From Indigenous Peoples in Brazil
Photo: Gilberto Azanha, 2004

Karipuna de Rondônia

Where they are How many
RO 55 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
Linguistic family

Just four survivors: there could be no more striking pointer to the disastrous history of contact between this group and the non-indigenous population. The rubber boom at the start of the 20th century can be considered the initial landmark of the sequence of invasions and deaths in their traditional territory. This was also the period when the Madeira-Mamoré railroad was constructed, drawing tens of thousands of migrants to the region occupied by the Kawahib groups and bringing further deaths from disease and conflict. Even so, until the 1970s one Karipuna group managed to live relatively separate from the world of the whites, but ended up succumbing to the Funai attraction front, which culminated in more deaths from epidemics and cultural losses. Today they possess their own Indigenous Territory and look to protect it from the constant invasions of loggers, hunters, fishermen and settlers.  

Name and language

Katsiká e seus filhos. Foto: Gilberto Azanha, 2004.
Katsiká e seus filhos. Foto: Gilberto Azanha, 2004.

The autonym of the population known as Karipuna is ahé (‘true people'). They speak a language from the Tupi-Guarani family and have little difficulty understanding the language of neighbouring groups such as the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, Amondawa, Tenharim and Parintintin (all Kawahibi groups) and the Sateré (from the Mawé linguistic family), among others.

The origin of the name ‘Karipuna’ is unknown. The first accounts concerning these Indians referred to them as ‘Black Mouths’ due to the permanent genipap design tattooed around their mouths, a tradition shared with the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau and other Tupi-Kawahibi groups.

It should be noted that this Karipuna group has no link with the other group known as Karipuna located in the state of Amapá.

Location and history of the IT

A aldeia Karipuna no rio Jaci-Paraná. Foto: Gilberto Azanha, 2004.
A aldeia Karipuna no rio Jaci-Paraná. Foto: Gilberto Azanha, 2004.

The territory historically occupied by this people – according to historical sources and oral accounts – comprises the Mutum-Paraná river and its left shore affluents (to the west), the Contra creek and São Francisco river (to the north) and the rivers Capivari, Formoso and Jacy-Paraná (to the south and east). This territory partly converges with the area occupied by the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau and Amondawa (to the south), Pakaá-Nova (to the west) and Karitiana (to the north and east).

According to Denise Maldi Meireles (1984: 117-9), the Karipuna occupation of the Jacy-Paraná river basin dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. There appears to have been a split in the group towards the end of the century, with one of the factions heading eastwards and settling on the headwaters of the Capivari river and the other settling in the basin of the Mutum-Paraná river to the north.

Ratified in 1998, the Karipuna Indigenous Territory (IT) is 152,930 ha in size and located in the municipalities of Porto Velho and Nova Mamoré. There the Karipuna live as one group in the Panorama village. The limits of the IT are formed by the natural boundaries of the Jacy-Paraná river and its left shore affluent, the Formoso river, to the east, the Fortaleza creek to the north, and the Juiz and Água Azul creeks to the west, along with the artificial line to the south, linking the latter creek to the headwaters of the Formoso.

The first official step to secure the territory of the Karipuna was presented by Benamour Fontes in 1978 with the proposal to Funai to interdict an area of around 202,000 hectares. In 1981 a Work Group was constituted (Directives No. 1.106/E of 15/09/81 and 1.141/E of 9/11/81) to identify the Indigenous Territory, which maintained the limits proposed in 1978 for demarcation. No further steps were taken until 1988 when the president of Funai interdicted a total area of 195,000 hectares. That same year, the southern limit of the IT began to be invaded. In 1994, Funai set up a Technical Group (TG) to “produce the studies for identification and delimitation of the Karipuna Indigenous Territory, which proposed an area of approximately 153,000 hectares.

