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The Growth of Family Trees: Understanding Huaorani Perceptions of the Forest Author(s): Laura Rival Source: Man, New

Series, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 635-652 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: . Accessed: 22/07/2011 17:27
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& London School Economics Political of Science

This article discusses how a groupofAmazonianpeople, theHuaorani,relatetheir perceptions ofvegetal growth their to understanding socialrelations. of They recognize two different processes of growth and maturation. These are used to classify plantspeciesand categorize socialprinciples, as well as to understand their why society goes through cyclesofpeace and expansion followedby aniddemographlic timesof warfare collapse. The articleestablishes ethnographically social that are properties derivedfrom, and are directly shapedby, the experienceof lifeprocesses.It thus challeniges dualistic the view of the relationship betweennature and societywhich takes'nature' as a sourceof symbolic representations describing for sociallife.

A growing body of work shows that people's interactionswith their natural environment form the bases of their social practices and understandingsof the social. Recent studiesby Bird-David (1992a;b), Bloch (1992 a;b), Descola (1992), and Ingold (1993a; 1993b) are distinctbut by no means incompatible theoretical efforts account for animisticbeliefsand to imagine social relationswith referto ence to the experience of biological processes. There are marked differences between these authors (who, Bloch excepted, focus on the relationshipbetween people and animals), but sufficient similaritiesto make a comparison fruitful. Descola, for example, shares with Bird-David an interestin symbols and repremodel of (unconscious) sentations, but, as he tries to develop a structuralist his culturalinvariants, approach is not too remote fromBloch's who, as a pioneer in cognitive anthropology, is looking for non-linguistic mental models. Bloch and Ingold share a strongmaterialist bias against symbolic interpretations which divorce perception from action and ignore non-mediated formsof knowledge. Finally, both Bird-David and Ingold, while disagreeing over what is the best theoreticalmodel to explain the particularsociality of egalitariansocieties, connect this sociality to the perception of natural surroundings as a 'giving environment'.1 In other words, despite their theoretical differences, these four authors stressthat many hunter-gatherer and horticulturist societies view natural objects and human beings as forminga single social field, and that the correspondence between certainpropertiesof social life and the experience of organic life should formn crucial part of anthropological analysis. a I take theirconsensus as an importantpoint of departurefromwhich to challenge reductionist or dualistic views of the relationship between nature and society and to re-conceptualize nature, so that natural categories are no longer
Mani(N.S.) 28, 635-652



seen solely as metaphors for social categories (Hastrup 1989; Richards 1992). When the relationshipof people to nature is re-considered in termsof engagement, practicalexperience and perceptual knowledge, nature ceases to be a mere reflection society. The basis on which totemismis thoughtof as a metaphorical of representationand a conceptual objectification of nature might thus be questioned. Since the masterwork of Levi-Strauss, the identificationof people with plantsand animals has commonly been understood as a symbolic manifestation of mode of thought originatingin the 'cognitive need for undera classificatory standing' (Levi-Strauss 1962; Morris 1987: 270-91). For Levi-Strauss,there is no in doubt thatpeople's interest plant and animal species (and its ritualized,totemic froman intellectualconcern with difference and analexpression) stemsprimarily ogy, thatis, with the codificationof discontinuities.Therefore,people's concrete knowledge of the world they live in is meaningless, unless transposed to an level where it can be used to classify and order the social. In other words, abstract the practical experience of, or communication with, animals and plants is irrelevant forthe analysisof totemicbeliefs,forthese should be seen as a linguisticcode with world to thinkthe world of natureonly in sofaras itcan be contrasted thecultural This is the ontological dualism (humanityv. animality;culture v. ofhumani beings. nature; or intellectuality affectivity) v. that Ingold has unremittingly opposed in order to look at the concrete and personal interactionsthrough which humans and non-human life formsconstituteone single social world. For Ingold (1991; 1992), animals may be 'good to think',but theyare, above all, 'good to relate to', so we should focus on perceptual ratherthan representational knowledge. Bloch's recent re-analysis of Zafimaniry society (1992b), although using a model from Ingold's, is also an attempt to conceptualize completely different social relationson the basis of materialprocesses and everydaypractices. Bloch's 'central mental models' resultin a form of non-representationalcultural knowledge akin to Ingold's practical knowledge based on perception and engagement. Blocli suggeststlhat natural objects do not function as metaphors for social processes, 'because social relations are experienced as natural' (1992b: 130-2). He identifiesthe process of growth and maturation,a process that equally affects all living beings, as a particularly forceful illustration how people derive a practical of knowledge of the social from their concrete experience of the world around them. Following Bloch, I will tryto show that the Huaorani's conceptualization of theirsociety is informedby theirperceptions of differential growth processes in their forest environment, as well as by certain important symbiotic relations existing between plants, animals and people. I brieflyconsider the Huaorani's material experience of the forestas a 'giving environment', before examining how the specific qualities of two important tree species, Bactris gasipaes (commonly known-as peach palm), and Ochromalagopus (balsa) express the cyclical nature of Huaorani society and give meaning to the cycles of destructionand growth throughwhich it is reproduced. The Huaorani viewofgrowth For the Huaorani of Ecuador, growth and maturation is a matter of on-going interest.More like hunter-gatherers2 than horticulturists, they spend much time



