Allegories Of Wildness ~ Latundê Ethnohistory And Their Contemporary Situation
The prior history reconstitutes the trajectory of observations, research and intervention materialized in the paperwork of a file generated to constitute a bureaucratic dossier that documents the way to the final legal act of creating an Indigenous Territory in accordance with presidential decree. It becomes obvious that it concerns a legal, bureaucratic, and social fiction that presupposed the recognition of concepts and objects – of people and materials – postulated pre-existing. In effect, the history examined so far grounds and socioculturally fabricates the people and their land as a reified object. This corresponds to a dialectal process of what evidence really exists and what was thought to exist or should exist. From this examination of the file, two major points are especially salient. Historical contingencies of context play an important role in the specific structure of conjuncture (in the words of Sahlins) where local time and place are relevant and national and international factors prevail. In current fashion, the local and the global, and between (unsurprisingly this is not always very well represented in the case itself and a point not fully dealt with in this chapter). A small and hardly known group of people, even in specialist circles, suffers immensely from the process of internal conquest. The result is the formally named and grounded Latundê, a distant appendage in the bureaucratic dominant and dominating structure put into place to exert state control over a land and people previously uncontrolled. The state delegates to FUNAI the function of the authorized mentor of land and population management of previously uncontrolled people. In turn, FUNAI occupies a subordinated place within the state when conceived of as an arena of competition between different federal agencies. It is noteworthy that the process so far had very little to do with consultation of the group directly concerned, even the anthropological reports rarely succeed in gaining some insight in the conceptions and opinions of the Indians. As said, this derives from the restriction and subordination of anthropological work within the bureaucracy[i]. Overall, the dossier reflects bureaucratic inconsequential attention, inefficiency, negligence, and sometimes criminal collective and individual behavior and responsibilities.
The Indians were more object than subject of these constitutive processes. They are not just victims, but are the foremost interpreters and, in their own way, agents of their history. What is apparent from the reports aligned before is that the impact of the euphemistically labeled contact was devastating in its population effects. From 1977 to 1981, the absolute lack of medical assistance caused the death of nearly 60% of the entire group, diminishing it from about 23 Indians to 9 at the lowest point, not counting Mané. It was only with marriage and new children that the population began to approach a number closer to pre-contact times. The damage done was tremendous in these first years of pacified relations as most of the older generation perished, particularly after the measles epidemic. I emphasized the example of the Latundê captain’s death and the Mané’s ascent to command. Doubtlessly, the measles epidemic was avoidable, especially so long after contact and considering that the effects of contagious diseases on indigenous populations are notorious. The havoc caused by this small scale genocidal tendency of non interference after primary contact left a strong imprint on the survivors. The only anthropologist to pass four days in the village commented on the distinct difficulty among members to speak about the dead and to take stock of the ravages of population decimation. This difficulty persists even today. Stella Telles, the linguist working with the Latundê language started her visits in 1997 and established a firm rapport and empathy with the group and some of its members in particular (Telles 2002). Impressed by the plight suffered by this people she tried to gather some data about their history. One of these efforts concerned the reconstruction of the group’s history at the time of contact. The result was a painstaking, but especially painful, exercise with the most senior woman, Terezinha, of one of two households, a woman who is still the most senior Latundê[ii]:
Telles describes the living situation as follows:
House 1: Terezinha, the oldest sister in her sibling set, an adolescent man José and his younger sister Madalena;
House 2: Terezinha’s father Davi, her mother Madalena, and her siblings Fatima, Sebastião, João and Francisco;
House 3: Terezinha’s older brother Cinzeiro, husband of José’s and Madalena’s mother (as José is the major surviving Latundê man, he is the reference point for children);
House 4: Chico, José’s older brother;
House 5: the father of José and his siblings;
House 6: Batatá’s mother;
House 7: Sebastião, José’s brother, and his wife, Terezinha’s aunt;
House 8: Batatá and her husband (older adults) and Terezinha’s younger sister Lourdes, living in a place somewhat detached from the other houses;
This only amounts to 19 people. First, it must be noted that for official purpose the date of contact concerns the first time FUNAI established an encounter with the Indians that lead to initiating a permanent relation. Put differently, as if the moment of constitution of this relation depends on the state’s recognition, as if to emphasize the veritable genesis of the people involved and their inclusion into the state apparatus. In a sense, this is true. The official version, however, often does not reflect factual situations. Indeed, previous contact might have been made by a large variety of agents and representatives of the national society. In this case, the Latundê report that a helicopter once threw down objects and that, when on a foray, an older man had an encounter with a Brazilian who gave a machete to the Indian. Hence, at least one friendly encounter already had occurred and new tools were known. Clearly, the supposed isolation of the group was not absolute. Furthermore, it is possible that there were previous contacts but that they are either not remembered or reported. The idea of isolation perpetuated by the FUNAI notion of isolated Indians contrasts with the fact that these groups usually felt the presence of the encroaching national society before official contact and frequently underwent important sociocultural changes. There was some contact and encounters before INCRA and FUNAI officially took notice. Doubtlessly, these situations must have made the people that came to be known as Latundê to speculate about these strangers, but unfortunately very little is known of this impact and the related views. Generally, the Latundê apparently considered outsiders a threat to their lives and well-being. Judging from Nambikwara group relationships patterns, the isolation from other groups must be at least partially due to geographic considerations – the Latundê were located on the far edge of the Nambikwara area. Any relations with neighboring allied groups would have been cut off long ago due to the changed contact situation, all of whom suffered strongly themselves. Isolation here connotes an historical contingency, probably sought after because of the circumstances, and is certainly not representative of any previous indigenous history or pristine state.
Terezinha’s testimony conveys a stressful and traumatic series of events. In itself the need to rely on her story as the most senior Latundê is significant. In the years following the contact in 1977 diseases killed most of the older generation. Thus, the husband of Batatá died having never received a Portuguese name. A few other adults also did not live long enough to receive such a name, thereby complicating the reconstruction because of the absence of Latundê names. Several attempts to reconstruct the pre-contact Latundê population by asking for their names were to no avail. People claimed that the dead and even some of the living did not have names in Latundê. Very likely this assertion is related to a common feature in the Nambikwara ensemble: the interdiction to speak the name of close kin and of the names of the dead. Speaking of the deceased (in particular the recent dead as reported for Southern Nambikwara) may encourage the deceased to take away the living. Obviously establishing pre-official contact population numbers and demographic trends is very difficult, if not impossible. Criminal post-contact negligence left the group consisting of only two older adults, one being Batatá, who continued living in her Latundê-style house until an illness shortly before my visit and Terezinha’s older brother, nicknamed Cinzeiro (ashtray) because of the burns sustained when sleeping near the fire. Batatá does not speak Portuguese and is somewhat difficult to approach with an interpreter. Cinzeiro does not speak Portuguese and is considered rather feeble-minded by the others (although he is very friendly)[iii]. It is believed that, according to Latundê theory of causality, he came to be so by touching meat which a vulture had eaten from. This leaves Terezinha, who, being the oldest daughter, at the time of contact already had completed the first menstruation seclusion ritual. As her sisters were both children then, she is the major source of information.
One major feature in the organization of the Latundê at the time of contact is the proliferation of houses. Not only did every couple possess a house but also bachelors and single divorced people tended to live alone, except for the little group in Terezinha’s house. Photographs taken by Price reveal that the village had a small macaw house (casa das araras in Portuguese). This place was a home for the many representatives of various species of parakeets, small macaws (ararinhas), parrots and possibly macaws[iv]. Until very recently this traditional house was maintained by Terezinha. The two sites of current occupation (as of 1999-2000) both had their own macaw house. Although Terezinha let her house disintegrate, leaving only the scattered remains and part of the frame, she dug a hole in the ground for the birds to stay in. The passion for all these different types of birds continues. In a way, the very presence of the macaw house not only indicates the prevalence of the domesticated birds who, in comparison with other animals, receive a preferential treatment and constitute the main stock of domestic animals, but also the pre-eminence of the house epitomizing individual autonomy. This tendency prevailed until recently. Batatá built and lived in the last Latundê style house until she moved into a partially open and independent room in José’s house (regional style). Later illness forced her to move to the Aikaná village where the Aikaná husband of Terezinha’s younger sister later built her a small house. She still lives there and continues her role with the macaws by lodging them in her house. At the same site where Batatá used to live, Cinzeiro also own a regional-style house. This place commonly functions as the kitchen for the other family in residence, José, Lourdes and their children, who occupy a separate house, directly in front.
At the time of contact, the social relations among the Latundê explain the distance of Batatá’s husbands’ house to the others. Thus, all members of the group demonstrated their relative autonomy in house-building patterns, a fact apparent today in the distance from Mané’s and Terezinha’s house to the site of José’s, a twenty minute walk. Though the same pattern continued to prevail, one exception is Terezinha’s younger brother who stayed in their house and still lives there. However, this young man was in a fashion raised by the older couple, and is markedly shy. The costs associated with a modern house are much greater than a traditional house. As José is strengthening the already strong ties with Mané’s household, he started to build a new house at the other man’s site and prepared a large garden jointly with the men of the same house (except Mané). This house is being built with the assistance of the sons and the younger brother living at Terezinha’s house, also men who are his partners in the preparation of the gardens, at the time of Telles and my major stay ay the Latundê house (September to October 2000, the main ethnographic present in these chapters). Nearly a year later, in August 2000, on occasion of a very rapid visit, everyone was already living together at the same site (and Cinzeiro had, at least for the moment, not built a separate house). The houses made by the elders denote a strong tendency of individual autonomy which is unlikely to carry on to the next generation. For the younger people, constructing their own house implies more work, as they prefer Brazilian style homes. The other younger brother of Terezinha’s siblings who lives with and works for other Indians, after some sort of misunderstanding with his patron, decided to live in an abandoned house constructed at the fazenda not far away from the Latundê main site (a house and pastures resulting from an INCRA-authorized land invasion).
In some respect, the Latundê settlement pattern persists even with the adoption of the regional house style. Terezinha was a young woman when she married Batatá’s husband (one of the men who remains nameless because of early post-contact death). This man was married to Batatá, Terezinha, and her younger sister Lourdes. She, however, had a fight with the husband and left him to live in a house with the adolescents, one a marriageable boy, José. This seems to be in accord with a notion of easy divorce for young married people. The importance of autonomy is also evident in the Nambikwara ensemble custom that permits young women to try out more than one husbands until settling down, the end of this period habitually being heralded by the birth of a child (Price 1972). Lourdes, was the next youngest sibling (assuming the usual Nambikwara practice of birth spacing, she should be between two to four years younger), had not yet completed the coming of age ritual and consequently could not yet be a wife. She probably entered the house while still being raised to be a future wife by her husband, another practice also quite common among neighboring peoples. In the Nambikwara ensemble even very young children have marriages arranged by their parents. Their other four younger siblings lived with their parents, the only united and not divorced parents with children inhabiting a single family house. It is interesting that the couple made up of the oldest sibling of Terezinha and the other one constituted by José’s older brother were both still childless. Another of José’s brother also lived alone but could have been a choice for the girls from the first sibling set. Even though some partners were available possibly political choices were made such as marrying the sisters to Batatá’s husband and not to the young adults. Later Terezinha did marry one of the younger men but this husband died of illness in the contact phase.
All of this provides clues about organization and reproduction, admittedly in a probabilistic fashion and in comparison with numerous patterns abstracted from other Nambikwara sources. This is basically speculation and not without pitfalls. For example, the customary pattern for Northern Nambikwara village displayed two larger houses and not small-individualized houses. This demonstrates that the Latundê may have changed certain social arrangements and practices as this new set-up differs from neighboring Northern Nambikwara peoples. For the moment, this rearrangement lacks any plausible explanation. It may be the effect of long isolation from other villages. One hypothesis would be that the shelters normally set up for temporary lodgings were, in a way, transformed into small individual and familial houses (I discuss the village pattern further in Part II and III). Be that as it may, it is safe to say that only two couples were producing children, siring the sibling set of Terezinha and that of José. Batatá’s mother was the only other child-bearing person alive, while her daughter, though apparently older than the sibling sets, did not have any children. According to one comment by a Latundê, she did not want any children. Given the general Nambikwara practice of wishing to have children, this may be the reason for the polygamous marriages of her husband[v]. If the judgments from post-contact reports hold true that the major leader of the group was either Terezinha’s father or José’s father, then the only polygamous man was not the group leader (a fact also evident by the dissension of a separate house site). Not only did Batatá’s husband not have descendants but he also does not seem to have been the groups’ leader, contrary to the Nambikwara pattern postulated by Lévi-Strauss but conforming to the much ampler later sample discussed by Price[vi]. In a way, the partitioning of the group and keeping apart of one house turns the major part of the group essentially into the fusion of two older couples and their descendants. Later one of these couples divorced, possibly reinforcing Davi’s authority, the father of Terezinha and the major set of siblings (as well as the marriage of the ex-wife to his son too). A remark likely made by Price in 1977 on the photograph of José’s father accredited him as being the leader. This comment aside, both of the elder men should be the senior persons in the small group as the men of the two principal couples that already have adult male and female children. In sum, it is uncertain whether leadership involved either one or the other, but both were in a position of influence and must have had significant authority.
The situation, particularly at contact, almost mirrors the basic reduced model (in the words of Lévi-Strauss) implicit in Dravidian kinship: two couples exchange their children (like cross-cousins) and ensure reproduction of the group (whose children would be cross-cousins and could thus ensure population growth). In effect, both Cinzeiro’s marriage at the time and the later, still existing marriage of José and Lourdes express a relation of potential affinity and not any impeditive consanguinity between these couples[vii]. It is important to stress that it is impossible to confirm this conjecture due to the absence of the full kinship relationship system. Several attempts by the linguist Stella Telles to elicit anything more than the kin-term for brother, sister, father and mother did not succeed. It is unclear whether the Latundê really have a Dravidian system and the cross-cousin preference that other Nambikwara possess. This seem partially due to language problems, as well as something possibly more profound; either a refusal similar to reluctance to pronounce personal names and to map people on this social chart, or else to discuss real relations even with sympathetic outsiders. In fact, Telles could not establish some important kin relations within the group at the time of this house arrangement. For example, that Batatá’s husband is unrelated to anyone is extremely improbable in such a small isolated group[viii]. Yet the presence of this relationship system is extremely likely. Material available from the last native speaker of Lakondê and her own knowledge about the Latundê (though second-hand) confirms an extreme linguistic closeness among the two dialects. This person, Dona Tereza hence advances the hypothesis that the two groups derive from a common ancestral group and were separated by historical accident in the not too distant past. After becoming acquainted with Dona Tereza, Telles expanded her fieldwork with the last Lakondê speaker and her thesis treats both languages as Latundê and Lakondê (2002)[ix]. Among the Lakondê, kin terminology follows the general Dravidian pattern of the Nambikwara cultural ensemble (as far as Telles and myself have been able to establish; compare Price 1972; Fiorini 2000).
Also without entering into many details, Terezinha mentioned that the group passed through some serious difficulties; for example, Mamaindê attacks to kidnap their children, an event that caused casualties (at least one of these attempts succeeded and later the kidnapped person was found among them). She seems to imply that her father and José’s father reconstituted the group to ensure its persistence. Though the group lived in the savanna for a considerable time, it suffered pressure from the Mato Grosso side and may have been pushed up into Rondônia, through other savanna areas, to escape these assaults. If indeed this group is a remnant of the originally northern Lakondê (Telles 2002: 12-3), their original impulse would derive from fleeing illness, Whites, or both, to the south-southeast. Then, after an unknown and undocumented period, the two couples constituted the basic core of the group that could exchange their children and assure the general sociocultural reproduction. This is especially important because the third couple did not have any children but the marrying out of the sisters could create a valuable alliance to the group and amplify marriage choices of future generations[x]. In this sense, the pre-contact situation in the Campo do Barroso appears to have been a relatively stabilized group with a core the two older couples in a position of affinity (the men probably treated each other as brothers-in-law) and of potential affinity by the future exchange of children with some other aggregated inhabitants. Thus, the group managed to grow and live traditionally (probably after some serious problems). It seems likely that the Latundê might have persisted in this mode if the encroachment of national society had not imposed contact. It seems safe to assume that the somewhat precarious mode of sociocultural reproduction, however possibly unstable in some aspects, was sufficient to guarantee the group’s permanence as a distinct social unit.
Difficulties before contact also transpire in several observations about the personality and behavior of certain people within the group. First, the distance between the main body and Batatá’s husband is sometimes translated in the affirmation of the existence of two malocas. Batatá’s husband may have been an important man as one of the three older pivotal leading men but preferred to maintain some distance between his household and the other ones. The physical distance indicates a demonstration of his wish for some autonomy within the larger group and probably signals at least some latent tension. In effect, there may be an ethnic and historical explanation for this division. According to Dona Tereza, her brother Joaquim told her that the Latundê local group consisted of descendants of two different local groups still extant in the beginning of the fifties. The Tawandê attacked, dissolved and incorporated all of the small villages of three Northern Nambikwara speaking peoples of that time, including the last independent village of the Lakondê. Despite having been a real and intimate brother to Dona Tereza, Joaquim actually pertained to one of the other two peoples whose members also either were forcefully incorporated into the Tawandê or fled and went to live at José Bonifácio. That is, the current Latundê would be made up of people originally from the Yelelihrê and another closely related people, possibly Sowaintê (the first name as transcribed by Telles 1992: 12). Although these peoples were very close in language and culture, they still considered themselves as distinct from one another and for this reason the local groups may be called ‘peoples’.
Hence it is possible that Batatá’s husband belonged to a different people than the majority of the group and that such a fact added to the potential tensions of the small group. He allegedly beat his new wife, who had recently completed the seclusion ritual, and that induced her to move out and set up another household with a pair of siblings. Tensions between husband and wife (or wives) existed at least in some cases. Moreover, other tensions between people happened as a function of individual behavior. Some persons were known for their antisocial characteristics, and were referred to with the Portuguese expression, brabo (wild, untamed). This is the same word used to describe the uncontacted and hence untamed and undomesticated Indians. That is, the expression points to asocial and uncivilized conduct and the accusations against some of the women of the group include thievery and there are charges against one or two men of unruly violence. Once, Terezinha’s father nearly killed one of the female thieves. Formerly, such conflicts were resolved by changing groups or locations, and the very absence of alternatives likely caused a profound change in the former pre-contact patterns of group and individual relations. Now the regional society deprived the Latundê of participating in the usual mesh of alliances, animosities, and the concurrent circulation of visitors and spouses. Apparently no relations remained with other Nambikwara groups, only the hostility and the threat of the Mamaindê. Thus, isolation possibly condemned the group to live together as one unit in spite of significant tensions.
