The Fold Behind the Knee: Kopenawa and Albert’s “Falling Sky”  By Stephen Corry, Truthout | Book Review   Sunday, 23 March 2014

Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert’s The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman is a monument to the authors’ lifetime of friendship and collaboration and a searing testimony of indigenous worldview.
The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman, by Davi Kopenawa & Bruce Albert
The Falling Sky is the most authentic account of Amazonian shamanism recorded. It’s the nearest thing to sitting around a fire and listening, uninterruptedly, to a shaman’s words. It’s more, and deserves to become one of the most important books of our time. The first book by a Yanomami, it has several stories to tell; one is that this Amazonian tribe has a way of looking at the world that could hardly be more different than ours, and they want to keep it. It’s a slap in the face to the West’s adolescent view that if we don’t yet have all the answers, we’re on the way to finding them.
Davi Kopenawa’s book is best described as four volumes in one. It was constructed by anthropologist Bruce Albert, who recorded Davi over a period of decades. He translated the book into French, and added much background which comprises the final part of The Falling Sky. It’s an impressive monument to a lifetime’s collaboration and friendship.
The opening volume is an account of Yanomami cosmology, a worldview as complex as any religion’s. This is no primitive nature worship, nor is it for the squeamish. It’s reminiscent of a Hieronymus Bosch triptych, of beauty and love, but also of dismemberment, “cannibalism,” death and destruction. Vulvas are “eaten,” which is how the Yanomami describe sex, and a bad-smelling penis leads to nowhere good.
“We shamans . . . are protecting ‘nature’ as a whole thing. We defend the forest’s trees, hills, mountains, and rivers; its fish, game, spirits, and human inhabitants. We even defend the land of the white people.”
The universe is multifaceted and multilayered, ever changing and full of hidden forces, helpful, mischievous, or murderous, all mutating depending on how they’re treated, and even on their mood. However unpredictable, they do stick to certain conventions – and that’s a point I’ll come back to.

Read more here:

The Fold Behind the Knee: Kopenawa and Albert’s “Falling Sky”.