Strange Enemies: Indigenous Agency And Scenes Of Encounters In Amazonia (The Cultures And Practice Of Violence)

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In 1956, in the Brazilian state of Rondnia, a group of Wari Indians had their first peaceful contact with whites: Protestant missionaries and officers from the national Indian Protection Service. On returning to their villages, the Wari announced, We touched their bodies! Meanwhile the whites reported to their own people that the regions most warlike tribe has entered the pacification phase! Initially published in Brazil, Strange Enemies is an ethnographic narrative of the first encounters between these peoples with radically different worldviews.

During the 1940s and 1950s, white rubber tappers invading the Wari lands raided the native villages, shooting and killing their victims as they slept. These massacres prompted the Wari to initiate a period of intense retaliatory warfare. The national government and religious organizations subsequently intervened, seeking to pacify the Indians. Aparecida Vilaa was able to interview both Wari and non-Wari participants in these encounters, and here she shares their firsthand narratives of the dramatic events. Taking the Wari perspective as its starting point, Strange Enemies combines a detailed examination of these cross-cultural encounters with analyses of classic ethnological themes such as kinship, shamanism, cannibalism, warfare, and mythology.

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