Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Sunday, February 12, 2012

KARAJÁS indigenous tribe, and its distinct role models

Area: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará and Tocantins, Brazil (Map). The indigenous tribe’s territory is defined by an extensive stretch of the Araguaia river valley, including the world’s largest fluvial island, the Ilha do Bananal, which measures approximately two million hectares. Their 29 villages are located by preference close to the lakes and affluents of the Araguaia and Javaés rivers, as well as inland on the Ilha do Bananal. Each village establishes a specific territory for fishing, hunting and ritual practices, internally demarcating cultural spaces recognized by the whole group.
Men are responsible for defending the territory, clearing swiddens, domestic and collective fishing trips, the construction of dwellings, formalized political discussions in the Aruanã House or the men's plaza, negotiations with non-indigenous Brazilian society and the performance of the principal ritual activities, since they are equated symbolically with the important category of the dead. Women are responsible for the education of children until the age of initiation for boys and in a permanent way for girls, focusing here on domestic tasks such as cooking, collecting swidden products, arranging the marriage of children (normally managed by grandmothers), the painting and decoration of children, girls and men during the group's rituals, and the manufacture of ceramic dolls, which became an important source of family income in the aftermath of contact.
Karajá material culture includes house building techniques, cotton weaving, feather decorations, and artefacts made from straw, wood, minerals, shell, gourds, tree bark and pottery. Baskets are made by both men and women.


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