In actual fact, the 40,000 hectares difference between the area proposed by the TG and the area originally interdicted by Funai resulted from a negotiation between this body, Incra and the government of Rondônia to ‘liberate’ the strip along the southern border already invaded by 184 settlers, taking the BR-421 highway (Ariquemes/Guajará-Mirim) as a baseline. As its part of the deal – which never seems to have been formally signed – Incra agreed to remove and resettle the invading settlers from the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau IT (Burareiro Directed Settlement Project – PAD) and the Mekéns IT (since Incra itself had supervised and issued the certificates of ownership for the settlers invading this IT), as well as implement a land zoning system in the ‘liberated’ area in order to encourage a more rational form of occupation with less impact on the Karipuna and Lage ITs. The state of Rondônia would be responsible for funding the costs of the evictions and to maintain permanent control of the borders of these ITs with soldiers from the Forest Police battalion – as well as agreeing to suspend any work for extending the BR-421 highway.

Despite the failure to implement this agreement, the Karipuna Indigenous Territory was demarcated in 1997 with 152,930 hectares and later ratified (Decree issued 09/09/1998) and registered in the land registry offices of Guajará-Mirim and Porto Velho.

Contact history

Gravura cuja legenda:
Gravura cuja legenda:

The first contacts between the Karipuna and sectors of non-indigenous society occurred when rubber tappers began to penetrate the affluents of the upper Madeira river during the first rubber boom in the first decades of the 20th century. There are no records of attacks or ‘correrias’ perpetrated by rubber bosses against these Indians, nor do the oldest survivors of the group mention them. But the Karipuna have accounts that they invaded isolated ‘colocações,’ or dwellings, in the region between the Mutum-Paraná, Contra, Capivari and Jacy-Paraná rivers to take pans, clothing and rifles.

The penetration of the rubber extraction fronts, more intensive from 1910 onwards, and the construction of the Madeira-Mamoré Railroad (EFMM), leading to constant clashes between ‘wild Indians,’ rubber tappers and railroad workers, forced the now extinct Indian Protection Service (SPI) to establish a series of Attraction Posts in the former federal territory of Guaporé in the 1940s, above all in the Madeira river basin. Two of these Posts, ‘Coronel Tibúrcio’ and ‘Tenente Marques,’ were set up in the area occupied by the Karipuna described above: the former on the Capivari river and the latter on the left shore of the Mutum-Paraná river. According to a report issued in 1949 by the 9th Regional Inspectorate of the SPI, based in Porto Velho, both posts were left in a state of neglect without any logistic possibility of carrying out their mission.

Other reports from the period give us clues as to the relations between the Karipuna, the Posts and the rubber tappers. Thus, on August 10th 1948, the officer Paulo de Almeida Serra reported to Inspector Álvaro (probably the head of the 9th Inspectorate) that “(...) here at Mutum–Paraná [referring to the village located at the mouth of this river on the Madeira] there is no kind of boat capable of taking us upriver. I talked to various people who told us that there is nothing left where the post was located [because] the Indians visited the site and set fire to it. We have no news [and] are camped in one of the EFMM’s shelters.(...)”.  

Imagem identificada como de uma família Karipuna pelo fotógrafo oficial da EFMM. Foto: Dana Merril, , entre 1907 e 1912.
Imagem identificada como de uma família Karipuna pelo fotógrafo oficial da EFMM. Foto: Dana Merril, , entre 1907 e 1912.

On September 30th 1950, the head of the ‘Cel. Tibúrcio’ Post (on the Capivari river) reported that “traces of Indians were seen on the path, some very close to the Post. 20 older Indians came with news that the others are arriving. The Indians took flour and the rest of the machetes and mirrors. They left game and took tapir.” In a document dated December 30th 1950, the same employee reports that:

“The Indians from last month were here again at the post and took flour, salt, [illegible] and whistles (!). The wild Indians were in the old swidden and when they returned they entered a rubber tapper shelter 9 kilometres from the Post and took away domestic objects [from the house], leaving neither clothing nor food. They left an arrow (sic) as a sign of friendship. We gave food to the rubber tapper’s family. He understood that the Indians didn't attack to cause harm and that the Caripuna are already friends of the Post and the rubber tappers. This year no attack by the Caripuna has been reported in these lands and it’s already possible to consider these Indians friends [...].”

