Foto: Miltom Guran, 1978

Kamaiurá

  • Other names
    Kamayurá
  • Where they are How many

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

Cosmology

In Kamaiurá reports, it is possible to distinguish three important epochs of their history: mythical time, when the creation of man took place; the time of the ancestors when the Indian had no contact with the white man; the present time, which includes from the first encounters with the whites to the present day. Nevertheless, the present time contains the essence of the worldview as the world was conceived in mythical time.

Present in all the versions of the act of creation is the conception that the Kamaiurá and the white man were conceived in a similar way. At times, the two are presented as twins. In another version, the creator hero Mavutsinin scarified the Kamaiurá and put the blood shed into the white man. Mavutsinin created both with the intention of forming a great village on the Morená. When the two became adults, Mavutsinin made a black bow and a firearm. He called the boys and put the objects in front of them. He ordered the Kamaiurá to take the firearm, but he preferred the black bow and took it. Mavutsinin insisted that he change his mind, but the Indian did not. The white man then took the firearm for himself. Angry with the way things turned out, Mavutsinin ordered the white man to go far away and the Kamaiurá to stay where he was. The creator gave the Indian fish and beiju, giving to the white man pigs, rice, fat, bricks, the axe and an interminable list of goods. Other upper Xinguan peoples were also created by Mavutsinin. The Txucahamãe, the Yudjá and the Suyá are snake-children and thus are aggressive.

According to Kamaiurá mythology, the culture hero Mavutsinin worked the Kwarup wood and shaped five posts. After singing and playing the maracás one day and one night, the posts began to move, at first with difficulty, until they were able to move more freely. Mavutsinin taught these men to take baths at dawn, to whistle and have sexual relations early in the morning, before sunrise. After that, he gave them instruments: black wooden bows for the Kamaiurá, pots to the Wauja, collars to the Kuikuro and Kalapalo.

For the Kamaiurá, when an Indian dies, his soul goes to a celestial village, replicate of the earthly village. But there life is not like it is in Ipavu: the souls are always dressed with ornaments, they do not work, they only dance and play ball; they do not eat fish or beiju, but crickets and potatoes. Thus, when someone dies, he should be buried with ornaments so that his soul will stay this way. If it is a man, arrows go with the body and, if it is a woman, a spindle – for the souls have to defend themselves from the attacks of little birds which, in periodic encounters, try to rip pieces off of them to take to the hawk. A soul with no defense is dead, it ends once and for all.