Talk:Operation Auca

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Featured article Operation Auca is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 8, 2007.
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May 24, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
June 4, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on February 28, 2006.
Current status: Featured article

NPOV[edit]

I've added the NPOV tag for several reasons: Most allegations of the article are based on the accounts of missionaries who were involved, or their closest relatives. The interference of evangelical missionaries in indigenous cultures has been highly controversial and this article does not reflect that. The article contains allegations that are not substantiated and wording is not neutral or even racist. —Babelfisch 02:00, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

If you'll notice, many of the references listed are anti-missionary references. Please give examples of "allegations that are not substantiated and wording is not neutral or even racist". Everything I have written is substantiated by sources. Unfortunately, no one but the missionaries themselves wrote anything about what happened there, so those are the only sources we've got. I agree that much of the controversy must still be added, but I haven't started writing anything other than what happened. Also, I'm restoring the link to the blog—I found it to be the most complete and useful online source of information related to this topic, and I found it via a google search (that is, it isn't spam if I added it and it isn't my site). If you know of any better external links, please suggest them. --Spangineer (háblame) 03:04, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
A blog is not a good source. See Verifiability. The blog you want to link contains individual copyrighted articles culled from various missionary organisation sites. It might be appropriate to link to those articles directly, but actually I don't think so, because they largely overlap in their contents. Just one or two might in fact be enough, but I've added more now. We don't need a dozen film reviews by evangelical Christians.
I have reverted your deletion because in case of a controversy it makes sense to add short explanations to the sources listed.
Racism starts in the first paragraph, with the words "violent tribe".
The text seems to be based on only two sources, Elliot and Saint, and it reads like missionary propaganda pap, without any critical distance. (One example: Some of the wording is not appropriate or misleading: Missionaries don't "hope to present Christianity" to a people, they want to proselytise, and that's what they did.)
The article failes to mention which organisations the five were working for.
But it's a beginning. Let's work on it. —Babelfisch 07:25, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
The blog link was in the Wikipedia:External links section; thus the verifiability policy is not particularly relevant. From the external links policy, "Sites with other meaningful, relevant content that is not suitable for inclusion in an article, such as textbooks or reviews." Also, "Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem".
From what I've read, the Huaorani were one of the most violent people groups on earth. Life expectancy below 30 due to inter-clan revenge killings, and killings of anyone entering their territory. Am I wrong? That to me is "violent". Remember that that is the lead of the article and thus everything must be summarized; soon I'm going to add a paragraph explicitly sourced that talks about their history.
To me, "proselytise" has a negative connotation. I don't really see the problem with "hope to present Christianity"—it's not like the Huaorani were being force-fed the stuff; the foreigners had a specific mission and goal but we're not talking about Spanish invaders killing the Indians if they don't convert.
It's bad formatting to describe a reference in the references section (it is never done in FAs, for example); I eliminated the text for a reason. I thought the comment was aimed at me, and noting it, I deleted the text. Once texts are included that are anti-missionary and are cited in the article text, it will be obvious which sources are anti-missionary (Thy Will Be Done, Fishers of Men or Founders of Empire, etc.), and which aren't.
I was hoping to continue with the narrative, but this Friday probably I'll start working on an Aftermath section, including a discussion of what different anthropologists think about all this. --Spangineer (háblame) 13:08, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Their hope was not to "present Christianity" but to convert those people to their version of evangelical Christianity.
Proselytise, evangelise, convert - these are the three words that I would view as NPOV. If they have negative connotations, that is because for many people, the process they describe has negative connotations.
I don't see why this euphemism should be used. It's just misleading and incorrect.
A section about the aftermath of "Operaction Auca" should be added. —Babelfisch 05:48, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
The problem I was having was conveying the fact that this was the first time (protestant) missionaries had gone to the Huaorani. That meaning isn't carried in "they hoped to convert them for the first time". They hoped to be the first to "preach the Gospel" to the Huaorani. After thinking about it, I believe that "evangelize" carries that meaning acceptably ("they evangelized them for the first time") but I'm still not sure. Seems like preach/proclaim/present carries the meaning better. Maybe I'll try to restructure the sentence to avoid the problem. I'll think about why I consider "proselytize" to have a bad connotation; maybe I'm just off the wall on that one.
