Consuming Grief Ch4

Consuming Grief Ch4 - L awrence Davidson October 4, 2010...

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Lawrence Davidson October 4, 2010 Conklin, Beth A. Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society . Austin: U of Texas, 2001. 65-86. Print. Chapter 4 Pages 65-86 Summary In chapter four Conklin provided a detailed description and laid foundational framework for analysis of the Wari’s funeral practices both pre and post contact. The Wari’s rituals during illness are directly related and similar to their funeral practices and as such Conklin also provided description of these within this chapter as well. During the time that Conklin spent with the Wari’ she did not witness a full funeral ritual therefore the content within the chapter relied on interviews that she conducted with Wari who witnessed funeral rituals before and after contact. Conklin began by depicting the way that the Wari’ respond to illness. She did this because the funeral rituals are similar, and in many ways a continuation of what is done to treat illness. The Wari’s practices of holding the sick, keening and continuously reiterating the sick person connection to the community and their family is very similar to funeral practices. Conklin also explained that the delegating of roles, who is the primary caregiver to the sick, is also a part of the funeral practices. The sick person’s blood relatives take of the ailing person despite their sick person’s marital status. The roles of “‘iri nari” blood relative and the “nari paxi” not blood relatives was a constant theme of the chapter. The entire community was made aware the illness as the situation deteriorated the community would begin to gather around the sick person. Thus the illness of one member of the tribe was felt and responded to by the entirety of the community. This is also fundamental to Wari’ funeral rituals Conklin then moved to describe the funeral practices of the Wari’. Almost immediately anyone within hearing distance would know that the person had passed because keening would intensify. Conklin explained how the roles were divided for the funeral practice. With the iri nari directing the activities; choosing the primary helpers, setting the events in to motion and determining there pace. The nari paxi would serve the honored position as primary helpers; having tasks that included gathering all relatives, collecting firewood, preparing the firebrand and roasting rack, and ultimately eating the Page 1 of 11
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corpse once they were requested to do so. Conklin thoroughly detailed the endocannibalism within the funeral ritual including the preparation of the body, the constructing of the firebrand and roasting rack, roasting and disseminating the corpse amongst the eaters, how much was eaten, what was done the bones, and how the site was of the roasting was treated after the ceremony. Conklin explained that each step had a meaning and that meaning was nearly always to be respectful to the deceased and to do the wishes of the deceased family members. Conklin explained that all the deceased possessions, home, and
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2011 for the course ANT 101 taught by Professor Stafcas during the Fall '10 term at West Chester.

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Consuming Grief Ch4 - L awrence Davidson October 4, 2010...

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