in 'cruising' theforest, it whattheyneed fortheday, exploring slowly, collecting and monitoring potential its resources lateruse. Their constant for checkingof thematurity fruit of and of or trees, ofthenumber pregnant monkeys birdnests, is commented upon at length return the longhouse.This interest plant on to in growth maturation morethanmerepragmatic and is resource management: they in havea genuineaesthetic delight observing plantlife, particularly growth the of new leaves,and explicitly relate to certain this aspects humanphysical of growth. Notionsof growth maturation also appliedto thepopulation a whole. and are as Populationgrowthand the rise and fall of local groupsare matters great of concern,and group social dynamicsare conceptualizedin relationto forest groves, rather thanwithreference thelifespanof individual to trees. we shall As of see, both social groupsand forest grovesexhibittwo contrastive patterns and regeneration. growth The Huaorani3number about 1200 and live betweenthe Napo and Curaray in rivers the EcuadorianAmazon region.Fierce isolationists, theyhave, until recently, avoided all peacefuland continuous contactwith the outside.4Their homeland characteristic muchof thewestern is of Amazonianrainforest, except that,given the relatively high rainfall averages(around 3000 mm per annum), seasonsare almost non-existent. withmanyAmazoniansocieties, As terkinship minology is Dravidian, and the preferred marriageis between bilateral cross-cousins. Traditional 10 longhouses ofapproximately to 35 members are typically composedof an olderpolygynous couple, theirmarried daughters and unmarried children. These residential units, autonomous and dispersed although overa relatively area,maintain vast close relations withtwo or three with others, which theyform Each of theseregionalgroups,huaomoni strong alliances. (the to an 'we-people'),strives preserve optimum and autarchic degreeof endogamy sustained controlled and all towards the others, called stability through hostility huarani the (literally, 'others',thatis, the 'enemies'). Societyis at peace when huaomoni and groupsare unitedaroundinter-married of brothers sisters pairs (a and are specialcase of cross-cousin marriage), when endogamousmarriages secured.But when shortage spouses,internal of divisions and disagreements over alliances force huaomoni intopolitical withhuarani, marriage groups re-alignments violenceand destruction onlybrings not population numbers alarmingly to low but levels, maylead to thedisappearance entire of groups. in Beforeexamining it thesesocialfeatures moredetail, is necessary setout to Huaorani views on growthprocesses.These are primarily based on people's of and reproduce. tree experience how different speciesgrow,mature Although of people's understanding therainforest ecologyseemslimitless, specialattention all is givento a fewfeatures, associated withgrowth and age. These features are the distinctive of characteristics threedifferent the kindsof trees, tallest canopy trees(such as Ceibapentranda Cedrela or the odorata), softwooded trees(such as Ochroma or lagopus Cecropia spp),and certain palmsof theArecaceae family (Bactris gasipaes). The most respected and talkedabout are undoubtedly large emergent the whichthesetrees exert due to thefact is canopytrees (iiene ahue).The fascination thattheymatureveryslowly, but eventually treesof the grow to be the tallest forest. theirgrowthdependson specificconditions, and theymay However,



for trees(huinehue) manyyears.People often point to remainyoung,immature the stressing factthattheir juvenile formis theseyoung treesby the trailside, to characteristic theseand other of dissimilar their adultone. Another strikingly is youngtreesto whichpeople are verysensitive theirnew leaves. These look and smoothand shiny their and distinctive delicatecolours- slightly pink,purple with of pale, almost yellowshade- are contrasted or red,or when green, a very nevermade explicit, grownleaves. Although the deep, uniform greenof fully about the largeemergent whatseemsto be mostsignificant canopytreesis that and between40 and 60 yearsold, and they flowering, theyreachmaturity, start at That is, theyreproduce theoldestage people can can live forup to 200 years. to In corresponds fivehumangenerations. live to, and theirlifespan roughly character are for to thesetrees also admired their solitary addition their longevity, but the as dispersed throughout forest), (theydo notgrowin groves, are sparsely well as fortheir They are hoststo manyplantand animal profuse entanglement. their whilehelping assists them and a massoflianasand climbers growth, species, in standupright thewind. of species,Bactris The two otherimportant types treeare two middle-canopy lagoptis(balsa). These two species are well (peach palm) and Ochroma gasipaes in forest i.e., first colonizers natural knownby forest botanists pioneerspecies, as and at above theforest Theybothflower fruit about20 metres gapsand clearings. of tree 0. is and floor, attract largeconcentrations animals. lagopus thefirst species to grow in forest but fast openings, it matures and dies out in one generation, while B. gasipaes trees,and growsslowlyin the shade of softand fast-growing in for reproduces thesamegroves manygenerations. in years thatit reaches12 metres lessthanthree Ochroma lagopus5 growsso fast of and are (Richards1964: 383). The softtexture low density itstimber conseThe Huaoranisay thatbalsa treesneed much sun, quences of itsrapidgrowth. and die in theshade;thattheymature veryfast, thoughtheirgrovesdo not last more thana generation. manybirds heavily,attracting They flowerand fruit the wllichdisperse inassof seedsacrosswide areas.Their seeds,like theseedsof otheropportunistic, short-lived trees,remainviable for a few years,and are in in the for waiting gapsin the present thesoil throughout forest largenumbers, in the and levels canopy.When largetrees fall, suddenincrease temperature light and causesthe seeds to germinate, the youngtreesgrow rapidly (Collins 1990: the The wood is limited. 64-5). ComparedwithB. gasipaes, use of 0. lagopus very two objects:the firekitand the ear ornais used onlyto manufacture essential ments,6 bothof whichcombinebalsaand palmwood. I will show laterthatthe of is wood in cultural objectsand myths of great complementarity hardand soft symbolic significance. is The thirdtree speciesof importance the Huaorani, Bactris for gasipaes, a domesticated plant.7It is believed to be a crossbetween managed,incipiently two wild species(Guilelma and and microcarpa Guilelma insignis), to have originin atedsomewhere Ecuadoror theUcayaliregion(Ballick1979: 11-28; Clement from their moreor lessaltered genetically 1988). There existnumerous varieties, and wildstate, exhibiting thornier smoother to to and trunks, orange-red yellowThis palm reproduces seed propagation. Each fruit containsa by green fruit. starchy, and witha highlevel oily singlerelatively largeand heavyseed. Itsflesh,



contains twiceas muchprotein bananas, as and more carbohydrates of carotine, and proteins thanmaize (Newman 1990: 136). Because of an enzyme, cannot it be eatenexceptwhen cooked, or veryripe- almostrotten. The Huaoranihave but not deliberately cultivated gasipaes, theircookingactivities B. have encourand The heatstheseed to the aged itsgermination propagation.8 cookingprocess for Giventhelow level oflight temperature required germination. and temperatureat ground level,too fewseedscould germinate without humanintervention forthespeciesto survive. The tree'ssexualmaturity reachedbetweenitsfifth is and seventh year.An adulttreebears13 fullfruit clusters, each weighingup to 100 kgs (Duke 1977: 60; Ballick 1979). A fully growntreeis about 20 to 25 metres highand typically belongsto themiddlecanopy.Even in comparison to it other palms, growsslowly, itswood is extremely and hard.The mostcommon in typeis calledtewe Huaorani,whichliterally means'hardwood'.9 Individual and growth vital energy I In this section, wantto explorea salient aspectofHuaoranicultural knowledge: of theirunderstanding human growth.Huaorani conceptualization human of is whichassimilate to growth informed sensory by perceptions bodilymaturation in thevitalenergy contained leavesor shoots, and theprocess agingto vegetal of of is the decay.The highenergy fast-growing plants usedto stimulate physiological developmentof toddlers.As they grow older, childrenare encouraged a education becomeindependent self-sufficient to and through non-authoritarian But a individuals. upon adolescence, ritual intervention considered is necessary to makethemold enoughto marry. I have alreadymentioned the Huaorani'sadmiration new leaves. There for exists vastrepertoire songsthatendlessly a of embroider thecolours,textures on and aspects new leaves,and on their of beauty.One song,forexample,saysthat 'treeswithbeautiful leavesgrowwell', and that'it feelsgood to live wheresuch trees found, their are for leaves,sweetenoughto be eaten,nevertouchtheforest floor'.Another talks abouta person'as handsome weightless a largeyoung and as leafswungbya gentle wind'. These songsillustrate close association the between This association foundagainin a commonexpression is 'new' and beautiful. used of babies,huiiienga as huemongui whichcan be translated 'it has beauty'. bapa, not Babiesand youngleavesareassociated onlybecausebotharebeautiful, but also becausebotharevigorous fullofvitality. and However,thevigourofbabies and youngchildren mustbe protected, their growth and securedthrough a fast Food taboos,meantto accelerate process growth the of and series precautions. of the are from few a encourage right bodilycomposition, observed bothparents by weekspriorto birth, untilsix months In afterwards.10 Huaoranithought, babies are intrinsically and but energetic, their vigourdependson breast feeding, young mothers explicitly state their need fornourishing food (suchas monkey meatand in milk. and palmfruit) orderto producenutritious abundant The greatest is bodily change and physical development thatfromtoddler, bate teque inFaringa the processof ageing'),to thatof 'youngperson', ('in piquena 'to opate gocamba (literally, start beingold enoughto go on one's own'), a status whichlastsuntilthe ear-piercing weddingceremonies and described below. In otherwords,walking,talking and eatingmeat are seen as threesimultaneous