Living in the savanna was advantageous in some ways. The usefulness of the savanna does not issue from any particular ecological adaptation, although it certainly did have its uses. The open spaces are remembered as an imperative of defense. The high visibility made possible on the open savanna contrasts with the forest. Also, the Indians used to burn the low vegetation of the savanna. The benefits of this activity included killing game. Terezinha still very occasionally burns to clean the plain and kill some meat in the process. Additionally, the burning clears the vegetal cover and leaves no possibility for anyone to sneak close up and surreptitiously attack the maloca. Terezinha remembered the savanna as the original and preferable habitat of the group for its safety. Today, however, she also adduces a pragmatic reason for preferring to live in the forest, the fact that mosquitoes and other insects infest the savanna and make life difficult. The sandy soil of the savanna provides the White sand the Nambikwara Indians normally preferred as their bedding on the ground near a fire[xi]. In this respect, of course, her people exhibited one of the primary distinguishing features within the Nambikwara group, along with the preference for open spaces. However, it is quite clear from the photographs taken by Price and the statements that they differed in another salient feature[xii]. Even though the people did not go about naked in the sense that they wore few ornaments – a collar on the waist or across the upper part of the body for the women and armbands on the upper arm for the men, other more general Nambikwara features – they did not pierce noses or lips. For some Nambikwara this feature normally consigns unknown people immediately to the category of belonging to the Nambikwara ensemble, as one Nambikwara do Campo asserted to Price (1972). In my sense, the hypothesis must be that the exception to the rule entails that the people have lost this practice for, as far as I know, all other peoples in the ensemble always wore those ornaments. Even other local groups, apparently unknown to the Latundê, reported to have been previously living near the Pimenta River before contact and now extinct, did so. The complexities of their history may explain this remarkable absence, shaping a situation in which the group found itself on the edge of the Northern Nambikwara cluster’s area in the physical sense, simultaneously being on the edge in a larger sociocultural sense. Again, recall the possibility of prolonged but not so splendid isolation.
That is, this people was very likely not just on the edge but also was on edge with the outside. This isolation represented the flight from enemies and the absence of outside allies, internal strife and internal tensions that may have caused fissioning the group in other circumstances. The fact that they were on their own and had only themselves for sociocultural and economic reproduction was feasible until contact[xiii]. Thus the recollections of the surviving generation features many people living in the savanna, suggesting a group sufficiently numerous to allow for an endogamous cross-cousin marriage system and continued population maintenance or growth. The image further brings to mind the positive side and a largely positive evaluation of the complete autonomy of the time. Reports confirm that the horticulture practiced in the nearby forest in conjunction with hunting and gathering activities provided more than enough food. The receptions with abundant food depict a people well accustomed to permanent habitation at the Campo do Barroso. Though in political terms seemingly a refugee area, ecologically and economically speaking, the adequate adaptation to the savanna probably followed the usual historical patterns. The village built sustained a permanent and not just seasonal occupation, even when it is likely that hunting and gathering expeditions of variable duration were mounted[xiv]. Again, these people were not nomads, as some reports discussed above claimed, nor was there a poverty in adaptation that forced even the to women hunt, as one of these observers noticed with surprise[xv]. The fact that at least some women hunted with bow and arrow (as did Batatá and the two mothers of the sibling sets) does not necessarily imply group disorganization. Nor it is not proof of any insufficiency of the male hunters. It might very well be an expansion of the women’s role as gatherers, a task that always included capturing small animals. In fact, women hunted smaller prey and only killed game from the savanna or forest floor, not including animals living in the trees except when they passed by on the ground (Terezinha recalls only one such instance when her mother killed some monkeys).
Overall the people apparently succeeded well enough in providing for their sustenance. The group used its own repertoire of food crops (like maize, cará (yam), and manioc) and complemented them with gathering other vegetable foods (and tobacco). Some of these plants, like maize, probably were distinct varieties lost in the contact phase. This was a loss of genetic diversity that affected not only this small group, but the global community too. Such losses have only recently been recognized in ethno-ecological studies[xvi]. The gathering of plants nowadays has diminished; a cará do mato (literally a forest yam) collected by Cinzeiro was shown to us as being part of this older repertoire of edible plants. The youngest generation had not yet eaten this food and some took the opportunity for their first taste. Even before contact, one notices the experimental attitude of José’s father when he collected sugarcane at a distant fazenda to bring it home to plant. An expedition in which, naturally, he took care in attempting not to be noticed by the owners of the plantation, apparently taking the plants out of the field in the dark. In this event both curiosity and willingness to improve on the stock of available plants to cultivate are manifest, a sharp contrast to the stereotype of alleged conservatism. Scouting in the region and some knowledge of the regional society also show curiosity about the outside. On the whole, horticulture was a prominent part of the economic activities of sustenance, but gathering provided a fundamental component. Hunting of larger animals like deer and tapir also contributed to the group’s nutrition and general sustenance (exploiting different ecological zones). Terezinha remembered living in a fixed village with much daily activity. Water, for instance, had to be fetched from a far-away source. There was a distinctly active life of food production and procurement, and sustenance with the presence of many people that Terezinha recalls fondly. She recollects a satisfactory, even happy life. Even if her memories may be biased towards the better reminiscences because of subsequent disasters, her judgment should be basically sound. As a whole, the group regarded their specific way of life as a viable and valuable mode of living.
Contact from other perspectives
After offering a tentative picture of the history and situation at contact, I attempt to examine some characteristics of the prior situation. The fact of living in what is normally called isolation might give the erroneous notion that the pre-contact history had not been influenced by the encroaching regional society. However, the turbulent history before official contact directly caused changes in the mode of living of the village and the inhabitants had less overt contacts. These encounters and the normal avoidance of regional inhabitants must have shaped the notions entertained by the Latundê of this kind of stranger. Only a few such events are known to us. The theft of cane has already been mentioned. Another case concerns the encounter of the same Indian with a fazenda employee who was working not far from the village. Somehow, the two men met in the middle of the savanna and conducted a peaceful encounter from which José’s father came away with the gift of machete. Such a tool must have been enormously beneficial. The practical Indians doubtlessly found much use for such an advantageous tool. In this way, some of the advantages of a peaceful exchange relation with the intruders preceded the first tentative openings towards the group. By the seventies, the Tubarão settled to the east, relocated by the inaction of a government agency that shamelessly approved their removal from the fertile lands along the river to the south (a map of the soils in Rondônia shows that this area is one of the very few patches of red soil (terra roxa), the best available and in total contrast to the dry savanna or the mostly sandy soils supporting forms of a low bushy forest[xvii]). One of their occupations at the time was to engage in wage work or to contract work for the fazendas whose land was yet to be delineated. As mentioned above, this temporary demand of labor provided many much-needed jobs, compared to the small number of employees necessary to care for cattle. Thus, the ranchers employed the Tubarão to scout the area and literally clear the straight property lines through the forest as they appear on INCRA’s map, effectively recreating the map on the ground[xviii]. On one of these missions, some Aikaná came across signs indicating the presence of wild Indians in the area and their first reaction was to retreat, afraid to enter a region inhabited by unknown peoples. The Aikaná belong to another ethnographic area and participated in a distinct interethnic multidimensional exchange system, centered along the axis of the Pimenta River. They knew peoples like the Kwazá, Kanoê and Tupi speaking groups which had evolved an interesting complex of relations between themselves[xix]. The Latundê (or any other group of the congeries of Northern Nambikwara), however, are believed not to have participated.
So their unexpected presence posed a practical and interpretative problem to the Tubarão. In 1974, according to one participant in these events, nobody knew they were there when the land surveyor engaged by the fazendeiro (large landowner) employed them to open the picadas (path lines) cleared to constitute the property borders. Then, after fifteen kilometers along line 120, they noticed some signs: one of the Indians’ paths; a place of collection of honey and grubs[xx]. Significantly, they did not know about FUNAI at the time. This clean path came out of the forest and entered into the savanna and then the Indians returned with the knowledge of Indians on the savanna. Returning without further investigation left them still unaware of whether these were tame (manso) or wild (brabo), the first question on their minds. That is, having assimilated the idiom of the branco (Whites in these contexts is always an ethnic and not a ‘racial’ term), the first relevant classification concerns the condition of domesticated (in effect, dominated) or unruly (autonomous and not subjugated by the system). This idiom is widely used, for example, by peasants and farmers to contrast land and animals not under human control with those that are brought under human mastery by means of human labor. Wildness is not viewed as a positive attribute, nature is seen as a force to be conquered, transformed by human capacity, put to use and gain value (in both senses). The basic opposition also classifies people with respect to their capacity to work and be useful. This can be thought of as the ability to be self-domesticated. People should labor to transform savage nature into humanly ordered cultivated space. Thus, this classification immediately refers to a larger cosmological scheme which may be applied to both the southern migrants coming into Rondônia as well as the natives. This is unmistakable when Fonseca told Price of his wish to teach the Indians to work. In this system, hunting, gathering and nomadism fail to constitute work, neither are they the predicates that found real people nor classify as a normal and satisfactory human relationship with nature.
The Aikaná finished their task afraid to encounter these unknown Indians but completed their work without incidents. Later, talking to the chief, they decided to go out and look for them. The chief asserted that if they were wild, they would make them throw down their arrows and be domesticated (amansar), if they be already tame, he planned to converse with them. The chief in this case is actually a man from Ceará who engaged the Indians in rubber extraction. Fifteen men went on the trip, all armed, taking little chances in case of an incident and trying to make an impression based on numbers and force (according to the statements of an Aikaná participant). When they arrived near the open savanna they heard the pounding of maize kernels to powder and afterwards saw two malocas. The sound was one of the older principal men pounding maize and the Tubarão cried out to make their presence known. The man went into a house and came out with four other people, three women and an elderly man, all armed. They waited outside, equipped with bow and arrows and a club while the group approached them, gesturing and requesting that lay down their arms[xxi]. Batatá was ready to shoot arrows at the strangers but the older man intervened to make his people drop their weapons and establish a peaceful connection. Another participant remembered that at this point the Aikaná maneuvered the White man from Ceará to be up ahead of the row of men, with a revolver in his hand, right at the front where any violence would break out first[xxii]. It is probable that the older man was the father of José (as told by another participant) and that his prior contacts prepared him to risk the approach. Bear in mind that the group consisted of most of the Aikaná male population and that the future Latundê were likely familiar with firearms. Fear dictated these precautions and caused the display of armaments and manpower on both sides:
[We believed that] they are wild, [that] they would fire arrows. I told my people, if he wounds someone, one of our companions, you may fire at him too; but if he does not wound anyone and misses his shot, hold your fire. If he hits one of ours, if we see that he [a member of our group] really is going to die, then we would have reacted and shot them. But thank God they did not do that. I think, maybe they were frightened too, who knows. I know they put all their weapons down and they greeted us without harm. We confirmed they were not wild, but we were afraid. They wanted us to stay the night but I said that we were not going to sleep there. We left.
Evidently, violence was a real possibility and the whole expedition might have led to a bloody encounter in which doubtlessly the Latundê would be the primary victims. Such an accident would deeply unsettle the Indians’ way of life and leave them with nowhere to flee[xxiii]. Violence is well known to the Aikaná and their neighbors, in pre-contact times, during contact, and obviously after contact with their subjugation and incorporation in the rubber collecting enterprises that often relied on weapons to subdue wild Indians. Luckily, the intervention of the older man carried enough influence to stop the outbreak of violence to these unexpected visitors appearing all of a sudden in his own village. This visit is even more terrifying when the native people have no allies in the world[xxiv]. This moment of courage was crucial to the group’s very existence. By preempting a violent encounter, the older man, certainly one of the leading figures, avoided a situation that may have resulted in the demise of his people. His conduct was interpreted to signify that the group could be approached by people employing signs of peaceful intentions.
Even though it was clear that these people could be domesticated, prejudice and preconceptions still played a significant role. In this particular pacification effort lead by Indians and Whites, the Aikaná understood the nakedness, and their choice of habitat as indicative of a strange and wild people (note that the Aikaná lived on the river and in the forest). Moreover, before their actual approach, the Aikaná were already afraid because the older Indians of their group described the unknown people in frightful terms: because these people kills us, eat us, and drink our blood. One leading Aikaná told the others that they kill and suck blood and roast the flesh for consumption with manioc cakes. They attributed to these others a very dangerous quality and the initiative of the expedition actually may have resulted from the persuading of the White chief, their patron in the rubber business. In effect, the Aikaná admit having practiced a form of cannibalism, as did other peoples in the interethnic complex of the Pimenta River. They accuse the Kwazá of indiscriminately eating the whole body – possibly denoting the view that they hunted humans as they did any other animal prey instead of a mode of consumption demanded by this distinction. The suction of blood appears to be an accusation of another thing not done although the reason for this taboo is obscure[xxv]. Some Indians refused to participate in the expedition to the Latundê. These ideas infused the whole expedition with an atmosphere of fear of violence because among the Aikaná the unknown also inspired the trepidation and dread of the uncivilized and unpredictable. Preconceptions on both sides shaped the actual encounter with a large amount of fear and potential for hostilities.
Attempting to speak different languages did not resolve the problem of oral communication but after the strangers took his hand and greeted the leading man, the Indians gave them chicha (a drink made from maize or manioc), smoked meat and manioc cakes (beiju). The main narrator I consulted attributed a prominent role to himself (he became one of the formerly mentioned chiefs who actually appear to have functioned as patrons) and reported that he insisted that his companions eat this food and did not throw any of it away. His perseverance illustrates the tension and lack of confidence prevailing in this first encounter. Although the food was said to be good – proof of the sustenance provided by the diverse productive activities – many were concerned about poisoning. In order to normalize relations one had to eat the food, overcoming a fear certainly not unfounded as the Nambikwara are notorious for their knowledge of natural poisons. Even if the Aikaná did not want to, they ate the food. After all, refusing the commensality of eating together implies the insult of refusing a token of amity. One Latundê Indian sneaked away to warn the others, at the other village, and some time later another seven people arrived at the gathering, threatening to use their weapons. The older man intervened again, took their weapons away and stored them elsewhere. These newcomers also brought food and they offered these to the strangers who ate even more.
Afterwards, according to one version, the visitors made their hosts understand that they were asking them to dance. Another narrator with a better memory affirms that the idea came from José’s father. The Latundê then carried out their dancing and singing, without playing any instruments. One Aikaná wanted to reciprocate with a song but the flu had made him too hoarse. This casual remark reveals that he likely functioned as the vector that transmitted the virus to a previously unexposed population. Thus, the Tubarão[xxvi] seem to reproduce a template of initiating cordial alliances (similar to the customary proceedings before contact), somehow also reminiscent of their inter-ethnic relations with Whites. A short look at this history displays some features of this learning process. At a prior point in their history the various peoples of the Pimenta region lived together in one big village, but in separate malocas, because of the White mans’ domination and want to gather them in one centralized area to collect rubber. During this period, the White dictated his will because of fear and factors related to real and symbolic violence (Bourdieu’s notion) to the Indians. Among other things, the present-day Aikaná recall that the Indians thought the White man killed Indians to mix with rubber and make tools. This belief of fabricating the tools from Indian bodies possibly conceived of as conferring a superiority to the tyrannizing Whites is full of implications. One concerns the salience of bodily idiom and substance, a familiar feature in the ethnological literature of Lowland South America, to construct similitude and difference (more on this in Part II). In a way, it is quite true that the rubber and the subsequent tools were fashioned from their bodies; the coveted commodities served to assist in the subduing and extracting labor from the victims in a closed circle of substances. The circle, in turn, raises the hypothesis that it is modeled after previous notions about the circularity of predation in the universe. Without knowledge of the Aikaná these conceptions cannot be explored and confirmed. Regardless, violence, subjugation and the fear of this figurative cannibalism by the White man is an integral part of a historical experience that may have predisposed them to conceive and treat the Latundê this way.
After leaving the village, the party spent the night on the road and one participant remembers how they, despite the exchange, did not dare to sleep out for fear of a surprise attack. Nothing happened though, and three days later the Latundê took the initiative to seek out a rubber tapper that lived in the adjacent forest (perhaps at a two hours walking distance). They wanted industrial commodities, mostly metal objects like machetes, axes and pans. The tapper offered them some older goods and they returned home. The visit shows that the Indians knew the general direction their visitors came from and demonstrates the enticement of these commodities (a desire generally one the major causes for pre-contact contacts and the acceptance of contact). Afterwards the Aikaná made contact with FUNAI in Vilhena and the agency brought a lot of material as presents for them. The auxiliary Fonseca appeared in the history of both peoples at this moment. The chronology of events is to some extent resumed in this particular narrative, for the Aikaná claims that this must have happened in 1977. That, according to him, was the moment when FUNAI established itself in town and Fonseca was in charge of Aroeira (people of the Nambiquara Project were also present)[xxvii]. The Aikaná man and Fonseca jointly took the presents to the Latundê and that domesticated them somewhat further. The Aikaná remembers tools, hammocks, shoes, clothes, blankets, matches and tobacco as gifts. The Indians did not have any salt, rice or any foodstuffs. The clear memory of this distribution relates to the quantity involved and especially to the fact of receiving so many things the Aikaná themselves habitually worked so hard to get. Fonseca took Mané Torto with him as a translator on his second visit. Fonseca later left Mané with the group, claiming that as he did not have a wife, it would be best for him to stay. He married Tereza and stayed there. And so they were domesticated. And when, in 1979, the FUNAI agents from the base in Riozinho (in the direction of the town of Pimenta Bueno) sent more presents and, with Mané already living there, in his mind this signaled the end of the process: they ended domestication[xxviii]. The flow of gifts, the usual template of pacification, in his sense too correlates with taming wildness.
In the reports cited so far, the special role of Fonseca in this process and his relevance for both peoples is apparent. For one thing, he openly announced to Price what his project for the transformation of the Latundê implied. In fact, his proposition only resumes the essence of the colonial project of conquest. Nowadays the state does not directly order or condone murder of Indians and does not forcibly take away all of their territory (as in the just wars of the past). The slowly increasing recognition of prior rights to life and land does not dispense the states’ general intention to transform both, and the society’s individual and collective projects of appropriation of these resources. It has been unusual to recognize all of their lands as Indian Territory. A major contradiction experienced as a result of the pacification template always concerns the barrier all the contacted peoples run against: after the more or less liberal flow of free industrial goods in the pacification period, the flow inexplicably dries up. A new regime of trade terms is introduced where their values of industrial goods must be compensated for by values produced. A major problem, naturally, constitutes the fact that the appreciation of value is completely dictated by the economic logic of the national society. This generally has little, if anything, to do with the economic logic of domestic mode of sustenance with the sharing of produce and with the modality of direct equivalent trade prevalent between similar groups (as described, for instance, by Lévi-Strauss, 1984). The terms of trade are then translated into the necessity to produce within the framework set up by the dominant society, this entails the transformation of the, so to speak, valueless domestic economy into an integrated subordinate part of the economy with the production of valued products and the corollary modification of the independent worthless producers into useful laborers (and, less significantly, consumers). Naturally, the resources of an Indigenous Territory, the labor force of the inhabitants, and the consequent economic autonomous production of sustenance when still an independent circuit of particular ecological adaptation and socioeconomic organization really is useless and valueless to the capitalist world economy. These areas are mainly viewed as unexploited resources and are thought of in terms of their exchange value instead of the uncomplicated objects with a use value to the immediate producer and consumer. More relevant are the variegated regional and national interests that now apprehend the entire independent Indian system as valuable resources to be incorporated. Such a perspective is only valid in the capitalist economy in which the Brazilian agents themselves are inserted, generally in a subordinate position, within Brazilian society. A perspective of a cosmology of labor that extracts products from natural resources represented, reified and objectified as the only natural and obvious reality of the world, especially in regards to its workings, the position and ranking of people, and the notion of personhood (on these points, of course, I am inspired by the work of Sahlins).