Re the aftermath section, I'll try to get that in shortly; I'm thinking about including the worldwide reaction to the news, the involvement of Elisabeth Elliot, Rachel Saint and Steve Saint, and ultimately the degradation of the Huaorani culture. That'll flow well into the "legacy" section, since pretty much everyone agrees (Christians & non-Christians) that Huaorani culture is falling apart. They just have differing interpretations on whether or not the overall impact has been good or bad (better to have reduced the number of the killings at the expense of the culture or not?) Can you think of anything else that ought to be in there? —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 06:25, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Babelfisch is right, the term convert or proselytise is the most accurate description of their activities. It is POV to sanitise what they actually did. While these words have negative connotations to some (such as myself) that is because they find the idea repugnant. Others find the idea wonderful, and for them the word has a positive connotation. Either way, it is the accurate word and should be used. Finally, it should not be whitewashed out of the article that in the eyes of the missionaries, the most important change they wanted to bring was conversion, and the other changes (which have been retrospectively increased in importance) were merely secondary to the missionaries. Sad mouse 01:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Do you not think "evangelize" an appropriate term? I'm not trying to whitewash anything, but I'm fairly confident that the word "proselytize" sounds negative to the vast majority of readers, whether they like the concept or not. "Evangelize", I feel, is more likely to sound negative to people who don't like the concept, and positive to those who do, which is the idea of neutral wording—no one gets insulted. Babelfisch felt that "evangelize" was acceptable, and I agree, so that's what in the article (see the third sentence of the lead). Do you disagree? And do you see other POV problems? --Spangineerws (háblame) 02:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
In general, no, I don't think evangelise is as accurate as convert. Convert: to cause to adopt a different religion, political doctrine, opinion, etc.: to convert the heathen., Evangelise: to preach the gospel to; to convert to Christianity. While the definitions are close, in my opinion the connotation (and most common usage) for evangelise is to preach to those within your culture, while convert is to preach to those alien to your culture. Still, convert vs evangelise is not a big deal. In general I think the article is quite well written, but the intro and end read rather POV. Part of that is going to be due to the bias in available sources, I understand, but why is the (relatively minor) effect on Christians given equal (if not more) time to the profound effects on the natives? Also the POV can be quite subtle in places: The other missionary in the river, before being speared, desperately reiterated friendly overtures and asked the Huaorani why they were killing them. You read it and go "poor guy", but how do we know what was said by any unbiased source? What language did he talk to the Huaorani in? Did he also have a gun drawn? I won't make any edits because I don't know enough about the topic and I am rather revolted by the missionaries, but I think this article would have been better if it had had an extensive peer review and significant contributions by multiple people, rather than your single (and excellent) effort. Sad mouse 03:40, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I see the verbs evangelize, proselytize, as NPOV in and of themselves, but carrying a POV if used with a person or people as their direct object. A phrase like "convert the Huaorani" carries with it the implication that the converter acts upon the converted person as upon an impersonal object; the converter is active, the converted is passive. Unless it can be documented that those involved held such a view of the matter and used similar phraseology, I would consider such phrases a misrepresentation of their goals, and would use language that does not suffer from this defect. 74.136.196.5 13:07, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I had a tough time in particular with the section containing your example, since the only living witnesses were Huaorani, and the only people they would have recounted the story to were other missionaries (since they had no friendly contact with anyone else). I did my best to get info from non-missionary sources when possible (the stuff about the bullet and Nampa in that section is an example), but as far as I know there are no other sources for that particular part. It could be removed as unnecessary detail, I suppose.
As for the effect of Operation Auca, the term has a narrow definition—the work and deaths of the five men—and does not encompass all 20th century missionary efforts among the Huaorani. Most of the direct impact on Huaorani culture was due to work by subsequent missionaries. In her book, Laura Rival lambasts missionaries (particularly SIL and Rachel Saint) for pages but speaks of Operation Auca for only a paragraph or two (she even gets one of the names wrong—it's clear she didn't pay much attention to that part of the story). Obviously, Operation Auca opened the door, but the real impact was seen later (and is documented at Huaorani). On the other hand, it was the deaths of the five men (that is, "Operation Auca") that shook up the USA. Few paid attention to the long-term work of missionaries there. Does this help explain the discrepancy in amount of coverage? I agree 100% that more and better coverage is needed of the disintegration of Huaorani culture; I just think it should be in Huaorani or perhaps in a separate article. --Spangineerws (háblame) 04:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
This was big news at the time, as not being christian was viewed negatively by many. MakeChooChooGoNow 00:42, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually it was rather living a life of polygamy and violence which bothered the Christians and for the fact that envangilism was a success in Latin America. There was a market to be tapped and these people were part of that market.

