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The persistence and cultural transformation of the Guaja Indians : foragers of Maranhao state, Brazil

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The persistence and cultural transformation of the Guaja Indians : foragers of Maranhao state, Brazil
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Forline, Louis Carlos, 1953-
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Cassava ( jstor )
Dry seasons ( jstor )
Fish ( jstor )
Foraging ( jstor )
Forests ( jstor )
Hunting ( jstor )
Rainy seasons ( jstor )
Tribal land ( jstor )
Villages ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )
City of Gainesville ( local )

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THE PERSISTENCE AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE GUAJA
INDIANS: FORAGERS OF MARANHAO STATE, BRAZIL















By

LOUIS CARLOS FORLINE


















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE THR DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1997


























Copyright 1997

by

Louis Carlos Forline



























I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Silvana D'Incao, and Karanoh6id6 Guaij6.




















ACKNOWLEDGUENTS


Many people and institutions supported me in doing my research and writing this dissertation. My first thanks go to my committee members Maxine Margolis, Marvin Harris, H. Russell Bernard, Leslie Lieberman and Nigel Smith. Their theoretical and practical guidance was instrumental in helping me assemble this work which took nearly five years to complete. I would also like to thank the many friends I made along the way since I first began my graduate studies at the University of Florida for their encouragement and warm support. The anthropology department at the University of Florida is unique in that we learn just as much from other students as we do from classroom experiences. The discussions and debates many of us had with one another at each other's houses, at bars, restaurants and student lounges broadened our anthropogical perspectives and gave us plenty of food for thought in formulating ideas and questions about the human experience.

Bryan Byrne was a constant companion and gave me a lot of solidarity and support to keep my hopes up when thesis writing was difficult. James (Diego) Hay always managed to bring people together with diametrically opposed viewpoints and was a great dialogue stimulator. Gay Biery-Hamilton shared an office with me while I was a



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teaching assistant for the Department of Anthropology and was a warm and communicative friend during our "basement" days. Tom Abel also stimulated discussions to help put our work in perspective. I would also like to thank Karen Hjerpe who accompanied me during the initial phase of my fieldwork among the Guaja. And, of course, the late Charles Wagley gave me a lot of helpful insight during my early days at UF. A host of other people also deserve mention and if I did not include them here, let my gratitude go out to them, especially those who forged a warm comaraderie with me and other friends at our weekly "Friday Fests."

During the research part of my work, I was given institutional support from the Goeldi Musem of Bel~m, Brazil. I would like to thank the many friends I made at the Goeldi Museum for their kind help, especially its director, Ad~lia Rodrigues, who provided me with an office to conduct my work in while I wrote my thesis. Many thanks also go to Maria Angela D'Incao for giving me the boost I needed to start my thesis writing. Warm thanks also go out to Marcio Meira, Lficia Hussak and CAndida Barros for providing me with ideas and the opportunity to work at the Goeldi Musem, and Rui Murrieta for his moral support. Roberto Araiijo Santos Jr. was also instrumental in giving me the leeway I needed in writing my thesis as well as Ant6nio Carlos Magalhdes. I also received help from the following people in managing my thesis data: Claudia Eleres, Claudia Kahwage, Selma Gomes and Humberto Cotta Jr. While taking breaks from fieldwork, I was put up in my relative Almirzinho's house, and I would like to extend to him my heartfelt thanks for helping me out.






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Later, Vivek Ajmani and Jack Dixon provided me with the expert help I needed in analyzing my time allocation data. I would also like to thank Bill Leonard for his time and patience in analyzing the dietary and anthropometric data.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 9216612), with additional support from the World Wildlife Fund and the Explorers Club (Florida Chapter). I also received a Regional Development Fellowship from Brazil's Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnol6gico (CNPq), which helped me write this dissertation after I had terminated my fieldwork among the Guaji.


Lastly, this research would not have been possible if it were not for the openness and reception I had from the Guaji, the people I studied during this research. They were warm and patient hosts and I hope to see them again someday. Towards their well-being I dedicate this dissertation with the hopes that the indigenous peoples of Brazil receive the due recognition and respect they deserve as regional development encroaches upon them.



















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TABLE OF CONTENTS

pg&e

A CKN OW LED GM EN TS ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TA BLES .............................................................................................................. x

LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... xiii

ABSTRA CT ..................................................................................................................... xiv

CHAPTERS

I INTRODU CTION .......................................................................................................... 1

Theoretical Perspectives and Statem ent of Problem ...................................................... 6

The GuajA and M odem Foragers ................................................................................. 8

The GuajA and Am azonian D evelopm ent ................................................................. 12

The Guaji, Contact, and G lobal Issues ..................................................................... 18

Thesis Organization and M ethodology ........................................................................ 25

N otes ............................................................................................................................ 28

11 GUAJA ETHNOHISTORY, FIELD SETTING, AND REGIONAL
ECOLOGY ................................................................................................................... 29

GuajA Ethnohistory ...................................................................................................... 29

Field Setting ................................................................................................................. 64

Regional Ecology ......................................................................................................... 84

Sum m ary ...................................................................................................................... 99

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 100

M TIME ALLOCATION AND PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES AMONG THE
GUA JA ...................................................................................................................... 104


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Methods and Problems Associated with Time Allocation Studies ............................ 105

Tim e Budget Profiles am ong the Guaji ..................................................................... 113

The N ature of Productive A ctivities .......................................................................... 121

Hunting ................................................................................................................... 121

Fishing ..................................................................................................................... 132

A gricultural A ctivities ............................................................................................ 142

Gathering ................................................................................................................. 150

Food Preparation ..................................................................................................... 155

Sum m ary .................................................................................................................... 159

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 160

IV TIME ALLOCATION, CHILD CARE, LEISURE, AND OTHER
A CTIV ITIES AM ON G THE GUA A ....................................................................... 163

Child Care .................................................................................................................. 163

Leisure ........................................................................................................................ 174

The Social Com ponent of Leisure .......................................................................... 176

Outpost V isits ......................................................................................................... 191

Rituals, Cerem onies, and "other" activities ............................................................... 199

Sum m ary .................................................................................................................... 207

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 209

V FORAGING STRATEGIES AMONG THE GUAJA ............................................... 211

M ethods U sed in Collecting Foraging Data ............................................................... 211

Foraging Y ields and Patterns am ong the GuaJA ......................................................... 214

Sum m ary .................................................................................................................... 245

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 246

VI DIETARY INTAKE AND ANTHROPOMETRY AMONG THE GUAJA ............. 247



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Food Consum ption, Diet Breadth and Variation ....................................................... 247

M ethods in Collecting and A ssessing D ietary Data ................................................ 247

Results of Dietary Consum ption Data Analysis ...................................................... 253

Anthropom ethics Am ong the Guaji ........................................................................... 265

Anthropom etric M ethods ........................................................................................ 265

Results of Anthropornetric D ata Analysis .............................................................. 266

Discussion and Sum m ary ........................................................................................... 281

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 293

VII CON CLU SION S ........................................................................................................ 294

Im plications of Settlem ent ......................................................................................... 297

The GuajA's Future ..................................................................................................... 312

N otes .......................................................................................................................... 316

GLO SSARY .................................................................................................................... 317

REFEREN CES ................................................................................................................ 318

BIOGRAPFHCAL SKETCH ........................................................................................... 337























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LIST OF TABLES

Table page

2.1 Monthly Rainfall Post Guaja .......................................................... 87

3.1 Time Allocation for Posts Guajd, Awti, and Juriti During Dry Season............ 114

3.2 Time Allocation for Posts Guajd, AwA, and Juriti During Wet Season............ 115

3.3 Time Allocation for Posts GuajA, Awi, and Juriti During Wet and Dry Seasons ................................................................................... 116

3.4 Raw Counts in Time Allocatin Activities for Men and Women Across Villages During Dry Season .............................................................. 117

3.5 Raw Counts in Time Allocation Activities for Men and Women Across Villages During Wet Season.............................................................. 118

3.6 Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences Between Men and Women Across Posts Guaji, AwA and Juriti During Dry Season ............... 119

3.7 Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences Between Men and Women across Posts Guaji, AwA and Juriti During Wet Season ............... 120

3.8 A Partial List of Fish Captured by the GuajA ......................................... 136

3.9 Partial List of Cultigens Grown by Guajd and FUNAI............................... 143

5.1 Animals Captured at Post GuajA During Dry Season of 1992...................... 217

5.2 Animals Captured at Post GuajA During Wet Season of 1993 ..................... 218

5.3 Animals Captured at Post AwA During Dry Season of 1993 ....................... 219

5.4 Animals Captured at Post AwA During Wet Season of 1994....................... 220

5.5 Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Dry Season of 1993-1994................ 221

5.6 Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Wet Season of 1994 ...................... 222

5.7 Partial List of Game Animals Captured by the Guaji ................................ 223



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5.8 Comparative Efficiency Rates Between Traditional and Introduced
Weaponry Among the Guaji ............................................................. 229

5.9 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Dry Season .................. 232

5. 10 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Wet Season................. 233

5.11 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters During the Year................... 234

5.12 Weapon Classes Ranked by Mean Return Rate...................................... 244

6.1 Mean Daily Intake by Age and Sex Males and Females 16 Years and Older ...254 6.2 Mean Daily Intake by Age and Sex -Males and Females Under 16 Years........ 254 6.3 Mean Daily Intake Across Villages Individuals 16 Years and Older ............ 256

6.5 Source of Daily Nutrition by Sex ...................................................... 262

6.6 Source of Daily Nutrition by Village (Adults & Children)......................... 262

6.7 Mean Weight and Height of Guaji Compared with Other Native South
American Groups.......................................................................... 267

6.8 Anthropomnetric Measures of Men by Village in the Dry Season .................. 268

6.9 Anthropometric Measures of Men by Village in the Wet Season ................. 268

6. 10 Anthropometric Measures of Women by Village in Dry Season ................. 270

6.11 Anthropometric Measures of Women by Village in the Wet Season ............. 270

6.12 Mean Changes in Anthropomnetric Measurements of Men by Village From
Dry to Wet Season......................................................................... 271

6.13 Mean Changes in Anthropometric Measurements of Women by Village
From Dry to Wet Season.................................................................. 271

6.14 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Men and Women in the Dry Season ..................................................... 273

6.15 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Men and Women in the Wet Season..................................................... 273

6.16 Comparison of Mean Change of Men and Women From the Dry to Wet
Season .................................................................................... 274

6.17 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Dry Season.................................. 275


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6.18 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Wet Season ............................................. 275

6.19 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Dry Season ........................................ 277

6.20 Comparison of Stadardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Wet Season ....................................... 277

6.21 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Boys and G irls in D ry Season ................................................................................... 278

6.22 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Boys and Girls in the W et Season ............................................................................. 278

7.1 Summary of Major Comparisons Between Posts Guaji, AwA, and Juriti ............. 313




































xii















LIST OF FIGURES

Figue page

1. 1 Study Area: Indigenous Areas of Maranhao Where GuaJi Reside and Adjacent Land Areas.......................................................................... 2

1.2 Map of Carajis Project and Area of Influence .......................................... 14

2.1 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Guaj~i (Village 1)................................. 60

2.2 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Awi (Village 2) .................................. 61

2.3 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Juriti (Village 3) ................................. 62

2.4 Demographic Profile of All Villages Combined........................................ 63

2.5 Map of Major Rivers of Maranhao State................................................ 82

2.6 Map of Major Ecological Zones of Maranhao State.................................... 85

2.7 Distribution of Monthly Rainfall at Post Guaji (1992-1993) ........................ 88

5.1 Mean Foraging Returns for Hunters Across All Villages (Mean Kg/Hour Hunting)................................................................................... 239

5.2 Average Foraging Return Rate by Weapon Class Across All Villages (Mean Kg/Hour Hunting).......................................................................... 242

6.5 GuajA Youth Statural Growth Compared with 50th Percentile of U.S. Youth Population (Ages 0 18)................................................................... 279

6.6 Guaj6 Youth Statural Growth Velocity Compared with 50th Percentile of U.S. Youth Population (Ages 0 18)..................................................... 280












xiii

















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


THE PERSISTENCE AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF TH4E GUAJA
INDIANS: FORAGERS OF MARANHAO STATE, BRAZIL By

Louis Carlos Forline

December, 1997

Chairman: Maxine Margolis
Major Department: Anthropology

This research examines socio-cultural change among the Guajd Indians of

Maranhdo state, Brazil. The GuaJid are one of the last groups of foragers in the world and have only come into contact with Brazilian national society during the last 24 years. This dissertation compares the effects of contact between three settled groups of GuajA.. As such, this study looks at changes in natural resource utilization between these three Guajd communities and examines changes in diet and nutritional status among these groups. The results of the study reveal that the GuaJd have quickly adapted to a huntinggathering-farming mode of subsistence as a result of contact with Brazil's Indian Service, Fundagdo Nacional do Indio (FUNAI). Calorically, the GuaJd have also turned to consuming more farm products even though hunting occupies more of their time in subsistence pursuits. The transition from foraging to farming also reveals that women and children are faring better than adult males in terms of diet and nutritional status.


Xiv










Contrasts between the three villages also indicate that the community with the least amount of contact has a more substantial diet calorically and a better nutritional status than the groups that have been under FUNA1's auspices for a longer period of time. Since contact, the GuaJA have also become steadily dependent on FUNAI for goods and services, and as a consequence they have come to play a subordinate role to the Indian Service.






































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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

This dissertation is the result of approximately 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork among the Guaja Indians of Maranhdo state, Brazil, where I have been conducting research since 1990. The aim of my fieldwork was to study socio-cultural change among this group of indigenes, one of the last foraging societies in the Brazilian Amazon and in the world. The GuajA have come into contact with Brazilian national society within the last three decades and approximately 158 Guajd individuals resided on three semi-permanent nucleated settlements established by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) at the time of this study. An undetermined number of Guaja still remain uncontacted, save for a few brief encounters with other indigenous groups and Brazilian nationals of this region. This research entailed a comparative study among three settled Guajd communities.

FUNAI has established three different Indian Posts to settle the nomadic Guajd

since 1973. The first of these settlements, Post GuajA, was established by FUNAI near the headwaters of the Turiaqu river in MaranhAo state, after it contacted a group of 13 Guajd Indians in 1973. At the time of this research about 44 GuajA resided in the vicinity of this Indian Post which is situated on the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve, a land area covering about 530,520 hectares (see Figure 1.1). This Indian Post is located near the site of the first encounter between the Guaja and FUNAI near the Turiaqu watershed and this




1






2














-' tMARANHAG BR316
~ (........ .....


PARA:

Nova Olin&

Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve





0 Jo.Cocalinho















oA 4 jA re


Figur 1.1gr (Source Cocih 1991





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community represents the first group of Guajd to have come into permanent contact with Brazilian national society.

The second Guaja community settled by FUNAI is located near Indian Post AwA on the Caru Indian Reserve, near the Igarape do Presidio (Presidio Creek), an affluent of the Pindare river. The northern limits of the Caru Indian Reserve are approximately 50 kilometers south of the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve, and covers approximately 172,667 hectares in land area. The first members of this community were settled at Post Awa in 1980 and a total of approximately 94 Guajd individuals resided near this outpost during the time of my study.

