quarta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2008

The Indian in History: the Tenetehara People in pursuit of freedom


The Tenetehara people in pursuit of freedom.

A study in Indian anthropology, history, and economy

Mércio Pereira Gomes*


This is a book on the life and history of a Brazilian Indian people - the Tenetehara, inhabitants of the eastern fringes of the Amazon, one of the eight hundred tribes that populated Brazil before the arrival of Europeans. Most of those Indian peoples are now extinct, but the Tenetehara have survived and in a sense are thriving today. To account for this surprising turn of events is the first important goal of this book.

The Tenetehara are portrayed as a people who once lived in freedom and then were engulfed in the cultural-political whirlpool of an invading, powerful people - the Portuguese, who were to become the Brazilians. The Tenetehara were vanquished, subdued, partly enslaved, partly enserfed, missionized, pushed around, robbed of their lands and resources, and, at the very least, patronized to the point of being considered child-like. As this historical and anthropological account unfolds, it becomes clear that the Tenetehara were aware of the social and political conditions that were oppressing them, and that they reacted to the process as best they could.

As a whole the Tenetehara never relinquished their cultural heritage, nor the cultural ideal they always projected for themselves. In their minds they were always struggling to regain their freedom, a goal that was pursuant to the very theme that they believed gave them their origins. This interpretation of the life and history of the Tenetehara people is the most important anthropological claim of this book. It goes parallel with another important theoretical claim that consider the Tenetehara, as should all Indians, all “primitive” peoples, as a people who not only have a history but also an historical sense, i.e., a sense that in some way directs their actions and their self-awareness.

The Tenetehara are a Tupi-speaking people closely related to the sixteenth-century Tupinambá, who dominated the Brazilian eastern seaboard. Their original population was around 12,000 people in some 40 to 50 villages. They were first contacted on their territory, the upper-middle Pindaré river valley, in 1613, by a party of French sailors and explorers who were setting up a colony on the São Luís island. That contact was friendly, but shortly afterwards the Tenetehara were swept into the colonial system that was being established in the Amazon region. Between 1616 and 1652, they were attacked several times by both official Portuguese military and Indian slave traders, and many were brought down to São Luís to work the sugar cane and tobacco fields that were being implanted in what became the State of Maranhão and Grão Pará, the Portuguese stronghold in the Amazon. Then, with the arrival of Jesuit missionaries, led by Father Antonio Vieira, perhaps the most illustrious Portuguese of the century, many of the Tenetehara were rounded up in the mission of Maracu, on the lower Pindaré river, and later in Carará, in the middle Pindaré, where they remained as mission Indians until 1758. During that time the Tenetehara lived under socioeconomic conditions that are here characterized as a regime of serfdom. They were missionized, and thus responded to the spiritual demands of the Jesuits, but their labor power was constantly being conscribed by Jesuits, colonists, and government officials to work in plantations, in the construction of churches and roads, in manning canoes and boats, even as warriors against other Indian tribes. Their wages for these activities never amounted to more than two a half yards of a coarse cotton cloth per a two-month period, which was the standard payment of the so called free Indians in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in the whole of the Amazon. Such paltry wages served only as a token to symbolize a relationship of political and cultural submission. At another point the book shows that equivalent wages were being paid as late as the 1930s. (In that regard the book also suggests that Brazilian low-class, non-unionized workers have such terribly low salaries nowadays not as a legacy of slave days but of Indian serfdom-like, wage labor.)

With the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Amazon and Brazil, in 1759, the Tenetehara mission villages were turned into Luso-Brazilian townships and those Tenetehara who remained in Maracu (which became the town of Viana) and Carará (the township of Monção), were forced into living with incoming whites, Blacks, and mestiços, and slowly became “caboclos”, or physically and culturally mixed-breeds. In the 1820s they were still discerned as “domestic Indians” no longer speaking their original language but not quite yet full-fledged Brazilians. But as time wore on this assimilation process eventually turned them into Brazilian caboclos in any ways undistinguishable from the rest of the Brazilian low class population.

