South American Indigenous

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When Two Worlds Collide - A Battle for Indigenous Amazonian Land
In this tense and immersive tour de force, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan…
Secrets of the Tribe
Part of the Series: Anthropology 101 Collection
The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomamo Indians. In the 1960s and '70s, a steady stream of anthropologists filed into the Amazon Basin to observe this "virgin" society…
The Ax Fight
Part of the Series: Anthropology 101 Collection
The Ax Fight was restored by the National Film Preservation Foundation. A fight broke out in Mishimishimabowei-teri on the second day of Chagnon and Asch's stay in this village in 1971. The conflict developed between the villagers of Mishimishimabowei-teri and…
Magical Death
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
The shaman plays a vital role in Yanomamo society, for it is he who calls, commands, and often is possessed by spirits, or hekura. "Like myriad glowing butterflies dancing in the sky," the hekura come down invisible trails from the…
The Aztecs
This two-part collection documents the rise and fall of one of the most remarkable civilizations. From the ancient Olmec and their giant carved stone heads to the magnificent pyramids of the moon and sun at Teotihuacan, the Aztecs were inheritors…
2 videos
A Man Called "Bee": Studying The Yanomamo
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
This is one of the few ethnographic films in which the anthropologist appears as one of the subjects, and as such it is a lively introduction to the nature of fieldwork. Napoleon Chagnon, who lived among the Yanomamo for 36…
Yvy Maraey, Land Without Evil - Yvy Maraey, Tierra Sin Mal
A Bolivian filmmaker and a Guarani Indian travel together through the forests of southeastern Bolivia to make a film about the Guarani people. The starting point is a 1911 film by Swedish explorer Erland Nordenskiold. But today's reality turns out…
Cimarrón Spirit: Afro-Dominican Maroon Culture
In the Dominican Republic, as early as 1512, African slaves escaped from Spanish plantations and lived with the island's Taino Indians or on their own in mountainous jungles in the remote frontier land of Hispaniola. These people who were known…
Mayan Renaissance - The Untold Story of the Maya
'Mayan Renaissance' is a feature length film which documents the glory of the ancient Mayan civilization, the Spanish conquest in 1519, five hundred years of oppression, and the courageous fight of the Maya to reclaim their voice and determine their…
2 videos
Renacimiento de los Mayas (Spanish version of Mayan Renaissance)
'Mayan Renaissance' is a feature length film which documents the glory of the ancient Mayan civilization, the Spanish conquest in 1519, five hundred years of oppression, and the courageous fight of the Maya to reclaim their voice and determine their…
Estradeiros - Wanderers - Modern Nomads in South America
Comparable to "traveling hippies" dressed in worn-out, garish clothes, often filthy with disheveled hair, Estradeiros (wanderers) are diverse nomadic groups in Brazil and other Latin American countries. They consider themselves borderless and travel on foot from place-to-place selling handmade crafts…
Damiana Kryygi - The Story of an Aché Girl
In the dense Paraguayan jungle of 1896, a three year-old girl survives the massacre of her Ache family by white settlers. The captive girl is baptized Damiana and becomes an object of scientific interest. Her body is photographed and measured…
Empire Of The Incas
For nearly 100 years, the Incas ruled the largest empire in South American history. The Incas had a society based on community and co-operation, with power controlled firmly by the Sapa Inca and the royal family. They were brilliant engineers,…
Our Languages
Part of the Indians in Brazil series, Our Languages relates the historic repression of indigenous languages in Brazil. Many Indian languages were nearly lost thanks to missionaries and merchants - who rewarded Indians for learning Portuguese with status and material…
The Feast
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
Yanomamo feasts are ceremonial, social, economic, and political events. They are occasions for men to adorn their bodies with paint and feathers, to display their strength in dance and ritualized aggression; for trading partnerships to be established or affirmed; and…
Yanomamo: A Multidisciplinary Study
Part of the Series: Yanomamo Collection
This film illustrates the field techniques used by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Michigan in collaboration with their Venezuelan colleagues. The expedition shown here included specialists in human genetics, serology, epidemiology, demography, dentistry, physical and cultural…
Owners of the Water: Conflict and Collaboration Over Rivers ("Tede'wa")
A unique collaboration between two indigenous filmmakers and an anthropologist, Owners of the Water is a compelling documentary with groundbreaking ethnographic imagery. A central Brazilian Xavante, a Wayuu from Venezuela, and a US anthropologist explore an indigenous campaign to protect…
4 videos
South America’s First People
Episode 3 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The earliest evidence of humans in the Americas comes not from North America, but from Chile. Investigate the important Monte Verde site and its view into everyday life 15,000 years ago. Learn also about "Quilcas" cave art, the astonishing Chinchorro…
The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
Episode 13 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Recent discoveries indicate the presence of massive ancient civilizations in the Amazon. Survey the evidence, starting with the Beni region's elaborate systems of mounds, causeways, and canals. Continue with the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, noting wide areas of human-enriched soil,…
Popol Vuh
This animated short from Chile tells the tale of creation based on "Popol Vuh: the Ancient Stories of the Quiche," written by the indigenous Maya Quiche people after the Spanish Conquest. The vibrant illustrations are taken from Mayan codices, paintings…