Sounds pretty cynical to me. Is there something wrong with telling someone that their violent lifestyle is not a good thing and can be changed? It seems to me that the tribes were well on the way to exterminating themselves. And that is a good thing? Also, does not a person, as a free agent, have the right to "evangelize" someone? As does not that person on the receiving end of "evangelism" have the corresponding ability as a free agent to reject it? Or is your objection soley based on your own rejection of that "evangelistic" message? That decision to reject the message is your right is it not? Do I not have a corresponding right to offer you another point of view to consider? Do you only have rights? Sduplessie 20:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
You forget that freedom of choice requires an informed choice. Having some American missionaries sweep down in a plane, give bribes and one extremely POV version of history/morality to a tribe which has no previous contact with other civilisations, is hardly giving them a free choice. And missionaries have never pretended to offer free choice, they have always used every possible chance to take advantage of ignorance, superstition and bribery to convert tribes.Sad mouse 23:51, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

No, you have rights. But there is a differnce between your right to voice your opinions and forcing other people to hear them. I'd say the tribe rejected their point of view quite forcefully. Did that make them go away? Some people won't take no for an answer. ChiTwnG 22:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

The Waorani did have an informed choice, between the ways their ancestors taught them, and the way the newcomers taught. Some of the Waodani made one choice, others made a different choice; and the choices were made over a period of years, even decades--quite different from your view of missionaries swooping down in airplanes and supposedly bribing the Waorani (who, btw, might find your paternalistic attitude rather condescending). I think the only alternative would have been to make contact, but to *forbid* the Waorani from changing until more viewpoints were provided--and by whom? The Waorani were monolingual, and the only outsiders who even bothered to learn their language for decades were missionaries. So you would have had to keep them in a museum until someone else tried to learn their language and bring them some other view. BTW, what other views did you have in mind: capitalism? communism? some kind of modern philosophy? or the wonders of petroleum engineering?Mcswell (talk) 03:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the historical account seems to indicate that the murderous attack on the five men was not a rejection of their message of Christianity but a tragic misunderstanding that had nothing at all to do with the message. And in fact, the tribes embraced Christianity over a period of time only after two of the victims widows went to live with the tribes, learned their language and customs, lived in their longhouses, and forgave those who murdered their husbands. Hardly an invasion of westerners forcing "converstions" are gunpoint. The tribes could have killed the women at any time. Those who embrace the "noble savage" veiw have a hard time explainging why drug dealers and gang bangers should be arrested, convicted and jailed. Isn't that imposing a suburban world view on the inner city "tribes?"Sduplessie 16:40, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

NPOV -- Another Twist[edit]

Why does the author feel a need to label these missionaries "Christian"? To most Christians, the proper terms are "Christian Fundamentalist" or "Radical Evangelical." There is an agenda at work here, not necessarily against evangelical activity alone, but against Christianity as a whole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.194.63.129 (talk) 00:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

You feel that referring to these missionaries as Christians is a sign of an attempt to treat Christianity negatively? --Spangineerws (háblame) 02:33, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes -- the author sets up the POVs as Anthropology versus Christianity. The core assumption of this perspective is Dawkinsite. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.194.63.129 (talk) 22:42, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