of and whichmarkthebeginning personal acquisitions autonomy, whichcan be of Once the fragility the stimulated the application fast-growing by of plants."1 new humanlifeis overcome, are concerned withaccelerating the parents mainly in processof growth theirchildren. is to thiseffect It thatthe legs and armsof in who are gradually actitoddlers, expectedto walk and participate subsistence vities, gently are beatenwithnettles theshootsof certain and trees.Only when start the cottonstring theycan walkon their own do toddlers wearing distinctive aroundthewaist.Huaoranichildren by anystandard, are, veryindependent and and betweenadultsand children totally are self-sufficient, relations devoid of Adultsdo not have a sense of hierarchical authority. superiority, are they nor is over-protective (Rival 1992: chs 5 & 6). In Huaorani terms, independence measured the ability bring by to back food to 'give away', thatis, to sharewith in co-residents. Children's activities largely lies outside participation subsistence in as often to theforest bands,withtheoldestteaching adultcontrol, children go and supervising youngest. the The nextimportant maturation and boysis when theyare stageforbothgirls readyto stop 'being on theirown', thatis, when theyare considered mature and markthisimportant tranTwo ceremonies enoughto marry have children. sition,the ear piercingritualand the wedding ceremony.Sometime during have their for adolescence, boysand girls earsprepared the distinctive Huaorani ethnicmarker, 5 cm wide earplugmade of balsawood. They are suddenly the assailedby severalmen of theirhouse-group olderuncles),who pierce (usually theirears with a long needle made of B. gasipaes wood hardenedby fire.In discsof balsawood are inserted untilthe subsequent months, increasingly bigger are holesreachthedesired size. Adolescents expectedto overcometheir surprise and bear thepain in silence, to of whilelistening the chants their adultkinsmen and women. The chants exhortthemto workhard,huntand gather diligently, and bringhome sufficient to surplus give away. They mustremainhealthy, be and eat sufficient strong monkeymeatto enable themto walk fordayswithout and the pain is intendedto make the initiands tired.The surprise feel feeling male-adult of angry(pi-),12the typical expression vigourand force.As the ear adolescents particularly - mustgrow agitated lobes swell and hurt, boys and are untiltheholesare theright irritable. Peace and tranquillity not restored size, itself neverforgotten. is the although piercing Ear piercing explicitly talkedaboutas a punishment not obeying, is for though thisidea of 'punishment' shouldnotbe takenliterally. Rather,it is a pronouncement- a command- by whichseniormale relatives forceadulthoodon young Huaorani. In thisritual, structured the violentcoercionof maturing by young takeson a moresymbolic The fact persons (Bloch 1992a), growth that meaning. theneedleusedto perforate earlobes and (thesiteofobedience,i.e. ofacceptance is made of hard, conformiity) slowlygrownwood, is as significant thefact as that the holes,once enlarged, filled withsoft, are beautiful balsa discspainted light, withwhiteclay.'3 As a fast balsawood represents vitality plants the of grower, but thatneed bright shade to palm seedlings, die after one lightand heat,offer Balsa earplugs cultural thussignify generation. continuity (theyare an essential ethnicmarker), and, as partof a pre-marital rite,symbolizesocial continuity. Looked at fromthisperspective, ear piercingritualcompletesthe growth the



process and maturation theyouthby combining complementary of the effects of slow reproductive and fastone-generational growth growth.Conjugal lifeand thebirth new children of cannotoccurbeforetheyoungare made old enough the of to marry through fusion thesetwo growth principles. of The weddingceremony (thepairing 'matured'huaomoni boysand girls)is the logicaloutcomeof the ear piercing and also takesthe form an ceremony of unexpected 'attack'.Marriages celebrated are during drinking ceremonies, when thewhole huaomoni The oldestmembers theregional groupis gathered. of group of seize thegirl (who aretherealor classificatory grandparents thespouses-to-be) and boy theywant to match, and forcetheminto a hammockwhere their feet are boundtogether wherethey made to sharea largebowl of ceremonial and are kin as married crowdaroundthemto singtheweddingchants. drink all their The lastmaturation stage, ageing, like thefirst is one, in thesensethatit is an individual process.The skinof old people, like old leaves,loses itssmoothness and shine.A number songsand metaphoric of aboutold people refer expressions to decaying is thanforyoungleaves, leaves,thoughtheimagery less elaborated and no direct is and leavesdecaying. As parallel drawnbetweenold people dying soon as theyhave one or two married for children, people start preparing death B. by inserting gasipaes wood splinters both sidesof theirnoses. The wood on protects themduring voyageacross Napo River (symbolically the the represented as a giantboa) to reachtheland of the dead. Withoutthesesplinters, body the would stay behindand rot. Apartfromthisone reference individual to deathand afterlife, thereis very little cultural elaboration decayand ageing.However,it is worthnotingthat on children reachtheage of two or three, are by thetimetheir mothers saidto have aged.Mothering thustalkedaboutas a withering is process, and women - espebreasts are said to 'droop' like leaveswhen theybecome old. Old ciallytheir too age seemsto be a taboo subject.People are considered old to go on living are when theirgrandchildren married and are about to become parents themselves.In the past,old people, especially were abandonedand leftto widowers, old widowerslive by themselves die. Today, in sedentarized and are villages, clearly neglected. Slow and relations growth, continuity symbiotic I have suggested thatthephysiological of development persons results fromthe samevitalenergy that as foundin leaves,shootsand fast-growing but plants, that thesocialmaturation adolescents of the of requires application a different of sort growth 'slow growth'. Beforeelaborating thelinkbetweentheregeneration on of B. gasipaes of I palm grovesand thesocialdynamics huaomoni groups, outline the relationship betweenslow growth, gasipaes B. hardwood and generational continuity. The locationof all theBactris in gasipaes groves theforest known,foreach is is associated withspecific huaomoni seen as regroups.These grovesare explicitly from activities the group'sforebears: the of monito memeiri inani(they sulting qui belongto our grandparents). manyAmazoniangroups, Like Huaorani sedentary treesin theirgardensand around theirhouses, thoughthey plant B. gasipaes did that apparently not do so in thepast.It is noteworthy when families disagree



