Wise People of Great Power

Jaguar-spirit Shamans Among Baniwa of the Northwest Amazon


  • Robin M. Wright University of Florida




shamanism, prophet movements, history, cosmogony, indigenous knowledge


Indigenous prophet movements in the Americas have historically engaged the most threatening and dangerous Other, the White Man. The savants of the Northwest Amazon region of South America have mostly sought to defy the destructive power of the White Man’s knowledge by disclosing hidden, internal sources of conmict and conserving religious traditions. A long succession of prophetic leaders from the mid-nineteenth century to the present has sustained the continuity of ancestral traditions even at great risk to the leaders’ lives. I take a multiplex, interpretive approach to these shamanic traditions, grounded in the exegesis of their ancestral practices.

Author Biography

Robin M. Wright, University of Florida

Associate Professor of Religion



How to Cite

Wright, R. M. (2016). Wise People of Great Power: Jaguar-spirit Shamans Among Baniwa of the Northwest Amazon. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 10(2), 170–188. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v10i2.27247

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