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xiii Acknowledgments Many institutions and people have played a part in the production of this book. My initial research in the Upper Orinoco was funded by FONACIT (Fundación Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) in Venezuela through its agreement with the Cambridge Overseas Trust. Support from CAICET (Centro Amazónico de Investigación y Control de Enfermedades Tropicales), a tropical disease research center in the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Amazonas, was key to facilitating my entry in the field, as was the continuous support of all their technical and research staff throughout my stay in Amazonas. I wish specifically to thank Nestor Villamizar, José Cortez, Carlos Botto, and Magda Magris. I also found the hospitality and patience of all the doctors working in the Upper Orinoco Health District invaluable. From 2004 until the end of 2006, I worked on different projects for the Ministry of Health, all of them in Amazonas. My last two years were specifically dedicated to the Yanomami Health Plan, aimed at expanding and improving the network of health services among the Yanomami. During this period, the unwavering support of then-Minister of Health Francisco Armada, the newly created Indigenous Health Bureau of the MoH, and, again, CAICET was fundamental in teaming people, efforts, and resources for the improvement of the health system in Yanomami land. The friendship and dedication of colleagues such as Noly Fernandez, Aime Tillet, Javier Carrera, Maria Teresa Quispe, Johanna Gonçalves, Douglas Perdomo, America Perdomo, Carlos Botto, Alejandro Reig, and German Freire were instrumental in achieving the improvements, however meager, xiv • Acknowledgments we could manage at that time in Yanomami healthcare. It has been a great pleasure to work with them all. After leaving Amazonas in late 2006, I spent seven months in Paris under the kind auspices of the EREA/CRNS (Centre Enseignement et Recherche en Ethnologie Amérindienne), a crucial period that allowed me to plunge back into some of the academic issues I had left behind when working as a public servant in the Ministry of Health. This great opportunity I owe to Anne-Christine Taylor and Jean Pierre and Bonnie Chaumeil. It was only in mid-2007 that I decided to embark on a writing project based on my doctoral dissertation and supplemented with my work experience in the MoH. This effort was only possible with the generous support of the Wenner Gren Foundation’s Hunt Fellowship. The almost two years I spent at the Museu Nacional at the UFRJ (Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro) were most enjoyable and stimulating, and here I wish to thank teachers and colleagues who either read parts of my text or commented and provided ideas on so many formal and informal occasions. I am very much indebted to Aparecida Vilaça, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Marcio Goldman, Tania Stolzte, and Carlos Fausto. During this period and after in Brazil, the special friendship of Bruno Marquez, Indira Caballero, Bia Matos, Edgar Bolívar, Virna Plastino, and Nicolas Viotti made life and work all the happier. As it turns out LéviStrauss ’s CFM was vu déjà unbeknownst. In 1998 I arrived at Cambridge as an electronic engineer wanting to do a master’s degree in social anthropology—a subject of which I knew nothing. Here I was fortunate to be supervised by Stephen Hugh-Jones to whom I owe most of what I know about anthropology, about writing, and about teaching. I hope this book serves as a decent testament to his steadfast and generous guidance through thick and thin during and after official student-hood. I am also greatly indebted to Eduardo Viveiros de Castro for his continuous support and stimulus over the years. From him and from Steve, I have learned much about Amazonian Indians, peoples for whom we share a common passion. Both my parents, John and Magalí, were not only unwaveringly supportive of my work in the field and after, but they also contributed to this book in specific ways. My mom helped with the transcription of many of the interviews done in Spanish, and my dad read through a first final draft, making many editorial and grammatical suggestions that substantially improved the quality of the manuscript. I dedicate this book to them. Acknowledgments • xv At the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) my colleagues Marnio Texeira-Pinto, Miriam Hartung, Evelyn Schuler, Alfredo Zea, Gabriel Barbosa, Jeremy Detourch, Scott Head, and Vania Cardoso have been essential in keeping me going. I also specially thank the...


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