Queer Natives in Latin America: Forbidden Chapters of Colonial History [1st ed.] 9783030591328, 9783030591335

This book defies long standing assumptions about indigenous societies in the Americas and shows that non-heteronormative

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Queer Natives in Latin America: Forbidden Chapters of Colonial History [1st ed.]
 9783030591328, 9783030591335

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-vii
Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives” (Fabiano S. Gontijo, Barbara M. Arisi, Estêvão R. Fernandes)....Pages 1-8
Mesoamerica (Fabiano S. Gontijo, Barbara M. Arisi, Estêvão R. Fernandes)....Pages 9-23
The Andes (Fabiano S. Gontijo, Barbara M. Arisi, Estêvão R. Fernandes)....Pages 25-33
The Amazon (Fabiano S. Gontijo, Barbara M. Arisi, Estêvão R. Fernandes)....Pages 35-61
Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today? (Fabiano S. Gontijo, Barbara M. Arisi, Estêvão R. Fernandes)....Pages 63-73
Back Matter ....Pages 75-80

Citation preview

Fabiano S. Gontijo Barbara M. Arisi Estêvão R. Fernandes

Queer Natives in Latin America

Forbidden Chapters of Colonial History

Queer Natives in Latin America

Fabiano S. Gontijo • Barbara M. Arisi Estêvão R. Fernandes

Queer Natives in Latin America Forbidden Chapters of Colonial History

Fabiano S. Gontijo Graduate Program in Anthropology (PPGA) Federal University of Pará (UFPA) Belém, Pará, Brazil Estêvão R. Fernandes Department of Social Sciences (DCS) Federal University of Rondônia (UNIR) Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil

Barbara M. Arisi Programa de Pós-Graduação Interdisciplinar em Ciências Humanas Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina Santa Catarina, Brazil Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISBN 978-3-030-59132-8    ISBN 978-3-030-59133-5 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5 © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


This book was written in the hope that the native people’s non-hetero-normative sexualities become less taboo. We hope to contribute to make the lives of LGBTQI2+ indigenous people easier and nicer. We wish that “Queer Natives in Latin America” can be an inspiring book that will encourage other researchers, indigenous scientists, in particular, and queer people, in general, to write more about the topic. We hope to support indigenous queer people to be whomever they choose to be and to enjoy the freedom to live “out of the closet” and to be proud of who they are and who they want to be. We intend to show in this book that indigenous people who are considered lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, two-spirit or any other letter from this rainbow’s wonderful “letter soup” (as the Brazilian expression calls the acronym LGBTQI2+) have a tradition of “native queers” that existed in indigenous culture before the arrival of the European occupation and colonization. Some indigenous people were (what we now might call) “gay”, “lesbian” or “trans” before the arrival of Columbus and all other Europeans. We hope that based on our historical and anthropological data, indigenous people who have relationships with people from their same sex or who like to cross-­ dress (as men or women) are not going to be labelled as “indigenous who are becoming white” just because they are not hetero-normative. We wish to have learned from academic people who call themselves “two spirits”, so that our book can be part of this “two-spirit” turn that fight for lesbian, gay, trans, queer, intersex, two-spirit people are accepted by their peers and by the nonindigenous societies and that they can live their lives respected in the choices they made for their own lives. Belém, Pará, Brazil  Fabiano S. Gontijo Amsterdam, The Netherlands   Barbara M. Arisi Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil   Estêvão R. Fernandes



  1 Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives” ��������������������������������������������    1 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    7   2 Mesoamerica��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    9 Invasion������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    9 Nahua Culture��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   11 Homosexual Copula in Rock Painting ������������������������������������������������������   15 Queers Deities and Transvestism ��������������������������������������������������������������   18 Muxe Sexual Fluidity��������������������������������������������������������������������������������   20 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   23   3 The Andes ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   25 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   33   4 The Amazon����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   35 A History of Shaping ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������   36 Colonization, Racialization, and Exploitation ������������������������������������������   45 Assimilation, Organization, and Resistance in Brazil�������������������������������   51 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   56   5 Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today? ������������������������������������������������������������������������   63 An Amazonian Indigenous Gay ����������������������������������������������������������������   65 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   72 Index������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   75


Chapter 1

Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”

Anthropology is the art and the science of studying human communities and human lives. We are the artists and the scientists that devote our time to live among people to try to grasp how diverse and amazing they are. Anthropology tries to open up the spectrum of the diversity of ways that human (and now also non-human) communities create, transform, dream, and experiment during this short time we spend on this planet being born, growing, and dying. We try to follow some footprints of some of our ancestor anthropologists to write in a way that we make familiar what is considered, at a first glance, as being totally different from the way we live. At the same time and with the same passion, we try to make familiar to us what looked as strange or as very different from us. And so we try to produce reflections on what makes us human, the senses of humanity, and how we can make the world better for all people, despite the effects of the multiple forms of colonialism and imperialism of the past and of capitalism and neoliberalism of the present, that is, of cultural globalization and persistent coloniality. The process of colonization, to which imperialism and capitalism were linked as marks of modernity, had as one of the most unshakable effects precisely the dehumanization of an enormous portion of the planet’s population. Or rather, colonization, as well as the corollary imperialism and capitalism, would not have acquired the necessary strength to impose themselves on the entire planet, exploit resources, and establish modernity if they had not supported themselves in the submission of people in the name of certain legitimator values of domination and submission, such as hierarchies by race, gender, and sex. From the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, culminating between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, powerful discourses developed in Europe, establishing truths about bodies and minds with the institutionalization of the modern biomedical sciences and morallegal disciplines (Foucault 1995, 1999). The knowledge then instituted have contributed to legitimizing the colonial and imperialist bourgeois expansionist projects by producing, naturalizing and justifying the hierarchies of race, gender, and sex which, until the present day, continue to essentialize, through bodies, the “metaphysics of difference” (Mbembe 2000) and the “colonial and imperialist © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 F. S. Gontijo et al., Queer Natives in Latin America, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5_1



1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”

difference” (Mignolo 2011)—that is, the particularism and the exceptionality of the human experiences of the immense area subjected to colonization and imperialism. This established European white and male bodies as authentic bearers of civilization, rationality, and hombrity1, while non-white bodies, such as Native Americans, as bestial, emotional, or feminine bodies, on which discipline of control and domestication should rest, thus granting their submission and/or enslavement, now on a “scientific-legal-moral.” The European values instituted by medical-scientific discursivity and legal-­ normative disciplines, as well as by religious beliefs camouflaged with scientificity, were universalized as the true values that all humanity should share. The bearers of these values, the European colonizers, thus became the promoters of civilization, imbued with a “civilizing mission.” This mission imposed a new model of government of people on a global level. Michel Foucault proposed that this model of government of the modern nation-states should be called governmentality, that is to say, “[…] the set of institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, calculations and tactics that make it possible to exercise a very specific form […] of power that is primarily aimed at the population, as knowledge the political economy, and as a technical instrument the security dispositive.” (2004a, pp. 111–112). In the modern era that begins with the colonization process, it is about the imposition of a type of power over all people, characterized by the control of bodies and territories through the use of control and disciplinary dispositives. Foucault called dispositive a heterogeneous group of things that encompass “[…] discourses, institutions, architectural organizations, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific enunciations, philosophical, moral, philanthropic propositions […]” (1998, p. 244) that may have as its strategic function the production of truths with powerful effects on bodies, thus becoming biopolitical dispositives. Biopolitical governmentality would thus be this peculiar government of bodies and minds instituted by European modernity which has expanded and infused itself across the planet as a missionary civilizing mission, with the persuasive force of colonial weapons and capitalist deterrence. Biopolitical governmentality is based on the production of truths about bodies— through medical-scientific discursivities—and truths about minds—through legal-­ normative disciplines, and truths about being in the world—through the scientific, legal, and religious moralities thus constituted. The truths about some bodies to which certain minds are tied are naturalized, considered from then on as “normal,” and aimed at the production and reproduction of governmentality, the state, national ideology, and the expansionist capitalist mode of production. “Naturally,” therefore, would be considered as “abnormal” and “abject,” as suggested by Judith Butler (1990, 1993), all the other forms of human expression, animalized and susceptible to submission of their bodies, exploitation of their resources, minimization of their thoughts, silencing of their voices and concealment of their existence, that is, erasure of their ontology and consequent enslavement.

 Hombridy comes from the Spanish term “hombredad”.


1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”


Some of the most powerful biopolitical dispositives are the racial and sexual taxonomies that have hierarchized (and still hierarchize) the bodies and minds at the service of the persistent colonial project. Although submission and even enslavement based on racial hierarchies predate European and Arab colonialism and ­imperialism (Trabelsi 2010, 2016), as are gender binarism and heteronormativity (Fausto-Sterling 2000), we can affirm, after reading Quijano (2000) and Foucault (1995, 2004b), that the biopolitical dispositives of governmentality established by European modernity have created and continue to create quite particular social relations of racial and sexual cleavages that particularize coloniality. In this way, for example, the image of nègre-biologique-sexuel-sensuel-et-génital was forged, in the words of Fanon (1952, p. 163), who would endorse the sexualization and erotization of Africa, as a powerful instrument of domination at the service of colonization (McClintok 1995). This instrument is a powerful instrument of colonization as well in the Americas and Asia, making all natives’ bodies always “natural” objects of desire and repudiation, under the control of the colonizers. The decolonization of Latin America, still in the nineteenth century, led the new nations to adopt the Western state model with the maintenance of much of its ideological structuring based on those biopolitical dispositives of modern governmentality, including the conservation of the religious morality of the colonizers, although with local nuances. The post-colonial Latin American national elites were not faced with the obligation to reinforce the particularism of the common Latin American experience or the exceptional continental uniqueness concerning the “rest” of the world since these elites maintained close visceral ties with the former colonizers. Sexuality and the control of the bodies, as well as the medical-scientific and legal-­ moral discursivities of European origin, would not cease to be instruments of power, but would acquire other meanings, for example, by naturalizing the subordination of women, essentializing the primordial patriarchalism, reconducting the sexualized racial hierarchy, invisibilizing sexual practices, and identities or gender and sexual diversity, as in force in the societies of the ancient colonizers at the time of the independence movements. Throughout the twentieth century, Europe was no longer so religious, heteronormativity was no longer based on the same moral principles, and female protagonism and alternative sexualities were no longer threats to the development of the world-­ system idealized from the West or from the Global North, and colonialism, as a doctrine, became an evil to be condemned. Western national states are now considered “civilized” because they defend the ideal of Human Rights and individual freedoms and even act on some ways to protect some identities based on the experiences of sexual and gender diversity, always in the name of scientific truth and international legal security. Non-Western nations, on the other hand, are now accused of being “uncivilized” for keeping the population or part of it under the yoke of violent security mechanisms to guarantee the sovereign integrity of the national territory, most of the time legitimizing the use of coercion in the name of religion and tradition to enforce biopowers. The former are seen as the bearers of universal happiness, while the latter are seen as “others,” promoters of hatred; and thus whiteness is normalized as a “natural” expression of civilization and “true” human values (Dabashi 2011).


1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”

However, the relationship between state and sexuality mediated by social control and disciplinary practices would not be exclusive to political regimes considered by Western states as oppressors but would be on the existential basis of all national states, including Western ones, that create any type of Homo sexualis, just as they constituted the “legitimate” modern and westernized Homo œconomicus, Homo politicus, Homo religiosus, in short, a Homo nationalis. Analyzing the work of several authors who approached the relationship between state and sexuality, Jyoti Puri (2004) or Alexandre Jaunait et  al. (2013) noticed the recurrence of the theme of regulation by the state on the most diverse aspects of private life, by delimiting the contours of the “respectable sexualities.” Since the invention of “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” in the nineteenth century (Foucault 1999), each person has been designated by state institutions as the bearer of “sexual identity,” according to Eve K. Sedgwick (1990), and becoming thus the locus of intense social regulation. Ruth Vanita (2002) adds that, because they are Euro-American or Western inventions, the concept of sexual identity gained the planet through European expansionism with meanings particular to each cultural context, due to the local configurations of power relations that define truth regimes, biopolitical dispositives and institutional and ideological mechanisms of social control of bodies. It is these regimes, dispositives, and mechanisms that locally determine what is “normal” and what is “abject” and that institute and reinforce the inequalities of gender, class, race, etc.— the local forms of coloniality of power/knowledge (Gontijo 2018a, b; Quijano 2000; Lander 2005). It is up to anthropology to understand how the coloniality of power/ knowledge works to minimize its persistent and perverse effects on bodies and minds considered as “others.” Latin American anthropologies, since their beginnings, have adopted particular characteristics related to the national contexts in which they developed, despite their common European and North American origin. One of the hallmarks common to these anthropologies would have been the relationship between theoretical production and commitment to the societies studied, since researchers also participate, in this region, together with the interlocutors, in the process of national construction through the struggle for democracy and the constant revision of the ideological bases of the national state and against coloniality and the imposing forms of internal colonialism (Cardoso de Oliveira 1993; González Casanova 2006; Krotz 1996; Jimeno 2007). The interlocutors of Latin American anthropologists, as well as Indian anthropologists or African anthropologists (initially indigenous, peasants, and orality people, respectively), demand, with the help of researchers, not only political recognition of their former social existence, but the right to participate in the processes of elaboration of the national memory, acting in this way to reinvent the concepts, dear to anthropology, of civilization, culture, identity, community, society, ethnicity, democracy, and cultural diversity in the context of the nationstate, as Myriam Jimeno Santoyo (2004) pointed out for the Latin American context, Veena Das (1998) for the Indian context or Archie Mafeje (2001, 2008) and Jean-Marc Ela (2007) for the African context. Aware of the heuristic potential to deprovincialize the anthropological doing from the point of view of the Global South (Chakrabarty 2007; Mafeje 2001, 2008; Restrepo and Escobar 2005), Latin

1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”


American anthropology and social sciences, in general, can analyze, from the margins of the State, the original and creative forms of resistance to knowledge, discourses, practices, and disciplinary powers based on religious, medical, and legal truths that have been historically naturalized and have become hegemonic in the region, such as those that deny sexual and gender diversity and sexualized native realities and oppress them with the use of the force of State institutions. In this book, we will use our anthropological skills to produce reflections on the historical relations between the formation of Latin American national states, the effects of colonization and imperialism, the impacts of capitalism and neoliberalism, the racialization of ethnic-cultural differences, on the one hand, and, on the other, the expressions of sexual and gender diversity in native populations of Latin America. The purpose of this book is to question the projects of biopolitical governmentality that instituted the national state and legitimized forms of coloniality and, therefore, to reinforce the anti- and counter-hegemonic and decolonial reactions that ensue. Thus, the book seeks to openly confront the Western discourses that insist on imposing on the entire world a hegemonic civilizational, salvationist, and redemptionist order, on the one hand, and, on the other, also to counteract nationalist or regionalist narratives of a sexist and/or homophobic nature that deny gender and sexual diversity in Latin America, particularly among the native peoples, and install what Herdt (2009) called “sexual panic” as a modality of moral panic. Each of the following chapters deals with one of the three regions of Latin America that we have chosen to present here. The first one is dedicated to the Mesoamerican reality. Reports of a diversity of sexualities and its multiple expressions and practices are ancient in Mesoamerica, even before the arrival of the conquistadors, as evidenced by archeological artifacts and pre-conquest paintings, such as the ones located at the Naj Tunich caves in Guatemala. Similarly, as old as colonization are the reports of non-normative sexual practices in Mesoamerican peoples. On the other hand, along with the conquistadors came the Spanish Inquisition, and the strict control over native sexual practices by the crown, the church, and Spanish adventurers. We will recall reports made by Hernan Cortéz and by Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, check the possible translations for terms registered by Bernardino de Sahagún and his indigenous coauthors in the Florentine Codex. Then, we will learn about contemporary stories of gender diversity resistance, as in the case of the muxe, seen as a “third gender” or as a “hybrid” gender among the Zapotec indigenous communities in Guatemala. In this way, this chapter will seek to establish how the colonial and patriarchal practices in Mexico and Central America affected, at the time of the beginning of colonization and still affect today, in different ethnic contexts, the life of queer indigenous people in the region, supported by a self-reflection presented by anthropologist Dorotéa Gómez Grijalva that explores her identity of being a Mayan indigenous lesbian feminist. The next chapter is dedicated to the Andean reality. As in Mexico and Central America, the reality faced by the Indians in the Andes region was of great persecution, carried out by José de Acosta and Francisco de Toledo. As in Central American reality, there are also archeological findings that prove to be the non-normative sexual practices in the region older than the presence of the colonizer (as the huacos


1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”

eróticos, for example). Our contribution in the first part of this chapter will be to draw a parallel between the form of economic occupation (especially the exploitation of indigenous labor in the exploration of precious metals) in Central America, Mexico, and the Andes, with the ways of surveillance and punishment of queer natives. Our hypothesis is that religion and state depended on justifications for the extermination of these populations and their cultural and religious systems, and the natives’ sexual tolerance provided the crown and the church with such justifications. In this sense, there are clear parallels between the challenges facing the north of the continent with those in the Andean region. Finally, one chapter is dedicated to the Amazon Basin. In this chapter, we will compare the forms of Portuguese colonization (Brazil) with the Spanish colonization undertaken in the Amazon Basin, one of the largest native socio-diversities in the world. In this context, unlike the Virreinato del Perú (Viceroyalty of Peru) or the Virreynato da Nueva España (Viceroyalty of New Spain), there were no alleged high civilizations, which make the reports about the peoples of the region more sparse and diffuse. Besides, several of these populations have only recently been in permanent contact with non-Indians, no longer having to face only the struggle against the historical exploitation of silver and gold in their lands, but also of oil, gas, occupation of their territories with roads and power plants. Such perspectives imply updating the critiques of colonialism made in previous chapters to understand how the present challenges faced by queer indigenous people in the region are linked to those historically faced in the Amazon as well as in the Andes and south of the Río Bravo del Norte. At the end of this chapter and in the conclusion, we will seek to systematize elements that allow us to answer the question indicated at the conclusion of this book: What does it mean to be queer and indigenous in Latin America? What are the implications, starting from this questioning, to understand the intricacies of the colonial process? What are the current challenges faced by openly queer natives in their cultures, demonstrating how the fact of presenting different sexuality from the hegemonic model does not imply a loss of their culture, but rather a movement of resistance to the colonization process? Thus, we hope to open new spaces for tolerance and understanding of indigenous sexual diversity, demonstrating how this is part of their culture and history. Before continuing, we would like to explain some of the words or categories that we have chosen to use in this book. In the title of the book, why “queer” instead of “homosexual”? Why “natives” instead of Indians or indigenous people of America? And why “Latin America,” when so many indigenous people prefer “Abya Yala,” for example, an indigenous word some claim to have been used to designate the South American continent? We choose “queer” to other possibilities (such as “non-hetero-normative,” “homosexuality,” “LGBTQI2+,” and so on) because we wanted to engage mainly with a queer theoretical and a decolonial epistemological perspective. We consider as well that “queer” is a contemporary word that serves as an umbrella term to designate all “bodies that matter” (Butler 1993) and how the weight of heterosexual hegemony still falls on these bodies that do not perform according to society and state imposition on how they should as a gendered body. “Queers” are the ones that



do not perform accordingly to what certain cultures consider to be the proper way for certain bodies to perform or to behave. In addition to designating people who do not conform to current norms, “queer” is also a critical and reflexive stance toward any normative thinking based on naturalized cultural arbitrary imposed by modern biopolitical dispositives. We prefer “natives” instead of Indians or indigenous peoples. We think that “natives” take into account that “Indian” is considered a prejudiced term in Central America, even though it is commonly deployed by indigenous people themselves in Brazil (where the three authors were trained in Anthropology). Indian is a term that the indigenous people use with pride as a self-identification word in Brazil, therefore the word previously chosen by two of the authors, Fernandes and Arisi (2017), in the title of their book “Gay Indians in Brazil: untold stories of the colonization of indigenous sexualities”. The word “natives” would pay more respect to the fact that these are populations that were living in the continent before the arrival of the Spanish, the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, and the English colonizers that brought the term “Indian” with them. We understand that what happened in the area that is now known as Latin America was a violent process of invasion and colonization. We hope to show, in this book, that the European colonizers brought with them their prejudices and practices of persecuting the bodies, the minds, and the souls of the native people they met on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. These colonizers persecuted and punished the indigenous people that did not perform according to the gender rules and the sexualities restrictions that existed in Portugal and Spain back then. So, we will present records of how Spanish soldiers and priests killed so may indigenous people based on the accusation that they were “sodomites,” or deciding that the way that they had their sexual lives was a “pecado nefando”—the unspoken sin, even though the ones who had this idea of sin were not the indigenous people themselves, but the Christian colonizers. The term “Latin America” also presents its controversies. Because it has an origin in the colonizer’s vocabulary as well, as Latin refers to the southern populations that inhabit Europe and speak languages originated from the popular variations of the spoken Latin language, like Spain and Portugal. But as we focus on the arrival of such colonizers in the Americas, we thought we would clarify about which specific region and about which specific period in history we were studying and bringing into our consideration. It is about this encounter of native communities and the Latin colonizers that we will treat in this book, we will not study how the colonization happened in the North of America, but specifically we will focus on the reports of the colonization on the Latin area of the continent also known as Abya Yala.

References Butler, J. 1990. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge. ———. 1993. Bodies that Matter. New York: Routledge. Cardoso de Oliveira, R. 1993. O Movimento dos Conceitos na Antropologia. Revista de Antropologia 36: 13–31.


1  Taking a Closer Look at “Queer Natives”

Chakrabarty, D. 2007. Provincializing Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Dabashi, H. 2011. Brown Skin, White Masks. Londres: Pluto Press. Das, V. 1998. Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporay India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ela, J.-M. 2007. Recherche Scientifique et Crise de la Rationalité – Livre I. Paris: L’Harmattan. Fanon, F. 1952. Peau Noire, Masques Blancs. Paris: Seuil. Fausto-Sterling, A. 2000. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books. Fernandes, E.R., and B. Arisi. 2017. Gay Indians in Brazil. Cham: Springer. Foucault, M. 1995. O Sujeito e o Poder. In Michel Foucault  – Uma trajetória filosófica, ed. H. Dreyfus and P. Rabinow, 229–249. Rio de Janeiro: Forense. ———. 1998. Microfísica do Poder. Rio de Janeiro: Graal. ———. 1999. História da Sexualidade. 1 A Vontade de Saber. Rio de Janeiro: Graal. ———. 2004a. Sécurité, Territoire, Population. Cours au Collège de France (1977-1978). Paris: Gallimard/Seuil. ———. 2004b. Naissance de la Biopolitique. Cours au Collège de France (1978-1979). Paris: Gallimard/Seuil. Gontijo, F. 2018a. Nation-Building, Gênero e Política no Cazaquistão: o caso do Homem Dourado. Mana 24 (3): 151–185. ———. 2018b. Biologia, Direito, Perspectiva Queer e Intersexualidade. Teoria Jurídica Contemporânea 3 (1): 120–139. González Casanova, P. 2006. Colonialismo Interno (Una Redefinición). In La Teoria Marxista Hoy, ed. A. Boron, J. Amadeo, and S. González. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Herdt, G., ed. 2009. Moral Panics, Sex Panics. Nova York: New York University Press. Jaunait, A., A. Le Renard, and É. Marteau. 2013. Nationalismes Sexuels? Reconfigurations contemporaines des sexualités et des nationalismes. Raisons Politiques 49 (1): 5–23. Jimeno Santoyo, M. 2004. La Vocación Crítica de la Antropología Latinoamericana. Maguaré 18: 33–58. ———. 2007. Naciocentrismo: tensiones y confinguración de estilos en la antropología sociocultural colombiana. Revista Colombiana de Antropología 43: 9–32. Krotz, E. 1996. La Generación de Teoría Antropológica em América Latina: silenciamientos, tensiones intrínsecas y puntos de partida. Maguaré 11-12: 25–39. Lander, E., ed. 2005. A Colonialidade do Saber. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Mafeje, A. 2001. Anthropology in Post-Independence Africa, 2001. Nairobi: Heinrich Böll Foudantion. ———. 2008. A Commentary on Anthropology and Africa. Codesria Bulletin 3-4: 88–94. Mbembe, A. 2000. À Propos des Écritures Africaines de Soi. Politique Africaine 77: 16–43. McClintok, A. 1995. Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest. Nova York: Routledge. Mignolo, W. 2011. The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Durham/Londres: Duke University Press. Puri, J. 2004. Encountering Nationalism. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. Quijano, A. 2000. Colonialidad del Poder y Classificación Social. Journal of World-Systems Research 6 (2): 342–386. Restrepo, E., and A. Escobar. 2005. ‘Other Anthropology and Anthropology Otherwise’: Steps to a World Anthropologies Framework. Critique of Anthropology 25 (2): 99–129. Sedgwick, E.K. 1990. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press. Trabelsi, S. 2010. L’Esclavage dans l’Orient Musulman au Ier/VIIe et IVe/Xe siècles. In Les Traites et les Esclavages, ed. M. Cottias, E. Cunin, and A. de Almeida Mendes. Paris: Karthala. ———. 2016. Travail et Esclavage: Y a-t-il eu un modèle oriental? Rives Méditerranéennes 53: 21–39. Vanita, R. 2002. Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society. Londres: Routledge.