and move out to join relatives othersettlements in withtheir villageleaders, (a all rareand dangerous undertaking), carefully they destroy theirB. gasipaes trees, for bananaand maniocplantations. butdo notgo to suchlengths their Moreover, the treestheyhave plantedthemselves fromthe people differentiate B. gasipaes traditional groveswhichtheycontinueto visiteveryyear,and which markthe settlements previousgenerations. of Such visitscontinuenot only because the fruit Bactris of gasipaes an important is food,but also becauseit provides crucial a link betweenpastand present generations 'we-people'. It is thislinkwhich of a makesthe forest 'givingenvironment', sincelivingpeople, receiving nourishare mentfrom past(palmfruit seen to result the from activities livesof the and ensurethe feeding future of their pastgenerations) generations through present activities. consumption withgreat excitement pleasure, and People talkabouttheB. gasipaes groves for the and material sign and theyare a sourceof pride,security rejoicing, concrete of continuity. They lastlongerthanhumanlives.When passing through them, or of people recall the deceased,usuallya grandparent great-grandparent the who come to collect the fruit. these oldestmembers the house-groups of As grovesoftenspring fromseeds depositedaroundlong-abandoned dohearths, mesticdebris(bitsof brokenclay pots or stone axes) stilllies barelyburied,a further confirmation 'the grandparents' that lived there.Althoughlong estabthe lishedgrovescould well be self-perpetuating,14 scattered seedsfrom human intervention clearly contribute their to reproduction. of The Huaorani calendaris further evidenceof the cultural importance B. gasipaes, and of how the link established betweendifferent of generations 'werole in people' - materialized B. gasipaesgroves- also plays an essential by monkeyreproduction. The year is divided into threeseasons. These do not reflect changing the positionof the stars in manyAmazoniancultures, a as but linkedwith Bactris seriesof maturation The processes gasipaes fruiting cycles.15 to first season,the 'peach palm fruit season',runsfrom January April.It is followed by the 'season of fat monkeys',which ends in August. People, like also withthis seasonal their monkeys, fatten diet,and laughat theidea that bodies and growsofter bigger. Monkeymeatbecomesmorepalatable, witha yellowish colour and a milder taste.It is said thatit almostmeltsin the mouth,and is so are Then comes the 'season deliciousto eat 'becausethefemales now pregnant'. becomes of wild cotton',when kapok,an essential partof the hunting gear,16 availablein largequantities. The months February Aprilare usually months greatest of to the of mobility, as huaomoni on are Their house-groups converge thesiteswherefruits ripening. main concernduring thesemonths to balancetheirdesireforgranddrinking is ceremonies17 withtheneed to leave enoughpalmfruit the monkeys feed for to and on, fatten reproduce. It is during peach palmfruit the seasonthatthelinkbetweenpastand present is as generations mostclearly experienced, pastpeople providein abundancefor on are theirdescendants. Monkeysand otheranimalsfeeding peach palm fruit said to 'steal'foodthatlegitimately belongsto humans, but,sinceit allowsthem to in to fatten reproduce, and shouldbe permitted partake thegrandparental they in have limited territories their and families bounty. Monkeys reproduce parallel



thembadly, to thehumanones,albeitat a greater speed. Ifpeople were to treat to could stealthe by not leavingthemenough fruit eat, forexample,monkeys would be final.The symbiotic seeds and thistime,the theft relationship uniting and for people,animals palmtrees thusperceived necessary securing is as renewal and growth. Huntingpractices providefurther evidenceof the symbiotic relationship between people and monkeys.Before the introduction shotgunsin the of mid-1970s,only two typesof huntingwere practised: the blow-gunning of and canopyspecies(monkeys certain speciesof birds)and the killing collared of It peccaries(wild boars)withlong wooden spears.18 is significant although that bothweaponsare made of the same material B. gasipaes wood hardened with fire thepractice blowgunhunting, well as itssignification, of as standin systematicopposition spearhunting. to Huaoraninotionsof killing and hunting clearly are separated. People do not but to likejaguarsor 'kill' canopyanimals, huntthem,in contrast preyanimals harpy eagleswhichdo not hunt,but kill.Hunting,oJinga eenqui means'repi, trieving' (literally, carry 'to dead flesh back home'), and to go hunting, oonte go, in to go blowing.Game is relatively plentiful theHuaoranihomeland;birdsand monkeys foundthroughout forest, are the are their territories limited, and their behaviour,largelydetermined theirfeedinghabits,predictable. by Blowgun a treeclimbing, practised hunting, rather solitary operation often is involving by men and sometimes women as part of theirfrequent tripsto the forest, and produces mostregular the supply meat.When talking of aboutmonkey hunting, of to people say thatthe momentum unpoisoneddartsis insufficient be fatal; It curare whatkills is monkeys. is as though they soughtto reducethecausallink betweenhunting (theactionof blowing)and killing (themonkey's death).Furbabiesofhunted female are killednoreaten,butkept thermore, monkeys neither as 'pets'and breast-fed. In fact, Huaoranilonghouses, filled and acti(through blowgunning gathering of can be seen as vities)with adoptedanimalsand collections forest products, of prolongations thesymbiotic relationship epitomized thepeachpalmgroves by sites. offer clearevidencethat whichdevelopon old dwelling Longhouses spatial are betweendomesticated wild spaces,nor beand oppositions drawnneither tween forest animalsand longhouseresidents. Pets are not domesticated, but like longhousedependent adopted, and, as such,treated members. For example, birdsand mnonkeys fedwithbananasand otherfruit, harpyeagleswith are and hunted monkeys; whenthey die,they receivea proper The fact burial. thatolder men and women become shamans adopting'jaguarsons' providesa further by illustration the widespread of in phenomenon adoption,albeitsymbolic this of latter case. As already a mentioned, spearhunting, sporadic, collective, noisyand bloody is affair, opposed to blowgun hunting.In fact,huntingwith spearsis called thereis no space here to elaborate the on 'killing'(tapaca huenonani). Although assimilation spearhunting warfare Rival 1992: ch. 2), it is important of to to (see thatspears made of B. gasipaes Froma myth are for wood. pointout accounting we beforethey the twinoriginof veryhardwood and deadlyspears, learnthat, were made awareof theexistence B. gasipaes of palmsby theson of thesun,the



