Acting translation: Ritual and prophetism in twenty-first-century indigenous Amazonia

Carlos Fausto, Emmanuel de Vienne


This paper focuses on a prophetic movement led by an Amerindian from Mato Grosso, Brazil, in 2006. This man created a radically new liturgy and cosmology by combining elements borrowed from local shamanism and mythology, Christianity and TV shows, among other sources. He managed to convince entire villages to take part in spectacular healing ceremonies and gathered a huge number of followers. One of these ceremonies was extensively filmed by indigenous filmmakers, making it possible to examine the micromechanisms of this cultural innovation, and thus address with fresh data and a new approach the old issue of Amerindian prophetism. We propose here the concept of translating acts to describe this indigenous practice of transcreation, giving special attention to the multiple semiotic mediums through which it is enacted.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.2.008