Foto: Sergio Bloch, 2000

Waimiri Atroari

  • Other names
    Kinja, Kiña, Uaimiry, Crichaná
  • Where they are How many

    AM1.515 (PWA, 2011)
  • Linguistic family
    Karib

Introduction

The Waimiri Atroari have long held a special place in the Brazilian imaginary as a warrior people who confronted and killed any outsiders who tried to enter their territory. This image led government authorities to transfer the responsibility for building a highway through their lands to the Brazilian Army, which used repressive military force to control the Indians. This confrontation culminated in the near extinction of the Kinja people (the name used by the Waimiri Atroari for themselves). The invasion of their lands intensified when a mining company began excavations and when a hydroelectric dam was constructed, which flooded part of their territory. But the Waimiri Atroari faced up to these challenges and negotiated with national Brazilians, so that, today, they enjoy secure reservation boundaries, cultural vigor, and population growth.