but Huaoraniusedbalsawood to maketheir spears, theseweretoo bluntand soft the existto kill. Consequently defenceless, Huaoraniwere leadinga miserable of 'cannibals' enemies. and This myth ence at themercy powerful clearly presents for of ethnic B. gasipaes spears essential themaintenance a separate as identity and of thecontinuity huaomoni groups. Manihot esculenta: thefragility growth social offast and expansion I suggested the beginning thisarticlethatthe Huaorani have a huntingof at gatheringperspective on the forestwhich they experience as a 'giving of environment'. concernin thissectionis to show thatthe continuity B. My and thesymbiotic relations whichit is based,can bestexplain on gasipaes groves, in and theirdisengagement fromcontinuous theirconfidence the forest gardening.19 Althoughnot primarily horticulturists, do grow Manihot they esculenta of that (sweetmanioc),and it is to thespecific meanings thisgardening activity I wish to turnnow. I will first detail the particularities Huaorani resource of management, then outlinetheirgardening practices, and finally analyseritual in of It that drinking parties terms growth symbolism. is mycontention resource and are management, gardening ceremonial drinking all organized according to slow More explicitly, the same cultural logic contrasting and fast growth. sweet with 0. lagopus, both are characterized fast, maniocis identified for by non-reelucidatesthe Huaorani'sreluctance to productive growth.This identification of with garden(unusualin Amazonia),as well as theirassociation horticulture warfare. We already know thatHuaoranipeople spenda great timecruispartof their the ing through forest, sometimes collecting food withina radiusof 5 km - or less- from longhouse, the sometimes goingas far 20 km away.Forest as trips are and considered successful productive long as thenecessary as are jungle products back. A tripin the forest often meansspending more timein the trees brought A thanon theground. wide rangeoffruit as speciesare collected, well as germinated seeds, a relished food, dug from beneath certain trees. Many semi-cultivated speciesare 'grownin thewild' so as to alwaysbe at handduring for vinesalongcreeks, fruit treesalongcertain expeditions: example, fish-poison hunting trails and bananaand plantain treesin natural clearings used as hunting bases. a In relation horticulturist to standards, Huaoranigardening requires minimum elaboration and no magical input of human labour,verylittletechnological are knowledge.Despite the factthatgardening techniques verybasic,with no and a minimum numberof treesfelled,gardening, burning 'doing something in tiresome thebush',is saidto require lot ofwork,and as mucheffort pain a and as transporting of heavyloads.Beforetheincreasing availability metaltoolsfrom the 1930s on, forest were clearedwithstoneaxes and gardens cultivated patches and weeded withbamboo machetes. where Longhouseswere builton hilltops, are natural and easierto clear. gapsin theforest morefrequent gardens Gardensare essentially manioc grovesand thisis exactlywhat theirname, of differentiated meansin Huaorani.Varieties manioc are primarily quehuencori, of to of and sweetness therootsand rates growth, mostof according therelative the ones Huaorani cultivate produce edible roots in 4-6 months.Although



of transpeople know of wild varieties manioc,and claim thattheirforebears planted themto gardens when theyhad no accessto domesticated varieties, is it Nevertheclearthattheyhave also knownsweetmaniocfora verylong time.20 less, a numberof factors is suggestthatHuaorani horticulture incipientand the undeveloped.Firstly, theyknow only sweet manioc varieties, apparently and sweetest juiciestAmazonian varieties. The rootsare so sweetthatpeople eat themraw in the garden.Secondly, theydo not have the elaborate preparations known among experthorticulturists as the Shuar and the Quichua, or such manioc.Even today, maniocis amongthosewho, like theTukanos,growbitter boiled and crushed water,like boiled bananas- the Huaorani's in often simply Even when the mashis mixedwithsaliva,thebrew is not allowed stapledrink. to ferment a truealcoholicdrink. into have alwaysbeen comThirdly, gardens of small(15 m x 18 m) and hardly suffice the dailyconsumption for paratively households withschoolswheremaniocis most sedentary today.Even in villages cultivate and feed needed,onlyabout one third the conjugalfamilies of gardens thosewho do not,according thetypical to relationguest-host demand-sharing ship(Rival 1992: 172-89). All theseindications confirm thatthe Huaroni's use of cultivated manioc is and is aimedat providing rather sporadic thansubsistence food. Huaorani feast, can go formonths without manioc,and when theydo decide to cultivate it is it, withtheexplicit objectiveof organizing largedrinking a in ceremony which,in to contrast peach palm drinking to parties which only 'we-people' are invited, distant As relatives and alliesparticipate. a feast food artificially the re-creating seasonalabundanceof palm fruit the gift from previousgenerations manioc of can be used to challengethe segmentation Huaorani societyinto bounded huaomoni groups. Beforeelaborating point,it is necessary consider to the this briefly relationship The manioc and vegetalgrowthmore generally. between manioc gardening thatlives,thatis life'and theroot 'edible thing'.There plantis called'the thing is some evidence to suggest thatmanioc is understood havingpropagation as of habits similar Ochrorna to lagopus. Manioc, like balsa,takesadvantage the full the lightin canopygapsto growand mature fast. People favour wide dispersion of manioc,rather thanitsreproduction situ, habitsof birds in just as thefeeding in result thewide dispersal balsaseeds.This conceptualization propagation of of well whypeople hardly weed their and neveruse a plot more explains gardens - excepttodayin sedentarized thanonce villages. Weeding,and usingthe same for of a of whichis garden a number years, imply system agricultural production for to activities. Anotherpractice foreign the Huaorani preference extractive betweenmaniocand balsa.When bundlesof stalks are illustrates association the readyto be planted, theyare beatenwithlargebalsa leaves,a processaimed at the vitalizing stalks transferringthemthebalsa'sfast-growth by to energy, as just it we saw earlier was transferredyoungchildren. to Clearly then,maniocbelongs of to the category fast-growing, short-lived species. The factthatmanioc is treespropreferably plantedin the natural gapsleftby the fallof old emergent vides further evidence of the close association between manioc and balsa, for bothneed thesuddeninflux lightand new space in orderto develop.By the of