The third community of Guajd Indians settled by FUNAI was established in 1989 at Post Juriti, located on the northern fringes of the Cam Indian reserve near the Caru river headwaters. About 20 individuals reside in this community. Yet another Indian Post has been established by FUNAI on the Caru Indian Reserve near the Pindar6 River, in the event that an often-sighted group of uncontacted Guaja Indians, located in this area, comes into contact and agrees to settle at this outpost. This observation outpost (frente de atragdo), Mirim-Mirim, was officially installed in 1991. At the time of this study, it hosted two indigenous individuals from an unidentified tribe who were relocated to this locale by FUNAT from the neighboring state of Pard (cf Balre 1992). No studies were conducted at Post Mirim-Mirim as there were no Guaja to be studied in that particular area.

I spent approximately six months at each of these three research sites (Posts Guaji, Awa and Juriti) in order to examine socio-cultural change between and among these Guaja communities. In this manner, I attempted to compare these groups to draw a "time-lapse"






4


photograph of the GuajA experience of contact, settlement and the adoption of new resource strategies. As such, my primary focus was on the productive activities of each village to see what effect, if any, that contact and subsequent settlement among the Guajd would bear on the breadth of their resources and acquisition strategies. GuajA productive activities primarily entail hunting, gathering, fishing and farming. Thus, in terms of drawing a comparison between villages, I examined how each of these activities is carried out by each community. This approach helped evince the differences these endeavors reveal between the GuajA villages in terms of productive efforts and returns.

Productive efforts were primarily examined by conducting time allocation studies in order to see the fraction of time each village invested in each of their resource exploitation strategies. Time allocation research was also carried out in order to draw a general profile of each village's time-investment profile. In this regard, time allocation was also illustrative for descriptive purposes in that it helped in portraying a "traditional ethnography" of the GuajA. Additionally, time allocation studies among the Guaji assisted in drawing a year-round profile of their activities. That is, time allocation observations were conducted during the rainy and dry seasons, respectively, in order to see how each village alters its resource ventures according to seasonality.

Productive yields primarily focused on the foraging returns of each village. In this regard, I concentrated on hunting and fishing yields. These productive activities were recorded to examine the total yields each village obtained in their foraging efforts. Foraging yields also revealed the range of resources exploited by each community in addition to showing the seasonality of each resource acquisition strategy.






5


1 also conducted dietary studies among the Guajd to examine each community's diet breadth and caloric consumption. Subsequently, dietary studies were complemented by performing anthropometric studies among the GuaJA. Anthropometric measures of stature, weight and skin folds were taken on a seasonal basis to assess and evaluate growth rates, lean body mass, and nutritional status between and among villages. Dietary and anthropometric studies were also conducted to see how particular groups of people compared with one another as a measure of evaluating how particular individuals are faring during the current transitional period in GuaJA history.

The research revealed differences in these communities' approaches to the

utilization of natural resources. While some differences were anticipated in the course of this study, reflecting the amount of time each community has been exposed to FUNAI, other contrasts revealed a difference in the demography and social organization in each of the villages studied, the results of contact with FUNAI and other members of Brazilian national society. Thus, each community has a unique history and had a different population and demographic profile before contact. Settlement and contact patterns were carried out differently for each village, which invariably created different demographic profiles and social structures in each community. Still, another important factor explains the differences encountered between communities. As it happens, Post AwA is situated near a large regional development project (Projeto Grande Caraj~s). The Carajds Project has spawned much growth in the area and its proximity exerts pressure on the Guaji's natural resource base as well as posing a constant threat to the security of regional indigenous communities.









While a number of research agendas were applicable to the study of the GuaJA, studies of modern hunter-gatherers cannot be limited to optimal-foraging, ecological anthropology, cultural ecology and other complementary and/or competing models of human ecology. And while this dissertation will still largely examine the Guajd as Ccecosystern people" coping with a natural environment who rely on a subsistence economy, the GuaJA situation also requires that research consider questions of political ecology, sustainable development, indigenous resource knowledge, and humanitarian issues, primarily within the scope of Amazonian growth and development. Thus, for purposes of this dissertation I approach studying the Guaji as foragers undergoing a transition to horticulture and the subsequent relations which have evolved between them and the state agency charged with integrating them, FUNAL

With these factors in mind, I will discuss the theoretical issues addressed in this research. This discussion will help clarify the analytical framework which guided my research and attempt to show what this study can contribute to the study of foraging populations in the tropics.

Theoretical Perspectives and Statement of Problem: Research Agendas, HunterGatherer Studies, and Amazonian Development The study of tropical hunter-gatherers is one of many ways in which we can examine human adaptation and its consequences. Specifically, this research raises the question of what human adaptation implies and entails for hunter-gatherers situated in the Brazilian Amazon. The Guaji are facing a situation of rapid socio-cultural change and their case is of great scholarly and humane interest in that they are one of the few remaining groups of foragers in the world. In this light, research among the Guaji






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contributes towards developing theories about modem hunter-gatherers. Studies among the GuaJA address issues of tribal peoples in the developing world and how foragers in particular are coping with change. From a broader theoretical perspective, this study deals with more comprehensive concepts concerning human adaptation and its consequences.

One of the main premises of this dissertation is that human actors are rational

beings and generally adapt a set of practical procedures to conduct their livelihoods (see Harris 1979). In this manner, I embraced a methodology that examines how Guajd sociocultural practices optimize benefits and reduce costs in the face of contact with the Brazilian state. This framework can contribute to a better understanding of tropical forest adaptation and foraging by indigenous peoples in such habitats. In addition, it can help us understand the processes that ensue in the transition from a foraging mode of subsistence to cultivation. It also sheds light on how foraging populations such as the GuaJA have adopted new methods of livelihood within the context of a developing modem nation state, Brazil, and how these survival strategies can apply to similar situations elsewhere.

While many ethnographies and other studies of human societies will have to be

gathered and synthesized to fine-tune theories for assessing human cultural adaptation, this study attempts to show some of the results, or consequences, of the Guaji experience of contact with the Brazilian state. This research cannot answer questions at the grandiose level of meta-theory as it is a first step in a research series regarding the Guajd Indians. Yet contact and its consequences with the Brazilian state have already manifested themselves in many ways among the GuajA. And to address their situation more specifically, they have to be viewed within the context of modem foragers.





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The GuajA and Modem Forage

The GuaJd experience of contact, settlement, and the adoption of new modes of subsistence has to be studied in light of Amazonian ecology and development. This necessarily obliges one to examine the GuaJd situation within the prism of ecological anthropology, particularly as this area of study pertains to the human ecology of indigenous populations of Amazonia. This framework envisages human societies as dynamic and constantly adapting themselves to ecological factors, demographics, economic conditions and technological development (Harris 1979). While it is extremely important to salvage cultural traditions it is equally imperative to anticipate the changes that fragile and marginal populations will invariably face as they are directly and indirectly drawn into the net of local and regional markets, not to mention the development projects and political processes that will affect their future (see Wolf 1982, 1990).

This perspective views culture change as inevitable and must be a part of any study of indigenous groups within the context of developing modem nation states of the tropics. While there are merits for heralding and admiring the persistence of a given lifeway for its resistance and resilience (cf, Bal6e 1984), the anticipation of cultural change can contribute to promoting public policies which could alter the negative consequences so often encountered in situations of culture contact. Studies among hunter-gatherers have often assumed that such groups have always lived in isolation, as if they were but one more species located within their habitat (cf Lee 1993: 32-33). Yet much evidence has accumulated favoring a contrary view that foragers have in fact, for quite some time, been engaged in relations with other peoples (Headland & Reid 1989). This set of relations may reflect a symbiotic exchange between foragers and other human groups which have a






9


different mode of subsistence as is the case with Efe pigmies of central Africa and their Bantu neighbors (Bailey et al. 1989). Conversely, relations between foragers and other groups may also involve hostile exchanges (Gomes 1988, 1989; Balee 1984, 1992, 1994). In the case at hand, the Guaja would occasionally encroach upon the agricultural fields of other indigenous groups such as the Urubu-Ka'apor and in retaliation these tribes would strike back with raids against the Guajd. Some Guajd individuals were beaten while others were killed, and in some instances woman and children were kidnapped and adopted by other tribes (see Nimuendajfu 1949).

The picture of modem hunter-gatherers of the Amazon is further complicated by the fact that many scholars regard them as vestiges of former agricultural societies. This point was made early by Levi-Strauss (1950: 469) and further supported by Lathrap (1968) and others as a reflection of "deculturation" of erstwhile horticultural groups that were reduced to mere fragments of their former societies and consequently forced to abandon more productive habitats as a result of competitive exclusion by other indigenous groups, colonial powers and non-indigenous members of modem nation states (Sponsel 1989).

In an illustrative work by Stearman (1984), the story of the present-day Yuqui of Bolivia was reconstructed to demonstrate a past connection to the Siriono studied by Holmberg (1969), with this latter group eventually becoming incorporated as a peasant community in rural Bolivia. Gomes (1988, 1989) and Balee (1992, 1994) also provide indirect yet rich evidence that the Guajd were likely to have practiced horticulture in the past. Linguistic data show a strong correspondence between a list of cognates referring to plant names obtained from the GuaA and other Tupi-Guarani groups, namely, the Urubu-






10


Ka'apor, Tenetehara, Tembe, and Assurini. The list of Guajd plant names includes referents to domesticated plants which would indicate a horticultural past since these glosses form cognates with words employed by these other Tupi-Gurani groups that practice horticulture.

Accordingly, Balee (1992, 1994) refers to the loss of agriculture by the Guajd and other lowland South American groups, such as the Arawet as a gradual process of 'agricultural regression'. Thus, the turn to nomadism does not occur overnight as these groups gradually phase out a series of crops in their agricultural cycle and ultimately opt for a foraging mode of living when farming no longer becomes viable for security reasons.

The Guaja presently conduct a hunting-gathering-horticultural mode of

subsistence. Whereas the Guaja have adapted to a new mode of living, and considering the possibility that they were once cultivators, we will still regard them as a foraging group. That is, the Guaja are embraced in this dissertation as a foraging group which is undergoing a transition from a hunting-gathering lifestyle to a hunting-gatheringhorticultural mode of production, embedded in the context of a developing nation state of the tropics. While the Guaja could have possibly practiced horticulture in the distant past, we assume here that they have primarily been adapted to a foraging style of living for approximately 150 years, until they were drawn into the web of contact with Brazilian nationals during the last 24 years.

There are, indeed, many variations and /or examples of groups that would

adequately fit the category of "hunter-gatherer", especially during this day and age where many of these societies have come into contact and no longer show many of the characteristics one would perhaps like to see in the so-called, arche-typical version of









"hunter-gatherer". In fact, it is interesting to note that while many present-day groups of foragers do not fit any given idealized model of hunter-gatherers (Lee 1992), research among these societies is still financed and conducted in the genre of 'hunter-gatherer studies'. Thus, research among foragers has had to face new epistemological revisions regarding past and present conceptualizations of "hunter-gatherers" .2

These considerations return us to an earlier point, namely, that many of these

groups probably practiced some degree of farming in the past. In the case of Amazonia, most of the indigenous groups in pre-Colombian times were sedentary and concentrated along the Brazilian coast and fluvial zones (cf, Denevan 1976; Hemming 1978). With the advent of European colonization in this area, many of these groups were decimated through contact, or reduced to mere vestiges of their former societies, while others were absorbed by national society in the process of "caboclization" (Wagley 1977; Ross 1978; GalvAo 1979; Parker 1985). Then there were other groups, such as the Mundurucu and Tenetehara, which survived, yet underwent a socio-economic transformative process while maintaining their ethnic identity (Murphy 1960; Gomes 1977). Yet other groups which did not undergo this experience fled to the inaccessible reaches of the Amazon region. Lathrap (1968) was keen to note that many of the present day groups of foragers of this region are actually former horticultural societies that took flight from the oncoming encroachment of European expansion and, in turn, were eventually forced to shift to a nomadic way of life. Lathrap illustrated this observation by pointing out the Maku Indians of Amazonas state as probable vestiges of a former sedentary and farming group, although not all ethnographers share this view (Pozzobon 1997: personal communication). Previously mentioned examples, too, are the Yuqui of Bolivia (Stearman 1984), and the






12


GuaJd (Bal~e 1989, 1994; Gomes 1988, 1989), not to mention the Ach6 of Paraguay (Clastres 1972).

While this discussion about hunter-gatherer research does not cover all of the details and issues pertaining to foraging groups, it can provide us with some focus and direction in terms of comprehending the GuajA. With all of these considerations in mind, then, we can proceed with examining the GuaJA, hopefully sensitized to the foregoing issues. These new directions in hunter-gatherer studies cast a new light in this area of research. In these terms, the Guaja must be seen from an historical perspective as well as within the framework of the modem Amazonian frontier. The GuaiA and Amazonian Development

These considerations concerning modem foragers are central to understanding

issues pertaining to foraging societies within the context of Amazonian development and, of course, how similar historical and political factors influence other hunter-gatherer groups throughout the world. Like many other foraging groups of the developing world, the GuaJd are not completely isolated or autonomous. Therefore, their current situation of contact questions the validity or notion of studying them as being representative of past hunter-gatherer societies (cf Lee 1993; Hill & Hurtado 1989; see also Roosevelt 1989). As development in the Brazilian Amazon involves large-scale land-use schemes, hydroelectirc projects and massive mining endeavors, foragers and other indigenous groups in this region stand to be invariably affected. In addition to the GuaJA, for example, the CaraJ~s mining project of the eastern Amazon region affects approximately 40 indigenous groups, directly and indirectly (Treece 1987).






13


Thus, the GuajA situation of contact and settlement was and is a result of

Amazonian settlement and development, principally during the present century. While settlement and development in the Amazon region is an ongoing process and reflects Brazil's effort to modernize and extract raw materials for export, one must be mindful of the fact that the Amazon region is considered a large unknown in terms of the potential it holds for many different, and often divergent, interest groups (Nugent 1990). For one, this region is endowed with vast resources such that their exploitation and export are considered to hold the key to liquidating the burden of a large financial debt which Brazil has incurred with first world lending institutions and governments (Coelho 199 1; Treece 1993; but cf. Sanderson 1993 for alternative view).

Likewise, Amazonia also presents us with an example of world economic

globalization and the interdependence forged between different countries. This latter point is very relevant in that Amazonia serves as a berth and entrep6t for Brazil to extract raw materials for export to other nations, which in turn covet these items to maintain their high standard of living. The CarajAs Project (Projeto Grande Cara As, hereforth referred to as PGQ of the eastern Amazon region (see Figure 1.2) is an illustrative case in point exemplifying an interdependent relationship between Brazil and first world countries. The PGC is an association of mining, agricultural, forestry and industrial projects in eastern Amazonia, with the Carajds Iron Ore Project representing its major venture, involving the European Economic Community (EEC), Japan, U.S., and Brazil.

The PGC represents a new Brazilian strategy not only to meet financial obligations to international creditors but, perhaps more importantly, to continue attracting foreign investment by offering comparative advantages, such as cheap labor, favorable tax









14










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15


treatment, abundant natural resources, subsidized energy, transportation facilities in addition to lax environmental standards and regulations (Margulis 1990). From the vantage point of new investment possibilities, the Amazonian local ruling elites facilitated linking local development needs with those of the international system (ibid: 37). This relationship is illustrative in that many developing nations are compromised by first-world involvement and investments. In these terms, the PGC is a development scheme which should be expressed more within the framework of "dependent development" (Cardoso 1972; but cf BrUseke 1997 for alternative view). Thus, while foreign investment is attractive to the Amazon region, and Brazil in general, in terms of generating jobs, income and infrastructure, many of these ventures do not sustain internal goods and services as lumber products, minerals, and other extractive products are destined to benefit external economies. While this dissertation only addresses these matters briefly and indirectly, they are mentioned here to illustrate the broader mechanisms which brought and continue to bring the GuaJd, and other indigenous groups, into contact with Brazilian national society.

