The Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco: Identity and Economy

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U of Nebraska Press, 2002 - Social Science - 305 pages
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Some forty thousand Native people live in the vast region of the Chaco in western Paraguay. They belong to five linguistic families and thirteen ethnic groups but share a common sense of ethnic identity founded on enduring values of reciprocity and equality. At the same time the Indians of the Chaco are one of the poorest groups in Paraguay, situated on the margins of the global economic system.

Based on extensive fieldwork and ongoing contact with local indigenous organizations in Paraguay, John Renshaw presents an overview of contemporary Indian life in the Paraguayan Chaco. He describes the subsistence and market economies, household and kinship systems, political organization, and the challenges of economic development. Renshaw also examines the experiences of indigenous organizations and the impact of development projects and considers whether it is possible to envisage a program of social and economic development that would respect and strengthen the Indians' sense of identity.

  

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Contents

The Environment and Population of
31
The Subsistence Economy
63
Agriculture and Livestock
89
The Market Economy
115
Net fishing in the Pilcomayo
151
Equality Natural Resources and Concepts
157
Household and Kin
183
The Community and Political Leadership
221
Conclusion
259
Notes
275
Index
291
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About the author (2002)

John Renshaw is an independent social anthropologist who works for the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

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