The indigenous people of the Amazon Basin known as the Huaorani are one of the world's most intriguing peoples. The community of just under four thousand in Ecuador has been known to the public
primarily for their historical identity as a violent society. But Laura Rival reveals the Huaorani in all their humanity and creativity through a longitudinal ethnography, bringing a deeper
perspective beyond the stereotype.
A fascinating and provocative study of one of the world's most intriguing native groups.
—Beth A. Conklin, author of Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society
Reflecting on both the transformations of history and anthropological theory, Laura Rival adroitly reveals the underlying connections between Huaorani interactions with the rainforest, relations with neighboring societies, and responses to the conservationists and oil companies wrestling over their territory.
—Stuart Kirsch, author of Mining Capitalism: The Relationship Between Corporations and Their Critics
Rival uses the Huaorani case to discuss the developments in cultural anthropology since the mid-20th century, and places her analysis within several anthropological debates.
Rival's intimate knowledge of Huaorani culture spans twenty-five years. Here in a collection of broad-ranging essays, she offers a fascinating and
provocative study. The first section, "Among Forest Beings," shows that the Huaorani have long adapted to life in the tropical rain forest with minimal reliance on horticulture, yet have developed a
complex relationship with plants. In "In the Longhouse," the second section, Rival focuses on the intimate relations that create human persons and enact kinship relations. She also discusses women's
lives and perspectives. The third section, "In the Midst of Enemies," considers how Huaorani society fits in larger political and economic contexts, illustrating how native values shape their
encounters with oil companies, the state, and other external forces. Rival carefully analyzes insider/outsider dialectics wherein Huaorani people re-create meaningful and valued worlds in the face of
alien projects, such as petroleum development, carbon trading, or intercultural education.
Capitalizing on the author's decades-long study and interactions in the community, Huaorani
Transformations in Twenty-First-Century Ecuador brings new insights to the Huaorani's unique way of relating to humans, to other-than-humans, and to the forest landscape they have inhabited for