South American Indigenous

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The Grammar of Happiness - Discovering the Unique Communication Style of an Amazonian Tribe
Daniel Everett is an American linguist and author best known for his study of the Amazon Basin's Piraha people and their language. THE GRAMMAR OF HAPPINESS is a documentary that explores whether Daniel's journey into the heart of the Amazon…
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…
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…
The Ax Fight
Part of the Series: Yanomamo 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…
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…
Secrets of the Tribe
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…
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
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…
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…
The Shock of the Other
Episode 1 of Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World
Host David Maybury-Lewis revisits the Xavante of Brazil to see how they have changed since 1959, and then journeys into the Peruvian Amazon to unravel the mystery of the Mashco-Piro, a tribe that has chosen to remain hidden from the…
From Honey to Ashes
In March 2004, one of the world's last voluntarily isolated groups of hunter-gatherers walked out of the forest in northern Paraguay, fleeing ranchers' bulldozers. They formed a new village with their more settled relatives, where they confronted the complexities of…
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…
Dirty Paradise - Pollution in French Guyana
One last piece of South America belongs to Europe: French Guyana; where the native Wayna Indians live in an almost paradisiacal world. But criminal gold diggers occupy and pollute the land with mercury, through their primitive extraction techniques.
South America's Lost Cradle of Civilization
Episode 1 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Consider the remarkable evidence for South America as one of the true wellsprings of human civilization. Grasp the diversity of early South American cultures, from the Andean civilizations to the desert and Amazon regions; what these cultures shared; and their…
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…
The Inca Origins—Mythology v. Archaeology
Episode 17 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
Begin your study of the great Inca civilization by tracing the culture's origin myth, featuring a creator deity who made the cosmos and charged the Inca to found a kingdom in a fertile valley. Compare the mythology with archaeological evidence…
Discovering Peru’s Earliest Cities
Episode 2 of Lost Worlds of South America Course
The first cities in the Americas date to 3000 B.C. Investigate the means of subsistence of coastal and inland valley cities, and evidence for trade in marine and agricultural products. Learn about the sites of Kotosh, El Paraiso, and Caral…
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…
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
Blood and Corn: Mayan Civilization
Episode 36 of History of the Ancient World
Delve into the achievements of the Maya, who were among the longest-lasting, most geographically extensive, and most culturally sophisticated of all Mesoamerican cultures. Grasp how we can know these things only because the Maya left behind what those other peoples…