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Colonialism has often spread to areas where it is economically valuable for the colonizer to develop South America was one of these places First came the Spanish for gold then for rubber As colonization took place two cultures met thinking they were opposites but in reality they were very much connected to one another their histories were now tied together In considering the question of how Indians have developed their healing practices and spiritual beliefs as a reaction to colonization there are a number of areas we must explore First we will discuss how Indian and white cultures have integrated one another to the point where certain beliefs coexist or blend together Secondly we will look at the stereotype of the wild savage built up by the colonizers and the creation of the colonial consciousness Finally we will examine the healer-patient relationship that exists within shamanism What happened within the culture of the South American Indians was syncretism or the synthesis of both old and borrowed traditions a common occurrence of colonization as one civilization dominates the other and forces conversion Keesing 394 Because of pre-existing beliefs Catholicism was accepted into the culture and combined with its original beliefs much more easily than other religions Catholicism embodied a rich pageantry and complex ceremonial cycle It offered roles to men and women young and old Its priests believing in the devil spirits and magic could deal with the older religion in ways Mesoamerican people could squarely comprehend And Catholicism provided in its multiple manifestations of the Virgin and the Trinity both an approximation of multiple deities and physical object for veneration Keesing 394 One of the best examples of syncretism is in the images that are brought on by the hallucinogenic substance that is often used by shamans in curing rituals called yage In these images we can see a blend of traditional Indian beliefs ie seeing the shaman as the tiger and Christian belief ie
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