Conklin 2002

download Conklin 2002

of 13

Transcript of Conklin 2002

  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Shamans versus Pirates in the Amazonian Treasure Chest

    Author(s): Beth A. ConklinSource: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 104, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), pp. 1050-1061Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological AssociationStable URL: .

    Accessed: 10/09/2013 14:54

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of

    content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected].


    Wiley andAmerican Anthropological Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and

    extend access toAmerican Anthropologist.
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002



    Shamans v e r s u s P i r a t e s in t h e AmazonianTreasure C h e s t

    ABSTRACT Thisarticle xploreshowthe recentriseof shamansas political epresentativesnBrazil ddresses ensions and contra-dictionsassociatedwith the internationalizationf indigenous ightsmovements. dentity oliticsand transnationalrganizationall-liancesconcerning ssues of environmentalismnd humanrightshave greatly expandedthe political everageand influenceofindigenousactivism.However,ometransnational nvironmentalistiscourses ollidewith Brazilianiscourses f national overeignty,and the 1990s witnesseda nationalist acklash gainstIndians,whompoliticians,militaryeaders,and mediacommentatorshave re-quentlyportrayed s pawnsof foreignimperialists.Opponentsof indigenousrightsalso seized on apparentcontradictions etweenrhetoric nd actionto discreditndigenous laims o environmental esources.Theanalysis xamineshow the shiftto redefineknowl-edge as the core of indigenous dentity ircumvents ome of these liabilities yshifting he basis orindigenous ightsclaims romen-vironmental racticeso environmental nowledge.Asshamansmobilizeandspeakoutagainst he threatof biopiracy,heyblunt henationalist acklash, epositioningndigenouspeoplesas defendersof the nationalpatrimonynd solidcitizensof the Brazilianation-state. [Keywords: razil,ndigenouspeoples, identitypolitics, hamans,biopiracy]

    President Bush thinks that he is the owner of the worldbut the shamans are the ones who have the knowledge.He is not the first world. We are the first world.-Davi Kopenawa,n an interviewat the 1992 EarthSummit1

    T HEYANOMAMIHAMAN aviKopenawaraveledfrom northern Brazil to Rio de Janeiroin June 1992to representhis people at the "EarthSummit"(United Na-tions Conference on Environment and Development). Al-though denied an official role or significant voice in theformal proceedings, indigenous representativesfrom doz-ens of countries organizeda parallel,alternativegatheringat a site they named Kari-Oca,which attracted the atten-tion of journalistsfrom around the world.2In statementssuch as Kopenawa's above, participants articulated thepride, confidence, and aspirations of a new generation ofyoung, bilingual Native activists who areclaiming innova-tive political spaces for indigenous peoples as global citi-zens. At the center of this shift is a redefinition of knowl-edge as the core of indigenous identity, with a corollaryrecognition of shamans as the bearers of privileged formsof valuable knowledge. In the decade since the Earth Sum-mit, shamans and other healers have become increasinglyprominent figures in indigenous rights movements, form-ing organizationsand speakingout on an arrayof national

    and international political issues in countries around theglobe. Indigenous activists increasingly identify them-selves as shamans, and Native rights supporters and themedia increasingly treat shamans as representatives oftheir people and icons of indigenous identity in general.In the process, shamanism itself is being redefined.In Kopenawa'shome country of Brazil, shamans, aswell as other ritual and religious leaders, have become in-creasingly politically active since the 1970s, organizingpolitical events and representing their people in commu-nications with the government and outside agencies. Thisis one dimension of a broader phenomenon in many(though certainly not all) parts of lowland South Americawhere shamanism is flowering and shamans' influenceand prominence are growing. This is happening in set-tings as diverse as the Xingu Indigenous Parkin centralBrazil(Ferreira 002:44) and cities such as RioBranco,Acrein western Brazil,in which Native shamans' clientele in-cludes indigenous and nonindigenous local residents aswell as New Age customers. Manuela Carneiro da Cunhasees this contemporary flowering of shamanism in con-texts of social change as the latest manifestation of a long-standing pattern: "The extraordinary growth of shaman-ism has been observed many times in situations ofcolonial domination, or more exactly when peoples arecaught in the gearsof the world system" (1998:8).3


    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamans and Indigenous Politics 1051In Native Brazilian ocieties,shamanshave alwaysbeenmediators par excellence, negotiating relations betweenhuman society and the spiritworld. Today, those skills aremoving into new realmsof interethnic politics as shamanic

    knowledge, perspectives, and imagery are being put tonew uses in mediating relations with the state. In severalrecent Braziliancourt cases, shamanic knowledge (of ani-mals and plants) has been introduced in litigation overrights to indigenous lands filed by the Suya, Kayap6,Kay-abi, and Jurunapeoples (Ferreira2002:43). Shamans suchas Davi Kopenawa are bringing Native cosmologies intoconversation with Western viewpoints, drawing on in-digenous ideas and perspectivesto develop innovative cri-tiques of state policies, political economy, and Western at-titudes toward nature (Albert1993; Turner1993).Shamans in Brazil have begun to organize at the na-tional level only recently. In 1998, the national govern-ment Indian agency FundaedoNacional do indio (FUNAI),organized the firstNational Encounterof Pajes(paji is thewidely-used Tupian term for shamans) near Brasilia,thenational capital (ISA2000c; Krippner1999). The threat of"biopiracy"-the unethical appropriationof biogenetic re-sources for commercial purposes-has been the major ral-lying point for this recent national-level mobilization. Thecongruence of indigenous and state interests around thebiopiracy issue has opened new bases for Indians to claima national identity as citizens within the Brazilian nation-state. The reformulation of indigenous identity aroundideas about shamanism and the value of indigenous knowl-edge repositions Native causes in ways that may help cir-cumvent two problematic issues that have plagued indige-nous rights movements in Brazilduring the past decade:tensions between the discourses of globalism and nation-alism and divergences between the agendas of local indi-genous struggles and the international environmentalmovement.

    The Brazilian Amazon has been a kind of testingground for some of the positive possibilities foreseen bythe more optimistic theorists of globalization. Counterbal-ancing the view that global economic and culturalintegra-tion serves primarily to exacerbate social ills and vulner-abilities, some theorists have seen globalization as apotentially democratizing and empowering force, creatinga more "connected" world in which marginalized groupshave more freedom to establish political presence and lev-erage (Brysk2000:286; Wriston 1992:170, 176). One factorcontributing to this political enfranchisement is techno-logical and pragmatic: "Informational empowerment"through access to global communications systems cangive formerly isolated peoples new means to make theirvoices heard and new channels for solidarityand partner-ship with other, nonlocal groups (Annis 1992; Halleck1994). Another factor is experiential and psychological:"Complex connectivity" (Tomlinson 1999) brings infor-mation, images, and perspectives about distant peoplesclose to home, creating the possibility for more directmoral engagement across national boundaries. Especially

    important in fostering such empathetic cosmopolitan sen-sibilities is the visual imagery conveyed by television,video, and film, and experiences of direct participation inthe "virtual community" of interactive computer-medi-ated communication (Rheingold 1994).In the past two decades in Latin America, transna-tional connections have been enormously productive. His-torically marginalizedNative people have found means toestablish "a transnational civil society, attempting to by-pass state mediation" by articulating "local struggles forcommunity sovereignty with an agenda of universal hu-man rights in the economic, political, social, cultural, andenvironmental fields"(Varese1996:132).This has involvedthe convergence of two major developments: identitypolitics and internationalization (Brysk2000:18).4 Politi-cal scientist Alison Brysk emphasizes the empowering ef-fects of local-global linkages, with many advances gainedthrough "the coordinated activities of local activists andan international Indian rights network working fromabove and from below" (2000:19) that have helped indige-nous peoples make impressive progress and achievegreater legal protection on many fronts, particularly n thearea of culturalrights.Transnationalnongovernmental or-ganizations (NGOs) create alternatives to national and lo-cal government control of resources for subsistence andjustice. NGO networks, as well as the new technologies offax, Internet, and e-mail communications, createpossibili-ties for bypassing the state's mediation or surveillanceand, thus, create new forms of communication and newcommunities of imagination and interest that enhance lo-cal groups' capacities to be "context-producing, not con-text-driven"(Appadurai1996:190).

