Foto: Beatriz de Almeida Matos, 2010

Tapayuna

  • Autodenominação
    Kajkwakratxi
  • Where they are How many

    MT132 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family

Introduction

“We need to tame the whites, who are most savage.”

This was a phrase frequently heard by the Jesuit missionaries during their contacts with the Tapayuna¹.

The Tapayuna originally lived in the region of the Arinos River, close to the municipality of Diamantino in Mato Grosso. Their traditional territory included a wide variety of natural resources, such as rubber trees, minerals and timber, which is why their land was usurped innumerable times by rubber tappers, prospectors and loggers, among other non-indigenous invaders.

In the 1970s the group was given poisoned tapir meat by invaders. The 41 survivors were transferred to the Xingu Indigenous Park, living at first in the village of the Kĩsêdjê (previously known as the Suyá) who also speak a Ge language.

In the 1980s following the death of an important leader and shaman, part of the Tapayuna people went to live with the Mebengôkrê (Kayapó) in the Capoto-Jarina Indigenous Land. The fact that the Tapayuna lived in Kĩsêdjê and Mebengôkrê villages caused a weakening of their own language and culture.

In 2010, the population was estimated at around 160 people who were distributed in villages in the Wawi Indigenous Land and the Capoto-Jarina Indigenous Land.

Notes

(1) “Beiço-de-Pau não atira para matar” (Gontran da Veiga Jardim). In: Correio da Manhã, 05/10/1967.