That's what the headers are in the last section, but the content doesn't follow that path—some of the anthropologists cited are Christians, and support the action. I'm not sure what "Dawkinsite" means, but please elaborate on how this bias you perceive could be addressed. I (someone who supports Christian missions) wrote this article with the intention of being as unbiased as possible, and I but I'm not opposed to improving it if possible. --Spangineerws (háblame) 22:56, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

  • Can someone check the second sentence? Particularly the occurrence of honey bees and urethras. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 61.68.125.13 (talkcontribs).
All fixed. --Spangineerws (háblame) 00:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Somehow the section heading "===The Huaorani===" shows up on the page as "DICK SLAP". Being a relative wiki newb, I have no idea how to correct this, I can't even find that text anywhere in the article text in edit mode.
    • You are probably viewing an older vandalized version. Try refreshing. —Dgiest c 17:41, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Great read![edit]

What a good article! I really enjoyed reading this. Kudos to the editors who whipped this into FA material. — BrianSmithson 02:30, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. --Spangineerws (háblame) 02:40, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. From a fairly non-partisan perspective (i.e. I'm neither a raving atheist nor a raving Christian) this article seems to tread the NPOV line very well.--Tommaisey 22:55, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Missing information?[edit]

Could we have an enlarged Legacy section? Nyttend 04:24, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Anything in particular that you'd like to see? There's a bit more on the disintegration of Huaorani culture at Huaorani, but I feel this article should focus on the effect of Operation Auca specifically (that is, the work and death of the five men, not the work of later missionaries). --Spangineerws (háblame) 04:30, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I've added a reference to the "Christian Views" subsection referencing the inclusion of the story as a part of Steven Curtis Chapman's 2002 tour. Hope that helps. --LoadStar 06:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Other films and books[edit]

The article mentions that other films and books have been written on this subject. It seems to me that these should at least be listed at the end for complete coverage. Especially any that may related to other parts of the articles like films from within the christian community. Dalf | Talk 09:10, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

This event may have inspired the Peter Matthiessen book (and subsequent film) At Play in the Fields of the Lord. There are lots of parallels between the Auca event and the plot of the book, but I don't know that one necessarily inspired the other. Moreover, since the film page is a stub and there doesn't seem to be a page for the book yet, I'm not sure if it's worth linking. Honestly, I'm not sure how to add a link to something like this anyway. (Bit a new fish, I am. Sorry about that...)Datsun Eleven 20:08, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Waorani[edit]

Overall, this seems quite a good article but I'm a little concerned with the coverage of the Waorani themselves. While I I think it is good that anthropological perspectives have been provided, it seems that in this article they are limited to the interpretation of the events — the image of the people on the other hand seems still very much in line with the traditional evangelical christian missionary perspective of a violent, primitive tribe.

Perhaps inadvertently, the article sketches a simplistic picture of the Waorani as a violent people: they consisted of three groups 'all mutually hostile', they were 'often engaging in vengeance-motivated killing of other Huaorani' ... carried out raids 'in extreme anger' ... and 'the circle of violence continued'. (Cf. also 'the natives seemed abnormally fearful' later on, note the 'abnormally'.) Most of the phrases above are sourced to Rival 2002 and Boster 2003, and I think they have a lot more to say than that. As a matter of fact, our own article Huaorani cites Robarchek & Robarchek (1997), a study providing more background to the 'circle of violence' among the Waorani. I think their analysis of the post-WOII breakdown of clan relationships (maybe due to diseases from external sources) would be worth mentioning here.