    Especially in countries in which Native populationsare numerically small and have little electoral clout, theability to mobilize international support and bring exter-nal political pressureto bear on national and local policy-makers has transformed the political landscape of manyindigenous struggles. In Brazil,Native peoples constituteless than one percent of the population, numbering somethree hundred thousand in a national population of 173million-the smallest percentage in any country in thecontinental Americas. Brazilian Indians only recentlygained the right to vote, and new definitions of their citi-zenship rights had to be established with the rewritingofthe national constitution in 1988. Yetdespite (or,perhaps,because of) their small numbers, Brazil's Native activistshave been in the global vanguard of the new transnation-alism, pioneering the politics of "thinking globally, actinglocally" (Varese 1991) by developing strategiesand organ-izational structuresthat connect local indigenous causesto international movements and NGOs.s Transnationalpartnerships began to proliferatein the mid-1980s, whennew scientific information about global warming, defores-tation, and the fate of the Amazonian rain forest creatednew rationales for the international environmental move-ment to supportindigenous peoples' strugglesfor rightstoland and resources.Technologies such as portable cassette

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    1052 American Anthropologist * Vol. 104, No. 4 * December 2002

    players and video cameras, as well as the growth of com-munication and transportation infrastructures,played amajorrole in facilitatingcooperationamong Indian groupsand between Indians and non-Indians, both within andoutside Brazil.This has been especially important in theAmazon region, where new roads, airstrips,telephone sys-tems, fax, e-mail, and satellite communications allow Na-tive communities to convey information about local situ-ations and stay in touch with distant supporters in waysnever before possible (Conklin 1997:712).In an article published in the AmericanAnthropologistin 1995, LauraGrahamand I tracedthe emergence of thistransnational cooperation between Amazonian Indiansand environmentalists (Conklin and Graham 1995). Weemphasized how the synergistic coordination of Nativerights and ecological causes brought enormous benefits toindigenous peoples, especially in Brazilwhere Native ac-tivists won a series of important victories in their strugglesfor constitutional rights and for the protection of certainindigenous territories.The 1990s also brought the estab-lishment and expansion of regional, national, and inter-national panindigenous organizations, and a flood ofNGOs poured into virtually every corner of the BrazilianAmazon, bringing new personnel, financial resources,andinformation. One of the most positive developments wasthe emergence of the new generation of Native activistslike Davi Kopenawa:articulate,politically astute, and ableto move back and forth acrossethnic and culturalbounda-ries to relate to, and mediate among, diverse constituen-cies and political discourses at the local, regional, nation-al, and international levels (Albert1993; Graham n press).Connecting the local to the global has been empower-ing for otherwise politically marginalizedpeoples, and an-thropologists and human rights advocates have justlycelebratedthe benefits of such linkages. Lessattention hasbeen paid to the downside of local-global alliances. In par-ticular, navigating among the disparaterealms (local, re-gional, national, global) of multicentricpolitics can be dif-ficult (Appadurai1996:196). Good global politics do notalways make good local politics; it may be easier to cele-brate the idea of negotiating among a multiplicity of cul-tural and political contexts than to actually carry t off. AsAlison Brysknotes, "the very factors of identity politicsthat facilitate transnational appeals often complicate do-mestic alliances" (2000:281). One common manifestationof this is the tendency for international criticism and po-litical pressure to collide with notions of national sover-eignty, especially when economic resources are at stake(Kirsch 1996). In Brazil, disjunctures and contradictionsbetween the national citizenship discourses and transna-tional discourses based in the universalism of humanrights or the quasi universalism of environmental princi-ples have been a majorfocus for attacksby criticswho arehostile to indigenous rights.Although the merging of environmentalist and in-digenous human rights discourses had enormous appealfor international audiences, it met with a rocky reception

    on the domestic Brazilianpolitical landscape, in which en-vironmentalism has been widely represented as a newform of international imperialism (Conklin and Graham1995:705; Maybury-Lewis1991:225). Politicians, militaryleaders, and media commentators have routinely repre-sented BrazilianIndianswho pursueenvironmental causesas unpatriotic and potentially subversive, accusing themof being the dupes and pawns of foreignersseeking to takecontrol of the Amazon'sbiological riches (BonalumeNeto1989a, 1989b; Neves 1994). One reason why shamanism'sdebut on the political stage has been warmly receivedandeven promoted by government Indian agency officials isthat indigenous opposition to biopiracyhelps shift the po-litical discourseabout Indians'relations to environmental-ism, blunting the nationalist backlash and repositioningIndians as patrioticcitizens of the nation-state.

    My analysis here focuses mostly on how reformulat-ing indigenous identities in order that they emphasizeshamanic knowledge helps Native peoples stake theirclaim to a place as citizens in Brazil'snewly democraticcivil society. This is not to discount the influence of themany transnational political and cultural trends and or-ganizations that also contribute to this process; indige-nous healers are organizing and growing in political self-consciousness throughout the world. In Brazilthese days,international support for Native causes is relatively solid,and much of the battle for a claim on global attention andsupport from transnational agencies has been won, at leastin the short run. The major ongoing strugglesmostly in-volve domestic policies and politics at the national and lo-cal levels, in which turning constitutional rights frommere written affirmations into actual practiced realitiesdepends on implementation and enforcement (Ramos1998:117). Native peoples continue to fight an uphill bat-tle against hostility and indifference.In talking about the politicization of shamans' imagesand activities,I am focusingnot on the local rituals,healingpractices,or internalcommunity politics in which shamansengage, but, rather,on shamanism's public face. Shamans'new prominence in interethnic politics is a developmentthat both growsout of and divergesfrom their communityroles. Shamansexist or previously existed in almost all Na-tive Braziliansocieties; in dealing with sorcery and diag-nosing the causes of illness, shamans have always playedkey roles in intergroup relations. This has not necessarilytranslated nto political leadership,however. In some com-munities, political roles have been reinforcedby shamanicpower, but in many Native groups, shamanism is not aprerequisite or common accompaniment to politicalauthority. Indeed, where shamanism is closely associatedwith the practiceof sorcery,it may even be a political dis-qualification. In Brazil'sneighboring country of Guyana,forexample,shamanismand sorceryareconsideredso close-ly linked that Native leaders take care to distance them-selves from any association with mystical knowledge orpractices(MaryRiley, personal communication, December1, 2001). In Brazil,however, shamanism has a somewhat