is esculenta contrasted with Bactris which can only same token,Manihot gasipaes growin theshade. Let us now turn theritual to preparation maniocrootsand to thesymbolism of ceremonies. Much ofwhatis saidherealso appliesto drinking ofdrinking parties in which palm fruit banana drinksare prepared, or with the difference that manioc drinking are and more ritualized. parties more formal The greater the numberof guests, larger plantation, the longerthe rootsare leftto the the and grow. The reasonforthisis quite obvious and pragmatic, the social and but of cultural implications thisincreasein scale are worthemphasizing. shown As below, sweet manioc, in additionto allowing for greatersocial integration, gratifies cultural a passionforabundanceand plenitude. The decisionto hold a is left manioc drinking ceremony usually to a married couple who become the and in feast' lead thecollective labourentailed itspreparation. The 'ownersofth-e inaniocis storedin a feast house builtby the couple's house-group. harvested The unpeeledrootsare gently barbecuedover embers, and, once the skinhas which the 'owners' are buriedin pitsforabout ten days,during been removed, of must followa specialdietand observe series restrictions. a They mustnotleave and eat onlyboiled thefeast house,whichno one else can enter. They mustrest ten manioc.Sexual intercourse expressly is forbidden. After days,when themain nioc smell'strong sweet',thepulpis scooped,mashed, and chewedand stored largecontainers. Th-etransformation undergone feast by maniocis quite explicitly described as a changefrom root to fruit. People say thatwhen it is extracted fromthe pit, manioc is 'as sweet as a fruit'. This is important, given thatall otherdrinking makeuse of fruit. The factthatthe couple whichorganizes drinking parties the is sometimes calledahuene, expression an whichliterally means'of the ceremony tree', lends further supportto the idea thatthislengthy transformation turns This term, maniocrootsintofruit. to normally used to refer thebig solitary trees
that are so admired, also means 'great person', 'leader', or 'chief, and is sometimes used to referto the heads of house-groups or huaomoni groups. The close association between trees,fruit and feastingis further evidenced by the fact that the guestsat a drinkingceremony compare themselvesto birds gathered on a big season. They sing all nightlong that: tree during the fruit
We human-s like birds,like themwe enjoy feasting the last drop, and then we leave. are to Each goes onicarrying theirown business.In thisway lived our grandfathers, so do out and we.

For my purpose here it is importantto emphasize the concrete experiences and practices of daily life, ratherthan the ritual knowledge associated with drinking. For this reason, I focus on people's excitement and pleasure at over-consuming fruit drinks'like birdson a fruiting tree', ratherthan elaborate the undeniably rich symbolismand imageryof the birds and fruitthemselves.Whatever the meaning of the metaphorsthey use, and whatever the deeper symbolic interpretation one for and foremost mightoffer such ritualexperience, drinkingceremonies are first the way people partake in the fruiting season. Above all, a feastis about presenas tingabundance as naturaland feast-goers pure consumers,verymuch like birds gorging on fruitin season.



of Botanists thattwo-thirds theworld'sflowering say plants foundonlyin are of thetropics, out oftheextraordinary and has diversity therainforest developed thecomplexweb ofrelationships betweenbirdpollinators flowering and plants.21 as Most plantsalso use birds,bats and monkeys seed dispersers (Collins 1990: 70-2). Huaoranipeople,withtheir sophisticated knowledgeof their forest environment, particularly animal and of feeding habits, onlyunderstand plant not that reproduction absolutely is dependenton animals, but also thatpollinators and seed dispersers their 'do job' by gorging themselves then dispersing all and in directions. Therefore, whatever else theydo when theyfeast, theyplaythepart of birdpollinators the fruit bowl after reproducing ahuene consuming drinks by bowl. Ifone acceptsthatahuene not onlya personor a couple,but a name is for the huaomoni group as a whole, it is easierto graspthe fullsignificance the of transformationmaniocrootsinto fruit, to measurethe contrasting of and social and outcomesofpalmfruit maniocdrinking ceremonies. While B. gasipaes of grovesare about the social continuity endogamousnexi centredaround pairsof inter-married brothers and sisters, manioc grovesare about social expansionand new marriage alliancesbeyondthe huaomoni limits. Gardensare synonymous with increased and multisociality, growingchildren plying households. They are associated withtimesof stability, peace and plenty, when 'enemy' house-groups meet forfeasts and marriages, when thereis and neither feuding, flight death.The termforhappiness 'anotherserving nor is of we maniocdrink laughhappily'. This indicates maniocis thespecialbasisfor that rejoicingwith potential affines. Such alliancesare perilousand need the strict control A and guidanceof strong leaders. good illustration thepolitical of nature of and dangerouscharacter manioc drinking is ceremonies the factthatmale with the 'enemy' mustjab fouror fivepalm wood guestswho come to feast their in the beforeentering feast spearsbearing personal designs a bananatrunk house. Such alliancescannotbe reproduced easilyas thosebetweenpairsof as and brothers sisters who marry theirchildren When commenting on together. the difficulty marrying of outsidethe huaomoni refer group,people occasionally to the factthatmanioc gardensdo not last. As a corollary, theyimplythat like do endogamous marriages, peach palmgroves, last. Manioc gardens onlyfortheduration a drinking last of new clearceremony, ings mustbe preparedand stalkscontinuously replanted. the clearings As are thannatural in the forest, as theyare abanand small,oftenbarelylarger gaps doned immediately the old following harvest, gardensare quicklyinvadedby and In the Ochroma lagopus other pioneertrees. lessthanthree years, metaphorical betweentheownersofthefeast a largefruiting betweenthe association and tree, feast and and betweenthegarden are participants birds, produceand fruit, made In real physically by the growthof secondary forest. one sense,manioc groves of facilitate growth balsawood and of thepioneertreestheyare designedto the on imitate. Peach palm groves, the otherhand,continueto yieldfruit, feedthe descendants thosebywhomthey of and the of exist, reproduce families monkeys. Gardens also attract but deerand largerodents, theseare animals, especially tapirs, not traditionally eaten.Therefore, unlikepeach palmgroves, do maniocgardens betweenpeople, animalsand plants.Morenot createa symbiotic relationship in them leaders be short-lived, violencecan strike can and over,trust ahuene just