Nevertheless, because of some fortuitous, historical circumstances that are demonstrated along this book the majority of the Tenetehara had since 1759 gone back to their original territory where they continued to live as Indians. Indeed, their way of living until practically the late 1830s was less encumbered by Luso-Brazilian pressure than in the preceding period. So they grew in population, strengthened their culture, and began to spread over a larger territory than they once controlled. By the end of the nineteenth century they numbered about 12,000 people and had villages along the Pindaré, Grajaú, and Mearim rivers, in the state of Maranhão, and the Gurupi, Capim, and Guamá rivers, in Pará state.

During the long period from 1840, when the free, forest-dwelling Tenetehara resumed their relationship with regional Brazilians, until practically the 1980s, that is, for a century and a half, the Tenetehara have been living as a free people, but under the patron-client socioeconomic system that evolved from the previous serfdom-like system. That is, in the patron-client system, they can do as they please in their villages and they are not and can not be enslaved or conscribed for any tasks. However, enmeshed in the colonial system as a whole, driven by their needs for manufactured goods, and pressured by farmers, peddlers, traders of all sorts, as well as state (provincial) authorities and Indian post directors, their way of living has been strongly determined by an economy that has to procure either an agricultural or a forest extractive surplus to meet their demands and the demands of their patrons. They have been exploited and put down, but under a tacit agreement that the exploiters can go only to a certain point of exploitation. Whenever that limit is felt to be overpassed, the Tenetehara have risen up, and more than one time they have exploded in open and bloody rebellion. The book reconstructs the history of tenetehara migrations, the rise and demise of villages, the reasons and the discourses concerning their rebellions, especially the Rebellion of the Alto Alegre, which took the lives of some 200 Brazilians and perhaps 400 Tenetehara in the early months of 1901.

During the monarchy (1822-1889) and since 1910, the Brazilian state has established several Indian posts for the Tenetehara. The state has managed its relationship with the Tenetehara in almost the same manner as a patron to a client. But its presence did help ameliorate the prevailing interethnic relationship in the regions where the Tenetehara have had villages, especially when the question of land property surged as the most important issue in that relationship. From the early 1900 to the 1980s, the Tenetehara fought desperately for their lives, both physically, as epidemics took a hard toll on them (1890s to 1940s), and socially, as pressure to become Brazilians became more overpowering. They fought particularly hard for securing their lands, or at least a portion of them. As this book analyzes this period it becomes clear that the role of the state, ambiguous and even detrimental as it was in many aspects, was very important in helping bring stability to the social situation of the Tenetehara.

Today the Tenetehara number over 17,000 people - their highest population ever - and hold possession of seven Indian Lands for a total of some 2,500,000 acres.

To construct a history of the Tenetehara along four centuries this book uses an historical-anthropological approach to probe deeply into the universe of interethnic relations. In the process it reconstructs a bit of the history of the state of Maranhão and, by extension, Brazil. In the historical chapters (3-7), such socioeconomic institutions as slavery, wage labor, free labor, and patronage are discussed in relation to the role of Indian labor as respectively slave, free, servile, and client, and all of these forms in contrast to Black labor.

The arguments presented lead to the theoretical claim that Indian, nominally free but actually servile, labor was the predominant sort of labor in colonial times and for that reason it became the basis for the ensuing patron-client relationship. Furthermore the book contends that the latter type of relationship, notwithstanding the prevailing and or more evident slave labor, consitutes the basic institution that produced the kind of social inequality prevalent in Brazilian society even in present days. Thus, to understand how such a people as the Tenetehara lived and survived along the process of the formation of Brazilian society is fundamental to understanding Brazilian society itself.

This book has been in the making since 1975 when the author made his first field trip to study the Tenetehara Indians. Its first version is a Ph.D. thesis defended in 1977 at the University of Florida with the title “The Ethnic Survival of the Tenetehara Indians of Maranhão, Brazil”. Since then, the author has deepened his contact with the Tenetehara in many ways, including visiting with them in their villages and relating with them in urban settings and in political situations. His research has extenteded to archives in many parts of Brazil and in Portugal. Almost all aspects of tenetehara life have been experienced, learned, and discussed with men and women, old and young, for almost two generations.