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamans and Indigenous Politics 1053

    more attractivepublic image, on which activists are draw-ing in order to construct new discourses about indigenouspeoples' identities.The construction of public identities takes place in themurky realm of interethnic relations that Alcida Ramos(1998) calls "pulp indigenism." This is the realm of mediarepresentations of Native peoples and their causes, inprint and electronic journalismand advocacy publicationsthrough which non-Indian publics within and outsideBrazildevelop images of Brazil'sNative peoples. Through-out the world, wherever indigenous peoples' rights and re-sources are in question or under assault, the continualneed to validate the legitimacy of Native concerns makesit necessary to frame Native causes in terms of metaphorsand images that draw support from influential nonindi-genous supporters. The production of such representa-tions is a collaborativeprocess to which individual indige-nous actors contribute by presenting themselves and theirmessages in certain ways. Contribution does not meancontrol, and which messages get heard most clearly andbroadcast most widely depends partly on wider culturaltrends and political settings. In Brazil,the construction ofshamanic knowledge as a new axis for Native identity isthe latest development in the long-term struggle over theproblem of "Indianness,"its relation to national identity,and the question of how to define indigenous peoples'place in the nation-state.AREINDIANSCITIZENS?"Arethey citizens?" is the question at the crux of Brazil'sambiguous relation to its Native inhabitants, says Ramos."One might suppose that being born in Brazilianterritoryautomatically confers Braziliancitizenship, but the matteris not so simple when it involves Indians," she observes:"Livingaccordingto their own norms,which not only differfrom those of the Brazilian state but can actually collidewith them, indigenous peoples find themselves in the oddposition of being internal outsiders"(Ramos1998:94, 95).A fundamental feature of the nation-state is the needto assert the homogeneity of its citizens and their sharedacceptance of a narrative of national identity (Appadurai1996:177). In Brazil, cultural difference bars Native peo-ples from membership in the idealized social body of thenation imagined as a harmonious blend of the European,the African,and the Native. In a country that, relative tomany others in Latin America and elsewhere, "has beenmercifully free from ethnic disputes and racial or religiousconflict throughout its modern history," Brazilian treat-ment of Indians has been the glaring exception to a gen-eralpictureof racialtolerance(Allen 1989:148, 149; and seeWarren 2001:234-279). Assimilation has been the long-time goal of Brazil's national Indian policy, and the ex-plicit precondition for citizenship. Indians are seen aswards of the state, and, until 1988, "Indianness" was de-fined as a temporary condition, out of which Native peo-ples were expected to grow in order to become Brazilian

    like the rest of the idealized population (Ramos 1998:96).The official government policy of "integration"(promot-ing acculturation)was

    a way of not recognizingthe Indian nations and ... ofprecludingheirself-determinationnd theircapacityoestablish heir own pace and means of developmentwithin heir erritories.t s,in face,awayof notrecogniz-ingthe Indianas a citizen,whileconsideringis land asBrazilianerritory.Mares983:44]The new constitution gave Indians expanded rights ofcitizenship, including the right to vote, and recognizedtheir legal right to maintain distinct identities, languages,and cultural practices.Nonetheless, Indians remain wardsof the state, legally defined as "relatively incapable" of

    managing their own affairs (Ramos 1998:98). In popularstereotypes, even the more sympathetic imagery portraysindigenous peoples as childlike, innocent, and "natural"but unpreparedto cope with the complexities of modernlife. Another dimension of ambiguity in the question ofNative peoples' citizenship revolves around questions ofsovereignty and patriotism. There is a long-standing viewthat Indians are not fully Brazilian, but, instead, that theyare individuals of uncertainloyaltiesand suspect allegiances(Conklinand Graham1995:705).Brysknotes, in the 1980sand 1990s, "the Brazilianmilitary saw Amazonian Indiansas a potential strategicthreat and local elites resented theIndian presence as an obstacle to rapid 'development' ofthe region" (2000:134-135).Much of the battle fought by Native Brazilianactivistsover the past two decades has been a fight to establishtheir agency and adulthood, their ability to speak and ne-gotiate on their own behalf (cf. Graham in press; Ramos1998). Indigenous activists project a vision of a multieth-nic national civil society in which Indiansmay participateas citizens without surrendering their distinct identities.In staking Indian claims to citizenship, the discoursesandstrategiesof indigenous activism have utilized several keymetaphors, including the tropes of warfare,stewardship,and, most recently,shamanism,to carve out politicalspacesfor Native causesand garnersupport among the non-Indiancitizenry.FROMWARFARE OSTEWARDSHIPThe recent politicizationof the shaman'sidentity coincideswith a corresponding shift away from earlierimages of in-digenous leadership dominated by warriors and chiefs(chefesor caciques).Under the military dictatorship thatruled from 1964 until early1985, indigenous militancywaswidely seen and appreciated by much of the general publicas a symbol of opposition to the government(Ramos 1994).In the 1980s, certainpoliticallyactivegroups-most notablythe Xavante and Kayap6of central Brazil-developed bril-liantly effective, media-savvy techniques of staging publicevents choreographed around metaphors of war, withpress conferences and protest demonstrations at which

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    1054 American Anthropologist * Vol. 104, No. 4 * December 2002

    dozens of warriorspainted in war paint brandished warclubs and shouted war cries.Warrior magery dominated pulp indigenist represen-tations of Indian activism through the 1980s, and anumber of groups, including the Xavante and Kayap6,continue to employ it effectively to assert their demands.As a general tactic, warlikeposturesbegan to lose some oftheir power after the new constitution recognized Indiansas citizens with the right to vote. Brazil'sgeographically

    dispersed and numerically tiny Native population canbuild electoral clout only by aligning itself with local po-litical parties,which typically are dominated by non-Indi-ans. Over the past decade, the growth of political partiesin Native communities, with their frequent factionalizinginfluence, has been one of the major, largelyuntold, newstories in Brazilian Indian affairs. In electoral politics de-pendent on patronage and cooperation with nonindi-genous interest groups, the war imagery and aggressivepostures that worked so well to embody opposition to themilitary dictatorship have become less tenable. The needfor less militaristic tactics is reinforcedby the other majorchange of the past decade, namely the proliferation ofnew foreign and domestic NGOsworkingon Native causesthroughout the country. In the bureaucratic ogic of NGOsdependent on the tolerance of the host country andlargesse of contributors, positive imagery may be moreuseful than direct confrontation and threats. Indigenousactivists increasingly need to position themselves as advo-cates of national (not justNative) interests.

    By the early 1990s, public images of Native Brazilianshad expanded to include the idea of environmental stew-ardship, the image of Indians as guardiansof the tropicalforestecosystem.A plethoraof scientific studies had shownthe sophisticationand sustainabilityof indigenousresource-managementtechniques,and both within Braziland abroad,there was widespread new appreciation for the fact thatNative peoples had lived in the forest for centuries with-out destroying it. In that new equation of indigenous cul-tures with environmental principles, the emphasis was onNative peoples' resourcemanagement practices, he collec-tive actions of local communities. In the 1980s and early1990s, there was widespread optimism that the best wayto protect the integrity of the environment was to secureNative land rights, thereby keeping the control of environ-mental resourcesin the hands of the Native peoples whohad protectedthose resources or centuries.Such optimismwas manifest in popular imagery of what Kent Redford(1990)called the "ecologicallynoble savage."By 1992, whenthe Yanomami shaman Davi Kopenawaand other NativeBrazilian eaderstraveled to the EarthSummit in Rio deJa-neiro, Native peoples in general, and Native Amazoniansin particular,had come to be widely recognized as naturalconservationists whose ecologically sensitive behaviorflowed from enduring cultural traditions and primordialidentity. In part, it has been such notions of naturalnessand culturalcontinuity that distinguish indigenous claimsfrom those of other ethnic minorities (Conklin 1997:725),

    grounding the claim to primacy voiced in Kopenawa'sstatement, "We are the firstworld."The evidence that traditional Native Amazonian re-source management practices have maintained the integ-rity of the tropical forest ecosystem is so clear that it canbe observed from space: In satellite photos many indige-nous territoriesappear as green oases in a denuded land-scape producedby non-Indian settlement and commercialactivities. However, any easy assumption that indigenouscontrol automatically equals environmental protectionhas been undermined over the past decade in Brazilandelsewhere, by incidents in which Native leaders or com-munities promoted environmentally destructivecommer-cial activities.

