Since the late 70’s, the Colombian anthropologist Juan Alvaro Echeverri has logged more than five years in Uitoto and closely related communities in the Colombian Amazon. His relationships with individuals there have been long-lived and surprisingly successful, in contrast with the often-noted disappointment of many philanthropically oriented outsiders—NGO agents, anthropologists, missionaries, government personnel—who come to find ‘their Indians’ to be too materialistic and demanding, and of the Indians who cease to find these would-be philanthropists generous, desirable, or even interesting interlocutors. This essay, meant to be both an ethnographic and theoretical exposition on the forms and implications of substance exchange and an entertaining manifesto of admiration for an exemplary Amazonianist scholar, proves that the parties involved have achieved, and continue to achieve, practical, satisfying, and sustainable relationships, mostly through material gifts that index their mutual recognition as moral interlocutors.

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