5040 - The shifting baselines of perceiving nature among the Sateré-Mawé of the Brazilian Amazon

The paper addresses the issue of historically shifting baselines of nature cognition among the Sateré-Mawé, an indigenous group of the Brazilian Amazon.

The life of the Sateré-Mawé nowadays is basically characterized by chronic shortage of food within the Área Indígena due to rapid demographic growth. Yet, instead of attributing environmental depletion to the effects of intensive culture contact, noticeable shortage of fish supply is explained by the abuse of indigenous fishing techniques. The cognitive framework for this causality refers to a mythological conflict between hunters and fishers, establishing the dominance of a kind of “foraging” mode of relation towards nature. This mode seems to translate better into an increasing orientation towards the exterior, where western commodities are acquired to compensate internal shortages. However, negotiating one’s way within the wider environment of Brazilian society goes along with an erosion of internal capacity of negotiating natural resources. Recent evangelical discourses have acquired a nativistic tone to revert this process of internal dissociation of relations to the forest environment.

Palabras claves: anthropology of nature, , anthropology of religion, Brazilian Amazon

Autores: Kapfhammer, Wolfgang (Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany / Deutschland)


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