    Terence Turner has chronicled one of the most dra-matic stories of an indigenous South American group'sstrugglesover environmental management. The Kayap6ofcentral Brazil,Ge speakers,who number some four thou-sand people, are "by any standardone of the most politi-cally successful Amazonian peoples" (Turner 1995:99). Injust the years between 1987-92, their skill at developingand deploying highly effective blends of mass mobiliza-tion, ecoactivism, and media politics helped Kayap6 fightpowerful state and corporate interests; they preventedconstruction of what would have been the world's biggesthydroelectric power-generating dam, blocked the dump-ing of radioactivewaste on their land, and won legal rightsto a territory approximately the size of Scotland (Fisher1994; Turner 1992:14). In the late 1980s, Kayap6leaderswere among the earliest and most visible BrazilianIndiansto develop high-profile collaboration with internationalenvironmentalists.The elderlychief Rop ni (Raoni)accom-panied the British rock singer Sting on a highly publicizedconcert tour. Two young leaders, Kube'i and Payakan,traveled to the United States to participatein an environ-mental symposium and spoke to officials in Washington,D.C., at the World Bank,U.S. Congress, and U.S. TreasuryDepartment (Hecht and Cockburn 1989). Payakan thenwent on speaking tours of Europeand North America,metwith heads of states and officials at the EuropeanUnion,and received international awards for environmental ac-tivism.In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the militancy ofKayap6activism and the support of Brazilian and foreignNGOs forced the Braziliangovernment to legally recog-nize Kayap6 rights to a series of reserves. "Environmental-ists hailed the proclamation of these reserves n the expec-tation that the formidable Kayap6 would defend theirterritory against invasion by agents of deforestation suchas ranchers, settlers, miners, and loggers" (Turner 1995:103-104). Turnerdescribes how, beginning in 1990, theexpectation that indigenous control would guarantee en-vironmental protection was shattered:

    A steady trickleof reportsin the Brazilianand interna-tional media disclosed that Kayap6 eaders were enteringinto contractswith logging and mining companiesto op-erate on Kayap6 ands, in return for a percentageof the

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamans and Indigenous Politics 1055

    proceeds,n effectactingas collaboratorsndprofiteersnthe destructionf theirown forests ndrivers.1995:104]Subsequently, in 1994-95, men in some Kayap6commu-nities revolted against the corruptleadership, expelled log-gers and miners from their territory,and tried to promotemore sustainable, less environmentally damaging forms ofeconomic development (Turner1995:110-117), with mixedresults.

    The gapbetween rhetoricand action in the Kayap6 agacomplicated relationswith the environmental movement.

    The defenseof the Indians' ight o control,andexploit,theirownlandandresources,t now appearedo many[environmentalists],adtobeseen,at least ntheKayap6case,as in contradictionather han support f the de-fenseof thetropicalorest cosystem. romheroesof theenvironmentalistmovement, he Kayap6hus becamevillains. Turner995:104]The Kayap6are not alone among Brazilian Indians in ex-perimenting with environmentally degrading commercialactivities;a numberof other groupshave tried or wanted totry similar ventures in commercial logging or mining. Tothe dismay of myself and other outsiders who work withthe Wari'of western Rond6nia, the first-ever media eventorganized by the Wari' was a press conference called byone faction to protest the government's refusal to allowthem to engage in commercial timber sales.Most Native Braziliancommunities have not embarkedon environmentally destructivecommercializationof theirresources; n the contrary,many continue to fightto protectthe integrityof their forests,rivers,and local environments.Reportsof indigenous collusion in ecological destructionhave provided convenient ammunition for opponents ofindigenous rights. Hostile journalists and conservativepoliticians have had a field day trumpeting tales of Indianchiefs who talk of ecosensitivity but enrich themselvesselling off their tribe's timber and mineral resources (e.g.,Economist1993; Veja1993; Viana 1992). In Braziland else-where, critics have exploited any evidence of divergencesbetween behavior and ideals whenever Native leaders orgroups failed to live up to the idealized images that theirsupportersascribeto them.The potential for opponents to exploit disjuncturesbetween the public symbolism of ecologically noble sav-age imagery and the complex realities of real Native com-munities' economic situations and diverse approaches toresource management was another point of political vul-nerabilityfor Native activists who aligned themselves withthe ideas and rhetoricof Western environmentalismin theearly to mid-1990s (Conklin and Graham 1995:703-704).One factor contributing to the recent receptivity to dis-courses about shamans and shamanic knowledge is thatthese discourses redefine the basis of indigenous ecologi-cal consciousness and shift the focus from indigenouspracticeto indigenous knowledge.

    KNOWLEDGES THECENTER FINDIGENOUSDENTITYThe growing recognition of distinctive culturalknowledgeas the basis for indigenous identity reflects a majorredefi-nition of such an identity in international indigenous po-liticaldiscourses seeEllen et al. 2000). Until the early1990s,Native peoples' claims to land and resourcesrelied mostlyon arguments about the morality of their cause. Over thepast decade, another powerful set of arguments has devel-oped; these arguments shifted indigenous political dis-courses"from a politics of moralityto a politics that framesmorality in a new terminology consisting of the notion ofvaluableknowledgein the serviceof biodiversity" Muehle-bach 2001:418; and see Hannerz 1996). Andrea Muehle-bach notes that this coincides with several developmentsat the international level. The reconceptualization of theindigenous in terms of knowledge is taking place at thehistorical moment described by Marilyn Strathern,when"Euro-Americans re starting to speak of their societies as'information societies' and of 'knowledge' as industrialcapital ... and when genetic and biological materials cometo be treated as 'information resources'" (1999:160). It co-incides also with scientific developments in ethnobiology,anthropology, and other fields recognizing the connec-tion between indigenous knowledge and biodiversity, andnew legal instruments that define indigenous knowledgeas cultural property (Muehlebach 2001). Affirmations ofthe value of indigenous knowledge also carrya powerfulmoral force. Brysk 2000:188) notes that, in today's "infor-mation society," ndigenous movements "playa specialrolein closing the characteristicgap of modernity:between in-formation,knowledge,andwisdom" Melucci1994:109-112).

    The redefinition of knowledge as the center of indige-nous identity has special resonance in Brazil because itpoints to a way out of some of the binds in which indige-nous ecoadvocacy was caught in the early 1990s. Theidentity of the shaman avoids some of the problematic is-sues about indigenous leadership and the divergence be-tween rhetoric and action that have confronted some ac-tivists. One side effect of the vitriolic media attackson theKayap6was that the terms chefeand cacique(both mean-ing "chief")became a bit tarnished. As journalistsreveledin tales of chiefs so corruptthat they were no longer wel-come in their own villages, they increasingly treated In-dian "chiefs" as objects of ridicule, the unfit or illegitimaterepresentativesof their people. "High-ClassIndians: Bra-zilian Chiefs Who Got Rich Like Good CapitalistsExploit-ing the Riches of Their Reserves"was the headline of a par-ticularly vitriolic attack in one of Brazil's major weeklynew magazines (Viana 1992).Whereas the figureof the "chief" can raisethe empiri-cally testable question of whether a certain individual hasor deserves his people's support, the figure of the shamancircumvents such questions. A shaman is not necessarilyachief, although media representations such as the termshamanchiefcoined by one commentator recently, mayseem to imply otherwise (Krippner1999). The shaman's

