[Marxism] I hear from Survival International

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 26 09:39:15 MST 2013

director at survivalinternational.org

URL 	http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/8997

Comment 	Survival International has compiled a list of materials from 
experts, anthropologists and the Yanomami themselves on the Chagnon 
debate, and how Chagnon's work has been disastrous for the tribe. Visit 
http://www.survivalinternational.org//articles/3272 for statements from 
Davi Yanomami, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Philippe Descola and Manuela 
Carneiro, and an open letter signed by over a dozen anthropologists who 
have worked for years with the Yanomami. They 'disagree with Napoleon 
Chagnon's public characterisation of the Yanomami as a fierce, violent 
and archaic people. [and] deplore how Chagnon's work has been used 
throughout the years - and could still be used - by governments to deny 
the Yanomami their land and cultural rights.'


There's a certain closing of the circle in receiving this communication 
on my blog.

Back in 1996 I stumbled across a glossy magazine called "Living Marxism" 
at a bookstore near Columbia University. Most of it seemed innocuous 
enough if a bit quirky.

But what really got under my skin was an article that blasted Survival 
International for trying to "preserve the Yanomami in amber" like one of 
those dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. What little I knew 
about Survival at the time was its advocacy of the right of Indians to 
determine their own destiny, including the right to have access to 
shotguns, steel axes, outboard motors, or whatever helped guarantee 
their survival. The issue was not being preserved like a fossil but 
being protected against the onslaught of gold miners, ranchers and 
timber companies.

This was my first exposure to the problems that Marxism had with 
indigenous peoples and a search for another approach that led me to 
become engaged with Mariatequi's writings. All of this is recorded here:


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