For many years the Amazon region was considered a "backwater" area in terms of recognition and self-sustaining development (Bunker 1985). Despite this perception, the Amazon region reflects some of the general characteristics of Brazilian economic history in terms of the boom-bust nature of investment ventures and extractive practices which promoted cycles of quick growth and development, followed by stagnant periods in which it languished in economic malaise. Between each of these peaks of economic growth and stagnation, indigenous communities were invariably affected. In the early days of Brazil's post-colonial era, for example, the Amazonian rubber boom encouraged mass migrations into this region's remote areas, principally enlisting the labor of drought victims from






16


Brazil's northeast. Many extant indigenous communities that were encountered at that time were eventually drawn into the circuit of exchange relations between patrons and clients, a socio-economic process which contributed much to the emergence of Amazonian peasantry, often referred to throughout this region as caboclos (Ross, 1978; Parker 1985).3 Between these periods of economic growth and subsequent decline, this emergent peasant class eventually had to resort to other means of livelihood. As a result, many landless peasants often found their way driving deeper into areas inhabited by indigenous peoples. In many cases, the alternative options available to these groups of migrant laborers are gold-mining, clearing additional areas of forested land for subsistence and share-cropping, working as farm-hands, and migration to towns and cities of the Amazon region, as well as a host of other employment opportunities left open to this unskilled class of people.

Brazilian mega-projects in the Amazon region also played a major role in

encroaching upon Indian areas. For example, in Brazil's attempt to occupy the Amazon region during the 1 970s, through its National Integration Program [Projeto de Integragiio Nacional (PIN)], calling on people from the country's different regions to settle on homesteads offered by national and local Amazonian governments, the road system implemented in this project directly affected approximately 96 different indigenous groups, or about 56 percent of the known indigenous communities of the Brazilian Amazon (Ramos 1984). Touted as an opportunity of "land without men for men without land" (terra para homens para homens sem terra) this development scheme siphoned off another large contingent of people from the drought polygon of the northeast, in addition to Brazilian nationals from the south-southeastern region who were driven off their land






17


by large-scale land consolidation ventures. Another flow of people from Brazil's centralwestern states were also attracted to this area in search of better opportunities (Moran 1979; Smith 1982).

The inter-ethnic contact which ensued from these occupational and development schemes proved problematic for the Indians and led to a series of relocation and demarcation projects by the Brazilian government (Davis 1978). In 1967, Brazil's then military government established its current Indian Service, FUNAI. This agency was subordinated to Brazil's Ministry of Interior, the state institution responsible for planning and development. The creation of FUNAI by the Brazilian state served to relocate indigenous groups which were then, and still are, regarded as obstacles to development, and transferred and/or confined these communities to areas which would not interfere with regional projects (Baines 1991; Magalhftes 1983, 1991). Many of the Brazilian stateowned companies responsible for Amazonian development projects such as Compania Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and Centrais E16tricas do Norte do Brasil, S.A.(ELETRONORTE) worked in collaboration with FUNAL and other governmental agencies to assist in settling indigenous peoples encountered adjacent to development projects by relocating them. These collaborative resettlement projects also entailed contracting anthropologists to assist in identifying and attracting isolated groups of indigenous peoples to ease the stressful transition of contact through settlement, as well as enlisting this corps of professionals for advice and assistance in the demarcation of Indian land areas. This was the case with the Carajds Project, whose main investor, CYRD, hired a number of anthropologists to help establish Indian land areas adjacent to the project's area of influence, namely, the large land corridor created by the construction of the






18


Carajis railway. This railway extends from the large mining area of Serra dos Carajis in Pari state to the port of Itaqui in Sao Luis, Maranhao, and is approximately 910 kilometers in length [- 570 miles (see Figure 1.2)]. The Carajis Project, in its entirety, covers an area of approximately 900,000 square kilometers and includes parts of Pard, Maranhao and Tocantins states, or about 10.6 percent of Brazil's total land area (Hall 1991: 40). All told, this project affects 29 indigenous reserves and about 40 indigneous communties.

This particular project hired anthropologist Mrcio Gomes to assist in attracting groups of Guaja Indians located near the Carajis railway to settle them onto areas that would not interfere with the development projects as well as keeping them out of harm's way. Later, Gomes was instrumental in contacting other groups of Guaja and, together with Brazil's Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), he advocated establishing a separate land area for a group of unsettled Guaj Indians, Area Indigena Awa (Awa Indian Reserve

- see Figure 1.2). Yet subsumed under this practice of cushioning the impact of contact and interaction with Brazilian nationals is a FUNAI mandate which works in the direction of integrating Indians into mainstream society, a form of social engineering that views indigenous lifeways and customs as "backward" and "neolithic" (Jaguaribe 1994). The Guaj. Contact, and Global Issues

Development in the Amazon region enveloped the Guaji and other indigenous groups in a manner which coopted them into contact and involvement with Brazilian national society. As regional settlement steadily engulfed the Guaja, they eventually ran out of areas to where they could retreat from the oncoming frontier. Not only did the Guaji become geographically circumscribed, they eventually became socially






19


circumscribed through a political and developmental posture taken by the Brazilian state in Amazonia. As previously mentioned, an array of development processes and actors were the principal agents involved in steadily drawing the Guajd and other indigenous groups closer to contact and eventual relations with Brazilian nationals. That this process invariably becomes articulated through an existing state's official Indian Agency, i.e., FUNAI, does not necessarily invalidate the notion of circumscription as peripheral indigenous communities are ultimately contacted, subjugated and drawn into a web of social relations which undermines their autonomy, affects their health and demographic structure, alters their mode of production, and develops a set of dependency relations with the state (Carneiro 1970, 1981, 1987; Arnold 1993; Bodley 1985).

Many indigenous groups were able to avoid the impact of this process in the past as they could elude encroachment by penetrating deeper into heavily forested regions, away from the main watercourses of the Amazon region (Roosevelt 1991). Although many indigenous groups of this region were decimated by direct and indirect contact in the past through hostilities and disease (Ribeiro 1979; Hemming 1978, 1987), with a good number of them succumbing to pressures which ultimately subjugated them to domination and state rule, an uncounted number of other indigenous societies, such as the Guajd, fled from the encroaching elements of the Amazonian frontier and occupied areas near the headwaters of Amazonia's interfluvial zones (Gomes 1989: 3). In recent years, this course of events has changed as large-scale projects and migration within and to the region enclosed the GuaJd within an area which ultimately made contact unavoidable.

Issues of contact and circumscription will be addressed in subsequent chapters as the GuaJA experience is unique and can perhaps evince a series of processes involved in






20


other situations of contact and settlement of indigenous groups of Amazonia. In some instances, contact is involuntary and coercive, while in others encounters are voluntarily initiated by indigenous groups. In the case of the GuaJk contact with Brazilian nationals has involved both situations. The situation of the GuaJA illustrates a process whereby peripheral populations are curtailed and faced with the voluntary or involuntary option of contact and subsequent involvement with state polities.

Very often, too, indigenous communities are encountered by the "cut-throat" elements of the frontier. Local peasant groups, gold miners and other members of Brazilian national society in the Amazon region frequently take advantage of the Indians' lack of experience with mainstream society. These groups often manipulate and exploit indigenous people as the process of contact steadily places these communities at the lowest rung of the regional socio-economic ladder. As Gray (1995: 12 1) notes, this form of integration does not create a symbiotic relationship between the dominant society and indigenous peoples. To the contrary, it is an asymmetrical relationship and a form of controlled assimilation. Then, too, many indigenous groups are not always "seduced" by the material benefits and services of the enveloping society; rather, the habitats they occupy may become degraded and restricted in their use, forcing many Indians to turn to wage labor and market activities in order to maintain their livelihoods (Gross et al. 1979).

While Amazonian development projects have altered many environmental habitats and consequently besieged many Brazilian Indian communities, the emergence of a global conservation ethic has turned some of these events around and has put Amazonia and indigenous peoples under a new analytical focus. During the last decade the combination of large scale projects, massive migrations and habitat destruction in the Amazon region






21


has drawn the attention of many environmental and human rights groups, both within Brazil and abroad. The global environmental awareness that emerged during the 1960s has since gained much momentum in monitoring the effects of environmental change and the consequences of development on ecosystems and people around the world. This movement has also led to the formation of lobbying groups which pressure governments and lending institutions to alter their political and economic stances on issues pertaining to development and socio-biodiversity.

Parallel to the upswing in global environmental issues, studies in cultural ecology, ethnobiology and ecological anthropology have raised the possibility that indigenous and folk societies are competent managers of natural resources. Many of these studies assert that indigenous communities have long been adapted to their habitats and, as such, have developed a knowledge of natural resources and practices to utilize their environents in a sustainable manner (Posey 1985; Sponsel 1986; Moran 1990). Moreover, many of these studies have advocated the incoporation of indigenous knowledge into developmental schemes. Advocates of native resource management thus argue that folk and indigenous societies are more adapted to the ecosystems of the tropics and the needs of the people residing in those regions could be adequately satisfied if indigenous knowledge systems were applied to local development ventures (Brokensha & Riley 1980; Posey 1984).

As the eco-manifesto for indigenous rights was promulgated, both folk and indigenous societies emerged as new symbols in the struggle to keep the globe's ecosystems intact yet usable. Concomitantly, debates about the definitions of sustainable development and its applications around the globe often bring to the fore the argument that folk and indigenous societies are the key to maintaining biodiversity, a concept which






22


is deemed by many to be crucial to the maintenance of ecosystems, and the development of new strains of food, medicines, raw materials, and other items. (Plotkin 1993; Bal6e 1994).

Although the notion of examining indigenous resource knowledge remains in vogue, this issue has generated some polemics regarding the viability of embracing indigenous and folk peoples as resource "consultants" in development schemes. For one, some skepticism has been raised with regard to the idea that indigenous peoples are, indeed, competent managers of natural resources. Thus, some criticism has been levelled at the idea of viewing indigenous peoples as "ecologically noble savages" as they, too, are capable of habitat destruction and species extinction (Johnson 1989; Redford 1991). The results of the Kayap6 Research Project among the Gorotire Kayap6 of Pari, Brazil, were seriously challenged by Parker (1992, 1993). These and other views have forced a number of scholars and planners to rethink issues of conservation and development in terms of assessing the role that rural peoples could and should play in future development schemes. One such issue that was raised was an attempt to better define the notion of natural resource management and what this implies in terms of indigenous resource practices (cf. Redford & Padoch 1992). And the question of "management" still remains unanswered as this issue brings to the fore questions of "consciously" directed action towards manipulating resources in a sustainable manner (Bal6e 1994).

In spite of these views, there is still much interest in researching indigenous and

folk knowledge. Many research foundations, non-governmental organizations and lending institutions have made more funding available to study the resource knowledge employed by rural peoples. There has been a call for a number of projects to make inventories of






23


resource utilization knowledge and practices as a way of better preparing development schemes in a manner that is more adequately adapted to the tropics and its peoples.

The new perception envisaged in the global environmental ethic has raised another series of debates. Amazonians are fully aware of the fact that their region is endowed with many resources and the notion of examining indigenous resource knowledge is often perceived as another way of siphoning off valuable materials from this region (Nugent 1990). Indigenous peoples were already used as a human resource since colonial times; both their labor and knowledge were put to work for the benefit of neo-Brazilians (Hemming 1978, 1987; Fischer 1991). In this sense, many observers regard the real outcome of indigenous knowledge if it is only perceived as a quick and effective method of obtaining natural resources. As Gray (1995- 120-121) has pointed out, Green Capitalism conceives of conservation in monetary terms as it can only perceive this goal as being accomplished through marketing strategies. A similar comment was also made by Redclift (1987), who stated that for any conservation measure to be effectively implemented in capitalist-type economies, it will have to demonstrate feasibility in terms of its potential for profit. Gray further reiterates a point made earlier by Dasmann (1988: 3 03

- cited in Gray, 1995: 119), that "ecosystem peoples" (i.e., indigenous peoples) are ultimately controlled by "biosphere peoples," who invariably alter ecosystems inhabited by indigenes. As such, with the globalization of the world economy, bioshpere people can always resort to other habitats and regions from which they can expropriate resources. Thus, if indigenous peoples are to be embraced in marketing strategies, those who advocate for their rights claim that it is necessary to copyright their knowledge for just






24


compensation and as a way of guaranteeing their security (see Cunningham 1993; Brush 1993).

These questions return us to a point made earlier: the significance of Amazonia

from a global perspective may always remain problematic for indigenous peoples since the leverage exerted by core countries still remains overwhelming for peripheral, developing nations. While the rhetoric of "green consumerism' appears to extend due rights and recognition to those who harbor natural resources and their knowledge use, there are disputes which remain to be resolved in terms of extending patent rights and other benefits that would necessarily accrue to those in possession of this type of information. Take, for instance, the U.S. position with regard to patent rights concerning the active principles of plant material. This issue was raised in the Rio Earth Summit meeting of 1992 and was controversial in that the U.S. refrained from ratifying and extending patent rights to countries which are home to much of the genetic material used to develop synthetic products in first world laboratories.

Now that Amazonia is assessed in terms of its gene-bank potential, will the role that indigenous and folk peoples play in terms of informing us about natural resources in any way contribute to their own well-being? This question is posited by many because it raises a major doubt about the possibility of empowering indigenous peoples in the process of harnessing their knowledge of natural resources. Moreover, the involvement of indigenous peoples in marketing strategies to peddle off their materials and knowledge may also prove problematic in terms of compromising their culture (Posey 1993). Additionally, it has been pointed out that while tropical ecosystems have been little exploited for their full benefit, there has been an "over-ecologizing" rhetoric, or "eco-






25


babble," concerning the benefits that tropical forests will hold for humanity--while the social concerns of these regions remain largely overlooked (Nugent 1990; Karliner 1993; Fatheuer 1993: cited in Singer 1993: 172). Thus, at this juncture, there are a number of interests converging on the Amazon region represented in the way of governments, laboratories and conservation groups, which hope to hold sway in the region's future. While the discourse which favors indigenous knowledge advocates for their rights, it does not conceal the fact that the rational use of natural resources is a "we" issue, a matter which concerns us all and our future. Thus, in order to "sell" conservation it must be shown that this concept is a material question which addresses everyone's well-being (Plotkin 1982). With these considerations in mind, we are witness to a series of interest groups jockeying for position under the banner of eco-discourse.

These latter reflections return us to a point previously made, namely, that the mechanisms involved in drawing the GuaJA into contact and settlement pertain to the globalization of the world economy, the interdependency of countries, and development issues. But many indigenous societies are unaware of all of these issues pertaining to them. Yet while they are far and removed from most discussions regarding their articulation with mainstream society and resource questions, these unresolved issues continue to be debated as indigenous peoples are steadily drawn into the orbit of mainstream relations and networks.

Thesis Organization and Methodology

This introductory discussion leads into the next chapter which will outline GuaJA

ethnohistory and regional ecology. It will look at the social and historical processes which






26


brought the GuajA into contact and draw a broad sketch of their habitat's ecology and resources.