Chapter 2


Invasion Colonization of America that we could rename the invasion of Pachamama starts in the Caribbean sea, with the arrival of Columbus fleet in 1492. The colonization history is recorded by chronicles written by captains and sailors that report what they did experience as the cultural difference from the start of the colonization period. Many of those reports fantasize on the cultural differences, some emphasize accusations that come from an Iberian conception of enemy calling the indigenous “sodomites” and the ones who commit the “nefarious sin,” the same vocabulary used to accuse in Spain and Portugal to the just defeated Muslims, as Olivier explains: The conquest of America can be considered as an extension of the Spanish “reconquest”. In the place of the Muslim enemy, often accused of homosexuality, the Indians of the New World were naturally placed, they will receive the same accusations. The practice of “nefarious sin” is one of the arguments put forward by Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in his treatise on “the just causes of the war against the gods”. The destruction of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was not only lawful but was also carried out for the good of the inhabitants. The millenarian hopes that presided over the spiritual conquest of the New World are well known. In this context, the religious emphasize the “positive” aspects of the pre-Columbian customs that can serve as a basis for the creation of a future indigenous Christianity. (Olivier 2010, p. 59, our translation)1

1  In the original in Spanish: La conquista de América puede considerar-se como una prolongación de la “reconquista” española. En lugar del enemigo musulmán, frecuentemente acusado de homosexualidad, se puso naturalmente a los indios del Nuevo Mundo, que recibirán. Las mismas acusacio- nes. 10. La práctica del “pecado nefando” consti- tuye uno de los argumentos esgrimidos por Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda en su tratado sobre “las justas causas de la guerra contra los in- dios”. La destrucción del pueblo de Sodoma y Gomorra no sólo fue lícita, sino que se realizó paraelbiendesushabitantes. 11 Sesabedelas esperanzas milenaristas que presidieron la conquistaespiritualdelNuevoMundo.Eneste contexto los religiosos destacan los aspectos “positivos” de las costumbres precolombinas que pueden servir de base para la creación de una futura cristiandad indígena.”

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 F. S. Gontijo et al., Queer Natives in Latin America, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5_2



2 Mesoamerica

Before the European colonization, Mesoamerica had densely populated indigenous cities and rural areas, with many different indigenous people and their languages, some with their crops, some with their temples, and very complex economic, political, and warfare systems. According to historian Hassig, “Mesoamerica had enjoyed almost three thousand years of high civilization, cultural achievements, and the successive rises and falls of many state empires” (2006, p. 17). After studying military practices deployed in the conquest of Mexico, Ross proposes that the victory of the Spanish crown was a victory of some indigenous people over other indigenous people and that the Spaniards this defeat in their benefit. The area known as Mesoamerica includes the countries nowadays called Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicarágua, and Panama plus nine provinces of Mexico (Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, and Yucatán). After the arrival of the first “Conquistadores” on the islands of Hispaniola and Cuba, the colonizers began exploring the continent. The Spaniards arrived in the Yucatán peninsula in 1517. They found themselves in areas densely populated living in a political and economic complex system where Empires like the Aztec and the Mayan existed. According to a mitochondrial-DNA based developed physical anthropology and demographic study in Mesoamerica, researchers conclude that there had been a demographic decline that took place also before the European occupation started: although the arrival of Europeans had a major impact on the demography of the indigenous population, the demographic decline began in Mesoamerica a few hundred years before. This result can be contrasted with paleoclimatic studies conducted in both Mesoamerica and the Mayan region. (...) Regarding the Mayas region, it is estimated that the collapse of this culture occurred in the years 1,110 to 1,200, which practically coincides with the values detected for the demographic decline of the Yucatan Mayas (625 ybp).2 (Gonzáles-Martin et al. 2015)

The same scientists consider that the development of maize domestication, and courgette, bean, and pepper crops “led to a more sedentary lifestyle, an increase in social and urban complexity and the development of trade and migration routes” (idem) in southern populations, meanwhile, the northern indigenous communities would have remained small in size due to their hunter-gather’s lifestyle. They also listed that geographical barriers, like Sierra Madre, added to these communities limited contact with other populations, and that could also explain these populations’ low diversity and high genetic differentiation relative to other Mesoamerican groups. “Trade, which stimulated migration and contact between human groups within and between cultural areas, is a factor that can largely explain the genetic structure of Mesoamerica expressed in the genetic homogeneity for the central area, Oaxaca and the Maya region” (idem). Hassig considers that the Mesoamericans shifted “from living in small, nomadic, hunting, and gathering bands to settling in larger, sedentary, agricultural villages by 1500 B.C.” (2006, p. 17). He writes that by that time, the Olmecs were a “truly more 2  Ybp means “year before the present”, present for the paper is the year 2015, when the study was published.

Nahua Culture


sophisticated” and complex society compared to the other human groups living in the Americas by the same time. As a kind of funny critic for this evolutionist commentary, we would like to add that we believe the Olmecs were “more sophisticated” than the people living in Europe at the same period. The Olmecs developed on the Veracruz Gulf coast around 1200 B.C. thanks to the possibility of raising maize twice a year that could be harvested because of the more fertile soils and good rain conditions. Considered by some researchers to be the “America’s first civilization” (Diehl 2004), the Olmecs left engraved in stone several works of art representing their culture. They developed a kind of rubber ball game and that is probably why Olmecs is the name we have still nowadays to designate this indigenous civilization, as the term is derived from the Nahuatl word to designate “rubber.” The Olmecs are believed to have proceeded the Maya culture in many archeological sites, we will go back to the Maya culture after we introduce some information about the Aztecs.

Nahua Culture By the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, the Aztec Empire was the greatest power in Mesoamerica. They formed a confederation of three city-states: Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. Sometimes the term Aztec is deployed to refer to the inhabitants of the city of Tenochtitlan (by then a lake and island, and where now is located the Mexico City capital), the dominant power city. While other authors use the term Aztec to refer to an “Aztec civilization” or “Aztec culture” in a broader sense, it was the German scientist Alexander Von Humboldt who used the term Aztec in the modern sense many scholars still deploy, as an umbrella for the union of the three city-­ states and the people living in this area and involved in relationships of trade, religion, language, and rituals, previous to Spanish invasion. Nowadays, Mesoamerican scholars use the term Nahua culture to refer to indigenous groups that lived in the central region of now Mexico, because Aztec would be better to define the Mexica people, the ones who lived on the island in the Texcoco lake. So, we will use the term Nahua to refer to the people who had shared cultural practices such as the centrality of the maize in their cosmology, division between noble and non-noble people, variations of the náhuatl language, and most of the same pantheon deities. After the quick establishing of Spanish settlements in the Caribbean islands, one captain, probably moved by the desire of becoming richer and more powerful, disobeyed superior orders and set sails to lead the third expedition to the continent. Hernán Cortés arrives in the territory where now is Mexico in 1519. “Even beyond what we have above reported to Your Majesties concerning of the children and men and women who kill and offer in their sacrifices, we have known and been informed of the truth that they are all sodomites and use that abominable sin.” This judgment of


2 Mesoamerica Hernán Cortés appears in more than one Spanish author (Olivier 1992, p.  47, our translation).3

Since then, the reports written by non-indigenous people keep on summing up accusations of the “nefarious sin” and “sodomites” against indigenous people. The accusations have been deployed against indigenous people and they have worked a solid ground to a history of violence against sexual diversity, in particular, and indigenous people, in general. As López-Austin concludes “identified by the invaders as enemies of the human race, the indigenous people were labeled like savages, brutal, barbarians, traitors, liars, lazy, sodomites, infidels, non-believers”4 (1980, p. 64, our translation). He reports, as an example, the colonizer Gabriel Soares de Sousa believed that the indigenous people “were very affectionate to the nefarious sin” (idem) and in the countryside cities had “public tents for the ones who want them as public women” (ibidem). In the article “Conquistadores y misioneros frente al pecado nefando”, Oliver (1992) writes that the conquest of America can be considered as a continuation of the “reconquest of Spain,” where the indigenous people replaced the Muslim enemy, being labeled with the same accusation of homosexuality and practitioners of the “nefarious sin.” In another article, titled “Homosexualidad y prostituición entre los Nahua y otros pueblos del posclasico,” Oliver remembers the kind of paradox presented in the Spanish debate: on one hand the indigenous were accused of the “nefarious sin,” and on the other hand, they were also praised for having laws and customs to reprehend homosexual practice (2004). The “nefarious sin” accusation was the base of the arguments presented by Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Spanish Crown historian, to defend the “fair war” against indigenous people. On the other side of the dispute, the arguments were defended by the Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas in the historical debate that took place in Valladolid in 1550. While Sepúlveda argued in favor of the submission of the indigenous people as they were considered to be inferior and soulless against De las Casas who defended that they were also human beings and should be treated as such. Although there is a debate as to whether we can affirm that the Nahuas tolerated (or not) homosexuality or, in other words, if the same-sex practice would be punished or tolerated (Oliver 2004), we can be more certain about adultery, consider a crime to be punished by capital death and that there was a male predominance in Aztec social life (López Hernández 2014, p. 367). In the book La Mujer Azteca, Rodriguez-Shadow (2000) sustains the same that Nahua’s societies were patriarchal, where women were subaltern with an educational system devoted to keeping them in a submissive place. Nevertheless, she also observes that food and textiles 3  In the original: “Porque aun allende de lo que arriba hemos hecho relación a Vuestras Majestades de los niños y hombres y mujeres que matan y ofrecen en sus sacrificios, hemos sabido y sido informados de cierto que todos son sodomitas y usan aquel abominable pecado”. Este juicio de Hernán Cortés aparece en más de un autor español. 4  In the original: “Identificados por los invasores como enemigos de la raza humana, los pueblos indígenas fueron etiquetados como salvajes, brutos, bárbaros, traidores, mentirosos, perezosos, sodomitas, infieles, incrédulos”.

Nahua Culture


control were women’s tasks and that they were the ones that worked in the public markets, as we can still observe nowadays in the majority of Mexican cities. Rodriguez-Shadow also quotes Doris Heyden and López-Austin to affirm that the Mexica society was one under the male domain in the period previous to the Spanish invasion (idem, p. 49). López-Austin understands that this virile society is related to the drastic moral and juridical position against homosexuality and all social practices that would go against this ideal of a virility (1980, p. 355). The Aztec resisted the Cortés invasion, but not for long. So, in the year 1521, the Spaniards defeated the Aztec empire and started the colonization of indigenous bodies and territories. Among the many reports made by the military and clergymen, much of what is known about pre-Columbian indigenous people from Mesoamerica. Among the many reports about how life was in the pre-Columbian time, there is one recorded in the almost encyclopedic work developed by fray Bernadino de Sahagún. He arrives in Nueva España (how the territory was called by the just-arrived Spaniards) with some other religious people to work in the evangelization of the indigenous people. He became fluent in the náhuatl language—the most spoken language in the region back then. Sahagún developed what is considered to be the biggest ethnographic oeuvre, and the “biggest historiographic monument of the XVI century,” as López-Austin considers (1996, p. 43) with detailed accounts about rituals and lives of the indigenous people living in what now is Mesoamerica. He died in 1590 after he had endured several punishments due to the opposition that his erudite work represented to the Spanish authorities (idem). Sahagún reported several terms used for same-sex practice. Aguilar (2015) presents terms that would have been used to refer to people who would have homosexual relations or desire. First, he registers xochihua, which could be literally translated to “the ones who carry the flower.” According to Sahagún, “the xochihua dressed like a woman, spoke like a woman, corrupted, confused and deceived people, and possessed the flower.” About the interpretation of the symbolism of the one who “possessed the flower,” Aguilar (2015) notes that Pete Sigal interpreted it as “the one who has the sexual desire.” When analyzing the “Florentine Codex,”5 Sousa proposes that in “Mesoamerican ideology, flowers conveyed a broad range of concepts and meanings, from potency, fertility, and (re) production to destructive aspects of illicit sexuality” (2019, p. 188). Kimball had worked in offering critic translations of the Florentine Codex and he proposed to understand the word “xochihua” for both men and women homosexuals, and that the word is derived from “xochitl” in nahuatl that means “flower” (1993).

5  Sousa examines the book 10 of the Florentine Codex, explaining that it covers “several interrelated themes, including kinship, age, and occupations; parts of the human body; illness and medicines; and brief descriptions of some of the ethnic groups that inhabited New Spain. Nahuas wrote the first draft of the Nahua text between 1558 and 1565, based on interviews with elders and nobles in Tepepulco and Tlatelolco, when Sahagún educated and Christianized Nahua coauthors asked them to describe different social groups” (2019, p. 186).


2 Mesoamerica

Another term collected by Aguilar is “cuiloni.” According to him, Sahagún translated the word as “puto, excrement, corruption, pervert, shit dog, mierducha, infamous, corrupt, vicious, repugnant, disgusting, effeminate, the one who pretended to be a woman, puto who suffers,” which he believes to relate to the one who takes the passive role in the coitus. Oliver (1992, p. 59) registers “cuiloni” and “chimouhqui” as possible translations for “sodomite” and “puto” (in Spanish)—as terms recorded by indigenous informers of Sahagún. He stresses that we have to take into consideration that the negative and prejudicial terms were pronounced under the influence of the religious people, so we cannot be sure they represent indigenous conceptions. Sousa also translates “cuiloni” as “homosexual or the one who receives,” the “sodomético” or the “sodomite” (2019, p. 186). For female homosexuals, Sahagún and his Nahua coauthors would have recorded the words: “patlachuia” or “patlache” to refer to “an unclean woman, a woman with a penis, who has an erect penis, who is with a woman, seeks out young women, who looks like a man, who does it with another woman”. Fray Alonso de Molina, author of the dictionary Vocabulary in Spanish and Mexican, says that it means “the woman who does it with another woman”. This term has a curious connotation because of its representation in the Florentine Codex it was translated as “hermaphrodite”. (Aguilar 2015)

Analyzing the same Florentine Codex, Sousa presents other possible translations to the term “patlache” as intersexual or lesbian (from Nahuatl to English), or “la mujer que tine dos sexos” (from Nahuatl to Spanish) or “the woman who has two sexes” (translating from Spanish to English) (Sousa 2019, p. 186). Another vocabulary registered by the abovementioned Molina’s dictionary is “yollococoxqui” which the literal translation would be “sick in the heart.” According to Aguilar, it was translated by Molina as “crazy fool,” although the word “cocoxqui,” besides being sick6 also meant homosexual or effeminate and “the one who does it to another.” Aguilar thinks that this is a clear reference to the one that is being active in a carnal relationship. He registers that in the same dictionary, Fray Alonso refers to the word “cuilonyotl” that would mean “nefarious sin of a man with another man” and the related word “cuilontia” to the one who “commits the nefarious sin.” Aguilar concludes that the existence of such indigenous words would mean that the theme of homosexuality was not alien to the pre-Hispanic cultures. He also calls the attention to the fact that probably the translations made by the religious men and soldiers maybe did not reflect the real meaning of these words. He thinks that based on these records it is not possible to comprehend completely how the pre-Hispanic societies had their conception about sexual dissidents. In Mexico, some indigenous people refer to lesbians as “patlache” that literally could be translated as “the ones that have a flat surface.” According to Sahagún’s 6  The term “cocoxqui”, for Lopez-Austin (1980, p. 352) is a clear association of sickness to homosexuality, or someone who is considered to be anti-social and sick. He informs that the nahuas had a way to find the origin of sickness by throwing grains of maize in a cloth open in the ground and when a grain stayed on top of another one this would be proof that the person was sick due to homosexual practice (idem).

Homosexual Copula in Rock Painting


recordings, there would be a verb correspondent to the expression that is “patlachhufa(nite),” which would be translated as “to act with the flat surface.” But it is worth noting that the informants of Sahagún refer to this term to a woman with a body with a penis and testicles. Many indigenous communities, such as the Tojolabales and the Tarascos, understand that lesbians are hermaphrodites. Houston and Taube (2010, p.  40) registered that the Maya Tzotziles from the colonial time had a word for “hermaphrodite” that meant “feminine-masculine,” in indigenous language 'antzil xincb 'ok also translated as “sterile woman” and that it could mean a permanent condition. They consider that the “majority of Mayan evidence refers to the sexual act itself without stressing homosexuality of heterosexuality as a fixed and invariable trace of someone’s identity” (idem). The only term for same-sex between women that we have found in other indigenous languages apart from the Nahuatl recorded by Sahagún is one entry, as recorded by Oliver (2004, p. 318), in the “Vocabulario de la lengua cakchiquel, from Fray Thomás de Coco”, that recollected words in this Mayan language: “also use to say tequi, a,arihquij, so say the women when, viciously, lay one upon the other to make filth”. Oliver also takes note of the Dominican Cristóbal de Agüero that registered that, among the Zapotec: “sometimes, some women accuse themselves of having played with other women, treating them as if they were men” (idem).

Homosexual Copula in Rock Painting Among the Mayas, in the region where now is Guatemala, we found some archeological recording, dated previous to the invasion by the Spanish and other European colonizers. So, let us look at what the archeology has to inform us about the diversity of sexualities expressed in rock painting made by the Mayas. Olivier comments about the difficulties he had in writing about homosexuality in pre-Spanish Americas because of the lack of “archeological proof, plastic or pictographic representation of homosexuality” (1992). So, we would like to draw attention to a debate concerning the pictorial representations found in the cave Naj Tunich. In stunning pieces of rock art expression, Andrea Stone registered a painting in the deep cave Naj Tunich that is considered by Houston et al. (2006, p. 212), Houston et al. (2006) as evidence of male same-sex relationship made by the ancient Mayas with black pigment.7 Oliver (2010), in a more recent work published 10 years ago, also reports about the stone rock painting as an example of a homosexual copula. All of them reproduce the image registered by Andrea Stone. In Stone’s book Images from the Underworld: Naj Tunich and the Tradition of Maya Cave Painting, she presents a catalog of the cave paintings with drawings and photographs, where she details her findings of the archeological site and its relation to the mythological meaning of the underground for the Mayas. She started working on the site in 1981. 7  According to UNESCO’s site: “the use of charcoal, manganese oxide, other minerals and organic materials such as chalk and/or pigments for use with brushes in the finer works are the result of learning processes and acquired pictorial techniques, accumulated and transmitted by the Maya and used to draw in their caves” (UNESCO 2020).


2 Mesoamerica

The site suffered an attack of vandalism in 1989 and, since 2012, the Guatemalan government tries to make the place become UNESCO’s world heritage. According to UNESCO’s site, “for centuries, pilgrims and shamans have interacted with the rock formations of the cave and the element of water present within, believing it linked with the underworld and the realm of the dead” (UNESCO 2020). In the book titled “The Memory of Bones: Body, Being and Experience Among the Classic Maya,” Houston, Stuart, and Taube published two images recorded firstly by Andrea Stone that they identify being of an older male with a younger male: “(a) Kinal graffiti (published primarily by I. Graham 1967, Fig. 26) and (b) homosexual lovemaking, Naj Tunich Drawing 18, published originally by A. Stone 1995, Fig. 8.18)” (Houston, Stuart and Taube 2006, p. 212). The first image recorded in that book shows a man in a position where he is bending his body forward and there is another person standing behind him, something that looks like a penis hangs from his body. The second image shows a mutual embrace of an old and a young adult man facing each other that the authors identify as “homosexual lovemaking” (Houston et  al. 2006). The same “embraced male couple” image was published in the article written by Houston and Taube in a special dossier titled La Sexualidad en Mesoamerica where they wrote that it was possible to consider the image as of a homosexual copula between an old and a young man (Houston and Taube 2010). For them, it is evidence of male homosexuality (1992). The authors consider that the native sources reflect partly the Spanish crying out against the homosexuality of the Mayas, but they also understand that there is enough evidence of homosexuality among different age groups during the pre-­ Spanish period. They think that these encounters had specific places to take place and that the darker areas of the Naj Tunich deep caves could have offered shelter for these encounters, as they were visited by royal young people as appointed in some texts, sadly that they do not refer to bibliographical sources to this information. Based on their study on Mayan archaeology, they conclude that these places probably had proportionated a space for sexual freedom and the “experimentation and encounters” between young and older men. They also mention that other places had been registered, always in a negative and reproachable manner, in other colonial information sources, and that the relationships between members of the same sex were part of a “rite de passage” of young boys becoming men (Houston and Taube 2010, p. 40). The Naj Tunich caves are located in the Naj Tunich Archeological Park, in the Department of Petén, a village of La Compuerta, located on the southern edge of the Mayan mountains, in Guatemala, seven kilometers far from the Belize border. Naj Tunich means in the Mayan language of quiche “stone house” and archeologists sustain that they were been in use by the Ancient Mayas between 400 BC and 900 AD. According to UNESCO’s site, it was discovered in 1979 by a hunter from the Kekchi Maya people. The site is proposed to become UNESCO’s world heritage. UNESCO’s site also informs that:

Homosexual Copula in Rock Painting


Because of its pictorial record Naj Tunich is a cultural asset that can be considered unique and of exceptional value and as cultural heritage for humanity. Found inside are ancestral gestures as well as ideological and religious manifestations that represent human figures, gods, animals and painted hieroglyphic inscriptions and groupings of offerings have been found commemorating different events. Further, outside there was a small archeological site, which may have been a place of residence for those who were responsible for the care of the cave, their maintenance and protection. (UNESCO 2020)

UNESCO praises the cave’s artistic quality and the degree of conservation of its rock art and compares it to the Lascaux cave in France. Apart from the art, the “ceremonial site and sanctuary” present pottery vessels and ceramic fragments and other artifacts made from jade, shell, obsidian, and flint. Naj Tunich’s rock paintings could be considered among the first evidence of registered same-sex sexuality in the continent, bringing down all belief and affirmation that states that sexual diversity and homosexuality were non-existing in the continent previous to the European invasion. Analyzing the concept of masculinity among Ancient Maya archeological artifacts, such as sculptures, and cave painting, especially the ones devoted to phalli figures, Ardren and Hixson conclude that their research shows that the only constant in studies of ancient sexuality “is its variety, not its uniformity” (2006, p. 7). They note that the first archeologist to comment about the “phallicism prevalent in Northern Maya art,” especially the several carved in stone penis sculptures found in the region of Uxmal, was Edward Wyllys Andrews IV. In 1943, he published that he believed these phallic monuments probably represented the remains of a later and non-Mayan culture. Ardren and Hixon inform that new research concluded that there is no doubt that the sculptures were created by the Olmecs and that they pre-­ dated the Maya in the region. Interestingly for us, based on their archeological research and bibliographic review, they have also noted that: Male sexuality, in particular, has been defined narrowly as procreative, heterosexual, and utilitarian. This imposition of Western mores upon a very non-Western culture has obscured the meaning of some Maya art and impeded the elucidation of Maya conceptions of masculinity. (Ardren and Hixson 2006, p. 16)

The authors also inform that Mayan art usually does not depict the genitalia and in the few cases that the genitals are shown it is to identify that they were images of elite individuals that bared the scars of penile bloodletting. Scholars usually linked these “penile bloodletting”8 with offers of precious substances and understand that penis perforation performed among royals in Classic Maya religious practices was probably used as a way to communicate with gods or ancestors (idem, p. 18).

 We have seen that one of the positive uses of the penis was to depict the ability of royal men to offer blood from the most intimate area of their body on the part of the body politic—in essence, the transmutation of the individual ruler into a stage where the fortunes of an entire population were played out and perhaps rectified. As one of the most profound acts performed by ancient Maya men, as well as perhaps by Maya gods, penis perforation was a dramatic and powerful way to demonstrate royal prerogative and the violence associated with masculinity and dominance in this particular ancient state (Ardren and Hixon 2006, p. 22). 8


2 Mesoamerica In a recent examination of male sexuality in Classic Maya culture, Rosemary Joyce has argued convincingly that there is a sexualization of the male subject in Maya art that derives from an emphasis on male/male sociality and competition (Joyce 2000b). Visible in the depiction of the penis and more common themes of partially clothed or unclothed young male bodies or all-male groups of young men in competitive activities such as the ballgame, warfare, or ceremonial dances, this artistic theme glamorize the display of the male body to peers and re-emphasize the definition of masculine gender roles and masculinity held by elite Maya culture. Joyce argues that the depiction of the erect penis, in cave art and graffiti but especially in the free-standing stone monuments of the northern lowlands which may have marked areas of all-male ritual (as suggested by Colonial descriptions of male houses for ritual training), is further evidence of sexuality that included male-male interactions, not to the exclusion of heterosexual relations but in the fluidity of experience outside Western dominant values. Drawing upon earlier work by Andrea Stone on the erotics of cave imagery, Joyce suggests caves and certain temple structures like those with stone phalli may have been loci for male gender performance, where the male gaze was focused on other men, and the significance of youthful male beauty was reinforced (Joyce 2000b, p. 273; Stone 1995). (Ardren and Hixson 2006, p. 21)

Ardren and Hixson criticize Houston that claimed that these “rare examples of male homoerotic and autoerotic” cave art paintings were depicting comments on illicit or abnormal behavior. They consider instead that they are like “windows into a world of largely undocumented all-male ritual behavior” and they prefer to understand the art examples as “meaningful information about ancient values (and practices) (idem). The archeologist authors concluded that Recent studies of gender in antiquity have shown that Western concepts of the inevitability of gender and sex cannot be applied universally. While dominant Western culture sees gender, or the roles and expectations associated with being male or female, to derive from the biological reality of our bodies and especially our reproductive capabilities, modern (and ancient) non-Western cultures do not see gender or sex as inherent. As explained by Tim Yates (1993, p. 51), ‘nature is not a fixed and inviolable process, it is already a text requiring a reading and an interpretation’. (Ardren and Hixon 2006, p. 22)

Queers Deities and Transvestism In many cultures, gods and deities are queer, beyond female and male. It is not different in Mesoamerica. Tezcatlipoca, the god of the smoking mirror, is associated to the night and, in some reports, when not happy with their fate, because of sickness or for being made prisoners, indigenous people would insult the god by calling him/ her a “miserable sodomite” (Oliver 2004, p. 321). Some myths present Tezcatlipoca as a transvestite. Also according to Oliver (1992, p. 61), other deities were also represented as female and as males, like Cintéotl (god/ess of corn). Mirandé brings the critic presented by Sigal that Sahagún transformed Tezcatlipoca into a “puto” (faggot) by transposing him with a lesser god, Titlacauan, who was described as a “cuiloni” (Mirandé 2017, p. 58), but that Sigal proposed as well we could understand Tezcatlipoca as a “trickster,” complex figure that could symbolize both masculinity and femininity (idem).