The historical methodology used in this book is strengthened by the anthropological experience of the author with the subject. Thus the few scraps of information found in the historical records come to light in a meaningful way. For instance, one casual visitor to a tenetehara village in 1855 wrote that as one Indian marries he promises his father-in-law to give a daughter to be the wife of a son or grandson of the father-in-law. For anthropologists that points to a kinship system known as Iroquois. So, since the present Tenetehara kinship system is of the Hawaiian type, one can construe that there probably occurred a change sometime between the 1850s and the early 1910s when the Hawaiian system was recorded by an anthropologist.

A book that rests its main arguments on the notion of ethnic survival -- and not extinction or acculturation -- of an Indian people necessarily defies several dogmas, theories and notions found within traditional anthropology. For example, cultural relativism, structuralism, and post-modernism are strongly criticized in the Preface, which is essentially the theoretical chapter of the book. However, the main contribution that this book claims to have is as an empirical demonstration to invalidate the received distinction made by many anthropological theories between the concepts of primitive and civilized. That distinction was conceptualized in the eighteenth century, was consolidated in the evolutionist theory of the nineteenth century, and pervades many theoretical views of present-day anthropology.

To overcome this distinction, which is argued here to be the result of an ideological quirk of Western civilization, the book attempts to demonstrate that there are presently objective and theoretical conditions to postulate a new concept of humankind without dividing it into two kinds. The main condition for that is the very fact of the survival in present times of the “primitive” not only in Brazil but over the world. The presence of those who were considered to be on the wane imposes a new challenge upon scholars and intellectuals who had written them off and only used their example as representatives of a long gone world. This book proposes that, though in distinct cultural shapes, the small ethnic groups that have survived the expansion of the Western world are on the same plane of culture, intelligence, and perception of the world as the big ethnic groups, peoples, and state civilizations.

Cultural relativism conceded that they were on the same plane of culture, but not in history and strategic knowledge of their lives. The book claims that these small ethnies function just like the big ones in the process of adapting and reacting to present world history and, likewise, maybe without being necessarily assimilated as thought previously. Contrary to structuralism and its view of the “logic of the concrete” attributed to the “primitive” and the “logic of the abstract” pertaining to the civilized mind, this book contends that the prevalent logic of such small ethnies cannot be any different than our own. Their analytical capacity cannot be equivalent to that of a seven-, eight-year-old child, a pre-logical stage, as supposes the Swiss pedagogue Jean Piaget; nor is their perception similar to that of a neurotic, as Freud theorized. To help in combating these and other ideas that continue to pervade the concepts that people make of Indians, or “primitives”, is the final theoretical purpose of this book.

The Tenetehara Indians represent one of the diverse instances of the real possibility that a “primitive”, an egalitarian-living people have to survive in the present world. Their history, as presented here, is a demonstration of the clear perception that they have of the world that surrounds them as well as the strategic intelligence that they use to respond to those same surroundings. How could we get about reaching an understanding of this interesting and surprising process if not by a methodology that makes dialogue between equals as the main method of understanding? The dialogue form used here is one that shuns biases and preconceived notions, but also condescension and lenience. Are the Tenetehara also able to understand the anthropologist and his world? Certainly, on their own terms, and progressively better and better on the sociological terms of Western society, according to the political and intellectual tools that they might have at their disposal. The deeper they probe and analyze their living conditions and compare with the living conditions of peoples around them, the closer they get to a point of obtaining an understanding of the larger reality around them. The same intellectual process occurs with us, Western thinkers.

A deeper discussion of this and other themes that are presented in this book becomes necessary in order for anthropology to come to terms with the present reality of the surviving ethnic groups in the world. As we get closer and closer to the Indian in a positive, non-discriminatory and egalitarian fashion, through the kind of dialoguing proposed here, this anthropology, that is, the knowledge that we may have of ourselves as a single species, as humankind, in many divers forms, may overcome the intellectual crisis that presently fatigues our discipline to the point of inertia. The present crisis of anthropology is analyzed here as mainly one of an identity that was rejected by historical circumstances, as anthropology lost the status of speaking on and for the Indians. This book proposes that, even though the Indian has rejected the wisdom of anthropology as it is, the search for human self-knowledge remains and that should be pursued by dialoguing, by living in with and standing alongside those that are not generally considered as equal, whose lives have always been mistreated and misinterpreted. The knowledge that we can have of the world has to be inclusive, a synthesis of all possible forms of knowledge. That is a goal to be attained in a new kind of anthropology that is yet to come. The arguments presented here reject, however, the kind of dialogue found in many post-modernist works, that gratuitously pretends to give voice to the primitive as if that was the way to make amends for the previous felt wrongdoings. In fact, the book contends that such an approach falsifies, by eschewing, the notion of hierarchization between subject and object, and therefore only prolongs that wrongdoing.