In his own way, Fonseca shares this perspective from the stance of his humble origin in a rubber collecting region of Rondônia. His own account solves one previous mystery and, from his own way of representing the course of events, demonstrates the negligence of FUNAI agents[xxix]. It is worthwhile to resume his own narrative and add yet another point of view. His career begins as a poor rubber collector where he earned valuable experience in the wilderness. Later he worked as assistant to a traveling boat trader, and learned about trade. Basically expelled from the interior by the economic crisis, he settled in the town of Porto Velho, with a quick passage through São Paulo. Later on during his stay in town he became a widower with children, with an experience more suitable to moving through the forest and a positive appreciation of rubber collecting and selling rather than being qualified for a job in town. One day he encountered a higher-class friend who immediately set out to help him and arranged, in the typical paternalistic fashion, a job with FUNAI (after another attempt that did not suit him). Francisco Meirelles, then in the FUNAI agency of Porto Velho, accepted him on account of his degree of excellence in forest experience (in 1970). First he went to live with three qualities of Indians up the Guaporé River, he sent for the Indians of the Mequens River (not so far away from the Pimenta River) because the Jaboti Indians at the post were all lazy[xxx]. They did not have manioc, they did not have maize because they were too lazy to work. Two Indian captains and their people came down river and we constructed a row of houses and large fields with lots of produce. Quoting an Indian he calls simply chief: Here I like to work, Mr. Fonseca, here they are people. Producing palm oil to sell at the market resolved the necessity to buy the lacking commodities from the outside[xxxi]. After a period of pacification with the Paaka-Nova (Wari) that did not go very well (being so wild as not to obey and who left him with a few arrow wounds), he was transferred to Cuiabá and the Aroeira Post. There he lived quite well and was pleased with himself. Once and a while he conducted explorations with good Indians (by implication, obedient ones) along the famous Telegraph Line. The land at the Aroeira Post permitted horticulture, and was said to be good to work. He urged the Indians to get manioc to plant, because before his arrival the Indians hardly planted. Equating work with ample and diversified horticulture and large amounts of produce, he condemned anyone who did not share these ideas as lazy. He, a man who claims to abhor the idea of being subordinate to someone in his own work, did not shy away from strong measures to enforce compliance.
Then an opportunity arose: They sent me, FUNAI sent me. He set out alone and later organizing a team of Aikaná, the first contact was not an immediate success. Once the expedition got on its way, it took a lot of effort to find them. After three days of searching, one of his companions, the tuxaua and guide, already wanted to return as the food was running out and they had not seen traces of Indians. Insisting in trying another direction as a last effort, he was worrying about what to say to FUNAI about this failure. Then, finally, they encountered a caboclo (Indian). Whispering, the Indians told him to lie down, just as the armed Indian they spotted had done. So he decided to encircle the other Indian, as he was accompanied by six Tubarão (one being Arara, Kwazá[xxxii]). When the Indian noted their approach, he stood up, trembling in fear. Both tried to communicate but the Indians of the party said they did not listen (i.e. understand). They managed to ask for the maloca, the chief, and the Indian, with a grunt, indicated the direction. The large house occupied the top of small hill in the savanna and was visible from a distance. Before arriving there, circumventing a lake (of the Barroso savanna), two girls were roasting yams. These people are still alive and when they see Fonseca embrace him exclaiming they owe their life to him[xxxiii]. He already had given some knives and mirrors to the man, Cinzeiro, when the other Latundê descended the hill, armed and with the captain in front[xxxiv]. He was so furious for some reason that he was foaming from the corners of his mouth. Talking did not establish communication but after leaving all the presents which were not touched at all by the intended recipients, the captain of the Tubarão succeeded in gaining permission to leave and they left. So, apparently contacts had been interrupted for some time, possibly even some incidents occurred to raise the wrath of the leader and turn the whole encounter into a tense affair. Also, conspicuously absent and leaving no doubt whatsoever as to this point, no other FUNAI agent participated in this attempt to apply the classical pacification template.
At this point, Fonseca went to see a White man in Marco Rondon who employed a number of Nambikwara to produce foodstuffs like manioc flour. These are part of the Indians Price mentioned in the same report of 1977 as having accepted, with one exception, relocation within the reserved lands of Aroeira (see Part II). The solution was proposed to all the dispersed Northern Indians who customarily were integrated into a situation of subordination and exploitation, and who already had been alienated from their homelands. He then invited the leader of one of these peoples, a socially and historically important man named Joaquim, and mounted a new attempt with the assistance of these Nambikwara, in particular with this Sabanê who prized his capacities to speak languages[xxxv]. Fonseca alleged that the unknown others were actually not that wild, rather it was only that nobody succeeded in speaking with them. This, he argued, the Indian should be able to do. Fonseca not only paid him but also appealed to him to participate as a favor (presumably because he would be in dire straits without his help). At the time no road existed between the main highway and the interior. After passing through the Aikaná village, they reached the savanna and set up their approach, at about four o’clock in the afternoon. Everyone carried a gun, to inspire some fear. From then on the initiative rested with Joaquim, the Indian leader Fonseca appointed. He instructed Fonseca to stay behind him while the other Indians remained in the background. Then the wild Indians descended the hill, yelling, as riotously as the first time with their captain in front. Joaquim and the captain talked for such a long time that it made the expedition’s nominal leader anxious. In effect, according to Dona Tereza Lakondê this was her brother Joaquim and not a Sabanê at all, hence his fluency and competence in the dialogue. To assuage his fears, the Indian said to Fonseca, let him grow tired, let him blow off some steam. The two leading Indians pursued their dialogue and even Fonseca’s presence cropped up and, stamping his feet, Joaquin presented the auxiliary to the Latundê leader as a captain, a chief. After sending most of the accompanying wild Indians away, food arrived for the visitors, honey, roasted maize and yam, meat, everything. The Indian leader told him that they would stay the night, as it would be much more comfortable then staying in the forest. Notably, no one saw any women, only men, the classic sign of distrust. At night the local Latundê leader authorized the outsiders to arrange themselves for their staying the night, to improvise beds and to sleep.
Here it is clear that the actual process of contact was conducted by the Indian leader and that the choice of this man proved to be providential to the whole effort. From then on the encounter followed Nambikwara conventions of confrontations with unknown others, firstly because effective communication proved possible and then ensued a tirade and dialogue which brings to mind the kind of encounter described by Lévi-Strauss (1984). At this instance, a meeting between two opposing groups with mutual complaints, the leaders voiced these grudges loudly in a reciprocal harangue. It does not seem far-fetched to presume these new ingredients are the essential novel features that guaranteed success. In other words, bringing in a knowledgeable leader that conducted the interaction in terms of a sociocultural Nambikwara template (as opposed to relying solely on other designs of interaction), was probably the only way to begin disarming the fear, anger, and distrust. It is clear that venting such strong feelings, short of complete and utter defeat, must be channeled through mutually comprehensible discourse and means. The show of arms, incidentally, is a normal part of pacification ( a term that is military jargon for bringing peace) with the connotation of gaining control over the legitimate use of violence[xxxvi]. At night the functionary resumed the command of negotiating the peace, promising that I and captain Joaquim will send blankets from over there. The Latundê leader did not know what a blanket was. The same leader sent one young naked girl each, the poor child, to provide a small fire for both visiting chiefs and they stayed on sitting there on the visitor’s side. Then, later at night, all the men sang, but not the women, singing eh eh e e eh, brandishing their clubs (bow and arrow were used more by the women than the men). They passed close by his bedding, what did stir him into a little anxiety. Nothing happened, the singing stopped after some time and the Indians went away. Only the girls stayed to tend to the blanket of the Indians and a small fire (he believed the fire was very small, although it was likely the standard kind for sleeping next to). From then on he obtained permission to return whenever he wanted. Feeling authorized he did so and one time even took a priest to visit the Latundê.
It is remarkable that the previous and still ruling autonomy is recognized because Fonseca emphasized that he was authorized by the local leader. He proudly reports on these visits despite the fact the official rules clearly prohibit them. He mentions with pride the episode of a priest from Porto Velho who had heard about my pacification [of the Indians]. Naturally, the whole description confirms that the enterprise shows signs of practices that are in stark contrast to the rules. Most strikingly at odds with the rules is the original order that sent this man on a mission for which he was totally unprepared as an Indian agent, a sertanista. This remark is not intended as a personal criticism, as his inventiveness and persistence shows, rather it must be observed that his action was shaped by a regionally accepted common sense that FUNAI should do its utmost to expunge. The preparedness for the especially delicate task of approaching an autonomous people draws only from his own resources and has nothing to do with any FUNAI training. The pacification template contains its own very questionable premises but it usually functions to establish a relation. What really motivated Fonseca to assume the task was the promise by Tolksdorf, the man who was officially charged with pacification. As noted above, the same sertanista who claimed in his later report to have succeeded in contact and who later in the same year abandoned the official command of the process of dealing with the Latundê people. This was the same sertanista who had experience in conducting the delicate operation and who, on paper, refused to initiate such an operation without sufficient funds and medical support. Nowhere in this narrative is there any indication of special measures and precautions taken. For example, the basic safeguard of avoiding bringing in people infected with influenza or to bring in a medical team for consultations and vaccinations. No precautions seem to have been taken and Fritz Tolksdorf delegated his task to his subordinate in a completely irresponsible manner. Fonseca claimed he was sent by FUNAI, by Fritz, who promised that if I went he would compensate me with the post of sertanista! Or, It was ah …Fritz, you go, if you pacify this village, I guarantee that I, jointly with the personnel here, will give you the post of (…) indigenista, and you will earn well for the rest of your life. From his perspective, the previously mentioned opinion of the Aikaná corroborate that he carried out his activities as a solitary agent: I pacified them.
Fonseca believed that he was not promoted for two reasons. First, there was Tolksdorf’s death shortly after the effort[xxxvii]. He further attributes being relieved of duty after pacification to the personnel of the Nambiquara Project, particularly to the agent of the Post at the Negarotê (at the time, of the Mamaindê, Marcelo Santos who Price suggested to replace him). Afterwards, receiving another task, he continued to maintain a presence in the area. While living in the Aikaná village, he concurred with the Latundê leader to go to the Tubarão village and get the goods over there. Then, after giving commodities like tools and ornaments, he gave shorts to the women, as they could not walk around [naked] they must be clothed, I clothed them”. Then everything was beautiful. Until this point, the Latundê tore up and threw away the gifted clothes, blankets and hammocks in the forest, in a place separate from normal refuse in the savanna. Nakedness was an offense that must be remedied as fast as possible and the fact that now they do not want to know any more about that (that they once went naked), implicitly recognizes the evident superiority of clothing. These culturally insensitive beliefs ignore the subjectivity of such judgments. The aesthetic pattern of beauty does not inhere in the clothing itself, it acceptation rather epitomizes dominance. Like many others, Fonseca believed that ethnocentric patterns are cross-culturally valid. For instance, an old woman threatened the strangers during their visit. Joaquin advised him to leave her alone, and let her vent her fury. He agreed and found that the strategy worked, because it was a woman. Perhaps the same woman was renowned for her hunting and later she insisted with him that she did kill, kill, roast (imitating their Portuguese, limited to a few words). Aside from his remarks about female hunters, Fonseca attested to a sufficient food production. Even though their field was small in comparison to his standards, it contained many yams (called batata in Portuguese, a generic term referring to potatoes and in general to similar tubers) and a specific variety of soft maize, good maize. Complementing this life style, the village was full of birds, parakeets, [and]macaws”. In other words, his testimony of savanna life indirectly confirms its resilience and apparent viability, at least around the time of contact.
He was also proud of constructing the road from the Aikaná to the Latundê village and of establishing a mule train to make the monthly delivery of the goods bought and to collect the rubber produce, saving the Indians the trouble of carrying everything on their backs. Indeed, a number of feats were worded in the typical Brazilian construct of what I have done and accomplished (a phrase especially prominent in politics when someone claims credit for a collective or state enterprise[xxxviii]). In his opinion, his merits are obvious, as he oriented the Indians in their productive activities and kept the records of all transactions with rubber and the commodities bought with them. Again the mode employed to depict the years with the Aikaná is couched in the amity idiom that subsumes the paternalistic attitude of teaching what is good for them. He employs the same style to assert he was helping them to grow (economically) and points to the signs of mutual assistance and care (receiving meat and manioc and treating the ill). He even includes joking relationships. Such amity does not exclude command. At one point he mentions that he called the Indians together and I appointed the captain, who was the son of the former captain, and as there was another group, indicated another man, expecting to be respected by both leaders. If this is how this happened, then he appointed the leaders through which he relayed orders for the organization of rubber production and commerce[xxxix]. With his management, the Aikaná apparently did conform to reasonably productive standards that permitted a surplus large enough to buy a light generator for the village, as noted by Fonseca. It is noteworthy, in this respect, that he ascribes the incorporation of the Latundê into this system to the insistence of the Aikaná, who accused them of stealing. This stealing is still mentioned by the Aikaná today, especially by those who used to live in the forest closer to the Latundê village. Even in the present, the accusation recurs with respect to certain individuals during their visits to the Aikaná village. For a while this caused such visits to be stopped. Here occurs the same problem of the formerly free flow of goods, at times abundant and apparently easily replenished, a contradiction to teachings about the notions of property and scarcity, and of the concept that goods are to be exchanged for products in accordance with supply and demand. The latter scheme functions quite differently from former notions of reciprocity and is not universal, as Fonseca knew very well when expressing the idea that he was going to teach them to work. What he did, however, was not so much teach the wild Indians, as set up a system of rubber exploitation with the more experienced Aikaná neighbors.
Conflicts of competence and conflicts of the truth
The interruption of Fonseca’s activities with respect to the Savanna Indians partly sprang from Tolksdorf’s withdrawal of support. Fonseca believed that in consideration of the degree to which advancement depends on one’s personal connections and how much FUNAI is riddled with factional strife, the motive of his being dismissed from his pacification can only be personal; he missed his reward because of a persecution essentially representing Santos’ jealousy or discrimination for something similarly unconnected to objective operational reasons (enumerated by Price). On the contrary, his version of an inquiry to determine if he was misappropriating funds only served to confirm to him his efficacy in rubber collecting and commerce. Once the rubber collecting system had been set up and Fonseca was working among the Aikaná, some wealth accumulated and rumors about unfair distribution began. According to him, the rumor that he was getting rich at the cost of the Indians motivated the FUNAI commission to investigate his financial operations. The complete records of all transactions and the transparency of both the records and the registration of all labor and produce earned him an easy acquittal. Moreover, the commission expressed their praise for the total system put in place, even remarking that this was the best organized Indian village they knew and that the model should be copied in other areas: beautiful (in the Brazilian colloquial). In effect, given the circumstances of the time, it is quite possible some member praised his efforts. Purporting to live off his own salary, supplemented with meat and manioc furnished by the Indians, he said to have led an easy enough life and did not in any way embezzle funds. This was a period when FUNAI pushed community development projects. Such projects were designed to put Indian labor and resources under the auspices of national economic logic so as to make the Indians produce a surplus to pay for their needs and, preferably, for the costs of their protection too. In this sense, the efficient system of exploiting rubber and the market integration really proved to be a windfall for FUNAI. The changes in Indian society and the aspects of domination and coercion implicit were either not seen, or considered the unavoidable concomitant of progress and integration. The same goes for the Latundê, where the engagement of Mané Torto and others into the system resolved the particular problem of the demand imposed and created by contact. Customarily the FUNAI more readily paid for attraction then for the resultant situation created by the permanent relation.
The introduction of Mané among the Latundê is a disputed issue and there are several versions. The former Aikaná tuxaua asserts without a shred of doubt that his former collaborator Fonseca took Mané with him on his second visit to the savanna to translate. Then, arguing that Mané did not have a wife, Fonseca later left him with the group. He married Teresa and stayed there. And so they were domesticated. The presence of a man accustomed to the regional society, trained to work (in the gardens, he learned rubber gathering skills later), speaking a variant of the language and a smattering of regional Portuguese certainly makes sense as a mediator in a civilizing project. As he is Tawandê or Tawaindê (both names appear in early writings on the Northern Nambikwara), the Aikaná narrator actually thought that the name of the group should have been Tawandê, but they put Latundê. He claimed the FUNAI employee that registered the name did not know how to say it correctly; she pronounced the name Tawandê as Latundê[xl]! Whatever the case, the mystery of his arrival persists, because Fonseca himself insists Mané’s arrival had nothing to do with him. “Mané used to work with Crusoë in Marco Rondon. But the thing is that this guy, the one I am calling, oh [Santos], got it in his head that he should go there that there I don’t know what. He fetched him and took him there. He, being still very young [and should be interested in the] (…) girls, they arrange one for you, you stay here, in no time you are the chief, they all died (…) It was he who took Mané Torto”. Crusoë produced manioc employing Indian labor and in his memory Mané lived with them, a mistaken belief[xli]. Fonseca began to hear of Mané’s presence from a rumor about an Indian with no shame, one who would teach the others to drink cachaça (sugarcane alcohol). As it no longer really was his concern, he did not attempt to intervene. Fonseca later concluded his deal with Mané and drew him into his productive orbit, as was probably the intention of the overseer, the White boss, who led the Aikaná to make first contact. On the other hand, the agent, Marcelo Santos (then stationed at the Mamaindê Post), denies all of this. On the contrary, he avouches that, unknown to him, someone took the Indian to the Latundê during his absence from the region while on vacation[xlii].
To the main interested parties, Mané, his wife Terezinha and their family, the answer is quite clear. After the pacification and the visit of Price with his former assistants from the Nambiquara Project, the latter pursued the intentions mentioned by Price to take charge of the new group. The Latundê belong to the Nambikwara ensemble, and thus the claim that they should be included in the Nambiquara Project is valid because of the linguistic and sociocultural affinities. The marked difference with their immediate neighbors and the danger of their incipient domination by neighbors tied into a rubber exploitation system fully justified a differential treatment by Nambikwara experts. If it is true that the Project in some way influenced naming the Latundê, at least some of the people of the Project possessed the most intimate knowledge of the Nambikwara ensemble. The Project originally conjoined personal dedication and novel indigenist practice. In a way, this conception ended up clashing with the older constellation of ideas common among sertanista factions within the agency and the commonsensical definitions of progress and backwardness held close by higher echelons of bureaucracy and politics. The prevalence of endemic factional strife about the power distribution and the material and symbolic spoils at stake within the agency itself, engendered the permanent antagonism which shaped a difficult context for the innovation inherent in the Project’s practices and for its far less ethnocentric ideas of indigenist intervention. The result was Price’s dismissal as Project head. The ironies in his report about his successor, a clear representative of an affiliation to another more romantic and prejudiced generation, speak for themselves[xliii]. In another ironic twist, the Latundê invoke a part of the general pacification template, the taming of the wilderness, as the reason for the introduction of Mané Torto: his entire household concurred in attributing his mission as their own domestication – exactly as the auxiliary formulates his role – mentioning, for example, buying clothes and teaching them to wear them.
