Foto: Isaac Amorim Filho

Matis

  • Other names
    Mushabo, Deshan Mikitbo
  • Where they are How many

    AM390 (Funasa, 2010)
  • Linguistic family
    Pano

Introduction

Estimated at several hundred people during the period of first official contacts (at the end of the 1970s), the Matis, speakers of a Pano language, numbered no more than 87 in 1983. In this interim, various epidemics were introduced, including by a Funai team that proved unable to contain them. The final months of 1981 were especially tragic, costing the lives of around fifty of the Matis and prompting many survivors, traumatized, to abandon their dispersed occupation of the forest to regroup next to the Funai post on the shores of the Ituí river, ensuring their ready access to medicines. Some years later, the swiddens had begun to produce normally, there was always meat available, some rituals had resurfaced and there was a significant population growth. However, the demographic and psychological shock arising from the badly undertaken and unnecessarily lethal contact persisted. Today the Matis no longer live in a single village and have returned, albeit timidly, to the former pattern of territorial occupation.