As this book unfolds its evidence, its arguments, and its sentiments, it will become clear that it represents not just the individual effort of an anthropologist but the work of a whole generation of anthropologists and Indian sympathizers who have dedicated themselves to studying the life and the goals of Indian peoples and supporting their political cause since the 1960s. This is a work that claims to go beyond the paradigm of acculturation and assimilation proposed in the 1930s and projects a new possibility of life for the Indians in the future.

For all the ample historical data and discussions, this book can be of interest as much to the anthropologist as to the historian. For its descriptive and analytical account it can reach a wider reading public interested in such themes as the rise of small ethnies in a globalized world, the role of Indian peoples in the formation of a country such as Brazil, in the appearance of social institutions like patron-client relationship, serfdom, disguised and undisguised slavery, and free labor as realized in meager wages. In this sense the book casts new evidence and arguments towards a reinterpretation of the history of Brazil.

Book Prospect chapter by chapter


Presentation of the thesis that many Indian ethnies have survived in Brazil and elsewhere. Discussion on the implications of this as yet little understood fact, not only in the anthropological discourse, but also in Western philosophy and the imagination of most people in the world. How to surpass the received dichotomy primitive/civilized imposed since the eighteenth century? Critique of cultural relativism and the traditional methodology in anthropology. Given the ethnic survival of the “primitive”, discussion of several methodological and theoretical themes such as the disjunction subject-object, the prospectivization of anthropological statements, and the notion of an author’s responsibility for what is propounded. Propositions that there is an intimate association between subject and object in all research and the search for an honest and open dialogue in order to establish the vocality of anthropological discourse. Critique of the post-modernist movement. Proposition that there are political and philosophical conditions to establish the basis for a new, multivocal, but unified, anthropology.

Chapter I – Freedom and Auto-nomy

The self-denomination of tenetehara (“the real being) is an historical event. Discussion and speculation on how, where, and when this term appeared. Social equality and the sense of freedom. Description of a general basis (culture, society, mode of production) of what constitutes tenetehara society as a background to understand the historical changes that will follow after 1613. The tenetehara myth of origin and its unfolding into an historical discourse. How the Tenetehara can be considered a truly historical people. Discussion on tenetehara kinship terminology as it changes in recent historical time and how it favored tenetehara expansion in new territories. The Tenetehara and their search for freedom.

Chapter II - Living with the Tenetehara

The anthropologist’s experience of getting acquainted and living with the Tenetehara in the last quarter of century. Emphasis on the first few months of fieldwork in 1975. Memoralistic and analytic discourses are mingled. The dialogue with the Indians as a form of understanding and learning; living with their traditions and world views; standing for their cause in relation to securing their lands and affirming their ethnic identity. Consequences of that. Description of aspects such as village formation; Indian territory; male prevalence in hunting and political leadership; female contribution in demographic growth; social rituals, the everyday existence; ethnohistoric discourse; interethnic relations; formal education. Main ideas of the chapter is to introduce the reader to a certain way of doing fieldwork that goes beyond the received Malinowskian methodology so that the reader be able to see how the Tenetehara are as people and as human being, how they live and feel, and how they react to the social processes that involve them. This chapter is meant to present the Tenetehara in real life so that the reader may obtain a picture of them as the discussions and themes of the following historical chapters are narrated.

Chapter III - The Formation of the Colonial World

Theoretical basis for the reconstruction of the history of the Tenetehara Indians. The Tupinambá Indians and their relations to the formation of Brazil. The Tenetehara in 1612: population and society. The first contact with the French. The Conquest of Maranhão by the Portuguese. Violent contact with Portuguese conquerors. First period of interethnic relations: 1612-1652. The Luso-Brazilian colonial society. Jesuits and colonists in Maranhão. The use of Indian labor force: slavery and serfdom. Why and how other ethnic groups were wiped out. Demographic fall in the period: from 12,000 to 3,000.

