Caught in the Web, but Still in the Past : Foraging, Farming and Socioeconomic Relations between the Awá-Guajá and their NeighborsCaught in the Web, but Still in the Past : Foraging, Farming and Socioeconomic Relations between the Awá-Guajá and their NeighborsAA00442310
Examining Amazonia in hindsight and evaluating recent evidence reveals arich and complex past that demonstrates a unique dynamic between foragers andfarmers. As relations are played out between these groups a number of scenariosunfold. Both parties may be engaged in relations of friendly exchange, tenuousalliances, hostility, or in recent times, forced merger or separation by mainstreamsociety. Similarly, it also becomes difficult to discern differences between foragersand farmers as both include varying degrees of hunting, farming, fishing andgathering. Recently, studies in historical ecology, archaeology, ethnohistory andlinguistics help reconstruct a past that explains the present in forager-farmerrelations. In this article, the author examines these questions among the Awá-Guajáof the Brazilian Amazon and how they have engaged with their neighbors, theKa’apor and Tenetehara. The Awá-Guajá came into permanent contact withBrazilian national society in 1973, and were settled into four semi-nucleatedcommunities by Brazil’s Indian Service (FUNAI). As the Awá-Guajá aretransitioning to a settled, farming mode of subsistence, there has emerged acompression of evolutionary time as contact has intensified the use of resources,engagements with horticultural groups, and mainstream players. Regionaldevelopment and lumber activities have also impinged on these groups, inducing anumber of individuals to participate in illicit activities. The paper is concluded byexamining how each of the four Awá-Guajá communities has embraced contact,by providing a narrative of their experiences and their involvement with differentinterlocutors.