The article focuses on the process ofnaoné—nationhood—of the Palikur, a Native American people of northern Brazil and southern French Guiana, from 1500 onward. It is described how, in counteraction to colonial expansion, a corpus of preexisting clans combined with diverse other ethnic entities to create, at its height (c. 1800), a dominant regional polity, itself linked to wider cross-ethnic macropolities under a single leader. New data are offered to support the thesis that such formations, which coevally existed elsewhere in Amazonia,were not just a response to new circumstances but also the renewal of a pre-Conquest sociopolitical strategy. The article also addresses the role of leadership in historical Amerindian macropolitical systems and suggests that a chief's skills as a peacemaker were no less necessary than his skills as a warmonger.

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