Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Lecture | Thaigo Kater | Indigenous History and the shaping of the Amazonian Landscapes in the Teotônio Waterfall (Upper Madeira River)

Friday, February 24, 2023

12:00 - 1:15 p.m.

128 Hope Street, Room 212

Free and open to the public 

About the Event
In many historical narratives of indigenous populations in the lowlands of South America, the landscape is embedded by history. Through specific places, such as rocks, rivers, mountains and trees, indigenous peoples articulate different temporalities and their own ontologies.

In the Amazon basin, where the relief is largely flat, waterfalls play a central role within these narratives, being understood as places of creation of the world for different indigenous groups. The Teotônio archaeological site at Upper Madeira River, southwest Amazon, is located on the right bank of the homonymous waterfall. Archaeological data shows this site has been occupied from the early Holocene to the colonial era by indigenous people.

In this presentation, Kater reflects on this place as a meaningful and persistent place, where material and immaterial aspects are important to the comprehension of the indigenous socio historical trajectories. For the aim to reflect collective and day-life landscape construction, different timescale perspectives will be present, from the role of the Teotônio waterfall on its long-term symbolic and productive dimensions, to the different archaeological contexts.

Finally, based on this example, some considerations will be provided in order to reflect and to contrast on the current use of Amazonian landscapes.

More Information

About the Speaker
Presented by Thiago Kater, PhD Candidate, University of São Paulo (Brazil) and Visiting Assistant in Research, Yale University.