Peoples of the Gran Chaco

Peoples of the Gran Chaco

Peoples of the Gran Chaco

Peoples of the Gran Chaco

Synopsis

This book is the first in any language to provide an overview of Gran Chaco societies in Argentina in both historical and contemporary perspectives. It depicts a variety of strategies and actions utilized to regenerate traditional values and actions in the face of enormous pressures for assimilation.

Excerpt

Laurie Weinstein

Peoples of the Gran Chaco, edited by Elmer Miller, is one of the first books in Bergin and Garvey new series The Native Peoples of the Americas. This multivolume series will cover indigenous peoples in North, Middle, and South America. Each volume will explore the history and cultural survival of native peoples by telling a unique story. Some volumes will focus on competing ethnicities and the struggle for resources. Other volumes will illuminate the archaeology and ethnohistory of particular regions. Still other volumes will explore gender relations, warfare, and native cosmologies and ethnobotanies. Yet, despite the particular foci or theoretical frameworks of the editor and his or her contributors, all volumes will reveal the rich cultural tapestry of the American continents. Together, these volumes will chronicle a common historical theme: despite the invasion of foreign explorers, traders, militia, missionaries, and colonists beginning in the sixteenth century, despite rapid native depopulation due to disease and overt Anglo policies of ethnocide, despite the penetration of a capitalistic market system into tribal economies, native peoples have survived. As this volume and subsequent volumes will illustrate, native peoples are learning how to organize politically and economically; they know that their values, languages, oral traditions, and other aspects of culture are worth preserving.

Elmer Miller's fascinating anthology about the Gran Chaco of South America brings together a variety of scholars who describe life among the 'Weenhayek, the Enxet, the Guaraní, and the Eastern and Western Toba. These groups constitute native populations of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Jan-Åke Alvarsson describes what it is like as an anthropologist to live with the 'Weenhayek of Bolivia and Argentina. He goes on a hunt and, much to the dismay of the 'Weenhayek, urges them to release . . .

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