Rappaport argued that the kaiko, the year-long festival which culminates the ritual cycle, not only "reversed" changes within the Tsembaga subsystem, but also "affected"relations among other parts of it,
Could we use present tense of quote words?
I assume that the original speaker used some other tense, but you want to report his speech using the past tense?
If you want to make the point that you are quoting the speaker's words, then you need to make some editing marks like:
"reverse[d]" to indicate that you, the present writer are making edits to the quotation in order to make sense in your present sentence.
In this case, however, where you are only quoting one word, I don't find the quotes necessary at all. You are restating his argument.