Breaking Down Walls of Silence

Recognizing the effects of child abuse in the individual and society
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 Post subject: The Continuum Concept
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 5:08 am 
I saw an article in National Geographic about a stone age tribe in New Guinea. It made me think about Jean Liedloff. The anthropologists who did the study spent a long time in a place that's a lot more inaccessible than the the part of Venezuela Liedloff went to. The Continuum Concept was first published in 1975. It's still in print.

I thought to myself there must have been lots of university anthropologists who went there to check up on what she said about the Yequana indians, so I did a Google search. I used the advanced features. I confined the search to "site:.edu" to limit the results to university sites. After browsing through a large sample of results I noticed something strange. Without exception the articles were referring to Liedloff's book. No independent research.

Next, I used another advanced feature. If you put a minus sign in front of a word, Google will omit results that contain that word. I ruled out "-continuum -Liedloff" and searched for Yequana. Only one result and it was about Liedloff's book. What? So then I did a search for "site:.edu venezuela indians anthropology" (without the quotes) and got more than 100,000 results. There is a huge amount of anthropological data about Venezuelan indians, but none of the tribes are called Yequana.

What could be the explanation?

Does the tribe exist but with a different name?

Did the tribe get wiped out, or assimilated, soon after Liedloff's book was first published? If so, why didn't any university anthropologists try to find out what happened to them?

I'm suspicious now. I went to the Continuum Concept site and clicked on "News." It said "No news available at this time." The site hasn't been updated for years. It looks like The Natural Child Project has taken over as the place to find up-to-date information about child-friendly parenting (and parenting groups).


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:10 am 
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Does the tribe exist but with a different name?

If that's the case, why doesn't the Continuum Concept website mention the other name? Isn't that quite important?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:16 pm 
There is a simple explanation. Liedloff is the only person to spell the name of the tribe with a "q". These are the spellings that anthropologists use:

Ye'kwana
Ye'cuana
Ye'kuana
Dhe'cwana
Yecuana
Yekuana
Yekwana

More info at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Rhode Island...

http://www.uri.edu/artsci/soc/lauer/res ... earch.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:23 pm 
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I typed this in google: yequana -liedloff -continuum and got 1160 hits

Just glancing at some of those articles, they do mention Yequana through other sources, for example here:

Towards the end of her study, Aimara was "adopted" by a production company. There she learned production, editing and camera skills. The Director of the company was making a documentary about the Yequana community who live on top of a mountain in the Amazon at the source of the river Ventuari. "The only reason they weren't spoiled during the period of Spanish domination was because the Spanish didn't know how to find them!"

It's sad to see Liedloff's website being so out of date. Do passionate people have no computer skills?

Dennis


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:15 am 
It's a pity Jean Liedloff didn't compare her findings to what anthropologists had written about the Yequana. A quick search shows anthropologists had been there before she arrived.
Quote:
It's sad to see Liedloff's website being so out of date.

Maybe the Liedloff Continuum Network is not active anymore. There are so many parenting groups now. The Natural Child Project site is nicely presented. I think it's all done by Jan Hunt's homeschooled son Jason.
Quote:
Just glancing at some of those articles, they do mention Yequana through other sources,

Yes, but those are not university sources. Jean Liedloff says young children can be trusted with knives. An Amazon customer review said:
Quote:
I have also heard that Leidloff has been slightly misleading in that, although the Yequana babies did not kill themselves playing with the knives that are 'lying around', she did neglect to mention that many of them are scarred.

But is it true? Where did the customer hear about that? Is it a subtle attempt to discredit Liedloff? I'd like to read some anthropological research, but with all those different spellings it could take a long time to sift through it all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:11 pm 
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The Liedloff Continuum Network is quite active because I'm an (inactive) member and there's a lot of interest world wide on that list.
The source I mentioned wasn't a university source but it showed that the Yequana people still exist. Could be an interesting documentary to watch.

I wrote an email to the person who wrote that review where their babies suppose to have scars. I never got a reply. I can't see Liedloff deliberately lying about that.

In Sweden I once saw 3 kids, age 5, 7, and 9, fishing together with their dad. They had their own fishing rod and caught their own fish. Then they had a sharp knife, took the fish off the hook and cleaned the fish at the spot. All without any interference of the dad. I thought: wow, how wonderful to do that without an adult screaming constantly watch out, be careful!

There's another freaky review on the Amazon site, where a mother supposedly put her baby on the dining table where it jumped off to 'knock her teeth out and smash her head on the kitchen floor after hurtling off the top step trying to fly to name but a few incidents. I totally agree that cuddling babies and allowing them to sleep with you is wonderful, but only if your baby wants it too. My child hated co-sleeping and slept her first night through peacefully in her own cot.'

Her first night? This sounds like an attempt to discredit Liedloff, where the mother looks back and seeks justification for the way she has damaged her child.

Dennis


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:06 am 
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The Liedloff Continuum Network is quite active because I'm an (inactive) member and there's a lot of interest world wide on that list.

If you're on the list is it possible to ask the moderator why the site gives the impression that it's dormant? Also, it might be a good idea to point out that university anthropologists use different spellings for the tribe. I'm probably not the only one who looked for research by anthropologists.
Quote:
I wrote an email to the person who wrote that review where their babies suppose to have scars. I never got a reply. I can't see Liedloff deliberately lying about that.

I wasn't convinced that Liedloff lied. What I meant to demonstrate was that people make unsupported claims on Amazon to discredit writers they don't like. I've seen it for other books which haven't been mentioned on this forum. False statements like "This theory was discredited long ago," when I know for certain that published research actually supports it.