In effect, the agent who was proposed to deal with the post-contact situation did take charge for a while, although the dossier discussed above does not contain any material about these actions. For instance, he took the Indians to visit both Aroeira and their traditional enemies, the Mamaindê. No doubt he aimed to diminish the fear of the outside world and achieve some alliance with other similar groups (already after Mané’s arrival). Later on, pressed by the bureaucratic decision to change the formal responsibility for the group (as noted in the above report of his one-time boss Tolksdorf), he halted direct action with this group. From the Indians’ point of view, it was he who proposed that Mané marry into the group and they hold him in high esteem[xliv]. That is, it is a double contradiction that a member of indigenists faction with an alternative view of what should be Indian policy should have introduced this non-member outsider with some criticized credentials. That is, at the time, the death toll had not narrowed or eliminated marriage possibilities within the group. Accordingly, on the contrary, his entry was logical to Fonseca who had little reason to deny his role except for the antisocial behavior that rumor attributed to Mané. The same accusations lead Fonseca to accuse his supposed rival Marcelo Santos of mismanagement. On the whole the migration does not make sense within the kind of Indian policy Santos adheres to, except as a mistake or the unintended consequence of some other action. I may conjure up some ways to reconcile the conflicting versions but the truth remains difficult to envisage without some deception on some part[xlvi]. For the present purpose, on the other hand, it is enough that the conflicting versions demonstrate the strife within the agency and the way in which these affected the course of events of the treatment of a people who were thrown into a realm of interaction completely foreign to their usual appraisal and conceptions. One wonders how this ended up legitimated in the eyes of the Indian protagonists, essentially putting the latter on a route of sociocultural and linguistic change.
The reports discussed so far document the negligence of FUNAI’s responsibility and the way the higher ranks left room for the reservation functionary João Fonseca to realize his plan for economic integration of the Indians. Jointly with the Aikaná, as seen, who in this respect were heavily constrained by dependency and lack of alternatives because of dearth of FUNAI action, to some degree are not just impassive victims but partially implicated in the constitution of the paternalist regime implanted. The drawing of the Latundê into the rubber collecting system was at least partially due to pressures from the Aikaná neighbors fearing for their own meager means and objects; implicitly (or perhaps explicitly), they partake in the ideology of work and progress. The reports obviously simplify their plight and present their abandonment as the sole cause of their sorrows and the lack of official assistance as a sufficient cause for the adoption of a passive attitude. Given the commentaries in all the reports there is a surprise: the land on which the contemporary village of Gleba is situated is not very appropriate for horticulture or agriculture (the situation is somewhat better at the other settlement Rio do Ouro). Until today, no effort has been made to relocate the village or even to furnish greater access to the more fertile lands bordering the Pimenta River. At the risk of the anachronism of projecting the present into the past, this may have occurred because of the rubber regime that downplayed the importance of self-sufficient horticultural practices. Today most of the Indians participate little in horticultural production and consequently depend largely on buying their food in town. This is perhaps no surprise in light of the situation during the rubber period coupled with the prevailing FUNAI-managed infrastructure. Comparatively, the contemporary implementation of some community gardens largely depends on the initiative of the local FUNAI agent[xlvi]. In 1979 or 1980, when all these Indians engaged in rubber collecting it was necessary to produce provisions for the collectors and Fonseca arranged for Mané to come and live at Gleba (the main village).
According to the former Aikaná captain Luis, in 1979 Mané came to work the gardens at the Gleba owned by the other captain, Manoel, planting rice, beans, and manioc for flour. Two men and a woman worked with him before they died from measles. He was presented with clothes for himself and the women, [as well as] hammocks. After the deaths, Mané and the remaining Latundê went away and Mané never returned, even though the Aikaná continued visiting very occasionally. The epidemics also reached the others who had remained in the savanna. Mané learned to extract rubber and after 1980 he worked fully integrated in the system. Then the goods bought (rice, sugar, whatever you need, clothing, we will furnish) used to be taken to the Latundê in exchange for rubber gathered by workers. He went to work his own crops and continued collecting rubber. Until 1990 the Latundê participated in this trade, others like José, also entered this system until the prices fell and the whole system collapsed[xlvii]. After this, the other captain, Manoel, now also called cacique in an effort to be modern, left the area because his wife separated from him. The other former Aikaná captain, Luis, remained cacique for ten years, selling Mané’s rubber and taking the goods to his house. To both men’s minds, things like hammocks and shotguns were necessities. As an Indian patron, he did everything he could to help Mané and the Latundê: [I gave him] everything he wanted, really helping him. After his retirement from the post, he asserted that the new village leaders never aided Mané or his people. The latter being largely true, his own former help consisted mostly of taking care of the delivery of the goods at or near the Latundê village, i.e. ensuring that nothing was stolen when these were first delivered at the house of other Indians living near the Latundê and who were more easily reached through the existing road. Thus, this delivery was liable to theft before the Latundê received the goods. Notable are his repeated paternalist idiom of helping in selling his rubber for Mané and delivering his commodities – and the general supportive attitude as if the system put in place is a neutral exchange, even some sort of favor rather than a relation of exploitation. The same evaluation applies to the period in which Mané and others worked for his colleague Manoel, as well as for the time when Luis was directly involved as the intermediary situated one place up in a chain of commerce. This formed a relay system that reflected more than just the economic dimension but shaped the sociopolitical matrix of dominance. Although it is left unsaid, his standard of evaluation probably accepts this relation as just.
It was not just the deaths that caused Mané Torto to return to the interior. At least today, in his judgment the exchange did not satisfy his criteria for a fair trade and he still holds a grudge against Luis. Previous observations make it very likely that the Latundê were treated as savages, or at best, as primitives, and were consequently not entitled to the same treatment as the Aikaná Indians. Certainly it is unwarranted to claim Mané and his group had everything they wanted, all signs indicate the probability that Latundê were being exploited more than the others. On the one hand, the sharing of this point of view between Fonseca and one of his ex-bosses, who actually were being patronized, shows what FUNAI could and should have avoided. In particular, the establishment of a strong connection between the Latundê and the Tubarão part of the Indigenous Territory and the conduit of the Indian Post in this system should have been examined with care and rejected. There was never any FUNAI action to remove the Latundê from the influence of the Aikaná. In reality, the Latundê’s retreat to their own lands only occurred because of the deaths of the mother and a brother of Terezinha at Gleba (and one other unidentified man, possibly José’s father). Fonseca buried them in the graveyard he made. According to the Aikaná, their people also suffered deaths in this period. According to Fonseca, the ex-manager, his actions and those of his wife (a nurse) succeeded in limiting the number of deaths[xlviii]. In the savanna, Terezinha’s father had held out to the force of attraction and the attempts to turn his people into a cheap workforce at the service of the Aikaná rubber collecting system. The leader persisted in living traditionally and kept his two small boys, the youngest members of the group, with him. Nevertheless, the epidemics reached the interior, possibly transmitted by frightened Indians fleeing to the woods because of this very illness. He died at the savanna, and, just as the documents discussed above confirm, all these deaths virtually deprived the group of the majority of the older generation and thus of its sociocultural memory and lifestyle. Terezinha commented that he was not old, indeed, her last sibling was born during the time of the initial contact. Worse still, the death of the leader left the group without the only person with shamanic capabilities and hence without a curer[xlix]. She also emphasized that her mother engaged in rubber collecting and thus was a productive and capable person; she even learned to speak some Aikaná. For obvious reasons, these traumatic events impressed her so much that even today she hesitates to talk about them and, on one occasion when we attempted to elucidate some events, her grief rendered her unable to speak. Examining this period entails traumatic and painful memories of suffering and loss. According to some others on the Indigenous Territory, after the outbreak, the Latundê collectively decided not have any more children and to terminate their ethnic existence (Van der Voort 1996: 380).
Thus, the absence of vaccination and the attempt to socialize the Latundê in the ideology of work caused the partitioning of the group and exposed them to devastating viruses. At first sight, this could be thought of as unintentional genocide or genocide by negligence. Yet, this blame rests with the state, whose obligation to know the deleterious effects in advance transforms disregard into genocide (Palmer 1998: 89-90); the definition of genocide implies intent and centuries of experience characterizes negligence as intent and the UN convention mentions as one of its reasons to qualify for genocide: “(…) 2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” (Hinton 2002: 2-3; and that such harm could lead to death should aggravate the charge). Take the following example. A similar situation occurred in Paraguay in April 1978 when contact was established with a Northern Ache group of 22 people of whom only two children, already ill before contact, died as a result. This low number is because of the immediate permanent medical assistance. In 1979 in another group of 37 people only one child died (in both cases the death rate is measured for the first five years after contact and hence represents precisely the most difficult period for the Latundê; Hurtado et. al. 2001)[l]. Of course, the accusation does not hold for all of the individuals involved, some of whom were not in a position to judge the risks and effects of their policy and did not intend to cause harm to the Latundê. Those who should have known for some reason either withdrew or hardly paid attention. The bureaucratic confusion of responsibilities after contact probably generated an administrative gray zone where particular people in command did not feel responsible, or felt that they could not be held accountable for non-action. Their conduct contributed to the general malaise[li]. For Fonseca inspired as he was by the charitable aim to put the Indians to useful work, the condescending attitude towards this group came naturally. For instance, Indians without Brazilian names themselves chose Christian names freely. When Fonseca later spoke of the naming, he added that if nobody did so, he could have assigned them new names. Reminiscing about the time of his visits, he affirmed that when he would like to eat bacaba [a palm fruit] and they would fetch it in the savanna; I could go there today, [and] take Cinzeiro to dig and see what is there. The implication about authority and respect already mentioned is present in these examples; to him they illustrate the naturalization of command with which he condescendingly gives orders.
The commentaries about the nature of the relationship with the Latundê occur in unusual contexts, as when Fonseca confirmed the story of the helicopter discovery of the Latundê. Some time later, the pilot of the aircraft turned up at his home. The pilot wanted to examine the possibility of some kind of mineral present in Latundê territory and offered to engage Fonseca as his guide into the area (FUNAI’s presence inhibited his attempt to go in alone). The pilot confirmed one of the versions of the discovery of the Latundê Indians, the one that attributes the first sighting to people likely involved with the RADAM Project, a federal research project that intended to take stock of the inventory of resources in Amazonia (land, soils, minerals, etc.) using radar and satellite pictures to support research on the ground. During a reconnaissance flight, a team supposedly detected some resource but did not verify this on the ground as the Indians shot arrows at them[lii]. Much later, the pilot tried to penetrate the area on foot, but after he failed to locate it, he resolved to employ an experienced guide. After all, he was formally prohibited from entering the former heartland of the Latundê. Meeting Fonseca at his house, the pilot explained the case and offered money. Fonseca accepted with the assurance that I can take you there, through Gleba, [because] I am authorized to pass through everywhere. So, despite leaving FUNAI, at that time of the visit and actually until today, his sentiment of being “authorized” (and in that sense being an authority himself) is strong enough to make him feel free to enter the area. He acted as if no restriction applied to him and as if to look for some mineral deposit is a normal, legal activity. Note that the pilot’s belief refers indirectly to the older regional story that some sort of gold vein is waiting to be discovered in the area (see Dequech’s writings on his search for the legendary mines of Urucumacuan[liii]). Only a few years ago unknown men penetrated the Latundê region and were seen from a Latundê house. At that moment only the women were present but the strangers went away after Batatá threw things and made a commotion at the forest’s edge (Telles witnessed this). The pilot never returned and news reached Fonseca informing him of the pilot’s accidental death. Once again, the opportunity to earn a fortune vanished with the death of a superior high-class person.
On politics and economics
After the deaths and the integration into the rubber collecting system, the Latundê, now headed by Mané Torto, moved to the forest, closer to the rubber trees and the adequate plots to grow food. Despite moving from the savanna, they were, a Fonseca observed, still on their land. After the collapse of the rubber market and the group’s leaving of their manager, the Indians of both groups searched for alternative income sources and fell easily into the trappings of the demand of regional and national society. The small town of Chupinguaia grew in the eighties and nineties due to the forest resources and in a significant part of that growth was sawmills. The opening up of fazendas, which made necessary the felling of forests for pastures, supplied these mills with timber. After the fazendas were developed, the pace of this so-called development slackened and the lack of new clearings later made the sawmills look out for alternate sources[liv]. The Indian forest resources naturally caught their eye, as in light of the rubber crash and the few assets at the Aikaná village, there was little opportunity to earn money. The Indian reserve was an easy target. According to Fonseca, the Indians did not know how to manage the land and resources and simply sold the timber. In reality, it is more complicated to assess how the newly renamed roles of cacique and leader performed the mediating role with outsiders[lv]. The persistent problem persists that even though the Indians chose their own leadership who represent the community, the profit redistribution almost always caused dissatisfaction and accusations of preferential treatment or excessive personal gain. Allegations of bribes paid to FUNAI agents in this process are also very common in the entire region. In part, by the way, these rumors are further augmented because they issue from the intra-agency strife where such charges form a key part of internal politics in order to disqualify opponents[lvi].
Thus, after the rubber market dried up in the early nineties, some important economic and ecological changes occurred. Looking for alternative sources of income to pay for industrial goods, the timber in the Indigenous Territory often served as the substitute for rubber[lvii]. The traces of these logging operations are easily noticed when going through the reserve to the Latundê village and particularly in its vicinity. One especially notes the existence of some now abandoned roads, and even some felled trees. These trees could not be removed because a few days prior, there was one of the rare official actions against illegal logging. As a result, in parts of the total area these operations impoverished the forest and diminished the availability of game. Although this wasteful and ecologically harmful practice disturbs the forest, the immediate Latundê area did not suffer major environmental changes. Though it is difficult to assess the real destruction inflicted in this study, the environmental damages in terms of forest and game seem relatively contained. Latundê damages, however, are evident in other aspects of exchange with the loggers. They earned (ganharam is the original Portuguese verb) food like rice or biscuits given by the loggers who also cut wooden planks for their houses and provided them with industrialized plates for roofs. Thus, they provided them with the kinds of building materials commonly used in the region for the construction of the simple, basic houses of the poor. The Latundê, as far as could be established, considered this to have been a fair trade and Mané still waits for their return to collect the cut trunks in the forest in expectation of some such rewards.
This type of house is present in the majority of the Nambikwara villages, signaling earlier trading with loggers and the distribution of spoils. With the notable exception of Aroeira, almost all villages in the Guaporé valley engaged in this trade at some time. As expected, the Indians usually profit very little from this in comparison to the lumber mills. The mahogany trade was officially prohibited somewhere in the middle of the nineties but at a time when most reserves already had been exhausted, including the ones in Indigenous Territories. One mill owner in the Guaporé Valley was asked by a missionary why he paid so little to the Indians, the original owners. He responded that he could only pay them from the money left over after he paid off federal officials (notably those from IBAMA, the agency most concerned with forestry and preservation, local FUNAI agents, and even the Federal Police). Of course, such admission is rare and made off the record. The speaker made clear that he would deny everything if ever questioned officially. But in truth, it is common knowledge in the whole region and in Amazonia that the timber trade is fraught with corruption and Indigenous Territories within the Guaporé Valley are said to be exhausted in the highest valued timber, particularly mahogany[lviii]. The Latundê do not posses the slightest notion about the workings of the capitalist economy in general and the export values of wood in particular. Even Mané, raised in a post-contact situation of labor exploitation and engaged in wage labor as a young man, does not have the necessary skills to deal satisfactorily with money or to correctly evaluate the values of extracted forestry products. The group only began using money a few years ago. Today some of the adults are starting to learn to count money, and to distinguish between different denominations of paper currency. Many are starting to appreciate the monetary value of goods and services. Contrary to the presumption of complete and equal access to market information of the economist’s model of the capitalist system, the reality of ignorance more easily allows for continued realization of profit for the local entrepreneur and the de facto transfer of value of exported products like mahogany to the so-called developed countries. There, such products are significantly marked-up thereby grossly minimizing return to the original providers insuring a vested interest by these different actors in keeping the Indians in ignorance[lix].
The Latundê’s circumstances are complicated because of the peculiar political arrangements in which their land is considered one shared area. Instead of a clear ‘one people in one area’ concept, the bureaucracy created a single area named after both groups, as if this was a totally reasonable solution. The single unit approach applied to the one Indigenous Post, located near the main eastern entrances of the Territory and at the Aikaná village, while the Latundê occupy a village reputed to be roughly thirty kilometers away. Currently the road that runs from the east to the west has fallen into disuse, although there is an Aikaná-Kwazá Indian who owns horses and mules and is repairing the major part of the road so that he can use his mule-drawn buggy[lx]. He lives and exploits lands to the south of this road, using the thicker forest soils towards the Pimenta River. Also, he is one of the very few Indians who own cattle. The animals graze on the pastures of the abandoned fazenda near the Latundê, which technically must fall within the boundaries of the Latundê area. His house is likely the best made amongst the other Indian houses at the Latundê and Gleba villages. Such patterns of land use seem to indicate the lack of firm notion regarding the boundary separating the Aikaná and Latundê. Although there is a definite conception that the land around the Latundê site is theirs, this is not the true size. The actual locally recognized territory is smaller, particularly the southern part which does not seem to have been especially occupied by the Latundê. This territory is called Barroso and when the Indians obeyed the necessity of implementing the general political indigenist template of choosing a cacique and selecting representatives, they instated only one representative. Accordingly, the representational system condensed the Barroso area into the single unit construed in accordance with models that echoed FUNAI’s bureaucratic vision of simplistic convenience.