Chapters III and IV will examine the time-allocation studies I conducted among the GuaJA to show how they budget their time. As we will see in a comparison of the three Indian Posts, there are differences and similarities in the time each community devotes to various activities. Chapter III will be primarily organized around subsistence pursuits while Chapter IV will portray a general profile of other Guaji daily activities. I will discuss some of the methdological assumptions, procedures and problems associated with time-allocation studies as these considerations had to be weighed in terms of time, provenience and study feasibility to successfully perform this research task. I carried out over 6,000 spot-checks in all three research communities, Posts GuajA, AwA, and Juriti which translates into approximately 2,000 observations in each community. This material will help to compare and contrast each of the study communities in order to determine how they differ in terms of time investments in subsistence, social engagements, leisure, and other activities. I will describe the nature of these activities and how people engage in them in order to flesh out the characteristics of time investments. This will also reveal the nature of social interaction between the Guaji as well as providing us with a glimpse at the social relations and involvement they have with the FUTNAI personnel which administer the Indian Posts.

Chapter V will look at GuajA hunting and subsistence data. I collected 229 days of hunting data which breaks down as follows for each of the Guaji villages: for Post GuajA, I compiled 89 days of hunting harvests; at Post AwA, hunting yields for 78 days were collected, while at Post Juriti 62 days of hunting activities were recorded. I will describe






27


the data collection procedures and also discuss subsistence yields in terms of production and availability of resources for the Guajd. The differences between villages is reflective of the the length of contact, hunting pressures, weapon technology and foraging strategies. Other differences to be discussed in this chapter will be the variation between individuals and the the particular yields they obtained in foraging efforts.

Chapter VI will look at dietary and anthropometric data. I also collected over six weeks of dietary data in all three Guaji villages. Dietary data collection entailed direct observation of food consumption, and weighing of food, as well as performing dietary recall tasks with informants. This data was complemented by collecting anthropometric data for all three Guaji communities in order to assess seasonal differences among and between villages. Anthropomnetric data was also collected to evaluate dietary requirements for the Guajd. All of these data are useful in terms of building data for comparison with other indigenous groups of lowland South America and other foraging communities, in addition to evaluating the consequences of contact.

The conclusions of this thesis will be presented in Chapter VII. I will synthesize the material presented in the foregoing chapters to draw conclusions about the GuaJA experience of contact, settlement, and adoption of new resource strategies. These closing observations will refer to the issues raised in this introductory chapter regarding indigenous adaptation to tropical ecosystems as well as the consequences of contact between the Guajd and Brazilian national society. In all, this dissertation represents an initial step in studying the Guaji. Hopefully, the material we bring together in the form of collaborative research should contribute to developing not only a traditional ethnography






28


of these people, but also to the rights and privileges they should enjoy as new and

emerging members of a democratic nation state.


Notes

1Since this study, this site has been officially established as Indian Post Tiracambu, and is no longer a FUNAI observation outpost. After I completed this research, approximately 30 GuaJA individuals from Post Awd have gone to reside in the vicinity of this new Indian Post. The main reason cited by these individuals was that resources near Post Awd were drained, and as a result, they departed for Indian Post Tiracambu.

2 Thus, hunter-gatherer studies can now embrace a multitude of societies and terminologies to study groups that once practiced a hunting and gathering life-style. For example, some revisionists question the use of the term 'hunter-gatherer' instead of 'gatherer-hunter' since many of these societies spend more time gathering natural resources than in hunting--not to mention the greater caloric contributions these groups obtain in their diets from gathering than from hunting. These revisions also imply the greater role that women contribute to the subsistence economy of these societies (cf, Dahlberg 198 1). Morever, biological terms like 'foraging' have also been introduced in hunter-gatherer studies to embrace ecological-evolutionary concepts (see Lee 1993).

3Nugent (1997) refers to the vagueness of the term caboclo and the implications of its historical construction. For example, while many regional peasants refer to themselves as caboclos, the term is still rather ambiguous for it does not necessarily stand for a particular ethnic group, per se. For purposes of this dissertation, caboclo generally refers to nonindigenous peasantry of the Brazilian Amazon.














CHAPTER H
GUAJA ETHNOHISTORY, FIELD SETTING, AND REGIONAL ECOLOGY

In this chapter, I will draw on documentary research and personal accounts to

present a general picture of the Guajd's background, contact history and settlement. In this manner, the Guajd are compared with other groups pertaining to the Tupi-Guarani linguistic family and are also presented in terms of their personal history. Their own history has also shed light on the nature of contact that ensued in the wake of Amazonian development projects, and subsequent involvement with Brazil's Indian Service, FUNAI. I will close this chapter by presenting a brief sketch of the field setting where I worked among the Guajd and conclude with a general description of the Guaji's habitat with an attempt to highlight this regions's biological and ecological characteristics, particularly with emphasis on the environmental features which influence this group's mode of living.

Guaji Ethnohistory

Both Gomes (1988, 1989) and Bal~e (1984, 1994) speculate that during preColumbian times the Guaja formed part of a larger cultural complex together with other Tupi-Guarani groups of the lower Amazon region.' It is possible that they were part of what was considered to be a fairly homogeneous culture which included other indigenous groups of this area such as the ParakanA, Assurini, Urubu-Ka'apor, Amanaj6s, Anambe, Tenetehara, in addition to other indigenous groups which are probably now extinct (Gomes 1989: 4). With the onset of Portuguese colonial settlement and expansion in this



29






30



region, these groups dispersed and steadily became subdivided and fragmented, part and parcel of the large demographic decline experienced by the indigenous groups of Brazil during this period (Hemming 1978, 1987).

Until the early days of the 19th century, the Guajd probably lived in the vicinity of the lower Tocantins river basin and the upper Moju river watershed area, both locales situated in the current Brazilian state of Pard (see Figure 1.2). It is probable that the Guaja began to disperse in an easterly direction during the Cabanagem upheavel which occured during the years of 1835-1840. The Cabanagem was a civil war that pitted Amazonia's former colonial vassals against the region's new elite, which had established itself after Brazil gained its independence from Portugal in 1822. That this insurrection could have also spilled over into adjacent indigenous communities is a distinct possbility as many of the warring contingents consisted of acculturated Indians and mixed-blood peoples (Balre 1994: 34).

The eastward course of migration taken by the Guaji in the direction of Maranhdo state was also tread by the Urubu-Ka'apor at approximately the same time. Both groups had developed a series of skirmishes between one another over territorial disputes and the Guaja turned out to be the more vulnerable in these conflicts as the Urubu-Ka'apor had a numerical advantage over them. Hemming (1978: 496) speculated that the GuajA numbered aproximately 2,000 individuals during pre-Columbian times while the UrubuKa'apor probably had a population of about 3,000.2 In later years, during the 1930s, the Urubu-Ka'apor acquired firearms which rendered the Guaja even more vulnerable during these conflicts. Yet during the 1950s, the Urubu-Ka'apor suffered some demographic





31



losses and lost some territorial positions to the Guaja in the region of the Turiaqu river headwaters in Maranhao. FUNAI intervened in the conflicts between these two groups and hostilities ceased to exist between them in 1975, as part of an unwritten policy, Pax Brasilliana, to quell all inter-Indian conflicts. Relations with the Urubu-Ka'apor are now fairly amicable and there is even a marriage between a Guaji man from the Post Guajd community with an Urubu-Ka'apor woman from the village of Urutawy, both currently residing at the husband's village located on the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve.

For quite some time, the Guaji proved to be rather elusive and avoided contact

with any group of Indians or neo-Brazilians. Travelers in Maranhao occasionally reported sighting the Guaja but contact was infrequent and very brief during those periods. Many accounts of the Guaja were reported by other indigenous groups to settlers and travelers of the Pindar6 region. This was the case of the small entry written by Curt Nimuendajii in the Handbook of South American Indians (1949: 135-36) who travelled to this area in 1912 and obtained a brief and succinct account of the Guaja from the Temb6 Indians, and later from the Guajajara in 1929. In this account, Nimuendajii was told that the GuajA were a nomadic people and frequently avoided contact with others. They were said to possess a very simple material culture with the distinguishing characteristics being their long bows and arrows, a short haircut in the form of an inverted bowl for both sexes, no facial adornments, and no clothing except for the tucum palm (Astrocaryum vulgare) fiber skirt woven and worn by the Guaja women. The women also used a sling to carry babies, which was also manufactured from tucum fiber. Moreover, observers made note of other characteristics such as the absence of agriculture, a hunting and gathering mode of





32



subsistence, and a large dependence on the fruit of the babaqu palm (Attalea speciosa). Others also noted that their dwellings and hunting camps were very temporary, makeshift, and simple. They also possessed a large number of pets, principally howler monkeys (Beghin 1950). Travellers also pointed out that the Guaji lived in very small social groups of two to four families (Dodt 1939) and Nimuendaj6 added that the Guaji and Tembe had similar languages and, as such, they were able to comprehend each other. My own experience with the Guajd revealed, too, that their language is almost mutually intelligible with the Guajajara, whose language they claim to be easier to comprehend than that of their other present-day neighbors, the Urubu-Ka'apor.

That the Guajd lacked agriculture perhaps served as the primary cause for their raiding the crops of their indigneous neighbors, such as the Temb6, Urubu-Ka'apor and Guajajara. As Nimuendaj6 reported, when the GuajA were caught, they were killed or at least beaten and imprisoned. He also noted that on one occasion the Urubu-Ka'apor Indians raided and massacred a Guaja camp. Ribeiro (1996: 282) also commented that the Urubu-Ka'apor scapegoated the Guaji by unloading their hostilities upon them, especially after the Urubu-Ka'apor suffered the bewildering impacts of disease and death from contact with white people.

During another incident, circa 1910-11, the Tembe mentioned that they spotted a group of Guajd Indians stealing crops from one of their agricultural plots and pursued these individuals. When the Temb6 caught up with this small group, the GuajA capitulated without struggle, although they were armed with bows and arrows. The Temb6 brought






33



these individuals back to their camp as captives and reported that they all eventually died of intestinal maladies after eating the cooked and seasoned food of their captors.

Nimuendaji also listed a host of names that were ascribed/assigned to the Guaja by other groups. He mentioned that both groups of Tenetehara Indians (Guajajara and Temb6) referred to the Guaji as Wazaizara (wazai, an ornament of small tufts of feathers stuck with wax in the hair, plus zara, "owner"). For their part, the Amanay6 Indians referred to the Guajd as Aiay, while the term Guajd is said to be a neo-Brazilian corruption of Gwaza. As for the Guaji, they refer to themselves as Awd, which means "person,.. "man," or "people". Only after permanent contact was established with the GuajAi in 1973, did it become evident that these reports by early travelers were limited for lack of sustained interaction with these indigenes. The gamut of their activities was not known, neither were many aspects of their material culture, social organization or language.

Based on this smattering of scant reports, Nimuendaj6i situated the Guaja Indians between the Capim and Gurupi rivers, in the state of Para, and extending into Maranhao. In Maranhao, the GuajA were thought to occupy the interfluvial zones located between the upper courses of the Gurupi and the Pindar6 rivers. Gomes (1989: 5) speculates that as of 1950 perhaps all living groups of GuajA individuals were residing east of the Gurupi river, in the state of Maranhao (see Figure 1.1). He also notes that this was probably the result of the fact that many Guaji groups west of the Gurupi river, in the state of Pari, were exterminated and unable to survive the constant pressure from the expansion of neoBrazilians and other Indian groups. There are some incidents, however, which report the






34



existence and brief appearence of some GuajA groups in that area. FUNAI (1995: personal communication) reports, for example, that Urubu-Ka'apor Indians have recently sighted some GuajA near the banks of the Gurupi river in the state of Pari, on the Alto Guami Indian Reserve.

When Brazil's Indian Protection Service [Servigo de Prote9do ao Indio (SPI)] established its first Indian Post in MaranhAo in 1913, on the confluence of the Caru and Pindar6 rivers, it took note of the Guajd presence in that state. In 1914 a report was prepared by this outpost which noted the presence of Guajd Indians near the Pindare river. Until the SPI was disbanded in 1967, many brief and sporadic encounters were made with the Guaja. Former funtionaries of the Indian Service indicate that many of the Guaja suffered from this contact in the way of illness, disease and death, as well as by hostile encounters with the Urubu-Ka'apor and Tenetehara Indians. Gomes (1989: 5) further notes that during the course of these years of sporadic contact, and even during the initial series of contacts subsequently established by FUNAI, the Guajd were viewed in a derogatory manner and written off as a hopeless case, because of their simplicity, nomadism, and their presumed indifference to the advantages which they could accrue through western goods and services all of which they could have acquired had they chosen to live a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, they were deemed as "indomitable" by the state agency charged to look after them as well as by other principle actors of the region such as traders (regatbes), ranchers and the patron class.

Both the Tenetehara Indians and former SPI workers reported that the Guajd were frequently the targets of "extermination" groups which would form posses in local towns





35



or recently established communities of the expanding frontier located in the Turiaqu and Pindare river valleys. One such incident occurred in 1948 in the muncipio (county) of Amarante in Maranhdo state in retaliation against a group of Guaja Indians who attacked a woman washing clothes along a riverbank. The "avengers" boasted of liquidating a large number of Indians while other accounts of skirmishes with the Guajd were reported by people who travelled in the region of the upper Pindar6 river. When the interstate highway, BR-222, was under construction between Santa In~s and Imperatriz, other reports relate incidents of planned attacks against the Guaji which allegedly resulted in many casualties for these indigenes. As Gomes (1989: 6) pointed out, whether these reports are, in fact, true does not diminish the nature of contact nor the general state of besiege and subsequent decline suffered by the GuajA in this region. While some groups of Guajd, for certain, perished unbeknownst to outsiders, other bands have probably merged. Then, again, the surviving groups are still undergoing many of the maladies which result from direct or indirect contact with Brazilian nationals.

For a number of years, since the 1940s, the SPI attemped to "pacify" the Guaj.. In 1943 it actually managed to contact a small group of Guajd who approached the Indian Post of Gongalves Dias (later established as Indian Post Pindare), approximately 10 kilometers from Santa Ins. Yet for all of its efforts the SPI was not able to maintain sustained contact with members of this group, or with other GuajA bands, which were occasionally sighted along the banks of the Pindare river and one of its affluents, the Buriticupu river. Some years later, in 1969, briefly after the SPI was succeeded by FUNAI, anthropology student Fiorello Parise was called upon to "rescue" a group of






36



three Guajd Indians who were temporarily hosted in a squatter family compound on the Cam river, the main affluent of the Pindare river. Gomes (ibid.)speculates that this small group represents the survivors of a larger group which was decimated by the first incursion of settlers to this region who squatted along the eastern banks of the Cam river. This small group was relocated to a Tenetehara village, presently known as Indian Post Cam on the Caru Indian Reserve. Only one member of this band still survives after being incorporated into the Tenetehara tribe among whom he resides, married to a woman of that community.

