Zanotti’s interest in working with the Kayapó
is in their ability to find a pathway to a
sustainable and just future. She wants to
understand how the Kayapó can continue to
govern their territory and sustain livelihoods
that support the well-being of their peoples.
Central to these efforts is developing beneficial
alliances and partnerships as they experiment
with income sources that are socially and
ecologically sustainable. As she builds that
A banana flower (left) and fish on banana leaves (right). Zanotti’s group is in the Brazilian Amazon during the dry season, a plentiful time for fish harvesting,
so students have the chance to taste many local varieties. Photos by Laura Zanotti.
knowledge, she works with the Kayapó to
replicate successful practices. She hopes that
some of these practices will be useful to other
indigenous peoples who are struggling with
the same influences and decisions.
“We’re carrying out work that’s beneficial
to community goals,” Zanotti says. “I’m glad
I’m working with undergraduate and graduate
students to engage in conversations in which
In particular, the Kayapó are preparing
for, and fighting against, the building of some
dams that could displace many villages and
alter their environment.
“Dr. Zanotti is very committed to the
people with whom she works,” says Assistant
Professor Brooke Scelza, a human behavior
ecologist at the University of California, Los
Angeles, and a peer of Zanotti. “She is a very
careful ethnographer and always seems
motivated to accurately represent the views