By Luisa Elvira Belaunde Olschewski

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Additional info for Gender, Commensality and Community among the Airo-Pai of West Amazonia (Secoya, Western-Tukanoan Speaking)

Sample text

According to my informants, the patrón Paco Carmofia was "good". He did not force them to work through physical punishment and gave them a fair deal for their rubber (CICAME 1990a, Vickers 1989:69). They had great desire for the Western goods traded by their patron, and therefore engaged in the habilitaciOn upon their free will in order to obtain the goods4. Around 1920 the 'rubber boom' declined, but the patrones remained. Their next aim was to obtain timber and animal-skins. Carniofia died in 1929, leaving his step-son Mauricio Levi as his successor.

Interestingly, related and unrelated potential 'conversation partners' are not formally distinguished. This reveals the openended character of the Afro-Pal marriage system. New marriages might be arranged between unrelated 'conversation partners', although generally people prefer to repeat a pre-existing alliance, 'a la Dumont'. c) Marria2e decision making It is difficult to bring a clear cut answer to the question of who holds more authority over marital decisions because each 'conversation pair' is somehow autonomous.

Chroniclers report that the Airo-Pai were amenable and hard-working, but also known for their ferocity in warfare against neighbours and European invaders. The chroniclers specify that their main pleasures were to ornament their bodies and to sing to their gods (Maroni 1889-92(27):78). With the expulsion of the Jesuits (1766), missionary activities declined leaving a lot of damages and disruption. The Airo-Pai population suffered a dramatic demographic drop when ravaged by epidemics of European origin (Simson 1986:197), and many abandoned their original land and sought refuge in hidden areas.

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Gender, Commensality and Community among the Airo-Pai of West Amazonia (Secoya, Western-Tukanoan Speaking) by Luisa Elvira Belaunde Olschewski


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