In March, 1973, a small FJNAI search party was formed to attempt contact with a small group of GuajA Indians who were sighted by a regional hunter. This backwoodsman had actually contacted some of these individuals and traded with them on occasion. Subsequently, he informed a local acquaintance of his, Florindo Diniz, also a regional hunter who had recently joined FUNAI, of the presence of the Guaj near the upper Turia~u. The search party consisted of anthropologist Valfria Parise, Jose Carlos Meirelles, son of a former SPI employee, Jairo Patusco, and Florindo Diniz. This team negotiated the upper courses of the Turiaqu river and contacted a group of 13 Guaja Indians in this vicinity, who approached them asking for food. Coincidentally, the site of this first contact is located near a former Urubu-Ka'apor village, situated near a cluster of babaqu palms, an artifact of this latter group's agricultural activities. FUNAI subsequently brought and displayed wares such as pots, pans, machetes and food, to attract and settle this group of Guaja. Other related groups of Guajd were attracted to this sight and gradually settled in this locale along with the original group of thirteen people. FUNAI






37



reports that approximately five or six Guajd bands were attracted to this location, totalling 91 individuals in 1976. Shortly thereafter, FUNAI intensified its efforts to keep this group settled and as a result many of these Indians contracted pneumonia, influenza, and malaria. FUNAI was less than prepared to manage this contact in a competent manner as it did not harbor a permanent health crew to negotiate this transition. The results were staggering. Of the original group of 91 individuals, only 25 survived through 1980 (Gomes 1989: 7).

The outcome of this initial contact left the survivors disoriented and languishing in state of shock. The group was slow to rebound as this demographic decline took a heavier toll on its female members. This settlement later became established as Indian Post Guajd, and during my research this community hosted a population of 45 individuals with a proportion of approximately three adult men to one female of reproductive age.' This disparity between the sexes has led to the establishment of some polyandrous marriages and has also created tension between certain men. This group slowly recuperated, yet in a manner which saw it developing a dependent relationship with FUNAI's Indian Post, later established as Post Guajd, in 1978, when the Indian Reserve of Alto Turiaqu was officially demarcated. The individuals of this community began to settle down to a semi-sedentary lifestyle and were embraced as laborers by FUNAI to help build and maintain the post, clear horticultural plots, hunt and fish for FUNAI workers, in addition to a number of other services and activities which the Indian Service saw fit to engage the Guajd. The recovery is still slow as it is still plagued by an occasional outbreak of malaria, influenza and other maladies, which come indirectly by way of land invasions in addition to lax FUNAI standards, which do not require any form of prior medical






38



screening before admitting Indian Service personnel onto Indian Reserves. In 1985, for example, a FUNAI report indicates that it hired an ex-gold miner (garimpeiro) who had worked in the Serra Pelada mine of Para state, and was later admitted to this Indian Reserve without a medical examination. Prior to his arrival, this individual had contracted Malariafalciparum and introduced this strain of malaria to the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve, hitherto thought to have not existed in this particular region.4

The community at Post Guajd now has a fairly amicable relationship with the Urubu-Ka'apor Indians of Urutawy village (Indian Post Z6 Gurupi) which is located approximately 19 kilometers east of Indian Post Guaji on the Alto Turia~u Reserve (see Figure 1.1). Members of each community visit one another on occasion and the resulting interaction often involves bartering food for wares, exchanging information about hunting and game availability, and also unites some of these individuals on ritual and festive occasions. While FUNAI acted as a go-between for the marriage arrangement previously mentioned, between a Guaja man and an Urubu-Ka'apor woman, it also discourages frequent contact between both communities. The Indian Service claims that during these visits, the Urubu-Ka'apor frequently take advantage of the Guaji as the latter do not have as much experience or power of persuasion as the former in negotiating exchanges. The results, they claim, are that the Urubu-Ka'apor will often hoodwink the Guaji or walk away with a better deal in these negotiations. Indeed, these types of situations do transpire between both groups and it is through the influence of the Urubu-Ka'apor Indians that members of the Post Guajd community grew interested in planting and selling rice in exchange for cash.'






39



During the first years of sustained contact, the middle courses of the Pindar6 and Caru rivers became sites for new neo-Brazilian migrant squatters to penetrate and settle. Some Guaja groups were contacted in this process while others retreated further into the forested areas. On one of these occasions, an entire band of Guaji died except for two young boys. News of the two youths was passed on by local settlers and FUNAI asked anthropologist Valeria Parise to provide safe conduct for them to the Indian Service's Boarding House in So Luis.6 One of the youths died three years later of tuberculosis while the other was later transferred to Indian Post Guaji, where he was primarily raised at the FUNAI outpost by members of the Indian service. He also resided briefly among the Tenetehara and Gavi~o Indians of Maranhdo and later became an interpreter for FUNAI. Eventually, he was incorporated into FUNAI's Guaji Program and currently serves as a salaried employee for the Indian Service. This individual, Gei, is perhaps the most acculturated of the Guaja Indians and is currently married to a neo-Brazilian woman from a local community bordering the Caru Indian Reserve. He was also previously married to another neo-Brazilian woman from whom he is now separated. In both unions this Gei fathered a child.

In the 1970s, during the paving of route BR-070 (which connects Sdo Luis to

Belm), a small band of six Guajd approached a crew of construction workers. Members of this band were eventually transferred to the FUNAI boarding house of Sdo Luis and were subsequently placed on the nearest Indian Post where they were left to their luck and died of ill health. On another occasion, a small group of Guaja Indians were sighted near the Gavido-Pukobye reserve in the municipio of Amarante. One of the Guaja' women was






40



apprehended with her daughter and both were taken to the FUNAI boarding house of Sao Luis, where both fell victims to ill health. The mother eventually died while the daughter was raised by nurses at the boarding house. She was later transferred to the Gavido reserve and is currently married to a man of that ethnic group and has no knowledge of her ethnic origins or culture (Gomes ibid.)

In 1980 a group of three Guajd approached a working crew of settlers who were clearing a plot of land near the headwaters of Timbira creek, an affluent of the Pindar6 river. There were earlier reports of this group in the region by local settlers in the vicinity of the middle and lower courses of the creek. Vestiges of this Pindar6 group often appeared in the form of abandoned camps and skeletons. By the early 1 980s, the Guaji of Pindar6 were completely enclosed by the expanding frontier and some of them had on one occasion, been shot at by a local farmer who ambushed them on his cornfield. The Guajd of Pindare were famished because their principal resource base, the babaqu palm clusters, were being cut down to make way for settler expansion of agricultural fields. FUNAI caught wind of this shooting incident and organized a search party to contact the GuajA. This search party was formed by two FUNAI agents, a medical doctor and anthropologist M~rcio Gomes. When contact was made with the Guajd of Pindar6, FUJNAI discovered that it formed part of a larger band consisting of 28 individuals. Some of them were suffering the effects of influenza while others were showing signs of malnutrition. The members of this search team decided quickly that it was time to transfer this band of Guajd to the Caru Indian Reserve as they were completely surrounded by an ever approaching front of settlers. The Camu Indian Reserve was only 30 kilometers to the west of the






41



contact site and it already harbored some groups of Guajd individuals in addition to a larger contingent of Tenetehara Indians. Yet the relocation was very tenuous as members of the search party had to negotiate the Guaji band through forested areas to avoid contact with local settlements. Gomes (1989: 8) reports that in spite of FUNAI indecisiveness and lack of logistical support, the transfer was managed with the help of local farmers and two Catholic priests from Brazil's Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), as well as two Guaji individuals from Post GuaA. Between June and September of that year the Pindar6 GuajA were eventually transferred to the Caru Indian Reserve, yet along the way four adults and three children died of influenza. A total of 21 GuajA individuals were successfully transferred to the Caru Indian Reserve and settled along the banks of the Presidio Creek, an affluent of the Pindare river. Near this location a second Indian Post was established as a support center for the GuajA, and was denominated as Posto Indigena AwA (Indian Post AwA) in 1983. Today this community consists of 94 individuals. Although other individuals also died as a result of contact, this sharp rise in population is both the result of a large number of births and the incorporation of other isolated GuajA groups which were eventually contacted and incorporated in the Posto Indigena AwA community. Gomes (ibid.) also reports that one of the community leaders of Posto AwA was very instrumental in attracting other GuajA through his persuasive skills and ability to incorporate people into his village.

A few years later, in an area south of the Caru Indian Reserve, four GuajA appeared in the back yard of a settler farm, located on a settlement established by a government land-issue project for colonists [Grupo Executivo de Terras do






42



Araguaia/Tocantins (GETAT)]. Although this small group of GuaJd could barely pose a formidable threat, it was the cause of great concern and consternation among settlers in that area, especially after this group killed and ate some of their pigs. In 1986, FUNAT reported that settlers residing in the hamldet of Brejo Santo Ant~nio near Kilometer 426 of the Carajds railway were frightened by these individuals as they threatened to shoot anyone who attempted to approach them. Shortly afterwards, a member of this group attacked and shot a CVRD tractor operator, who was working on a road adjacent to the Carajdis railway. Another person was shot by this group when he was rowing a canoe and yet a third person was also attacked but not harmed. Both CVRD and FUNAL were alerted to these incidents, and the local press sent out alarming notices about the presence of Indians along the Carajis corridor. A discussion ensued about the possibility of establishing an additional Indian Reserve of 2,500 hectares in this area but these deliberations did not materialize into any land gain for this group as the area under consideration would conflict with land claims previously established by existing farms and settlements. What was finally decided was that FUNAI would locate and transfer them to the Camu Indian Reserve. After a few attempts to contact the group had failed, in 1987 they were finally persuaded to approach the FUNAI search party with the assistance of other GuaJd individuals from the Post AwA community. By that time, one of these individuals had died and the remaining three people were convinced by the other GuaJd to accompany them to the Camu Indian Reserve.

The group, made up of two men and one woman, was slow to integrate itself into the community. They were the last remnants of a group which orginally consisted of nine






43



individuals, as reported by the residents of Brejo Santo Ant~nio. Although they speak the same language as the GuaJAi in the Post Awd community, they were marginalized by members of that village as they were essentially considered "outsiders". The Guaji from the Post AwA community refer to these individuals as mihua, a term which designates someone who is strange, savage and dirty. These individuals were eventually embraced by members of the Post AwA community through a form of indentured servitude. They are often enlisted to perform menial tasks by members of the principal band that settled into that community, yet in return, a member of the mihua group had a couple of young girls betrothed to him for his services. While these individuals are slowly gaining acceptance and respect in the Post Awd community they are occasionally reminded of their position as mi/was, as they are sometimes the butt of jokes, and the object of occasional outbursts of aggressive behavior.

Indentureship will often figure in the life of a stray Guaja individual who does not constitute part of the united bands brought together at FUJNAI outposts. For example, a couple of GuajA boys were encountered by local famers in 1975 and later sent to the FUNAI boarding house of Sdo Luis. These young boys were brothers and were later transferred to Indian Post Guajd. One of the boys died while the other was incorporated into a family unit of that community. He now enjoys the benefits and privileges of that community and has since married, in addition to having a young girl betrothed to him, yet it so happens that he is also the hardest worker among the members at the Post Guaj'a village. A similar type of arrangement also occurs at the Post Awi community in relation to a young boy who was found in the forest by one of the Guajd men who was hunting in






44



the vicinity of the Pindar6 creek. This lad was eventually adopted by the main band of the Post Awd community and performs many of the menial tasks and heavy labor assigned to him by members of his foster family. In these latter cases, none of the individuals were referred to as mihuas, rather, they were embraced into their adopted families and referred
7
to by their proper names.

To the south of the Camu Indian Reserve, other groups of Guajd have been sighted by local peasant groups and settlers. FUNAI had heard stories of a group of Guajd which consisted of about three to four different families and dispatched another search party to contact these people. Apparently, only two women and their children were encountered and they told the search party that their husbands had died of illnesses contracted through contact with local farmers or lumbermen of the region. FUNAI still speculates that there are other survivors of this group trekking through the region. In the Arariboia Indian Reserve, located southwest of the Camu Indian Reserve, there have been yet other reports of two Guajd groups, totalling perhaps 30 individuals. Gomes (1989: 9) believes that some potential conflict could ensue between the GuajA and the officially established group of Tenetehara Indians located on the reserve, who number approximately 4,000 people. In this case, there is much speculation as to whether contact and eventual settlement could be negotiated and conducted smoothly in such a manner that would promote a peaceful coexistence between the two ethnic groups. Otherwise, newly contacted Guajd groups would have to be transferred to another Indian Reserve.

This group formed part of a larger contingent of Guajd in times past and was the target of the revenge posse previously mentioned, which organized itself in the town of





45



Amarante and later boasted of killing many Indians. In 1968 a member of the Arariboia group shot a local peasant while he was clam-digging near their catchment area in the company of some Tenetehara Indians. In 1977, another part of the group, consisting of about 10 to 20 persons, was found in south-central Maranhao on the Gaviao Indian Reserve. As noted before, the Gavido apprehended a woman and her daughter. The rest of the group immediately took refuge in an area adjacent to the Krikati Indian Reserve and proceeded to move in a southerly direction as they anticipated being encircled by encroaching settlements in the forested areas to the north of this region.

In 1978, while this part of the Arariboia group was searching for domestic animals on a farmstead in the muncipio of Porto Franco in southwestern Maranhao state, they were spotted by a dog which alerted local gunmen (jagunfos) to their presence. The jagunfos charged after the group and a young Guajd boy of approximately ten years of age was captured and taken to the jail of Porto Franco, where local police called on FUNAI to come and identify the youth. The boy was later transferred to the FUNAT boarding house of Sao Luis and subsequently relocated to Post Guajd on the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve, where he lives till this day. He was brought up at the FUNAI Indian Post during most of his growing years and is "unofficially" this outpost's hunter and also serves as an interpreter who brokers information for both visitors and FUNAI workers in the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve. This young adult man, c6ramukJ-a", christened by FUNAI as Bemvindo Guaja,8 was referred to earlier as the person who married an Urubu-Ka'apor woman from the Urutawy village and this union has produced a pair of children, a girl, and a boy who recently died of intestinal problems.






46



FUNAI retraced the steps of the attack made on Bemvindo's group in the

municipio of Porto Franco and the number of skeletons located at the site of the ambush revealed that at least four or five individuals had been murdered by thejagunqos. No measures were taken to bring these perpetrators or their bosses to justice (Gomes, ibid.). In the meantime, the other survivors of this group are believed to have fled south, reaching the municipio of Goiatins, in the present-day state of Tocantins. Between 1980 and 1985, reports from that area indicated the presence of four or five Indians in the region of the Serra da Canastra (Canastra plateau). A few years later, in September of 1988, an unknown Indian appeared before a crew of construction workers who were road-building in the municipio of Barreiras, in the state of Bahia. This individual was initially mistaken for an Ava-Canoeiro Indian and was later taken to FUNAI headquarters in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. As FUNAI suspected that this man could be a GuajA Indian, they flew Bemvindo Guaja from Maranhao to Brasilia to identify the individual. As it happened, the man in question turned out to be Bemvindo's father, Karapiru, who was separated from him during the ambush of Porto Franco ten years earlier, in 1978.9 This was a happy reunion for both father and son, who were then flown back to Maranhao to reside at the Post Guaja community on the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve. There, they resided together for about a year and Karapiru then asked to go live among the Guaji at the Post Awd community on the Caru Indian Reserve.

Karapiru's meanderings through the Brazilian countryside saw him trek through plateaus, forests, cerrados, and at the edge of local farms and ranches where he would occasionally make a swift raid to kill livestock and then retreat to the forest. He avoided






47



contact with anyone for a long time and his return to the Guajd community was somewhat cumbersome, psychologically speaking, as he had difficulty in speaking, expressing himself, and relating to other people during the early days of his reintegration. Yet his arrival was gradually accepted among the Guajd as he gained their respect for being a good hunter and sharing his kills with other individuals of the Post AwA village, as well as taking active participation in other working tasks. Today he is married to the daughter of one of the community's leaders. From this marriage he has a son. Additionally, at the time of this study, Karapiru also had an 11I-year-old girl betrothed to him.

