Rafael Salazar, 2012.

Arara of Volta Grande

  • Other names
    Arara do Maia
  • Where they are How many

    PA143 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family

Introduction

The Arara of Volta Grande do Xingu have experienced contact with European colonizers since the eighteenth century, including the advance of the extractive economy in the region, the constant conflicts with other indigenous groups, and the opening of the Trans-Amazonian highway, which led to waves of new immigrants looking for land to settle and made access much easier for the resource extraction industry. These regional impacts had a profound impact on the socioeconomic, cosmological and political relations and ways of life of the Arara, as well as their relations to the region and with other ethnic groups living nearby.

According to the accounts of the oldest generation, the Arara of Volta Grande do Xingu are descendants of the Arara of the Bacajá River. Their kinship with the Arara of the Iriri river (known as simply the Arara or as the Arara of Pará), if it existed, was in the distant past. One of the connections between past history and recent history is the chief of the group, the sexagenarian Leôncio Ferreira do Nascimento.

The arrival of the mega-project for the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant has had a huge environmental, economic, social and cultural impact, causing the most invasive changes to the form in which the Arara conceive and conduct their lives.

The reduced flow along the Volta Grande (Big Bend) of the Xingu caused by the hydroelectric project will, the Arara predict, provoke the encantados to move to other regions.

Even though they disagree with what is happening in the region right now, they await with a degree of scepticism for the programs and projects listed in the Basic Environmental Plan (Plano Básico Ambiental - PBA). The Basic Plan is due to be implemented by the company responsible for the project, Norte Energia S/A, with the declared intention of alleviating the damage caused by many of the profound changes taking place.