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    1056 American Anthropologist * Vol. 104, No. 4 * December 2002

    authority is legitimized by claims to privileged esotericknowledge and spiritual power. This circumvents thesticky problems "chiefs" face of media ridicule and falter-ing local political authority, for individual claims to tradi-tional knowledge and spiritual agency are claims that out-siders are seldom in a position to judge.6 Shamanicknowledge is, by definition, esoteric, at least partiallyout-side the purview of Western science and other Westernknowledge systems, and therefore only partly open toevaluation by those Westerners who do not have it.Knowledge-based authority also has the advantage of be-ing mobile, easily exported from local Native communi-ties to a wider world where the question of how a certainindividual is viewed back home is moot. In the mobileworld of transnational indigenous political activism, indi-vidual activists are often far from home and no longer en-gaged in making a living from the land and resources oftheir home territory. The assertion that environmentalknowledge is a core element of identity emphasizes thatthe special ties to the land that remain the essence of thedefinition of the "indigenous" can be expressed even byindividuals whose own life trajectoriesand political workmay take them to places distant from their homelands.As long as indigenous peoples' connection to environ-mentalism was conceived of in terms of the collective be-havior of Native communities, then any special environ-mentalist credentials they have could be undermined byevidence that they do not use natural resources in a sus-tainable manner. Thereare, however, other ways to defineenvironmental sensibility. Over the past decade, Nativeactivists and their allies worldwide have redefined envi-ronmentalism to imply not just collective practices butalso (or alternatively)culturalknowledge f environmentalresources, species, and biodiversity. The discourse aboutindigenous ecologicalwisdom has shifted awayfrom claimsabout the superiorityof specific indigenous resource man-agement practices and toward claims about the value ofindigenous knowledge that transcends the limitations ofWestern scientific knowledge. Insteadof focusing on whatNative communities actually do, this discourse highlightsthe potential value of what indigenous individuals mayknow. WhereasNative peoples formerlywere positioned asguardians of the forest itself, now they are positioned asguardiansof knowledge f the forest.

    Shamans are assumed to be experts on esoteric envi-ronmental knowledge. The Brazilian public has had along-running romance with the idea of the paj6 as thepossessor of mystical knowledge and spiritual power. Inthe realm of pulp indigenism, this romance blossomsaround incidents that seem to attest to the superiorityofshamanic power over the power of industrial technologyand scientific or bureaucraticrationalism, as has occurredin a series of celebrated events in which non-Indian ex-perts have turned to Native shamans for help with prob-lems not resolvedby Westernscience.'7The most dramatic recent example occurredduring aprolonged drought in 1998, when wildfires raging in the

    northern Brazilianstate of Roraimahad devastated hugetractsof rain forest. Afterthe nation's firefighters,forestryexperts, and scientists had proved themselves incapable ofcontaining the blazes, officials from FUNAI flew twoKayap6 shamans from central Brazil to Roraima at tax-payer expense (ISA2000b; Luis 1998). Kayap6have elabo-rate fire control knowledge and techniques that they ap-ply to farming and forest management in the savannasand wooded areas of their home territory (Hecht andCockburn1989).

    Arriving in Roraima amid great media fanfare, theKayap6 shamans were taken by FUNAIofficials to a spoton the Yanomami Indianreservation,wherethey performeda rain dance. A few hours later, it began to rain-hard-forthe first time in six months.

    Back in Boa Vista, the state capital of Roraima, theKayap6shamans danced in the streetsin front of the tele-vision cameras. To the delight of a concerned public inBrazil and abroad, the rains grew into a regional stormfront that put out most of the forest fires over the next fewdays.Not everyone was quite so pleased. Some Brazilianmedia commentators accused FUNAIof spending taxpayermoney on absurdity, "givinga scientific aura to a folkloriccustom" (Luis 1998). The Yanomami Indians on whoseterritorythe Kayap6had staged their rain dance were alsoless than enthusiastic. A Yanomami spokesman angrilypointed out that his people had shamans of their own,and that they are quite capable of managing their owncosmological affairs without the interference of foreignshamans and government bureaucrats (Luis 1998). DaviKopenawa later recounted how Yanomami shamans alsohad performedrituals to put out the fires (Friend1998; ISA2000d).GENERICHAMANISMYanomami spokesmen rejected the government officials'view of shamanism as a generic practice composed of in-terchangeable partsdetached from their local cultural andecological moorings. It is, however, an increasinglygenericshamanic image that has been emerging in the realm ofpulp indigenism. This generic brand of shamanism di-verges from actual Native Brazilianpracticesin two majorways. Shamanism is divorced from images of conflict, kill-ing, and death; and medicinal plant use is representedasthe core of shamanic practice and expertise (see Brosius2000:305-311 on environmentalist preoccupations withmedicinal plants).The shamanic traditions of some groups may fit theimage of shamans as beneficent, altruistic plant healers,but this stereotypedoes not fit the shamans of many otherNative Brazilian societies. In Amazonia, shamanism isdominated by relations to animals and animal spirits;ill-ness, curing, and shamanic initiation are permeated bymetaphors of killing, hunting, and warfare. This is ex-pressedin variousways, ranging from the inseparabilityof

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamans and Indigenous Politics 1057

    shamanism from the practice of sorcery in some groups(Brown 1988, 1989; Greene 1998:645), to the images ofhunting, taming, or being killed by animal spirits thatother groups use to describe the shaman's relation to acompanion spirit (Fausto 1999), to the ubiquitous equat-ing of shamans with jaguars in lowland South Americancosmology (Sullivan 1988:440-447). In many groups, sha-mans do not use plants much as the kind of orally in-gested medicines highlighted in the new discourses aboutthe value of shamanic botanical knowledge but, rather,use them largelyas hallucinogens to induce visions. ShaneGreene (1998:641) notes that the developing discoursesabout shamanism's contemporary relevance focus almostexclusively on the plants and medicines, ignoring otherpractices,with nonempirically testable effects, that consti-tute much of shamanic activity in indigenous communitycontexts. Jean Jackson (1995:313-314) describes the fail-ure of a Tukanoan shamans' workshop to evaluate the ob-jective efficacy of shamanic medicine outside of its spe-cific social contexts.

    While there clearlyare lowland South American com-munities where it is the case, it is not a universal rule thatshamans have privileged knowledge about the medicinalproperties of plants (Frontiers 1996; Plotkin 1993). Inmany Native Brazilian societies, knowledge of medicinalplants is not the special province of shamans but, instead,is widely shared among adults, sometimes especiallyprevalent among women. (Like earlier popular enthusi-asms for Indian warriorsand chiefs, the current fashionfor shaman-activists favors Native men, at least in Brazilwhere shamanism is mostly a male vocation.) However, itis specifically as medicinal plant specialists that shamanshave gained a privileged position in the contemporaryna-tional and international political arenas.PIRATESN THETREASURE HESTThe politicizing link between shamans and plants is "bio-piracy," which has become one of the hottest issues inBrazilianpolitics and media coverage and theunifying fo-cus for Brazilian shamans' political mobilization. WhenFUNAI organized the first National Encounter of Paj6snear Brasilia, the national capital, in April 1998, theagency brought shamans from some forty Native groupsto attend the gathering. The Manifesto the shamans issuedin Brasilia is a ringing denunciation of foreign piracy. Itbegins with the words, "Theinvaders,like animals of thenight, have been coming to our land to steal our most pre-cious possession. This precious possession is the knowl-edge that is stored inside the head of each paji and in ourtribal traditions"(Krippner1999:1).Two primaryinterrelatedmetaphors have dominatedBrazilian national rhetoric about the rain forest in the1990s. One is the image of the Amazon as the "lungs ofthe world,"the essential organ on which the whole planetdepends. The other, the key metaphor in the controversyover biopiracy, is the image of Amazonia as a "treasure

    chest" in which the national patrimony of biogenetic di-versity of untold economic value is stored. The piratesoutto steal this treasure are consistently portrayedas foreign-ers or Brazilians of foreign origin. By rallying against thethreat of foreign pirates stealing from the treasure chest ofAmazonia's biological riches, Native activists repositionthemselves as true citizens of Brazil,patriotic guardiansofthe national patrimony.

