This book is an ethnographic account of how Waorani people experience and remember past violence and the role these memories have in the context of ongoing social, political, and economic changes in Amazonia today. For centuries outsiders have imagined Amazonia as a place of violence, whether in colonial European accounts of “Amazon warriors,” contemporary ideas about “wild Indians” in South America, or famous studies of “tribal warfare.” In order to understand the experiences of Waorani people today, this book focuses on interethnic relations and the history of Christian missionaries in Amazonian Ecuador. It examines violence not simply in terms of “tribal warfare” or “revenge killing” but as a symbolic practice through which Waorani people today understand themselves, their ancestors, and kowori (non-Waorani people). This introduction provides an overview of the author's fieldwork among the Waorani people as well as the chapters that follow.
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