The net effect of this mold of representation has been to the detriment of the Latundê and their visibility from FUNAI’s point of view as well as the actual happenings within the Territory. Owing to the Post location and the obvious practical difficulty of reaching the Latundê, the group receives at best minimal attention from FUNAI agents. Some regular routine assistance was furnished and occasionally some commodities reached the Indians. For example, the agent then delegated to the Post visited the Latundê roughly twice in 1999 but, impressed by the large clearings for horticulture in comparison to the lack of similar activities among the Aikaná, resolved to support these efforts and distribute an ample measure of tools. Such favorable comparison is rare and partial to this particular point, because largely the agents and the Aikaná mutually recognize the primitiveness of the Latundê. To aggravate further this unfair comparison, the Aikaná also have a demographic superiority that helps them maintain disproportionate political control over the territory underrating the representativeness of the small Latundê. Thus, until October 2000 the Latundê did not have their own representative in the general council. Adopting the geographic criterion of constituting a representative for the whole of Barroso, mixing the Latundê with other Aikaná households (one or two), the mentioned Aikaná-Kwazá (married to an Aikaná), one pure Kwazá, and one headed by a couple of Northern Nambikwara and of Aikaná-Kwazá origins, the representation until this date had been solely by one of the other area inhabitants. In effect, the representative all but left his house and gardens to live in town. Here this man kept a broken down Toyota jeep as if it was his own. Actually, this jeep was the result of the timber trade and the return for wood taken out of the Barroso territory. The Latundê complain the vehicle very rarely has had any use for them and do not think of it as theirs. The owner was bankrupt after the trade came to a halt, and the car remained in town awaiting repairs, leaving the others deprived of a means of transportation. The Latundê hardly benefited from this spoil of their own area and although Mané thought about investing in the necessary repair, the owner hardly seemed disposed to accept sharing the car.
The proposal of the Nambiquara Project to open and maintain a separate entry road connecting the Latundê directly to the BR 364 highway or in the direction of Vilhena never materialized. The whole of the FUNAI operation after initial contact utilized the Aikaná entry and always oriented the Latundê towards the Tubarão villages (especially after the relocation of the Post at Gleba). The presence of FUNAI thus privileged drawing the recently contacted Indians into a pattern where they occupy the last and most distant tier of the relay chain of bureaucracy and state control. This model of subsuming the Latundê people in a geographical unit is very unfair to the Latundê as they have hardly any autonomy to represent themselves. While I and Stella Telles stayed in the Latundê village, the local Aikaná-Kwazá man spearheaded a political change. The Latundê felt that they were not being adequately represented and wanted to oust a representative who mainly lived in town and put his own interests first. We discussed the subject with the oldest son of Terezinha and Mané who is groomed to be the group’s future leader and representative[lxi]. Of course, we emphasized the necessity for the Latundê to select their own leader, as they were a quite distinct ethnic unit. In the subsequent community meeting the young man did speak up to talk about his fathers’ position and in fact was elected to be the representative of Barroso. However, though this signifies a small step in strengthening the socially shy Latundê, the political situation is still dominated by the Aikaná. This is primarily because of the election in itself. The choice of the Latundê is not independently made but later sanctioned by the Latundê and Aikaná together who could have chosen a different person. Previous comments by the ex-captain of the Aikaná, Luis, now an affine to the Latundê are revealing: We put Luis as a leader [of Barroso] at the meeting. He knows a little writing, and he added next year I am going to put him in school[lxii]. From the perspective of Gleba, the recognition of the Latundê plea did not endanger political hegemony and structurally the relations between the Latundê within the territory remain essentially the same.
The period after the Latundê deaths at Gleba motivated Mané to enter into isolation with few intermittent contacts with the people of Gleba. The relations with the neighbors in the Barroso area were always somewhat strained and alternated between cordial alliances and avoidance. For example, some neighboring people asked for seedlings at various times in recent years but only one returned the gift with a counterprestation. Due to such happenings, Mané’s opinion of his neighbors fluctuates, but in general he adopts a suspicious attitude likely similar to the pre-contact Latundê opinion (and with grievances we do not know about). Post-contact reality is unlikely to have improved relations between the two groups. Note that for the Nambikwara, death is rarely caused by natural reasons and is often attributed to supernatural interference by others. Only in recent years with the coming of age of the post-contact generation, the Latundê are seeking closer contact with Gleba and are making a few trips to nearby towns (mostly for medical services). Mané, the group’s leader, had not left his area for several years because he suspects the neighbors, especially at Gleba, of unfair treatments. This tension accumulated in his one-time suspicion of a plot to assassinate him. The younger generation, not having passed through the traumas of their parents and grown up in a context of contact, are becoming less shy even when influenced by the fears of their elders. They are becoming better accepted by the Aikaná, as the indication of the young leader evinces. Acceptance mostly comes from a compliance with standards like the one expressed by Luis that the young man is liked because he is not lazy. Observations imply this activity to be helping others at certain activities and participating in the newly initiated community projects. The social shyness at least partly stems from the evident low regard in which group members are held by the majority. The Aikaná appear to have changed their minds about Latundê cannibalism but not about the basic backwardness of the Latundê. When asked whether they are still like before, Luis (then recently married to a Latundê) answered: they are still meio brabo, still somewhat wild and unruly, all of a sudden they may want to do anything; they cannot be trusted. Even without the cannibalism rumors, the Latundê still are considered unequal, prone to unpredictable conduct. The presumption of primitiveness, a kind of refracted premise by others who themselves are already placed in the position of the primitive, perseveres.
In this context the sociopolitical emergence of the Latundê can only be slow. They are thoroughly distrustful of the outside world and at considerable distance from the main site of the majority ethnic group and the employee at the FUNAI Post who marks them as primitive and volatile. Resultantly, they gradually conform to Aikaná social norms in dress and custom, as a sort of compensation for their ethnicity. This is obvious in differences in clothes worn in the Latundê village and the clean and proper clothing carefully chosen to wear when visiting the Aikaná village. Here they customarily wish to present themselves in their best clothing. The second oldest son, for example, did not feel up to visit the Aikaná village because he did not have a pair of jeans. In becoming aware of money and local standards, some Latundê (and particularly the oldest member of the post-contact generation) are gradually learning to find his way around at Gleba and acquiring familiarity with the nearby town and its inhabitants. The same younger brother is following suit. After succeeding in obtaining proper clothes he went to stay at Gleba to study at the local school, with very little success, until August 2001. When the young new representative of the Latundê (the oldest of the younger generation) attempted to create an independent household and also to wander about, he followed a pattern of young bachelorhood similar to other Indigenous peoples, like the Sararé. A year after our stay he remodeled his parents’ house in order to close one room and constructed a single independent entry that he locks when he is away at the Aikaná village. This happened after a short period where he and Terezinha’s youngest brother joined her other younger brother at a house at the fazenda. This change did not last, probably by virtue of the difficult personality of Terezinha’s brother and the lack of a sufficient cash income to provide food and industrial commodities[lxiii].
The notion of food highlights the political and economic dimensions of interethnic relations. By the presence of Mané, raised in the context of the Tawandê who were exploited by a local patron and therefore became accustomed to the regional Brazilian food staples rice and beans, these foods entered into the village. When the Brazilian foods were introduced, it seems to have received a certain preference to their fare. In contrast to the general Brazilian preference for balanced proportions of the two products, however, these Indians tend to prefer less beans and more rice[lxiv]. Interestingly, when the processed imported food is consumed, they say that the food is finished, as if the potential abundance provided by their gardens would be irrelevant. Of course, practicing shifting cultivation and field rotation within an ecologically ideal area (as evident by the tree height) and raising various crops, ranging from maize to fruits and manioc, the dearth of the food bought is more then compensated for when the women revert to consuming locally cultivated foods. Considering the group’s work ethic which was already further motivated with the equipment provided by the FUNAI agent, cultivated produce certainly exceeds the necessities of daily sustenance (so much so that resources can be used to raise domestic animals. Note that this probably entails an increase of horticultural activity since 1977). The continuation of the Nambikwara style horticulture supplies enough food. This is evident in the comparatively little clearing of the felled vegetation used for planting in opposition to the mainstream regional practice of cleaning the field by burning this mass as much as possible. Typical food includes manioc cakes dried and roasted over the fire for days before eating the flour as beiju, a kind of pancake, epitomizing a common Nambikwara practice. Interesting is a tendency to copy the Brazilian timetable when eating Brazilian food, and a dispersal of eating activities throughout the day when consuming traditional produce. The latter type of foods and the mode of preparation and consumption are sometimes clearly presented by themselves as being traditional, as Indian, in opposition to the outside food and their cooking methods.
As with the clothing apparently worn at home even when no stranger is around, cooking rice and beans are known to be imported habits from the outside incorporated into the customs and tastes of the small group. These habits prevail among the outside ethnic groups, both Aikaná and regional Brazilians, and were adopted mainly through Mané’s influence and under the pressure of the conscience of discrimination on both scores from the adverse ethnic outside. One may conclude that there is a relative effectiveness of these acculturating constraints to conform to certain key sociocultural practices. The Latundê’s increasing visits (with exception to Mané and Cinzeiro) signify a type of glebalization (excuse the pun). On a miniature scale, the Latundê are drawn into the orbit of other Indian groups and the regional local society within the framework of Brazilian society. It is also clear that the relative isolation that prevailed since the return to the Latundê Territory preserved them from the brunt of outside coercion and from being forced into incorporating external sociocultural practices. As such, the question of food evokes this precarious balance between their own economic and sociocultural autonomy and the felt necessity and desire to import certain commodities from the exterior[lxv]. Industrialized foods constitute a prominent part of a shopping list that every month goes to the FUNAI agent. This small but steady flow of commodities ensures a permanent but limited channel to provide for some of the prized material objects, presently, for all practical purposes, considered necessities, to a certain degree. Apart from fabrication of the occasional artifacts like necklaces, the participation as a workforce (rare and only by the few younger male adults), or the sale of something gathered from the forest, this shopping represents the most constant relation with the encompassing economic system. The surplus production of the contemporary gardens, inspired by the FUNAI agent who believed that this might afford them an alternative source of monetary income is actually very likely valueless as it seems impossible to bring the goods to market without adequate transportation[lxvi].
With the decline of the rubber trade and the group’s subsequent withdrawal from the market (Mané being the first), it would have been difficult for the Latundê to earn an income and a saleable produce had it not been for an arguably fortunate coincidence. Without any product to offer in an extraneous market – with the incomprehensible sociocultural construction of a totalizing exotic economic system – no easy avenue of access to commodities exist. After much delay, in the mid seventies the Brazilian government implemented a law that grants a small pension to rural laborers above a certain age. Some time later FUNAI started to pension off the oldest Indians in the entire Nambikwara region. Price wrote about the possible political repercussions of the pensions among the Southern Nambikwara as it may affect the traditional way of constituting the authority of a leader (1977). In the case of the Latundê, on the contrary, the regular influx of goods of the compra (purchase) that has been established by the pensioning of Mané, Cinzeiro and Batatá actually benefits the whole family. Mané’s purchases are shared with his household; Cinzeiro’s benefits the family of José and his wife. Batatá’s goods used to go to her house and were pooled with the neighbors, but now that she stays at the Aikaná village, resources may be shared with her granddaughter and her Aikaná husband[lxvii]. The FUNAI profits very much from this arrangement because it alleviates the demands upon this agency and it is certainly no coincidence that it organized the necessary identity cards and subsequent registration. It is this source that enables the FUNAI agent to buy the monthly provisions mentioned above. The pensions guarantee a small but steady trickle of goods that contributes to minimalizing the necessity to find permanent solutions to the acute problem of economic articulation within the wider economic system (compare Kearney (1996) for articulation theory and peasantries) . This is epitomized by the major problem of navigating between autonomy and dependent subordinate integration, of the ‘balance of payments’ between the local, usually low valued produce and the costly (by local standards) import of commodities[lxviii].
The shopping list of sought-after goods, as dictated to Telles and me in Mané’s house, resembles more the enumeration of perceived necessities and consumption desires than a valid notion of purchasing ability. With little concept of the monetary value of the pension and the price of the commodities, the list of items requested inevitably exceeds the meager funds available. On the other hand, as the pension is always expressed in the same monthly delivery, it provides a tangible measure of the deterioration of real buying power readily assessed and certified by the Indians in recent years. The fact is, it is impossible for one such pension to furnish a household as large as Mané’s and Terezinha’s with food that lasts the whole month along with other necessities like sandals, clothes, shotgun ammunition and shotguns for hunting. There was also the issue of paying off installments for expensive repairs for the gun. The perceived needs, therefore, exceed the value of the pension and enlarge the temptation to sell timber and palm hearts[lxix]. The new scarce means entering into the reservation by way of the official appointments of the positions of local Indian health agent or the newly introduced bilingual educational agent is coveted for being low salary but steady income. As the Latundê are politically subordinated within the reserve all these jobs go to other Indians; in the case of the Barroso the post health agent is occupied by a young Aikaná living at Gleba. He rarely visits the area[lxx]. The current building of a school in the Barroso Area expresses the same reality; the building is farthest from the Latundê village, much farther than from the other houses. Also, the already nominated schoolmaster is the brother of the informal Aikaná/Kwazá leader of the whole area who designated another brother as general cacique. To be fair, as the Latundê are only relatively dependent on this extraneous flux of commodities, they do not seem to feel the need as acutely as the Aikaná who, from an overall perspective, do not appear to have a sufficient harvest and depend much more upon the buying of even basic foodstuffs for their survival. In conclusion, the economic articulation remains quite precarious but does not yet seem to be a decisive factor of destabilization of the group’s material reproduction.
Language, society and reproduction
Bearing in mind observations made so far it is clear that the future of this group and the survival of its unique culture and language is dependant on a variety of external and internal factors. Of obvious primary importance is maintaining a sustainable population. This is largely influenced by individual capacities, proclivities and trajectories, the sociocultural dynamics of the group within the encompassing framework of their territory and interethnic relations. The Latundê are keen and curious observers of sociocultural differences and are aware of the respective particularities of the other groups. For instance, in the case of the food mentioned above, they are aware of the specificity of their former varieties of domesticated plants and their own way of food preparation; particularly the method of roasting meat, either in or under the ashes of the fireplace, or on a rack above it (for both meat and manioc). This is perceived as representative of their practice and is the kind of food occasionally rejected by strangers. The food and its modes of preparation materialize the dissimilarity of the opposing cultures and societies. Among these distinctive features perceived by the Aikaná, Latundê, and the Brazilians are their respective languages. The deculturation brought to bear on the Aikaná has not hindered their use of the native language, even among children. Many of the oldest group members speak very little Portuguese. All of the younger generations apparently grew up with Aikaná as their first language while the learning of Portuguese is, in the contemporary younger generations, simultaneous, resulting in bilingual speakers (apparently perfect speakers). Even when the pressures and historical contingencies of the Aikaná made them suffer and, in general, their culture lost some important features (like shamanism and certain rituals), they showed a strong adherence to their language. Normally everyone speaks and small children continue to learn the language. Nowadays, contrary to the deculturation pressures from the past that used to consider the Indian languages as inferior and useless in the modern world, such languages officially receive an encouragement from government institutions like FUNAI and the Ministry of Education. Thus, beginning in the nineties, the new appreciation of Indian languages is a positive feature for the Aikaná and actually aids them in being Indian as the lack of original culture militates against their supposed purity and generates specific prejudices against them among Brazilians and the FUNAI agents stationed at the Gleba[lxxi].
The Latundê do not easily suffer from a deficit of symbolic indianidade (Indianness), the general conception of their backwardness grants them the undisputed right to be Indian. Their relative autonomy and isolation shielded them from the major deculturating forces and sustained exposure to prejudice and discrimination notwithstanding the other Indians and temporary invaders. This might have helped preserve the linguistic and cultural patrimony. However, the arrival and integration of the outsider Mané changed the biological, sociocultural and linguistic reproduction among the small group of Latundê. After the extremely unfortunate and traumatic disappearance of the leading part of the older generation, Mané Torto became the group leader. First, he married all of the three sisters but the presence of José without a wife obliged him to cede one of them to this Latundê. José suddenly had been made into the oldest normal man present (Cinzeiro is older but thought mentally deficient). Being a young man at the time of the upheavals of contact, he did not possess the knowledge of Portuguese and of the outside that enabled Mané to deal with the socioeconomic agencies meddling with a people in search of the gestation of a new lived world (Gow 2001: 29). For some time, Cinzeiro was married to José’s deaf-mute sister, until an Indian from Central Brazil came along and, when working on a nearby ranch, took her away to live in Vilhena as his wife. This reduced the group to one Latundê couple, one mixed polygamous household with the addition of two young brothers and the two older survivors of the formerly leading generation. In this respect, Mané seems to have been transformed into the focal point of the social and biological reproduction and social renewal of the village and the birth of his oldest son with Terezinha marked the return of natural fertility and a renewed capacity for survival. The sister who left with José also is said to show signs of incomplete personhood, for example even her Latundê language phonology is criticized by other Latundê. Thus, it may be said that the major vital capacity for economic and sociocultural reproduction rested in the hands of Mané and his household.
During the years after the debacle of staying at Gleba, the population slowly increased and almost doubled. Terezinha (as seen the oldest sister of the surviving siblings and Mané’s first wife) had children roughly every two or three years. She had many children, at present there are two young adult sons, one pre-adolescent daughter and three younger sons one of whom is about three years old. This household also raised the two younger brothers of her own sibling set. Terezinha’s younger brother is only slightly older than their two nephews; hence the youngest uncle seems almost thought of as an older sibling. Mané’s younger wife and Terezinha’s younger sister, only a child at contact, has a very different reproductive pattern then her older sister. Her daughter, her only living child, had just entered adolescence. She had another child but he died young, the cause of death is in dispute between the mother and her former co-wife and household members. In fact, the mother is accused by her elder sister of purposeful negligence, an accusation that reveals the tensions between the former co-wives. Having brought up the younger sister after her parents death, the older sibling considers herself as the first and rightful wife. On the other hand, the usual Nambikwara pattern shows a preference in certain kinds of domestic and sexual activity of the husband towards the younger wife and thus, usually, the woman less affected by age and childcare responsibilities. This pattern was not evident in this household. The older wife jealously attempted to maintain dominance. For instance, she normally shared the bed with her husband in their house while habitually a husband favors the younger wife for sexual relations and a certain companionship (Lévi-Strauss 1984). This permanent tension may have been a factor in the much lower birth rate of this ex-wife. It also accounts for her recent fleeing to the Gleba and subsequent marriage to the Aikaná Indian Luis. Her former husband was displeased and imposed the condition that their daughter would remain living in his household.
