Labate, Beatriz C. & Coutinho, Tiago (2014). “My Grandfather Served Ayahuasca to Mestre Irineu”: Reflections on the Entrance of Indigenous Peoples into the Urban Circuit of Ayahuasca Consumption in Brazil. Curare – Journal of Medical Anthropology, vol 37 (3), pp. 181-194.
This article makes a critical reflection on the entrance of Brazilian Indians into the contemporary urban circuit of ayahuasca consumption. We describe processes of contact by different indigenous populations such as Kaxinawa, Guarani, Apurinã, Kuntanawa, and Yawanawa with Brazilian ayahuasca religions and neo-ayahuasca practitioners. We note the insistence by some of these groups that their own ancestors were responsible for teaching Raimundo Irineu Serra, the legendary founder of the Santo Daime religion, about ayahuasca. We examine how such discussions have entered into the arena of public debate, and try to understand indigenous peoples’ demands to participate in the legal process of recognizing ayahuasca as immaterial cultural heritage by Brazil’s National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN). We analyze how the entrance of indigenous people into the urban ayahuasca circuit, and the participation of non-Indians in ayahuasca ceremonies in villages in the Amazon, is reconfiguring the religious domain of Brazilian ayahuasca religions.
Keywords: Ayahuasca, Santo Daime, ritual, shamanism, indigenous groups