Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Indigenous people prepare to celebrate the 50 years of Indigenous Park of the Xingu

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Indigenous people prepare to celebrate the 50 years of Indigenous Park of the Xingu

The Festival of Cultures will gather all the 16 ethnic groups of the Indigenous Park of the Xingu, between 10 and 12 June, in the village Ipavu, of Kamaiurá people, in the upper Xingu

Fernanda Bellei, ISA

Dances, traditional games, like Huka Huka, tug of war and archery, film screenings and debates about politics for indigenous peoples as well as reflections on the history of the Indigenous Park of the Xingu will mark the 1° Festival of Cultures of Xingu, in celebration 50 years of creation of the park. The event is hosted by the Xingu Indigenous Land Association (ATIX), in partnership with other indigenous associations of Xingu, and has the support of the Instituto de Pesquisa Etno Ambiental do Xingu (IPEAX) Xingu-regional coordination of Fundação Nacional do Índio (Funai) and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

Kumaré Ikpeng, one of the organizers, of the Ikpeng people, says that this will be an important moment for the Xingu people. "During the festival, we will make a political reflection on the 50-year existence of the Indigenous Park of the Xingu and its future prospects. This celebration will be a milestone because it recovers our history since the time of contact until the present day and reflects the changes we have been through here".

The event also has the support of the companies Ecoar Comunicação, O2 Filmes, Funai, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and local business. For details of the event and the organization, visit our blog: www.xingu50anos.org.br.

Indigenous Park of the Xingu
The Indigenous Park of the Xingu was created in April 1961, as a result of several years of work and political struggle. The park is recognized by UNESCO as an important set of cultural and linguistic diversity and was the first major indigenous land demarcation in Brazil. Its creation involved the Villas Boas brothers and important personalities such as Marechal Rondon, Darcy Ribeiro, Noel Nutels and Café Filho, among others.
"Child plays at the Mawaiaka lagoon during Kuarup celebrations,
at Kamaiurá village. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr."

Today, more than six thousand indians live in the park. The south area of the park, known as the “upper Xingu”, due to the geographical point, is home for the following peoples: Aweti, Kalapalo Kamaiurá, Kuikuro, Matipu, Mehinako, Nahukuá, Naruvotu, Wuaja and Yawalapiti. In the “middle Xingu”, live the Trumai, Ikpeng, Kaiabi and Kamaiurá peoples and at lower Xingu live the Ikpeng, Kaiabi and Yudjá. The east is home for the Kisêdjê (also know as Suya) and Tapayuna peoples.

The celebration of 50 years of Indigenous Park of the Xingu has different meanings for these peoples, who faced conflicts and changes of land and then settle. To Ianukulá Kaiabi Suya, coordination assistant of Funai, in Canarana - a city in the state of Mato Grosso, close to the park - the event is an opportunity to rethink the relation between the Xingu and the world of non-Indians. "We must think about the years to come, because the changes come at a very fast pace, which makes us wonder whether we are prepared to face the pressure that we are suffering. We feel the obligation of following the speed of things that are happening in Brazil and worldwide. Reconciling this speed in the world of non-Indians and keep our traditions is a challenge for us all".

Ianukulá also talks about the park's boundaries and territorial loss of the ethnic groups. "The park is a large territory, but it is too small if we compare it to the traditional area, which previously had no borders and our natural wealth had no limits. Xingu is a symbol of conservation, at least inside of it, culturally and environmentally".

"Dance in honor of the dead during Kuarup celebrations, at Kamaiurá village.
Photo: Marcello Casal Jr."

Winti Kisêdjê, president of Indian Association Kisêdjê (AIK), says that it is an especial opportunity to gather all the ethinic groups to think about the future of Xingu. "The 50 years festival is important to us, because it is a chance to analyse the political problems within the Xingu and outside of it as well. I hope this will help us build a single policy and unite the Xingu peoples".

Andre Villas-Boas, coordinator of the Xingu Program, from ISA, explains that the creation of the park was a 'social engineering'. "The creation of Indigenous Park of the Xingu resulted in the concentration of groups of different ethinc origin within one single area and the release of the remaining land for the occupation on the regional context. It was a social engineering. Its boundaries were not discussed with indigenous peoples, and it was not the result of an anthropological report. There were no studies of the traditional forms of occupation to set the limits. At that time, it was merely an interpretation".

Xingu numbers

16 ethnic groups: Kuikuro, Kalapalo, Matipu, Nahukuá, Mehinako, Waurá (Waujá), Aweti, Kamaiurá, Trumai, Yawalapiti, Kisêdjê (Suya), Kawaiwetê (Kaiabi), Ikpeng (Txicão), Yudja (Juruna), Naruvotu and Tapayuna.
14 languages: Kamaiurá and Kaiabi (Tupi-Guarani family); Juruna (Juruna family); Aweti (Aweti family); Mehinako, Wauja and Yawalapiti (Aruák family); Kalapalo, Ikpeng, Kuikuro, Matipu, Nahukwá and Naruvotu (Karíb family); Suyá e Tapayuna (Jê family); Trumai (isolated language).
Population: 6.152 people (Funasa, 2009)
Area: 2,6 million hectares

ISA: http://www.socioambiental.org/e/
Xingu: http://pib.socioambiental.org/en/povo/xingu/1539

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