Though this crisis ended up in the gradual return of more amiable relations, the older sister also saw her own plans for a possible separation preempted by her younger rival and some tension remains. Furthermore, the newly allied brother-in-law although apparently quite satisfied with the marriage, still holds his affines in an offhand manner as not totally reliable and somewhat backward. Some friction arises, mostly implicitly, when Terezinha and her children spend a few days at the Aikaná village. Their other sister, on the other hand, hardly seems to play any prominent role, for the reason mentioned above. Worse than just mere mispronunciation of Latundê, she suffers from a culturally attributed inability to act as a normal adult. In fact, contrary to her older sister, when it was her time to participate in the female seclusion ritual after her first menstruation, the turmoil caused by contact prevented her participation. This used to be one of the major Northern Nambikwara rituals. The seclusion of the young woman is thought to be necessary in the formation and shaping of the adult body, particularly by means of a special diet. The new adult tends, at least among other peoples, to marry immediately after the final ceremony when she comes out of seclusion. This is congruent to a more general Amazonian indigenous belief that the body needs to be culturally constituted a conviction supported by the tenet that the food intake literally constructs the body. Accordingly, the Latundê seem to conceive her body as incompletely transformed into an normal adult. In the local interpretation, this explains not just her flawed social capacity but also the passing on of these attributes to her children. Most of them seem somehow affected genetically and display some sort of physical or behavioral disorder. The two oldest boys, one almost an adolescent, usually appear normal, but there are some anomalies that may indicate handicaps. Their younger brother of approximately four or five years old suffers from epilepsy, for which he has been irregularly treated, and clearly shows to be mentally retarded. The youngest boy is still an nurturing infant and it is unclear if he is affected in any way. The Latundê believe that these evident bodily defects arise from the mother’s deficiency and it is not irrelevant in their opinion that they consider one child to be sired by her own less capable brother, and one or two of the others to have been born out of liaisons with outsiders (one being a harvester of palm hearts). An imperfectly constituted body shelters, in principle, an imperfectly socialized human being[lxxii]. That, incidentally, may be the reason why they admit to the incest while not being very forthcoming to discuss some other tensions within the group.
The population growth must be evaluated as less promising than their numbers alone suggest. The complicating factor stems from the fact that there is no offspring fathered by Terezinha’s older brother owing to the dissolution of his marriage with José’s sister. All of the new generation came from the three sisters, making them either half-siblings or parallel cousins, which in the Latundê framework is equivalent to being siblings. Thus, all of the new post-contact generation belongs to one set of siblings or parallel cousins, all share consan-guinity[lxxiii]. This implies an incest prohibition inherent in the preferential marriage with a cross cousin I hypothesized above that they believed this conduct to must be obeyed by normally constituted human beings who, as one of the Latundê said, are not beasts. It ensues that the whole generation cannot reproduce within the group. Endogamy foreclosed, this raises the acute problem of finding exogamous marriage partners for all of them. Additionally, their two slightly older uncles are also without any marriageable partner. Their other uncle, José, is dissatisfied with his marriage, possibly for the reason of his wife’s problems. It is for obvious reasons that at least two men of the older generation expressed a strong interest in their niece, the sole young woman coming of age. They attempted to establish a relationship in contradiction to the wish of the parents and her other mother (her older aunt), all of whom intend to see her married to a younger man. Thus, of necessity, they prefer an outsider, and discourage an incestuous endogamous relation. If the Latundê resemble their very close kin of the Lakondê and general Nambikwara practice, they disapprove of avuncular marriage. Of course, necessity may cause them to break the law (some Nambikwara broke the rules in Price’s time but did feel quite uncomfortable about it and tended to hide the fact; the same holds for a Wasusu case reported by Fiorini (2000), personal communication). José is some kind of cross kin[lxxiv]. In other words, he does not stand a direct prohibited consanguineous relation, but is a potential affine and hence marriageable.
In reality then, the social field of the small group is strewn with potential and actual tensions between the constituent composing people, aggravated by the lack of possibility of endogamous reproduction and the imperative to search for alternatives outside the group. In part this procurement started at the Aikaná village, where there are a few eligible young women. However, the betrothal with some girl or woman from another people obviously creates a range of problems, including different life expectations, sociocultural background and language barriers. Mixed marriages are notorious for the implications on the language spoken by descendants. Depending on the context, the potential effects include an array of possibilities, ranging from adopting the use of a third language spoken by both partners up until the child learning both parental languages as a fully bilingual speaker. One family at the Gleba demonstrates instances of this continuum. The older couple (Aikaná-Kwazá) still experienced some of the life of the independent Indian peoples and villages before their subjugation to the rubber extracting regime. The Kwazá suffered more from the ravages caused by conquest and resultant the dispersal and population decline. They allied themselves with the Aikaná and this resulting marriage produced the sibling set of the current cacique and the informal leader, all of whom, by influence of their mother are bilingual (up to the point that the leader served as the primary informant of Van der Voort that recently studied this isolated language; Van der Voort 2000). All but one of these siblings married Aikaná women. The older children of the leader and informant also speak Kwazá because their grandparents used to live with them in the forest. Their grandmother taught them the language in daily life. When the living situation changed, the younger children lost the opportunity and hence the ability to speak this language. Research shows that children become true bilingual speakers if they learn the languages before they turn seven (Dalgalian 2000: 25). Slowly, therefore, the use of Kwazá is declining and is not passed on to all of the potential bilingual (or often potentially trilingual) speakers. Some of the brothers, stimulated by their patrilineal inheritance, want to adhere to the Aikaná ethnic identify, the dominant ethnic group in the area[lxxv]. Their father did not learn the language of his Aikaná-speaking wife.
As the example of this older couple shows, the Aikaná language prevails over any other existing language. This represents one of the unfortunate dangers of a further glebalization of the Latundê. The youngest sister’s presence in the Gleba weakens the group’s reproductive potential (it still would not solve the exogamy problem). In terms of her language, she is improving the Portuguese that she uses to communicate with her husband and is learning Aikaná too. At the same time, Batatá’s presence maintains her Latundê ability. The bilingualism of the Aikaná could be a stimulus for the Latundê to copy the same model and improve on their Portuguese without abandoning their own language. The permanence of Aikaná seems further assured by the teaching of the language to all infants and the newly introduced bilingual education. Notwithstanding the positive value that accrues to the native practice of language maintenance by virtue of the institutional support, locally maintenance may be complicated. The daughter of the same Aikaná-Kwazá couple mentioned above is a speaker of both languages. Her husband’s surname is Sabané, but his father actually was a prominent Lakondê. He is only a passive speaker of his ancestral language, and so tends to speak Portuguese[lxxvi]. As a result, his children (at least the oldest sons) favor Portuguese and are not well disposed to speaking Aikaná. The most dominant language in the regional context begins to make some inroads in the Territory and the teacher complained that, after the recent introduction of the Indian language at the school, their negative attitude towards the utility of Aikaná began to influence the other children. Subsequently, some of the grandchildren of the same Kwazá woman who took pains to maintain her language with her children and her grandchildren she lived with, now has a some grandchildren only interested in the major dominant language and averse to the diverse Indian languages spoken around them by own their family. A rapid and probably common pattern of language shift is evident. The last Lakondê generation to experience some semblance of Indian village life speaks at least one or two Indian languages and are even reputed to have had traditional knowledge and to be traditional minded, but one of the few people of the next generation became a passive bilingual when the Lakondê dispersed and lived and worked among Brazilians; finally, with his mixed marriage, it are his older children who are choosing the hegemonic regional and national language.
School language is predominantly Portuguese. The introduction of an officially sponsored language program, although a clear and much needed sign of progress and respect, still does not extend further than the appointment of a bilingual Indian educator and limited usage of the language as a teaching tool in class. It is treated as if it was a foreign language, and receives attention only a few hours a week. The limited use does not compare to the total immersion method, when the Indian language would actually be the dominant language, without the exclusion of Portuguese (its use should be gradually expanded)[lxxvii]. The school represents a powerful means of acculturation if the contemporary national reviews of school curriculum do not take certain specificities into account. As for the Latundê, just like the Indian health agent, their future school teacher is one of the younger brothers of the informal leader and who is also one of the main beneficiaries of the school construction in the Barroso area (because his children can stay at their home in the forest instead of having to live at the village and pay the additional costs such a change implies). In such a small school, an Aikaná teacher and bilingual education seem unlikely. Furthermore, that still leaves open the question of which language is to be encouraged. It remains to be seen whether in the future the Latundê children or young adults shall visit the school regularly and, even if so, whether their language will feature in the curriculum. They do demonstrate interest in the school and the older ones also show interest in further mastering their traditional language. This is apparent in the two young adults and their younger siblings when they attend the school in the Aikaná village during their irregular visits[lxxviii]. The newly appointed Latundê representative had an affair with one of daughters of his Aikaná affine who is much older than his wife, and who also happens to be one of the new teachers in the Territory (both called Luis). Apparently, he plans to marry the slightly older woman with a child and trade her position with the assigned teacher for the Barroso. Then they could live in Barroso, enjoy a regular salary and support the schooling of their children. Maybe he even contemplates studying himself in order to qualify to be the indigenous health agent. Such a situation would be an ingenious solution for a variety of the problems, but essentially depends on a precarious personal arrangement that in 2001 shows signs of turbulence. Tactically the situation is even more complicated; both moves require uncertain political maneuvers. The future hinges on many uncertainties.
The prospect of relevant schooling, bilingual education and their supportive assets for language maintenance leaves much to be desired. The necessary institutional patronizing may not be forthcoming for a group of approximately ten children and so an uncertain ethnic future awaits them. Luis Latundê believes that one belongs to the group of the language that one speaks. His belief entails that if he marries the Aikaná teacher he should teach any child his own language for him to be a Latundê and foster the persistence of his own people and language. This too does not appear to be an easy task although arguably should be easier if he lives closer to the Latundê village and ensures their children’s school attendance. If his perspective is shared by his kin in the village (a likely fact, but it could not be verified), than two other components of this complex situation come into play. First, there are the linguistic capabilities of his father. Mané Torto lost his parents through assassination when still an infant during a raid by other Northern Nambikwara Indians, perhaps the same people that raised him as their own. Like the accusations of the Latundê against the Mamaindê, these raids entailed a mechanism to steal women and children to demographically strengthen the group. This apparently occurred very frequently after the problems associated with contact, various epidemics, and Cinta Larga attacks. Internecine demographic predation, so to speak, among the Northern Nambikwara in this situation generated more deaths and thus aggravated the general demographic reservoir for the Northern cluster. In this sense, the sociocultural mechanism to react against the nefarious effects of contact only reinforced the very cause. Mané asserts the action extinguished his people[lxxix]. Raised afterwards as a Tawandê, he probably did not acquire a bilingual fluency in his native language but reached only a passive level of competence. Accordingly, when incorporated within the small Latundê group, he insisted that his wives learned to speak Portuguese, even when Terezinha strongly opposed this for some time. She finally gave in. This language is a very insufficient medium for her. Her husband actually does not display a great competence either, yet, given his dominant position, he assured that their children were spoken to in Portuguese. If it is valid to extrapolate from the contemporary way of socializing and enculturing the children, then the post-contact generation grew up being addressed in the outsider’s language and learned to speak this language as their primary language.
This may come as a surprise as the group maintained a certain isolation after the hazardous and disastrous first four or five post-contact years. The tragedy of these years caused a profound impact on the survivors, some of whom barely survived the epidemics[lxxx]. Other calamities were manmade. The Yelelihrê man who was in reality the one brought in by Fonseca to assist him at the pacification but who confronted the angry Latundê by talking to them and letting them vent their ire and hostility, thought up his own scheme of dealing with this group. The newly discovered Indians spoke a dialect so close to his own that his sister asserts that he claimed that the language is the same as his own (like mentioned above, he affirmed them to be partially of his own people). His designs, according to his younger sister, referred to dislocating the Latundê and providing them with the ability and example to improve their original living conditions. Again an Indian with some experience with regional society and its project of acculturation – who apparently considered this people as his brethren – apparently deemed them as backward and in need of instruction in some of the Brazilian sociocultural practices and beliefs[lxxxi]. He believed that he pursued a course of policy that should benefit the group very recently coming out of isolation. Without the knowledge of the FUNAI officials and in the absence of the Indian agent from the Nambiquara Project, he convinced a large part of the group to visit Aroeira, hitching a lift on a truck, with little or no clothing or other amenities. Aroeira is the site of the relocated remainders of other Northern peoples and the local Southern local group all very much affected by their very difficult and stressing contact history. When the Latundê arrived there, they were in a precarious and vulnerable position in a foreign territory. Whatever the real purpose of the man, a strong man (a ‘natural’ leader), the Indians at Aroeira abused the fragility of the Latundê, using, for example, the women for sexual intercourse. All peoples being small and shattered by contact, the Indians general policy actually pursued the goal of incorporating the new group especially envisioning espousing the women, adopting the children and, perhaps, exploiting the workforce of the men. The Latundê did not appreciate this abuse and succeeded, at great cost, to return to their homeland.
This traumatic experience must have contributed to the general weakening of the Latundê resistance. As mentioned, slightly after contact, one of the few adult men was found dead in the savanna. The cause of death was likely a fatal arrow shot, but the investigation never concluded. The assassination undoubtedly generated more tension. These unfortunate events were followed by a transient period when a part of the people lived at the Aikaná village and their patron/manager and the other two languages, Portuguese and Aikaná were dominant. This traumatic era with the almost total failure of the official protection agency ended with the death of the older generation and the retreat into the Barroso area occurred under Mané’s leadership. The imprint of the outsider and his precarious Portuguese ability becomes understandable. This is another result of the historical contingencies that caused so much mayhem among this formerly independent, autonomous and ethnocentric group suffered. Despite a number of serious problems, these people accomplished fairly well their sociocultural and linguistic reproduction. Both the resistance and final giving-in of the Latundê wives and the rest of the group stems from post-contact fragility. Although they were seriously weakened, they seem to have resisted to the best of their ability. The post-contact generation thus grew up learning first of all a variant of Portuguese and only passively became bilingual in their own Latundê language. This biased bilingual ability represents the balance of political prominence of the ethnic outsider and should not have happened if any effective protection had been given[lxxxii]. This attitude is even more impressive considering that the entire older generation speaks the language very badly and the oldest members of the senior generation (Batatá and Cinzeiro) do not speak it at all[lxxxiii]. Terezinha demonstrates a very basic command of Portuguese but manages to communicate fairly easily with her children. The only other family shows an extremely limited competence that makes one wonder how the mother communicates complex matters to her children. Only the closeness and daily mixing of the new generations of the two families explains how these other offspring succeeded in learning some Portuguese. Their aunt Terezinha confirms the interaction gave the two older nephews a passive knowledge of Latundê (Telles 2002: 23). As the boys learned an inadequate Portuguese from their mother, they display deficiencies in both languages. These children represent a kind of worst-case scenario as far as language acquisition goes.
This acculturation process that mainly resulted from turning an outsider into a group member is a two way process. The destructurization of the Latundê cleared the way for the imposition of an outside model of work and language via the incorporation of the outsider socialized in circumstances basically dominated by the exploitation and forced acculturation by Brazilian patrons. On the other hand, the group incorporated Mané and transformed his language and possibly some sociocultural attitudes. For instance, the most influential couple and caretakers of the adolescent girl agree on the necessity of the seclusion period (the father and her aunt she calls mother). When the girl had her first menstruation and nothing was done, the proper moment for enclosure passed. At the time they believed that the situation was too unfavorable to practice this rite of passage. The couple of the older generation both agreed about the maintenance of an important particular ritual. Researchers consider the seclusion to be a characteristic Northern Nambikwara rite that used to be present among all of its peoples and thus this practice probably is seen as traditional by both partners. Given the argument above, the ritual’s performance implies both securing the health of the girl and guaranteeing a healthy future generation. The aunt alleged several reasons for postponement and affirmed the wish to hold the seclusion ritual later. Whether this will happen is uncertain, as the general context of the Territory does not appear very encouraging for cultural revival. In this sense, the wish may indicate a more general desire to continue to adhere to their sociocultural practices and conceptions. Despite Mané’s presence as a Tawandê among the Latundê, their two cultures overlap often and so both have a mutual longing for the maintenance of certain rituals and customs. As to other ceremonies, however, Mané sometimes imposes his version upon the entire group. Included is a Tawandê variant of a feast where the men play flutes, both a variety of secret ones and another of public access[lxxxiv]. During our first visit, the Indians decided to demonstrate some of their culture and the feast held included these flutes – which actually constitute a kind of trumpets – an instrument unknown to the Latundê. Terezinha reluctantly confided to us that they used to sing and circle around the patio without any accompaniment and she and the Latundê, significantly restricted to the women and their brother Cinzeiro, decided to demonstrate their own version of the ritual after. In this manner both the Latundê and the Tawandê culture are currently present in some aspects to various degrees.
The cultural information and training transmitted by Mané’s uncle, a Tawandê leader and shaman, prevail in Mané’s conception of what their Indian cultural heritage should be. Sometimes this inheritance coincides with Latundê practices and sometimes it does not, and this creates a tension within the group. On the other hand, as his linguistic competence did not extend to a full bilingualism, the same tension did not exist in regards to the original Indian language. Not being qualified to vie in this respect with the fully developed skills of the Latundê, Mané actually has been acculturated in the Latundê language. According to his oldest son, he did not speak very well at first but now he speaks the language suitably. In fact, once and a while his father holds long speeches within the kitchen construction (partially open house beside the main house and the usual place to stay during the day), while the other present members of the household and neighbors go about their business apparently without giving his monologue too much attention (his wife, older sons and even the neighbors). He appears comfortable expressing himself at these moments and, despite appearances, the people minding their own activities sometimes show signs of paying attention[lxxxv]. This important aspect of the household communication indicates that the Latundê language is adopted by all of the older people and remains a significant means of expression that confronts the younger generation not divided by ethnic cleavages and some of the tensions of their seniors. As is always the case, the people are quite aware of some of the major differences in culture and language with their neighbors and the older people take a reflexive position of preserving their own distinctive sociocultural and linguistic patrimony. This is evident in the maintenance of the rituals, like the attempt to actualize the seclusion of adolescent girls, the playing of trumpets, and the acknowledgement of the uniqueness of the Latundê language. All adults who commented on their language and its permanence expressed the desire for language competence to be upheld as a means for comprehensive and daily use among group members. Mané even remarked that the recognition of indianidade is strongly related to the presence of language and so he favors its use. In spite of the teaching of Portuguese under his own inspiration, the solution implemented has been to teach the younger generation to assume fluency in the Indian language when reaching adolescence or young adulthood. This is what happened for his two oldest sons who effectively mastered the language, appreciate its value and use it daily. Their newly maturing sister Maria is being taught the language by the older people and particularly by her mother. The mother commented that she really is improving her proficiency, albeit on more than one occasion she denied knowing the language to us, apparently feeling some shame imposed by outsiders. It is remarkable how this pattern replicates the process of linguistic socialization of their father. He had limited Portuguese as primary language, and a passive ability of the native language and as an adult became proficient.
This desire and will to maintain their own language is noticeable in the praise or criticism directed to the minor boys who possess a greater or lesser passive command of Latundê. One of the oldest sons observed the lesser language command of the next-oldest brother and prodded him to improve his language while his mother approvingly commented that her youngest son spoke the language. The adults normally tend to speak Latundê among themselves. They usually do so when discussing history or Indian affairs but habitually use Portuguese if the subject refers to outside business. Latundê still is probably the more frequently used language in daily life (Telles 2002: 23). Notwithstanding the positive attitude and these expressions of the adherence to the value and continuity of their own language, the adults consistently converse in Portuguese with the children and the latter systematically reciprocate in that language. Moreover, we noticed that in daily life the children used Portuguese amongst themselves. They switched to Latundê once in order to discuss something privately about the linguist Telles in her presence, as a kind of secret language. This kind of usage seems to be one of the major reasons for talking among themselves at the Aikaná village and one stimulus for language maintenance. The incident shows that most or all children can adopt an active competence even when hardly using this language in normal daily life. Still, the Portuguese spoken is their primary language, the major one of socialization and enculturation in detriment of the native language, although in a manner encompassing their daily life, the latter tends to be reduced to passive capacity and active competence is only occasionally present during childhood. Either out of modesty stemming from the conscience of her limitations or because of the virtual shame attached by outsiders to their native language, Maria claimed not to know this language at all, even when her elders pointed out that she did.