These small fragments of reports allow us to infer that there were apparently two subgroups of ‘Black Mouths,’ one occupying the region of the Capivari river (later this subgroup would be known as ‘Capivari’) and another in the region between the Mutum-Paraná river and Contra creek, cited briefly by the employee Manoel Gonçalves. On the other hand, the accounts of the officer responsible for the ‘Cel. Tibúrcio’ Post (in 1950 still located on the Capivari river) clearly indicate that a group of Indians was in permanent contact with the post in question, as well as other still ‘wild’ Indians who stole tools from the rubber tappers living in the Karipuna territory. What we do not know is whether the Karipuna of the Capivari suffered many losses after permanent contact with the Post and whether the survivors were taken to the Ricardo Franco Post – in line with the practice of the SPI at the time. The fact is that today's Karipuna refer to the ‘Capivari,’ but meaning those whose descendents lived at the Ricardo Franco Indigenous Post (today the Guaporé Indigenous Territory). We can also infer that the linguistic proximity between these two subgroups was considerable, given that the ‘official’ interpreter for the attraction team in 1976 was an Indian called Pitanga Capivari, a native “(...) of the uncontacted group of the Capivari river, an affluent of the Jacy-Paraná” and that he lived among the Karitiana, having indeed married a woman from this peoples (Fontes 1977:1).

After these reports from the years from 1948 to 50, no further reference can be found in the archives of the SPI of Porto Velho concerning the Karipuna. It may be supposed that the decline in rubber exploration and the reduction in train services on the EFMM resulted in less pressure being exerted on the Karipuna territory and, given that these Indians were not aggressive, the SPI (and later Funai, as the successor of the former) must have left the region at the start of the 1970s, prioritizing other areas where “State reasons” required more energetic action to liberate areas where the Indians were responding more aggressively to the new expansion fronts, especially in the south and east of Rondônia (Vilhena and Ji-Paraná).

Hence, the SPI established attraction posts in the Karipuna territory and remained there in the period from 1947 to the mid 1950s, albeit in precarious conditions. The only concrete outcome of this attraction effort for the indigenist agency was the transfer of some Karipuna families from the Capivari to the Ricardo Franco Post and the dispersal of the ‘uncontacted’ Indians on this river, who probably migrated northwards.

Attraction Front

In 1974 Funai created, on paper, an Attraction Front for the Jacy-Paraná river to contact the Karipuna and finally, in 1976, a team from the agency led by Benamour Fontes was sent to the Jacy-Paraná to establish contact with the Karipuna in response to accusations of the capture of white women, a crime denied by the Indians. The place chosen for the base was the settlement known as ‘Panorama’ owned by the rubber tapper Sebastião Amora, located on the left shore of the river, some four hours by motor boat upriver from the mouth of the Fortaleza creek. It was at this site that the first group of Karipuna, living close by on the Contra creek, appeared to receive presents in September 1976.

From this date on, the Indians began to visit the Post regularly in search of gifts, especially clothing. The reports from 1977 and 1978 made by the officer Benamour Fontes and his assistant and substitute Francisco de Assis Silva describe these visits, practically month by month. Until the definitive relocation of the group to Panorama (probably in 1980-1), the Karipuna lived in two large malocas, one on the Contra and the other on the Mutum-Paraná, though only the latter was visited by Funai officers (by Benamour Fontes in 1977 and by Francisco de Assis in 1978).

The Karipuna of the Contra creek were the first to maintain contact with the employees of the Post, which, besides Benamour Fontes, had a small workforce recruited from the rubber tappers of the Jacy-Paraná and, soon after, was also home to Pitanga Capivari and his wife Karitiana, as well as Pereira Karitiana, his wife and their five children (Fontes, December 1977).