    Everynation-state has its special sites of sacredness,itsspecial tests of loyalty and treachery(Appadurai1996:190).In Brazil,the issue of theft of biological material is a primearena for narratives of treachery. The most infamous ex-ample, known to everyschoolchild, is the storyof the theftof rubber tree seeds (Hevea braziliensis) in 1876. HenryWickham, a British adventureremployed by the RoyalBo-tanic Gardens in London, smuggled 70,000 rubber seedsout of the lower Amazon to KewGardens,where botanistssucceeded in cultivating the Heveaspecies, which formerlyhad propagated only in the wild (Weinstein 1983:219).Transportedto Malaysia, this Brazilianrubber tree stockbecame the basis for the Asian rubberplantation industrywhose explosive growth brought to Wickham a Britishknighthood and to Brazilthe collapse of its rubberecon-omy in the early20th century(Smith1990:280).The specterof Wickham's piracylooms in the backgroundof contem-poraryscandals over the unauthorized export of biologicalmaterials from Amazonia.In recent years, several cases have been reported in-volving the unauthorized export of Amazonian plants (cf.LaFranchi1997) and the illegal acquisition of genetic ma-terial from blood samples of indigenous peoples (the Kari-tiana and Suruiof RondOnia) hat were subsequently mar-keted on the Internet (ISA2000f; Ramos 1998:220-221;Santos 1999:2-3). These cases have received a greatdeal ofpublicity in the Brazilianpress, including front-pagehead-lines and a special-issuenews magazine on biopiracy pub-lished by Brazil's argestnewspaper (CademoMais,FolhadeSdoPaulo, June 1, 1997), NGO denunciations, legal com-plaints filed by indigenous leaders, and congressional in-vestigations (Santos 1999:2-3). The controversyover issuesraisedby PatrickTierney'sDarkness n ElDorado 2000) hasalso involved questions about the ownership and disposi-tion of blood samples taken from the Yanomami of Vene-zuela in the 1960s.

    In the wake of the Suruiand Karitianablood scandaland other complaints about biopiracy,the government In-dian agency organized the 1998 National Encounter of Pa-j6s.This came at a time when FUNAI,always unpopularand underfunded, was losing its control over indigenousaffairs as the agency's responsibilities for indigenous edu-cation, health, and legal services had been, or were aboutto be, delegated to other sectors of the government. Bring-ing Native activists together to speak out collectively onthe issue of biopiracymay have been partlyan attemptshoreup the beleaguered agency's credibility. It also respondedto a deeply felt sense of violation, not just of Indian rightsand bodies but also of the social body of the entire nation.

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    1058 American Anthropologist * Vol. 104, No. 4 * December 2002

    Brazilianpoliticians, elites, and the media outlets theycontrol are solidly in agreement with the Indians on theissue of biopiracy. In one of the strangerbedfellow rela-tions in recent political memory, military leaders and In-dian shamans found themselves on the same side. TheBrazilianmilitaryhas been sufferingan identity crisis sincethe end of the dictatorship in 1985 left a huge militaryes-tablishment with little justificationfor its enormous budg-ets (Hunter 1997:116-138). Eagerto identify a foreign en-emy, the military has embraced biopiracy as the focus ofits national security anxieties and claims about interna-tional conspiracies o takeover Brazilian erritoryand under-mine Brazilian sovereignty. Unlike conservation and re-source management issues, biopiracy is an environmentalissue that is perceived to be consistent with nationalism.The vocal stand against foreign biopiracy taken by indige-nous activists and their NGO allies has blunted the earliernationalist backlashagainst Indians as allies of foreign en-vironmental imperialists, relocating indigenous identitysquarelywithin the discoursesof national citizenship.Opposition to biopiracyand assertions about the valueof indigenous knowledge also unite BrazilianIndians, whohave been deeply divided on questions about communi-ties' rights to commercialize environmental resources.Biopiracy s an external enemy againstwhich Indians withdifferent tribal affiliations and different political interestscan come together; it allows various Indian groups tomake resolutions and statements of solidarity at a timewhen there are few other clear-cut political positions be-hind which all Native groups can unite. Biopiracyand itsdiscourseof the defense of national interests thus bringto-gether an otherwise unimaginably broad range of Indianand non-Indian interests. On this issue (and this issuealone), all of Brazil's Indians are on the same side as themilitary, elites, politicians, media commentators, the pa-triotic public, and many scientific researchers.8Biopiracyserves some of the same unifying functions as the notionof sorcerersor witches. As with witches and sorcerers,sha-mans arethe front line of defense against biopirates.In Januaryof 2000, FUNAIhosted another gatheringof Brazilian shamans from 17 tribal groups. The govern-ment agency brought them to the national capital to ad-dress the issue of foreign biopiracy, which resulted in theissuing of a document titled the "Letterof Principlesof In-digenous Knowledge" (ISA 2000c). The shamans wentconsiderably further, however, and took the opportunityto criticize the Brazilian government itself, denouncingthe pending approval of a congressional bill to permit in-creaseddeforestation in Amazonia (ISA2000e). In May ofthe same year, 21 shamans, including eight women, from15 indigenous groups, marched on the Presidential Palaceto deliver a letter to President FernandoEnriqueCardoso.The shamans demanded legislation to protect indigenousknowledge of natural medicines against biopiratesand an-nounced their opposition to a congressionalbill that wouldreduce the protected areas of the Amazonian forest andcentral Brazilian savannas (ISA 2000a). Although FUNAI

    seems to have had foreign biopirates in mind when theagency facilitated the national gathering of shamans, thegrowing mobilization of shamans may not be containablewithin the confines of a narrowlynationalist governmentagenda.The politicization of indigenous shamans and the"shamanization"of indigenous politics is a case study inhow indigenous identities are being creatively reformu-lated in response to the need to negotiate among tensionsand contradictions between multiple political discoursesand constituencies. Bymobilizing against the threatof for-eign piratesstealing from the treasurechest of Amazonia'sbiogenetic riches, Native Brazilian activists have reposi-tioned themselves as defenders of the national patrimonyand suitably patriotic participants in the nation's newdemocratic party politics. The issue of biopiracy thusworks simultaneously at several levels, from the global tothe local, articulating concerns shared by local Nativecommunities, Braziliannationalism, and international en-vironmental discourse. It speaksto the concerns of poten-tial allies in the national arena without alienating keyforeign supporters and affirms the legitimacy of Nativepeoples' privilegedenvironmentalknowledge.Theemphasison indigenous knowledge and the figure of the shaman-activist sidesteps or reconfigures some of the political lia-bilities engendered by merging international environ-mental discourses with indigenous politics, redefiningindigenous environmentalism as well as Native peoples'place as citizens of Brazil's democratic society. As thevoices of shamans like Davi Kopenawa are heard moreclearly in the global public sphere, their perspectives andthose of other Native peoples are changing the discoursesof environmentalism itself, challenging and expandingWesternunderstandingsof human relations to nature.The contemporary emphasis in indigenous activismon knowledge and metaphors of healing resonates withinternational trends in environmental advocacy and thepostcolonial politics of panindigenous movements. Activ-ists who are reimagining Native identities throughout theAmericas and throughout the world are reformulatingin-digenous activist identities around images of a generic,plant-remedy-focused shamanism. As indigenous peoplesrenegotiate the political, cultural, and social spaces theyoccupy within the nation-state, they increasingly turn tometaphors and images of healing to validate their claimsto legitimacy and construct new, positive images repre-sentative of the vitality, renewal, rebirth, and empower-ment of indigenous communities and traditions (Adelson2001:80). For Brazil'sindigenous peoples, the metaphorsof healing, knowledge, and guardianship of the Ama-zonian treasure chest areoffering powerful symbolic toolsfor pursuing their political goals and rich possibilities forrethinking 21st-century indigenous identities.

