-lived, move to town living; the development of a thriving bush meat trade; and the signing of a controversial thirty-year usufruct contract with a transnational company. The comparative analysis of a range of mediated experiences, and, more specifically, of the ways in which money was used and documents were signed allows me to conclude that Huaorani cosmological premises are, to a large extent, still informing their dealings with outsiders. Outsiders, however, keep interpreting Huaorani engagements in terms of ignorance, childishness and exploitation. These events and the equivocations they generate point to gaps and shortcomings in the theories that have been used to analyse Amerindian theories of agency.

Keywords: indiginization of modernity, Amerindian ontol, Huaorani, Amazonia, Ecuador

Author: Rival, Laura (University of Oxford, United Kingdom/Ver Königr)

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