November 04, 2007

Cacique bans Western vices

After teen suicides, an Argentine tribe outlaws 'white' vices

In a tropical corner of Argentina, a Guarani chief has set a 7 p.m. village curfew and prohibited alcohol.Every Saturday night Victoriano Espindola would dance, drink, and often end up in a fight. He lost his left eye in one brawl.

But now the 21-year-old spends quiet nights with his parents and six siblings in this indigenous village in a tropical corner of Argentina.

The village is in the midst of a quarantine called for by the cacique, or traditional leader, after two teens shocked the community by committing suicide in September. All members now must be home by 7 p.m., alcohol is strictly forbidden, and all youths must attend traditional dance classes and consultations with elders.

The cacique, Silvino Moreira, says that the white culture that surrounds the village on all sides has encroached on their Guarani culture and that they must protect themselves from all its many "vices," including alcohol, drugs, and even the radio. It's an issue indigenous groups worldwide have faced for centuries, but the unusually drastic measures Mr. Moreira has enacted are key to preserving their culture in today's world, say community members here.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Boy, oh boy, did the Tainos and the Caribes ever miss a bet back in 1492!
All Best
Russ Bates