There are more than 100 million parents of youngsters in the USA right now, and at least 2,000,000,000 around the planet. Half of the total world population is under the age of 18 years. Confronting unenlightened parents one-by-one on forums or by email will usually only trigger defensiveness. Think to yourself "100 million parents of youngsters in the USA right now". How long will it take to dismantle poisonous attitudes to child-rearing around the world doing it that way?

I think a better way is to link to websites of large organizations that fight all the various kinds of child abuse. Help them by sending more visitors. Some visitors will reconsider their attitudes and some won't. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Trying to make big waves in very small ponds doesn't seem like the most productive approach.

Examples:

The Empathic Parenting website, which focuses on the consequences of inadequate care of very young children:

http://www.empathicparenting.org/

The International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, which aims to turn public opinion against the drugging of children:

http://www.icspp.org/

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, which is endorsed by the UN:

http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/

I agree with Bernard. Why send potential clients to Arthur Janov? He's wealthy enough already. Thirty years have gone by and primal therapy hasn't changed the world. To imagine that primal therapy will come back into vogue after more than a quarter of a century is like living in cloud cuckoo land. Is the purpose of this forum to make clear what Poisonous Pedagogy is, or does the forum exist for primallers who've got themselves stuck in a groove?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:08 pm 
After seeing some photos of the Yekwana on a website I decided to refresh my memory by reading The Continuum Concept again. I noticed something that just doesn't add up. Near the end of chapter 5 she says:

Quote:
As the Sanema, like the Yequana, are not deprived of their expected experiences in infancy, they have a huge headstart over us on the road to serenity. With a fulfilled personality based solidly in a sense of his own rightness, the Sanema - blah, blah, blah.

Then in chapter 6 she says:

Quote:
The Sanema Indians, whose culture differs enormously for that of the Yequana, for example, consider it right to raid the village of another Sanema clan and steal as many young women and kill as many men as possible.

Excuse me? Stop right there. If the Sanema raise their children like the Yekwana, how come they turn into adults who pillage neighboring villages and murder the menfolk? Jean Liedloff is either blind to something or she doesn't actually know if they raise their kids the same. It's strange that she'd make the assumption that they are not deprived of expected experiences when she knows they can be killers. It's something that's crying out for an explanation.

As Continuum Network website appears dormant, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The Natural Child Project site has more information for parents and links to a long list of other sites that promote child-centered parenting. For example, the Empathic Parenting site that Jan Hunt is associated with. Even Alice Miller has more links than the Continuum Network.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:43 pm 
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That's indeed a huge contradiction you spotted. I had to get the book to see if you were right. Was she thinking of another tribe? I suppose only Liedloff could answer that.

Dennis

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 9:38 pm 
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D.R.B. wrote:
Excuse me? Stop right there. If the Sanema raise their children like the Yekwana, how come they turn into adults who pillage neighboring villages and murder the menfolk? Jean Liedloff is either blind to something or she doesn't actually know if they raise their kids the same. It's strange that she'd make the assumption that they are not deprived of expected experiences when she knows they can be killers. It's something that's crying out for an explanation.


The explanation of this is crystal-clear in this thread: Like most anthropologists and ethnologists, Liedloff is dissociating.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:00 am 
I figured Liedloff was dissociating too. In the next paragraph after she said the Sanema pillage and kill, she wrote:
Quote:
Just as a back-street murderer commits an antisocial act and a soldier killing an enemy does not, it is the motive, not the act, that counts in measuring the sociality of the perpertrator.

I don't agree with that! I have the revised edition published in 1986. She could have reconsidered her original viewpoint.

Quite a few years ago reading Janov and Miller helped me disengage from a cult. Now, I think there's also a risk of ignoring these writer's blind spots, perhaps because there aren't many who tell the truth about how parents screw up children. Again, a bit cultish.

For Dennis: I vote for Childhood Inside Out.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:44 am 
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Again, a bit cultish.

Agreed. And that's why I wrote a devastating critique of one of my mentors: deMause.

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Last edited by Cesar Tort on Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:20 pm 
Cesar is probably right. Jean Liedloff sees what she wants to see, probably because she believes in the Rousseau ideal of the Noble Savage.

The Sanema tribe are part of one the most studied indigenous groups in the annals of anthropology - the Yamomami people. An anthropologist whose work led to possibly the biggest controversy in the history of anthropology, Napoleon Chagnon, was living the Yamomami around the time Jean Liedloff was living with the neighboring Yequana. Chagnon reported that Yamomami men who killed other men were more likely to find wives (implying a genetic tendency for violence through Survival of the Fittest). The criticics of his work were also believers in the Rousseau ideal of the Noble Savage.

Discovery Channel showed a documentary series called Going Tribal, which included an episode about the Sanema indians. Originally, it was produced by the BBC. The guy who lived with the tribe wrote a book about how the series was made. He says he witnessed child abuse in the Sanema family hut where he lived.

Link: video clips of the Sanema on the BBC website

Link: Wikipedia article about Napoleon Chagnon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:05 pm 
I don't know if Cesar still visits the forum. He hasn't posted for a long time.

Interesting links. I read about Chagnon before, but he wasn't the first anthropologist to study the Yequana or the Yamomami. I did some online research when an earlier guest in this thread pointed out the alternative ways to spell the name of the Yequana.

Video clip 9 from the BBC didn't download properly on my dial-up connection but the caption said "Bruce discovers that Juliana is Eloy's second wife." I emailed someone who watched the series. Previously, she didn't tell me about the Sanema, she just said the Yequana weren't in it. Apparently, when the film crew's interpreter asked the pre-pubescent Juliana about Eloy (the tribe's headman) she told them sometimes he throws things at her and tells her to sleep on the floor. She said if he treats her like that when she's older she is going to run away to another village.


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