Queers Deities and Transvestism


There were several reports about another sexual diversity practice that we could call with the contemporary term transvestism. Apart from the one made by Hernán Cortéz, already mentioned above, Oliver brings another one written by Cabeza de Vaca who had also observed indigenous “men dressed as women.” The Spaniard conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca had had a unique life experience among indigenous people, a result of his survivor and in-depth experience living among them. He wrote a book that we consider to be a kind of proto ethnography of the indigenous people in the American continent. In 1527, Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, with three other men, survived a shipwreck of the expedition that was led by Narváez. They were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico and he spent around eight years living among indigenous people until he arrived on foot in the area where now is Mexico City. He described his adventure and survival story in a kind of ‘avant la lettre ethnographic account’ how the indigenous people lived. Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca reported that, in the region where now is Texas, there were “men married to other men, who are ‘amariconados’ (feminine males), impotent and go around covered up as women and do women labor” (Olivier 1992, pp. 62–63).9 Oliver (idem) also refers to an event when one Spanish threatened to burn alive young men because they were dressed as women and that the violence was avoided because indigenous women intervened and protected these young men. Based on this, the author considers that the “transvestites” were integrated with (which in other words mean that they were not segregated from) the indigenous societies where they lived in, in the territories that we now call Mexico and the USA. Nevertheless, Oliver also points out that the pre-Columbian moral reproached effeminate manifestations, as many sources presented “transvestism” as infamous practice and there were laws that condemn it. Again, we have always to keep in mind that the majority of the reports were made by non-indigenous people, and that, even when they were recorded by indigenous people, they were writing these reports alongside clergymen with their judgments about what was or not morally considered as proper behavior. López-Austin suspects that some erotic practices of the noblemen that we could consider to be same-sex or homosexual intercourse were probably related to ritualized acts, which mean that they were considered to be “beyond what would be purely human” (1980, p. 73). According to him, there are reports that the homosexuality was not alien to the noble classes and that some noblemen would have men dressed as women making their textiles and would have one or two of them for “their vices” (idem). The author also points out that the old nahuas had a negative image of homosexuality. They had laws that punished female and male same-sex acts, not caring for classifying them as passive or active and punished as well what was considered an attitude of cross-dressing. There were some nuances and differences among the 9  In the original in Spanish: “Uno de los primeros testimonios sobre hombres vestidos como mujeres se debe a Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, quien describe en la region de Texas “hombres casados con otros, y estos son unos hombres amariconados, impotentes, y andan tapados como mujeres y hacen oficio de mujeres” (pp. 62–63).


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diverse communities as well, López-Austin takes notes that, among the other nahuas, the tlaxcaltecas were more tolerant and did not juridically punish the homosexuals, but they would attribute them the quality of tetzauhtin, the same word used for adultery men or women, and then would avoid them. About female travesties or what in contemporary terms we could call “cross-­ dressers,” Oliver had found that female travesties reports were mainly related to women occupying a male social position. For example, he mentions a lady called Quenomen that occupied the role of her deceived husband as Lord of Tzacapu (Michoacan), when she would dress with his military insignia. He also recalls when women, armed with arrows and bows, fought among the tukuche people against the cachiqueles, who won the battle. He considers that, unfortunately, we do not know much about female same-sex relationships previous to the Spanish invasion. At the end of this chapter, we will bring the interesting contribution of contemporary lesbian-­feminist scholars as a way to pay tribute to their contribution to the field of anthropology and sexual diversity studies. Diversity in the culture of course also means a difference in ways that people explore their bodies and their sexualities and desires. So, several differences always will be observed from one indigenous people to another, apart of course from all the differences that exist on a personal level observed inside a given community, as anthropologists show to be the case in the present time.

Muxe Sexual Fluidity Mesoamerica is also remarkable for being the place where the Zapotec indigenous people live in communities that have a social sexual fluid identity known as Tenoch Laaksonen wrote a PhD thesis about the muxes, devoted to “prove the surprisingly modernity of the Mesoamerican tradition of gender” (2016). He conclude that the muxes defy el dominant, normative, heterosexual and binary system of gender and sexuality. Both “muxes and queer theory have in common the notion that generic identity is a sociocultural construction, a practice and a performance inside of a complementary gender system” (idem). Juchitec third gender persons incarnate trickster features, such as ambiguity, reinvention and transformation making transgression part of their social repertoire, provoking laughter and breaking taboos like heteronormativity. Muxe identity is also a construction of performances, with different phases, components and practices, questioning and reproducing gender categories though ways of combining their physical attributes and personal intentions into a individual representation. The subjects of this study are active agents of hibrydization following methods of ethnogenesis as a medium of taking advantage of traditional platforms, including velas and regional costumes, and recent incorporations of cross-dressing catwalks and redesigned customary garments, to integrate themselves in local culture and to distinguishe themselves as public personalities (Tenoch Laaksonen 2016, p. 433)

Sometimes culturally translated as a “hybrid gender,” sometimes they are also called a “third gender” (Mirandé 2017, p. 104). The muxes are comprehended as

Muxe Sexual Fluidity


“part of a continuum, with their ritual functions in the vela [festival] activities that renew the community and the Juchitec social body” (Tenoch Laaksonen 2016, p. 81). We would like to stress that we understand that the zapotec word “muxe” is a specific cultural contribution to the world of sexual diversity. We agree with Tenoch Laaksonen that considers the muxe as a key element that contributes to the pre-Hispanic and post modern sexual diversity debate. Living in the Istmo of Tehuantepec, the muxes are a “representative case of the Amerindian gender systems” (2016, p. 82). The authors understand them as “queer actors with a thoughtful capacity and practice of incarnating the generic sex indefinition” (2016, p. 83). In “Behind the mask,” Mirandé (2017) presents the many different ways that muxe live their lives in a non-binary gender role in the Zapotec communities in the Juchitán area, Guatemala. The muxe organize religious parties known as “velas” and are socially very active. Some of them dress in traditional colorful Zapotec attire, some keep on working with embroidery and selling in markets, but some have a more relaxed way of navigating between the dressing codes. Mirandé offers some tables where he shows how his interviewees classify themselves as different kinds of muxe: “pintada” (with makeup and jewelry), “vestida” (women attire), or “international” (contemporary urban clothes). He writes that some families have had generations of muxes and even though some of them suffered prejudice by their families that was not the case for the majority of them. Most of the muxes were respected and appreciated by their families, Mirandé writes about a father who commented that “my son was born like this,” explaining that it can be considered a characteristic of someone: to be born muxe. Another interesting note is that some mothers consider a blessing from God to have a muxe as (grand)son/daughter as they were considered to be hard-working and very caring people (2017, p. 106), but he also registers that several of them had a sexist father who did not accept well to have a “muxe” son/daughter (idem, p. 113, 118). Mirandé considers that the “muxe” are “not simply doing gender” or acting as women, but that they are “actively undoing and redoing gender” and that is why, in his point of view, people should understand them “through social and not sexual categories” (2017, p. 104). Following two-spirits scholars like Driskill, Finley, and others, Mirandé concludes that the “muxe identity is less about sexual identity and more about Zapotec cultural categories and practices” (idem, p. 175). Finally, he concluded that “being muxe is less about contemporary identity politics and more about retention of gender categories in indigenous communities” (idem, p. 199). To end this chapter, we would like to bring attention to the self-reflective work developed by Dorotea Gómez Grijalva, an anthropologist from the Maya k’ichi people. She remembers how her childhood and youth years were marked by the internal armed conflict that started in the decade of 1960 and hit very hard all Guatemalan population during 36 years, especially the indigenous Mayan descendant persons that were targeted as being “guerrilleras” (2012, p. 4). In that period, around 200,000 people were exterminated, around 900,000 seeked refuge in other countries, thousands were considered missing people, and more than one million displaced internally in Guatemala. The Guatemalan army committed several mas-


2 Mesoamerica

sacres, ­collective sexual rape against indigenous women, kidnappings, extrajudicial executions to “disarticulate mechanisms of Mayan identity and the social cohesion that facilitated commentary actions” (idem, p. 5). Analyzing her trajectory and how she tries to heal from trauma and painful memories inscribed in her body, Gómez Grijalva nominates her own body as a “political territory” (2012). Following Dominican feminist Yuderkys Espinosa and the Chilean feminist Margarita Pisano, she comprehends her body as being historical and not biological (Gómez Grijalva, p. 6). She intends to renounce to the “mandates imposed by the patriarchal, racist, and heterosexual system that rules in the Guatemalan society and elsewhere” (idem, p. 7). So, to end this chapter, we present our translation of a passage written by Gómez Grijalva, a self-reflective life story: As I went on understanding the complexity of sexualities, I deepened my political-feminist reflections and I deepened my process of searching for and finding. Through healing processes, I advanced in decolonizing patriarchal ideas that inhabited, not only my reason, but also my emotions and feelings. Through this complex process and from different perspectives, I decided to assume and to live as a lesbian-feminist, because for me, being a lesbian, acquired a special meaning in my political and spiritual choice to bet on patriarchal decolonization from my body and my sexuality. However, in spite of the clarity of my desire to make a decision, I felt insecure about the implications this had for my world. My body is political territory, emotional and spiritual, in the face of a global and local society that is strongly racist, lesbo-phobic and misogynist. Despite my fears, I decided to become a lesbian, even though I knew that accepting my sexual choice was not going to be easy. Especially because assuming that I was a lesbian definitely meant preparing myself emotionally so that, in addition to dealing with racism, I could deal with lesbian discrimination and exclusion in a healthy way. Therefore, assuming myself as a lesbian-feminist implied a deep process of emotional, political and spiritual reflection, which I matured and decided as I sharpened my analysis of feminist thinking and acting. In this sense, I claim to be a lesbian-feminist, because of my political choice and not because of my sexual orientation. In other words, and to paraphrase Norma Mogrovejo, I assume myself as a political lesbian because I refuse consciously patriarchy and the traditional roles assigned to women, and because I rebel against the limitations imposed on us women over the control of our own lives. I feel that I prefer to live my lesbianism, rather than negating it and subjecting my body to heterosexual logic. Especially because I assume that rethinking how I want to live my life with my body, necessarily involves respecting what really gives me sexual, spiritual and emotional pleasure. Finally, I can say that I have been confirming that understanding and knowing how my emotions influence the physical well-being of my body and how important it is to understand its language are fundamental to understand that all the dimensions of my being are closely interconnected. For that reason I assume my body as a political territory, a daily and incessant learning, which has required a lot of love, decision strength and courage to renounce to what threatens my physical, spiritual and emotional health. This way, I intend to continue respecting the particular rhythmic and vibrant style of this body with which I live my life. (2014, pp. 22–24)



References Aguilar, Leonardo Bastida. 2015. Lo nefando de la homosexualidad. Revisión crítica de la transgresión sexual prehispánica. Revista La Jornada, 223. https://www.jornada.com. mx/2015/02/05/ls-central.html. Accessed 5 Feb 2015. Ardren, Traci, and David R. Hixson. 2006. The unusual sculptures of Telantunich, Yucatán: Phalli and the concept of masculinity among the ancient Maya. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 16: 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959774306000011. Diehl, Richard. 2004. The Olmecs: America’s first civilization. London: Thames & Houston. Gonzáles-Martin, et  al. 2015. Demographic history of indigenous populations in Mesoamerica based on mtDNA sequence data. PLoS One 10 (8): e0131791. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0131791. Grijalva, Gómez, and Dorotea. 2012. In Mi Cuerpo es un Territorio Politico, ed. Voces Descolonizadoras. Bogotá: Brecha Lésbica. Available online: https://brechalesbica.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/mi-cuerpo-es-un-territorio-polc3adtico77777-dorotea-gc3b3mez-grijalva. pdf. Hassig, Ross. 2006. Mexico and the Spanish conquest. 2nd ed. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Hernández, López Miriam. 2014. El miedo a la mujer en la cultura azteca. IN: Rocío Enríquez Rosas y Oliva López Sánchez (coords.). Las emociones como dispositivos para la comprehensión del mundo social, ITESO, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, UNAM, Guadalajara, 349–368. Houston, Stephen, and Karl Taube. 2010. La Sexualidad entre los Antiguos Maya. Revista Arqueología Mexicana, dossier La Sexualidad en Mesoamerica XVIII (104): 38–45. Houston, Stephen, David Stuart, and Karl Taube. 2006. The memory of bones: Body, being and experience among the classic Maya. Austin: Texas University. Kimball, Geoffrey. 1993. Aztec homossexuality: The textual evidence. Journal of Homossexuality 26: 7–24. https://doi.org/10.1300/J082v26n01_02. Laaksonen, Tenoch, and Sami Tapio. 2016. Entre Fantasía y Realidad. existencias transformadoras de los muxes juchitecos: explorando identidades discursivas y performativas de hacer género más allá de la heteronormatividad. Doctorado Tesis. México: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS). Conclusiones, 402–412. http://ciesas. repositorioinstitucional.mx/jspui/handle/1015/585. López Hernández, Miriam. 2014. El miedo a la mujer en la cultura azteca. In Las emociones como dispositivos para la comprehensión del mundo social, ed. Rocío Enríquez Rosas and Oliva López Sánchez, 349–368. Guadalajara: ITESO, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, UNAM Mirandé, Alfredo. 2017. Behind the Mask: Gender hybridity in a Zapotec community. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. Oliver, Guilhem. 1992. Conquistadores y misioneros frente al pecado nefando. Revista Histórias, Dirección de Estudios Históricos, INAH, 28. https://www.estudioshistoricos.inah.gob.mx/ revistaHistorias/?p=4011. Accessed 6 Jan 2020. ———. 2004. Homosexualidad y prostitución entre los nahuas y otros pueblos del posclásico. In Historia de la vida cotidiana en éxico, tomo I, Mesoamérica y los ámbitos indígenas de la Nueva España, ed. Pablo Escalante Gonzalbo, 301–338. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica. ———. 2010. Entre el “pecado nefando” y la integración. La homosexualidad en el México antíguo. Revista Arqueología Mexicana. Dosier La sexualidad en Mesoamerica 18 (104): 58–64. Rodríguez-Shadow, María. 2000. La Mujer Azteca. 4th ed. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma de México. Sousa, Lisa. 2019. Flowers and speech in discourses on deviance in book 10. In The Florentine Codex: An encyclopaedia of the Nahua World in sixteenth-century Mexico, ed. Jeanette Favrot Peterson and Kevin Terraciano. Austin: University of Texas Press. UNESCO. 2020. The caves of Naj Tunich. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Available online: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5739/.

Chapter 3

The Andes

When talking about the Andes region, a lot comes to mind: the “idyllic and exotic” city of Macchu Picchu or the theories around the enormous figures in the Nazca desert involving UFOs and Aliens. Perhaps some old documentary about the Atacama desert, the image of animals like llamas, guanacos, alpacas, and vicuñas, or the stories around Pachamama or Portal del Sol in Bolivia. The fact is that we almost always associate the Andean peoples with an aura of “mystery” and “adventure,” perhaps as much as in our imagination are also Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, Olmecs, and Zapotecs, further north on the continent. Not infrequently we see “adventurers” on television programs, properly dressed, “exploring” the region as if there were no one who has lived there for millennia—take for instance the later Indiana Jones movie. About Macchu Picchu, for example. A quick search for its history gives us several references about its “discoverer,” a Yale professor named Hiram Bingham III, in 1911. There are, however, few references to the figure of Melchor Arteaga, a peasant who told him about ruins on top of the mountain while Bingham’s expedition was camping at Mandor Pampa. In the same way, little is said about the family who lived in the region, whose 11-year-old son, Pablito, guided the American to the ruins of Macchu Picchu—cleaned by his family years before so that they could plant their crops. There are reports that the ruins were not, after all, so inaccessible or unknown. I am not referring here to the “polemics” surrounding the real “discoverer” of Macchu Picchu: whether Antonio Raimondi, Herman Gohring, Charles Wiener, Paolo Greer, Thomas Payne, Augusto Berns, Clements Markham, or even Bingham himself. The erasure of people like Arteaga, Pablito Richarte, and Augustin Lizarraga from the “official” narratives around the discovery tells us a lot about various issues. Of all these, coming out of the complex field of the philosophy of history, we need to call attention to one of the aspects of colonization: how it operates in the field of memory and the senses. First of all, it is not a matter of simply affirming that history is part of a colonial project that legitimizes Imperialism. History per se does not do this, although © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 F. S. Gontijo et al., Queer Natives in Latin America, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5_3



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s­everal indigenous people (cf. Tuhiwai Smith 1999) call attention to how the resumption of historical narratives is a fundamental part of the process of decolonization. However, how memory is constituted from history and stories is, indeed, a fundamental part of understanding the colonial project. It is not a question of imagining that there are, somewhere, power-hungry people making us puppets, establishing which narratives deserve to appear in the history books, or how—maybe there even are, who knows? Be that as it may, taking historical processes in this way is not only too generic but, above all, Manichean. What interests us here, instead, is to call attention to how colonization operates not only in macro narratives but in small everyday actions that culminate, these yes, in great consequences. To establish that a Westerner “found” Macchu Picchu is to legitimize the capture of memory around what it represents and symbolizes. What if the local population did not want their historical site and their ancestral and sacred memories to be captured and objectified by the Westerner? News from the past decade, for example, gives us an account of the legal dispute between the Peruvian government and Yale University to recover the settlement taken by Bingham. We see the same in the repatriation of goods in various parts of the world, and those who follow these issues closely—especially from here, from the periphery of the West—see how this resumption of objects is, to a large extent, a symbolic resumption for taking the proactivity of being an agent of their history. In terms of understanding Latin American indigenous sexualities, this discussion gains another level. We are not talking about physical objects, but about a path from which the moral impositions of colonization become the only possible and acceptable standard. The conception from which sex is something relative to the body, or to the body/soul dyad greatly restricts the perspectives from which what we here call indigenous sexualities to encompass. In these contexts, the issue not only gains other dimensions but also extends them, going beyond cosmological, political, social, affective, subjective conceptions… Even the conception of what will be “sexuality” must be amplified, by transcending even the sphere of the body, in Western terms. In a way, the history of colonization is to understand—and confront—how these conceptions were narrowed down and normalized so that the moral grammar (religious, scientific, legal) of the colonizer would make some sense. This brings us to the second aspect, mentioned above: the colonization of the senses. Not only are the esthetic and ethical senses directly affected by colonization, directing notions such as “beautiful” or “desirable”—and, consequently, restricting desire, when it is the case, to a rather limited set of signs. The smells, the tastes, the touches: everything becomes framed in what the colonizer sees as normal. The smell of the body, of sweat, of enjoyment, give way to the pleasant perfume of the European sense of smell; the spaces of enjoyment become sanitary, biological, pragmatic—in other words: westernized and modern. The body becomes distant, turning into an entity, an abstraction, an organism—or a receptacle for the soul, purely and simply. To understand the capture of the native becoming in its history necessarily involves understanding how such phenomena are gradually limited, to fit into the fields of the possibility of the colonizer.

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Examples of how these sexualities transcended the Iberian universe of the time are numerous, as we shall see below. Indeed the Andean landscape was completely different from what the conquistadors had imagined, and so was the mentality of the indigenous people that they had met, often drawing parallels between the Andean peoples and the Moors, their eagerness to impose on them “true faith,” a monotheistic intolerance incapable of achieving the inclusive religious plentifulness of the Peruvian peoples? The indigenous forms of expression were seen as sinful and idolatrous, making colonial culture an arena of struggle between ways in which genders and sexualities were seen as complementary versus another view, imposed by force of arms, disease, and intolerance, according to which the reference was masculine and virile. The “other” became abject, based on a distorted and hierarchical perspective of its world. The collision between two universes so different in their relationship with each other becomes clear, in various ways. It is interesting to imagine the European shock when learning about festivals in northern Peru, such as the Acataymita, for example, so described by Jesuit priest Pablo José de Arriaga in his Extirpación de la idolatría del Pirú: “is that during December, when the avocados start to ripen, they would make a party called Acataymita, which would last six days and nights, so that the fruit would ripen. Men and boys would gather in a little place among some naked orchards in leather, and where they would run to a hill that was very far away, and with the mooing that they reached in the race, they had excess”. Also from northern Peru are the well-known muches ceramics (North Peruvian civilization between the third and seventh centuries, approximately), available to the most curious looks at the Larco Museum in Lima (Peru). There is so much diversity among the pieces, shapes, and motifs related to sex in the rich collection of that museum that, among the more than 40 thousand pieces cataloged, we find more than 200 muches pieces with the theme “sexual activity”: bottles and vases with shapes of vulva and penis, anal sex, masturbation… pieces that would certainly make some conservative angry today, even though they were made more than a thousand and five hundred years ago. The irony is that the same ceramics whose visitation was censored to minors are today the second most popular attraction in Peru, losing only to Macchu Picchu. But despite mere “curiosity” in the photos shared on social networks, the huecos tell us about something beyond our concepts—western, modern, etc.—of eroticism, pleasure… They speak to us, like the acataymitas, of fecundity. How coitus refers to life and our connection with the continuity of our cycles before nature. Of a certain sacred aspect in the act of sharing the body—through another notion of the body—with another person. Life depends on sex, and these phallocentric ceramics remind us of this: of a relationship with the body that transcends the mere moment of pleasure, or jouissance. The shared body is an instrument of connection with the sacred related to nature, with continuity, with balance. Perhaps unconsciously this was one of the reasons why domination over native bodies was (and is) something almost obsessive in the process of colonization. Sex connects with the gods, with people, with the sacred and, important to point out: coitus is a continuity between the past and the future, passing on fluids and ancestral


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substances, far beyond the simple perception of sex as a means of physical or biological reproduction. Restricting this transcendent notion of sexuality was, in many ways, a restriction to all that more open and transcendent symbology that Europeans enjoyed on their continent. The existence of this broader and more pluralistic vision, based on complementarity, was also based on a cultural memory that was the antithesis of the Spanish model, which was based on the notion of sin and the missionary spirit, already mentioned here. The text of Sotomayor Tribín (1993) allows us to advance a little more in these descriptions, especially when quoting the text of Frei Pedro Simón, Notícias Históricas das conquistas de Tierra Firme nas Índias Ocidentais, published in 1627. In it, the Franciscan friar writes about the Muiscas, a Chibcha people that inhabited the west of the region where at present it is the Department of Cundinamarca, in the Andean Colony: The festivities… lasted until they fell intoxicated and so incited to lust with the heat of the wine, that each woman and man joined with the first one that met, because for this there was general license in these festivities, even with the women of the chiefs and nobles

About peoples neighboring the Muiscas, wrote Simon, as Sotomayor Tribín indicates once more: His dress was the one that gave them naturalization without even charging for honesty… And this was common to both men and women, apart from those who treated them dishonestly, as there were in these two provinces; for they were dressed in a blanket that stretched from their breasts to their shins and covered them with another, with their hair well combed and curled with many strings of beads of many colors, which they also wore on their thighs, calves, and leg throats, as they looked very nice. They were not only good-looking in comparison with other women who were not treated like that, but all the women in these provinces were of good opinion… they were called cocopinas in their language, which is the same as a monkey because they said they imitated those animals in lust. They never married, but they had so much respect for them that they were the ones who composed the dissensions that were offered in the villages. There were many of these in each one, with which the nefarious sin was avoided that was never besieged among them.

Despite this, Sotomayor Tribin brings us ample material on homosexuality among the natives, including an excellent analysis of the material culture of Tumaco-La Tolita, a people who inhabited the region between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador between the years 600 BC and 200 AD, approximately. Also in Colômbia, to the east of the region of Medelín, Tribín mentions the stories of Lucas Fernándes de Piedrahita in his Noticia Natural de las Conquistas del Nuevo Reino de Granada, where this Catholic bishop wrote, at the end of the seventeenth century about the Laches that They had a law that if a woman gave birth to five continuous males without giving birth to a female, one of the children would be born at twelve moons old, that is, in terms of raising him and imposing him in a woman’s way; Wherefore, when they were old, they married them as women, and preferred the Lanches to the true ones, that the abomination of sodomy should be allowed in this nation of the kingdom. Such was the beauty with which they put on the blanket and those who demonstrated in the visages at the time of speaking with other men.