Another member of Karapiru 's original group wandered still further afield from the original Guaji catchment area in Maranhao. He was found in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais in 1989 and was located and apprehended by local police, after a brief but harmless struggle, in reponse to regional farmers reporting the disappearance of livestock from their compounds. Later, the young man, Yakareali, was flown to Brasilia for identification at FUNAI headquarters. Another young man from the Post Awd community, Irikalako 'a, was flown to Brasilia to identify Yakarejf and once he was confirmed to be a Guajdt individual FIJNAI had both men flown back to the community of Post Awd. Yakarej'i was adopted by the main family unit of this community and has been engaged in service for them since he arrived there. His arrival did not turn out to be as welcome as that of his relative, Karapiru, as he does not take on working chores with as much zeal as the latter. His acceptance, however, has been expressed in the form of the betrothal of a young girl to him. It is interesting to observe, as well, that members of the Post Awd community have indicated that these two individuals, Karapiru and Ya ka rec61 are not






48



full-fledged people, as the GuaJd consider themselves to be. They do enjoy, however, a more elevated status than the group referred to as mihuas.'0

With the formation of these two FUNAL Indian Posts (Guajd and Awd) a program for the support of the GuajA people was established by the Indian Service in 1985. Anthropologist Mercio Gomes was selected as the program's first coordinator and he established a list of priorities to implement a sustainable support project for the Guajd. This program was developed in response to the World Bank's plans to loan funds to the CVRD for construction of the Carajas railway. CVRD obtained a loan in the order of U.S. $3 04.5 million to build the railroad and the World Bank and European Economic Community stipulated a condition which would require that the state-owned company set aside U.S. $13.6 million in support of the indigenous communities located within the Carajds area of influence. An arbitrary measure was set which would provide support to those indigenous communities located within a radius of 100 kilometers of the railroad (Vidal 1991). These funds would be earmarked to support these communities in areas pertaining to their health, education, productive activities, yet primarily to establish Indian land areas for official demarcation.

With CVRD support, FUNAI established Programa Awd in 1985 (The Awa

Program) and Gomes set as its initial priority the demarcation of a land area for the GuajA. Since 1982, Gomes and members of CIiMI had appealed to set aside a new and separate land area for the Guajd and thus argued for the establishment of the Awd Indian Reserve which would create a territorial corridor linking up the Alto Turiaqu and Caru Reserves (see Figure 1. 1). This initial proposal would have provided a sizeable area of land for the






49



Guajd covering approximately 276,000 hectares. There was some dispute, however, in negotiating this initial land proposal as part of the intended area conflicted with a claim made by the erstwhile Brazilian Forestry Service (IBDF). IBDF claimed that if this strip of land were granted to FUNAI, it would compromise their own plans to establish the Gurupi Biological Reserve, located in western Maranhdo. The latter area had already been established as a Forest Reserve in 1961 and was in the process of being instituted as a biological reserve. The Awd Program intended to demarcate the Awd Indian Reserve by 1986 but internal political problems in FUNAL impeded this process. FUNAI eventually conceded, and yielded the disputed land area to IBDF, subsequently renewing its request for a new Guajd Reserve in 1988, this time reducing its proposal to an area of 147,000 hectares. Later, that same year, the proposed land area was reduced to approximately 65,700 hectares, and then renegotiated to 118,000 hectares by 1992. However, the powerful economic interests of MaranhAo state, with support from local politicians, have continuously stalmated any effort to establish this reserve. These regional players have employed various means to impede demarcation, such as setting up legal battles to dispute the land claim, pitting regional colonists against the Indians, as well as intimidation (Folha de Sdo Paulo 1995a, 1995b).

FIJNAI's Awd Program deemed it necessary to establish this land corridor for a number of reasons, the principal of which was to create an area ample enough for the Guajd to conduct their livelihoods in a manner that would not compromise their culture or security. This linkup would create one large tract of land for the Indians and reduce the number of land invasions which is presently facilitated by maintaining the Alto Turiaqu and






50



Camu Indian Reserves separated. Thus, a large, continuous reserve would present a more formidable obstacle to encroachment upon these areas. Another major reason that Gomes insisted in establishing the Awd Indian Reserve is that it would form a continguous area with the Gurupi Biological Reserve, thereby adding increased protection for the watershed areas of three major river systems pertaining to the Alto Turiaqu and Camu Indian reserves, namely, the Turia~u, Camu and Gurupi rivers. As the GuaJA are currently residing on Indian Reserves which were originally demarcated to serve other indigenous groups, this proposed land area would also provide them with a territory of their own, diminishing any possible conflict which could potentially arise by sharing these estates with others.'12

Another priority which Gomes insisted upon was that the Awi Program host a

permanent health crew, staffed with competent professionals and adequately equipped to assist the Guaja coming into contact. As previous contact had proven to be very deleterious for the GuaJA, the Awd Program intended to implement a project policy that would be sensitive to the Guajd's ethnomedicine in terms of administering treatment and offering advice. The administration of medical treatment among indigenous groups is a delicate issue and cannot be reduced to a matter of offering counsel, administration of western medicines, or dealing with epidemic ailments (Moore 1978). In order to adequately address these issues, one would have to necessarily become versed in indigenous concepts of health, illness, curing, disease and death not to mention their language. Unfortunately for the AwA Program, the FUNAI central administration did not lend adequate support to Gomes' health project and largely ignored his request. Moreover, Gomes' appeal that the GuaJA be left to forage on their land, free of any






51



interference in the way of directing them towards settlement or adopting new modes of production conflicted with an internal FUNAI mandate to integrate indigenous peoples to mainstream society. These internal obstacles, coupled with other problems which occured in the implementation of the Awd Program eventually frustrated any attempt which Gomes had hoped to fulfill to successfully establish a sound project for the GuaJd. Gomes left the AwA Program in 1987 and in its place FUNAI implemented a new program under the title of the Awd-Guajd Protection Service [Servigo de Protegao Awd-Guaji (SPAG)].

Another major problem which Gomes and other anthropologists encountered in enlisting their services for FUNAI, to administer programs for the indigenous groups impacted by the CarajAs program, was the Indian Service's mismanagement and misapplication of funds provided by CVRD through the loan it had obtained from the World Bank. Most observers agreed that spending priorities were indigenous health and the demarcation of land areas, yet many claimed that FIJNAI had actually used a substantial amount of these funds to bolster its own infrastructure by constructing buildings, and purchasing expensive equipment for its own use (Flowers 1992: personal communication). This situation created much dissatisfaction between FUJNAI and professional consultants, and some anthropologists were prohibited from re-entering indigenous areas or were kept at bay for a prolonged period of time. CVRD also became reluctant to freely disburse funds at FUTNI' s request and this situation created mutual antagonisms, such that both sides levelled accusations at one another. For FUNAI' s part, it claimed that CVRD was responsible for undermining the indigenous projects as it was not releasing its funds nor fulfilling its responsibilities according to the World Bank





52



contract. CVRD countered by stating that FUNAI had been remiss with its own obligations and that it had diverted funds for its own ends. Amid these charges, CVRD still realized that its obligations had to be met with the World Bank and it continued to provide support for the indigenous part of the Carajas Program. It figured that if any inappropriate handling of funds or shirking of contractual obligations actually occured, FUNAI would have to answer for itself as, for its part, CVRD deemed that it had done its share by providing support and money according schedule and contract.

Since Gomes' departure from the Awd Program and FUNAI's subsequent creation of the AwA-GuajA Protection Service (SPAG), a new program was implemented by the Indian Service to attract other groups of GuajA, settle them onto the Indian Reserves, and introduce them to agriculture, in addition to providing ongoing medical support--all in keeping with FUNAI's mandate to integrate indigenous peoples. SPAG was staffed with FUNAI career workers as well as functionaries which were sub-contracted by CVRD. 13 This SPAG Protection Service is administered from its headquarters in Santa In~s, Maranhdo, which is located at the intersections of BR-316, BR-222, and the Carajds railroad (see Figure 1.2). SPAG's Santa In~s headquarters is termed Santa In~s Support Center [NiMcleo de Apoio Santa In~s (NASI)], which is charged with administering and providing support to the four Indian Posts pertaining to the Protection Service, i.e., Post Guaja, Post Awa, Post Juriti and Post Tiracambu. This service is performed by providing transportation to and from Indian Posts, both for FUNAI workers and Indians; by dispatching provisions, medicines and equipment to the outposts; making daily communications with each of these units to send and receive information via CB radios, as





53



well as obtaining a brief log of each Post's activities; serving as a liaison between outpost members and FUNAI regional administrators; housing convalescing Indians and FUNAI workers; managing FUNAI workers' accounts and personal matters; and storing FUNAI equipment such as outboard motors, guns, munitions, oil drums, etc. NASI also provides information to outsiders about indigenous matters pertaining to the Guaji in the way of documents and interviews and occasionally puts up visiting members of research teams and human rights' organizations.

SPAG was initiated with both FUNAI and CVRD funds and formed part of the Indian Service's Program for Isolated Indians (Programa de Indios Isolados). This program is primarily tasked to protect groups of isolated and uncontacted Indians and, when FUNAI deems it necessary, to attract these individuals and settle them on preestablished reserves or other areas that may eventually become demarcated for them. Gallois (1993: 121) estimates that there are approximately 50 indigenous groups which fall under this category of "isolated Indian," distributed throughout the Brazilian Amazon. The notion of "isolated" is somewhat vague but generally refers to groups of Indians that are remote and eschew contact with neo-Brazilians. 14

The last GuajA community which was contacted and subsequently settled by

FUNAI was established as Indian Post Juriti in 1989, near the northern limits of the Caru Indian Reserve, close to the banks of the Caru River. Sporadic sightings and encounters between members of this community and local settlers began in the early to mid 1980s, in the vicinity of Igarap ,4gua Preta (Black Water Creek), an affluent of the Caru river, located near the headwaters of this watercourse. Some people of this community are






54



related to one of the main families of Post AwA and some of the Guajd from this latter village assisted FUNAI in attracting, contacting and settling members of the present-day Post Juriti village. FUNAI reports that members of this community initiated contact with the Indian Service in July of 1989, although efforts were already under way to contact this group by the mid 1980s. At the time of this study, 20 Guajd resided in the vicinity of Post Juriti. Sixteen of these individuals were contacted in the vicinity of Igarap6 Agua Preta. There was also a family of three individuals which was contacted south of the Camu Indian Reserve and eventually settled near Post Juriti. The last individual which resided near Post Juriti at the time of this research was Gei, who lived with his neo-Brazilian wife and child on a small, settler-type compound, with a house and farm plot, about two kilometers from the Indian Post. By the time I had arrived at Post Juriti, in 1993, FUNAI had contacted approximately 25 GuajA from this general area. Although no accurate records were kept, it is estimated that about 6 of these people died during the contact experience.

When FUNAI succeeded Brazil's former Indian Protection Service, SPI, in 1967, it had essentially adopted the previous integrationsist policy of incorporating indigenous groups in Brazilian society. Part and parcel of the former service's integration policy was the anticipation of a moving Brazilian frontier and a paternalistic vision of "protecting" Indians. Later, the Indian Service adopted a misguided approach to Ribeiro's interpretation of Indian groups' integration, whereby indigenous societies were typologized according to the varying degrees of their isolation/contact with Brazilian national society (1970: 446). Many anthropologists were to find problems with this view as well as with FUNAI's policy of integrating Indians into Brazilian mainstream society






55



(Campbell 1995: 218-219). While the SPI had adopted a policy of quick contact and integration, such that it would intervene in the lives of newly contacted groups to speedily involve them in productive activities, FUNAI's policy in relation to isolated groups entails a prolonged plan to "protect," attract, settle, and ultimately integrate these peoples in Brazilian society. There are various approaches to this form of integration, among which are the location and observation of isolated groups, patrolling and interdicting the catchment area of these people, establishing observation posts, and in the event that FUNAI anticipates an inter-ethnic encounter unavoidable, feasible and necessary, it proceeds with contacting these individuals.

The criteria for attracting and settling these groups are fairly straightforward,

namely, to contact such groups when FUNAI assesses the isolated indigenes' security to be compromised. The process of contact can be very brief but can also entail a long and drawn-out series of frustrated attempts, or open hostilities which the Indians can level at FUNAI workers, until they feel comfortable enough to approach the contact team or be approached. In some instances, members of contact teams are shot at by the Indians and become fatally wounded in the process.

The situations which FUNAI determines as perilous to isolated indigenous communities are generally related to the encroachments engendered by large-scale development projects of the Amazon region. Contact with any of these groups has to be authorized by FUNAI's headquarters in Brasilia, which usually dispatches a search party provisioned with supplies and equipment to locate and attract the indigenes in question. Contact crews are often made up of regional FUNAI workers, sometimes accompanied by






56



one of the administrators from central headquarters in Brasilia. In the event that contact is being attempted with a group that already has some members previously contacted, FUNAI may enlist some of these individuals to assist the search as interpreters.15

These contact missions are sporadic as attraction and contact proceed slowly, with FUNAI initiating the interaction by offering presents to the Indians. This approach to contact has been employed since colonial times (Gallois 1992) and the gift offerings are usually not offered directly to recipients. Gifts will consist of wares, such as machetes, knives, pots, pans, mirrors, and sometimes food, which in most cases is manioc flour. The search team will normally track down the whereabouts of isolated groups and place these items in clear view, in a location where they anticipate the Indians will eventually visit. Very often, a former campsite is selected as one of these gift-display sites, or an area where the FUNAI team is confident that the Indians will transit through, en route to another destination, such as a hunting trail or river bank.

The SPAG program is subordinated to FUNAI's regional district headquarters of Beldm, Pari. It is through this regional administrative unit [Administragdo Regional (ADR)] where FUNAI services the indigenous communities of Pard and Amapi states. Although the Guaja reside in Maranh~o state, FUNAI support for this group is administered through its Belem headquarters as this is where the regional coordinating unit for isolated Indians is located. There are presently two indigenous groups which fall under the category of "isolated Indians" that are administered through the Bel6m office: the Guajd, as previously noted, and the Zo'e Indians of Para state, another indigenous group pertaining to the Tupi-Guarani stock, located on the Cuminapanema Indian






57



Reserve. Maranhdo state's FUTNAI headquarters does not presently accomodate an administrative unit for that state's groups of isolated Indians, which we believe to consist only of the GuaJd. While the contacted GuaJA currently reside on Indian Reserves that primarily pertain to other indigenous groups (see note 12), Alto Turiaqu and Camu, which are administered through Maranh~o's FLNAI headquarters, some interchange and cooperation exists between both regional districts. Members of each district's administrative staffs will provide information and logistical support for one another and will work in collaborative effort on the occasion of expelling land invaders and in providing medical assistance and other support to the indigenous peoples of those reserves.

