This article describes the history of the Ye'kuana people and their society through the analysis of three political crises. The primary purpose is to detect the mechanisms of cultural survival that are used for counteracting sociocultural changes and for ensuring cultural coherence and continuity amid severe political upheaval. Data gathering combined oral accounts for a period of about 120 years and the elicitation and reconstruction of genealogies in the migrating history of villages for as long as 230 years of Ye'kuana history. What makes this analysis different from existing historical and anthropological accounts is the active role played by the Ye'kuana themselves. The people had to face a certain dynamic of conflict in trying to cope with colonial and neocolonial forces that impinged on their society and culture with the intent of converting the Ye'kuana into a culturally undifferentiated segment of Venezuelan society.

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