Foto: Miltom Guran, 1978


  • Other names
  • Where they are How many

    MT604 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family

Political organization


The political unit of the Kamaiurá is the village, the leader of which acts as mediator and regulator of conflicts, maintaining the internal harmony of the group and expressing generosity. These tasks impose on the leader a series of things that he must renounce and which, from early on, he has to accept. In the long periods of puberty seclusion he is submitted to a rigorous discipline and during his life he assimilates the practices which turn him into a good Indian and who can thus be a leader. He exercises power, of a markedly peaceful nature, to the extent that the group accepts it and he obtains the necessary support from the leaders of the family groups. His political skill is expressed through the spoken word, which is, at the same time, the symbol of his status. The rules of succession to the position of leader of the village are flexible and customarily give rise to much competition for the post.

The owner of the house, on the other hand, is, in the last analysis, he who took the initiative in its construction. Ideally, his firstborn son should succeed him. The principal attributes of the owner of the house are: repeating to his kin, if he agrees, the requests that the leader of the village makes in relation to the tasks of weeding behind the houses, the patio, organizing fishing expeditions etc. He is charged with coordinating these activities and others, such as the storage of food, maintenance of the house, building of the new house, moitará (cerimonial exchanges of goods) in other villages etc. The larger the number of dwellers in a house, the greater the importance of its owner and the more significant the support that he may give to the leader of the village.