    BETHA. CONKLINepartment of Anthropology, VanderbiltUniversity,Nashville,TN 37235

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamansand IndigenousPolitics 1059NOTESAcknowledgments. thank MarianaFereirra, auraGraham,DorothyHodgson, and StuartKirsch or their generouscomments on draftsof this article.1. The UN's Conference on Environment and Developmentbrought heads of states and other representativesof 172 countriesto RiodeJaneirofor discussions about the global environment andsustainable development. The quotation from Davi Kopenawaisfrom an interview published in the Multinational Monitor 13(9),September1992.2. The name "Kari-Oca" as a play on carioca,he term for inhabi-tants of Rio deJaneiro.3. All translations of texts with foreign-language titles are myown, unless otherwise noted. On the growthof shamanicactivitiesin situations of colonial domination and social change in Braziland other Latin American countries, see Brown and Fernandez1991, Carneiro da Cunha 1998, Ferreira2002, Hugh-Jones1996,Vainfas1995, and Wrightand Hill 1992.4. In Brysk'sdefinition, identity politics

    involve an explicit appealto identity for movement mobiliza-tion and external campaigns, the use of identity markersassymbols, and the politicizationof culturalpractices.... Char-acteristic(but not exclusive) mechanisms of identity politicsinclude symbolic appeals, information campaigns, and legiti-macy challenges to dominant institutions and regimes. [2000:23]5. In forging transnational alliances, BrazilianIndians were pre-ceded by the indigenous federationsof Ecuadorand Peru,whichhave been farmore successful n forming large regional pan-Indianorganizations,in contrastto the more fragmentednetworks of in-digenous organizations and advocacy groups in Brazil (Ramos1998:175-176).6. I do not mean to imply that Native communities arenot inter-ested in the legitimacy of individuals'claims to shamanic author-ity. On the contrary, n Colombia a groupof 50 shamans recentlydrewup "a code of ethics and establisheda union to police them-selves, complete with membership cards" (Boyle 2001:1). Thethree elders who head the union chose five younger shamans toserveas an operatingcommittee for the Union of YageHealers. Inan innovative approach to professional credentialing,the litmustest to determineprofessional legitimacy was that an eldervisitedeach prospectivemember of the union and drank he hallucinogenyagewith him to determine who was a real shaman and who wasnot.7. In the mid-1980s, one nationally famous incident of shamanicintervention involved a well-known ornithologist who was poi-soned by a frog venom and sought treatment (albeit unsuccess-fully) from a Kamayura haman, Sapaim.At the time, the mediatreated the shaman's efforts in a generallypositive light, as an un-usual human-interest story. The ambivalence in public attitudestoward Indians is manifest in a recurringpatternin which Nativeindividuals who achieve favorable national prominence sub-sequently become objects of public derision or amusement. Re-cently, the press reported that Sapaim had set up a business inBrasilia,the national capital, which the media labeled "Disque-Paji,""Dial-A-Shaman"elephone consultations (ISA2000g).8. Brysk notes that the language of objections to biopiracy islargelythe languageof scientific discourse."Appealso some of thesame values that enable or result from science-intellectual prop-erty, fair compensation, biodiversity, and religiousfreedom, haveempoweredthe tribalvillage in the global epistemic arena" 2000:244-245).REFERENCESITEDAdelson,Naomi2001 ReimaginingAboriginality: nIndigenousPeople'sRe-sponseto SocialSuffering.nRemaking World:Violence,SocialSuffering, ndRecovery.VeenaDas,ArthurKleinman,MargaretLock,MamphelaRamphele, nd PamelaReynolds, ds.Pp.76-101. Berkeley:Universityof CaliforniaPress.

    Albert,Bruce1993 Orcannibaleet la chuteduciel:Unecritique hamaniquedel'&conomie olitiquede lanature Yanomami,Bresil)Cannibalgoldand the fall of the sky:Acritiqueof the politicaleconomyofnature).L'Homme 3(126-128):349-378.Allen,Elizabeth1989 Brazil:ndiansand the NewConstitution.ThirdWorldQuar-terly10(4):148-165.Annis, Sheldon1992 EvolvingConnectednessamongEnvironmentalGroupsandGrassrootsOrganizationsn ProtectedAreas f CentralAmerica.WorldDevelopment20:587-595.Appadurai,Arjun1996 ModernityatLarge:CulturalDimensionsof Globalization.Minneapolis:University f MinnesotaPress.BonalumeNeto, Ricardo1989a Outside nfluencesResented.Nature338:286.1989b ShortShrift orForeignDo-Gooders.Nature342:363.Boyle,Alan2001 ShamansSetUpaCodeof Ethics o FightShams.Electronicdocument,,accessedNovember11.Brosius,J.Peter2000 Endangered orest,Endangered eople:EnvironmentalistRepresentationsf IndigenousKnowledge. ndigenousEnviron-mentalKnowledge ndItsTransformations. oyEllen,PeterParkes, nd AlanBicker, ds.Pp.293-313. Amsterdam:HarwoodAcademicPublishers.Brown,Michael F.1988 Shamanismand ItsDiscontents.MedicalAnthropologyQuarterly :102-120.1989 DarkSideof the Shaman.NaturalHistory,November:8-10.Brown,MichaelF.,and EduardoFernandez1991 Warof Shadows:TheStruggleorUtopia n the PeruvianAmazon.Berkeley:Universityof CaliforniaPress.Brysk,Alison2000 FromTribalVillage oGlobalVillage: ndianRightsandIn-ternationalRelations n LatinAmerica. tanford: tanfordUni-versityPress.CarneirodaCunha,Manuela1998 Pontosdevistasobrea florestaamaz6nica:XamanismotraduCdoPointsof viewon the Amazonian orest:Shamanism

    andtranslation).Mana:EstudosdeAntropologiaSocial4(1):7-22.Conklin, BethA.1997 BodyPaint,Feathers, ndVCRs:AestheticsandAuthenticityin AmazonianActivism.AmericanEthnologist24(4):711-737.Conklin, BethA.,and LauraR.Graham1995 TheShiftingMiddleGround:BrazilianndiansandEco-Poli-tics.AmericanAnthropologist 7(4):695-710.The Economist1993 TheSavageCanAlsoBeIgnoble.Economist327(7815):54.Ellen,Roy,PeterParkes,and AlanBicker,eds.2000 IndigenousEnvironmentalKnowledgeandItsTransforma-tions. Amsterdam:HarwoodAcademicPublishers.Fausto,Carlos1999 OfEnemiesandPets:Warfare nd Shamanism n Amazonia.AmericanEthnologist26(4):933-956.Ferreira,M. L.2002 ShamanicKnowledge nd Power n BrazilianCourtCases nthe New Millenium. nEthnobiologyand BioculturalDiversity.JohnR.Stepp,FeliceS.Wyndham,and RebeccaK.Zarger,ds.Pp.43-52. Athens,GA: nternational ocietyofEthnobiology.Fisher,William H.1994 Megadevelopment,Environmentalism, nd Resistance: heInstitutionalContextof Kayap6 ndigenousPolitics n Brazil.Hu-manOrganization 3:220-232.Friend,Tad1998 Afterburn.OutsideMagazine.Electronic ocument,,c-cessedNovember11,2001.Frontiers1996 FindingMedicinesn theForest:Can ShamansPoint heWay?Frontiers: he ElectronicNewsletterofthe NationalSci-enceFoundation,March.Electronic ocument,,accessedNovember11,2001.