The reports mentioned above reveal the rapid change in habits arising from contact with the Post, such as the Karipuna obsession for firearms and the search for clothing, rather than agricultural tools, in order to avoid the plagues of blackflies:

“I can also report that the Indians are no longer interested in machetes, pans, knives and so on, and only request clothing and hammocks. Indeed some of them said that those we had given they had taken to the village on the Mutum Paraná [...]. All the Indians who visit us already arrive clothed and continue to ask for more clothes. They have ceases wearing bands on their arms and legs, as well as the [penis] protector” – (Fontes, report dated 20/07/1977: 2).

They also recount the constant admonitions from the employees for them not to ‘visit’ the rubber tapper settlements again: “April 13th [1977] – 18 Indians appeared at the place called ‘São Sebastião,’ carrying everything belonging to a rubber tapper who was in his shelter with his wife, including three guns [...]. On May 29th a motor boat moored at our port telling us that the Indians were at the ‘São Sebastião’ site; immediately our boat went to fetch them and we explained once again to the Indians that they should not visit anywhere except for our site [...].”

Despite the precautions maintained by the head of the Attraction Post – “as for the idea of the Karipuna relocating to our camp, at the moment I disagree with the move, due to the lack of enough swiddens for them, diseases, etc. and the fact attraction has yet to be consolidated” (Fontes, 1977: 2) – the Karipuna of Contra creek already visited the Post on an almost weekly basis. They shared the gifts, particularly the clothing, with the people from the Mutum-Paraná maloca. From what can be inferred from these reports, what the Funai officers referred to 'consolidation of the attraction work' meant permanent contact with the Karipuna of the Mutum-Paraná.

In fact, Benamour Fontes visited this maloca twice in 1977 (no report concerning this visit is available) and Francisco de Assis visited the area in September 1978, noting that the maloca was not the same one Benamour where had been the previous year (they had already moved the site). Francisco, Pitanga and the Indian Tiu (who was at the Post and invited Assis to visit the Mutum-Paraná maloca) left on September 4th and reached the maloca on the 7th. This maloca was inhabited by fifteen Indians and contained seven recent graves (four of them inside the maloca and three outside). The Indian Tiu told Francisco “that more Indians lived at this maloca, though after a misunderstanding one large group had left to live at another site; we calculated some 4 days from where we were; they say that the number of Indians is very large.” He also tells us that they had brought an arrow from one uncontacted enemy group of the Karipuna, the product of an attack they had suffered some time ago. All the Indians from this maloca accompanied him back to the Post (Assis, report dated 19-09-1978: 1-2).

During this phase of exchanging gifts and informalities between the ‘wild Indians’ and the contact team, the  Jacy-Paraná Attraction Post sent some Indians for healthcare in Porto Velho (the reports indicate at least three of them). All of them would die, either in Porto Velho or in the village after their return. In a report dated July 1978, Francisco de Assis (acting as substitute to Benamour Fontes) states that on June 12th he was visited by the Indian Abaigai-ubá (apparently from Mutum-Paraná), who told the interpreter Pitanga about six deaths in his maloca (five by ‘accident’) including that of one man (called ‘Karipuna’) who had been treated in Porto Velho. Abaigai-ubá also stated that on the next ‘moon’ he would bring ‘all his people’ to the Post. Francisco de Assis therefore concluded that “the news of this visit en masse to the Attraction Post left us overjoyed since this proves that, even with the deaths, they do not show themselves to be resentful of us.” The question raised here is why the Funai officer thought the Indians might be resentful if the deaths were caused by accident, as he narrates.

According to the accounts given to us by Francisco Sales (a Funai employee hired as a forest guide by the Attraction Post in 1976 and who lives there still today), before Benamour Fontes’s expedition to the Contra creek (São Francisco river basin), Funai had already located the maloca by air (in 1976) and dropped supplies of rice, beans, tools (knives and axes) and dolls (!). The expedition departed from Panorama with Benanmour, Pitanga, a Pakaá-Nova Indian, two Karitiana, five ‘forest guides’ (including himself, Sales) and two Japanese (a photographer and a filmmaker). They made a base camp at the ‘Três Poças’ settlement close to the mouth of the Fortaleza creek. After a day’s walk towards the Contra creek they reached a Karipuna swidden. Pitanga called out and various Indians soon appeared, greeting them in friendly fashion. They gave out gifts and dogs. The Karipuna men used a strip of assai palm to bind their prepuces; the women did not use anything to screen their genitals. Eighteen Indians lived in the maloca. They made camp close to the swiddens and stayed there, distributing gifts, for one night. When they returned to Panorama, eight Karipuna accompanied them to visit the Post.