The Portuguese spoken shows many particularities in lexical, syntactical and, especially, intonational aspects. The variety spoken derives heavily from a regional, pre-migration form of the language. The multitude of variants of the contemporary situation in Eastern Rondônia has not yet been consolidated into a new regional accent. Isolation and the presence of a native language lent it a specific quality that renders the current speech form almost into a pidgin or possibly a creolizing language (Telles 2002: 22-3). The lexical and syntactical elements are mainly an impoverished regional variant. The most distinctive feature is its musicality that owes its rhythm to the native language. Overall, these characteristics impede an easy understanding for the outside Brazilian speaker who sometimes, especially at first, loses himself in the nominally identical language. At the Aikaná village, older speakers tend to harmonize their Portuguese with the other Indians and even the children seem to be cowed into curbing their melodious speech. A quite peculiar version of Portuguese must be the result of the same initial traumatic conditions of the low point in Latundê history that shaped the acceptance of this language. A variant transformed by the particular proficiency of the only speaker also bound to engage in a reciprocal learning process that forged something new, a Latundê Portuguese dialect. Under Mané’s influence, the Latundê language adopted (or perhaps more accurately, was imposed with) a variety of lexical elements of Tawandê (in itself a sign of his passive command of a native language). Terezinha identifies these lexical changes if requested to comment on such loanword, (which may be more accurately considered an imposed word), she still can produce a Latundê synonym. However, for both cases of learning another language linguistic research holds that: “It is commonplace in second-language learning, for example, that learning to put in elements of the target language which have no counterpart in the native language is much harder than learning to leave out” (Wilkens apud Dorian 1981: 92-3). For instance, most striking to outside speakers, even in proper names the gender suffixation in Portuguese can be used as if equivalent, producing variants of Lurdes like Lurda and of Luis like Luiza. Moreover, it is possible that when the language is really learned at adolescence (the sons) or adulthood (from the basis of a previously latent close dialect), it may undergo morphological and phonological simplification of the original richness. Certain simplifying phenomena have been noted, amongst the newest native speakers, especially with the respect to loss of phonemes least similar with Portuguese (Telles 2002). It is also quite likely that the younger generation analyzes these imposed lexical items as Latundê words. The language may undergo a reduction of the more complex structural features. Typically, such changes commence in the phonology (Telles 2001, personal communication).
In other similar circumstances in which parents spoke one language amongst themselves and a dominant one with their children, children are known to have acquired fluency by adulthood (Dorian 1981). Still, even early passive speakers may demonstrate a limit to proficiency and complete linguistic mastery if active speech acquisition occurred after the age of seven. There is also the likelihood that the differing conditions of social life result in an impoverishment of the cultural conceptions and practices. For example, the possibility of the loss or impoverishment of a sociocultural system and idiom like the kinship relationship terms that we have not been able to solicit may have serious cultural repercussions. Such a change can even occur when the community is bilingual and the native language still prospers and constitutes the sole vehicle of other rituals still performed enthusiastically[lxxxvi]. The vicissitudes of the reintroduction of the seclusion ritual, where both sociocultural Northern Nambikwara Indian traditions coincide, not held at the proper time or even when the situation seems to be permit its viability, shows the troublesome state of affairs of active and reflexive sociocultural and linguistic maintenance. With these epitomes of language and cultural change the situation probably approximates that in which occur other contexts of language shift during which the community usually is unaware that young fluent speakers may simplify their language performance and that the sociolinguistic factors account for a high degree of change “(…) even among fully fluent, language-loyal speakers of a threatened language” (Dorian 1981: 154)[lxxxvii].
The interdependency of the sociocultural domain and the linguistic means of expression correlate the impoverishments of both domains to each other, sometimes serving as each other’s mirror images, and sometimes one precedes the other. This, even when the deeper structural features of language drift do not directly correlate with culture change (Sapir n.d.: 218-9); it should hardly be surprising that it brings about the loss of one the “treasures of humanity” and “a storehouse of the power of expression and profound comprehension of the universe” (linguists Zepeda and Hill 1991: 49). A general tendency to impoverishment can be anticipated in this case, which by the loss of what might be called ‘distinguishing complex features’, might lead to a “pseudo death” (Wurm 1991: 15). Some indications of this process have been noted, like the loss of shamanic capabilities, a very serious privation in a universe populated by dangerous supernatural entities. Just like among the Yanomami, this fact causes not just a strong anxiety regarding the lack of protection to body and soul, but, in all likelihood, includes the loss of creative and reproductive sociocultural characteristics of shamans. When the Yanomami shamans specialize in curing they also learn the complex intellectual form of culture with myths, cosmological concepts, ceremonial discourse and conceptual fundaments. With the deprival of shamanic learning “(…) el universo pierde su coherencia y su significacion. La vida intelectual se retrae, la lengua empobrece” (Lizot 1999: 43; also Tierney 2000). Our fieldwork does not permit any definite conclusions but the indications available justify the hypothesis for the case of the Latundê. In this sense, the particular blending historically created inflects towards the unexpected renewal and probable maintenance of a part of the Tawandê culture, strongly promoted by Mané who also recounted the history of his adopted family and their myths and conceptions. He regards this as an important task and his wife apparently accepts a certain male predominance in this respect. She only recounted to us a myth her father had told her after our insistence and corollary valorization of her own transmitted sociocultural patrimony. In contrast, Mané recorded various myths and historical stories of his own choosing as a reflection and demonstration of both his authority and his special knowledge. This may result in the paradoxical situation that these Tawandê myths are preserved by the Latundê while being lost in the original language among the group of Tawandê in Aroeira (where, significantly, the oldest fluent generation strongly adheres to shamanism)[lxxxviii].
In conclusion, the sociocultural and linguistic patrimony of the Latundê changed in the post-contact catastrophe and the incorporation of Mané and his different ethnic origin . In my sense, the contemporary sociocultural and linguistic situation represents a new configuration with a large component of dispossession and persistence of the original Latundê, the introduction of Tawandê elements, the Portuguese language, and of industrial commodities where one observes an amalgamation of loss, resilience and re-creation of these diverse traditions into a new mélange. Of course, to the Latundê their own particular transformed blend will, in the ethnic sense of being conceptualized by themselves and others as a distinct patrimony still be peculiarly Latundê – even when impoverished from an extraneous diachronic perspective. As I noticed above, the introduction of Mané very probably assured the continuity of the people, while transforming Latundê culture and language with advantages and disadvantages. As to the language, only a real proficiency test can verify the proposition of language simplification, yet the contemporary speech behavior strongly indicates the probability of decline in performance and complexity. The tendencies in both principal domains (language and culture) represent a clear outcome of the contingencies of the historical process the Latundê suffered as victims and as reflexive agents. A certain quality of being and speaking Latundê is not immediately threatened by their doubly subordinate position originating in the forceful integration into the wider system, the problems of socioeconomic articulation, and especially the necessity of construing a new world view and constructing marriage alliances. Yet these issues do pose enormous problems of reproduction as a people in the near future, of how to attain the social, cultural, economic and demographic viability required to continue to be a self-conceived distinctive ethnic, sociocultural and linguistic group.
A short review of the future of the people’s language maintenance manifests how opposing current tendencies make the scenario contingent on a number of relevant factors. The preservation of their language depends on a particularly diverse range of issues. In favor there are a significant number of factors. First, the disposition of adults to teach the language, stimulate its use, the general intent to maintain it, the group’s loyalty and the decision not to abandon the language. This appears to resolve the issues of the status of the group’s relation to their language and they demand to make a conscious decision and effort to maintain it, especially with respect to the post-contact generation. Regaining their own autonomous village, at a distance from other peoples and the demographic recuperation in the past prepared the minimal conditions for the existence of a post-contact generation that, at least so far, has demonstrated to learn and value the language. The durable possession of an exclusive home territory is essential to maintain a separate sociocultural sphere where one can be Latundê without recriminations. Latundê functioning as a secret language in other villages may help convince the younger generation. The conceived relation by the elders to ethnicity and the essence of distinctiveness also may play an important role. Today official pushes to respect and cherish native languages should be creating a more favorable atmosphere. Also worthy of consideration is the inverse, the negative image and disapproval of official agencies of people not speaking their language. In a similar way, elder people critique the younger generations of Tawandê and Sabanê for being less than bilingual and this count as a more diffuse general support. The example of the Aikaná, their most immediate relevant Indian neighbors, and their pragmatical full bilingualism (despite some initial difficulties), fully demonstrates this possibility. Lastly, when people like Telles and me expressed interest in the language, prestige and value is conferred to it[lxxxix]. These sociocultural vectors are cited in works on language shift as contributing to language maintenance. Maybe they do not exhaust the total number of possible positive components. The complete set does point to the possibility of maintenance as the Latundê conceive of it as the ethnic language of a distinct people.
On the other hand, an equal or perhaps even larger set of factors militate against the continuance of the language as an operational and fully functional tool. There is the small size of the community and the dubious likelihood of continuous demographic recovery, as evident in the genetic problems, a continued dispersal of members, and the possibility of renewed outward migration that leaves certain members permanently in a different linguistic environment. Furthermore, the bilingualism of the young adults relies increasingly heavily on Portuguese as contacts with the Aikaná and the outside increase. The domestic domain is conceived of as the usual bastion of resistance to change, and it is here that especially the older children are regularly encouraged to speak Latundê and acquire the language. Yet, the children are socialized in Portuguese and, by the Indians’ own appraisal, this negatively affects some of the younger children’s competence in Latundê. There is the distinct possibility that the younger generation feels shame for speaking their native language. This phenomenon was noted above in Maria’s refusal to admit speaking ability. Educational issues include the very uncertain teaching of the language in school, the unlikely introduction of Latundê bilingual education, and the bad example of a younger generation’s resistance to indigenous languages and bilingual education of one family of mixed ethnicity in the Gleba. Culturally, there is the general label of primitiveness ascribed to this language and politically the domination by other ethnic groups that may affect the indispensable self-esteem of the people. The problem of demographic reproduction if solved by mixed marriages, will transform the indispensable alliances into obstacles for easy language transmission. The general utility of Portuguese in the post-contact phase where the younger generation observes its necessity and social dominance, including the habitual negative image of Indians and their languages in the overwhelming surrounding national society (many of these preconceptions are present among almost all members of the agencies responsible for protection and health care). The collection of possible adverse vectors seems to offset the set of positive factors. The question of which will prevail awaits a firmer answer.
In a way the very continuance of this small group of people is at stake. Survival will demand a social creativity and engineering of the Latundê and, preferably (but highly problematically), a more efficient and efficacious action by FUNAI appropriate for these constraints and contingencies. As far as any sociological exercise of foresight of the future is valid, there is an array of virtualities in the summation of factors of continuity and change but in general they convey the notion of a threatened people. This danger is compounded as the culture and language are already impoverished from a combination of sociocultural conditions. All of the constituents of the sociocultural situation in the preceding paragraph may be vectors of a language shift away from the native language. Perhaps this will not be an immediate change, but the constraints definitely shape a slow process of erosion. The younger generation may reduce the Latundê language away from the complex richness so much so that it may eventually be reduced to a vocabulary or even disappear altogether. Language survival depends on native language maintenance. In this regard, the foremost element may be Latundê adults’ loyalty to the language. The major favorable component here concerns the inclusion of the new generation already grown up in a fundamentally different situation of adverse relations of dominance. Their historical experience tends to direct them to be impressed by the outside world and the limited values of the Latundê language (as a medium and the low esteem of other peoples). From these assumptions, resulting from the historical contingencies, hypothesizing about the future cannot be very constructive. At the most, the scenarios forecasts an array of possibilities, with at the extremes both language death and full maintenance, the only certainty is a difficult period for the native language to avoid language death and ensure maintenance.
Perhaps then, among the specific heritages of the Latundê tradition, their language is, due to the contingencies and the structural components of their particular history, the foremost candidate for extinction. No threatened language is automatically condemned though (Dorian 1981: 110). Change is, of course, always the real nature of culture and language and no merely mechanical process of maintenance and reproduction exists. As Lévi-Strauss once said, permanence and sociocultural continuity is in need of explanation, not just sociocultural change or language drift. The problem here is, evidently, that the life or death of the language (as maintenance or language shift are often called) depends only partially on the speakers themselves. Thus, while the Latundê constitute the essential core of the language maintenance as fully capable and reflexive intentional agents, when they find themselves surrounded by several adverse social forces, the outlook looks gloomy. Then again, as the Latundê demonstrated a surprising resilience in the past, having recuperated against major odds during a terrible time in their history, perhaps they will creatively resolve this ordeal of the future being as they are armed with the intent and the desire. Time will tell. Let the steady flow of time enable the musical flow of Latundê.
[i] It must be noted that as 1975-1980 featured comparatively more anthropologists in the bureaucracy, relatively well-qualified anthropologists conducted the research. Many times FUNAI also employed people in the created bureaucratic post called anthropologist who were utterly without any qualifications. Additionally, such posts demand expert knowledge that the academic anthropologists rarely possess.
[ii] For several reasons the following account cannot be anonymous so personal names are used to give the situation a more personal feel. In a community as small as this one, personalities and personal characteristic take on a great importance for the constitution of social life and its reproduction.
[iii] Much later it was also suggested that Batatá too is somewhat simpleminded but not in the same way as Cinzeiro. In that case, whatever the exact nature of her disability, the general loss would be still worse.
[iv] Real macaws were absent in 1999, but there were several varieties of parakeets (differentiated by habitat) and small macaws. Later on a young parrot was caught and given to Terezinha. In August 2000, she caught macaws; they nested in the savanna near the village at the time of contact (an area that came to be known as Campo do Barroso).
[v] It is unclear why she would want to remain childless. It is tempting to speculate that the tense pre-contact situation has something to do with it. It is also unclear how she avoided getting pregnant, perhaps she consumed certain plants to prevent fertilization or induce abortion.
[vi] For the revision and discussion of some of Lévi-Strauss’s original ideas, see Price (1981b) and Part III.
[vii] The marriage of Cinzeiro and José’s mother implies that the two older couples probably did not result from an exchange between two pairs of brother-sisters for that would mean marrying his aunt (FZ), in an improbable inversion of oblique marriage. Oblique marriage was postulated by Lévi-Strauss but Price and Fiorini found no supporting evidence.
[viii] According to one of the three sisters, Batatá is the sister of her maternal grandmother. The age difference between the mother and the great aunt was not that large, however.
[ix] She visited Dona Tereza after a suggestion made by myself and the linguist Gabriel Antunes, see Part II. For political and ethnic reasons she considers the two as languages, despite the closeness. I agree with this judgment, the difference between dialect and language depends on sociopolitical context.
[x] The Lakondê, in the person of the already quoted speaker of the language and her brother who actually made contact with the Latundê in the contact period, did not retain any memories about the moment or size of the group that she now supposes to have split away from the main group because of the language.
[xi] Recall that this whole area consists of largely rather infertile soils except near the Pimenta River. Much of the forest near the savanna is made up of varying degrees of lower levels of vegetation and much of the soil is sandy.
[xii] Another courtesy of Stella Telles; she, in turn, received the small number of photographs from Santos, Price’s former collaborator.
[xiii] Caution is necessary as it is disputed how many people are required for a viable self sustaining endogamous group.
[xiv] Both curiosity and care for defence also induced ranging through the region to learn about resources and possible enemies. On one of these occasions one man reached the Pimenta River but Terezinha herself never went there. Living in a hostile world possibly also makes one reliant on familiar settings and does not encourage ventures too far.
[xv] The stereotypes of poverty and nomadism were among the most tenacious. They and others circulate in many forms as facts (especially because corrections do not achieve the same publicity as a work like Tristes Tropiques has).
[xvi] According to Marcelo Santos (in a personal communication to Telles), all Nambikwara groups once had their own variety of maize. For many years Santos served as the agent at the Mamaindê or Negarotê Post and he is well acquainted with the Nambikwara, especially those of the northern region. For more on ecological adaptations of a people from the Chapada dos Parecis savanna and the Guaporé Valley, see Setz (1983).
[xvii] This map, and others prepared by a geography study can found on Internet.
[xviii] At a later stage these ‘path lines’ are often transformed into fences.
[xix] As suggested by João del Poz (2001; personal communication) this complex now totally destroyed by the conquest, reminds one of the Alto Xingu. Some older Aikaná still carry the memories of, for example, the head-ball game contest between hosts and visiting groups, which included exchanging arrows, and betting. Generally speaking, the relations between these peoples of unrelated languages probably involved a series of exchanges (see also the works of Van der Voort). One notable feature is that most or all practiced different forms of cannibalism. The Aikaná probably lived up farther north and came south because of conflicts with unallied peoples and rubber collectors.
[xx] Such insect larvae grow in rotting trees and are a prized food and a source of protein. The Latundê adore this food and know which larva belong to which species of tree and whether it is edible.
[xxi] The club seems to be like the ceremonial weapon used in ritual dances and might be used to lance or hit someone. Nowadays these are called swords in Portuguese and only appear in rituals. Real clubs are not currently made by the Latundê so it remains unclear what is actually meant here.
[xxii] He delivered this remark with a smile, if the man wanted to lead the expedition, let him bear the brunt.
[xxiii] In time the Latundê were hemmed in by pressure from the Mamaindê (east), the road from Vilhena to Porto Velho (north), the road from the Porto Velho to Chupinguaia (west) and the Pimenta River (south). This territory was later subject to INCRA colonization.
[xxiv] The same Aikaná narrator reported that a Mamaindê told him that the Latundê were many when living near [the town of] Colorado, near the frontier with Mato Grosso and the attacks of the Indians caused depopulation and the flight into Rondônia. This supports the sketch of a migration route outlined earlier.
[xxv] Although I collected a little data on the subject (that is not always considered taboo), it is remarkable that the very high age reached by a recently deceased wandering Kwazá woman is generally attributed to her consumption of human flesh, particularly of the head (eating the brain with roasted maize). In many other Indian cultures, by the way, obtains a general aversion to consuming meat with blood. Ironically, the source quoted for the knowledge about the suction of the blood is himself renowned for having eaten another Aikaná. The man later married into the victim’s family and all of them now live on the Tubarão/Latundê Territory.
[xxvi] The Latundê usually refer to the Aikaná as Tubarão (though they pronounce it Tabarão). Similarly, I too use Tubarão and Aikaná interchangeably in this text.
