Foto: Beto Ricardo, 2002

Kalapalo

  • Other names
  • Where they are How many

    MT669 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family
    Karib

Location

kalapalo_5

Today, the Kalapalo live in eight settlements Aiha (meaning “finished” or “ready”), Tanguro, Agata, Caramujo, Kunue, Lago Azul and Kaluane, all in the Kuluene river and its tributaries, and one settlement in the southeastern border of the Xingu Indigenous Park. Besides these villages, some Kalapalo live at the Tanguro and Kuluene Indigenous Security Posts (PIV). Each of these Posts is located on the river whose name it bears, on points along the border of the reservation.

The former villages of the Kalapalo were located to the south, on both sides of the Kuluene River. The Kalapalo moved reluctantly to their current location after the boundaries of the Xingu Reservation were formally established in 1961, when outlying groups were encouraged to move closer to the Leonardo Indigenous Post in order to control contact with outsiders and to provide medical aid in the event of epidemics.

Nevertheless, they have continued to return to their traditional territory, harvesting pequi fruits from the extensive groves still found around the old settlements, searching for land snails from which they manufacture shell ornaments (a specialty of their group), and to fish and plant fields of manioc, sweet potatoes, and cotton at several places along the Kuluene River.

However, many of the pequi groves were left outside the reservation borders and were d estroyed by cattle ranchers. At this time, the Kalapalo, along with Funai, are demanding the return of part of this territory, in the land occupied by the current Sayonara ranch. Kalapalo representatives have also actively participated in the Borders Project, coordinated by ATIX (the Xingu Indigenous Lands Association), by patrolling the reservation boundaries and organizing frequent expeditions to inspect the boundary lines and keep them clear of overgrowth.