Chapter

Coda: Amazonian Indians and the Millennial Dream

Michael F. Brown and Eduardo Fernandez

in War of Shadows

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 1991 | ISBN: 9780520074354
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520911352 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520074354.003.0013
Coda: Amazonian Indians and the Millennial Dream

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The Asháninka of eastern Peru are by no means the first Amazonian people to await a tumultuous reversal of their fortunes. This shows that many parts of Amazonian region experienced social changes that would have confronted egalitarian tribal peoples with highly stratified chiefdoms, perhaps precipitating cultural crises long before the arrival of the Europeans. When Indians tear their traditions apart, they may turn to the symbols and paraphernalia of Christianity. Theological purity is a Western obsession. The Indians' “Christianity” may emerge in an indigenized form, with a meaning all its own. Amazonian millennial movements represent experiments in social change undertaken by people who believe that history is made in explosive bursts rather than in slow waves. Pichári is a shaman from the Río Berta. He continues to await an apocalyptic transformation that will move his people from chaos to order, from privation to plenty.

Keywords: Asháninka; Amazonian people; Indians; Christianity; theological purity; Amazonian millennial movements; social change

Chapter.  2065 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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