Record Details

Santos, R. V.;Flowers, N. M.;Coimbra, C. E. A.;Gugelmin, S. A.
Tapirs, tractors, and tapes: The changing economy and ecology of the Xavante Indians of central Brazil
Human Ecology
Journal Article
south american indians brazil amazonia development human ecology land use xavante agriculture land use nutrition south-america politics Tapir Bibliography
This paper explores the process of change in a Brazilian indigenous community, relating it to historical, economical, and political forces at the regional and national levels, as well as to environmental variables. In the light of current fieldwork, we examine the predictions of a model constructed 20 years ago based on fieldwork in this and three other Indian communities of Central Brazil by Daniel Gross and collaborators. This model ascribed involvement in the marker economy of small-scale communities primarily to land circumscription and resulting environmental degradation, increasing the labor cost of subsistence food production. We find that in the case of the Xavante community entry into the market was more the result of a top-down government plan to implement mechanized rice production on Xavante reservations. With the collapse of the project the Xavante have, on the one hand, returned to a more "traditional" economy based on hunting gathering and swidden agriculture and, on the other hand, are innovating by marketing their cultural image through connections with national and international environmentalist organizations.
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