The changing understanding of the Huaorani shaman’s art

  • Aleksandra Wierucka University of Gdansk
Keywords: indigenous shamanism, Amazonian culture, Huaorani


The Huaorani live in the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon region. Their culture differs from others of the region in many aspects; in recent decades, it has been affected by changes that were inevitable after their official contact with Western culture in 1958. Drawing on fieldwork with an Ecuadorian Huaorani clan, this paper explores some difficulties in understanding the shaman’s practices in this small scale society. The argument is that the accounts given by the researchers during last fifty years differ from each other, and that this makes almost impossible to talk about “traditional” and “contemporary” Huaorani shamanism at present.