Chapter IV - Times of Serfdom: 1653-1759

Villages of repartition and mission villages. The serfdom relation: economic and cultural dependence by military force. Contrast with slavery and free labor. The presence of Jesuits among the Tenetehara. The mission of Maracu, joining Tenetehara and Tupinambá, in the lowlands of the Pindaré valley. The mission of São Francisco Xavier, or Carará, on the upper-middle Pindaré. Life as mission Indian. The relationship between forest Tenetehara and mission Tenetehara. The low economic development of Maranhão and the continuing dependence on Indian labor. The conflicts between colonists and Jesuits and their consequences on the Tenetehara. Examples of other ethnies in Maranhão, mainly on its eastern portion, where some economic development took place. Tenetehara population presumably grows very slowly in the period to about 4,000 people.

Chapter V - Freedom though in hiding

Times of transition: from 1759 to 1840. The Indian Directory of Pombal and the expulsion of the Jesuits. The Indian turns into vassal, integral part of the kingdom. The change from mission villages to Luso-Brazilian townships. Maracu turns into the village of Viana, Carará becomes Monção. The transition from mission Indian to the category of domestic Indian, then caboclo. The permanence of most Tenetehara living autonomously in the forests of the upper Pindaré for 80 years. Meantime, Law of 1798 abolishes the Indian Directory and establishes a clear-cut patron-client relationship where the Indians are to be treated as “orphans” and should treat the whites as “masters”. The continuing use of Indian labor as serfs in public works and other special tasks, such as serving in the Navy. The massive arrival of Black slaves in Maranhão and the contrast between Indian labor and that form of labor as it spreads to most areas of Maranhão and Grão Pará. The situation of the other Indians in Maranhão. Tenetehara demographic growth and their migrations from the upper Pindaré to the west (towards the Gurupi river and Pará), and to the east and southeast (towards the Grajaú and Mearim river systems). Population comes to about 9,000 people by 1840.

Chapter VI - Patronage and the Monarchy Indian Policy

Maranhão in the first four decades of the nineteenth century. The reconnection of the Tenetehara with colonial society beginning around 1840. The Tenetehara and their newly conquered territories along the Pindaré, Grajaú, Mearim, and Gurupi river systems. At the same time other Indian peoples, particularly the forest-dwelling Timbira and Gamella, were experiencing heavy population losses and losing territories. Patronage as an interethnic relationship and as an inter-class relationship. Brazilian conceptions of the Indians and how the Tenetehara were considered “civilizable” Indians (in opposition to the uncivilizable ones). The Indian policy of the empirial regime as realized through the precepts of “christianization and civilization”. The regulations of the General Directory of the Indians, the Indians colonies, the Indian posts, and how they actually functioned to the Tenetehara. The 15 Indian posts and four Indian colonies for the Tenetehara. The presence of Capuchin missionaries in Indian colonies. The Law of the Land of 1850 and its inefficacy to the Maranhão Indians. The growing involvement with regional society through the formation of a parallel, exchange economy and the patron-client relationship. The coming of new immigrants to tenetehara territories and the rise of the first uprisings. Highest tenetehara demography: about 13,000 people spread out over a vast and sometimes uncontacted territory.

Chapter VII - The Republican Transition and the Rebellion of Alto Alegre

Balance of the functioning of the empirial Indian policy through 1890. The inception of the republic regime and how the Indians were forsaken. The historical and economic distinction between the Tenetehara of the Grajaú-Barra do Corda region and those of the Pindaré-Gurupi region. The demographic decline of the Tenetehara of the Gurupi river: from 3,000 in 1872 to 2,000 in 1900, 1,000 in 1920, 430 in 1934, and less than 100 in 1975. The displacement of the Tenetehara in Pará State. The arrival of the Capuchin mission from Lombardia, Italy, to Barra do Corda. The development of the Alto Alegre mission established amid the Tenetehara in 1897. The uprising of the Tenetehara against the mission. The destruction of the mission and the killing of four friars, seven nuns, and close to 200 Brazilians who lived in or near the mission. That is the bloodiest Indian rebellion of the Tenetehara and represents their most blatant rejection of Brazilian civilization. One of the most violent Indian uprisings ever in the history of Brazil. The antecedents of the rebellion. The whys and wherefores given by the Tenetehara and Brazilian interpreters for their Rebellion. The reaction by the Brazilian forces against the Tenetehara. The destruction of the Tenetehara stronghold in Alto Alegre with the help of Canela Indians. The persecutions against Tenetehara escaping groups. The imprisonment of the main leaders and their trial in Barra do Corda. The death of the main leader João Caboré. The consequences of the Rebellion of Alto Alegre upon the Tenetehara and local Brazilians.