the as thunder strikes largeemergent trees(iiene ahue)thatdestroy neighbouring treesin theirfalland leave large gaps in the forest canopy. This is why the Huaorani say thattimesof peace and growthare alwaysfollowedby timesof destruction near-extinction. ahuene and The give generously, their but proffered abundanceis not as reliableor as secureas the grandparents' seasonalyieldsof palmfruit. Conclusion In thisarticle have triedto show thatgrowth central Huaorani thought. I is to Like allAmazonianIndians, Huaoranilivein autonomous the local groups, hunt, for and garden.But to say thisis to say verylittle, thereare many fish, gather can and about. For example, waysin whichtheseactivities be organized thought dichotomize worldby opposingnatureto culture the manynativeAmazonians transform and their (see,forexample, Seeger1981). Theyphysically symbolically and humandwellings environment setting domesticated by spaces- gardens againstwild spaces. I have alreadymentionedthatamong the Shuar (Descola 1986) and the Quichua (Whitten1985), two Indian groupswhose agricultural has traders travellers centuries, who and for and production supplied missionaries, todayare in close contactwiththe Huaorani,gardening, more particularly and is manioc cultivation, a highly sophisticated as well as a complexsymbolic art, and practice.The Huaorani,in contrast, reluctant are gardeners, theirmanioc thandailyconsumption, plantations, grownforfeasting rather involveverylittle or Their peach palm groves,on physical symbolic transformationthe forest. of fromsymbiotic relations the otherhand,result perpetuated through consumption,and are not planted.Froma botanical pointof view (Clement1992: 70-1) sweet manioc and peach palm are domesticated of species,but neither themis cultivated theHuaorani.Domestication not traditionally by implies onlycontrol, plannedintervention transformation, and which all contradict Huaorani's the but ideal of natural abundance and of a 'givingenvironment', it also presupposes on whosegrowth muchfaster is relative humangrowth to and dependence plants maturation processes. In addition illuminating to Huaoraniresource management strategies, growth, of which is a property social lifeas much as a lifeprocess,also explainswhy kinship and social groupsundergoshortand long development cycles.While all this entailthat affects living forms growth obviously alike, does not necessarily in of nor humanprocesses conceptualized terms plantcategories, thatgrowth be to be used as a metaphor describesocial processes. Throughactiveand direct in engagement theworld,theHuaoraniknow (i.e. perceive)thattrees growand bemature different at distinction rates, and, on thisbasis,draw a fundamental that tweenlivingorganisms grow slowlyand perdureas groups, and thosethat but On thebasisof thisdistinction, developmental the growfast die off. process of peach palm groves,which grow and endureon a timescale commensurate thatof huaomoni with the passageof humangenerations, parallels groups.Emof the bodiments pasthumanactivity, thesegrovesreproduce through enduring As and thegrowth created endogamy feasting. their and relationships by growth form continuous interlinked a and Huaoranihistory and of local groups process, of thenatural coalesce. history Bactris gasipaes



This examination growth Huaoranithought practice of in and brings back me to my openingremarks. Given the wide rangeof evidenceupon which I have drawn,a questionmightremainabout the ontologicalstatusof growth:is its meaning conceptual, symbolic metaphorical? purposehereis notto debate or My thesymbolic of nature socialfacts, theinnateness symbols. or of More modestly, I simplywant to emphasizethatgrowthbelongsprimarily the domain of to practical knowledge, in Atran's or, words, commonsense'whichis responsible to forthe phenomenal givensthatpeople ordinarily apprehend'(1990: 252). Perand ceived,experienced conceptualized, is growth knowledgeabout theworld. As such,it is a non-mediated perceptual whichorders knowledge socialrelations betweenpeople, and betweenpeople and otherlivingorganisms. growth But is also symbolized even ritualized. and it Once formed conceptually, is interpreted and imagined, and thenrecastas, forexample,the vitalenergy communicated to or of sympathetically children, the complementarity hard and softwood. Evoked metaphorically during drinking it for of ceremonies, stands the ripening fruit becomesmaturation. and into Transformed an abstract vague property and thatcan be extracted fromthe organiccontextand appliedto the social order, growthbecomes more evocativeand symbolicthan conceptual,as when, for instance, the fast-growing highlyproductive and manioc gardensare used to foster new political alliances and exogamousmarriages. This kindof symbolism would lose all itspotency, if and did however, somefamilies some trees notgrow moreslowlythanothers.
NOTES Fieldworkamon-g Huaoraniwas carriedout betweenJanuary the 1989 and June 1990 and was supported the Wenner Gren FoundationforAnthropological by Research,with additionalfundat ing fromthe Linineanl Societyof London. This articleis based on a paper originally presented the an-thropology seminar the London School of Economics in November 1992. I should like at and criticisms, to thankthe participants theircontributions for especiallyH. Reid. I am very grateful M. Bloch, G.T. Prance,T. Ingold (who suggested titleforthisarticle), Moore to the H. and P. Riviere fortheirmanyhelpful suggestions. owe special thanksto HastingsDonnan and I for the anonymous readers theireditorial suggestions. Ultimateresponsibility the finalproduct for is, of course,mine. l This phrasegained popularity with the publicationof Bird-David's article(1990) in which and huntingpopulations'view theirenvironment giving' and that she arguesthatgathering as is and thatare 'theireconomic system characterised modes of distribution property by relations in as constructed termsof giving,as within- family, the rather than in termsof reciprocity, bekin' (1990: 189). tween2 'Food collectors', which conveyswell the undifferentiated food and mapattern obtaining of in terials the forest, term.The characterization people through of theirsubsistmightbe a better in en-ce Amazonianspeactivities led to difficult has terminological problems Amazonia,although cialists and swiddenhorticulturists. Most of usuallydefinethe people theywork with as hunters to Amazonian groups such as them,however,would be extremely reluctant considermarginal the Huaorani as 'hunter-gatherers', would say thatthe literature hunting-and-gathering on and societieshas no relevanceforAmazonia (Levi-Strauss 1968; Lathrap1973; Arcand 1981). I see theirpositionas a reactionto the deterministic evolutionary and biasesof the earlySouth American culturaltypologies(with, for example, the concept of culturaldevolution),and of some and hunter-gatherer studies.However, such a positionimpliestoo great a culturaluniformity of such variations betweengreatgardeners does not allow foran adequate understanding cultural as the Shuar,Canelos Quichuas, Napo Quichuas and Tukanos on the one hand,and much more such as the Huaorani,Cuiva, Sirionoor Maku on the other. mobile food collectors