The Guajd located at the three Indian Posts pertaining to the SPAG program have been removed from the special category of isolated Indian, as of this writing. Recent budget cuts in FUNAI and reduced support from the CVRD were the primary motives for FUNAI discontinuing this service among the Guajd. With this move, FUINAI has lifted the status under which the Guajd were treated during the last 24 years, as "wards" of the state, and in effect has placed them in a category which envisages them as more or less autonomous, or Indians "in contact". Yet in spite of the major gains made in the new Brazilian consitution of 1988, most Brazilian Indians are still considered wards of the state as FUNAI still largely controls indigenous affairs and mediates most of the interaction that Indian communities have with the outside world. Even though Indians of Brazil technically have the fight to seek representation elsewhere than FUTNAI, the Indian service will not be so quick to relinquish its own political power to implement this policy. Many






58



indigenous groups are largely unaware of this right which has been extended to them through the constitution. FUNAI still controls who can gain access to indigenous areas even though the more autonomous groups should technically have the last word on admitting outsiders to their communities. In the case of isolated Indian groups, however, it is FUNAI which ultimately decides who may be admitted to Indian Reserves.

This shift in status implies that the SPAG no longer receives a special budget, nor equipment, under which it operated to provide support for the Guaj. 16 The GuajA, however, remain under the jurisdiction of FUNAI's Bel6m office, yet they will not be supported as such for very long as they now pertain to the most common category of Indian under the Indian Service's administration. Support for the Guajd will eventually be transferred to FUNAI's Maranhdo headquarters, in Sdo Luis, as it would be more convenient for FUNAI to manage the GuaJA from that state's headquarters. In all, this process of attracting the GuaJd, settling them, introducing them to new subsistence strategies to make them more "autonomous," and ultimately releasing them to fend for themselves comprises, in effect, what Gallois (1992) described as a form of "seduction and abandonment". While FUNAI budget constraints and withered support from CVRD were the primary causes of this withdrawl of special status and support, the Guaji case demonstrates the Indian Service's general approach to attraction, support, and subsequent abandonment. This form of integration now places the GuaJd in a situation where they are presumed to have an "autonomy" of their own, capable of making their own decisions, after having been engaged in set of dependency relations with FUNAL for the past 24 years, a relationship which continues enforce. In this regard, the degree of autonomy






59



now conferred upon the GuaJd does not quite extend to them the rights and privileges which one would expect to enjoy as a full-fledged citizen of Brazil. By and large, then, the lifting of the status of isolated Indian means that the Guaja will no longer enjoy the "protection" of the state's Indian service. Thus, the GuaJi steadily experienced what had transpired with other Indian groups during the years of Brazil's former Indian Protection Service (SPI), such that "after several years of receiving gifts, the now indios mansos ('peaceful Indians') or even indios aculturados ('acculturated Indians') would be told that to receive, they must pay in labor, native crafts, game meat, agricultural produce, or anything else that had a price value" (Balke 1994: 42).

At the time of this study, the three GuaJd semi-nucleated communities established by FUNAI had a total population of 157 individuals. The demographic profile for each of these communities is presented in Figures 2.1-2.4. Post Guaja (Village 1), currently has a population of 44 people, broken down into 25 males and 19 females. This number is increased to 45 if we include the Ka'apor woman (Wird) who is married to Bemvindo Guajd (ciramukd-C-1). During this research there was a ratio of approximately three men to one woman of reproductive age. At Post Awi (Village 2), the total population was 94 people, split between 52 males and 42 females. The sex ratio was almost even at this community between adult males and females, and the bottom of its demograhic pyramid exhibits a wide base. As for Post Juriti (Village 3), its total population is represented by 20 people, with 14 males and 6 females. Post Juriti's demographic profile has some distinct gaps and its population is similar to Post GuaJi in that there are approximately three adult men to one woman of reproductive age.







60













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64



Field Setting

All of the contacted GuajA presently reside in the vicinity of three Indian Posts

established by FUNAI, on the Alto Turiaqu and Camu Indian reserves. I began my studies among the Guajd in 1990 at Indian Post GuajA which is located on the Alto Turiaqu Indian reserve. Preliminary field research was conducted at this site between the months of August and October of that year and I later returned to this community in 1992 to begin my doctoral dissertation research in earnest, after obtaining financial support. As this particular community represents the Guaji which have been in contact for the longest period of time (i.e. at this writing, 24 years), I chose to begin my studies with this group as among them there are a number of individuals who are bilingual in Portuguese and Guajd. I decided that this step would ease my introduction to the field as I would be able to rely on these bilingual speakers to develop my language skills and take my studies further among the Guajd. In this manner, I was able to obtain a preliminary vocabulary among the Guajd in addition to familiarizing myself better with their customs.

Although I am Brazilian-American and speak fluent Portuguese, having spent a good deal of my childhood and adolescence in Brazil, there were some nuances to the local customs and speaking styles to which I had to adapt. Most of my Brazilian upbringing was in southeastern Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, and later I worked at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C., for seven years, where most of my fellow coworkers were cosmopolitan individuals from southern Brazil. The speaking styles and customs of southern Brazil differ greatly from those of neo-Brazilians of the region I was working in among the Guajd. That is to say that the Guaji were primarily contacted by






65



rural residents of Maranhao state, an area which embraces both elements of the Amazon and northeastern regions of Brazil. In fact, most of the Indian agents working at the FUNAI Indian Posts in the SPAG program are residents of the state of Maranhao, and the Guajd introduction to Brazilian society was primarily mediated through these individuals. I had some prior experience in this area, however, in that I had conducted my Masters degree fieldwork in the state of Maranhao, in 1986-87, in a coastal fishing village, Arpoador, in the municipio (county) of Tut6ia. Research in that community helped familiarize me with the regional dialect, accent, speaking styles, slang, and forms of address. Yet there was still much to learn as most of the Guajd bilinguals speak a pidgin type of Portuguese which embraces some elements of their own language in combination with the regional dialect of Portuguese.'17 The Guafii, for example, commonly use the Portuguese pronoun ele (he) when referring to a third person, regardless of gender, as their language does not have a corresponding set of pronouns to distinguish between male and female (ele/ela i.e., he/she).

Integration into that community was somewhat slow and drawn out, not so much for the difficulties I had in adapting myself to the early days of fieldwork, inasmuch as I encountered in Post Guajd a general state of malaise and a sour relationship which it had engendered with FUNAI over the years. My introduction to that community was brokered through the FUNAI Indian agents, and my first encounter with the GuajA was actually very smooth and pleasant as the Indian agent in charge of Post Guaji in 1990 was attentive and conducted himself in a courteous and professional manner. His presence in the area was brief and he informed me that he was attempting to implement an approach






66



to working with the Guajd that would wean them from the dependency and servitude which previous FUNAI administrators had engaged this community. He was quite deferential to me, yet in no way did this compromise proceeding with his own work or discussing matters with me in an open and straightforward manner.'8

During the early days of fieldwork it was not readily apparent that, indeed, this

community had suffered many of the ill-effects of contact, and that in the aftermath of this impact, it was steadily subordinated into a set of paternalistic relations with FUNAL I was beginning to accept the fact that some individuals were reticent and reluctant to talk much about matters that interested me when I prompted them. This manner of speaking was something I thought was merely of matter of growing accustomed to since I was under the impression that such communication comprised their customary speaking habits. And while there was a general curiosity about my presence I sensed that the mood of this community was less than upbeat. Some individuals would shyly approach me and inquire in an almost indifferent manner about some of the gadgets I brought such as watches, compasses and other items. Occasionally they would also engage me in conversation to find out more about my background and what my home and family were like. And on one particular occasion, a young man approached me and commented that he was told by a FUNAI worker that I was wealthy and had a lot of money. I was rather taken aback and amused by the remark but then asked him who had fabricated this story. He indicated the person to me and later I approached that FUNAI individual to confirm whether it was, indeed, true that he had claimed I was rich. The man feigned incredulity and quipped, "Sir, are you going believe Indian talk?!" (0 senior vai acreditar em converse de indio?!)






67



1 responded by telling the Indian agent that it was not important, yet that I would appreciate if they would refrain from making any future comments about me to the Indians. Later, the outpost boss interceded and reiterated my request.

M~rcio Gomes (1994: personal communication) had also pointed out to me the difficulty in relating to individuals of the Post Guajd community when he worked among them in the late 1 970s and early 1 980s. He said he found them very reserved and that they would talk among themselves in rather subdued tones. It was a striking contrast to working with the individuals of the Post AwA community who were much more expressive and playful. I went through a similar experience and found that working among the Guajd at Post Awd was almost therapeutic. The tone was, indeed, very uplifting and members of the Post Awd village took a fiendly interest in involving me in their activities. In fact, while many members of the Post GuajA community were somewhat indifferent to communicating with me, I found that most people of Post AwA actually made a point of teaching me their language and correcting me when I made mistakes. By the time I had concluded my fieldwork among all three communities (Posts Guajd, AwA and Juriti), I acquired a rudimentary knowledge of their language such that I could converse with the Guajd, albeit in a slow, awkward and deliberate manner. That I eventually became conversant with them, such that I could conduct interviews, I have the Post Awd community to thank.

As for Post Juriti, the field situation had its own signature as well. By the time I arrived there, my language skills had improved to where I could directly interact with the individuals of that community without much inter-mediation from FUNAL. That my






68



language skills had improved by that juncture in my fieldwork, would prove both problematic and beneficial in terms of relating to FUNAI. While FUNAI would attempt to carry out its chores among the Indians, Indian agents would often request that I intermediate as an interpreter, especially when ambulatory health crews would visit the Indian reserves to perform blood tests and adminster vaccines. On the other hand, FUNAL workers would sometimes feel slighted or suspicious if I conversed with the Guajd in their language.

Prior to my fieldwork among the GuajA at Post Juriti, I had met a number of individuals from this community, at Post Awd, on the occasion of a FUNAL attempt to promote an interchange between these two communities. It was FUNAI's hope, on that occasion, that people from each of these villages would perhaps find potential marriage partners. The exchange between both of these communities entailed a 13 day trip which a FUNAI team conducted from Post Juriti to Post Awd, bringing with them 19 individuals from the Juriti village. At that time I was working among the GuaJd at Post AwA and took to observing the interaction between these communities. Later, when I began my work at Post Juriti, my introduction to that community was facilitated by having made this prior contact with these individuals and breaking into the field situation was, indeed, made easier by these acquaintances.

The performance of research tasks among the Guajd required much patience and discipline, both in terms of relating to the Indians and FUNAI workers, not to mention the long hours involved in conducting fieldwork. My usual working day entailed waking up at around 5:30 AM and would take me through all daylight hours, up until approximately





69



8:00 PM. As I figured that my time in the field would be brief, there were not too many opportunities for leisurely activities, even though such moments are also part of the nature of fieldwork, for it is often necessary to approach informants in an informal manner without forcing particular issues (Good 1991). Before formalizing an inquiry that will eventually require structured interviews, measurements, etc., it behooves a fieldworker to establish a minimal of rapport with his/her informants to make these tasks acceptable to those being studied. There were times, for example, where I found my time allocation studies drudgery, both for me and my informants. I felt that I was taxing my informants' humor more than necessary, and it was fortunate that I randomized the families in question for this research task. Similarly, when I weighed game animals, or performed dietary observations, this task became rather unpleasant as it presented an imposition in the normal flow of activities for the GuajA. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find, that on some occasions, some people would remind me that I had forgotten to weigh a piece of food or would drop by my sleeping quarters at night to show me a game animal that they had killed during the evening. During my "off-days" I would make informal visits to people's households and strike up conversations with them or accompany hunters and, sometimes, their families on foraging tours. Even these latter activities were quite brisk in nature as the Guajd walk through the forest at a robust pace. Thus, I was quite active throughout most of my stay in the field, such that my normal weight, which is around 69 kilograms (-151 lbs.), fell to 61 kilograms (-134 lbs.) during one particular stretch of fieldwork.






70



Many of these tasks, too, would vary according to the nature and/or disposition of particular individuals. Some people would be more than willing to comply with one research task or another while others preferred to not even be approached. These individuals would sometimes require coaxing by other community members to cooperate, yet if they remained unwilling, I would not insist and gracefully withdraw. In one particular instance, for example, I asked a young woman to repeat a phrase she had previously mentioned to me, and she retorted, "I'm not going to teach you N& you!" (A-1ehe noanf eminu-hd!). There are times, for sure, where one's presence is imposing and, unwittingly, questions may turn out to be of a badgering nature, such that people will, indeed, lose their patience, especially when the fieldworker is in his/her early days and eager to learn. Yet, despite these occasional impasses I found that there was a general acceptance to my presence and I would often be engaged in their humor. I was often asked to sing songs, draw pictures of animals, perform magic tricks, and tell stories. And some of these requests would come after I had put in a full day's work, ready to retire for the evening, on the occasion of a family stopping over at my sleeping quarters to visit.

While conducting fieldwork in the Post Guajd community, I spent the early days of my research at the FUNAI Indian Post. After becoming more familiar with the community, I was invited to reside in the village by one of my informants. While there, I alternated residence between two village households, which provided me with a better opportunity to witness community life in its entirety. The advantage of direct involvement in village life does, for certain, offer a glimpse of the dynamics of the community, but at






71



the same time, one's privacy is seriously compromised. I quickly learned that I would have to relinquish my sense of proxemics, property, sense of timing in relating to others, among other nuances of my field situation. At night, for example, the Guaji would often sing and invariably they would ask me to lend them my tape recorder or at least record their singing sessions. I would oblige them but when I was ready to retire, the sessions would be closed. Then there were situations where individuals would lay along side me in my hammock to strike up a conversation with me. On the occasion of my making annotations in my working log, I would paddle one of the village canoes back to the FUNAI Indian Post, about 300 meters down the Turiaqu river, to settle into an ambience more conducive to reading and writing.

Research at the Post Awd community was facilitated in that FUNAI had

constructed a small infirmary and dispensary about 150 meters from the Guaji village. The outpost itself is situated about one kilometer from the village. I was put up at the infirmary facility, as are other researchers who visit this community on the occasion of their conducting research at Post Awd. This situation offered more space and privacy, such that I could organize field notes and make annotations without much interference. I had also set up my own stove and gas cannister at this facility which afforded me more independence in terms of setting my own working schedule. In some instances, my residence at the infirmary also turned out to be beneficial for FUNAI as the Indian agents would often ask me to administer medicines to the Guaji since I was situated closer to the village. I would also spend some evenings in the village on ceremonial evenings to witness these events and to obtain a view of Post Awd's night life. Yet during the evenings I






72



would spend alone at the infirmary, visitors would frequently come by at night to chat with me. This facility also has an electrical hookup as Post Awa is situated near the Carajds railway, where power transmission lines are run from Sao Luis to the Carajas mining range, such that many communities along this corridor are provided with electricity. This situation would enable me to work with my notebook computer from a direct power source, whereas in the other Indian Posts (Guajd and Juriti) I took a car battery and a voltage invertor along with me to perform these operations. Fortunately, FUNAI was equipped with portable solar panels to recharge batteries, which it also makes use of to operate CB radios. All three outposts are also equipped with diesel generators to provide power for operating well pumps, lathes, manioc graters, and electric light for the outposts. FUNAI usually economizes on the use of the diesel generators and only operates them for a few hours during the early evening, or on the occasion of filling their water tanks, grating manioc, fashioning gun handles, etc. All of the outposts were also equipped with refrigerators operated with natural gas cannisters, and each outpost's kitchen was also outfitted with natural gas stoves.