3  The Andes


In the first decades of the eighteenth century, the Jesuit father Juan Rivero wrote in his History of the missions of the Llanos del Casanare and the Meta and Orinoco rivers about the Chiricoas and Guahibos that They are also accustomed to having many women, although some of them take off from these noises, and having none, they give themselves to vice, denying that they have been truly recognized in this nation, and it is prudently judged to be the cause of the native union of the Guagibos and Chiricoas since they seem to be one single nation, is likely to be two.

Tribin even brings us two stories by Pedro Cieza de Leon written by the Spanish conqueror in the mid-sixteenth century. The first one, about indigenous people from the Popayán region (current Cauca Department, in Colômbia): “I have not heard that these people nor any of the ones who are left behind use, before, if any Indian by the advice of the devil commits this sin, he is taken from them in little and they call him a woman”. On the other hand, the Spanish explorer also refers to the Indians of the Equator region (Sotomayor Tribin 1993): The truth is that generally among the serranos and yungas the devil has introduced this vice under a kind of holiness, and is that each temple or main worship has a man or two or more, according to the idol, which walks dressed as women in the time they were children, and spoke as such is, and in their way, dress and everything else mimicked women. With these, almost as if by way of holiness and religion, they have their carnal and clumsy town hall, especially the lords and masters, on the main feasts and days. This is because I have punished two: the one of the Indians of the sierra, who was for this purpose in a temple, which they call guaca, in the province of the Conchucos, in the city of Guanuco; the other was in the province of Chincha; The other was in the province of Chincha, and the Indians of His Majesty, to whom I had told about the evil they were committing, and aggravated the ugliness of sin, answered that they were not to blame, because from the time of their childhood their chiefs had placed them there to use this cursed and nefarious vice with them, and to be priests and guardians of the temples of their idols. So that what brings them out of here is that the devil was so lordly on this earth that, not content with making them fall into such enormous sin, he made them understand that such a vice was a kind of holiness and religion to make them more subject.

But this is not just about pointing out gender diversity among pre-Columbian peoples: terms like chuqui, chinchay, and Qariwarmi among the Incas, for example, refer directly to a sacred role outside the binary notion of gender, and that is what this is about: to a sacred role that transcended the question of genitalia, or binarism according to modern, Western, and Christian ontologies. There are several texts available on these roles (Horswell 2005 and Trexler 1995, are two necessary references for anyone interested in the subject), but it is important to make clear how these roles were not restricted to a direct correlation between sexuality or what we understand today as gender identities and the role played by these people in their own culture. It was something related to much more than affections, desires, bodily orifices, and genitalia. It was a form of connection between society as a whole and the cosmological universe in which they were inserted. It was this, perhaps more than the sexual practices themselves that seemed to have bothered the colonizers so much. Besides these authors, one of Kauffmann Doig’s central theses (2001) is precise that some of the rituals cited here aimed to achieve the fecundity of the earth and the


3  The Andes

animals. The analogy between the spurt of semen in rituals and the acataymites and rain, for example, is clear. Sex, as a carnal practice practiced outside the European moral system, already shocked the colonizers, but as a symbolic practice of conjunction with mother earth, Pachamama and the pantheon of Andean gods, as sacred, put the very logic of Christian moral and religious domination at risk: indigenous sexual complementarity, in all aspects of native life, put the dualistic, binary, and hierarchical colonizing logic at risk. Servinacuy, for example, a kind of “trial marriage” was clearly persecuted by the Peruvian church at the end of the sixteenth century, the same could be said of marriages between relatives and polygamy in the indigenous nobility—by the way, there is no need to say anything about the pampayruna, Inca prostitution. The Amerindian peoples found by the Spanish were everything they were not, and this puts their social order at risk. The point is that looking at the past leads us, perhaps unconsciously, to exoticize this set of practices when looked at from an intercultural perspective. Those are not—and it is fundamental to make this clear right now—issues concerning a past, or to take these populations as our antipodes. By restricting the discussion of Andean sexualities to a set of Inca rituals, for example, one risks falling into the trap that all indigenous sexual expression necessarily occurs in ritual, sacred, and/or magical contexts. Exoticizing native sexualities as well as encapsulating them in the distant past is another way of colonizing them. In speaking of queer indigenous in Latin America, our intention in this book is to draw attention to the fact that the colonization of indigenous sexualities is still an ongoing process—even though such a phenomenon has clear historical and sociological roots. An example of this erasure is the colonial persecution of the machi weye, among the Mapuche (Reche), an indigenous nation that inhabits today’s Argentina and Chile. This is a denomination, as we will see, associated (but not restricted) to a role played by women or men with “dual-gender, who transited between masculinity and femininity and between both, combining in different degrees and according to the context the identities, performances, occupations, forms of dress and sexuality associated with women” (Bacigalupo 2016). Spaniards (and European settlers in general) perceive native social arrangements from their own moral classification perspectives as a way to justify domination over these populations. Bacigalupo, for example, cites what is, according to her, the only account known from an eyewitness account between a machi weye Mapuche and a colonial agent. This is the account made in August 1629 by Francisco Núñez de Pineda y Bascuñan, a Chilean criollo of Spanish and Christian origin, available in his book Cautiverio Felíz y Razón de las Guerras Dilatadas de Chile (1673): An Indian arrived with such a bad figure, that his suit, perverse face and size, was signifying what he was… he looked like a Lucifer in his features, size and suit, because he walked without underwear, that this was what … He was wearing, instead of underwear, a fist, which is a mantuchuela that they wear from the front to the bottom, like the Indians, and long shirts on top. His hair was long and loose, while all the others were braided, and his nails were so disfigured that they looked like spoons. His face was very ugly, and in his eye, there was a cloud that understood everything. He was very small in body, a little backward,

3  The Andes


and with a lame leg, which just by looking at him caused horror and dread: as if to show his vile exercises… He who uses the office of a man is not scorned by it, like the one who in our vulgar language means denying and more properly putos, which is the true explanation of the name hueies… accommodating themselves to being machis or healers, because they have a pact with the devil (Bacigalupo 2016, p. 29).

As we can see, the Machi identity was relegated by the Spanish to a sexual role (“kids”, “sodomites”) understood by the religious filter, almost always associated with the devil. It is important to point out some questions in order to situate this reading sociologically and within the colonial framework. First of all, in the arrangement from Saint Thomas Aquinas—the axis of the colonial moral framework at the time—the feminine universe is necessarily associated with sin and sensuality. Irrationality, lust, temptation were in the woman. On the other hand, among the Mapuches (Eche) the feminine universe was associated with the magical world. In the specific case of the Machi Weye, as Bacigalupo points out, they combined the feminine spiritual power with the masculine political power, in opposition to the Spanish point of view, according to which men controlled both the social and spiritual order. In addition, there was a clear political factor that further complicated the relationship between Spaniards and Mapuches: the machi weye were children of important stuffed chiefs. By the way, here is an important parenthesis brought by the author: the machi could be men or women, but the Spaniards had little access to the machi women. Men, on the other hand, were part of their interest not only because they were the sons of chiefs and seen as “sodomites,” which served as another moral justification for their domination and colonization. However, Bacigalupo (p. 35) does not agree with the Spanish colonizing reading that the machi weye were people with reversed sexuality, but on the contrary, they were a dual-gender along with other weye subjects: the boquibuye (cinnamon priests) and fokiweye (young men doing the fertility dances). However, the point here—to return to the previous reasoning is: relegating these speeches to a past becomes a risk. In other words, summarizing what we wrote about the Mapuche, we have the following script: Act One: The Reche had diverse roles of gender and sexuality directly related to the political and religious universe. Second act: The Spaniards did not share this vision, seeing the world from the indigenous point of view regarding the sexual division of labor and the cosmovision of gender. Third act: Such a mismatch of perspectives served as a justification for colonial rule. Until then, we have only a partial view of a much more intricate process of symbolization. This watertight view of opposing and antagonistic poles leaves aside a whole system from which these differences were seen, reviewed, reconstructed, and recontextualized within a broader colonial system. The system is in flux, and this allows us to bring it into the present, and to a broader and amplified view of the role, that sexual colonization plays in the daily lives of indigenous, peripheral, and subalternized peoples in the Americas. Yes, the above three acts are true (though taken abruptly), but they do not contain the answer to one essential point: the fact that


3  The Andes

these stigmas around race, gender, and sexuality still persist in structural relations between the nation-state, its institutions, and indigenous peoples. Such relationships of domination persist even today and are often incorporated by the indigenous people themselves, by assuming sexual diversity as a “cultural loss,” or the fruit of the “contagion” arising from contact with non-indigenous people. Bacigalupo, for example, in another text (2007) assumes that The Chilean state stigmatizes machi as witches and sexual deviants regardless of the sexual acts they perform, and it constructs them as exotic folk practitioners in spite of their hybrid healing practices. Machi, in turn, reinterpret and contest these images and draw on national prestigious gendered positions to legitimate themselves. They shape their gendered occupations, healing practices, and political activities according to the expectations Mapuche and Chileans hold of women and men. I am concerned with the dialectic between gendered meanings, knowledge, and power as filtered through these various lenses. I analyze the ways in which the dynamics of gender and power explains the complex gendered relationships between machi and the spirit world, their communities, and the Chilean state. (Bacigalupo 2007, p. 8).

Note here what the author writes: the problem is not the Spaniards, trapped in a dead and buried past. It is a question of analyzing, in her words, the ways in which dynamics and gender and power explain relations with the Chilean State as well. The same can be seen throughout the various examples brought in this book, whether in the Amazon or Central America, as well as in other national contexts (such as Hurtado 2014, also indicates, in the Bolivian case, for example). Seen in this way, the Latin American indigenous queer leads us to understand the Condor operation, of national security discourses, the perspective occupied by indigenous peoples in national identity and state-building. What regime of indigenity is fostered by the indigenous leaders themselves, since archetypes are mobilized? In inter-ethnic conflicts, in the struggle against large national projects, in the organization of their agendas, in the material they produce about their own traditions, in the search for the recovery and maintenance of their traditional territories, how are discourses and performances mobilized in the field of gender and sexuality? A Latin American indigenous queer thought certainly does not exist in a homogeneous way, and it even becomes problematic until we speak of an “indigenous queer” but, by this term, we seek to bring this counterpoint here. In other words, how do indigenous struggles and demands function as a channel for criticism and reflection on colonial policies and their broader consequences? How do these policies also operate as channels of sexual normalization? How is compulsory heterosexuality imposed, historically and socially as the only viable alternative to these nations? How is resistance to this kind of homogeneous and binary discourse built within the indigenous peoples themselves? Going further, how are such discussions affected by neo-liberal regimes on the continent, by the interests of large landowners, mining companies, the national media, educational and research institutions, as well as by pastors, priests, and religious leaders? How do indigenous people living in the cities, or transiting internationally through the networks of struggle and cooperation of transnational indigenous movements, operate these issues? What are the



consequences of funding and actions from international cooperation agencies for gender and diversity issues in these contexts? In this sense, queer operates as a counterpoint to the state as a normalizing entity, not only with regard to sexuality but also in its ethnic, racial, and national discourses.

References Bacigalupo, Ana Mariella. 2007. Shamans of the Foye Tree: Gender, Power and Healing Among Chilean Mapuche. Austin: University of Texas Press. ———. 2016. La lucha por la masculinidad del Machi: políticas coloniales de género, sexualidad y poder en el sur de Chile. Revista de Historia Indígena 6: 29–65. Horswell, Michael J. 2005. Decolonizing the Sodomite. Austin: University of Texas Press. Hurtado, Edson. 2014. Indígenas homosexuales: Un acercamiento a la cosmovisión sobre diversidades sexuales de siete pueblos originarios del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Moxeños, Afrobolivianos, Quechuas, Ayoreos, Guaraníes, Tacanas y Aymaras). Conexión Fondo de Emancipación: La Paz. Kauffmann Doig, Federico. 2001. Sexo y magia sexual en el antiguo Perú. Lima: Quebecor World Perú. Sotomayor Tribín, Hugo A. 1993. Avances de investigación: Homosexualismo prehispánico en Colombia: reflexiones alrededor de la evidencia etnohistórica y arqueológica. Boletín Museo Del Oro (34–35): 177–186. Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People. Dunedin: University of Otago Press. Trexler, Richard. 1995. Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Chapter 4

The Amazon

European colonization in the northern portion of South America took place from the beginning of the sixteenth century almost on three fronts: the first generated Brazil under the Portuguese orders, more focused on the east coast of the continent, respecting the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 (signed between the Kingdoms of Portugal and Castile); the second one generated the Viceroyalty of Peru (later the Vice-Kingdoms of Granada to the north and River Plate to the south), under the Spanish orders, more oriented to the west coast and the Andes; and finally, the last one generated the Amazon, turned toward the north coast, entering the large rivers in disrespect to the Treaty and therefore putting in direct conflict Portuguese and Spanish—and also, then, Dutch, English, and French explorers—(Grão-Pará and Maranhão, Rio Negro and Guyana). In this chapter we will reflect on the effects of the colonial situation (Castro-Goméz and Grosfoguel 2007), the elaboration of the colonial difference (Mignolo 2002), and the embodiment of the colonial power (Quijano 2005) on the Amazon region and its original populations—with emphasis on Brazil, as the country that encompasses most of the region, particularly on the experiences of sexual and gender diversity of the indigenous peoples since the imposition of the hegemony of sexual dimorphism and gender binarism in the molds of Christian morality and scientific-legal biopowers. To this end, the Amazon will be defined here not only based on biophysical limits related to hydrography, relief, or the vegetation, nor solely based on administrative boundaries recognized by national States or territories under tutelage (such as French Guiana), but above all based on social dynamics deriving from colonialism, cultural particularities, and the economic logic that have historically generated a fragile regional sense of unity, beyond the administratively defined borders and the differences between Portuguese and Spanish models of colonization (Gondim 2007; Pizarro 2012).1 1  We will consider here, in addition to the excellent critical historical analysis of Gondim (2007) and Pizarro (2012), the definition produced by the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG), consisting of research institutions and non-governmental organizations from various countries that make up the region: see < https://www.amazoniasocioambien-

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 F. S. Gontijo et al., Queer Natives in Latin America, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5_4



4  The Amazon

A History of Shaping At the time of the European invasion, some five million indigenous people were living in the territory that currently makes up Brazil—perhaps one million of them in the Brazilian Amazon basin (Fausto 2000; Gomes 1990). Since then, the history of the indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon, as well as throughout the entire Pan-Amazonian region, is that of their decimation and resistance. According to the Brazilian National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), based on data from the 2010 population Census, there were about 820,000 people who declared themselves indigenous, more than half of whom lived in the Amazon basin, distributed among 170 ethnic groups.2 In Suriname, the number of indigenous people counted in the 2012 Census was just over 20,000 people distributed in 10 groups.3 Guyana had nine people, totaling almost 80,000 people, according to data from the 2012 Census.4 In French Guyana, there were approximately 10,000 indigenous people distributed in 14 groups, according to a census conducted in the 2010s.5 In Venezuela, the 2011 Census of the Indigenous Population, conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), totaled 720,000 people, including just over 185,000 in the Amazon basin distributed among 25 groups.6 According to data produced by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) in 2005, the Colombian Amazon had just under 200,000 indigenous people distributed among 62 groups.7 In Ecuador, the number of indigenous people in the Amazon, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), based on data from the 2010 Population Census data, synthesized 220,000 people distributed among 11 groups.8 In the Peruvian Amazon basin, according to the 2007 Census of Native Communities (there are no more updated data) from the Database of Indigenous or Original Peoples of the Ministry of Culture (BDPI), there were just under 335,000 people distributed in about 60 groups.9 Finally, in Bolivia, the Amazonian indigenous population was composed of 341,000 people, according to the 2012 Census, distributed in about 25 groups.10 tal.org/pt-br/ > Accessed 27 May 2019. 2  See < http://www.funai.gov.br/index.php/indios-no-brasil/quem-sao > (accessed May 27, 2019). 3  See < https://www.iwgia.org/en/suriname > Accessed 27 May 2019. 4  See < https://minorityrights.org/minorities/indigenous-peoples-3/and https://moipa.gov.gy > Accessed 27 May 2019. 5  See < https://www.iwgia.org/en/french-guiana > Accessed 27 May 2019. 6  See < http://www.ine.gov.ve/documentos/Demografia/CensodePoblacionyVivienda/pdf/Result adosBasicos.pdf and http://www.ine.gov.ve/documentos/SEN/menuSEN/pdf/subcomitedemografica/Indigena/BoletinPoblacionIndigena.pdf > Accessed 27 May 2019. 7  See < https://www.dane.gov.co/files/censo2005/etnia/sys/visibilidad_estadistica_etnicos.pdf > Accessed 27 May 2019. 8  See < http://www.ecuadorencifras.gob.ec/resultados/ > Accessed 27 May 2019). 9  See < http://bdpi.cultura.gob.pe/busqueda-localidades and https://pnudperu.exposure.co/la-travesia-de-los-pueblos-indigenas-en-el-peru > Accessed 27 May 2019. 10  See < https://bolivia.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Caracteristicas_de_Poblacion_2012. pdf > Accessed 27 May 2019.

A History of Shaping


The total population of the Pan-Amazonian region, according to the limits set by the Amazon Network of Socio-environmental Information, RAISG (Rede Amazônica de Informação Socioambiental11), would be almost 45 million people, among whom, between the decades of 2000 and 2010, almost two million would be indigenous people belonging to about 390 groups. Throughout the Pan-Amazonian region—one that includes thus parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela and the whole of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana—the population has been increasing in recent decades due to the forms of resistance adopted by indigenous social movements and, in some cases, policies aimed at respecting the rights of traditional populations.12 Throughout the region, the persistent colonial situation has similar effects on the experiences of sexual and gender diversity, fitting, framing, or shaping it into the pattern of the western medicalized idea of the sexual dimorphism and gender binarism typified by the colonizing metropolis. Most books begin the history of the Pan-Amazon region in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when started the invasion of European colonizers, mainly Portuguese and Spanish (Gondim 2007; Porro 1993). However, since thousands of years, many native peoples lived across the great extension of lands marked by the equatorial climate and the vegetation of rainforests and situated between the center-­ north of the South American continent (in the Amazon River basin and Guyana plateau) and the escarpments of the Andes to the north and northwest (Venezuela and Colombia) and the west and southwest (Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia). These people were articulated in complex networks of exchanges that have been inspiring numerous anthropological, linguistic, and archeological research since the last century. One of the most powerful models of the continent’s pre-colonial history was forged opposing the arid, dry, and mountainous Andean highlands to the tropical and equatorial lowlands of dense and humid forests. In the first area, complex, politically centralized, extremely stratified, urban, and “civil” societies would have developed, while in the second area, simple, “no-religion,” “no-laws,” “no-kings,” “natural” societies would have developed. According to Fausto (2000), to this dichotomy would be added so many others in the nineteenth century that would oppose politics to kinship, territory to blood, contract to status, etc. In both cases, sexual and gender diversity would be cleared by the colonial system in the religious and legal spheres (Dynes and Donaldson 1990; Giraldo Botero 2002; Horswell 2005; Johnson and Dutra 2007; Mott 1988; Murray 1995a; Rodríguez 1995; Trexler 1995; Williams 1986). These experiences of pre-colonial Amazonian peoples would also be the object of erasure by archeology, which has never addressed these aspects in its struggle for legitimating a classification of the patterns of the occupation of the region (Gontijo and Schaan 2017).  See < https://www.amazoniasocioambiental.org/pt-br/ > Accessed 27 May 2019.  We will not address here the various methodologies used in each country to the official definition of the indigenous population. Many indigenous people, especially those living in cities, because of the adverse consequences of the colonization process, had to deny their forms of ethnic belonging, declaring themselves as non-indigenous people in the census. So the numbers on indigenous peoples are always estimates presenting inaccuracies of socio-anthropological point of view.

11 12


4  The Amazon

The ordering proposed in the Handbook of South American Indians, organized and published by Julian Steward in 1949, further reinforced the idea that the indigenous peoples of the equatorial rainforests would not have developed a “civilization” like those of the Andean peoples and the Pacific coast largely because of the difficulties imposed by the environment, considered (arbitrarily) inhospitable. The publication ranked the peoples of South America into four types, hierarchized according to the level of complexity relative to the relations of societies with the environment, their modes of production, and its socio-political organization: (1) at the base of the hierarchy would be the societies of nomadic hunter-gatherers distributed in bands that lived in inhospitable environments between the south of the continent and Central Brazil; (2) in the equatorial forests of the Amazon basin, the Brazilian coast, and the Guyana plateau and in the southern Andes would live societies in permanent villages composed of tribes with a larger number of people higher than the bands, linked by strong ties of kinship, practicing rudimentary agriculture and exploring aquatic resources; (3) in the region around the Caribbean and in the northern Andes there would be societies with a certain degree of political centralization around the figure of the cacique, complex religiosity, bolder social stratification and economy based on trade; finally, (4) at the top of the classification would be the Andean and Pacific coast “civilizations”, culminating in the Inca Empire. This rating was maintained in the proposal of Elman Service in 1962, which distinguished hierarchically, in evolutionary terms, bands, tribes, cacicados, and states. In the 1950s and 1960s, the work of archeologists Meggers and Evans (1957) further strengthened the approach of the rainforest peoples as organized into simple, egalitarian, and small-sized societies due to ecological aspects. However, archeological, ethnoarchaeological, ethnohistorical, demographic, linguistic, and ethnological researches carried out mainly since the 1970s and 1980s have questioned this evolutionist and diffusionist picture and emphasized the intense interactions and spreading of ideas and techniques among the peoples of the Pacific coast, the Andes, and the tropical and equatorial forests before the invasion of the European colonizers. Researches, for example, carried out by Roosevelt (1991); Schaan (2010); Gomes (2016); Neves (1998, 2006); Roberts et al. (2017), and those gathered in collections such as that edited by Silverman and Isbell (2008) and Pereira and Guapindaia (2010a, b), among others, have shown the complexity of how societies that lived in tropical and equatorial forests were related to the environment. These researches expose how the societies that developed in this environment—particularly along the Amazon basin rivers and lakes—and their cultures were adversely affected by European colonization (Funari and Noelli 2014; Prous 2006), to the point of becoming less expressive, which would be a form of resistance to the massacre perpetrated by the colonialism. Although some of these researches even question the colonial imposition of a European model of gender relations that disrupts the traditional ways of life, none of them directly addresses the sexual and gender diversity of pre-colonial peoples, perhaps because they are too much influenced by the academic guidelines still marked by colonization nowadays (Gontijo and Schaan 2017).

A History of Shaping


For Pizarro (2012), the discourse built by the first European colonizers who “discovered” the Amazon (in European eyes) was influenced on the one hand, by the imagery that came from the Middle Ages and the inquisitorial obscurantism and, on the other hand, by the mythical contents rescued by the Renaissance in the fantasies of Greco-Latin antiquity, which is confirmed by Buarque de Holanda (1992) and Gondim (2007). Pizarro says that: The obsessions of these travelers provide the revitalization of monsters, the production of variants because they are disturbed by the human profiles endowed with bulky sex in the region of the navel, hermaphrodites beings, sexy women, warriors, androgynous. The Amazons crossed centuries to reach America. […]. Their main features are known, for they are lonely women who maintain relations with men once a year and make their male children disappear. They are related to the existence of wealth, gold and brainless, so present in the Middle Ages […]. (Pizarro 2012, pp. 71–72)13

Pizarro (2012) and Gondim (2007) show how the Amazons, Greek mythological figures (or earlier, of Persian origin), were consolidated as one of the most representative images of the reality of contacts between settlers and natives in the northern portion of South America (because they are fearful, but guardians of riches), to the point of naming their most voluminous river, the Amazon, and even the entire region, the Amazon. The name of the region was consolidated with the use of at least four texts widely read between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and based on expeditions made by the Amazon River and the region: (1) Descubrimiento del Río de Orellana (The Discovering of the River of Orellana), by Gaspar de Carvajal, who participated in the journey of the Spaniard Francisco de Orellana, held in 1541 between Quito and the Atlantic Ocean by the “river of the Amazons,” an expedition that would have opened the eyes of Europe (or the “West” thus created) to the privileged universe of the multiplicity of riches tied to the nature of the region and initiating the implantation there of Greek mythology; (2) Carta al Rey Felipe II (Letter to the King Felipe II), authored by Lope de Aguirre, who participated in (and eventually commanded) the trip of the also Spanish Pedro de Urzúa, held in 1559 with the aim of finding the Eldorado, a text that was considered by Bolivar as the first to claim independence from some parts of the Americas because of the author’s open discontent with the central monarchical power; (3) Relación del Descubrimiento del Río de las Amazonas, Hoy San Francisco de Quito y Declaración del Mapa en Donde Está Pintado (Report on the Discovering of the River of the Amazons, Today San Francisco de Quito and the Declaration of the Map Where It Is Painted), by Father Alonso de Rojas; and, finally, (4) Nuevo Descubrimiento del Gran Río de las Amazonas (The New Discovering of the Great River of the

 Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “As obsessões destes viajantes proporcionam a revitalização de monstros, a produção de variantes, pois ficam perturbados com os perfis humanos dotados de um sexo volumoso na região do umbigo, seres hermafroditas, mulheres sensuais, guerreiras, andróginas. As amazonas cruzaram o espaço de séculos para chegarem até a América. [...]. Suas principais características são conhecidas, pois são mulheres solitárias que mantêm relações com homens uma vez por ano e fazem desaparecer os filhos machos. Estão relacionadas à existência de riquezas, ouro e dos acéfalos, tão presentes na Idade Média [...].”



