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Accepted Paper:

Indigenous strategies of reverse-silencing in the Guianas  
Matthias Lewy (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to show different qualities of silence and the related strategies of reverse-silencing in the indigenous communities of the Guianas.

Paper long abstract:

Different forms of silencing can be noted for the indigenous people in the Guianas over the last decades. One of the main qualities of silencing is the loss of animal sounds. These sounds are signs that often refer to non-human entities inside the different layers of the multiverse. In particular, game animals have left their ancestral territories.

It is often argued that this loss is due to the lack of trans-specific communication between pia'san (shaman) and/or ipukenak (wise person) and these non-human entities. This is directly related to the penetration of Christian missionaries and non-indigenous residents over the last 80 years and the associated economic transformation. Furthermore, the illegal invasions of indigenous territories by non-indigenous miners is of particular importance. This is most evident in Venezuela, where the indigenous territory has been even militarized by the state. The increasing impoverishment and the loss of economic security have resulted in a return to indigenous production methods (horticulture), requiring a re-stabilization of relationships with non-human entities. The lack of specialists in this context has brought about a collectivization of well-known sound-defined rituals. In addition to the interaction with the animal world, these forms of reverse-silencing have also reactivated transcendent communication with the plant world, such as interaction with the human interiority of the yucca plant.

Besides these examples, other strategies of reverse-silencing will be demonstrated, aiming to reveal ontological relations which have to be understood as a base for reverse-silencing strategies in indigenous and non-indigenous worlds.

Panel Exti08a
Perceiving Silencing and Strategies of Reverse Silencing I
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -