- Other names
Where they are How many MT 467 (Ipeax, 2011)
- Linguistic family
History of the occupation of the upper Xingu
According to the Kamaiurá, their ancestors came from Wawitsa, a region situated in the extreme north of the Park (precisely where the principal feeder streams of the Xingu River flow into it) and to the side of Morená, center stage of mythical actions and the “center of the world” for them. It is possible that this may still be the principal reference point for defining themselves as a group in space and time.
At the time when Von den Steinen encountered the Kamaiurá, in 1884, they were in the final stage of their migration and were altogether on the banks of the Ipavu. The reasons for this move to the south, near the present day Leonardo Post seem to have been conflicts with peoples who inhabited the areas in the north, especially the Suyá and the Yudjá.
The history of contact of the Kamaiurá with non-indigenous society goes back to 1884, with the expedition of Karl Von den Stein. From that time on, various expeditions passed through the region in intermittent and short visits. In 1942, with the creation of the federal agency, the Central Brazil Foundation, the opening up of roads and the establishing of camps in the area began. In 1946, the Kamaiurá were affected by this penetration and started having regular contacts with the members of the Roncador-Xingu expedition, led by the Villas-Boas brothers. Finally, in 1961, the territory that they inhabit was turned into the National Park, today under the direction of the Funai (National Indian Foundation).
Below we read the history of these people in the words of the indigenous teacher Aisanain Kamaiurá:
Long ago the Kamaiurá people lived where the old village of Prepori was, the place that is called Krukitsa. After, they moved to Wawitsa, where the Pavuru post is today. In this place the Suiá and Yudjá people were attacking the Kamaiurá.
After, they moved to Jacaré and others crossed the river and went to the lake to set up a village. From there they moved to the other side of the lake. Today there are people still living in this village. There they made five villages because there were many people.
Many years passed and then Orlando Villas-Bôas came to the mouth of the Tuatuari.
The Kamaiurá went there just to see the whites. Then, they built a very large village and half of the Kamaiurá went there because of the whites. Orlando went downriver, he wanted to make a post on the Morená. He thought it was clean, but it was dirty. He went downriver to Awara´ï. There they made a landing-strip. There are people living in that place, it’s the village of Boa Esperança. The Kamaiurá came after the whites. After ten days, a Kamaiurá named Amarika, who knew all the places of the Xingu, told Orlando of Jacaré, that it was a good place. Orlando spoke with the people that worked with him and on another day they went there. The Kamaiurá who were with him went back, they left Awara´ï early in the morning, slept in the village of the Trumai, a village that is called Inarija.
Nowadays no-one lives in that place anymore. From there they went to the Leonardo post, where many people were joined together: Kamaiurá, Yawalapiti, Waurá and Trumai. They made a great festival at the Leonardo post. Then Orlando asked the chief to open up a trail to the Kamaiurá village.