4  The Amazon

Amazons), by Jesuit priest Cristóbal de Acuña, a Spaniard who participated in the trip of the Portuguese Pedro Teixeira in 1639—Alonso de Rojas reported the trip between the Portuguese region of Grão-Pará and the Spanish region of Quito and Cristóbal de Acuña, the return trip in the opposite direction. These latter texts were produced in the context of the negotiations between Portugal and Spain for the dominance of the region (Acuña 2009; de Carvajal et al. 1986; Porro 1993). From England came another account, at the time of the conquest of Guyana, confirming the image of the Amazons, with a text by corsair and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh entitled The Discovery of the Large, Beautiful and Rich Empire of Guyana with a Relation of the Great and the Golden City of Manoa, concerning a journey through Guyana and the Orinoco River held in 1596 (Raleigh 2017). These trips and their accounts have opened up perspectives for other forms of human and social expressions. However, the description they forged of the Amazonian world would be marked by “the projection of the European imaginary on a natural and human reality that has nothing to do with it, but that the discourse is about to shape […].”14 (Pizarro 2012, pp. 73–74) The vision of a natural paradise would contradict the hell of lust, greed, and evil: if, on the one hand, this was a territory to be exploited under the auspices of the mercantilist State for its inextinguishable riches, it was also, on the other hand, the place to which the eyes of the Church had to turn to prevent hell from settling down definitely on the planet (Buarque de Holanda 1992). Pizarro sums up the images of the Amazon in the first two centuries of colonization: […] paradisiacal and infernal space, chaotic, populated by strange creatures, a privileged object of the demonic and therefore apt for their transformation into servants of the Catholic Church. Creatures that inhabit a space populated with riches to be considered for exploitation, as well as those who belong to a fantastic zoology. A world endowed with demons, inclined to foolishness since its forms of thought do not respond to known binary logic; on the contrary, there is a permanent transgression of them. In this way the first narrative was constructed, widely spread in Europe through the chronicles, reports, and travel writings. This narrative began to be part of geographical literature of fantastic character, stimulating the European imagination, be it social, commercial, erotic, or of another nature. 15 (Pizarro 2012, pp. 90–91, emphasis added)

In the Amazon so named, imagined, feared, and venerated, the need was thus established to dominate the native populations to assuage them to economic, politi Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “a projeção do imaginário europeu sobre uma realidade natural e humana que nada tem a ver com ela, mas que o discurso trata de modelar [...].” 15  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] espaço paradisíaco e infernal, caótico, povoado por criaturas estranhas, objeto privilegiado do demoníaco e, portanto, aptas para sua transformação em servos da Igreja Católica. Criaturas que habitam um espaço povoado de riquezas a serem consideradas para a exploração, assim como aquelas que pertencem a uma zoologia fantástica. Um mundo endemoninhado, inclinado à insensatez, já que suas formas de pensamento não respondem à lógica binária conhecida; pelo contrário, há uma permanente transgressão delas. Dessa maneira foi construído o primeiro discurso, amplamente difundido na Europa por meio das crônicas, relações e escritos de viagem. Esse discurso começou a fazer parte de uma literatura geográfica de caráter fantástico, estímulo à imaginação europeia, fosse ela social, comercial, erótica ou de outra índole.” 14

A History of Shaping


cal, and administrative interests, on the one hand, and on the other, to the missionary interests of Christianity between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, but also, from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the classification and disciplinary interests of the Science and the capitalist bourgeoisie. The danger began to come not only from the supposed Amazons and their unbridled femininity but also from the libidinous practices “against nature” that abounded in the accounts of the countless travelers who journeyed through the region until the nineteenth century (Fernandes 2015; Fernandes and Arisi 2017). In these accounts, the “Amazons” become, not only feared warriors but are sexually associated with other women who dismiss men, as we can see in the Tratado da Terra do Brasil (Treaty of the Land of Brazil), written by Pero de Magalhães Gadavo in 1576: Some Indian women who also determine among themselves to be castes, who know no man of any quality, nor will they consent to it even if they kill them for it. They leave all the exercise of women and imitate men and follow their trades as if they were not females. They bring their hair cut in the same way as the males and go to war with their bows and arrows, and to hunting, always persevering in the company of men, and each has a wife who serves her, with whom she says she is married, and so they communicate and talk as husband and wife.16 (de Gandavo 2008, pp. 136–137)

According to Mott (1987), based on the Vocabulário na Língua Brasílica (Vocabulary in the Brazilic Language) published in 1621 by Jesuits working in Brazil (Drummond 1952), there was even a term in the lingua franca to refer to native women who behaved like men, çacoaimbeguira. The alleged lust of native peoples is reinforced in these accounts, as in the Tratado Descritivo do Brasil em 1587 (Descriptive Treaty of Brasil in 1587), written by the Portuguese Gabriel Soares de Sousa, depicting the northeast coast of Brazil: The Tupinambás are so lustful that there is no sin of lust that they do not commit […]. In their conversation they do not know how to speak of anything other than those dirty things that they commit every hour; they are so friendly to lust that they are not content, to satisfy their appetites, with their genital limbs as nature has formed; but there are many who usually put on the hair of a venomous animal on it that causes it to swell soon, which causes great pains for more than six months, and make them waste their time; this makes their genital limbs so thick and deformed that women cannot bear them, they suffer; these savages are so incarcerated in this sin, naturally committed, that they are very attached to the nefarious sin, that they do not see it as an affront; the one that serves as a male is seen as brave and all count this bestiality as a feat; in their village through the countryside, there are some savages who have a public tent to receive those who want them as their wives.”17 (de Sousa 1971, p. 308—emphasis added)

 Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “Algumas índias a que também entre eles determinam de ser castas, as quais não conhecem homem algum de nenhuma qualidade, nem o consentirão ainda que por isso as matem. Estas deixam todo o exercício de mulheres e imitam os homens e seguem seus ofícios, como se não fossem fêmeas. Trazem os cabelos cortados da mesma maneira que os machos, e vão à guerra com seus arcos e flechas, e à caça perseverando sempre na companhia dos homens, e cada uma tem mulher que a serve, com quem diz que é casada, e assim se comunicam e conversam como marido e mulher.” 17  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “São os tupinambás tão luxuriosos que não há pecado de luxúria que não cometam [...]. E em conversação não sabem falar senão nessas suji16


4  The Amazon

In the above account, the term “nefarious sin” appears, used alongside “against nature,” to designate, among others, sexual practices between people of the same sex/gender. Bullough (1990); Johansson (1990) and Jordan (1997) show that the legislation underpinning the European colonial empires between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries was based on medieval Christian moral values hoisted to law: in the fifth century, with St. Augustine, there was the valuing of celibacy and sexual abstinence to control the unbridled desire and promote marriage solely for procreation, to the detriment of all non-procreative forms, such as sexual practices between persons of the same sex. In the thirteenth century, with St. Thomas Aquinas, homosexual activities became the worst among the sins of lust, for they were regarded as sins “against nature” since only God could change the very order he himself gave to nature. The canonical laws of the twelfth to seventeenth centuries placed the deviation from the Christian codes related to sex as deviations from their religious doctrine as a whole, making it possible to apply the laws relating to heresy to homosexual practices and thus allowing these practices to be punished by the Inquisition. The Protestantism in the sixteenth century onwards reinforced hostility toward homosexual practices and persecuted the “sodomites.” The Spanish military and cleric Juan de Castellanos (1857), for example, presented with some surprise the sexual practices of indigenous peoples of the region of what would be today Colombia and Venezuela in his Elegías de Varones Ilustres de Indias (Elected of Illustrious Men of the Indias), considered as the longest poem in Spanish language, published in 1577, on his trip started in the 1540s during the period of the conquest of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The same thing was done by the French cleric Jean de Léry (1880) in his Histoire d'un Voyage Faict en la Terre du Brésil (History of a Journey in the Land of Brazil), published in 1578, where the exposed a “strange” friendship between two men; André Thevet (1982) in his Singularitez de la France Antarctique (Singularities of the Antarctic France), 1558; Yves d’Evreux (2012), in his Voyage au Nord du Brésil (A Journey to the North of Brazil), published in 1615; and Claude d’Abbeville (1874), in his Histoire de la Mission des Pères Capucins en l’Isle de Maragnan et Terres Circonvoisines (History of the Mission of the Capuchin in the Island of Maragnon and Surrounding Lands), 1614; or, finally, the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1851), regarded as the “first chronicler of the New World” by the Royal Academy of History of Spain (Real Academía de História), in his Historia General y Natural de Indias (Natural and General History of the Indias), 1551, where he reported on “sodomy practices” among natives of the Caribbean islands and the present-day dades que cometem cada hora; os quais são tão amigos da carne que se não contentam, para seguirem seus apetites, com o membro genital como a natureza formou; mas há muitos que lhe costumam pôr o pelo de um bicho tão peçonhento, que lho faz logo inchar, com o que têm grandes dores, mais de seis meses, que se lhe vão gastando espaço de tempo; com o que se lhes faz o seu cano tão disforme de grosso, que os não podem as mulheres esperar, nem sofrer, e não contentes estes selvagens de andarem tão encarniçados neste pecado, naturalmente cometido, são muito afeiçoados ao pecado nefando, entre os quais se não têm por afronta; e o que se serve de macho, se tem por valente, e contam esta bestialidade por proeza; e nas suas aldeias pelo sertão há alguns que têm tenda pública a quantos os querem como mulheres públicas.”

A History of Shaping


Colombia (Cardín 1989). All these narratives, according to Fernandes (2016, p. 17), have “[i]n common […] the abject gaze, serving as a justification for colonization.” Thus, the colonization also represented the forced imposition by Spain and Portugal—in addition to England, France, and Holland—of the adequacy to Christian moral values in the “New World,” according to Eisenberg (1990) and Gomes (1990), especially concerning the sexual experiences of native populations and African slaves brought by force, as Mott (1988, 1990) and Fernandes (2015, 2016) showed, with these people being punished by the Inquisition (Mott 1988; Tortorici 2012; Trexler 1995; Vainfas et al. 2006). After being shaped by colonial political and administrative systems based on Christian morals, the sexual experiences of the original peoples and enslaved populations would also be disciplined by Science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Fernandes 2016). This is proven by the timid way in which studies of indigenous peoples address these issues and, when they do so, they do it with a certain discretion—and sometimes without hiding the value judgments of the researchers themselves—as can be seen in Clastres (1972, 1974), Freyre (2002), Gregor (1977, 1985), Hugh-Jones (1979), Lévi-Strauss (1955), Métraux (1967), Murphy and Quain (1955), Ribeiro (1979), and Wagley (1977), among others, in addition to Murray’s very good summaries (1995b). More recently, we have seen a small critical academic production on the subject, mainly in Brazil, as we have pointed out in other texts (Gontijo and Erick 2015; Fernandes 2015, 2016; Gontijo 2017a). In Brazil, if the interest in the sexual experiences of indigenous peoples seems limited, the same cannot be said of the academic production on the affective relations between Europeans and African slaves and, in particular, on the mestizaje or miscegenation, a central theme of the studies on the formation of the national identity, as well as in other countries, such as Venezuela and Colombia. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some paradigms were elaborated on how lust (considered a “typical” African element) and greed (considered as a “typical” European element) would have shaped nationality. Prado stated, about the Portuguese, that “[the] splendid dynamism of this rude people obeyed two great impulses that dominate the whole psychology of discovery and were never generators of joy: the ambition of gold and the free and unbridled sensuality that, as a cult, the Renaissance had resurrected. […].”18 (Prado 1931, p. 11) As for the indigenous, the author states that “[i] t was a simple machine of jouissance and labor in the colonial harsh gynaeceum.”19 (ibidem p. 39) Finally, as for the enslaved African, ­"[j] ust as the black male arm replaced the indigenous labor, sensibly inferior to the African, so the black female, more affectionate and submissive, took the place of  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[o] esplêndido dinamismo dessa gente rude obedecia a dois grandes impulsos que dominam toda a psicologia da descoberta e nunca foram geradores de alegria: a ambição do ouro e a sensualidade livre e infrene que, como culto, a Renascença fizera ressuscitar. [...].” 19  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: ““[e]ra uma simples máquina de gozo e trabalho no agreste gineceu colonial.” 18


4  The Amazon

the Indian female in the colonizer’s gynaeceum.”20 (ibid p. 192) In turn, Freyre, in a less pessimistic perspective and more focused on positively appreciating the miscegenation, stated that “[the] environment in which Brazilian life began was one of almost sexual intoxication. The European jumped on land slipping in naked Indian females; the priests of the Company [of Jesus] themselves had to go down with care, otherwise, they would bury themselves in female flesh [lust]. […].”21 (Freyre 2002, p.  164) And he continues, revealing the beginning of the miscegenation: “The women were the first to give themselves up to the whites […]. This love was only physical; with a taste only for the flesh, the result was children whom Christian parents cared little about to raising […].”22 (ibidem pp. 164–165). But Freyre ponders that slavery was responsible for miscegenation, not the lust attributed to the enslaved Africans or to the original peoples: It is generally said that the black woman has corrupted the sexual life of Brazilian society, initiating early the children of the family to physical love. This corruption was not held by the black woman, but by the enslaved woman. Where it did not take place through the African woman, it took place through the Indian enslaved woman. […]. It is absurd to blame the black for what was not his or the Indian’s work but for the social and economic system in which they functioned passively and mechanically. There is no slavery without sexual depravity. It is the very essence of the regime.23 (Freyre 2002, p. 372)

In other words, slavery and related violence have transformed blacks (as well as indigenous people) into sexual objects to the violence of European white landlady—still nowadays, the black population is considered “sensual,” having their fetishes as hypersexuals (Moutinho 2003; Petruccelli 1992). Indigenous women are still regarded as “sensual” as well; and indigenous men, as effeminate ones, because of their lack of body hair and sometimes long haired-head. In both cases, they are considered sexual objects or even more “naturally” conducive to homosexuality. The concern with nationality in Brazil (as well as in the other countries of the ­Pan-­Amazonian region) is closely linked to the racial issue, especially the miscegenation and the sex relations between Europeans and Africans (in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela), because of the way racial discourse has been ideologically imposed

 Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[a]ssim como o braço negro substituiu o trabalho indígena, sensivelmente inferior ao africano, do mesmo modo a negra, mais afetuosa e submissa, tomou no gineceu do colono o lugar da índia.” 21  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[o] ambiente em que começou a vida brasileira foi de quase intoxicação sexual. O europeu saltava em terra escorregando em índia nua; os próprios padres da Companhia [de Jesus] precisavam descer com cuidado, senão atolavam em carne. [...].” 22  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “As mulheres eram as primeiras a se entregarem as brancos [...]. Neste o amor foi só físico; com gosto só de carne, dele resultando filhos que os pais cristãos pouco se importaram de educar [...].” 23  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “Diz-se geralmente que a negra corrompeu a vida sexual da sociedade brasileira, iniciando precocemente ao amor físico os filhos-família. Mas essa corrupção não foi pela negra que se realizou, mas pela escrava. Onde não se realizou através da africana, realizou-se através da escrava índia. [...]. É absurdo responsabilizar-se o negro pelo que não foi obra sua nem do índio mas do sistema social e econômico em que funcionaram passiva e mecanicamente. Não há escravidão sem depravação sexual. É da essência mesma do regime.” 20

Colonization, Racialization, and Exploitation


to explain the differences in the “New World”—the racial discourse as the basis for the coloniality of knowledge and power.

Colonization, Racialization, and Exploitation The social organizations of the descendants of the pre-colonial original populations, inhabitants of these aquatic lands that would be disputed from the sixteenth century by the Europeans, are called indigenous peoples or nations and encompass a very diverse range of ethnic groups. For a long time, they were indiscriminately called Indians (índios) because the first settlers believed that they had “discovered” a new way to India. The term Indians were used until the twenty-first century, voluntarily used to (de)mark the colonial situation, even after the success of the independence movements, thus turning the natives into “foreigners” in their lands. We will consider the Amazonian indigenous people as a “[…] group of people who live in community, have the same interests, share the same history, the same traditions and can speak the same language.”24 (Beltrão 2012, p. 16) From the perspective of critical Latin American studies, Amerindians would be one of the racial poles of the modern/colonial world-system in force since the colonization of the Americas—and the world—by the Europeans. According to Quijano (2005), America would constitute the first space-time of a worldwide “pattern of power,” the first identity of modernity, and the result of the convergence of two historical processes that have established themselves as the two pillars of the new pattern of power: On the one hand, the codification of the differences between conquerors and conquered in the idea of race, that is, a supposedly distinct biological structure that placed some in a natural situation of inferiority concerning others. […]. On the other hand, the articulation of all historical forms of control of labor, its resources, and products, around the capital and the world market.25 (Quijano 2005, p. 107).

The idea of race, according to the same author, has no known history before the colonization of America. Its theoretical elaboration as the naturalization of colonial relations between Europeans and non-Europeans becomes a powerful, effective, and durable instrument of universal social domination. According to Mignolo (2005), with the defeat of the Moors, the expulsion of the Jews and the Atlantic expansion from the sixteenth century, Moors, Jews, Amerindians, and enslaved  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] grupo de pessoas que convivem em comunidade, possuem os mesmos interesses, compartilham da mesma história, das mesmas tradições e podem falar a mesma língua.” 25  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “Por um lado, a codificação das diferenças entre conquistadores e conquistados na ideia de raça, ou seja, uma supostamente distinta estrutura biológica que situava a uns em situação natural de inferioridade em relação a outros. [...]. Por outro lado, a articulação de todas as formas históricas de controle do trabalho, de seus recursos e seus produtos, em torno do capital e do mercado mundial.” 24


4  The Amazon

Africans became the very mark of difference in the Western imaginary. Then the Jesuit missions in China added a new dimension to the difference and, in Asia and America, contributed to building, at the extremes, the “image of the Atlantic trade circuit,” conforming to the current image of Western civilization (Mignolo 2005 p. 33). The great economic and political transformations of the last four centuries resulting from the new configurations of the European model of capitalist expansion based on colonization, the coloniality of power and knowledge and globalization (Castro-Goméz and Grosfoguel 2007), with their social and cultural consequences and their territorial rearrangements, particularly in the Amazon basin region, have brought about a series of changes in  local lifestyles, including the decimation, migration, and/or forced assimilation of native populations (Roberts et  al. 2017; Ruiz-Peinado and Chambouleyron 2010). In the colonial period, whether in Portuguese states of Maranhão and Grão-Pará to the north-central and north, and of Brazil to the south and east, or in the Spanish New Granada in the west, African slaves were introduced for agricultural and domestic work and indigenous people were “civilized” and “Christianized” for use in the extraction of plants and mineral wealth. Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Amazon became the scenario for the establishment of types of social relations that supported the extractive economy, on the one hand, and the agricultural activity, to a lesser extent, on the other. In both cases, they were based on labor and indigenous knowledge, including through processes of slavery that usually led to extermination or forced assimilation or caboclização of the natives (Beltrão 2012; Chambouleyron 2010; Henrique 2012, 2013; Pacheco de Oliveira 2016; Salles 2005). In this context, it is not difficult to understand that one of the forms of the art of resistance becomes the hidden transcripts and negations of traditions (Scott 1992), hence the silencing of sexual practices that diverge from those imposed by the dominants, on the one hand, and shaped and disciplined, on the other, by the State, the Church, and the colonial apparatus as a whole—and Science as from the nineteenth century. Guzmán points out that, in these processes, we could see the spread of uncontrolled slavery in the Amazon, excess in the work in the houses of the colonizers, malnutrition, alcoholism, the destruction of cultural and family references and “[…] the ‘mixing’ with other groups in the missionary villages through the process of caboclization [caboclização], [indigenous people would eventually] Europeanize or even Africanize […].”26 (de Guzmán 2015, p. 5). Taketa adds that the inequalities thus produced would have future implications for the social organization of labor “[…] with the formulation of prejudices about certain kinds of work associated with manual and physical efforts, and about the living conditions of indigenous men and women, Africans, mestizos, and their descendants.”27  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] a ‘mistura’ a outros grupos nas aldeias missionárias através do processo de caboclização, por se europeizarem ou mesmo por se africanizarem [...].” 27  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] com a formulação de preconceitos acerca de certos tipos de ofícios associados aos trabalhos manual e físico, e das condições de vida de homens 26

Colonization, Racialization, and Exploitation


(Taketa 2018, p.  64). Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these social relations of submission led, in the Amazon in general, to the practice of what was called aviamento (a kind of sponsorship), still so common nowadays all around the Pan-Amazonian region, with new configurations (de Costa 2012a, b; Santos 1980; Santos Júnior 2014). The Amazon, where most of the indigenous Brazilian, Venezuelan, Colombian, Guyanese, Surinamese, and some of the indigenous Peruvian, Bolivian, and Ecuadorians peoples live nowadays, represents, as well as other parts of the world where natives are considered foreigners in their lands, the prototypical condensation of contradictions and evils resulting from the harmful impacts of major development projects undertaken in recent decades—displacement of populations from other regions in search of better living conditions, urban swelling, rural exodus, urbanization and consequent impoverishment of native populations, environmental disasters resulting from agricultural expansion and predatory extractivism, etc. (Cardoso de Oliveira 1978; Castro and Marín 1993; Gontijo 2017b; Mello 2006; Morán 1990; Pacheco de Oliveira 1998). Considering the indigenous as racially inferior, the concerted decimation to which they are subject is treated as a form of genocide (physical extermination or forced miscegenation) and ethnocide (cultural erasure, such as the silencing or shaping of traditional practices). According to Gomes (1990), whether in the colonial period, during monarchies, republics, dictatorships, or currently in democracies, “[…] one always notice the bad fate of the Indians: pressures on their land, neglect of their health and education, disrespect, injustice and persecution they suffer from all sides of the nation.”28 (Gomes 1990, p. 16) In this context, the figure of the caboclo or mestizo is invented. According to some researchers, caboclo identity was forged to deny the multiple forms of social and cultural organization of pre-colonial societies, thus contributing to denying the existential possibility to displaced or assimilated indigenous peoples and—we add—to silence their historical and current forms of resistance (Castro 2013; Harris 2006; Rodrigues 2006). According to Taketa, this identity formation cannot eliminate the multiple forms of social and cultural organization of pre-colonial societies in its entirety because, “[…] with a creative agency, [they] renegotiated a series of beliefs, practices and [cultural] elements and acquired the capacity for resistance and above all for adaptation and change in the face of the attempts at shaping [their way of life].”29 (Taketa 2018, p. 70). Decimated or unknown, silenced, denied, and erased by the colonial situation, subsumed by force in the (periphery of) global society, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon have thus been resisting the fated e mulheres indígenas, africanos, mestiços e seus descendentes.” 28  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] nota-se sempre a má sina dos índios: pressões sobre suas terras, desleixo com sua saúde e sua educação, desrespeito, injustiça e perseguições que sofrem, vindas de todos os quadrantes da nação.” 29  Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “[...] diante de uma agência criativa, renegociado uma série de crenças, práticas e elementos, adquirindo capacidade de resistência e sobretudo de adaptação e mudança diante das tentativas de enquadramento.”


4  The Amazon

dissipation with multifaceted reactions, in a way that can be compared to the one narrated by subaltern studies in India, concerning the erasure of the peasant insurrections by colonial historiography (Guha 1982; Chakrabarty 2002). Although in other regions of Latin America there has been talking of indigenism to designate a movement of resistance to the colonial situation and the vindication of rights by local indigenous peoples, in search of the de-racialization of social relations, indigenism in Brazil was for a long time associated with the official integrationist and assimilationist policy that took little account of the interests of the peoples to whom the actions were directed. It was especially from the 1960s and 1970s that there was an increase in the number of indigenous organizations led by leaders of the most diverse ethnic groups supported by proposals for indigenous policies and initiatives that were not at all confused with the integrationist and assimilationist actions of the official indigenous official institution, the National Indian Foundation, FUNAI (created in 1910 as the Indian Protection Service, SPI, and reconfigured in 1967 with the name currently in force). From then on, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, several non-governmental organizations, some of it non-­ indigenous, as well as Catholic and Protestant religious organizations, emerged and joined the indigenous leaderships, the indigenous official institution, in promoting the rights of indigenous peoples, especially after the enactment of the new Federal Constitution in 1988, which guarantees the right to difference and territorial, educational, and health rights, among others. Today, indigenous organizations are extremely complex and diverse in Brazil, including even the beginning of a social movement aimed at re-elaborating the image of sexual and gender diversity among indigenous peoples. Currently, as we said above, about 820,000 people are living in Brazil who claims to be indigenous, or almost 0.3% of the total population, according to data provided by the National Indian Foundation.30 Of the total, more than 500,000 live in rural areas, while the rest live in the urban areas. These natives speak 274 different languages, with just over 17% of them not speaking Portuguese—it is worth noting that the officially recognized language in Brazil is Portuguese.31 The recognition of a single language as an official one aimed to meet the ideal of the nation-building and is one of the consequences of the colonization project undertaken in Brazilian territory. The other languages, including indigenous languages, are recognized or are in the process of recognition by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) to promote and value the existing linguistic diversity in the country as national heritage. The Tikuna people, who live on the borders of Brazil with Colombia and Peru, has the largest number of speakers and therefore the largest population, followed by the Guarani-Kaiowá people, who live on the border with Paraguay, and the Kaingang

 See http://www.funai.gov.br/index.php/indios-no-brasil/quem-sao Accessed 27 May 2019.  In other Amazonian countries, some indigenous languages are also considered as official languages.

