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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article tries to capture the great diversity of South American hunter-gatherers based on different ‘ethnographic presents’: some of these groups are already extinct whereas others are still hunting and gathering, resisting external pressures. Given the diversity of situations and the difficulty of classification, an ethno/linguistic or a geographical criterion will be used, following in each case the common framework present in current academic literature. The overview reflects an uneven knowledge of these hunter-gatherers, although some trends will be drawn. One of the most important is that some of them may be the result of a historical transformation from horticulturist societies, what should not be judged as a cultural ‘regression’, but rather as the result of political actions determined by the history of the colonization of the continent.

Keywords: hunter-gatherers, South America, ‘etnographic present’, ethno/linguistics, historical transformation of horticulturalists, colonization

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