Foto: Vladmir Kojak, 1988

Xavante

  • Autodenominação
    A´uwe
  • Where they are How many

    MT18.380 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family

The demographic dynamic in Xavante indigenous areas

Like any other indigenous peoples, the Xavante suffered a big drop in population during the different phases of contact with "civilization".  From the 1970s, with the beginning of the demarcation of their lands, the population began to grow again at a constant rate of almost  5% a year.  Some population  estimates indicate that at the time of the first contacts of the Acuen (“xavante”, “xarente”, xacriabá”, “acroá”) with Brazilian society (around 1750). ?? In mid-19th century between three and five thousand indians of this ethnolinguistic group, who were then living in villages in the Pedro III settlement in the former province of Goias (now the Carretão indigenous area in the state of Goiás). 

Brother Rafael de Taggia wrote that in 1852 about 4000 Xavante and Xerente indians were living in the Teresa Cristina settlement, today the municípality of  Tocantinia in Tocantins, besides the Tocantins river.  But such estimates cannot be taken literally, because the superpositioning of identities and territories of the mentioned sub-groups considered as Acuen, makes it difficult to calcule the precise numbers of these populations.

Only in the 1940s and 50s, after the (re) contact of the local Xavante groups who were now living in the eastern Mato Grosso, with agents like the Salesian catholic missions, the SPI and the ethnologist Maybury-Lewis, was it possible to have more exact data on the Xavante demographic dynamic.
 

Year Total population Sources
1958 1.100 SPI - Salesian Mission: in Maybury-Lewis [1984]
1963 1.465 SPI - Salesian Mission: in Maybury-Lewis [1984]
1969 2.160 Giaccaria and Heide [1972]
1977 3.340 Funai: in Lopes da Silva [1986]
1980 3.405 Funai: in Lopes da Silva [1986]
1983 4.412 Funai
1984 4.834 Funai: in Graham [1995]
1988 6.091 Funai: in Carrara [1998]
1996 7.985 Funai
1998 10.221 Health team: FunaiI/PNUD/Prodeagro
2000 9.601 DSEI /Funasa – Barra do Garças
2004 11.231 DSEI /Funasa – Barra do Garças
2007 13.303 DSEI/Funasa– Barra do Garças

Today there are about 165 Xavante villages spread irreguarly over each of the nine Xavante areas: e.g. Parabubure had around 60 villages and a population of 4,502 people in 2003, while Pimental Barbosa had 6 villages and 1,570 people. 
 
Recent populational dynamics according to  indigenous areas [1977-2003]

Indígenous Areas
1977 [Funai] 1980 [Funai] 1984 [Funai] 1988 [Funai] 1996 [Prodeagro] 1998 [Prodeagro] 2000 [DSEI] 2003 [DSEI]
Areões 303 347 511 594 759 855 913 1028
Marechal Rondom 111 120 215 237 376     447     433     500
Parabubure 1.066 1.179 2.104 2.697 3.162 4.320 3.883 4.502
Pimentel Barbosa 266 269 526 673 1.068 1.139 1.361 1.570
Sangradouro  548 497 446 524 807 1.156 933 1.188
São Marcos 1.010 993 1.032  1.366 1.813 2.304 2.078 2.443
TOTAL  3.304 3.405 4.834 6.091 7.985 10.221 9.601 11.231

Chão Preto - the population is included in the general total for the Parabubure indigenous area
Maraiwatsede - sub judice because of disputed land titles 
Ubawawe -the population is included in the general total for the Parabubure indigenous area