30 31

Colonization, Racialization, and Exploitation


people, who live in southern Brazil, on the border with Argentina.32 Many natives fear to affirm themselves ethnically due to the persistent colonial situation, while other indigenous people are in the process of self-assertion, ethnic emergence, or ethnogenesis—especially as a result of the Barbados Convention of 1971 and the Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries of the International Labour Organization of 1989 and its ratification by Brazil in 2002; this makes that the numbers are always subject to relativization (Arruti 2006). In Brazil, indigenous peoples are usually classified according (1) to physical types or genetic composition and origin; in one or two migratory waves from Asia to America, as the texts contained in the collections organized by Pena (2002) and Silva and Rodrigues-Carvalho (2006) point out; (2) to languages (Pena 2002); and, finally, (3) to cultural differences (Carneiro da Cunha 1992; Ribeiro 2009). Seven sets and/or linguistic branches are recognized by the linguistic classifications: the first, Tupi-Guarani, would be divided into a series of families, with its speakers living in the east coast of Brazil at the time of the invasion of the European colonizers and in a central area stretching from north to south of the country, from French Guyana to Bolivia and Paraguay; the second, Macrojê, would be divided into another series of families, with its speakers living in the central area of Brazil and some scattered areas from north to south of the eastern portion; the third, Aruak, with its speakers living in the eastern portion of Brazil’s borders from center-south to north; in addition to languages whose families are not yet included in branches, others not classified into families, others about which there is not much information and, finally, those who no longer have speakers (Beltrão 2012; Gomes 1990; Melatti 1972; Ribeiro 2009). We have already treated above the cultural classifications proposed by Steward (1949) and Service (1962), also applied to the Brazilian reality in the middle of the twentieth century. The indigenous cultural diversity in Brazil has been thought against these evolutionist and diffusionist models. The academic production of the last five decades, particularly in indigenous ethnology, has given rise to reflections denouncing the mechanisms of oppression and subjugation of indigenous peoples, also contributing in a certain way to the demands of indigenous social movements (Cardoso de Oliveira 1978; Pacheco de Oliveira 1998; Viveiros de Castro 1999, 2006). The cultural diversity of Brazilian indigenous peoples is represented in several thematic areas, in an attempt to give an idea of the complexity of their livelihoods, while taking into account the consequences of the colonial situation and those mechanisms of oppression and subjugation that are still strongly in force: kinship and social organization; body and personhood; shamanism, cosmologies, and religiosity; Amerindian politics and cosmopolitics; social networks; rituals and symbolism; gender and empowerment; violence and conflicts; and territorial rights are some of the themes that indicate the diversification of Brazilian indigenous peo-

 See http://www.funai.gov.br/index.php/indios-no-brasil/quem-sao?start=7# Accessed 27 May 2019.



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ples—and also the social tensions to which they are subjected and against which they resist. According to the latest report by the Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), Povos Indígenas no Brasil: 2011–2016 (Indigenous Peoples in Brazil: 2011–2016), edited by Beto Ricardo and Fany Ricardo, there are 252 people and over 700 indigenous lands in Brazil (Ricardo and Ricardo 2017). One of the most important elements claimed by indigenous peoples for their cultural maintenance—and also one of the main reasons for intense conflicts—is the right to constitute a territory and the production of territoriality. Current Brazilian legislation recognizes the “traditionally occupied indigenous lands” (those referred to in Article 231 of the Federal Constitution, the original right of indigenous peoples), the “indigenous reserves” (land donated by third parties, acquired, or expropriated by the State, destined for permanent occupation by indigenous people and which therefore belong to the State), the “dominial lands” (those owned by communities or indigenous peoples), and the “forbidden lands” (areas interdicted by the National Indian Foundation for the protection of indigenous people who live there in voluntary isolation). For a territory to be officially recognized as a “traditionally occupied indigenous land,” a procedural action is necessary that goes through the stages of study, delimitation, declaration, homologation, and regularization (or interdiction of use, if necessary). The official indigenous agency informs on its website that there are 565 delimited, declared, homologated, and/or regularized areas—totaling a little 117 million hectares—and another 114 areas under study. Six areas are interdicted of using, totaling a surface of almost 1.1 million hectares. The indigenous reserves, in turn, have an area of just under 80,000 hectares.33 The reality is quite different for indigenous people living in urban centers, either because of migration or because the urbanization has reached their villages (Melo 2018). So, how are the indigenous people organized in Brazil and, in particular, in the Amazon? What are the current tensions resulting from the colonial situation and the colonialism, between the indigenous peoples and the State and the Churches? How does sexual and gender diversity emerge, in this context of tensions and cultural diversity, as a topic sometimes to be excluded from the discussion agendas of indigenous social movements and academic research, or sometimes as a (timidly) relevant agenda? In this context exposed so far, how do these people resist and produce their existence? What are the challenges and dilemmas that are currently presented (or that are being historically reproduced)? What is (or not) the relationship between sexual and gender diversity and the forms of resistance?

 See http://www.funai.gov.br/index.php/indios-no-brasil/terras-indigenas. Accessed 27 May 2019.


Assimilation, Organization, and Resistance in Brazil


Assimilation, Organization, and Resistance in Brazil In Brazil, the practices that attempt to subject indigenous peoples to the National State are triggered historically by conflicts engendered by dissonant interests and agents. Usually, these interests of public and private spheres are driven by the discourse coined in the need for economic development, guided, in turn, by the possibility of dominating lands traditionally occupied by indigenous people. Once violated, such lands constitute stages for violent actions legitimated by agents of public administration. This is the case, for example, of practices around the lands inhabited by indigenous peoples and, even more so, where those who are in voluntary isolation live. The opinion of a great part of the political agents, supported by the media, is that those groups represent obstacles to regional and/or national development. The term “indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation,” as well as the other classification categories employed to identify peoples who are not in permanent contact with the non-indigenous society, such as “isolated,” “resistant,” and “in voluntary isolation” deserves more attention. For Carneiro da Cunha (1992) the concept of isolation should be qualified in situations where the term is used repeatedly, since there is some kind of contact between distinct ethnic groups intermediated, for example, by manufactured objects that invariably run long distances through commerce and war, and therefore promote interdependencies at a distance, even in areas not yet touched by the so called “white man.” For Luciano (2006), the category “isolated Indians” is the term used by de National Indian Foundation in reference to the peoples with whom the institution has not established contact. Other categories, such as “aloof,” are also used to designate indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, as shown by Souza Lima (1995). For the author, the term refers doubly to groups that have chosen not to maintain relations with the imperial or national administrative structure, as well as those who do not maintain contact due to their geographic location; however, they are not resistant to contact. Still for this author, other classifications such as “savage” (selvagem), “rude” (bravo), or “hostile” (hostil) were used by State agents in the early period of the Republic as a strategy to legitimize slavery and the expropriation of their ancestral territories, being the first employees in contact with the Brazilian non-indigenous society. In the meanderings of the categories employed in the context of indigenist action throughout the imperial period, the perception of indigenous was between “friendly” and “hostile”—a legacy of European colonialism, where the phenomena of miscegenation, alliances, trade, networks, and ethnogenesis were overshadowed; these phenomena are worked on nowadays through the problematization of the binomial “resistant” versus “acculturated” (Mattos 2011). The consequences of the official use of the above terms are still present, as will be discussed later. The perspective of resistance, employed primarily by the consolidated and institutionalized indigenous movement in Brazil since the 1970s, correlates with the refusal to establish contact with the non-indigenous society after violent incursions in traditionally occupied territories by representatives of national order, garimpeiros


4  The Amazon

who sought and searched for gold and diamonds, as well as farmers. This occurred with the Moxi Hatetema, belonging to the Yanomami group, which took refuge in locations of difficult access to the “whites” in the mid-1980s, after some violent contacts with garimpeiros in the current day Yanomami Indigenous Land, thus becoming resistant to contact with the national society, but are not isolated to the extent that they maintain (or have maintained) contact with other indigenous peoples in the surrounding areas (Albert and Oliveira 2011). The same is the situation of Korubo, who after initial contact, a part of the original group lives in constant displacement to avoid meeting with the national community, which illustrates the different strategies of opposition to submission and domination that can figure, among other ways, the so-called isolation—or resistance, the creation of federations and even collective suicides (dos Luciano 2006). Recognizing the category of resistance and the political positioning that involves the term, as well as the importance of making visible the categories with which the indigenous movement recognizes its participants, the term “voluntary isolation” appears to be added in the sense of presenting the confrontations engendered at the initial moment of the contact between natives and other agents and in the estrangement as a result of the violence that has been inferred, which converges with the trajectory traced by the examples already cited above, in the sense of maintaining an initial contact with other indigenous peoples, but who chose at some point to cease proximity. It is also necessary to consider that the constitution of what is nowadays understood by isolated indigenous communities is the result of people who have escaped from contact, colonizing practices, and State action, rallying to other people and in other locations (Carneiro da Cunha 1992). In Brazil, these groups historically face pressures motivated by economic development discourse. The State’s refusal to uphold the principles of the Federal Constitution, such as that advocated in the caput of Article 231—which states that “[…] are guaranteed to the Indians their social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and rights over the lands they traditionally occupy, and it is the responsibility of the Federation to demarcate them, protect them and ensure that all their assets are respected.” (BRASIL 2019)—has its antecedent in a broader context of practices aimed at the complete assimilation of indigenous peoples to what has been conventionally called “civilization”—i.e., the western modern world. Such practices rest on the integrationist and assimilationist perspectives undertaken with the endorsement of public power and (even) Science (Albert and Ramos 2002; Cardoso de Oliveira 1968; Carneiro da Cunha 1987; Souza Lima 1995). According to Souza Lima (1995), this process of assimilation is linked to “civilizing actions,” a set of tactics used by the Brazilian government and based on the colonial situation that aims to control the indigenous population through a “Great Siege of Peace”34: “It would be a way of access and an intermediate form of the completion of a project of extinguishing native peoples as discrete entities, endowed  The metaphor of appeasement is used by the author as a way to bring to light the justifications used by the government as an attempt to legitimize the violent processes of contact, interventions, cultural deletions, and/or shaping directed to indigenous peoples.


Assimilation, Organization, and Resistance in Brazil


with differential historicity and political self-determination.” (Souza Lima 1995, p. 118).35 Still, according to the author, the “civilizing action” also aims at the incorporation of indigenous peoples to the “customs of the civilizing people,” such as the adoption of the Portuguese language, the dress, and the Christian religion, and the culmination of this process would be their transformation into national workers— and we add here the denial of the expression of their traditional desires and sexual practices. In other words, the understanding was that the indigenous people would become part of the broader “national society” (and would no longer be “Indians”) to the extent that they began to share certain codes originally external to their culture—reproducing thus the colonial difference (Mignolo 2002) and therefore adapting to the medical-legal hegemony of sexual dimorphism and gender binarism (Fernandes 2015; Gontijo and Schaan 2017). The context of analysis undertaken by the author refers to the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, in which the belief embedded in evolutionary parameters regarding the transience of the indigenous condition had a prominent place not only in anthropology but also in institutional practices in Brazil. The enactment of the new Federal Constitution in 1988 sought to put an end to assimilationist perspectives. However, the document is not fully applied to the institutional practices of indigenous peoples, since there are not rare reports that denounce discriminatory acts within public institutions, such as the National Indian Foundation, what make it clear the content of the problem that the assimilationist imaginary had left to the institutional conceptions about the elements that should be considered in the identification of the indigenous peoples and the implementation of laws related to them. By highlighting a cut of discriminatory practices within the institution, a problem is underlined in legislative terms in that it breaches the Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization—which, in its Article 1, establishes the criterion of the self-identification as a parameter for guaranteeing fundamental rights to the indigenous peoples. The challenge, both by those residing in the Indigenous lands that have not yet been officially approved, either by those in an urban context, has been to enforce this criterion. Even in the face of the legal apparatus that not only supports but also stimulates the processes of recognition and application of territorial and identity rights, as is the case of Convention 169, indigenous peoples do not have this respected autonomy and are constant targets of discriminatory actions that are manifested in various forms, such as the State’s refusal to recognize their ethnic belonging. For this and other reasons, it is not uncommon for self-identification to be strategically hidden, camouflaged by other attributes, such as caboclos, as we have discussed above. On the other hand, those affiliated to the indigenous movements seek other strategies aimed at deconstructing the history of ethnic denial. Finally, this is how we understand why many indigenous people erase and deny some of their traditional

 Our translation of the original in Portuguese: “Seria uma via de acesso e forma intermediária do cumprimento de um projeto de extinção dos povos nativos enquanto entidades discretas, dotadas de uma historicidade diferencial e de autodeterminação política.”



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p­ ractices, including those related to sexual and gender diversity (Fernandes 2015; Fernandes and Arisi 2017). We can cite the example of the analysis undertaken by Ramos and Monzilar (2016) on the indigenous people Umutima. In 1970, the National Indian Foundation declared them extinct, ignoring those who survived the violent contacts. This analysis aims at the deconstruction of the discourses that mitigate the indigenous cultures as essentialized. The authors present three aspects of this endeavor, two of which are highlighted here. The first, called “glass ceiling syndrome,” postulates a criticism of the idea that the interference with the way of life of indigenous peoples would necessarily lead them to cultural loss. This argument is refuted by inserting the Umutina into higher education, where Western knowledge was added to the struggle for resistance as an indigenous people. The second aspect was classified as “the shackles of tradition syndrome,” as indigenous cultures would not participate in the dynamics and the changes that accompany life in society, modernity. To better substantiate this point of view, one can report to the reflection carried out by Kuper (2002), when he elaborated an analysis of the movements built by the Inuit, inhabitants of northern Canada and the Bushmen, located in southern Africa. In his analysis, he highlights that concepts widely spread by anthropology, such as race, culture, civilization, among others, are used by social movements and, in a larger context, also in the conventions of the United Nations. It is known that anthropology in its early days was largely responsible for building the images one has until today about indigenous peoples and traditional populations. With this in mind, the author aligns that in contemporary times the images of the “primitive Indian” and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation are elaborated to meet the objectives of certain social movements that tend to fight globalization, for example. The image of the “primitive” then meets the expectations of a world in harmony with nature and whose representation is attractive to a specific audience. Sahlins (1997a, b), in turn, criticizes the conceptions about the alleged cultural losses caused by the advance of modern and capitalist Western society over other societies. For the author, this is a pessimistic attitude that does not take into account the plasticity and adaptive capacity of human societies—and the capacity for resistance and resilience, this attitude widely and mistakenly disseminated by anthropology in its principle, basing itself on the belief in the uninterrupted advance of progress as a force capable of nullifying cultural specificities. In the Brazilian and Amazonian context, “progress” and “modernity” have been and continue to be used generally as forces that drive the confrontation of dissonant interests around the use of lands occupied by indigenous peoples. The State, supported by the productivist logic of capitalism, has many huge projects for using and exploring the Amazon, that include mineral extraction, implementation of electric transmission lines, construction of huge hydroelectric power plants, extensive agricultural production, among others, which are part of a larger picture of historically observable attempts of submission of indigenous peoples to the logic of the global market and economic development that invariably lead to ethnocide and/or genocide. It reflects the ineffectiveness of the actions undertaken by the official indigenous agency to promote real protection, sparing them from pressures and interests

Assimilation, Organization, and Resistance in Brazil


outside the community. In terms of legality, this prerogative is attributed to the National Federation36 and therefore to the State agents. As alluded to earlier, one of the strategies used by indigenous peoples in an attempt to position themselves beyond the domains and violence of the State was the resources of “isolation” or the omission of ethnic identities or traditional practices—that is, the production of various hidden transcripts (Scott 1992). Therefore, it is observed that there is resistance and that it should not be ignored in the unfolding of this debate, which continues to conflict. The many forms of violence directed at indigenous peoples in the Brazilian context can be seen, according to Souza Lima (1995), in the strategies and tactics developed by the State through multiple mechanisms aimed, in general, at putting pressure on indigenous populations to abandon nomadism and thus to regiment them around a productive system designed to maintain the State administration. An example of this would be the creation of the National Workers’ Protection and Localization Service (SPILTN) and the Indian Protection Service (SPI). Strategies such as aggregation, gifts giving, catechesis, conquests, expeditions, among others, are conceived by the author as updates of war relations and endowed with significance by the means of the nomination of the Indian as a legal status and a central piece of a code. Still according to the author, the formation of the modern State brought with it the consolidation of a tutelary power and therefore a new form of subjugation of the indigenous populations to the relations of domination that intended primarily to restrict the freedom of movement, the independent way of life and historical and cultural diversity, since they contained in themselves characteristics that did not match to the ideal of a nation that was intended to be consolidated. Although, in theory, the figure of tutelage was abolished from indigenous institutional practices after the promulgation of the Federal Constitution in 1988, the marks left by their action still echo in the relationship between agents of the State and indigenous peoples. In this regard, Pacheco de Oliveira (2014) paid attention to the ambiguity of the tutelage power that, at the same time, “promoted” the Indians to the symbol of the nation and took away the possibilities of the autonomous life opportunities of the indigenous peoples—and we would say that, in so doing, the Indians would be suitable for a certain Europeanity to make them acceptable, including in terms of gender and sexuality. This symbol was represented as elements of “primitive” relationship with an untouched “nature” which subsequently gave away to the denial of the human dimension of the “Indians,” linking them to animality and wilderness. For the author, the contemporary situations of extreme violence, in which indigenous people are targets of intolerance and racist conduct, based on a grammar that

 The Article 22 of the Brazilian Constitution states that “[l]egislate on indigenous populations is a matter of exclusive competence of the Union.” Later, in Article 109, it is established that “[p] rosecuting and judging the dispute over indigenous rights is the competence of federal judges.” In Article 231, in turn, it states that “the social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and rights to the lands they traditionally occupy are recognised to the indigenous people, and it is the Federation’s responsibility to protect them and ensure that all their assets are respected.”(BRAZIL, 1988 - emphasis added).



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situates them negatively in consonance with nature, are reflections of this tutelary action exercised by the State that activated domination and power. It can be said that the naturalization and animalization of indigenous people would partly explain in the present days the negation by many indigenous communities of their own traditional sexual and gender diversity: by denying diversity, they would be adapting to the image that was/is imposed on them. The process of colonization of the Brazil territory, followed by the consolidation of the Republic is, above all, the implementation of a project that aimed to erase the indigenous nations and therefore their cultural diversity. This project spreads to the present day and gets more complex contours as diffuse narratives and interests are highlighted. The wave of conservatism that is currently extending throughout the world and particularly in Brazil, especially after the media-parliamentary (and to some extent judicial) coup of 2016 and the election of an extreme-right government in 2018, have direct consequences on the claims upheld by indigenous social movements for the demarcation of their lands, as well as the violent actions directed at their villages related to current modalities of the modern/colonial world-system of capitalist expansion and neoliberalism. At the same time that the colonial difference seems to tend toward intensification, multiple forms of questioning, denouncing and reversing the hegemony of coloniality, and several modes of creative resistance and establishment of agency mechanisms are produced by indigenous peoples (Lander 2005; Mignolo 2002, 2005). The historical contextualization presented here allows us to understand this tension, which dates back to the situation in which the Amazonian indigenous people found themselves at the time of the invasion by the European colonizers in the sixteenth century, until today, with the culmination of the political organization of resistance and the proposal of a more just and sustainable global society.

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Fernandes, E.R., and B. Arisi. 2017. Gay Indians in Brazil: Untold Stories of the Colonization of Indigenous Sexualities. Cham: Springer. Freyre, G. 2002 [1933]. Casa Grande e Senzala. Rio de Janeiro: Record. Funari, P.P., and F.S. Noelli. 2014. Pré-História do Brasil. São Paulo: Contexto. Giraldo Botero, C. 2002. Deseo y Represión. Homoeroticidad en la Nueva Granada (1559-1822). Bogotá: Centro de Estudios Socioculturales e Internacionales. Gomes, D. 2016. O Lugar dos Grafismos e das Representações na Arte Pré-Colonial Amazônica. Mana 22 (3): 671–703. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-49442016v22n3p671. Gomes, J. 1990. In Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, ed. W.R.  Dynes and S.  Donaldson, 1028– 1030. Chicago: St. James Press. Gondim, N. 2007. A Invenção da Amazônia. Manaus: Editora Valer. Gontijo, F. 2017a. As Experiências da Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero no Interior da Amazônia: Apontamentos para Estudos nas Ciências Sociais. Ciência e Cultura 69 (1): 50–53. https://doi. org/10.21800/2317-66602017000100017. ———. 2017b. Gênero, Sexualidade e Etnodesenvolvimento na Amazônia: reflexões a partir de tipos-ideais. Revista FSA 14 (5): 55–72. https://doi.org/10.12819/2017.14.5.3. Gontijo, F., and I.  Erick. 2015. A Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero em Contextos Rurais e Interioranos no Brasil: Ausências, Lacunas, Silenciamentos e... Exortações. ACENO – Revista de Antropologia do Centro-Oeste 2 (4): 24–40. Gontijo, F., and D. Schaan. 2017. Sexualidade e Teoria Queer: Apontamentos para a Arqueologia e para a Antropologia Brasileiras. Revista de Arqueologia 30 (2): 51–70. https://doi.org/10.24885/ sab.v20i2.544. Gregor, Th. 1977. Mehinaku. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ———. 1985. Anxious Pleasures: the Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Guha, R., ed. 1982. Subaltern Studies I  – Writings on South Asian History and Society. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Harris, M. 2006. Presente Ambivalente: uma maneira amazônica de estar no tempo. In Sociedades Caboclas Amazônicas: modernidade e invisibilidade, ed. R. Murrieta, C. Adams, and W. Neves, 81–108. São Paulo: Annablume. Henrique, M.C. 2012. Índios na Amazônia do Século XIX. Belém: Estudos Amazônicos. ———. 2013. A Perspectiva Indígena das Missões Religiosas na Amazônia (Século XIX). História Social 2 (25): 133–156. Horswell, M. 2005. Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press. Hugh-Jones, C. 1979. From the Milk River: Spatial and Temporal Processes in Northwest Amazonia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Johansson, W. 1990. Sixteenth-Century Legislation. In Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, ed. W.R. Dynes and S. Donaldson, 1198–2000. Chicago: St. James Press. Johnson, H., and F.A.  Dutra, eds. 2007. Pelo Vaso Traseiro: Sodomy and Sodomites in Luso-­ Brazilian History. Tucson: Fenestra Books. Jordan, M.D. 1997. The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kuper, A. 2002. O Retorno do Nativo. Horizontes Antropológicos 8 (17): 213–237. https://doi. org/10.1590/S0104-7183002000100011. Lander, E., ed. 2005. A Colonialidade do Saber. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Lévi-Strauss, C. 1955. Tristes Tropiques. Paris: Plon. Mattos, I.M. 2011. O Indigenismo na Transição para a República: fundamentos do SPILTN. In Memória do SPI  – Textos, Imagens e Documentos sobre o Serviço de Proteção aos Índios (1910-1967), ed. C.A. Freire, 157–167. Rio de Janeiro: Museu do Índio/FUNAI. Meggers, B.J., and C. Evans. 1957. Archaeological Investigations at the Mouth of the Amazon. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 167: 1–664. Melatti, J.C. 1972. Índios do Brasil. Brasília: Editora da UnB.



