In this article I seek to motivate critical reflection on the centrality of exotic body images in defining cultural authenticity for Western audiences and to raise questions about the political implications of replicating these constructs in indigenous identity politics. Focusing on Amazonian Indian activism in Brazil, I examine how the rise of environmentalism and the spread of new communications technologies in the 1980s transformed Amazonian interethnic politics and the self-representations of native activists. Indigenous images constructed in relation to Western concepts of primitivism, exoticism, and authenticity proved to be strategically effective political tools, but there are contradictions and liabilities in using such symbolic constructs to pursue indigenous goals of self-determination.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.