INDIAN AND LADINO CULTURAL ORIENTATIONS

 

(in a Pocomam community, according to Gillin:121)

(Gillin's work revisited in American Ethnologist 28:778-802)

 

 

GENERAL

Indian    Passive  - To effect peaceful adjustment of humans to universe, come to terms with universe.

 

Ladino    Aggressive  -  Control universe by man; dominate it.

 

 

NATURE OF UNIVERSE

Indian    Controlled by unseen powers or forces, ongoing, immutable.  "Man" can do nothing to change the powers and the rules by which the universe is operated.

 

Ladino    Forces of the universe, including "supernatural," are amenable to human manipulation;  God, saints and other unseen powers have personalities and can be handled on a personal basis.

 

 

GENERAL RESPONSE TO UNIVERSE

Indian    Man must learn certain patterns of action and attitude to bring himself into conformity with the universal scheme of things.  By doing this much punishment may be avoided.  Some misfortune is the lot of all men but it may be minimized by carefully learning and following the cultural rules.  Force is useless against "God's will,", etc.

 

Ladino    Every individual has the right to attempt to control the universe, including other men.  Human ideas and beliefs are more affective than artifacts. destructive force even to death, is legitimate and ultimate technique.  Even God can be forced to favor the strong.

 

 

INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP

Indian    Individual exists as member of group.  Man, not any individual, is  highest value.  Individual prospers as group prospers.  Individual's function is to promote group.

 

Ladino    Individual personality has highest value, although this value does not attach to all

persons equally.  Group exists to promote individual rather than reverse.

 

 


ROUTINE

Indian    Uninterrupted routine practice of the patterns of life is most  satisfying.

 

Ladino    Routine is boring and dissatisfying.  Struggle and oscillation of  power is zestful.

 

 

 

CULTURAL RANGE

Indian    Spatially limited.  Local community is "the world."...

 

Ladino    Spatially more expanded.  Have kinship, political, economic ties with other

communities.  Concept of nationality.

 

 

LAND

Land      Highly valued, but a man must work it with his own hands even though he can pay

helpers.  Non-agricultural occupations followed to provide money to buy land.

 

Ladino    Valued as source of income but personal labor on land is irksome and disgraceful.  Control of land, tenants, workmen is means of social and political power as well as economic power.

 

 

MATERIAL THINGS

Indian    Direct approach. Tills milpa, cuts wood, gathers grass, makes pottery etc. with

own hands.  Physical weariness from toil accepted as fact of life; carries social approval.

 

Ladino    Indirect approach.  Things used as instruments or objects of  control.  Labor

disgraceful.  Never carries a burden, never walks, never works with hands if avoidable.

 

 

RELATIONS TO OTHER HUMAN BEINGS

Indian    Adjustive and permissive.  Society unstratified, except by age.   Leadership statuses

(such as mayordomo, principal, etc.) thought of as obligations to society.  Everyone who follows patterns

and precepts receives status sometime during life.  No competition or striving for distinction.  Envy and competitiveness regarded as anomaly or crime.  One category of magical illness is envidia, perpetrator of

which may be killed with impunity.  Leader never gives orders to others, merely imparts superior knowledge.  Group decisions by consensus rather than fiat or majority vote.  Out-group relations with Ladinos handled

by avoidance and submission, within limits.

 


Ladino    Ordering and dominating.  Social stratification into classes and  castes.  Statuses of leadership and distinction sharply  competitive.  Ceremonial politeness to other Ladinos.  Domineering

behavior toward persons of lower status.  Factions and feuds even in same class.  Gossip, oaths, insults

of aggressive types common.  Strong verbal protests.  Individual strives for prominence, often assisted

by his family.  Techniques of overt and indirect aggression cultivated.  High status gives right to plan

and order subordinates' behavior.  Caudillo pattern.

 

 ATTITUDES TOWARDS WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Indian    Man and woman a cooperative partnership in adjustment to universe. 

Wives share honors and responsibilities of men in prominent statuses.  Bickering

between mates uncommon; withdrawal rather than friction in cases of incompatibility. 

Sex necessary, but natural.  Use of sex for exploitation uncharacteristic. 

Light child discipline.

 

Ladino    Marriage important from status point of view.  Women's influence indirect. 

Women do not share with men in public affairs.  Man dominates family including wife. 

Children dependent upon father's status or wealth.  Heavier child discipline. 

Sex used for exploitation of others; sex regarded as necessary for men, not for women.

 

 

RELIGION 

Indian    General permeation; universe not compartmentalized.  Christian deities viewed as a

group of saints, etc., and approached by group of humans, not individually.  Medicine men have familiar non-Christian spirits. Magical curing, divinations, planting ceremonies, etc., viewed as integral part of life adjustment.  Aggression by witchcraft common.  Men, grouped into "commissions,"  cofradias, etc., 

most active in religion.

 

Ladino    Religion compartmentalized and differentiated from secular life.  Christian deities

approached individually.  Individual soul important, especially in "immortal" aspects.  Half-belief in

magic as a technique when all else fails.  Aggression by witchcraft rare.  Women most active in religion.