Mello, N.A. 2006. Políticas Territoriais na Amazônia. São Paulo: Annablume. Melo, L.M. (2018). Povos Indígenas na Cidade de Boa Vista: estratégias identitárias e demandas políticas em contexto urbano. PhD Thesis, Anthropology, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém. Métraux, A. 1967. Religions et Magies Indiennes d’Amérique du Sud. Paris: Gallimard. Mignolo, W. 2002. Histórias Locais/Projetos Globais. Colonialidade, Saberes Subalternos e Pensamento Liminar. Belo Horizonte: EdUFMG. ———. 2005. A Colonialidade de Cabo a Rabo: O Hemisfério Ocidental no Horizonte Conceitual da Modernidade. In A Colonialidade do Saber, ed. E. Lander, 33–49. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Morán, E. 1990. A Ecologia Humana das Populações da Amazônia. Petrópolis: Vozes. Mott, L. 1987. O Lesbianismo no Brasil. Porto Alegre: Mercado Aberto. ———. 1988. O Sexo Proibido: Virgens, Gays e Escravos nas Garras da Inquisição. São Paulo: Papirus. ——— 1990. Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, ed. W.R.  Dynes and S.  Donaldson, 162–164. Chicago: St. James Press. Moutinho, L. 2003. Raça, Cor e Desejo. São Paulo: EdUNESP. Murphy, R., and B.  Quain. 1955. The Trumaí Indians of Central Brazil. Locust Valley: J.  J. Augustin Publisher. Murray, S.O., ed. 1995a. Latin American Male Homosexualities. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ———. 1995b. “Sentimental effusions” of genital contact in Amazonia. In Latin American Male Homosexualities, ed. S.O. Murray, 264–273. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Neves, E.G. 1998. Twenty years of Amazonian archaeology in Brazil (1977–1997). Antiquity 72 (277): 625–632. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00087044. ———. 2006. Arqueologia da Amazônia. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Pacheco de Oliveira, J. 1998. Uma Etnologia dos ‘Índios Misturados’? Situação colonial, Territorialização e Fluxos Culturais. Mana 4 (1): 47–77. https://doi.org/10.1590/S010493131998000100003. ———. 2014. Metáforas Naturalizantes e Violência Interétnica na Amazônia Contemporânea: Memórias do Terror e Instrumentos da Etnografia. In Saberes Locais, Experiências Transnacionais  – Interfaces do Fazer Antropológico, ed. L.C.  Rodrigues and I.B.P.  Silva, 73–92. Fortaleza: ABA Publicações. ———. 2016. O Nascimento do Brasil e Outros Ensaios: “Pacificação”, Regime Tutelar e Formação de Alteridades. Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa. Pena, S.D., ed. 2002. Homo Brasilis: aspectos genéticos, linguísticos, históricos e socioantropológicos da formação do povo brasileiro. Ribeirão Preto: FUNPEC. Pereira, E., and V.  Guapindaia, eds. 2010a. Arqueologia Amazônica 1. Belém: MPEG/IPHAN/ SECULT. ———. 2010b. Arqueologia Amazônica 2. MPEG/IPHAN/SECULT: Belém. Petruccelli, J.L. 1992. Cor e seletividade conjugal no Brasil. Estudos Afro-Brasileiros 23 (1): 29–51. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0101-546X2001000100002. Pizarro, A. 2012. Amazônia: As Vozes do Rio. Belo Horizonte: EdUFMG. Porro, Antonio. 1993. As Crônicas do Rio Amazonas. Petrópolis: Vozes. Prado, P. 1931. Retrato do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: F. Briguet et Cia. Prous, A. 2006. O Brasil antes dos Brasileiros. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Quijano, A. 2005. Colonialidade do Poder, Eurocentrismo e América Latina. In A Colonialidade do Saber, ed. E. Lander, 107–130. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Raleigh, W. (2017 [1596]). A Descoberta do Grande, Belo e Rico Império da Guiana. Tradução de Hélio Rocha. São Carlos: Scienza. The Discovery of the Large, Rich and Beautiful Empire of Guiana, with a Relation of the Great and Golden City of Manoa (which the Spaniards call El Dorado). London: Hakluyt Society. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2272/2272-h/2272-h. htm. Accessed 25 Apr 2019.


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Ramos, A., and E.  Monzilar. 2016. Umatina: um exercício de humanismo interétnico. Série Antropológica 453: 5–15. Ribeiro, D. 1979. Os Índios e a Civilização. Petrópolis: Vozes. Ribeiro, B. 2009. O Índio na História do Brasil. São Paulo: Global. Ricardo, B., and F. Ricardo, eds. 2017. Povos Indígenas no Brasil: 2011-2016. São Paulo: Instituto Socioambiental. Roberts, P., C. Hunt, M. Arroyo-Kalin, D. Evans, and N. Boivin. 2017. The deep human prehistory of global tropical forests and its relevance for modern conservation. Nature Plants 3: 17093. https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2017.93. Rodrigues, C.I. 2006. Caboclos na Amazônia: a identidade na diferença. Novos Cadernos NAEA 1: 119–130. https://doi.org/10.5801/ncn.v9i1.60. Rodríguez, P. 1995. Historia de Um Amor Lesbiano en la Colónia. In Las Mujeres el na Historia de Colombia – Volume III, ed. M.V. Toro, 71–75. Bogotá: Grupo Editorial Norma. Roosevelt, A.C. 1991. Moundbuilders of the Amazon: geophysical archaeology on Marajó Island, Brazil. New York: Academic Press. Ruiz-Peinado, A.J.L., and R. Chambouleyron, eds. 2010. T(r)ópicos de História: gente, espaço e tempo na Amazônia (séculos XVII a XXI). Belém: Açaí/Centro de Memória da Amazônia/ PPHIST-UFPA. Sahlins, M. 1997a. O ‘Pessimismo Sentimental’ e a Experiência Etnográfica: por que a cultura não é um ‘objeto’ em via de extinção (Parte I). Mana 3 (1): 41–73. https://doi.org/10.1590/ S0104-93131997000100002. ———. 1997b. O ‘Pessimismo Sentimental’ e a Experiência Etnográfica: por que a cultura não é um ‘objeto’ em via de extinção (Parte II). Mana 3 (2): 103–150. https://doi.org/10.1590/ S0104-93131997000200004. Salles, V. 2005. O Negro no Pará sob o Regime da Escravidão. IAP/Programa Raízes: Belém. Santos, R. 1980. História Econômica da Amazônia (1800-1920). São Paulo: T. A. Queiroz. Santos Júnior, R.A.O. 2014. Notas sobre o Dualismo Sociedade/Natureza e o Papel das Ciências Sociais na Questão Ambiental. In Ambiente e Sociedade na Amazônia: uma abordagem interdisciplinar, ed. I.C.  Vieira, P.M.  Toledo, and R.A.O. de Santos Jr., 79–100. Rio de Janeiro: Garamond. Schaan, D. 2010. Cultura Marajoara. São Paulo: Senac. Scott, J. 1992. Domination and the Arts of Resistance: hidden transcripts. New Haven: Yale University Press. Service, E. 1962. Primitive Social Organization: an evolutionary perspective. New York: Random House. Silva, H.P., and C. Rodrigues-Carvalho, eds. 2006. Nossa Origem: o povoamento das Américas – visões multidisciplinares. Rio de Janeiro: Vieira & Lent. Silverman, H., and W.H. Isbell, eds. 2008. Hndbook of South American Archaeology. New York: Springer. Souza Lima, A.C. 1995. Um Grande Cerco de Paz. Poder tutelar, indianidade e formação do Estado no Brasil. Petrópolis: Vozes. Steward, J.H. 1949. Handbook of South American Indians – Volume V. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. Taketa, B.V. (2018). O Novelo de Dalcídio. Mundo ribeirinho e subalternidades amazônicas no romance Belém do Grão-Pará, Project for the PhD Thesis, Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Trópico Úmido, Belém, Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos, Universidade Federal do Pará. Thévet, A. 1982 [1558]. Les Singularités de la France Antarctique. Paris: Maspéro. Tortorici, Z. 2012. Against nature: Sodomy and homosexuality in colonial Latin America. History Compass 10 (2): 161–178. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-0542.2011.00823.x. Trexler, R.C. 1995. Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Vainfas, R., B.  Feitler, and Lima, L.  L. da G., eds. 2006. A Inquisição em Xeque: Temas, Controvérsias, Estudos de Caso. Rio de Janeiro: Editora da UERJ.



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Chapter 5

Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

We would like to end the book by bringing some of the current challenges faced by openly queer people in their own indigenous communities. Their life histories are lived examples of intersectionality (Crenshaw 1991). The term “intersectionality” was created and developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw to explain how black people were subject to oppression that were at the intersection of many other oppressions: for being a woman in a patriarchal system and for being black in the racist society that is North America. This concept helps to understand the different oppressions experienced by indigenous native bodies that present themselves in their lives as queer. We would like to conclude our book by bringing their experiences to think about what does it mean to be native and queer in Latin America/Abya Yala today. We still will encounter histories of violence but also we will learn about struggle and courage to transform. Vanina Lobo Escarlante is a queer native. She is born in a Moxeña indigenous community in a country known now as Bolívia. She tells in a video interview that when she was 12 years old, she knew already that she wanted to be a woman and not a man like her brothers. She suffered a lot of physical and emotional violence that started in her family, as she was afraid of being murdered, she decided to leave her community. She moved to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, then she was refused at first by other trans people in the city, but even facing all these difficulties, she found her way in the city being a sex worker. After the death of her father, who was a community leader, her brothers did not want to replace their father position in the “cabildo indigena,” so Lobo Escarlante offered herself to go back to the community to assume her father’s leading place but again she was not accepted. She explains in a short interview how she developed her fight for indigenous sexual diversities’ rights (Movimiento Maricas Bolivia 2020). A lesbian bisexual activist, Salazar Huarita calls our attention to the “classism” that exists in the LBGTQI2+s movements. She understands that classism is not yet present in the activism’s agenda, but it is also an issue when we are defending queer natives’ rights. She also explains how difficult it is for indigenous women that decide not to have children, because this refusal and this self-decision about her © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 F. S. Gontijo et al., Queer Natives in Latin America, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59133-5_5



5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

own body could be understood as not “accepting indigenous women’s role” (Movimiento Maricas Bolivia 2019). The Movimiento Maricas Bolívia organized the event “Apthapi: reflexiones en torno a las identidades indígenas y diversidades sexuales y de género de Bolívia.” Oscar Cazorla was a well-known LGBTQI2+s’ right activist in the Zapotec community in Guatemala, founder member and organizer of the famous vela festival: The Authentic Intrepid Searchers of Danger. In February 2019, he was murdered (Voices in Movement 2019). One year after, there was a protest of 40 muxe that demanded justice for Cazorla because until this moment, nobody was appointed as responsible for his assassination. In a video interview, muxe Felina Santiago expresses how does she miss him and how Cazorla left a legacy for the next generations to fight for justice in Mexico, not just for the muxe but for all people (Aristegui 2020). Katryna Malbem is Guarani, she lives in Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil. When she was 14  years old, she decided to transite, and to assumer her identity as a woman. In 2019, she won a Beauty Contest as Miss Diversity in the province. When she got the prize, she spoke out that many trans people prefer not to expose themselves because of fear. She explains that she suffers a kind of “double prejudice” for being trans and for being indigenous (Dulce 2019). Helena Joaquina, also called in her native language Zengoa Ariaacòn Puri, is born in Bugre, Minas Gerais, Brazil. She says she took some time to understand herself as lesbian and indigenous and that she was target of many different ways of oppression for being a woman, lesbian, and indigenous. (Dulce 2019). Manjur, a trans woman from the Bororo people had her transition from male to female followed in the documentary. Currently, she works as head of communication for the Pobore community, Bororo, in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The film, directed by Rafael Irineu, was made by a 100% queer crew and it got several national cinema prizes (Barros 2018; Cabral 2019). We would like to bring these life stories as an open-ended story to our book. We would like to record some of these real histories of interseccionality (Crenshaw 1991) that brings different kinds of oppression upon these bodies that “molestan” (that matter, in Spanish). Our intention with this last chapter is to show how in Abya Yala there are so many different ways of struggle against these forms of oppression. These are real lives of real bodies that do not conform to what discriminatory norms want to make from them and with them. They perform their bodies in a diverse way, they might have penises and big breasts, they might be creative and original, wear (or not) traditional clothes, but more importantly, they assume themselves in this identity of being Queer Native. We intent to participate in what the queer indigenous movement has been doing for years, and to support queer people somehow by opening up new spaces for debate and understanding of indigenous sexual diversity, demonstrating how this is part of our own culture and our own history. To end, we would like to present an ethnographic account recorded by Gontijo about the life history of a young indigenous gay man trajectory.

5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?


An Amazonian Indigenous Gay Using the biographical narrative of an Amazonian indigenous gay man, and based on (or on the absence of) the vast literature on sexual and gender diversity produced throughout the 1990s and 2000s, we will consider as a way of an open-ended conclusion the expressions of the sexuality in the countryside of the Brazilian Amazonian region and the peculiar ways in which sexuality and ethnicity (but also, to a lesser extent, gender, race, class, and regionality), as social markers of difference, are related to these expressions. We understand that it will be possible to address the tensions experienced by this indigenous gay man between the notion of village and urban reality, between collectivism and individualism, between particularism and universalism, and between assimilationist indigenist policies, (post) identity and (post) libertarian policies, and the tension between sexuality and ethnicity. In Santarém, in the Brazilian state of Pará, Gontijo followed, between 2015 and 2017, the lives of some indigenous persons who told us of their experiences as subjects who maintain affective relationships with other individuals considered to be of the same sex/gender. These are narratives of challenge and resistance that serve to remove them from the double anonymity—as indigenous and as homosexuals—to which they were subjected by the colonial situation. Kauã (a fictitious name) was one of those indigenous people who provided an account of his experiences. In a maloca (hut)1 under reconstruction behind his house, there was a stall—a table with a white cloth—on which there were several statues of saints, such as Our Lady of the Conception, St. Sebastian, St. Barbara, St. Anthony, St. Rita, and Our Lady of Aparecida, as well as images of caboclos, drawings of indigenous entities attached to the wooden walls, heads of wild animals of the forest hanging down, feathers of macaws and other birds, and many pieces of wood, leaves, and herbs. A few maracas (o kind of ratlles) and butts of tauarí cigarette completed the paraphernalia of the hut, along with drums on the floor: with the former, the indigenous entities would be called, like the caboclos and the enchanted spirits (encantados); with the latter, the place would be smoked in order to sacralize it to receive spiritual beings; finally, with the drums, the African entities would be invited to the session. He remembers that the first spiritual entity to arrive in the sessions is his “mother” Jarina, an indigenous woman; then come Erundina, Dona Mariana, Caboclo Rompe-­ Mato, and Guaraci; thereafter, the “lines” (groups of spiritual entities) of shamans or pajés with João da Palha, Laurelino, Merandolino, Antoniozinho do Cafezal de Alenquer, among others, all of them shamans who lived in the region between the biggest rivers of the area (Amazon, Tapajós, and Arapiuns); then, come the snakes entities, such as Seu Cobra Coral, Joana Caninana, Seu Jiboia, Pirarucuboia, Boiúna, 1  The sacred temples of the African-Brazilian rituals and religions are commonly called terreiros; the sacred places where some Indigenous-Brazilian shamanistic rituals take place are called barracão.


5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

Cascavel, Surucucu do Fogo, etc.; finally, when possible, come Oxóssi and Oshun, the African entities than preside Kauã’s soul. Here and there, we can see some handouts and books on Anthropology, Sociology, and History, for the university use of Kauã. The things present in his hut and the names of the entities cited show that we are dealing with a person who, identifying himself as an indigenous person from an ethnic group in the Tapajós River region,2 experiences the world around him in a multiple way, using indigenous memories, Afro-Brazilian references and scientific knowledge, making him a young shaman of reknown. Kauã was born in 1993 in the rural area of the municipality of Santarém. His mother, very young at the time, let him be registered by his maternal grandparents, with whom he lived in the neighboring municipality of Belterra—a town founded by the Henry Ford’s rubber explorers in the 1930s. His grandfather had (and still has) a small grocery store and his grandmother sold tacacá in the streets of the town.3 During his childhood, he helped his grandparents at the grocery store and the cultivation of fruits and vegetables in a small farm that his grandfather owned a few hours drive away from there. His father had divorced from his mother shortly after his birth, moving to Manaus, where he still lives to this day. From time to time, he visits Kauã and his parents, who live in a town near Santarém. His paternal grandparents come from an indigenous ethnic group in the region, the same group Kauã claims to belong to— his grandmother is a neo-pentecostalist (or non-denominational) Christian, considered by Kauã as a “radical”4 one. His mother, a hairdresser who never lived with him and has two children with her second husband, says that his father had to move to Manaus due to defamations related to accusations about his alleged homosexuality: it was spread throughout the region that he had sexual intercourses with men, which made him migrate to Manaus and never get married again—to live his sexuality more freely, according to Kauã. On the mother’s side, Kauã says that his grandmother is tapuia or tupaiú, indigenous native of the region, while his grandfather was born in the Amazonian state of Acre, the son of a man who migrated there from the Northeastern region of Brazil to work on the rubber exploitation and a kaxinawá indigenous woman. His maternal grandmother is Catholic, from the conservative wing called “charismatic.” 2  We will avoid namming ethnic groups here. It is known that in the region there are ethnic groups that have resisted strongly the erasure promoted by the colonial situation, such as the Mundurucu and the Wai Wai, and others that more recently have claimed, through processes of ethnic emergency or ethnogenesis, due to their almost disappearance, the political and ethnic recognition, such as the Borari, the Tapajó and the Arapiuns - see, on this subject of ethnic identity dynamics and ethnicity processes and ethnogenesis of indigenous peoples in Brazil, Arruti (2006), Bartolomé (2006), Beltrão, (2012, 2015), Carneiro da Cunha (1986), Pacheco de Oliveira (1998), Santos and Neves (2015) and Viveiros de Castro (2006). 3  This is a local Amazonian dish of indigenous origin (composed of cassava gum, the stinging jambu leaves, shrimp and the milk of cassava called tucupi) usually eaten at dusk in one of the many stalls of the streets of the cities of the region. 4  We will always put in quotation marks and italics the words, expressions and excerpts of Kauã’s own discourse.

5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?


Until he was 8 or 9 years old, he lived in a town near Santarém, before moving with his maternal grandparents and an uncle to the neighborhood where he lives until now, a rural community about 15 km from downtown Santarém. The community, formed from the BR-163 highway (known as Santarém-Cuiabá, built to be the outlet for part of the agribusiness production from the state of Mato Grosso to the Amazonian ports toward the Atlantic Ocean) has less than one thousand and five hundred inhabitants, according to Kauã, who come mostly from the Northeastern region of Brazil or from indigenous communities displaced from the banks of the Tapajós River. His grandmother once told him that during the first years of his life he repeatedly fainted and had convulsions when faced with certain situations, such as when he entered the thick forest and when he came across pristine streams, besides talking to the moon and some animals. The doctors never knew exactly what was happening to him. When he was at the age of 11, a rezadeira (a popular healer), married to an influential indigenous shaman of the region, detected that what was happening to him was the manifestation of mediumship and that Kauã was going to be a respected healer in the future. From then on, although his grandmother was a “radical” Catholic, Kauã began to hold consultations: “I began to pull the dimitidura in people, people dim the arm, that tear inside the flesh, I would go there and sew with a needle and a cloth, but not pierced the flesh, no, I was sewing on a cloth and praying and the person got good, I do not know where it came from in me”.5 Kauã prayed to the guardian angels and the enchanted spirits (encantandos), he healed dimitidura, embodied spirits, and mixed leaves, herbs, and oils that he picked up in the forest to make medicines that were used in prayers and blessings. One day, a neighbor invited him to go to a temple of the Church of Peace (United Church of Christ), a denomination very common in the region. Kauã attended this church and other non-denominational ones for 8 years, becoming one of the favorite musicians of the temples and a faithful and attentive believer. He says that he attended these churches with the intention of ‘healing himself” of his mediumship, also convinced by his indigenous paternal grandmother who attended the church God Is Love. To remain in the church and to become a real member of it, Kauã was forced by his grandmother and the pastors, to get rid of his knowledge about healing and, above all, get rid of the whole indigenous and Afro-Brazilian paraphernalia he used for his prayers, objects regarded as demonic. It did not take long for him to realize that these churches were operated with mechanisms very similar to those of healing and shamanism, through the revelations of prophecies, incorporation of spiritual entities, religious ecstasy and trance, visions and clairvoyance, frantic dances, etc., all rhythmic by drums and drumming that reminded the temples of Afro-Brazilian religions… The main difference is that the non-denominational churches are like enterprises and have a business purpose. But even being “evangelical”, Kauã says that: “I would always smell a sacred tauarí; I had images of Indians

 Dimitidura is a disease that affects people with strong muscular pains, requiring the services of a healer that would rub the skin, pulling it strongly.



5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

at home, hidden; I was bound with animal feathers, with wooden shells; even in church, sometimes people asked me to pray for them with my herbs and oils from the forest, they asked me for natural medicines, I did all this hidden from the pastors”. At the age of 18, Kauã moved away from neo-pentecostal churches, at the same time he got involved with a group of indigenous ethnic valorization,6 a group that has been developing a vigorous work to encourage local ethnic emergence processes. At that moment, Kauã also discovered that through his graduate studies at the newly established public Federal University of Western Pará, he could be instrumental in claiming the rights of traditional peoples and respect for Amazonian indigenous cultures. Finally, he also began to attend terreiros (temples) of Afro-­ Brazilian religions, attracted by the drums and drumming and responding to the calls of Oshun, entity of the fresh waters, and Oxóssi, entity of the thick forests. Thus, by moving away from the churches and meeting activists and researchers involved in local indigenous movements, Kauã seems to rediscover himself as an indigenous person—literally removing the colonial coverage that stifled his sense of ethnic belonging; but, an indigenous interested in Afro-Brazilian things and therefore the overall national belonging; and finally an indigenous person aware of the need to fight for the recognition of traditional peoples, through the liberating university knowledge, which helps him to “discover the true reality,” as he said. In the indigenous group, Kauã learned nheengatu, the general language of the Tupi branch used for catechesis (in the past and also today) and currently an important ethnic affirmation instrument in the Amazonian region, mainly used by peoples who were forbidden to speak their original languages. The group, he said, “works in the villages, for example, with the cultural revival, the rescue of handicrafts, graphics, songs recording, rituals, the learning of lost languages and the teaching of nheengatu, all these things that could empower the indigenous people.” At the group’s headquarters, Kauã read everything he could find, everything that concerned the lives of indigenous peoples, everything that helped him to understand the mechanisms of production and maintenance of ethnicity. Upon meeting the anthropologists who produced the material for the workshops, Kauã decided to start studying in a local public university to pursue a career that would contribute to the group’s activities. Thus, Kauã became a central figure in the group, to the point where, in early 2018, he was appointed to a municipal council in Santarém, acquired a national projection as a composer and lyricist of songs in indigenous languages, besides acting as a renowned shaman in the region of the Tapajós River, and finally being a major leadership of affirmative action policies in his university. As he “rediscovered” himself as indigenous, Kauã also seems to have “discovered” himself as homosexual. Although he says that since he was a child he thought that “the male bodies were beautiful,” Kauã starts to accept himself as “homosexual,” “gay,” or “suassu” (in its own terms, the latter used by his people to designate

6  To avoid identifying Kauã, we have chosen not to name the indigenous associations to which he belongs.

5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?


the practice between people of the same sex/gender) when, on the one hand, he tried to have sex with one of his first girlfriends, at the age of 19, and he failed; and on the other hand, he assumed for himself that he was in love with one of his neighbors. The love for the neighbor was reciprocated and Kauã felt impelled to talk about it with his aunt’s neighbor and with his own relatives, especially with his maternal grandparents. To his surprise, everyone accepted as “quite normal” the love of the young couple, with the exception of the neighbor’s parents, that forced him to move to Manaus. His paternal grandmother had difficulty in accepting his homosexuality and tried to take him back to attend her church, in vain. According to him, many relatives on his father’s side, usually evangelicals, began to avoid him. In the indigenous group where he militates and in the university, everyone knows about his sexual orientation, as well as in the communities and villages he attends for the numerous activities of ethnic indigenous valorization. When asked about the way in which, in the communities he attends, the indigenous villagers deal with his sexual orientation, Kauã cites the example of a locality on the banks of the Tapajós River, where a great festival is held annually that brings together indigenous people from all over the region, as well as university students, researchers, riverine dwellers, and other curious people. During the days of celebration, there is a lot of singing and dancing, moments during which, according to him, under the effect of the drinks ingested, fortuitous sexual intercourses end up taking place in the surrounding forest areas, including between indigenous boys. He says that due to his reputation as an efficient shaman, the old indigenous leaders of the villages treat him with great respect and affection, as well as the indigenous people who live in the city. He also says that in the city he has had frequent affective and sexual relationships with other indigenous people who, in their villages, would not have the courage to relate to other boys “for fear of being discovered by some white person.” For many older indigenous people, homosexuality is an evil brought by the whites into the villages, while recognizing that, in the past, there have always been such practices. A curious case occurred when one of these young men asked Kauã if he had “turned” gay because he has had sex to Kauã—or “wosway,” a term of another ethnic origin used to describe practices between persons of the same sex/gender. Kauã replied that he would only become homosexual if he maintained this relationship in the form of a marriage. The boy then asked to marry Kauã, to which Kauã refused, because he did not want to maintain a fixed relationship. Kauã says that after his love for his neighbor, he had several relationships, including with some married men (some of them, indigenous), until he fell in love again, this time at a distance, with a boy who lived in Manaus at the time of the interview, and who was delighted with Kauã’s “indienous way” or “jeitinho indígena”—in a clear demonstration of what could be taken for a sort of fetishization of ethnic belonging to relationships purposes. Kauã’s biographical narrative can contribute to outline a way of understanding the intertwining and articulations between sexuality and ethnicity in the Brazilian Amazonian region. To this end, let us consider the experiences presented through his biographical narrative as “[…] actual living through of events […]”, to paraphrase Geertz (1973, p. 405); if the events are the result of the game between mate-


