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					   Rage, Revenge, and Religion:
Honest signaling of aggression and non-aggression
         in Waorani coalitional violence
               James S. Boster
           University of Connecticut

                  James A. Yost
                  Latigo Ranch

             Catherine Peeke
        Summer Institute of Linguistics
   Edæ Wewa idonatapa Awa ingante, Ima
toniyaka. Tænongimpa ante godanitapa Ima,
Nænkemo, Awañetæ, Toka, Gæwa, Waiwa,
Æwæmæ, Boya. Ayæ wænonanitapa
Wadeka, Eniwa, Bainka, Ñamæ, Detæ,
Epanai, Wewa inanite.
   Wantæpiyæ kewente ate Boya ingante
idongampa ante. Ononke babæ ananitapa.
Æwæmæ tono idongampa, Mænkai inte,
Omaka we. Inkæte Boyotai wænongantapa
Boya ingante. Æwæmæ we womongantapa
Æwæmæ tænonga.
    One time, Wewa bewitched Awa, the
brother of Ima. Let us spear them, they
said. Ima, Nænkimo, Awañetæ, Toka,
Gæwa, Waiwa, Æwæmæ, and Boya went.
They killed Wadeka, Eniwa, Bainka, Ñamæ,
Detæ, Epanai, and Wewa.
    Time passed. They said Boya and
Æwæmæ bewitched Mænkai, the daughter
of Omaka. Then her brother Boyotai killed
Boya. Æwæmæ escaped wounded.
Wao warfare histories
        Wao warfare histories
• Until recent contact, the Waorani of eastern
  Ecuador engaged in a vicious cycle of
  revenge killing in which men responded to
  the death of kin by attacking their enemies.
        Wao warfare histories
• Until recent contact, the Waorani of eastern
  Ecuador engaged in a vicious cycle of
  revenge killing in which men responded to
  the death of kin by attacking their enemies.
• Wao oral history is filled with tales of these
  cycles of violence.
        Wao warfare histories
• Yet their language, Wao tededo, lacks labels
  for the concepts of „revenge killing‟ or
  „murder,‟ referring to both simply as
  “wængantapa” [killed] or “tænongantapa”
  [speared].
        Wao warfare histories
• Retaliation can be indicated by
  – simple juxtaposition (e.g., “Wewa bewitched
    Awa, we killed Wewa.”)
        Wao warfare histories
• Retaliation can be indicated by
  – simple juxtaposition (e.g., “Wewa bewitched
    Awa, we killed Wewa.”)
  – the term beyæ [on behalf of] (e.g., “We killed
    Wewa on behalf of Awa.”)
        Wao warfare histories
• Retaliation can be indicated by
  – simple juxtaposition (e.g., “Wewa bewitched
    Awa, we killed Wewa.”)
  – the term beyæ [on behalf of] (e.g., “We killed
    Wewa on behalf of Awa.”)
  – addition of the suffix wo [to pass on] to the
    verb teno [spear] (e.g., “I passed on spearing.”
                  Puzzle
• Apparently, a social pattern of revenge
  killing is not dependent on the recognition
  of “revenge” as an abstract category.
                  Puzzle
• Apparently, a social pattern of revenge
  killing is not dependent on the recognition
  of “revenge” as an abstract category.
• Revenge need not be an overt cultural
  construction to be acted upon.
Overview
              Overview
• Ethnographic setting
             Overview
• Ethnographic setting
• Wao ethnopsychology
              Overview
• Ethnographic setting
• Wao ethnopsychology
• Emotions as signals of social
  commitments (Frank).
              Overview
• Ethnographic setting
• Wao ethnopsychology
• Emotions as signals of social
  commitments (Frank).
• Feuds and alliances.
             Overview
• Ethnographic setting
• Wao ethnopsychology
• Emotions as signals of social
  commitments (Frank).
• Feuds and alliances.
• Religion as a means to convey an
  honest commitment to end feuding.
Ethnographic setting
Location
Environment
Subsistence
Settlement
 Pattern
Marriage
Travel
Coalitional Violence
Wao ethnopsychology
       Wao ethnopsychology
• Few complex concepts in Wao
  ethnopsychology are given a unitary label.
       Wao ethnopsychology
• Few complex concepts in Wao
  ethnopsychology are given a unitary label.
  – aggressiveness:
     • nangui piinte kæte kewengakaimpa
       [“he who lives acting angrily”]
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Few complex concepts in Wao
  ethnopsychology are given a unitary label.
  – aggressiveness:
     • nangui piinte kæte kewengakaimpa
       [“he who lives acting angrily”]
  – sociability or generosity
     • wadani beyæ nangui waa kæte kewengakaimpa
      [“he who lives doing good things for others”]
       Wao ethnopsychology
• “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”
   (Romans 12:19)
       Wao ethnopsychology
• “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”
   (Romans 12:19)
• “Wënæ wënæ cædäni adinque botö wënæ
  wënae näni cædïnö beyæ ante në apænte
  panguënëmo inte tömëmo eyepæ wæætë
  godö cæbo wæcædänimpa.”
        Wao ethnopsychology
• “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”
   (Romans 12:19)
• [Their having done badly, because they
  continually do bad, it is I, myself, who will
  judge and punish them. It‟s enough that I
  do it on your behalf and they suffer.]
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Absence of terms like this not surprising.
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Absence of terms like this not surprising.
• Boas: Eskimo words for snow.
        Wao ethnopsychology
• “It seems fairly evident that the selection of
  such simple terms must to a certain extent
  depend upon the chief interests of a people;
  and where it is necessary to distinguish a
  certain phenomenon in many aspects, which
  in the life of the people play each an
  entirely independent role, many
  independent words may develop, while in
  other cases modifications of a single term
  may suffice.” Boas, 1911 [1965]:191-192
        Wao ethnopsychology
• “It seems fairly evident that the selection of
  such simple terms must to a certain extent
  depend upon the chief interests of a people;
  and where it is necessary to distinguish a
  certain phenomenon in many aspects, which
  in the life of the people play each an
  entirely independent role, many
  independent words may develop, while in
  other cases modifications of a single term
  may suffice.” Boas, 1911 [1965]:191-192
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Difficult to elicit detailed psychological
  explanations for killings (or anything else).
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Difficult to elicit detailed psychological
  explanations for killings (or anything else).
  – the most typical explanation is ængi bate inga
    [“he became enraged”] and further elaboration
    is refused.
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Difficult to elicit detailed psychological
  explanations for killings (or anything else).
  – the most typical explanation is ængi bate inga
    [“he became enraged”] and further elaboration
    is refused.
• Perhaps the reason this is a sufficient
  explanation is that all understand the core
  relational schema that anger invokes.
Core relational themes of emotion
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Fear: ankai giñente
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Fear: ankai giñente
  – “Facing an immediate, concrete, and over-
    whelming physical danger.” (Lazarus, 1991)
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Fear: ankai giñente
  – “Facing an immediate, concrete, and over-
    whelming physical danger.” (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [seeing a jaguar in the forest]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Fear: ankai giñente
  – “Facing an immediate, concrete, and over-
    whelming physical danger.” (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [seeing a jaguar in the forest]
  – [seeing a poisonous snake on the path]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Anger: piinte, ængi bate
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Anger: piinte, ængi bate
  – “A demeaning offense against me and mine.”
     (Lazarus, 1991)
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Anger: piinte, ængi bate
  – “A demeaning offense against me and mine.”
     (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [someone stealing my things]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Anger: piinte, ængi bate
  – “A demeaning offense against me and mine.”
     (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [someone stealing my things]
  – [someone passing close to my house without
    greeting me]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Anger: piinte, ængi bate
  – “A demeaning offense against me and mine.”
     (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [someone stealing my things]
  – [someone passing close to my house without
    greeting me]
  – [coming home and my wife not serving me
    manioc beer]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Relief: gane ponente
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Relief: gane ponente
  – “A distressing goal-incongruent condition that
     has changed for the better or gone away.
     (Lazarus, 1991)
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Relief: gane ponente
  – “A distressing goal-incongruent condition that
     has changed for the better or gone away.
     (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [when someone returns the stolen thing]
 Core relational themes of emotion

