Where Can I Find this Article?
January 25, 2022 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Sometime in the last five years I read an article online about (vague memories follow) a South American indigenous people in a severe state of decline: gettin drunk habitually on once sacred ceremonial drink (chica?), eating sacred monkey brains, generally eating their seed corn in what appeared to be a cultural death spiral. Whew. Perhaps New Yorker, but my clumsy archive search didn't find anything. Ideas? Thanks.
posted by Jackson to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
could it have been the wari' people? i have seen references to a drink called chicha.
posted by koroshiya at 6:51 PM on January 25

This is the completely wrong region of the world, but the Gretel Erlich essay about her return to Greenland as climate change worsened, and how the indigenous community there responded to melting ice is incredibly upsetting and heartbreaking in a similar way to the article you recall.....
posted by attentionplease at 7:14 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]

(There's definitely a drink called chicha. It's consumed in a wide range of places in
Central and South America, and has religious significance in a lot of them. I don't think it's going to narrow this down much—like how remembering they drink wine religiously wouldn't do much to narrow down a part of the Jewish or Christian world.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:51 AM on January 26

*due to colonization and genocide

It is very very important to name the aggressor when talking about problems in Indigenous societies.

If a person were, say, sexually assaulted and then had PTSD leading to addiction and mental health issues, we’d probably keep the context and the aggressor in mind. The same is true here.

Even casually, we shouldn’t just name the victim and their coping mechanisms- we need to remember that these problems are caused by blatant aggression from settler colonists, and always name it.

The book All Our Relations by Tanya Talaga compares Indigenous peoples in Canada, the US, Brazil, Australia, and Northern Europe and illustrates how colonization and genocide by settlers leaves populations who exhibit crises of cultural crumble, self harm, and addiction.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:09 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]

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