Kanaimà

Kanaimà – The predominant form of dark shamanism in Amazonia. Neil Whitehead defines it as “assault sorcery,” which involves the “mutilation and lingering death of its victims.” Not only is an understanding of all forms of dark shamanism necessary in relation to particular ethnographic discussions; it also aids appreciation of the inadequacy of Western dualisms that try to separate “(our) good shamans” from “(their) bad sorcerers.” The pervasive importance of predation and perspectivism are also clarified by recognition of the role of these practices and discourses. As in the Caribbean, kanaimà can function as an assertion of agency and autonomy among indigenous peoples under colonialism. This is also important in recognizing the malleability and continuing evolution of “traditional” indigenous notions of what shamans might be and do.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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