• Relief: gane ponente
  – “A distressing goal-incongruent condition that
     has changed for the better or gone away.
     (Lazarus, 1991)
  – [when someone returns the stolen thing]
  – [when my wife gives me manioc beer]
Emotions as signals of commitments
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Frank‟s (1988) account of emotions as
  honest signals of human commitment to
  social contracts.
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Frank‟s (1988) account of emotions as
  honest signals of human commitment to
  social contracts.
• Example of the $300 in lawyer‟s fees to
  recover the $200 briefcase.
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Frank‟s (1988) account of emotions as
  honest signals of human commitment to
  social contracts.
• Example of the $300 in lawyer‟s fees to
  recover the $200 briefcase.
  – if you know me to be “rational,” you can steal it
    with impunity
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Frank‟s (1988) account of emotions as
  honest signals of human commitment to
  social contracts.
• Example of the $300 in lawyer‟s fees to
  recover the $200 briefcase.
  – if you know me to be “rational,” you can steal it
    with impunity
  – if you know me to be “irrationally emotional,”
    you won‟t try.
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Thus “irrational” emotions and their
  corresponding action tendencies serve to
  protect their bearers from attacks that the
  rational are vulnerable to.
Emotions as signals of commitments

• Thus “irrational” emotions and their
  corresponding action tendencies serve to
  protect their bearers from attacks that the
  rational are vulnerable to.
• Anger and the threat of retaliation protects
  from the initial attack.
Feuds and alliances.
Feuds and alliances.
Feuds and alliances.
Feuds and alliances.
Indigenous means to stop feuding.
Indigenous means to stop feuding.

