Foto: Geraldo Silva, 2000

Yudjá/Juruna

  • Autodenominação
    Yudja
  • Where they are How many

    MT880 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
  • Linguistic family
    Juruna

Location

yudja_2

The Yudjá are a canoe people who have long inhabited the islands and peninsulas of the lower and middle Xingu, one of the most important rivers of southern Amazonia.  The Xingu is currently threatened by plans for building hydroelectric dam systems.  For about a century, the Yudjá have lived in two different groups separated by a huge distance.  One group lives on the middle Xingu in the region they have occupied  for ages, which includes the tiny Paquiçamba Reservation and surrounding areas that are not part of their officially recognized territory, as well as land in Altamira, Pará.  The other group lives in the upper reaches of the same river, in an area within the Indigenous Park of the Xingu, which was created in 1961 in the state of Mato Grosso.

This article focuses primarily on the Yudjá of the Xingu Indigenous Reservation, where they represent one of fourteen different indigenous peoples that currently live there.  The Yudjá villages are located in the northern part of the reservation, between the BR-80 Highway and the Diauarum Indigenous Post.  Within this land strip, the western side of the Xingu is part of the municipality of Marcelândia, while the eastern side is part of to São José do Xingu.  Using a linguistic criterion (which is also largely cultural), the western Yudjá have four villages, while those on the eastern side, following ethnopolitical criteria, can be all be considered a single village, Tubatuba, which is located at the mouth of the Manissauá-Missu River.  In certain contexts, Tubatuba is divided into two villages, which, for diplomatic reasons, prefer to define themselves as “ranches,” called Fazenda Novo Parque Samba (“New Samba Park Ranch”) and Fazenda Boa Vista (“Beautiful View Ranch”), where they raise some heads of cattle.  Another village, Pequizal, is sometimes identified with the Kayabi people, since the leader is a member of that ethnic group, and at other times with the Yudjá, due to the language spoken by its residents.  In a census conducted in June, 2001, the Yudjá numbered around 270 people.