Foto: Miltom Guran, 1978

Kamaiurá

  • Other names
    Kamayurá
  • Where they are How many

    MT467 (Ipeax, 2011)
  • Linguistic family
    Tupi-Guarani

Specialized trade

Many of the goods traded in the moitará are produced according to the system of specializations of each ethnic group. In the upper Xinguan system of specialized trades, the production of bows was attributed to the Kamaiurá, highly-skilled in their fabrication. But the introduction of firearms in the area greatly affected the the utility of the bow, which today is more a symbol of the group than a trade article.

Two types of goods currently used by the Kamaiurá are produced by other groups of the area: ceramic pots and snailshell belts. Ceramics is the specialization of the Wauja and is indispensible for basic foods, such as beiju and mohete [a kind of soup]. Shell belts and collars, made by the Kuikuro and Kalapalo, are part of native dress. To obtain these products, the Kamaiurá make sporadic visits to the specialist groups.

The Kamaiurá still consider themselves excellent specialists in baskets, arrow-throwers used in the Jawari, canoes of jatobá bark, hammocks, fishnets, and the jakui flute. They even say they are the best in house construction.

In relation to the other good produced by the upper Xinguans, the Kamaiurá attribute different values to some of these: the Wauja are held to be the best producers of salt, pepper and ceramic pots; the Kalapalo, of snailshell collars, baskets and mats; the Mehinako, of the same kind of pot as the Wauja and salt; the Kuikuro of a double-tipped arrow for fishing and snailshell collars.