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Dr Chloe Nahum-Claudel: Man vs fish in the Amazon rainforest

last modified Nov 11, 2016 12:00 PM

The Enawenê-nawê people, Amazon rainforest (credit: Chloe Nahum-Claudel)The Enawenê-nawê people of the Amazon rainforest make beautifully engineered fishing dams. Living alongside this indigenous community, Dr Chloe Nahum-Claudel observed how the act of trapping fish shapes their minds, bodies and relationships. The proximity of life and death brings human vulnerability sharply into focus.

Hunting brings us close to our prey but the blood of a dying animal, spilling on to our hands, reminds us of our own mortality. Trapping, the use of technology to entice and capture, distances us from the act of killing. But, in their making and their function, traps connect our minds and bodies to the animals we pursue.

Each year, the Enawenê-nawê, an indigenous community in the Amazon, construct monumental fishing dams to harvest migrating fish vital to their diet.  Social anthropologist Dr Chloe Nahum-Claudel carried out her PhD fieldwork with this community, learning a dialect spoken by fewer than 1,000 people. She spent six weeks living alongside a group of 12 men as they constructed a dam.

Read the article on University of Cambridge Research News.