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    1060 American Anthropologist * Vol. 104, No. 4 * December 2002Graham,LauraR.Inpress How ShouldanIndianSpeak?Amazonian ndiansandtheSymbolicPoliticsof Languagen the GlobalPublicSphere. nIndigenousMovements,Self-Representation,nd the State nLatinAmerica.KayWarren ndJeanJackson, ds. Austin:Univer-sityof TexasPress.Greene,Shane1998 The Shaman'sNeedle:Development,ShamanicAgency,andIntermedicalitynAguarunaLands,Peru.AmericanEthnologist25(4):634-658.Halleck,Deedee1994 ZapatistasOn-Line.NACLAReport n the Americas 8(2):30-32.Hannerz,Ulf1996 TransnationalConnections.New York:Routledge.Hecht,Suzanna,and AlexanderCockburn1989 The Fateof the Forest:Developers,Destroyers, nd Defend-ersof theAmazon.NewYork:Verso.Hugh-Jones,Stephen1996 Shamans,Prophets,Priests ndPastors.nShamanism,His-toryandthe State.NicholasThomasandCarolineHumphrey,eds.Pp.32-75. Ann Arbor:MichiganUniversityPress.Hunter,Wendy1997 ErodingMilitary nfluence n Brazil: oliticiansagainstSol-diers.ChapelHill:University fNorthCarolinaPress.Instituto Socioambiental2000a Argumentonapontodalanga Argument tspearpoint).(Jornal oBrasil,May18,2000.)InPovosIndigenasno Brasil,1996/2000.P. 213. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSocioambiental.2000b Chuvachegaap6s"pajelanga" ayap6Rainarrives fterKayap6"shamanism")CorreioBrasiliense,Diariodo GrandeABC, T,OESP,April4, 1998).In PovosIndigenasno Brasil,1996/2000.P. 329. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSocioambiental.2000c Pajes e unem contrabiopiraciaShamans niteagainstbiopiracy)CorreioBrasiliense,April25, 1998).In PovosIndigenasno Brasil, 996/2000.P.212. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSo-cioambiental.2000d Ospesdo solpisaramnafloresta The eetof the sunstepped n theforest) interviewwith DaviKopenawan Septem-ber1998,collectedandtranslated yBruceAlbert).nPovosIndigenasno Brasil, 996-2000. P. 356. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSo-

    cioambiental.2000e A revoltadospajes Theshamans' evolt). Jornal o Brasil,January 6,2000.)InPovosIndigenasno Brasil, 996-2000. P.212. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSocioambiental.2000f SangueSurui Karitianaisponivelporcat61ogoSurui ndKaritianalood available romcatalog). RicardoV.SantosandCarlosE.A. Coimbrar.,ACritica,September , 1996).InPovosIndigenasno Brasil, 996/2000.P. 596. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSo-cioambiental.2000g Sapaim ria"disque-paje"Sapaim reates"dial-a-sha-man"). Jornal o Brasil,April 6, 1996,andOESP,November9,1996.).In PovosIndigenasno Brasil, 996-2000. P. 659. SdoPaulo: nstitutoSocioambiental.Jackson,Jean1995 PreservingndianCulture: haman-Schoolsnd Ethno-Edu-cation n theVaup~s,Colombia.CulturalAnthropology

    10(2):302-329.Kirsch,Stuart1996 ActingGlobally:Eco-Politicsn PapuaNewGuinea. ournalof the Internationalnstitute newsletter).University f Michi-gan3(3):1. Reproducedn Cultural urvivalnline,, tanley1997 JungleBuccaneers. lectronicocument,,accessedNovember11,2001.LaFranchi,Howard1997 Amazon ndiansAsk"Biopirates"o Pay orRain-ForestRiches.The ChristianScienceMonitor nternational.November20. Electronic ocument,,accessedNovember11,2001.Luis,Emerson1998 ApocalypseNow. Electronic ocument,,ccessedNovember11,2001.

    Mares,CarlosFrederico1983 A cidadania os indios(Citizenship nd the Indians). n0indio e acidadania TheIndianandcitizenship) ComissdoPr6-Indio/SdoPaulo).Pp.44--51.SdoPaulo:Brasiliense.Maybury-Lewis,David1991 Becoming ndian n LowlandSouthAmerica.nNation-Statesand Indians n LatinAmerica.GregUrbanandJoelSherzer,eds.Pp.207-235. Austin:University fTexasPress.Melucci,A.1994 StrangeKindof Newness. nNew SocialMovements-FromIdeology o Identity.E.Larafia,HankJohnston, ndJosephR.Gusfield, ds.Pp.101-130. Philadelphia: empleUniversityPress.Muehlebach,Andrea2001 "Making lace" t the UnitedNations: ndigenousCulturalPoliticsattheUNWorkingGroupon IndigenousPopulations.CulturalAnthropology10(3):415-448.Neves, Zanoni1994 Os ndiosnamidia(Indiansn the media).Boletimda Asso-ciagdoBrasileira eAntropologia 2:16.Plotkin,MarcJ.1993 Talesof a Shaman'sApprentice:AnEthnobotanistSearchesforNew Medicines n theAmazonRainForest.New York:Viking.Ramos,AlcidaRita1994 TheHyperrealndian.Critique fAnthropology14:153-171.1998 Indigenism:EthnicPoliticsn Brazil.Madison:UniversityofWisconsinPress.Redford,KentH.1990 TheEcologicallyNobleSavage.OrionNatureQuarterly (3):25-29.

    Rheingold,H.1994 TheVirtualCommunity.London:Minerva.Santos,RicardoV.1999 IndigenousPeoples, he AtomicBomband the HGDP:Re-flectionson Post-WarHumanBiology n/fromAmazonia(1960-2000).Paperpresentedat the Wenner-Gren nternationalSymposiumno. 124,Anthropologyn theAgeof Genetics:Prac-tice,Discourse,Critique.Teresopolis,Brazil, une.Smith,Anthony1990 Explorersf the Amazon.London:VikingPress.Sullivan,LawrenceE.1988 Icanchu'sDrum:An Orientation o Meaning nSouthAmeri-canReligions.NewYork:Macmillan.Tierney,Patrick2000 Darknessn ElDorado:How Scientists ndJournalistsDevas-tatedthe Amazon.New York:Norton.Tomlinson,John1999 Globalization nd Culture.Chicago:University f ChicagoPress.Turner,TerenceS.1992 DefiantImages:TheKayapoAppropriationfVideo.Anthro-pologyToday8(6):5-16.1993 TheRoleof IndigenousPeoplesn the EnvironmentalCrisis:TheExample f theKayap6 fthe BrazilianAmazon.PerspectivesinBiologyand Medicine36(3):526-545.1995 AnIndigenousPeople'sStruggleorSociallyEquitable ndEnvironmentally ustainable roduction: heKayapoRevoltAgainstExtractivism.ournal f LatinAmericanAnthropology1(1):98-121.Vainfas,Ronaldo1995 Santidade. aoPaulo:CompanhiadasLetras.Varese,Stefano1991 ThinkLocally,ActGlobally.NACLAReport n the Americas15(3):13-17.1996 TheNew EnvironmentalistMovementof LatinAmerican n-digenousPeople. nValuingLocalKnowledge: ndigenousPeopleand IntellectualPropertyRights.StephenB.Brush ndDorothyStabinsky, ds.Pp.122-142.Washington,DC:IslandPress.Veja1993 Ofimdo romantismo Theend ofromanticism).Veja,April28: 74-75.Viana,Francisco1992 indiogentefina:Oscaciquesbrasileiros ue enriqueceramexplorando omo bonscapitalistas sriquezasde suasreservas(High-classndians:Brazilian hiefswho gotrich ikegood capi-talistsexploiting he richesof theirreserves). stoE, uly1:38-41.

    This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:54:30 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
  • 7/29/2019 Conklin 2002


    Conklin * Shamans and Indigenous Politics 1061Warren, onathanW.2001 RacialRevolutions:Antiracism nd IndianResurgencen Bra-zil.Durham,NC:DukeUniversityPress.Weinstein, Barbara1983 The AmazonRubberBoom,1850-1920. Stanford: tanfordUniversityPress.

    Wright,Robin,andJonathanHill1992 VenancioKamiko,WakuenaiShamanandMessiah. n Por-talsof Power:Shamanism n SouthAmerica.E.JeanLangdonandGerhardBaer, ds.Pp.257-286. Albuquerque: niversityof NewMexicoPress.Wriston,WalterB.1992 TwilightofSovereignty.New York: cribner's.