Humor is a dimension present in various degrees in different genres of Nahuat oral literature. The listeners of mythical or ethnohistorical narratives and moral tales laugh at monsters and enemies which are defeated by the culture hero, Sentiopil, by brave ancestors or by the clever opossum of animal tales, while the far-fetched metaphors which refer to the loved one and to sexual relations in love poems fit well with the merry atmosphere of traditional weddings, where they are sung with the xochipitsaua dance. As for the pass-time tales (sanilmej) and sex stories (pitsotajtolmej), their first aim is to make people laugh by distorting reality. One can also detect in the latter the covert intention of subverting the existing social hierarchy: poor Indians win over wealthy landowners and foreigners, and women, over the men who want to abuse them and, sometimes, over the devil himself !
A large number of Mexican workers enter the United States to find work. In their pursuit of the “American dream” many of these migrants, especially those who cross the border illegally, seek the aid of supernatural protectors. Among these, we find the figures of Juan Soldado, Jesús Malverde and Santo Toribio Romo. Although the latter is a saint officially recognized by the Catholic Church, the other two are not. The authors seek to understand the “voice of others” through a structural analysis of three narratives regarding these protectors of Mexican migrants. The narratives and the cult related to these Saints can be situated within the field of popular religion. The authors conceive this as a movement that is largely independent of ecclesiastical control, a product of modernity, and as a religious expression that pursues practical and terrestrial rather than spiritual ends.
This paper presents the role of the most important spiritual helper of contemporary
Kaingang shamans, an enigmatic Italian figure known in Southern Brazil as Saint João Maria
or “o Monge”, the Monk. The latter is Giovanni Maria de Agostini, an itinerant Italian monk,
who traveled through the Americas between 1838 and 1869. Though the Catholic Church never
canonized him, he is still today a very influential religious figure in Southern Brazil.
Historically, his name is related to a messianic movement known as “Guerra do Contestado”,
which occurred between 1912 and 1916. This paper compares Kaingang’s narratives related to
São João Maria with stories from New Mexico and Peru that have formed independently
following contact with Agostini.
This article is based on fifty testimonies by Algonquins of Three Rivers or ‘Magouas’. They deal with family memories, Indian origins, self perception and the dominant group’s perception of their identity. The research is related to a legal claim for Indian status by 350 Algonquins. Segregation and prejudice (“uncivilized savages”) have long afflicted this population, which is characterized by the maintenance of an endogamous marriage system and classificatory kinship. The main identity markers deal with memory, history, genealogy, mobility related to hunting, unskilled jobs and poverty, and finally to a specific relationship to nature. The Algonquins are still here.