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Title War of the gods / directed by and produced by Brian Moser
Published London : Royal Anthropological Institute, 1971
Online access available from:
Ethnographic Video Online    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (streaming video file) (68 min.)
Series Ethnographic video online, volume 2
Disappearing world
Disappearing world.
Summary While relying on a polemical stance directed against the cultural genocide wrought by missionaries, War of the Gods also contains a wealth of information and detail about Amazonian Indian cosmology, social life and sexual division of labour. Two groups of Indians from the Vaupes region of Colombia are shown, the Maku, who live mainly by hunting and gathering, and the sedentary Barasana, who live mainly by farming. The film contrasts the belief systems and way of life of the Indians, presented by the anthropologists who worked and lived with them, with those of Protestant and Catholic missionaries. The Protestants, North American Fundamentalists from the Summer Institute of Linguistics, are said to have used their organisation as a cover in order to be allowed to work with the Indians, because open Protestant missionary activity would not have been acceptable to the authorities. No attempt is made to gloss over the complexities of contact between Whites and Indians. The Barasana themselves want change, and the missionaries' influence is undoubtedly more beneficial to the Indians than that of rubber gatherers. Included in this film is an interview - using voice-over - with a Maku shaman, and there are scenes from the Barasana moloka, the communal house which is a centre of social and domestic activity. The climax of the film is a contrasting look at a church service at the S.I.L. headquarters, a Barasana ritual dance (accompanied by the ritual use of the hallucinogen yage), and a Mass at the Catholic mission attended by some of the Indians who took part in the ritual dance. Some missionaries who have seen this film consider that its editing is unfair to the S.I.L., but the head of another important missionary organisation has said that it should be screened during missionary training courses
Notes Title from resource description page (viewed Feb. 6, 2014)
Event Recorded in Vaupes, Colombia
Notes Previously released as DVD
This edition in English
Subject Barasana Indians.
Macú Indians (Papury River watershed)
Indians of South America -- Colombia.
Ethnology -- Colombia.
Genre/Form Documentary films.
Video recordings.
Form Streaming video
Author Moser, Brian, 1935- director, producer
Hugh-Jones, Christine, 1943-
Hugh-Jones, Stephen, 1945-
Silverwood-Cope, Peter L. (Peter Lachlan), 1945-1989.