21a4412 - DISCUSSION OF KAYAPO CASE Q. How has the rubber...

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DISCUSSION OF KAYAPO CASE Q. How has the rubber trade affected the Kayapo? How does it differ from the North American fur trade? other extractive economies? What other extractive economies have affected the Kayapo? Rubber, gold, timber: none of them were things the Kayapo thought were valuable in themselves, not goods in own economic system. Also, extractors not interested in staying permanently. But ranching means clearing and permanent alienation of land. Gold has tremendously negative environmental impact. Brazil nuts come later. Organized through official Indian trading posts. Q. What was the system of rubber production? Did not involve ownership of land. Rubber was a wild product, a free good. What bosses controlled was a rubber territory, with labor, organized in a hierarchy, a chain of command, from big boss down to individual tappers. The work was very isolating: individual men made circuit on trail of their trees to collect latex, then boiled down at base. But not isolated in sense that they were on own, rather part of hierarchy. Bosses needed to control labor, and to control territory against rivals. They had gunslingers. We romanticize gunmen but they were essentially nasty enforcers. In some parts of Amazon, where workers were less easy to coerce, bosses inflicted horrible atrocities to keep workers in line. In some places Indians in labor force, other places non-Indian caboclos. Q. How did Indians like Kayapo fit in? They were guides to trails and trees. Also enforcers at service of bosses. Given free rein to raid all “whites” except their own boss. Indians could be allies to bosses because they blocked and discouraged competitors. But Kayapo also had an economy partly based on spoils of raiding, getting goods by attacking/robbing. Like Mohawk in fur trade, Apache in N. American Southwest. Does not fit ideas of Indians maintaining purity, total opposition to outside. Q. Why did conflict increase as rubber trade declined? Bosses could no longer keep small armies of gunslingers. Indians could attack more freely. With conflict among Indians and with whites, some Kayapo and other Indians cut selves off from whites, suffered loss of goods and contact for sake of refuge far away.
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Q. How does the situation of the Kayapo today resemble or differ from that of the Kuna earlier in the 20 th century? in terms of the frontier and the
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21a4412 - DISCUSSION OF KAYAPO CASE Q. How has the rubber...

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