INDIAN AND LADINO CULTURAL ORIENTATIONS
(in a Pocomam community, according to Gillin:121)
(Gillin's work revisited in American Ethnologist 28:778-802)
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.
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.
Indian Spatially limited. Local community is "the world."...
Ladino Spatially more expanded. Have kinship, political, economic ties with other
communities. Concept of nationality.
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.
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.
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.