Chapter VIII - Actions and limitations of the Indian Protection Service (SPI)

How the Indians fared between the end of the empirial Indian policy and the establishment of a new Indian policy under positivist inspiration. The return of the Tenetehara to the lands around the Alto Alegre and the resumption of their old relationship with regionals, but with more mutual respect. The Indian issue in the national mind and political life. The creation of the Indian Protection Service (SPI). The main purposes and functions of the SPI: respect to the person of the Indian as the states’ ward; protection and guarantee of Indian lands; health assistance; incentive to economic development; and basic formal education. The establishment of the SPI in Maranhão and the history of its first Indian posts for the Tenetehara. The Gonçalves Dias Post for the Tenetehara on the upper-middle Pindaré river. The population decline of the Pindaré Tenetehara: from 3,000 in 1900 to 1,500 in 1934, to 1,000 in 1942, to 560 in 1954, to 240 in 1960 through 1974. Their present population of 600. The attack on the Post by the Urubu-Ka’apor in 1916 and the transfer of the Post to the lower Pindaré region. A local police attack on the Post, in 1936, against the Post chief on the charge that he was a communist. The Post in Barra do Corda and the first delimitation of a tenetehara Indian land. The continuation of the patron-client relationship of post members with the Tenetehara. The early oscillation and then the rise in tenetehara population in Barra do Corda: from 1,600 in 1900 to 800 in 1924, to 1,000 in 1942, to 1,200 in 1953 and to more than 5,000 in 1999. Account of the role of the SPI, particularly of the director from 1948 to 1962. The establishment of new Indian posts. The policy of respect with paternalism to the Indian person, economic incentivations, bad formal schooling, and palliative health assistance. What the SPI accomplished and what left unrealized.

Chapter IX - The National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Tenetehara

The sSate reasons for the abrogation of the SPI and the creation of FUNAI. The new Indian organ’s purposes and preposterous objectives. Its installation in Maranhão. The budget increases in the 1970s. The creation of new Indian posts. The strong surge of conflicts over Indian lands and territories with the incoming peasant and farmer migrants. The rise of tenetehara self-affirmation as a sign of their increasing political power and population growth. The process of land demarcation. Formal education and the new Indian teachers. The Indian movement and the rise of a new style of Indian leadership as a sign of the crisis in the old patron-client relationship. The Carajás Railroad Project and its influence in Indian policy and Indian behavior. The Tenetehara as FUNAI employees. The radicalization of Tenetehara behavior in the 1980s and their moderation in the 1990s. Prospects for new Tenetehara leadership.

Chapter X - The demarcation of tenetehara Indian Lands

The concept of territoriality as an historical construct. Usufruct and conquest. The Luso-Brazilian tradition of setting out portions of lands for the Indians. The dispossession of Indian lands in the Empire. The original concerns of the SPI. The first attempt to demarcate a tenetehara Indian Land. The difficult alliance between the state and the federal governments to demarcate Indian Lands. The renovation of the SPI in 1940 and the new attempts to allocate Indian Lands. The demarcation plans in the 1950s. What was not done and abandoned. The struggle for land after the 1960s. The demarcations between 1977 and 1983. The removal of the villages of Alto Alegre and São Pedro dos Cacetes. The territorial legacy and the new difficulties to keep tenetehara Indian Lands.

Chapter XI - The tenetehara economic system

A theoretical overview of the economic in egalitarian societies. How to apply the theory and model of mode of production, production forces, and production relations to tenetehara economy and society, their historical development and their ethnic survival. The notions of internal economy and exchange economy; economic and social (ethnic) alienation. The imbalance between production units and consumption units as the causer of social alienation of labor. The general conditions for the maintenance of an internal economy as a factor of ethnic survival and ethnic identity.