In 1981-2 most of the Karipuna were already living close to the Post. Just one family from the Mutum-Paraná group remained ‘in the forest,’ as they put it. It is difficult to calculate the total population of this people at the time of contact. Officially 33 individuals are recorded (18 from the maloca on Contra creek and 15 at Mutum-Paraná). But the reports and statements of the oldest survivors (Katsiká and Aripã) lead us to surmise a larger number (around 55).

After settling at the Post, people began to fall ill in large numbers after contracting flu and pneumonia. The Karipuna, lacking the necessary antibodies, died rapidly. Funai cleared an air strip on the right shore of the Jacy-Paraná to try to provide swifter care, but it failed to work. In 1996 only six Karipuna were left of the group that remained after contact; in 2005 numbered four.


Gráfico genealígico da atual população Karipuna e cônjuges.
Gráfico genealígico da atual população Karipuna e cônjuges.

In the genealogy above the entire contemporary Karipuna population is shown in dark blue. Light blue indicates the population living in the Elisângela e Angélica IT, whose members married with 'civilizados' (non-Indians) and have not lived in the Jacy-Paraná village for a long time (their children visit occasionally). Caipu (light blue) married an Arara woman and has resided in the Igarapé Lourdes IT for years. They have no children.

Living permanently in the Panorama village are Katisiká (today married to Manuel Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau), their children Adriano, André and Andressa; Aripã (married to Rita Kawahibi – no children) and his son Batiti (married to a ‘civilized’ woman) who has four small children. An Indian called ‘Tupinambá’ has resided in the village (in Katsiká’s house) since contact, taken to act as an interpreter at the time of ‘attraction.’ Hence 14 people live in the IT (Panorama village). [2004 data]

Cultural aspects

The remaining Karipuna are apparently survivors of two local groups (malocas): Jacaré’humaj’s group and Tokwa’s group. But the current situation of the Karipuna is not even remotely similar to that prior to contact. After the initial impact of contact, other groups from the region managed to rebuild (or are still rebuilding, as in the case of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau) their demographic base and, as a result, maintained the main patterns of their social organization. However, the post-contact demographic catastrophe among the Karipuna has not given them any chance of reproducing their traditional organizational structures.

Adriano Tangare’i and Antonio Batiti are bilingual and familiar with the mythology and kinship terminology, but both married ‘civilized’ women (though both have since separated) and their children neither speak or understand the Karipuna language. Even so, they still hold the name swapping ceremony and say that they intend to perform the festival for the first menstruation of Andressa Bó’ri. There is a serious risk that this will be the last time the ritual is performed.

There are no shamans in the village, but both Aripã and Katsiká know ‘forest remedies.’ Já’huj (Aripã’s maternal grandfather) was the last shaman among the Karipuna. On the other hand, the native conceptions concerning the posthumous destiny of the soul (-éñiñi) are still active – despite their incorporation of the figure of ‘Jesus’ (purejapi’nã) as a predatory spirit (anhãgá) who, on devouring the human heart, consummates its passage to the ‘sky’ (ywagá). This place is where the souls live and is almost identical to life on earth: there is game and fish, but there only bows and arrows are used (there are no guns). There too people marry but they do not obey marriage rules: “there in the sky is just like here, but being here is better” (Aripã).  

