Foto: Maria Cristina Troncarelli, 2000

Trumai

  • Other names
  • Where they are How many

    MT258 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family
    Trumái

History of their occupation in the Xingu

The history of the Trumai is rather uneven, at least what we know from the written sources. The group came from a region between the Araguaia and the Xingu, having left as a result of attacks from another people, probably the Xavante. It is probable that they arrived in the Xingu in the first half of the 19th Century. By occupying the territory between the headwaters of the Xingu River and the region of the banks of this river, the Trumai suffered repeated attacks from groups that inhabited these areas, such as the Suyá and the Ikpeng. The ethnographer Karl Von den Steinen encountered them already quite debilitated in 1884.

In contact with the peoples of the upper Xingu, the Trumai eventually were integrated into the trade networks as suppliers of stones used in the making of axes. Over a long period of living together, they absorbed fundamental elements of the upper Xinguan culture, despite their never being seen nor seeing themselves as "different".

Until the 1950s, the Trumai made moves within the limits of their territory (in the region of the lower Kuluene River) or sought protection in the villages of neighboring groups. Later they moved away from this area towards the proximities of the Diauarum Indigenous Post, because of epidemics of measles and flu which they suffered during this period.

Since 1968, they have a village in the proximities of the Leonardo Villas-Bôas Post, relatively near their traditional places. Having passed a phase of demographic and social recovery - which also occured with other groups of the Park - a new village emerged to the north of the junction of the formative rivers of the Xingu, at a place called Malakafiá. Another village emerged several years later in Wara'i (or Awarai), where these people had lived long ago. In this period, part of the territory inhabited until the 1950s and 60s had already been occupied by other upper Xinguan groups or was used for the installation of the airbase of Jacaré. The Trumai, however, periodically visit their old gardens and sites, such that the stretch of the Xingu between the Leonardo and the Diauarum posts is an area that is widely crossed and exploited by them.