5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

rial causality and social interaction, then the experience is the result of the interpretation of events (Barth 1989); and therefore, the experience is what constitutes the subject as such, always associated with historical processes (Scott 1992).7 For Kauã, his ethnic belonging is conformed by the militancy in the indigenous movement, the studies in the university and the social deconstruction promoted by the course, and his mediumship and performance in shamanism and the Afro-­ Brazilian religions. All this helped him to better understand that his experience of (homo) sexuality is just another aspect in the configuration of his worldview and identity, since sexuality, for him, has to do with the way he perceives people as fluid, sensitive, and cosmic beings. He triggers signs of indigenous ethnic markers when he works in the various activities in favor of the valorization of traditional peoples and when he acts as a shaman. But he triggers also signs of (homo) sexual markers when he attends the many festivities, most of them indigenous, since in the indigenous cosmologies he shares, there is a place for the triggering of these signs without this being considered unreasonable or inconvenient—although this place is veiled, as one of the effects of the colonial situation. Because he belongs to the lower classes of the countryside of Santarém, perhaps the activation of categories of ethnic belonging—associated with his role in indigenous militancy, religious prestige in the communities, and good performance in academic activities—will allow him to somehow neutralize the effects of his class habitus, resignifying the mechanisms of the system of social dispositions and thus avoiding declassification, in a Bourdieu-­ like analysis. Sexuality, in this case, seems to be linked to ethnic belonging and together serve to (re) shape the class habitus (Bourdieu 1979). Kauã uses religiosity as one of the marks of ethnic belonging, as well as family/ group and the suffering faced by his indigenous group in the past which serves as a lesson for the future: he speaks of the suffering of uprooting (due to the colonial situation) and he hopes of re-rooting (due to the ethnic emergency or ethnogenesis and the fight against social silencing and cultural obliteration) as Amerindian (and Afro-American) cosmological forms to thinking about the passage of time and overcoming. Memory and its materialization in the things that make up his material culture of everyday life (herbs, rattles, headdresses, images, earrings, earplugs, etc.) operate meticulously as (flexible) valuation patterns (Barth 1989) to make re-­rooting always a process, in the present, of mediation between a past to be carefully (re) presented or (re)updated and a future to be always built in interaction with the different ones that form the wider social group in a tough attempt to overcome the effects of coloniality. Sexuality is also meant as linked to religiosity, the group and the memory lived as part of the ethnic belonging. Kauã is an example for us to understand the peculiar way in which sexuality and ethnic belonging seem to be articulated in the Amazonian semi-urban context. This 7  It is not individuals who have experience, but subjects who are constituted through experience. Experience in this definition then becomes not the origin of our explanation, not the authoritative (because seen or felt) evidence that grounds what is known, but rather that which we seek to explain, that about which knowledge is produced. To think about experience in this way is to historicize it as well as to historicize the identities it produces. (Scott 1992:  25–26)

5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?


is a particularity of the way that the sexuality is experienced in this context, when compared to other regional contexts. Through Kauã’s account, we can see that it seems to have a disharmony between what is reported and experienced by him and what the studies on sexuality have produced so far, placing too vigorous an emphasis on the desires and practices in force in the large urban centers of the South-­ Southeast industrialized regions of Brazil. There also seems to be a disharmony between what is reported and experienced by him and what the studies on indigenous peoples have produced until very recently, figuring indigenous peoples as those whose sexual life only makes sense within their cosmologies, kinship relations, and/or the social organization of exchanges. Many aspects of the lifestyles of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon were rejected (or silenced) by the colonial situation (Fernandes 2015), particularly certain experiences, such as those related to the desires and sexual practices in their connection with ethnic processes (Gontijo and Erick 2015). Recently, the production of reflections on the Amazonian indigenous sexuality in Brazil (and to a lesser extent in Peru and Colombia as well) has intensified.8 It seems that both the coloniality (of knowledge and of power, according to Lander 2005), and the decolonizing academic production have separated into distinct axis studies on ethnic and ethnicity on the one hand, and on the other hand, studies on sexual and gender diversity, as fields (of knowledge and… power) that would have little connection—or at least little relevant connection -, fragmenting the acquaintance of the reality of indigenous peoples and ethnically differentiated groups and communities and thus contributing to the legitimization of a kind of coloniality of affections. The processes of colonial subordination, promoting heteronormativity, essentialist sexual dimorphism, and compulsory heterosexuality— and consequently the coloniality of affections—would have naturalized sexual binary divisions, inscribing them in bodies, legitimizing them with scientific knowledge and valuing them with religious moralities. However, in the everyday reality of the individuals thus subalternized and marginalized, those on whom the silencing, the erasure, and the exclusion fell, life follows its rhythm of creative resistance, as could be seen with Kauã. In order to decolonize knowledge and power and break with coloniality in the understanding of the Amazonian way of experiencing sexual and gender diversity, it would be perhaps necessary to listen to what the people say about their experiences, including about the relationship between ethnicity and sexuality, and thus  For example, the publication of the dossier edited by Luisa Elvira Belaunde in the journal Cadernos de Campo (volume 24, issue 24, 2015) and the texts edited by Cecilia McCallum, Dany M. Rubio, Patrícia C. Rosa, and Vanessa Lea in the journal Cadernos Pagu (volume 41, 2013), both significant of the need to pay attention to gender and sexual diversity among Amazonian indigenous peoples. Fabiano Gontijo and Estêvão Fernandes, together with other Brazilian researchers, have edited three dossiers that present articles on the subject – two of the them in the journal Amazônica: Revista de Antropologia and the other one in ACENO: Revista de Antropologia do Centro-Oeste (Gontijo et al. 2016; Fernandes et al. 2016; Lopes et al. 2016). There are also some isolated texts, such Athila (2010) and Cancela et al. (2010). Finally, the book of Fernandes and Arisi (2017) is, for the time being, the first synthesis book on the subject. 8


5  Conclusion: What Does It Mean to Be Native and Queer in Latin America Today?

contribute to the elaboration of worldviews that no longer corroborate the ­colonialist idea that sexuality is always sinful or morally recriminated and that therefore the redemptive salvation would pass through the denial of (traditional) indigenous sexuality. The indigenous peoples themselves—especially the younger of them—are working toward this, as can be seen in some initiatives that have been emerging in events such as the National Meetings of Indigenous Students (ENEI) in Brazil, with the agenda of establishing the relationship between ethnicity and homosexuality since its fourth edition, held precisely in Santarém, the city where Kauã, in 2016, was living.9

References Aristegui. 2020. Impune, asesinato de activista muxe Óscar Cazorla a un año de su muerte. Available at: https://aristeguinoticias.com/1002/lomasdestacado/impune-asesinato-de-activis ta-muxe-oscar-cazorla-a-un-ano-de-su-muerte/ Arruti, José M. 2006. Etnogêneses Indígenas. In Povos Indígenas no Brasil: 2001-2005, ed. B. Ricardo and F. Ricardo, 50–64. São Paulo: Instituto Socioambiental. Athila, Adriana R. 2010. How are people made? Gender, difference and ethnography in an Amazonian indigenous society. Vibrant  – Virtual Brazilian Anthropology 7 (1): 157–187. http://www.vibrant.org.br/issues/v7n1/adriana-romano-athila-how-are-people-made/. Barros, Lidiane. 2018. Foi o homem branco que trouxe o preconceito para a aldeia. 07/06/2018. O Livre. Available at: https://olivre.com.br/foi-o-homem-branco-que-trouxe-o-preconceitopara-a-aldeia-diz-indigena-lgbt Barth, Fredrik. 1989. The analysis of culture in complex societies. Ethnos 54 (3-4): 120–142. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00141844.1989.9981389. Bartolomé, M.A. 2006. As Etnogêneses: Velhos e Novos Atores e Novos Papéis no Cenário Cultural e Político. Mana 12 (1): 39–68. https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext& pid=S0104-93132006000100002. Beltrão, Jane F. 2012. Povos Indígenas na Amazônia. Belém: Estudos Amazônicos. ———. 2015. Povos Indígenas nos Rios Tapajós e Arapiuns. Belém: Supercores. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1979. La Distinction. Paris: Minuit. Cabral, Maria Clara. 2019. Filme de MT sobre indígena LGBT é indicado ao Grande Prêmio do Cinema Brasileiro. 21/05/2019. Available at: https://olivre.com.br/filme-de-mt-sobreindigena-lgbt-e-indicado-ao-grande-premio-do-cinema-brasileiro Cancela, Cristina D., Flávio L. Silveira, and Almires Machado. 2010. Caminhos de uma Pesquisa acerca da Sexualidade em Aldeias Indígenas no Mato Grosso do Sul. Revista de Antropologia 53 (1): 199–235. http://www.revistas.usp.br/ra/article/view/27349. Carneiro da Cunha, Manuela. 1986. Etnicidade: da Cultura Residual mas Irredutível. In Antropologia do Brasil: Mito, história, etnicidade. São Paulo: Brasiliense/EdUSP. Crenshaw, Kimberlé W. 1991. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review 43 (6): 1.241–1.299. Dulce, Emily. 2019. Quem disse que os indígenas não debatem agenda LGBT? Brasil de Fato. Available: https://www.brasildefato.com.br/especiais/lgbtfobia-veio-de-caravela-colonizacaosobre-os-corpos-indigenas

9  The National Meeting of Indigenous Students (ENEI) have been held since 2013, presenting itself as an importante space for discussions that brings together indigenous from all over Brazil, especially university students.

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Fernandes, Estêvão. 2015. Descolonizando Sexualidades: Enquadramentos Coloniais e Homossexualidade Indígena no Brasil e nos Estados Unidos. PhD Thesis, Ciências Sociais (Estudos Comparados sobre as Américas). Brasília: Universidade de Brasília/CEPPAC. Fernandes, Estêvão, Fabiano Gontijo, Moisés Lopes, and Martinho Tota. 2016. Apresentação— Dossiê Experiências da Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero em Áreas Rurais, Contextos Interioranos ou Periferizados e/ou Situações Etnicamente Diferenciadas: novos descentramentos em outras axialidades. Amazônica. Revista de Antropologia 8 (1): 9–12. https://periodicoscientificos.ufmt.br/ojs/index.php/aceno/article/view/4142. Fernandes, Estêvão, and Barbara Arisi. 2017. Gay Indians in Brazil: Untold Stories of the Colonization of Indigenous Sexualities. Cham: Springer. Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Gontijo, Fabiano, and Igor Erick. 2015. A Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero em Contextos Rurais e Interioranos no Brasil: Ausências, Lacunas, Silenciamentos e... Exortações. ACENO – Revista de Antropologia do Centro-Oeste 2 (4): 24–40. https://periodicoscientificos.ufmt.br/ojs/index. php/aceno/article/view/4627. Gontijo, Fabiano, Estêvão Fernandes, Martinho Tota, and Moisés Lopes. 2016. Apresentação: Ainda sobre novos descentramentos em outras axialidades da diversidade sexual e de gênero. Amazônica: Revista de Antropologia 8 (2): 261–262. https://periodicos.ufpa.br/index.php/ amazonica/article/view/4721. Lander, Edgardo, ed. 2005. A Colonialidade do Saber. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. Lopes, Moisés, Fabiano Gontijo, Estêvão Fernandes, and Martinho Tota. 2016. Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero em Áreas Rurais, Contextos Interioranos e/ou Situações Etnicamente Diferenciadas. Novos descentramentos em outras axialidades – apresentação. ACENO: Revista de Antropologia do Centro-Oeste 3 (5): 10–13. https://periodicoscientificos.ufmt.br/ojs/index. php/aceno/article/view/4142. Movimiento Maricas Bolívia. 2019. Silene Salazar Huarita: red de mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales de Bolívia. 22/07/2019. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i65pAS7D5eY ———. 2020. Vanina Lobo Escalante: mujer trans indígena moxeña trinitária. Available at: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGr9a8gdCRU Pacheco de Oliveira, João. 1998. Uma Etnologia dos ‘Índios Misturados’? Situação colonial, Territorialização e Fluxos Culturais. Mana 4 (1): 47–77. https://www.scielo.br/scielo. php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0104-93131998000100003. Santos, R.R.N., and T.M. Neves. 2015. Índios e Resistência Adaptativa na Amazônia Setecentista: Além da Mera Reação Espasmódica. Revista Estudos Amazônicos XIII (1): 68–98. Scott, Joan W. 1992. Experience. In Feminists Theorize the Political, ed. J. Butler and J.W. Scott, 22–40. New York/London: Routledge. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2006. No Brasil, Todo Mundo é Índio, Exceto Quem Não É. In Povos Indígenas no Brasil – 2001-2005, ed. B. Ricardo and F. Ricardo, 41–49. São Paulo: Instituto Socioambiental. Voices in Movement. 2019. Muxe activist Oscar Cazorla murdered in his home in Juchitán, Oaxaca. 11/02/2019. Available at: https://voicesinmovement.org/muxe-activist-oscar-cazorlamurder-oaxaca/


A Abya Yala, 6, 7 Acataymita, 27 Acataymites, 30 Activism’s agenda, 63 Adventurers, 25 African slaves, 46 Afro-Brazilian references, 66 Afro-Brazilian religions, 67 Amariconados, 19 Amazon basin administrative boundaries, 35 biophysical limits, 35 Brazilian resisatance (see Brazilian resistance and organizations) colonialism, 35 colonization, 40 colonization/racialization/ exploitation, 45–50 cultures, 38 equatorial climate and vegetation, 37 ethnic groups, 36 imagery and mythical contents, 39 indigenous peoples, 35, 36 lifestyles, 46 lingua franca, 41 missionary interests of Christianity, 41 natural paradise, 40 Pan-Amazonian region, 37 Peruvian, 36 researches, 38 river and regions, 39 sexual and gender diversity, 37 sexual practices, 42 shaped nationality, 43

societies, 37 uncontrolled slavery, 46 Amazonian indigenous gay caboclos, 65 challenge and resistance, 65 Kauã (see Kauã) sexual and gender diversity, 65 sexuality and ethnicity, 65 spiritual entity, 65 tensions, 65 Amazonian indigenous people, 36, 45 Amazonian indigenous sexuality, 71 Amazon Network of Socio-environmental Information, 37 American colonization, 9 Amerindian peoples, 30 Amerindians, 45 Ancient Maya archeological artifacts, 17 Andean and Pacific coast civilizations, 38 Andean Colony, 28 Andes region Andean sexualities, 30 inhabitation, 28 landscape, 27 Macchu Picchu, 25 peoples, 25 Andrea Stone, 15 Animalization, 56 Anthropology coloniality, 4 definition, 1 diversity, 1 Indigenous people, 7 Latin American, 4–5 theoretical production and commitment, 4

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76 Atacama desert documentary, 25 aviamento, 47 Aztec civilization/culture, 11 B Barbados Convention of 1971, 49 Binarism, 29 Bingham settlement, 26 Biopolitical dispositives, 2–4, 7 Biopolitical governmentality, 2, 5 Biopowers, 3 Bourdieu-like analysis, 70 Brazilian indigenous cultural diversity, 49–50 Brazilian indigenous people, 49 Brazilian legislation, 50 Brazilian resistance and organizations anthropology, 54 assimilation, 52 autonomous life opportunities, 55 civilizing action, 53 classification categories, 51 colonization, 56 Convention 169, 53 ethnic identities/traditional practices, 55 glass ceiling syndrome, 54 historical contextualization, 56 Indigenous peoples, 51 institutionalized Indigenous movement, 51 Inuit movements, 54 isolation, 51, 52 medical-legal hegemony, 53 new Federal Constitution in 1988, 53 problematization, 51 progress and modernity, 54 proximity, 52 public administration, 51 State’s refusal, 52 Western society, 54 C Cabildo indigena, 63 caboclo/mestizo, 47 caboclos, 53 çacoaimbeguira, 41 Capitalism, 1 Catholic and Protestant religious organizations, 48 Central American reality, 5 Ceremonial site and sanctuary, 17 Chibcha people, 28 Chilean state, 32 chimouhqui, 14 Chincha, 29

Christian colonizers, 7 Civilization, 38, 52 Classic Maya culture, 18 Classic Maya religious practices, 17 Classism, 63 Colonial harsh gynaeceum, 43 Colonial persecution, 30 Colonial project, 26 Colonial subordination, 71 Colonialism, 6 Coloniality, 45, 46, 56, 70, 71 Colonization aspects, 25 Brazilian indigenous sexualities, 7 conceptions, 26 control/disciplinary dispositives, 2 hegemonic model, 6 imperialism and capitalism, 1, 2, 5 Indigenous people, 31 Indigenous sexualities, 30 Latin America, 7 macro narratives, 26 Mexico and Central America, 5 moral impositions, 26 native bodies, 27 non-normative sexual practices, 5 Portuguese, 6 senses, 26 sexualization and erotization, 3 sodomites, 31 Colonizer’s gynaeceum, 44 Complementary gender system, 20 Conchucos, 29 Conquistadores, 10 Contagion, 32 Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, 53 Corollary imperialism and capitalism, 1 Cross-dressers, 20 cuiloni, 14, 18 cuilontia, 14 Cultural loss, 32 D Decolonization, 26 Decolonizing academic production, 71 Dominial lands, 50 Dual-gender, 31 E Enchanted spirits (encantados), 65 Enslavement, 2 Eroticism, 27

Index Erotization, 3 Essentialist sexual dimorphism, 71 Ethnogenesis, 20, 49 European and Arab colonialism/ imperialism, 3 European colonization, 10, 35 European colonizers, 2, 7, 15 European model of capitalist expansion, 46 European model of gender relations, 38 European moral system, 30 European occupation, 10 European values, 2 F Fecundity, 29 Federal Constitution in 1988, 55 Federal Constitution prinicples, 52 Feminine-masculine, 15 Feminine universe, 31 Florentine Codex, 5, 13, 14 French Guyana, 36, 37, 49 G Gender binarism, 3, 53 Gender identities, 29 Genetic homogeneity, 10 Glass ceiling syndrome, 54 Globalization, 1 Governmentality, 2 Greco-Latin antiquity, 39 Greek mythology, 39 Guarani-Kaiowá people, 48 Guatemala, 16, 21 Guerrileras, 21 Guyana, 36, 37, 40 H Handbook of South American Indians, 38 Hermaphrodites, 14, 15, 39 Heterogeneous group, 2 Heteronormativity, 3, 71 Heterosexuality, 4 Homosexual lovemaking, 16 Homosexuality, 4, 6, 28 accusations, 12 European invasion, 17 male, 16 Mayan, 15 moral and juridical position, 13 nahuas, 19 native sources, 16 pre-Hispanic cultures, 14

77 pre-Spanish Americas, 15 same-sex practice, 12 huecos, 27 Hunter-gather’s lifestyle, 10 Hybridization, 20 Hypersexuals, 44 I Imperialism, 25 Indian enslaved woman, 44 Indian Protection Service (SPI), 55 Indians (índios), 45 Indians of the Equator region, 29 Indigenism, 48 Indigenous Christianity, 9 Indigenous communities, 15, 63 Indigenous expression, 27 Indigenous knowledge, 46 Indigenous organizations, 48 Indigenous people discourses, 32 historical narratives, 26 national identity, 32 Popayán region, 29 sexual diversity, 32 sexual experiences, 43 structural relations, 32 Umutima, 54 Indigenous queer, 32 Indigenous reserves, 50 Indigenous sexual complementarity, 30 Indigenous sexual diversities, 6, 63 Indigenous sexualities, 26, 72 Indigenous social movements, 50 Inquisition, 43 Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), 48 Institutionalization, 1 Inter-ethnic conflicts, 32 Internal colonialism, 4 Intersectionality, 63 Isolated Indians, 51 J Jesuit missions in China, 46 K Kaingang people, 48–49 Kauã Afro-Brazilian paraphernalia, 67 biographical narrative, 69, 70 birth, 66

78 Kauã (cont.) colonial situation, 70 coloniality, 71 denomination, 67 disharmony, 71 ethnic belonging, 70 evangelical, 67 homosexual, 68 homosexuality, 69 indienous way/jeitinho indígena, 69 indigenous ethnic markers, 70 indigenous ethnic valorization, 68 indigenous person, 68 inhabitants, 67 kaxinawá indigenous woman, 66 maternal grandparents, 69 non-denominational churches, 67 parents history, 66 radical, 66, 67 religiosity, 70 reputation, 69 resistance, 71 rezadeira, 67 Santarém, 66, 67 sex/gender, 69 sexual orientation, 69 tapuia/tupaiú, 66 terreiros, 68 L Larco Museum in Lima (Peru), 27 Latin, 7 Latin America Abya Yala, 6 anthropologies, 4, 5 continental uniqueness, 3 controversies, 7 decolonization, 3 gender and sexual diversity, 5 interlocutors, 4 invasion and colonization, 7 native populations, 5 queer and indigenous, 6 regions, 5 Latin America/Abya Yala, 63 Latin American context, 4 Latin American indigenous queer, 30, 32 Latin American indigenous sexualities, 26 Latin colonizers, 7 LGBTQI2+, 6 Lingua franca, 41

Index M Macchu Picchu, 25–27 Machi identity, 31 Machi weye, 30 Chilean state, 32 eyewitness, 30 feminine spiritual power, 31 Mapuche, 30 men/women, 31 reversed sexuality, 31 sexual role, 31 Mapuche (Reche), 30–32 Mapuches (Eche), 31 Masculinity, 17 Maya k’ichi people, 21 Mayan archeology, 16 art, 17 Empires, 10 homosexuality, 15 identity, 22 language, 15, 16 region, 10 Medieval Christian moral values, 42 Melchor Arteaga, 25 Mesoamerica anthropology and demographic study, 10 Aztec Empire, 11 civilization/cultural achievements, 10 countries, 10 genetic differentiation, 10 indigenous cities and rural areas, 10 indigenous people’s rituals and lives, 13 muxe sexual fluidity, 20–22 pre-Columbian indigenous people, 13 queers deities and transvestism, 18–20 Mesoamerican ideology, 13 Mesoamerican reality, 5 Mesoamerican scholars, 11 mestizaje/miscegenation, 43, 44, 47, 51 Molestan, 64 Monotheistic intolerance, 27 Mountainous Andean highlands, 37 muches ceramics, 27 Muiscas, 28 muxes definition, 21 generations, 21 Guatemala, 21 identity, 20 politics, 21 queer theory, 20 types, 21

Index N Nahua’s societies, 12 nahuas, 19 náhuatl language, 11, 13 Naj Tunich, 15–17 National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), 36 National Indian Foundation, 53 National Institute of Statistics (INE), 36 National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), 36 National Meetings of Indigenous Students (ENEI), 72 National society, 53 National Workers’ Protection and Localization Service (SPILTN), 55 Native Americans, 2 Native socio-diversities, 6 Natives, 7 Natives’ sexual tolerance, 6 Naturalization, 56 Nefarious sin accusations, 12 arguments, 9 cuilontia, 14 cuilonyotl, 14 defeated Muslims, 9 homosexuality and practitioners, 12 indigenous people, 12 Neo-liberal regimes, 32 Neoliberalism, 1, 56 Non-Mayan culture, 17 O Olmecs, 10, 11, 17 Open and transcendent symbology, 28 P Pachamama, 9 Pachamama/Portal del Sol, 25 pampayruna (Inca prostitution), 30 Pan-Amazonian region, 37, 44, 47 Particularism, 2 patlachhufa(nite), 15 patlachuia/patlache, 14 Patriarchalism, 3 Pattern of power, 45 Penile bloodletting, 17 Peruvian Amazon basin, 36 Phallicism, 17 Phallocentric ceramics, 27 Polemics, 25 Political territory, 22

79 Population displacement, 47 Portuguese Pedro Teixeira, 40 Post-colonial Latin American national elites, 3 Pre-colonial Amazonian peoples, 37 Pre-colonial peoples, 38 Pre-Columbian moral, 19 Pre-Columbian peoples, 29 Predatory extractivism, 47 Primitive Indian, 54 Protestantism, 42 puto, 14, 18 Q Queer Indians Katryna Malbem, 64 oppressions, 63 Oscar Cazorla, 64 Salazar Huarita, 63 Vanina Lobo Escarlante, 63 Queers, 6 R Racial hierarchies, 3 Religion, 29 Río Bravo del Norte, 6 Rituals, 30 S Servinacuy, 30 Sex perception, 28 Sexual activity themes, 27 Sexual dimorphism, 53 Sexual identity, 4 Sexualities, 26, 27, 70 hegemonic model, 6 legal-moral discursivities, 3 social control/disciplinary practices, 4 and state, 4 Sexual normalization, 32 Sexual panic, 5 Shamans, 65 Shared body, 27 Sins “against nature”, 42 Slavery, 44 Snakes entities, 65 Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA), 50 Sodomético, 14 Sodomites, 7, 9, 12, 31, 42 Sodomy practices, 42 Spaniards, 10, 31, 32 Spanish adventurers, 5 Spanish inquisition, 5


80 Spanish model, 28 State institutions, 5 State’s refusal, 53 Suriname, 36, 37, 47 Symbolization, 31 T Tenoch Laaksonen, 20 Tezcatlipoca, 18 Tikuna people, 48 Titlacauan, 18 Traditionally occupied indigenous land, 50 Transnational indigenous movements, 32 Transvestism, 19 Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, 35 Trial marriage, 30 Tupi-Guarani, 49 U UNESCO’s world heritage, 16 Universal social domination, 45

V velas, 21 Voluntary isolation, 52 W Western civilization, 46 Western nations, 3 X Xochihua, 13 Y Yanomami Indigenous Land, 52 Yollococoxqui, 14 Z Zapotec, 15 communities, 21 indigenous communities, 5