Productive activities

The Karipuna IT is a difficult area to patrol, since on the other shore of the Jacy-Paraná from the mouth of the Fortaleza to the mouth of the Formoso is located the Resex (Extractivist Reserve) of the Jacy-Paraná (created by state decree). The river provides access to many fishermen and adventurers who, they claim, are heading to the Resex or areas supposedly outside the Indigenous Territory. These people normally do not stop at the Funai Post, nor does any Surveillance Post exist at the entry to the IT, either at the mouth of the Fortaleza or the Formoso. Residents of the Resex, Funai employees and the Indians are unanimous in claiming that these people hunt and fish on a large scale within the Karipuna IT.

Hence there are systematic pressures on the Karipuna IT from all sides. On the eastern and western borders there are illegal occupations of protected areas; to the east, the Jacy-Paraná Resex has been invaded from the south (Buritis); and to the west, from the illegal nucleus of União Bandeirante – illegal since it comprises a ‘spontaneous’ settlement within a zone classified as ‘2.1’ by the State Zoning Law, which does not permit low cropping of the vegetations, which has been occurring systematically. On this border we observed invaders marking out potential plots of land within the Indigenous Territory. The natural limit of the IT here is the Fortaleza river, but part of the border follows a straight line, whose demarcation trail is already covered in vegetation, while the signs indicating that the area is an Indigenous Territory have been destroyed.

On the southern border, the pressure comes from the highway linking Nova Mamoré to Buritis. The state government plans to tarmac and complete this highway (the BR-421, linking Ariquemes to Guajará-Mirim) – interrupted along the section where it crosses the Jacy-Paraná State Park. Local political leaders, though, with the open support of the current governor, say that they will alter the boundaries of the Park so that the highway can pass. Along this route (which if continued would meet up with Incra’s famous ‘line’ D) and its offshoots (in reality, local trails), hundreds of settlers have cleared ‘holdings’ recognized by Incra, enabling the formation of new unauthorized urban nucleuses (Palmeiras and Nova Dimensão) fuelled by the economy of logging firms and saw mills.

Funai Posts

Funai runs two Surveillance Posts on the straight line of the southern border of the IT – the one furthest west linked to the Guajará-Mirim Regional Administration (ADR) and the other to the Porto Velho ADR (on the headwaters of the Formoso). The first houses a Funai officer with a communications radio (but with no means of transportation). On the headwaters of the Formoso, the ‘inspectors’ are Indians from various ethnic groups who stay there for set periods of time and look after the facilities (planting swiddens for their own subsistence). The straight line boundary is unrecognizable and no work has been undertaken to maintain it since demarcation. The original plan for this Post was to house survivors from the Kassupá ethnic group who lived in an outlying district of Porto Velho. Already heavily urbanized, these Indians stay for periods at the Post. However they do not live there permanently and are unlikely ever to do so.

The physical infrastructure of the Karipuna Indigenous Post (PIN) consists of a wooden house, which serves as a residence for the head of the post and as a place for any visitors to stay. It also possesses a shed for tools and repairs and a small office – which also contains the store of medical supplies and the SSB radio. The school building (built from wood and thatch) comprises a single small classroom (with eight desks) and a residence for the teacher with two rooms.

The Post has two small outboard motors and a 7m aluminium hull – the only means of transport for the Indians and the Funai employees. There are no larger outboard motors (with 25hp or 40hp).

The current employees comprise the head of post and a general assistant – a survivor from the contact period who still works there today.

The Porto Velho ADR provides financial support for fuel, repairs to the motors and planting the swiddens (tools and seeds). Electricity (two hours per night) comes from a generator purchased by Funasa. The radio is fed by a battery linked to a solar panel. Sivam (System for Vigilance of the Amazon) runs a data collection station of the site and has a telephone (though this has never been used, despite being installed over a year ago). Funai also tries to carry out surveillance patrols on the IT’s borders – however these are not systematic since they depend on funds supplied by the head office in Brasília.


Since the cancellation of the agreement between Cunpir and Funasa (in May 2004) the latter agency has not sent any healthcare professional to work in the village. Medical teams had not visited the village for more than 18 months (coincidentally they appeared during our stay there, where they conducted rapid consultancies and ‘fumigated’ the houses).

