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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183On-line version ISSN 1806-9983


ATHIAS, Renato. Doença e cura: sistema médico e representação entre os Hupdë-Maku da região do Rio Negro, Amazonas. Horiz. antropol. [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.9, pp.237-261. ISSN 0104-7183.

This paper analyses the therapeutic process regarding contagious diseases and it also presents a synthesis of the Hupdë-Maku’s medical system. The data presented were collected through fieldwork accomplished in Rio Negro during the year of 1997. The indigenous population of this area have been in contact with the colonisation fronts since the 17th century. There is information of countless epidemic diseases since this contact, which has decimated the population. Although currently there are health services in the area – precariously provided by government agencies – and therefore the Indians already know the "efficacy" of the western medical system. The research points out the indigenous selective choice of the therapeutic resources. How is this choice made? What is the role of the shaman? And how does the shaman operate inside this system? Researchers have been referring to two categories in the selection of the therapeutic itinerary: diseases- of-Indians and disease-of-white. However, the logic of the representations about the disease-of-white can only be understood throughout their myths and cosmology, in the context of inter-ethnic relationships in the Rio Negro basin. Therefore, the understanding of the categories as disease-of-white and disease-of-Indians, which may be juxtaposed or parallel, are not based on social practices, nor on the choice for therapeutic resources.

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