But more importantly perhaps, there is a lot more to say about the Waorani than the oft-noted violence. While I recognize that the main article on the Waorani has to be Waorani itself (i.e. we cannot treat them in detail here), it seems to me that this particular article could do better in painting a realistic and NPOV ethnographic picture of the Waorani at the time of Operation Auca. — mark 09:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree; I'll work on improving the part on internal violence (currently the last half of the 2nd paragraph in "The Huaorani"). Do you feel that the rest of that section also needs work? --Spangineerws (háblame) 15:02, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
For the "abnormally fearful" part, it reads to me as if it should be more along the lines of abnormal as unusual given the past circumstances, rather than abnormal as departing from human norm. There had been positive interaction between the two groups, and the airplane was not feared (cf the gifts tied to the rope and the friendly flights). I'm going to change the wording on that one to be a bit more in line with events unless and until someone can provide a source to suggest otherwise. The Dark 15:11, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Never mind, I'm a bit slow today :) The Dark 15:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Spangineer, the first paragraph in #The_Huaorani isn't as bad as the second one; it was mainly the latter that catched my attention for being somewhat tendentious. The Dark, yeah, you may be right. — mark 17:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Psychic powers?[edit]

In the second paragraph of "First Visit", from "After seeing Nankiwi in the plane..." to "...they soon continued toward the beach" how is it possible to know the conversations & motivations of the Huaorani? At present it seems as if the author has some psychic power enabling them to read the minds of people over half a century ago.

If this information was obtained at a later date from friendlier Huaorani, this should be mentioned, and the entire paragraph should be read with this in mind, as I cannot see any way of verifying such claims.

chrisboote 09:25, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Later missionaries and biographers interviewed Huaorani who were friends of missionaries. This is mentioned in passing in the "Attack" section. I'll try to figure out a way to make the rest of it more clear. --Spangineerws (háblame) 14:48, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
According to Steve Saint (son of one of the missionaries and current missionary to the Huaorani), the men who actually did the killing later converted to Christianity and told of the event.
-WB

Why was the SIL not attacked?[edit]

During their visit years later. Just curious. If anyone knows, please let me know on my user page, thanks! Andrewr47 22:34, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

The first sentence...[edit]

Remove the first sentence. I don't like missionaries either but it's no reason to give a personal attack.

This comment probably refers to a vandalised state of the article. — mark 17:24, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Laura Rival - The Attack[edit]

Describing her as a reseacher makes her sound like an independent authority, when, in fact, she is an anthropologist who is critical of the expedition. Her opinion is fine. But when it comes to conclusions that have nothing to do with anthropolgy (the gunshot), she should be noted as a critic. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sweetmoose6 (talkcontribs).

Everyone has an opinion; Boster, Yost, and others who thought the whole thing was generally a good idea are also presented as "independent authorities", whatever that means. So I don't think there's a problem of bias. Regarding your specific point, I would agree with you if it said, "Rival thinks the bullet killed Nampa". But what is says is that Rival's research among the people has led her to conclude that the community of Huaorani believe that the bullet killed Nampa. Her extensive experience with the people makes her one of the people most capable of judging their sentiment. --Spangineerws (háblame) 01:50, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
    • You are absolutely right that everyone has an opinion. I am in favor of eliminating or tempering opinion when it is possible. Here it is possible. Simply mentoning her as a critic relieves any prejudice that her opinions might bring to her conclusions.

Rival's work is thoroughly vetted through academic channels and fully qualifies as a WP:RS, whatever her opinion of Saint. As presented here, it most clearly qualifies as a source on what Huaorani in the 1990s have recorded of the event. Here is the relevant text from Rival 2002:

[Rachel Saint and Betty Elliott (and 3-year-old child valerie) arrived at Tihueno with Dayuma.] To this day, the Huaorani trace the legitimate presence of evangelical missionaries within their communities to the lifelong relationship between Dayuma, the Huaorani woman who had lived for many years with the cohuori [outsiders]—and hendce taken for dead—and the North American missionary Rachel Saint, a relationship sealed, as they see it, in the death of their two brothers. Dayuma's brother speared Rachel's brother to death and was injured by a bullet Rachel's brother shot before dying. He died from the injury about a month later. (Rival 2002:158)

Stoll on the attack[edit]

The article now reads:

Accounts differ on the effect of that bullet. Dawa, Dayuma, and other Huaorani relate that Nampa was killed months later while hunting, but others, including missionary anthropologist James Yost, came to believe that his death was a result of the bullet wound. Rachel Saint did not accept this, holding that eyewitnesses supported her position, but researcher Laura Rival, a critic of the expedition, suggests that it is now commonly believed among Huaorani that Nampa died of the wound.[1][2]

It seems to me that "Dawa, Dayuma, and other Huaorani relate that Nampa was killed months later while hunting," is a major misinterpretation of Stoll. The text I'm quoting here is reproduced from an opinionated blog[1], but I don't have the original book, and doubt it says something different. Stoll actually says:

Accounts of the Palm Beach martyrdom had changed over the years in undeclared homage to Dayuma's younger brother Nampa, who died some weeks or months after the missionaries. According to Ethel Wallis, word that Nampa was no longer alive led to Dayuma's last rebellion before rejoining her people in 1958. Strangely, this important news took 'a few days' to emerge in non-stop conversation with Aunts Maengamo and Mintaka.
It came up as Dayuma pondered the death of Nate Saint. And Dayuma turned on Rachel as if she were to blame: 'I am never going back...I won't teach you any more of my language-' [Wallis 1971:141] Even more strangely, according to Elizabeth Elliot she had already learned of Nampa's death in the tape exchanges [Elliot 1961:63].
The likely cause of Dayuma's revolt was not the fact of Nampa's death but how he had died, in the words of the 1980 Kingsland account: 'The aunts described with great relish the wound in his head from one of the missionaries' rifles...." [Kingsland 1980:107] Yet the aunts blamed Nampa's death on witchcraft and a boa constrictor, leading Wallis to conclude that Nampa 'had been cruelly crushed by a boa while hunting in the forest. Black and blue and very ill, he lingered for a month. He had been cursed by the down-river Indians, Maengamo said, and finally died a horrible death' [Wallis 1971:141,199,212].
Saint was aware of the bullet no later than her 1960 epilogue to "The Dayuma Story." Here, reportedly as she learned from Gikita in his hour of confession and faith, we read that 'one bullet grazed the head of young Nampa,' who was 'hiding behind the plane' as the missionaries shot 'into the air' [Saint 1971:221]. The trajectory of the magic bullet is corrected in Saint's 1965 epilogue to "The Dayuma Story," as reported by her second convert Dawa. Now the accident occurs when Dayuma's own mother Akawo grabbed for a missionary gun and a shot went off, grazing her own son who was hiding in the forest on the other side of the plane [Saint 1965:290].
The enduring result of the Saint-Huao exchanges on Palm Beach was the most noble, graceful death to which Huao enemies have ever been priveleged: 'One by one the foreigners had fallen. Although they fired shots into the air, warning the Aucas that they had means of defense, they chose to be killed by Auca spears' [Wallis 1973:44]. In 1959, Huao informants told Saint that one of the missionaries had climbed onto the plane, looked back and rejoined his comrades (implication brother Nate)[Saint 1971:221]. A few years later Mincayi told her that the action had been much too fast for such heroism: 'before [her previous informants] were afraid' and this was 'talking wild' - Huao for nonsense [Saint 1965:290].
In early 1974 Erwin Patzelt interviewed one of Saint's legendary 'five killers' at Dayuno. From Nimonga, through Zoila and Pedro Chimbo as interpreters, he heard about the sixth casualty of Palm Beach. On Patzelt's tape, with Nimonga in the background, Chimbo explains that the last missionary to die shot Nampa as if he were trying to save himself. Later Patzelt asked Dayuma's son Sam Padilla what had happened to his uncle Nampa. 'He died after the massacre of the five missionaries,' Sam replies on Patzelt's tape. 'Why?' presses Patzelt. 'With sickness, I believe,' answers Sam. In June, Patzelt presented his evidence to Sam, eliciting the taped statement that 'one of the bullets came out and hit [Nampa] in the head, but it was not deliberate, it was an accident which happened. After the five were killed, Nampa was a little bad, he went home, felt bad and nearly died. The bullet was still in his head....After some months he died from the effect of the bullet.'
When El Comercio mentioned Patzelt's version of Palm Beach in April 1974, SIL protested but also asked its new anthropologist to investigate. James Yost discovered that 'he met a boa and he died' was the first Tigueno response to inquiries. Perhaps a month after Palm Beach, the story went, Dayuma's brother had gone hunting by himself. On his way home he encountered a boa coming out of a hole. The boa talked to him. Nampa tried to run away but the boa talked to him again. 'Now I know I'm going to die because the boa has spoken to me,' Nampa said.
Obviously this was a spirit boa, one associated with sorcery, which animists may regard as the cause of death even when they know that something else was the immediate agency. Whether the bullet lodged in Nampa's head or left a furrow which became infected, Yost's Tigueno interviews led him to believe that Nampa had not died from a boa attack but probably because of the bullet wound. When he asked Nimonga how the missionaries had shot Nampa accidentally if he was in hiding, Nimonga laughed and said Nampa had come armed with a spear to kill. Contrary to her earlier 'five killers' motif, even Saint now has three of four women in the party participating in the assault and only Nampa, old enough to go hunting by himself, aloof. According to Sam Padilla, everyone helped.
For various reasons - the lapse of time and the Huao definition of time, the problematica lHuao photo identification of whom they killed in what order, special interest lobbies among the Huaorani - it is probably impossible to determine precisely who shot Nampa, how he was shot and how soon he died. Among Saint's loyalists, Yost reports, the 1965 accidental version that Nampa's own mother was responsible seems firmly established. When he suggested that the bullet killed Nampa, Dayuma flew into one of her tantrums and insisted it was the boa. Since then her son Sam has used the two week bullet death to bludgeon SIL [Kingsland 1980:130].
In 1976, Rachel Saint was standing her ground: 1) if the five men had tried to shoot attackers, they would have been more successful; 2) Nampa was off the beach and in hiding, therefore the shooting was accidental; and 3) he died six months after Palm Beach, therefore the relation to the shooting is dubious [Author's interview, Quito, 10 November 1976]. But since learning the seven day week, the Huaorani have scrambled their old term for the lunar cycle into it: six months could be six weeks.
Saint also evidently influenced her converts to tell her what she wanted to hear. The martyrdom is basic to her understanding of Huao Christianity because, without it, the blood debt between herself and the Huaorani becomes mutual: while Dayuma's people killed her brother Nate, Nate and his associates killed Dayuma's brother.

