Foto: Vladimir Kozak, Museu Paranaense. S.d.

Karajá

  • Autodenominação
    Iny
  • Where they are How many

    GO, MT, PA, TO3.198 (Funasa, 2010)
  • Linguistic family
    Karajá

The village

The village is the basic unit of social and political organization. Decision making is made by male members of the extended families, who discuss their positions in the Aruanã House. Factional rivalry between groups of men disputing political power in the village is common. As a result of contact, one of the village's men is elected 'chief' and is held responsible for tackling political issues with external agents, such as FUNAI, universities, NGOs, state governments and so on.

The Karajá also have an intriguing chiefdom which in the past seems to have had two functions: one ritual, the other social. A child - male or female - was chosen by the ritual chief from among those related to him on his paternal side to be educated as his successor. Today, both the ritual chief and the chosen child still receive the same indigenous names: ióló and deridu.

Political disputes between villages are also common, but maintaining solidarity between them - motivated in the past by wars against other ethnic groups and nowadays by the struggles to demarcate their lands and remove illegal land squatters and farmers from the Ilha do Bananal - is reinforced by the rituals which stimulate and celebrate the meetings between villages.