Why Are American Kids So Spoiled?
In 2004, Carolina Izquierdo, an anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, spent several months with the Matsigenka, a tribe of about twelve thousand people who live in the Peruvian Amazon. The Matsigenka hunt for monkeys and parrots, grow yucca and bananas, and build houses that they roof with the leaves of a particular kind of palm tree, known as a kapashi. At one point, Izquierdo decided to accompany a local family on a leaf-gathering expedition down the Urubamba River. A member of another family, Yanira, asked if she could come along. Izquierdo and the others spent five days on the river. Although Yanira had no clear role in the group, she quickly found ways to make herself useful. While Izquierdo was doing field work among the Matsigenka, she was also involved in an anthropological study closer to home. Izquierdo and Ochs shared an interest in many ethnographic issues, including child rearing. “Can you untie it?” More by Elizabeth Kolbert:
• My Generation(s)