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The Life and Times of Grandfather Alonso: Culture and History in the Upper Amazonby Blanca Muratorio
Synopses & Reviews
In Blanca Muratorio's book, we are introduced to Rucuyaya Alonso, an elderly Quichua Indian of the Upper Ecuadorean Amazon. Alonso is a hunter, but like most Quichuas, he has done other work as well, bearing loads, panning gold, tapping rubber trees, and working for Shell Oil. He tells of his work, his hunting, his marriage, his fights, his fears, and his dreams. His story covers about a century because he incorporates the oral tradition of his father and grandfather along with his own memories. Through his life story, we learn about the social and economic life of that region.
Chapters of Alonso's life history and oral tradition alternate with chapters detailing the history of the world around him--the domination of missionaries, the white settlers' expropriation of land, the debt system workers were subjected to, the rubber boom, the world-wide crisis of the 1930s, and the booms and busts of the international oil market. Muratorio explains the larger social, economic, and ideological bases of white domination over native peoples in Amazonia. She shows how through everyday actions and thoughts, the Quichua Indians resisted attacks against their social identity, their ethnic dignity, and their symbolic systems. They were far from submissive, as they have often been portrayed.
Blanca Muratorio introduces us to Rucuyaya Alonso, a Quichua elder from the Upper Ecuadorian Amazon. Grandfather Alonso's story spans a century, as his narrative incoporates oral tradition learned from both his father and grandfather. The book alternates between chapters of Alonso's life history, and chapters analyzing the history of the world around him--the domination of the missionaries and the state, the white settlers' expropriation of land, the debt-peonage system during the rubber boom, the world-wide crisis of the 1930s, and the booms and busts of the iternational oil market.Muratorio explains the larger social, economic, and ideological bases of white domination over native peoples in Amazonia. Her analysis of Quichua culture shows how through everyday practices of accommodation and resistance, and through expressions of humor, irony, and anger, the Quichua Indians were able to protect their cultural identity, their ethnic dignity, and their symbolic systems against the hegemonic forces of a white-dominated world.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 269-281) and index.
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology