MALE PUBERTAL SECLUSION AND RISK OF DEATH IN INDIANS FROM ALTO-XINGU, CENTRAL BRAZIL

MALE PUBERTAL SECLUSION AND RISK OF DEATH IN INDIANS FROM ALTO-XINGU, CENTRAL BRAZIL

Author Pinto, NRS Google Scholar
Baruzzi, R. G. Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Abstract Male pubertal seclusion is a cultural characteristic shared by 10 Indian tribes in Alto Xingu, central Brazil. The seclusion lasts from several months to three years, with periods of interruption. Seclusion acts as a rite of passage and is connected with a boy's social, psychological, and physical maturation process into adulthood. This period is marked by many rules and taboos, and boys are considered highly vulnerable to the workings of evil entities. From 1978 to 1985, 133 boys between the ages of 11 and 20 years were observed in seclusion. Twenty-four of these youths showed clinical symptoms of intoxication, with seven of them dying in the acute phase, whereas the other seventeen developed peripheral neuropathy. The mortality rate among males was 6.6 times higher than that among females. Our findings suggest that the high risk of death associated with male pubertal seclusion results from the use of some native plants in infusions or ointments in the rite's purification process.
Language English
Date 1991-12-01
Published in Human Biology. Detroit: Wayne State Univ Press, v. 63, n. 6, p. 821-834, 1991.
ISSN 0018-7143 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Wayne State Univ Press
Extent 821-834
Access rights Closed access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:A1991GL54100006
URI http://repositorio.unifesp.br/11600/43802

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