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Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen


This article deals with contemporary shamanism among young Indians in Brazilian Amazonia. It explores the meaning of shamanic practices for today’s Amazonian young Indians. The article focuses on the ayahuasca ceremonies practiced by young Manchineri living in both the indigenous reserve and urban areas in the State of Acre, Brazil. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out between 2005 and 2007. Shamanic practices produce symbolic capital that may credit in one’s own native community and in interethnic relations. The spiritual and traditional knowledge, trust, values, and instructions on life generate cultural capital, social capital, as well as ethnic capital. Through shamanism young people have an active role in the construction of their agency and personhood, as it also is about youth’s own decision to interact with the spirits and other humans. Shamanic practices have marked a turning point in the lives of many native young people.

Keywords: Shamanism, ayahuasca, Manchineri

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