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Shaping Strong People: Napo Runa Therapeutic Narratives of Medicinal Plant Use

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Abstract

Indigenous people living in contemporary Upper Amazonia marshal their ethnomedical knowledge and praxis to greet pressing challenges and to derive meaning from phenomena operating at wider scales of influence. In this chapter, I provide ethnographic examples of how Napo Runa deploy subaltern therapeutic narratives about medicinal plant use that contest violence they experience in their everyday lives and that reaffirm the purpose and consequences of social circulation of medicinal plants. These therapeutic narratives situate bodies in contexts of lived experience by drawing on historical, social–political, and environmental realties of the people crafting them. Here, ethnomedical knowledge is leveraged to contend with transnational processes that have direct and dangerous impacts on individual bodies. This work seeks not only to document how Napo Runa use plants to promote health and well-being but also to demonstrate that how they talk about their plant use illustrates their resistance to everyday forms of violence.

Bridges, N. C. (2016). Shaping Strong People: Napo Runa Therapeutic Narratives of Medicinal Plant Use. In Plants and Health (pp. 93-116). Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978-3-319-48088-6_4

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