Shamans of the Foye Tree
Gender, Power, and Healing among Chilean Mapuche
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Texas Press
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The support of various institutions, friends, and colleagues made this work possible. I conceived this project during a Harvard Women’s Studies in Religion Fellowship in 1998–1999. I am thankful to Ann Braude, director of the program, for her backing and encouragement and for the insightful comments by Fellows that year: Janet Gallagher, Eveline Good- ...
CHAPTER 1. Introduction: The Gendered Realm of the Foye Tree
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Since 1991, when I first began working with Mapuche shamans in the Bio-B�o, Araucan�a, and Los Lagos regions of southern Chile, I have been intrigued by the myriad meanings of the foye tree, also known as canelo (Drimys winteri), and its connection with the many gendered dimensions of shamanic powers, identities, and practices (Figs. 1.1 and 1.2). Foye trees are sacred trees of life that connect the natural, human, and spirit worlds ...
CHAPTER 2. The Ambiguous Powers of Machi: Illness, Awingkamiento, and the Modernization of Witchcraft
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“That place is charged with witchcraft,” Machi Pamela said as I drove her through the lush green countryside to the lakeside tourist town of Rukalikan, where the paved road ended. It was February 1995, and we were on our way to the home of Segundo and his family, whom Pamela believed had been hexed by a kalku, or witch. “The old kalku from the top ...
CHAPTER 3. Gendered Rituals for Cosmic Order: Shamanic Struggles for Wholeness
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The struggle for wholeness—the melding of all the world’s experience and knowledge—is central to the practice of machi in Chile today. Mapuche people, marginalized by the Chilean state socially, economically, and politically, link individual and social order with cosmological order. Both social and cosmological relations affect individual health and illness. A ...
CHAPTER 4. Ritual Gendered Relationships: Kinship, Marriage, Mastery, and Machi Modes of Personhood
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Kinship, marriage, and mastery—the closest and most durable gendered social relationships among Mapuche—are used by machi in ritual to create bonds with the spirit and animal world. Machi are individual women and men in their everyday lives, but in ritual contexts their sex and age become secondary as they engage in various relational personhoods that ...
CHAPTER 5. The Struggle for Machi Masculinity: Colonial Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Power
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One long winter evening in August 1629, in a hamlet headed by Longko Maulican south of the Bio-Bío River in Chile, a machi weye, or male shaman, healed a bewitched native boy with the help of ancestral spirits and a foye tree. Longko Maulican’s slave, Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñán, a twenty-two-year-old of Spanish descent, born in Chile, watched ...
CHAPTER 6. Machi as Gendered Symbols of Tradition: National Discourses and Mapuche Resistance Movements
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Machi Mar�a �ngela smiled straight at the camera and beat on her shamanic drum as she posed for photographers beside Chilean president Eduardo Frei at the presidential palace on August 5, 1999. She wore the festive garb of Mapuche machi: heavy silver jewelry, a black wool shawl, a blue apron with lace, and multicolored hair ribbons tied in a rosette on her ...
CHAPTER 7. The Responses of Male Machi to Homophobia: Reinvention as Priests, Doctors, and Spiritual Warriors
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Eugenio and Daniel—both longko of their respective communities—drank a carton of Gato Negro wine as they mused about my research on male machi one summer evening in December 2001. The two drew on Chilean homophobic discourses to joke about the manliness, gender performances, and sexuality of male machi. They applied to male machi ...
CHAPTER 8. Female Machi: Embodying Tradition or Contesting Gender Norms?
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Most machi in Chile today are women, and Mapuche use the Spanish feminine article la in conjunction with the word machi. Some Mapuche argue that machi are predominantly women because “women stay at home and follow Mapuche ways more than men.” Others stress that women are more accepting of their calling. According to Machi Ana’s ...
CHAPTER 9. Representing the Gendered Identities of Machi: Paradoxes and Conflicts
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Machi Abel was acutely aware of the power that Chilean majority discourses hold over machi’s gender identities and sexualities. He argued that Chilean national discourses used the labels “homosexual” and “witch” as political tools to denigrate machi and Mapuche and to mold them to the gendered expectations of the Catholic state. He pointed to the unequal ...
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Page Count: 335
Illustrations: 31 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2007