Leadership in Public Arenas

Although there is a tendency today for chiefs to inherit the role from their fathers, this is far from the rule, and leadership roles must still be achieved on the basis of special talent, ability, and energy even when succession is weighted in favor of a leader's offspring. Institutionalized leadership, with the exception of wives of chiefs who act as leaders of corresponding female age grades or women's clubs, is limited to males. These include benad-jwyr (speakers of ceremonial speech), ritual song leaders, scouts, including those who specialize in tracking specific enemy peoples, and ngokonbari (Xikrin) or meobadjwynh—leaders of unmarried age grade activities. In the past, courageous raiders were acknowledged for their ability to abscond with goods or even prisoners. Although killing a human enemy or a jaguar is desired as a mark of valor, no special position accrued to a killer, although he did have to undergo a special ceremony on his return to the village. Heralds are also male. Elderly women may be highly respected and quite influential; however, they exercise their influence both through public pronouncement and more informal counsels, particularly with other women. Public oratory in the men's house, where consensus decisions chart the course for future action, is the prerogative of adult men.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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