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Radical Territories in the Brazilian Amazon
The Kayapó's Fight for Just Livelihoods
By Laura Zanotti
280 pp. / 6.12 x 9.25 / 2016
Cloth (978-0-8165-3354-1) [s]
  - Native Peoples of the Americas

Related Interest
  - Anthropology
  - Indigenous and Native American Studies
  - Latin American Studies

Indigenous groups are facing unprecedented global challenges in this time of unparalleled environmental and geopolitical change, a time that has intensified human rights concerns and called for
A very important contribution to the political ecology literature and indigenous Amazonian populations.

—José Martínez-Reyes, author of Moral Ecology of a Forest: The Nature Industry and Maya Post-Conservation

Zanotti provides a detailed and moving account of Kayapó courage and will in the face of what might seem overwhelming odds. She intersperses her experiences and impressions with historical chronicles and relevant theories. Valuable to aid workers, development agents, and anyone interested in South American Indigenous peoples.


Zanotti effortlessly weaves theoretical contributions into rich ethnographic description, carrying the reader into the center of the village ceremony, the forest nut grove, the sweet potato field, and the network of paths surrounding the scientific research station.

—Juliet Erazo, author of Construyendo la Autonomía: Organizaciones Indígenas, Gobierno y Uso de la Tierra en la Región Amazónica del Ecuador, 1964–2001

political and economic restructuring. Within this landscape of struggle, the Kayapó, an indigenous nation in the central Brazilian Amazon, emerge as leaders in the fight.

Radical Territories in the Brazilian Amazon sheds light on the creative and groundbreaking efforts Kayapó peoples deploy to protect their lands and livelihoods. Now at the front lines of cultivating diversified strategies for resistance, the Kayapó are creating a powerful activist base, experimenting with non-timber forest projects, and forging strong community-conservation partnerships. Tracing the complex politics of the Kayapó's homeland, Laura Zanotti advances approaches to understanding how indigenous peoples cultivate self-determination strategies in conflict-ridden landscapes.

Kayapó peoples are providing a countervision of what Amazonia can look like in the twenty-first century—neither dominated by agro-industrial interests nor by protected, uninhabited landscapes. Instead, Kayapó peoples see their homeland as a living landscape where indigenous vision engages with broader claims for conservation and development in the region.

Weaving together anthropological and ethnographic research with personal interactions with the Kayapó, Zanotti tells the story of activism and justice in the Brazilian Amazon, and how Kayapó communities are using diverse pathways to make a sustainable future for their peoples and lands. The author interweaves Kayapó perspectives with a political ecology framework to show how working with indigenous peoples is vital to addressing national and global challenges in the present time, when many environmentally significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities.

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