[xxvii] It remains unclear exactly how much time elapsed between the expeditions but it must have been at least one or two years, again indicative of Aikaná reluctance. Apparently hardly any or no other contacts occurred in this time.
[xxviii] In a sense analogical to amansar an animal, breaking and taming an animal to live in the company of man and to be utilized by an owner. Price (1983b) already mentioned the importance and implication of terms like taming Indians. He writes that in the past, some Whites spoke of domar, to break, the Indians in the same way that one breaks in a wild horse. This is not always just a figure of speech. When the police repressed what they thought was a revolt of the Pataxó of southern Bahia, some of the prisoners were subjected to a bridle and ridden as if animals (Florent Kohler 2003, personal communication).
[xxix] His credibility is difficult to establish. I met and interviewed the man in his home in a town of Rondônia with a credential of a friend of his living in Chupinguaia (the interview lasted about two hours). He evidently exercised some caution and restraint because he is aware of his bad reputation in some circles. Still, seemingly convinced of the correctness of his acts, the following appears to be reasonably faithful to his vantage point.
[xxx] It must be noted that this edited reproduction mostly follows the narrators sequence and the very points he himself came up with are stressed in the flow of the dialogue. That is, concepts like work and laziness figure immediately in his own presentation of himself and his life history.
[xxxi] He also mentions buying things with his own money when needed. In fact, as his current house and other testimony of his period at the Aikaná attest, he did not make a fortune out of these managerial and intermediating activities. The major motivation seems to be ideational and have nothing to do with corrupt intentions, contrary to many similar cases.
[xxxii] The name Arara, Macaw, was regionally used for the Kwazá. In the FUNAI’s registration one encounters the surname Arara for the Kwazá. Other peoples also received this denomination. The name “Macaw People” might have been applicable to the Latundê because of their domestic habit of earlier times of keeping these birds in a specially built house.
[xxxiii] The narrator stresses his later firm relations with the Indians. In his view he established an amity with most Indians, both Aikaná and Latundê. Of course, as is common in Brazil, this can be an asymmetrical, paternalistic amity. Remember he entered the Service as a favor to a friend.
[xxxiv] The man died from measles, although wild caused admiration too because of his demonstrated valour (valente) and the narrator laments this unnecessary early death.
[xxxv] At this point the narrator mentioned he did take a Sabanê with him before but he also did not establish oral communication. The captain, on the other hand, was not impressed with the linguistic capabilities of these prior participants.
[xxxvi] Rondon’s famous mandate not to kill but, if need be, be killed, does not mean walking about unarmed or not using a show of arms but enjoins, if necessary to save lives, shooting over the heads of any assailant to shy him away. It is unclear if Fonseca was aware of this rule or if he had the authority to restrain his companions if necessary. Perhaps the Indian captain had more authority.
[xxxvii] He offered this fact with absolute tranquility, but recall that the paperwork discussed includes documents in Tolkdorf’s hand dating from 1979 and the pacification occurred in 1977. He withdrew himself and the Project from offering Latundê assistance that same year but did not die then. This contradiction is inexplicable even when the withdrawal and subsequent lack of communication may have been mistaken for death.
[xxxviii] Other assertions range from the graveyard I made for them to the Indians did not have anything, especially no land, and I gave them the land (this is because of his census and reflects how he went to Brasília with others to ask for land; this was registered in reports of the dossier as visits of the cacique).
[xxix] Even though these men probably already had some qualification for the job.
[xl] This fits into a larger pattern of naming a group after an important figure within it. After all, this is exactly what happened with the Tubarão (actually a Tupari Indian of an extinct group living with the Aikaná) and Massacá (an Aikaná). In this case the name of the tuxaua becomes a synecdoche the ethnonym of the group who adopted him
[xli] According to himself, Mané was raised in the Seringal do Faustino, partly by the owners and partly by the older Indians. In 1970 members of a foreign medical survey of the Red Cross considered the conditions there to be near slavery and a disgrace for Brazil and the world. In 1971, Hanbury-Tenison (1973) did not notice any real improvements. Finally, in 1972, another international commission still found the place in bad shape but the Indians commented that things had improved (Brooks et. al. 1973: 39-40). It is in this ambience that Mané grew up and in that sense has suffered from one of the worst social experiences of the process of integration into the national society.
[xlii] Working, as stated, in close collaboration with Stella Telles, this information is a personal communication of the agent to the linguist.
[xliii] For an evaluation of the Project, see Agostinho (1995). He makes it clear that the later developments of small reserves and the transfer of peoples and Nambikwara populations derived form the logic of the obstacle of progress ideology, in sharp contrast with the Project aims (this issue is examined more closely in Parts II and III).
[xliv] As Mané said: [the agent] left me here to take care of the people.
[xlv] Apart from what someone like James Clifford, in a somewhat anxious exaggeration, might call the allegory of the detective story, truth in these cases is an elusive concept, yet its search is relevant. Perhaps the complexity of the truth is larger than the simplified positions rendered afterwards. The fallibility of memory, hindsight, and political motives harden points of view and fix them into more rigid affirmations. In a situation of sociocultural diversity, there is also ample room for misunderstanding.
[xlvi] This contrasts with the accepted and documented concept of the Aikaná as hard workers and producers of foodstuffs. Their former manager Fonseca mentioned how he obtained some manioc and monkey meat to supplement his income and live well enough without embezzling from the rubber production. Thus, he too apparently appreciated their efforts contrary to later FUNAI evaluations.
[xlvii] The Latundê speak of Terezinha’s younger brother participating too and Mané himself downplays his personal activities in the system. The breakdown occurred so fast that the Aikaná asked whether José still possessed that ball of rubber he had not sold.
[xlviii] The couple had an enormous difficulty in making the Indians stop bathing. The Indians suffering from fever wanted to bathe in the small river along the village but as such conduct tends to worsen the treatment of their illness, much vigilance was necessary. This is a recurrent feature in this kind of situations.
[lix] In Portuguese the regional name for shaman adopted is curador or doutor, not the more general pajé.
[l] In the absence of any government agency like FUNAI in the case above, an anthropologist and missionaries provided the assistance. The absence of mortality does not mean that in general health did not decline.
[li] This seems a typical case in which the dilution of responsibility causes no one to assume major responsibility. Even if someone felt a personal liability, he was probably thwarted by lack of support from colleagues of the agency where he worked.
[lii] Possibly this is the source of confusion mentioned before about Ferrari’s plane being attacked. One might also affirm, by the various examples, that exactness in some of the documents is not necessary for the bureaucratic uses of information and sometimes maybe not even be welcome in presenting the case within the agency and to other agencies.
[liii] This is an old story, in the early forties an expedition explored the upper Pimenta in search of this gold, but apparently only encountered Indians like the Aikaná and their neighbors. They proposed to install a Post but little action followed and the Indians were left in the hands of White exploitation. Rondon endorsed the search and funds were allotted to SPI (Lima 1995: 288-9; Dequech). This episode was missed by almost everyone who was involved with the Aikaná and the region in the production of the documents cited in the dossier. This illustrates the lack of continuity of the protective state action in those days as well as the weak memory of this bureaucracy in the course of time.
[liv] The selling of the standing wood by the fazendeiro either substituted the capital he spent to acquire the plot or generated the capital to maintain operations. So, as one indigenist commented about the Corumbiara Area to the south of the Pimenta River, the creation of the fazendas requires very little real investment from the owner (Algayer 2001, personal communication). That is, it entails an enormous transference of capital and a perverse concentration of land and income benefiting those who need it least.
[lv] The change in vocabulary results from an increment in contacts with the outside and the growth of the Indian movement in Brazil. The term captain stems from an analogous military patent deriving from the days of Rondon, cacique even when an imported word from the Caribbean at least has an Indian etymology.
[lvi] The suspicion of being an accomplice is natural when a former local FUNAI agent is said by the Latundê not at all to have opposed the exploitation of timber a few years ago. These agents are presently one of the weakest chains in the FUNAI bureaucratic structure because they usually are not trained for the job, are mostly employed on a temporary basis, and earn a relatively low salary.
[lvii] Another exploited product that is practically exhausted is palm hearts, the inner parts of palm trees.
[lviii] Some valuable timber still exists in a few areas; for this reason the Sararé area is still in danger of invasion.
[lix] Geffray’s proposition (1995) that the law often seems a front to be circumvented in a profitable manner by some of the local actors in the illegal circuit applies. Still, the idea of creating a law to impose illegal circuit and its attractions must not be exaggerated. Many politicians who accrued wealth from the lumber business before going into politics (a very common phenomenon in the region) lobby for the abolishment of the stricter ecological legislation or its alleviation. Still, in a perverse way, some people such as lower FUNAI employees involved in the control of illegal logging have interest in the continuing appearance of the necessity of the local inspection of repeated invasions. In this case, their salary can regularly receive a very significant supplementation from extra pay received for each day in the field.
[lx] There is still about 7 km where the road is impassable. At the beginning of the impassable section, the road diverts to the south, to Mario’s household in this neighborhood. He also owns a house at Gleba for his children to frequent school and where he can stay during his regular visits.
[lxi] This is not to say that Telles and I somehow pushed the issue but, as far as we can tell, only stimulated the airing of an old complaint and a more assertive attitude.
[lxii] Already mentioned and quoted before, after being captain, this man’s personal history involved divorce because of alcoholism and a long period outside the territory. Now others claim that he wanted to return to a leadership role for which they do not see him fit because of his previous record. It was rumored that he wanted to become the Barroso representative. His contemporary position as affine to the Latundê enables him to perform a mediating role, for example by providing lodgings when they visit Gleba, and as is clear from his second quote, he claimed to exercise a tutoring role to the young man but actually seemed to want to exercise influence.
[lxiii] This man must not be easy to live with as he has a peculiar understanding of the contemporary world. He was the oldest boy mentioned as still living at the savanna with his father when the latter died. These two boys are the last two Latundê being initially raised in the previous lifestyle and later adopted into the household of Terezinha and Mané. Maybe this background accounts for the difficulty of the oldest man to understand the new situation and find a place in this world after he left the household, lived and worked for other neighbors, and attempted to take care of himself by living in the fazenda house.
[lxiv] This predominance of rice may have to do with the filling effect of the grains and the facility of rice cooking in comparison with the difficulty of cooking beans (and the laboriousness of manioc). There may also be the symbolic reason too that Whites are known as Bean People by the Southern Nambikwara. Too many beans would substantiate too much Whiteness (see Part II for a more extended argument about a similar case of a physiology of contact).
[lxv] An exterior that remains foreign and extraneous to their group, as they have not really learned yet from the same outside that they are considered Brazilian too.
[lxvi] The size of the fields and Mané’s gardening activities must be viewed as more than just an ethics of work, as the FUNAI agent inclines to do. Probably the indigenous model of leadership plays a part as this role prescribes the leader as the most active producer and example of the village (see Part III). Many current features may be considered as simultaneously sociocultural maintenance, renewal and innovation.
[lxvii] It must be added that in these micro-politics the original excuse of “weakness” for not returning to the Latundê after her illness certainly was valid, being too weak to make the long walk. Notwithstanding her gradual increase in well-being, however, the permanence of Batatá, with the building of her small house by the Aikaná affine, may also have to do with this circumstance as both this man and his Latundê wife do not posses any regular source of income.
[lxviii] And, I may add, if one looks at the photographs of the pensioners in the dossier and at their bodily form, it is clear to both Telles and me that they may be a bit young.
[lxix] The oldest sons lived with and worked for the Barroso representative. They even picked up some Kwazá but eventually became dissatisfied when perceiving the material exchange as unequal; there was no hard currency involved and the workers were compensated with material goods.
[lxx] Although the selection of the agent proceeds from a community choice, there is often a preference by outsiders for someone with some formal education and Portuguese ability. The real choice in these cases is made almost purely in terms of local politics and that may circumvent the concerns of the most interested party, here the Latundê.
[lxxi] As mentioned previously, these FUNAI agents usually are unprepared men from the lower middle class and are instilled with the dominant ethnic ideology from the surrounding population. They learn the idiom of acculturation with the negative connotation attributed to Indians who are already acculturated (citation from one agent), reified, for example, in the very fluency in Portuguese. Many believe the Indian languages to be a dialect or even slang (very common in colonial situations; Wurm 1991: 5); very rarely are they interested to the point of learning some of the language save for a few key words. Only one of the dedicated agents of the Nambiquara Project succeeded in acquiring fluency in Southern Nambikwara.
[lxxii] We have not obtained an explanation that accounts for the normal children of the youngest sister, unless, perhaps, her lesser fertility could be attributed to the fact that she too did not go through the seclusion rite. Her daughter apparently does not suffer from any kind of physical or mental defect.
[lxxiii] José’s sister did not have any children with her new husband either and so this is a dead end for the presence of any kind of cross cousin.
[lxxiv] Once more, it proved impossible to establish a genealogy to clarify these relationships but, as seen, it seems fair to conclude that José pertains to a cross affinal relationship. Additionally, the uncle interested is the same one who tried to find a life between the old traditional way of life and the outside in his own peculiar way. He is considered somewhat odd by the other Indians in the Territory (lessening his chance to an interethnic match).
[lxxv] According to some comments from pure Aikaná, they are not really considered as full members of this people and though they speak fluently, their slightly different accent demonstrates their different origin. One brother is married to a White woman that does not speak Aikaná and his son seems to be bilingual in Portuguese and Aikaná. The two other brothers married Aikaná sisters and did not have any children. One of them divorced and married a Sabanê. Kwazá is on the road to extinction because of the dispersal of the last speakers. While the recent formation of an Indigenous Territory in Pimenta Bueno for the Kwazá should aid in avoiding this, actually, it is said, that the people living there do not use Kwazá anymore and are intermingled with Aikaná.
[lxxvi] He claims to be a passive speaker of his father’s language and asserts that he understands Latundê. He affirms that the two languages are actually the same. This concurs with the Lakondê speaker cited, his paternal aunt, to whom the two languages are very close (but there are differences, see the comparison in Telles 2002).
[lxxvii] This is the method now in use in a part of French Brittany where the results of teaching in Breton as the first language show promising results that do not harm the academic performance of the students nor their acquisition of French (an irrational fear strong among nationalist Republican opponents; see Libération 11 Nov. 2001; also Dalgalian 2000: 92).
[lxxviii] Their father expressed to me the wish to send only the older children and young adults. He may not consent to let the young children go to school. The school was being built a two-hour walk away from the Latundê village. This does little to encourage a permanent and regular school routine.
[lxxix] Telles (2002: 18). Dona Tereza describes that during the last Tawandê attack on the Lakondê, around 1950, only four of the last nine Lakondê survived. She herself was taken but later handed back to her maternal aunt. The people of Mané were named Yelelihrê by the Lakondê (Telles 2002: 12-3). As seen above, his people were close neighbors of the Lakondê at the time of the attacks, which happened around the same time. Note that, in this roundabout way, a stolen child of the Yelelihrê, a close ally of the Lakondê, brings a Tawandê influence to a village partially consisting of descendants of his very own original people.
[lxxx] Fonseca claims to have saved several people like Cinzeiro with great personal effort and the help of his wife (an assistant nurse, a position popularly known as nurse but in fact she was a trained auxiliary with limited skills).
[lxxxi] Just like the Aikaná and the new Latundê affine who thinks them backward. This is partially because of the lack of the road to the village and the lack of real FUNAI assistance. There is a condescending attitude that they are blessed with an infrastructure and are more modern. These Indians form the core of the recently created Massaká Association of the Indian Peoples Aikaná, Latundê and Kwazá and entered in the so-called project culture created in the 1990s. They attempt to fund some economic development projects (note the name and sequence of peoples). These concentrate on the Aikaná villages and, not surprisingly, only one project included the repair of the road to the Latundê. Such a road also entails an improvement for the other area inhabitants (and facilitate general penetration of the Barroso area too in that it would expand their range of possible locations for horticulture). In this project, they typically aggregate the Latundê with the other inhabitants of the Barroso totaling 41 people. The Latundê are the largest of the handful of groups in the region, and the only one originally based there.
[lxxxii] The World Bank’s official and largely symbolic policy created token projects of protection for the vulnerable indigenous peoples assaulted by the development that affected the region. Even these the government only reluctantly implanted for these primitive obstacles of development and then with a minimal regard to Indian rights. The menace of physical extinction hovered over other peoples too when epidemics decimated the populations. A 1987 World Bank internal report on Rondônia mentions epidemics of several diseases (including malaria and tuberculosis), systemic pillaging of Indian lands and corruption and fraud in FUNAI (Rich 1994: 28). For more on the dismal historical record of the World Bank with regard to local and indigenous populations, see Rich 1994.
[lxxxiii] It is noteworthy that Batatá apparently did not teach her language to her grandchildren, as was custom for Kwazá speakers in the case of the family cited; possibly this is a confirmation of a lesser intellectual capacity.
[lxxxiv] Another Tawandê trait in a similar ceremony includes the use of adorned swords in a dance, a ritual absent among the Latundê. The latter assure that did possess the variant of secret flutes. It is safe to say that not all rituals are identical, even among the Northern Nambikwara, but the extent of variation is, naturally, impossible to establish at this moment.
[lxxxv] He seems to be discussing past events that befell him and explaining certain opinions of the present situation. Apparently he is transmitting some historical knowledge to the younger generation, possibly a part relevant to contemporary affairs. It must be noted that to an outsider these monologues appear to be without an interested audience. However, this kind of soliloquy format is common among the Nambikwara of the Plateau (Price 1997: 21), and so the analogy makes this interpretation seem acceptable.
[lxxxvi] This example comes from Northeast Brazil where the Fulniô speak their own language (Yathê). It is difficult to obtain the original kinship terminology as in this domain apparently the Portuguese terms substitute the Yathê terms (possibly accompanied by the gradual dissolution of original marriage rules).
[lxxxvii] The SIL linguist David Eberhard (2001, personal communication) found significant changes between his current work and that of his predecessor Kingston on Mamaindê, a related Northern Nambikwara language. The direction of change also entails a simplification process. The Mamaindê suffered greatly from contact but their community is more populous and much less influenced by incoming Indians from other related peoples and always maintained a certain independent social unity. They probably lived in better conditions and yet the same phenomena occur.
[lxxxviii] The Latundê have visited Aroeira to procure cures for the ails attributed to supernatural causes. However, the cost of traveling and paying the shaman impedes an easy access to the curing ritual. The people of Aroeira related to Mané continue their attempt to interfere with his life and create additional tensions among the Latundê.
[lxxxix] The simple consultation of a Negarotê speaker living at the Aikaná village (herself a strong proponent of language maintenance, recounting the difficulty of the father of her Negarotê children to make the ashamed child speak his Northern Nambikwara language) provoked an immediate negative reaction even with the clear provision that this was not the kind of work as in progress with the Latundê. Strong jealousy made the linguist abandon any conversation that might recall any linguistic work. This should be a strong inducement to additive and not replacive bilingualism.