I know it's complicated, but the "hunting" is definitely a figment of Wallis' imagination, according to Stoll (and this makes obvious sense to anyone who's written about the Huao worldview), and doesn't belong in the article.--Carwil 18:48, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I think I agree with what you're saying, but the fact of the matter is that there are sources that say that he later died while hunting, and Stoll confirms this (that other people say that he died while hunting). The primary problem I think is that it's not Dawa and Dayuma who said this, but Wallis. Thus, could we say, instead of "Dawa, Dayuma, and other Huaorani relate that Nampa was killed months later while hunting", that "Missionaries interpreted the testimonies of Dawa and Dayuma to mean that Nampa was killed months later while hunting"? Do you think that's sufficiently accurate? --Spangineerws (háblame) 15:40, 20 February 2007 (UTC)


Another source[edit]

Boster, James S., James Yost and Catherine Peeke. 2004. Rage, revenge, and religion: honest signaling of aggression and nonaggression in Waorani conditional violence." Ethos 31(4): 471-494. It says:

The non-vengeful demeanor of Saint and Elliot reinforced something that had surprised the Waorani assailants of the five missionaries on “Palm Beach.” They later expressed their wonder that the five men, who carried guns, did not defend themselves, but responded only by shooting into the air - although a stray bullet struck Dayömæ’s brother, Nampa, where he was hidden by bushes on the bank15.

15. Geketa reported that on Palm Beach, Akawo (Dayömæ’s and Nampa’s mother) grabbed the pistol one of the missionaries was holding, and in the struggle, the pistol went off and she was wounded with a .22 bullet in the buttocks. It was most likely that during this struggle Nampa was shot as well.

--Carwil 20:35, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Rival, 158.
  2. ^ Stoll (1982), 305–07.