Collection Description

Culture Name

Enxet and Enlhet

Culture Description

The Mascoyan-speaking Enlhet Norte and Enxet Sur lived a migratory life, hunting, fishing, and gathering in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay. They became settled ranch hands and seasonal laborers when their territory was sold to British investors and settled by Mennonite farmers. Traditionally, Enxet and Enlhet society was composed of extended uxorilocal families, led by shamans. Such bands congregated periodically for social and ritual purposes.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


South America --Southern South America



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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

Field observations informing the collection took place in three distinctive periods: 1889-1906, 1963, and 1984-1996. Major works include: a memoir by W. Barbrooke Grubb (1911), one of the original Anglican missionaries, who worked mainly in the southern (Enxet) region but gives a broader account; and a dissertation that is a general ethnography on the Exnet, focusing on ethnopsychology, by Stephen Kidd, a former Anglican priest who lived among the Enxet as a missionary (Kidd 1999). Hawtry (1901) provides a short, contemporary supplement to Grubb’s early work. Jacob Loewen, a Mennonite, wrote articles based on interviews with Mennonite clergy and settlers living in the northern (Enlhet) region. He wrote about the concept of the “innermost” (valhoc) (Loewen 1966) and the cycle of traditional festivals (Loewen 1967). Kidd left the church to work on indigenous land claims, which he wrote about (Kidd, 1995). He also wrote on the “innermost,” which he translates as “hollow inside” and spells wáxok (Kidd 2000).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

Kilyikbama – malevolent spirit – use "SPIRITS AND GODS (776)"

Poijh – “nothing” – use "SEMANTICS (196)"

Valhoc – “innermost”; the cognitive, affective and the social center of a person (see also Wáxok) – use "ETHNOPSYCHOLOGY (828)"; see also "ETHNOANATOMY (826)" and "ANIMISM (774)"

Wanmagko – soul, dream, vitality – use "ANIMISM (774)" or use "LIFE AND DEATH (761)" with "ANIMISM (774)"

Wáxok – “innermost”; the cognitive, affective and the social center of a person (see also valhoc) – use "ETHNOPSYCHOLOGY (828)"; see also "ETHNOSOCIOLOGY (829)"

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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