• “To put an end to a feud or a conflict they
  visit the other house bearing gifts. The
  owner of the house asks them why they
  have come and they answer that they
  want to put a stop to the conflict. The
  visitors give the gifts and the hosts give
  them manioc beer. And then the visitors
  return home.”
Indigenous means to stop feuding.
Indigenous means to stop feuding.

• Exchange of spouses
Indigenous means to stop feuding.

• Exchange of spouses
• Fleeing
Indigenous means to stop feuding.

• Exchange of spouses
• Fleeing
• Extermination of enemies
 Religion as a means to convey an
honest commitment to end feuding.
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Rage at the death of kin may honestly signal
  a commitment for revenge, but how does
  one honestly signal non-hostile intent?
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Rage at the death of kin may honestly signal
  a commitment for revenge, but how does
  one honestly signal non-hostile intent?
• Emotional program surrounding rage and
  retaliation works too well – locks
  participants into a cycle of violence.
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• The pacification of the Waorani mainly by
  Protestant missionaries was incredibly rapid
  – in a six year period from 1967 to 1973,
  the majority of the Waorani nation (more
  than 500 people) came to settle in Teweno,
  to escape the violence.
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  – end of feuding
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  – end of feuding
  – reuniting of families
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  – end of feuding
  – reuniting of families
  – provision of spouses
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  –   end of feuding
  –   reuniting of families
  –   provision of spouses
  –   access to trade goods
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Pacification accomplished
  –   end of feuding
  –   reuniting of families
  –   provision of spouses
  –   access to trade goods
    Religion as a means to convey an
   honest commitment to end feuding.
• Before the kowode came and taught us about God we
  lived spearing. Back and forth, back and forth we
  speared-they-died. We tried to stop killing. We would
  say “that's enough. Leave off spearing.” Then
  someone would kill and we would return to killing back
  and forth. After hearing and believing in God, Kemo
  and I told them not to avenge our deaths, no matter how
  we died. And we ceased killing others in revenge. Just
  a few years ago when some young Waorani men killed
  my sister, I refused to avenge her death. Had I not
  believed, they would all be dead now. Geketa
 Religion as a means to convey an
honest commitment to end feuding.
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Cultural model of non-violence with
  “directive force.”
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Cultural model of non-violence with
  “directive force.”
• Honest and costly signals of non-violence
  Religion as a means to convey an
 honest commitment to end feuding.
• Cultural model of non-violence with
  “directive force.”
• Honest and costly signals of non-violence
  – gave believable reason for non-retaliation
   Religion as a means to convey an
  honest commitment to end feuding.
• Geoffrey White records a similar transformation
  of the A‟ara of the Solomon Islands.
• “It was in this context of disruption and failure
  of traditional religious and political institutions
  that the Anglican Melanesian Mission gained a
  strong foothold on the island, and ultimately
  achieved a dramatically rapid conversion to
  Christianity among the entire island population.
  The process of conversion involved the adoption
  not simply of a new syncretic religious creed but
  of a new social identity („being Christian‟) with
  accompanying social and moral ideals. The
  Christian ideology of peace and non-violence
  gave symbolic expression to the cessation of
  raiding at the turn of the century.” White,
  1985:362
    Waorani Life Histories Project
             Sponsors and
        Collaborating Institutions
•   National Science Foundation
•   University of Connecticut
•   Pennsylvania State University
•   ONHAE
•   EcoCiencia
Sunset
               Wives         Children
 Sample
Statistics



                Raids         Raids
             participated   organized
                  r = .27
Regression of Wives on
  Raids Participated
               r = .28
Regression of Children
 on Raids Participated
        Wao ethnopsychology
• Difficult to elicit detailed psychological
  explanations for killings (or anything else).
   Religion as a means to convey an
  honest commitment to end feuding.
• “The nineteenth century was a highly turbulent
  era that witnessed extensive disintegration of
  society in Santa Isabel. The island was the
  target of repeated large-scale headhunting raids
  from islands in the western Solomons capable of
  devastating entire villages. The external
  pressures contributed to massive migration,
  depopulation, and increased fighting among
  Isabel groups.”

				
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