Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
of agriculture sedentary life as a means of guaranteeing the circulation of all kinds of
goods, material or symbolic. However meager this exchange has been, with hardly
any investment in agriculture, small and scant aspects of this circuit have outlasted
the situation of absolute misery that the Guarani have faced in São Paulo. Angelo
Silveiro, the tribal leader of the Pindoty Village in Pariquera-açu put it this way, in
June 1998:
Before moving to Pindoty, we collected leftover food [ restos de comida ] at the
garbage dump in Cananéia, so that everybody would have a little something
to eat. We shared our leftovers with our folks in the Rio Branco Village.
Their situation is so bad! This is what the Guarani people are like: we share
everything we have.
New changes have brought new inflections to the discourse of the Ywy Marae'y:
whereas in the past migrations were neither prompted nor accompanied by political
or territorial claims (Cadogan 1959:50, Clastres 1995:70), today economy and
prophecy have become inextricably tied together. Guarani reciprocity emerges here
as a strategy that the children have tried to recreate in order to avoid a cataclysm.
Their current reinterpretation of one of the fundamental aspects of Guarani religion -
migration to the Land-without-Evil - in terms of the present-day situation is informed
by the circumstances of social exclusion and structural violence they experience on
and around the Itaóca reservation. The straightforward way in which the kids portray
the situation carries a great lesson of solidarity: even living under the predicament
of absolute poverty, the Guarani practice reciprocity. Children show each other
and their elders the importance of mutual help, by sharing the little they have with
the famished neighbor, even if this means they might not have anything to eat the
next day.
Attention to the children's world suggests that even if Guarani adults apparently
deny it, they are hungry and have been struggling to accept what the kids have all
along been telling them: that they should improve life conditions in this domain of
the cosmos if they ever want to qualify for life in the Ywy Marae'y. The children
believe death and sickness do not qualify as essential conditions for migration onto
a higher level of the cosmos.
Guarani children have invested in the reinvention of the Guarani Nhande Rekó by
using elements of the past, it is true, but fashioned in terms of the present. The Guarani
apocalypse becomes accessible here and now, rather than in an unapproachable
overseas eternity. The children's critique of human society asserts the need for
radical disruption and negation of one of the most fundamental principles of Guarani
social life: that an austere, painful, and dangerous nomadism should be a necessary
transcendence to the Land-without Evil. What the children are showing when
they refuse to survive off garbage dumps, when they plant their own gardens, and
transform missionaries into Guarani warriors is that the mythic paradise can coexist
at the same time and place with this secular order. The children's performances
insinuate that the apparent tragic and melancholic Guarani conception of the world
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