Chapter XII - The tenetehara economy in history

Patron-client relationship and the working of the exchange economy in the nineteenth century. The social (ethnic) alienation of tenetehara labor. The preponderance of either agriculture or forest products in the shaping and the quality of exchange economies. The distinction between exchange economies in the Pindaré-Gurupi region and the Grajaú-Barra do Corda region. How the Tenetehara progressively learned about the market as shaper of value and price. The increasing value of tenetehara products in relation to manufactured goods. For example: in 1872 tenetehara goods of their exchange economies were worth 10% of the value of equivalent manufactured goods; in 1940 their exchange economies had increase in value to 40%; in 1975 they had reached between 90% and 100% in the exchange economies that operated near Brazilian towns. That is, the rate of exploitation beyond market value had gone from a level of 10 times to nearly zero. The “industry” of timber boards in the Grajaú region in the middle 1950s. The sale of furs up to the 1950s in the Pindaré region. Cattle raising in the 1960s. Cash labor as peons in farms.

Chapter XIII - Ups and downs in tenetehara economy: a balance with perspectives

The boom of articrafts and the rise of social alienation of labor in tenetehara villages, especially in Bacurizinho. The devastating selling of forest timber in the 1980s. Marihuana trafficking on the side. The appearance of substantial cash income through state hiring of Indian teachers, health assistants, and retirement pensions after 1973. Tenetehara economic crisis due to the high rate of demographic growth, the rise in demand for manufactured goods, which were not followed by a concomitant rise in productivity. Theoretical reflection on the economic as constitutive of tenetehara society. Reaffirmation of the concept and the structure of mode of production to better understand tenetehara economy and its relation to the social. Analysis of the distortions caused in the internal economy by pressure from the exchange economy. The rise of social contradictions due to the social alienation of labor in the internal economy. The rise of incipient social inequality and how the Tenetehara reacted to it.

Chapter XIV - Tenetehara Demography

Historical analysis and demonstration of tenetehara demography. Graph of the historical curve. Tables of general population in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with number of villages by regions, river valleys, Indian lands and Indian posts. Table of the population of Colony Dous Braços in 1878, compared with village Colônia a century later. Tables and graphs of tenetehara demography in the decades of 1970, 1980, and 1990. Tables of population by Indian Lands and villages. Analysis of demographic data of 60 tenetehara women of all ages of the villages of Ipu and Bacurizinho in 1975: their number of births, still births, infant mortality. Whys and wherefores of tenetehara population growth.

Chapter XV - The Tenetehara speak out

The speech as obtained in tape recording of several Tenetehara elders and young men telling about their lives, their history, their relationship with Brazilian society, and their view of their future.

Chapter XVI - Conclusions

Brief summary of Tenetehara history in the last 400 years. The role of economy, ethnic identity, and the historical circumstances for their ethnic survival. Description of some aspects of tenetehara culture: change and continuity. Tenetehara views on themselves and on others. Formal education and the predicament of living in village. The rise of an elite among the Tenetehara and the problem of breaking away from village living. Intellectual labor in opposition to manual labor. The permanence of economic crisis. Social rituals and religious beliefs. The tenetehara vision of their political relationship with Brazilian society. Resumption of a theoretical discussion on anthropology today. What is in the future for the Tenetehara?

The Author

Mércio Pereira Gomes, 57, received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1977. He is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Federal Fluminense University and former presidente of the National Foundation for Indigenous Peoples- FUNAI (2003-2007). He has taught at the State University of Campinas (1978-1991), the State University of Rio de Janeiro (1992-1994), and Macalester College (1996-1997). He is the author of Os Índios e o Brasil (Petropolis: Vozes, 1998, 1991); A Vision from the South: How Wealth degrades the Environment (Leiden: Van Arkel, 1992, in English and Dutch); Darcy Ribeiro (São Paulo: Ícone, 2000); and The Indians and Brazil (Gainesville, FL., 2000); O Índio na História: o povo Tenetehara em busca da Liberdade (Petrópolis: Vozes, 2002), e Antropologia (São Paulo: Editora Contexto, 2008), besides many articles in academico journals and newspapers.

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