marker). 4 One, possibly are theircompleteisolationby hiding,contwo, sub-groups stillprotecting tinuously moving and killingthose who tryto forcecontactupon them. Known as 'Aucas', a Quichua word meaning'savages',theyspeak a languagerelatedto Ssabela, a singleand unclassifiedlanguagewhich has wrongly been takenfora Zaparoan dialect (Rival 1992: 50-7). In the past, they borderedthe Zaparo on the south and southeast, but these were totallydecimated through enslavement and diseaseduringthe rubberboom (Whitten1978; Reeves 1988). When Zaparo survivors foundrefuge with montania Indians(Canelos Quichua and Shuar) at the beginning of the century, Huaorani expandedwithintheirabandoned territories. the Today, theyare who have gradually moved eastward, movesurrounded lowlandQuichua and whitesettlers by a men-t which has dramatically accelerated since the oil boom in the early1970s. to i There are a numberof Huaorani words to refer different species belongingto the Ochroma and Cecropia generi.Oine is calledgopocahue treethatcomes and goes); another, (the mdnimeIzue hiuelme (?); (youngtender tree). 6 The Huaorani never used balsa wood to make floats. and when they They avoided rivers, had to crossone, even with heavy bundles,theypreferred bend treeson each bank and tie to as themtogether an arch. 7 ClementarguesthatB. gasipaes the only domesticated is Americanpalm. He has identified at least ten land races ('the morphologically distinct races developed by humansin different geofruit graphical areas'),some of which show an increased weightof close to 5000%. On the basis he he of the substantial modifications has observedin certainvarieties, concludesthatB. gasipaes has beenmanagedand cultivated more than 12,000 years(Clement 1992: 75-6). for 8 Posey (1985; 1988), who has worked extensively with the Kayapos of CentralBrazil, has sinimlar to For him,it is clear thatthe Kayapos do notjust adapt to ecologicalinformation report. theirn-atural but en-viron-ment, makeit; for example,theycreate and maintainforest patchesin savainina en-viroins. the basis of suchl findings, suggests On he that humanintervention (through anid/or resource conlscious planiniiiig unintentional management) mightbe held responsible the for of bewildering ecologicaldiversity the Amazon rainforest. 9 This termis a combination tei(hard)and ahue.It is clear fromthe Huaorani lexicon that of the termahue (wood/tree)is polysemic, and that its core meaningis 'wood'. On the basis of ample semanticand lexical evidence,Witkowskiet al. (1981) have argued that the concept of wood has developed prior to the concept of tree, and that it is only recentlythat 'tree' has become a category itselfAtran(1990: 278) has criticized in theirview, and has asserted thatsize (treesare tallerthan human adults),not woodiness,is the determinant feature the life-form of 'tree'. It seems to me thatHuaorani thoughtprivileges wood, albeit for different reasonsfrom thoseput forward Witkowskiet al. First, as by growthis identified a similar processin treesand which are differentiated the basis of longevity. on features of human-s, Second, the significant slow palm trees- theirhard wood and abundantfruit is attributed theircomparatively to growth. 10 A man who avoids eatingcertain meatsin connexionwith a woman's pregnancy acknowand ledges his fatherhood makesit public. Taboos on certainmeat are said to protectthe foetus fromdiarrhoea, or the infant thatis, fromliquefaction, therefore or securingthe strengthening 'hardening' the body. of 11 See Chaumeil (1988) foran insightful discussion shamans'anthropomorphic of visualization of vitalenergy.Chaumeil arguesthatthe notion of power in Amazonia is closelylinked to the to capacity controlenergy. 12 This is a complex emotion,a mixture rage, hatredand bravery. men, it is a sign of of In moralstrength determination. and 13 White clay, dai, is said to be depositedin shallow creeksby the rainbow,daime.It is an essential element.Women make clay pots with it for boiling meat - the staplefood - and, in timesof war, it is mixed with waterand drunkas a substitute food. The clay coatingtherefor forerecallsdomesticity (claypotsand cooking)and survival (the runaway's drink). 1 Specialists thatB. gasipaes cannot survivelong after disagreeon thispoint. Clement thinks abanidoned beinig (1992: 75). 15 Descola (1986: 92) notes thatthe Achuar,who base theircalendaron the positionof stars and welcome the peach palm fruiting season as a time of abundance,do not seem to grantthis

3 Adjectivalformderivedfromthe substantive huao (person,human being) and -rani(plural



fruit any particular symbolic importance. The Shuar,however,celebratethe return the peach of palm fruiting season everyyear with elaboratefertility rituals, around which theircalendar is structured. 16A fluff used as waddingand feather, kapok eases the passageof darts along the groovedstave of blowpipes. Interestingly, kapok is produced in large quantities the largestemergent by tree, Ceibapetranda. 17 For ceremonies, drinks prepared extracting seeds,poundingthe fleshand mixing are by the it withwater.They are not allowed to ferment into alcohol. 18 Only these threetypesof animalswere huntedwith any regularity, older people still and expressa great aversionfor game widely hunted by most Amazonian people, such as tapirs, agoutisor capihuaras. AlthoughHuaorani do not seem to resenteatingimportedfood such as rice,sugaror oats,and even drinkcoffee, theywould nevertouch beef,porkor even tapirmeat. 19The contrast drawnby Ingold (1993a) and Bodenhorn(1989) between trust and confidence does not applyin thiscontextbecause the Huaorani do not conceptualizenaturalabundanceas the outcome of moral relations among people, or betweenpeople and animals.They emphasize both theirskillsand knowledge,and the work, skillsand knowledgeof past generations, rather and game. Moreover,theiremphasison past generations thana moralcontract between hunters is devoid of any idea of ancestral sanction(Bird-David1990). 20 Accordingto Lathrap(1973), manioc was domesticated between 5000 and 7000 BC in the Amazon Basin. It is the mostimportant food plantof the tropics. 21 The rainforests Ecuador are particularly of of known fortheirlargenumbers bird-pollinated plants(Professor Prance,Directorof the Royal BotanicalGardens, personalcommunication).


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Croissance des arbres, croissance des familles,et perceptions huaorani de la foret

traite la facondontun groupede l'Amazonieequatorienne, Huaorani,concoivent de Cet article les les relations socialeset la croissance vegetalecomme des faits naturesimilaires. Huaorani de Les deux processus croissance de maturation partir de et distinguent a desquelsles especesvegetales sontclassifiees lesloissocialescategorisees. passages et Les successifs la paix a la guerre de (entrainant et chaque foisune chutedemographique brutale), de la guerre la paix,sontegalement a expliques de a partir ces deux processus. la base de donneesethnographiques, Sur l'auteurremet question en la visiondualiste la relation de selonlaquellela nature la Nature-Societe serait sourcede represenA tations servant decrire phenomenes symboliques les sociaux.


Department ofSocialAnthropology, School London ofEconomics, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.