This article examines how sociological totemism mediates the co-existence of animism and an emerging naturalism among the Makushi in Surama Village (Guyana) within contexts of interactions with outsiders. Since the 1830s, such contexts have varied from missionization to eco-tourism, which Surama developed in the 1990s and which has since significantly increased. Eco-tourism currently facilitates access to employment, goods, outside knowledge, and international allies in Surama. In the present, villagers seek to fête and propitiate the leaders of outside groups and organizations to ensure the continued provision of these desiderata. Such practices are linked to shamanic relations with the ‘masters’ or ‘owners’ of animals, plants, and other aspects of the landscape. This article argues that these notions of mastery and ownership produce totemic homologies when applied to the intra-social relations of outsiders in Surama. The resulting homologies facilitate the emergence of a nascent naturalism that indicates ongoing ontological transformation in Surama.
Ontological Transformation among the Makushi
James Andrew Whitaker
Ryan Goeckner, Sean M. Daley, Jordyn Gunville, and Christine M. Daley
. Robert M. Emerson , 335 – 352 . Long Grove, IL : Waveland Press . Cheyenne River Reservation . 2015 . “ A Snapshot of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation: Income and Employment .” https://web.archive.org/web/20170817133620/http