Performing Dreams: Discourses of Immortality Among the Xavante of Central Brazil
Over several centuries, the Xavante of Central Brazil have maintained an invincible sense of identity and feeling of control over historical processes, despite repeated invasions by colonists and settlers, capitalist commercial ventures, and most recently, an enormous government-sponsored agricultural project. In this discourse-centered study, Laura Graham explores how the Xavante use the ritual performance of myths and dreams to maintain their culture despite these disruptive forces. At the heart of the book is an extraordinary performance, in which a community elder tells his dream of an encounter with the creators. Graham analyzes the various components of his performance--narrative, myth-telling, song, and dance--and considers the entire community's participation in the preparations, rehearsal, and public performance of the dream, including their adaption to her presence and modern technologies. From this analysis, Graham demonstrates how the practice of myth-telling is an essential element in cultural continuity and the creation of social memory and how it also provides a kind of immortality for the myth-teller. Her findings will be of interest not only to students of South American cultures and linguistics but also to everyone intrigued by the role of myth and dreams in social life and social change.
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acoustic age grade age-set Agostim ahata Ai?rere ancestors babacu bachelors Barra do Garcas began body paint Brasilia Brazilian buriti central plaza ceremonial CipassÚ community’s continue created da-dzarono da-no?re da-praba dance Daru descendants discourse discursive practices discussion dream narrative dream performance dreamed songs elders EtÚpa Etﬁpa example experience expressive faction ﬁgures ﬁnal ﬁrst creators ﬁrst-person forever formal FUNAI gathered hedza hoimana?u?6 I-hi immortal creators in-laws individual individual’s initiation jabiru Kaingang Kuluene listen living Lopes da Silva male Marcos Matinha Maybury-Lewis men’s council moiety move myth telling novitiates ofﬁcials participants pattern phrases Pimentel Barbosa pitch political pre-initiate ranchers relationship represent reserves rice Rio das Mortes Riridu ritai?wa senior sharing Sibupa signiﬁcant singing social society song sound speak speaker sponsors Supto tape recorder tion utterances vante village voices wamari wapte ward Warodi Warodi’s dream women Xavante communities Xavante leaders Xavante’s Xerente Xokleng young youths