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Dona Preta’s Trek To Cachoeira

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Chapter Summary

Dona Preta is a priestess of an Afro-Brazilian religion. This chapter takes a skeptical view of what Africa has to do with the local construction of the authenticity of adepts of Afro-Brazilian religions and the efficacy of the services that they provide. It focuses on the city of Cachoeira, a hinterland hub of Candomblé practice, and on the arid backlands which have long looked to Cachoeira for religious succor. The chapter explores the tenuous relationship between Cachoeira's Candomble adepts and their backland clients. The relationship between Cachoeira and the sertão was forged in the long history of religious and commercial exchanges. Commodified transactions of religious knowledge and ritual service link practitioners into complex webs of mutual interdependence where the validity of individuals' ritual knowledge and power are always in play.

Keywords: Afro-Brazilian religion; Cachoeira; Dona Preta; pantheons; sertão



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