Foto: Marcos Mendes, 1995

Akuntsu

  • Other names
    Akunt'su
  • Where they are How many

    RO5 (Siasi/Sesai, 2012)
  • Linguistic family
    Tupari

Name

akuntsu_1

Information concerning the name Akunt'su, Akunsu or Akuntsu in the ethnographic literature is practically non-existent, at least prior to official contact with Funai in 1995.

A very brief mentions can be found in the book by Frans Caspar, Tupari, containing information given to the author by his Tupari informants about a ‘dangerous’ and ‘terrible’ tribe living in the forests to the east of their lands who they had never visited and who they called ‘Akontsu.’ The Akuntsu in question are indeed located to the northeast, and perhaps were located a little further to the east of the current Tupari territory.

Neither Akuntsu or Akunsu corresponds to the group's self-denomination. Rather, this is the name given to them by their Kanoê neighbours, survivors of the Kanoê groups contacted by the Rondon commission in the valleys of the Tanaru river between 1913 and 1914, who remained isolated in the Omerê forests until 1995 when they were contacted a short while before the neighbouring Akuntsu by the Funai ‘attraction’ team. The Akuntsu, in turn, call the Kanoê ‘Emãpriá.’

In the Kanoê language, Akuntsu appears to mean ‘other Indian.’ Hence the denomination ‘Wakontsón’ given to the mysterious tribe by the Tupari cited by Caspar may in fact be merely the term applied by the latter Indians to an indigenous group completely unknown to them, who perhaps had never even met them. Indeed in Caspar’s writings suggest that their dangerousness meant that the individuals of the group had never had the courage to visit them, meaning that their knowledge was based on oral information from the oldest members, dating from a time when reality and myth blur into indistinguishable events.