The incidence of malaria on the shores of the Jacy-Paraná is high and the blackflies are a constant pest, especially in ‘winter.’ The Indians recall that these ‘plagues’ did not exist in the ‘forest’ (in their original malocas on the Contra and Mutum-Paraná rivers). As well as malaria, both dysentery and flu are common.

The Post ‘pharmacy’ lacks any kind of medication apart from worm and antacid tablets. Funasa’s  norm is not to leave any medications in the villages unless a nursing assistant resides there on a permanent basis. As of September 2004, no NGO had signed a new agreement with Funasa to provide healthcare in the Porto Velho Special Indigenous Healthcare District (DSEI). As one Funai employee said, “there’s no longer anything ‘special’ in indigenous healthcare; the Indians return to the national health service queues.” This is the reality across the state of Rondônia.


The only Karipuna to learn to read and write completed their studies in Porto Velho. The village school is today run by one of these Indians (the current ‘chief’), who was hired by the State Education Office of the State of Rondônia (Seduc) in 1999. He is responsible for teaching literacy to three children, his only students. There are no school materials, or even any teaching materials. He uses a ‘textbook’ in the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau language produced by missionaries from JOCUM (Jovens com uma Missão: Youths With a Mission) for teaching in the ‘indigenous language.’

Relations with the regional population

As far as we could observe, the Indians of Panorama village are not involved in illegal invasions to exploit the natural resources of the IT. In Jacy-Paraná (where they are well-known) the two Karipuna invested with authority (and who speak Portuguese perfectly, unlike Aripã and Katsiká) are continually harassed to allow (and profit from) illegal activities, whether predatory hunting and fishing or ‘research’ of minerals. But they are few and the constant presence of Funai officers in the area has not allowed these indigenous authorities to 'fall into temptation' – as occurs in other Indigenous Territories in Rondônia.

On the other hand, the fact that the Karipuna IT borders two protected areas (to the east, the Jacy-Paraná Resex; to the south, the Jacy-Paraná State Park) and an area along its entire western border defined as ‘2.1’ (with serious use restrictions) under the Ecological-Economic Zoning Law of the State of Rondônia, has contribute to its state of equilibrium and conservation. However, the threats to this equilibrium are becoming ever stronger.

There is an intense flow (and stay) of the Karipuna to Porto Velho and Jacy-Paraná, where they seek out medical treatment, sell their small surplus produce, buy industrialized goods and find their spouses, whether whites or Indians (Katsiká met Manuel Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau in Funai’s lodgings in Porto Velho, the same way in which Tiu met Rita Kawahibí).

Beyond the urban public of these two cities, the Karipuna from Panorama village maintain almost daily contact with the small number of permanent residents living in the Jacy-Paraná Resex on the other shore of the river, who ceased collecting rubber a long time ago (‘because of the price’) and who trade small items with the Karipuna (ammunition, fish, batteries, etc.).

Sources of information

  • FERREIRA, Manoel Rodrigues. A Ferrovia do Diabo. São Paulo : Companhia Melhoramentos, 1982.


  • FONTES, Benamour. Relatórios ao SPI. Rio de Janeiro : Museu do Índio, 1976/1978.


  • IBGE. Diagnóstico integrado e projetos identificados - subsídios ao Plano de Ordenação do Território - área de influência da BR 364 trecho Porto Velho /Rio Branco. Brasília : IBGE, 1988.


  • LAGO, Nilde e LEÃO, Maria Auxiliadora. Avaliação “Ex-Post” do Programa Integrado de Desenvolvimento do Noroeste do Brasil, Polonoroeste. Paraná : Seplan, 1989.


  • MEIRELES, Denise Maldi. Populações indígenas e a ocupação histórica de Rondônia. Cuiabá : UFMT, 1983 (dissertação de mestrado).


  • SILVA, Francisco de A. Relatórios micro-filmados. Rio de Janeiro : Museu do Índio, 1977.


  • HUGO, Vitor. Desbravadores, V.2. Manaus : Ed. Missão Salesiana de Humaitá, 1959.