The Western Toba and other hunter-gatherers of the South American Gran Chaco managed to retain a certain degree of political autonomy well into the nineteenth century. Between 1915 and 1918, Western Toba, Wichí, and Pilagá warriors formed alliances to expel Argentine and Bolivian settlers from their traditional lands. The few authors who recorded this“rebellion” failed to mention that the warriors' active resistance to colonization was rooted in a revitalization movement comparable to other indigenous millenarian revivals. This new interpretation is based on oral stories collected in the field in the 1990s. The uprising, the doctrine of the charismatic shaman who fueled the movement, and the outcomes of the clash with the Argentine Army are described herein. The prophet's doctrine was rooted in a mythology of cosmic cataclysms. By following it, believers would be able to persuade Cadet'á to “have pity on them.” The native concept of Cadet'á may belong to a cosmology that is earlier than the introduction of the biblical idea of “God, Our Father.”

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.