Foto: Tiago Moreira dos Santos, 2010.

Munduruku

  • Autodenominação
    Wuyjuyu
  • Where they are How many

    AM, MT, PA11.630 (Funasa, 2010)
  • Linguistic family
    Munduruku

Name and language

munduruku_2

This indigenous group belongs to the Munduruku language family, a branch of the Tupi trunk. Their self-designation is Wuy jugu and, according to the traditions transmitted orally among several elders, the name Munduruku, as they have been known since the end of the 18th Century, was how they were called by the Parintintins, an enemy people located in the region between the right bank of the Tapajós and the Madeira rivers. This name was supposed to have meant “red ants”, alluding to the way the Munduruku attacked rival territories en masse.

The socio-linguistic situation of the Munduruku is quite diversified, as the result of different moments in the history of contact with the colonization frontier, and the fact of their dispersal in different geographical spaces. Most of the population located in the small villages on the banks of the Tapajós is bilingual. In the village of Sai Cinza, villages of the Cururu, Kabitutu rivers and other tributaries of the Tapajós, the children, women and elderly speak only the maternal language most of the time. There are also cases which occur where the Munduruku language goes through a process of disuse, when Portuguese is used almost exclusively, with children and young people who do not speak Munduruku fluently, for example, the villages of Mangue and Indian Beach, located on the outskirts of the city of Itaituba, and in the communities of the Coatá-Laranjal Indigenous Land, in the state of Amazonas.