FUNAI workers would usually stay abreast of daily news in Brazil through battery operated radios, tuned into shorwave band stations, as transimission signals from the nearest cities, such as Belem and Sdo Luis were too weak to be picked up on FM or AM bandwaves. As such, the station which FUNAI workers mostly were tuned to was Radio Nacional da Amaz6nia, a station which plays sertaneja and brega type music, gives brief news caps, and provides special information services for people working in the remote areas of Amazrnia. It is interesting that this service occasionally makes people privy to






73



available gold mines of the region, which can frequently spark a rush to a given land area. I took a small inexpensive radio of my own to the field and was pleasantly surprised to pick up on BBC and Voice ofAmerica shortwave services to keep up with events in the international scene. Thus, while fieldwork in general was a rough and rustic endeavor, there were occasional creature comforts which reminded one of an encroaching frontier and a world beyond forests and rivers. And, of course, with Post Awd's electrical hookup, FUNAI workers at this facility purchased a television to watch news and soap operas novelsas. The GuaJi of this community would often visit the outpost to watch television and were exposed to a variety of transmissions.

At Post Juriti, FUNAI offered me a rice shack to reside in during my research tour in this area. This particular facility was situated behind the outpost compound, about 300 meters from the GuaJA settlement. Perhaps because the members of Post Juriti had been recently contacted by the time I began my fieldwork, interaction with this group varied from a very friendly form of communication to an occasional misunderstanding or miscue in relating to individuals of that community. Add to this the fact that fieldwork among Indians situated adjacent to FUNAI outposts requires a delicate balance of negotiating one's research without interfering with the Indian Service's work or policy. The regional administrator for Isolated Indians had attempted to implement a program that would keep gift-giving to a minimum but this mandate was generally not carried out by outpost bosses who embraced another set of criteria to elaborate their own relationship with the Indians. As will be discussed in the succeeding chapters, this presented me with a situation which I






74



had to go to great lengths to ignore, while honoring FUNAI protocol and simultaneously managing an amicable relationship with the GuaJ~a.

To arrive at either of the Indian Posts which FUNAI administers for the GuaJA, one usually checks in with the NASI of Santa Ines, MaranhAo, before proceeding to the field. I would usually plan my trips in advance and contact the NASI staff to make prior travel arrangements to the field. Field trips were usually arranged according to FUJNAI schedules, such that I would travel to my study sites when FUNAT workers planned to visit their Indian Posts to supply provisions, medicines, transport personnel to and from the field, etc. All of my travels to the field originated from Bel~m, Para state, where I was put up by relatives to rest during field breaks and resupply myself for future fieldwork. I would travel from Bel~m to Santa In~s on interstate buses and the trips between these two cities usually lasted about eight hours, covering a distance of about 548 kilometers along BR-3 16.

Santa Inis is located on the crossroads of BR-3 16 and BR-222, and as such hosts a major stop for the Carajas railroad, whence travellers can proceed to and from their destinations along one of these highways (see Figure 1.2). This small city currently has a population of 64,655 and serves as a regional headquarters for the CVRD, which provides support and assistance for both FUNAI and the local citizens of Santa In~s and other regional towns. 19 Santa Wns is also home to a number of saw mills for local lumber companies which haul wood in from local municipios (counties). This city recently went through a sparked growth spurt with the influx of migration drives and the construction of






75



CVRD's Carajds railway which saw Santa Ines expand with new jobs, buildings, and firstclass hotels, growing from a population of 14,902 in 1970 to 45,766 by 1986.

I would usually plan trips to Santa In~s a day or two in advance of FUNAI's

scheduled visits to their Indian Posts. This arrangement would provide me with time to make alternate plans for unforseen circumstances, purchase last minute field supplies and provisions, and to discuss indigenous matters with FUNAI personnel. While I was in transit in Santa In~s, en route to the indigenous communities, I would put myself up in the modest accomodations provided by that town.

To arrive at Post Guaja one usually travels by motor vehicle from the NASI in Santa In~s. The SPAG program currently has two Toyota diesel-operated vehicles, a pickup truck and a land-rover, which were acquired from CVRD through the World Bank contract. After packing and loading equipment and supplies onto one of these vehicles, the trip to Post GuajA proceeds from Santa In~s and passes through the towns of Bom Jardim, Chapeu de Couro and Z6 Doca, along route BR-316, in a northerly direction. This portion of the trip covers about 58 kilometers, and from Ze Doca the vehicle turns left, onto a dirt road, in a westerly direction towards the Alto Turiaqu Indian Reserve. The trip then covers another 30 kilometers, passing through the hamlets of Beb and Igarape Grande, and proceeds onwards until it arrives at the Alto Turiaqu reserve. At the hamlet of Beb6 the road separates, and if one travels along the left side of the fork they will drive past the Goiano Ranch, a large land-holding located just southwest of the Indian Reserve. This road eventually leads to Paragominas in Para state, a town which grew from a colonist settlement project into a major lumber exporter and cattle-ranching






76



community. The road also cuts through the proposed land area for the GuajA (Awi Indian Reserve), with the Alto Turiaqu Reserve located to its north and the Camu Reserve situated to its south (see Figure 1. 1). In fact, the construction of a railroad is under consideration which would roughly follow the course of this road to connect Paragominas with the CarajAs railway (see Oren 1988; Muller-Planteniberg 1993). These conflicting interests, then, help explain why there has been much difficulty in establishing the proposed Awd Indian Reserve, as its creation clashes squarely with the larger economic interests of the region.

On the ight hand side of the fork, the stretch of road leading from the hamlet of Beb6 to the Alto Turiaqu Reserve takes one past a large expanse of gently rolling hills, interspersed with occasional coolies and ravines, an area which has been largely deforested and converted to cattle pasture. It is interesting, too, that one barely sees any cattle along the way and many of these areas are quickly being succeeded by large clusters of babaqu juvenile palms. The road along this portion of the trip deteriorates into a bad condition and contains a number of washed-out sections with small gorges, and precarious makeshift bridges which the FUNAI vehicle delicately negotiates to traverse small streams. In the middle to late dry season large columns of smoke curtain the horizon in many directions, where land clearings and slash burns make way for horticultural plots and additional pastures. As the trip nears the Indian Reserve, succeeding tufts of secondary vegetation will begin to appear and as the vehicle approaches closer to the edge of the reserve this vegetation stands taller and begins to intermix with primary forest, almost resembling a forested wall which separates the Indian territory from the surrounding pastureland.






77



Once the FUNMI vehicle enters the Alto Turiaqu Reserve, it usually makes a brief stopover at the Ka'apor village of Urutawy, located adjacent to Indian Post Z6 Gurupi, about two kilometers inside the Indian land area. During this brief rest stop one can freshen up with a bath at a nearby lagoon and chat with the local FUJNAI personnel and Ka'apor Indians about recent news in the area. The Ka'apor are usually very curious about visitors, in addition to being quite hospitable, and gather around to look on and converse with people passing through their village. If visitors arrive rather late in the day at Post Z6 Gurupi, then they usually stay overnight at this location and part early the next day towards Post Guajd. The FUJNAI personnel conducting the trip often ask the Indian Service staff at Post Gurupi to contact Post Guajd via CB radio to advise them of their anticipated arrival.

As one leaves the Urutawy village to embark on the last leg of the trip to Post Guaja, the road improves and goes past many Ka'apor horticultural plots and tracts of secondary forests. It is easy to encounter some Ka'apor during this brief part of the trip, on their way to hunt, fish or tend to their plots. Some of them may even ask for a ride and the travelling FUNAT crew will usually oblige. The road then begins to cut through primary forest, enclosed by a canopy which makes this section of the trip rather cool and pleasant. The canopy also helps prevent rain from eroding this section of the road which is largely intact and smoother to travel upon.

Along the way, there are a series of small bridges which were constructed by

FUNAI to cross a number of small streams. Occasionally, at these junctures, there may some fallen trees which obstruct further travel, often the result of a brief but brisk






78



rainstorm which swept through the area. If the FUNAI travelling crew comes wellequipped with axes, machetes and chainsaws, then it alights from the vehicle, cuts and chops the tree into sections and removes them to the edge of the road. Otherwise, it will have to return to Post Z6 Gurupi and ask for assistance from the Indian Service staff there and Ka'apor Indians to provide equipment and manpower. If it is late in the day, then the FUNAI crew will usually put itself up for the evening at Post Gurupi and clear the road the next morning to conclude their trip to Post Guajd. This last part of the trip covers approximately 19 kilometers.

Arrival at Post Guaji, 45058'W, 306'S, is usually met with a number of Guaj" in

addition to the FUNM staff which works there. The sound of the approaching vehicle can be heard from a long distance and usually alerts both the GuajA and Indian Service personnel to its approach. All told, a direct trip from Santa In6s to Post Guajd usually takes about 4-5 hours under the prime conditions of the dry season, barring any unforseen obstacles or delays. During the rainy season, the FUNA vehicle can only go as far as the hamlet of Beb6 as further travel is impeded by wet road conditions. In this situation, FUNAI would take me to Beb6 and advise Post GuajA to send a mule pack to pick me at this hamlet to continue my trip. From there we would usually proceed to Post Z6 Gurupi for an overnight stay, and carry on with our journey the next morning. In this case, the trip would usually take about two days, adding the time from Bel6m to Santa In~s. When the dry season firmly establishes itself, FUNAI will dispatch a work crew to clear the stretch of road from Post Ze Gurupi to Post Guajd. This task usually lasts about two weeks and the FUNAI crew initially camps out near the vicinity of Post Gurupi and begins the job of






79



clearing underbrush and weeds which grew during the wet season. The crew progressively clears its way until it reaches Post Guaji and sets up three to four encampments along the way. This task also enlists the services of some GuajA individuals who assist in clearing the road and hunting for the FU.NAI work crew.

It is much easier to arrive at Post AwA, located on the Camu Indian reserve as this location is only a few kilometers walking distance from the Carajis railway. In addition to transporting precious metals and minerals along the Caraj~s railroad, the CVRD also provides passenger train service on a regular basis at a modest price. Outbound trains from S~o Luis in MaranhAo state to the Carajds mining area of Pard travel on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Returning passenger trains leave the Carajis mining range on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This train service, plus the freight trains which travel daily to and from the Caraj'as area, create a great deal of noise and vibration which can be heard and felt from long distances. I recall, for example, hearing the sounds of passing trains from an area which was almost a day's trip on foot, opposite the direction of the railroad, on the occasion of a hunting trip which I conducted with the Guaji. The bustling sound of the Caraj~s trains frighten away many of the available game animals and as my data will later indicate, the Camu reserve is indeed not as productive as the other GuajA hunting areas. The establishment of the Carajds railway has also spawned the growth a number of small towns and hamlets along this route, giving rise to local populations which frequently venture into the Indian reserve to hunt and fish.

FUNAI would drop me off at the Santa In~s train station and signal ahead to its staff at Post Awd to pick me up at the Auzildndia train stop near kilometer 299 on the






80



Carajds railway.20 The train ride usually takes a little over an hour from Santa In~s and makes two brief stops before arriving at Auzilandia, at the towns of Alto Alegre and Mineirinho. This trip provides one with another glimpse of a large deforested area, interspersed with small peripheral hamlets, farm plots and large stretches of upshooting babaqu palms. There are two different rates by which one can travel on these passenger trains: a first-class fare which affords one air conditioned travel and waiting services, in addition to the economic class which is only slightly cheaper yet purchased by the majority of passengers. Many of the passengers are modest people often travelling with wares and purchases of food items and small equipment. For a small price, the cargo compartment of the train will transport and insure unportable bags, pallets and boxes for travellers. I have also noticed on a number of these trips that some people carry concealed weapons under their clothes, perhaps a reflection of the violence which occasionally breaks out in this region. During the two brief stops at Alto Alegre and Mineirinho, a number of vendors will approach the train for anyone interested in purchasing refreshments and small pre-cooked packages of food through the train windows.

When I would arrive at the Auzilandia stop, a FUTNAT crew would help me

disembark and transport my supplies and equipment to the Indian Post. This would entail walking for about a kilometer along the railway, then down a dirt trail to the banks of the Pindar6 river which runs parallel to the Carajis railroad and serves as the southeastern limits for the Camu Indian Reserve (see to Figure 1. 1). From this point, we would load an outboard motorboat with my supplies and travel upriver for a short distance until reaching Presidio Creek, which we would ascend until we reached the Post Awd facility,






81



approximately 4602'W, 3048'S. This last part of the trip to Post Awi was possible throughout most of the year, yet during the peak of the dry season the Presidio Creek would often shrink to a point of being unnavigable. In this situation, we would simply cross the Pindar6 river at the point near the railway and park the boat on the opposite bank, whence we would walk for approximately another kilometer until we reached Post AwA.

Travel to Post Juriti was more time-consuming and cumbersome. During the rainy season, trips to this area were conducted by a small riverboart (lancha) whose driver and service were subcontracted through CVRD. The riverboat would load its cargo in a small town called Santa Luz in the municipio of Bom Jardim, located on the Pindar6 river (see Figure 2.5). The riverboat would then wind its way up the Pindar6 river, past the town of Alto Alegre, then turn right at the mouth of the Camu river and travel upstream on this watercourse until it reached the Juriti outpost. Depending on the strength of water currents, and the number of fallen trees and vines which would have to be cut or eluded, this trip could take anywhere from 12-16 hours of travel time. Along this course, there are many hamlets and small family farms dotting the right side of the riverbank area. To the left is the Camu Indian Reserve, which shows signs of much secondary growth, the results of both indigenous and non-indigenous farming activities. The principal ethnic group of this reserve, the Tenetehara, Indians, have intermingled with many peasants of the region to whom they have granted many farming plots; likewise, many plots are also rented out to some of the peasants of this region by the Tenetehara.






82








48 46 44 42
SI I I

,oATLANTIC OCEAN


BELEM


2Is

P ARA AeAen9


PINDARE MIRIM CHAPADINHA

4 lgLA VERDE


$LIMA CAMPOS
CAXIASO

M ARAN HAO










PlIAUI



50 0 50 00o. 150 200 250 KILOMETERS








Figure 2.5
Map of Major Rivers of Maranhlo State



(Source: Anderson 1983)






83



This route also shows signs of former patrolling posts (Postos de Vigildncia)

which FUNAI had established at one time as observation units to curtail land invasions. If the trip starts late in the day from Santa Luz, an overnight stay is in order at one of these former patrolling posts, most of which are old makeshift shacks constructed by FUJNAI. The major town of this rivercourse is Sao Jo~o do Camu, which can also be accessed by a dirt road which takes one to the town of Bomn Jardim, located on BR-3 16. In fact, during the dry season, FUNAI primarily conducts its trips to Post Juriti from this location. In this case, the FLJNAI vehicles travel to SAo Jo~o and load a small outboard motorboat to travel to Post Juriti as the Camu river is too small for the navigation of larger vessels in the dry season. During the peak of the dry season, this trip can also be lengthy as travellers often have to disembark from the canoe to push it over rocks, shallow straits and submerged trees.

Post Juriti is located in the northwestern part of the Camu Indian Reserve

(approximately 303 5'S 46025'W), actually on the side of the Camu river which would pertain to the proposed AwA Indian Reserve. The Indian village at this location is situated about 300 meters from the outpost, along a dirt trail which leads past the edge of a horticultural plot established by both FUNAL and Indian labor. The outpost itself is located a little under 100 meters from the Camu river upon a gently rising knoll which overlooks a large area of land and affords one with a wide-open view and splendid sunsets which are not as frequently seen at the previous two Indian Posts.






84



Regional Ecology

The general Guajd catchment area is located on the eastern flanks of the Brazilian Amazon. From a region-wide perspective this range is occupied by a number of continguous ecological zones such as upland forest (terra firme), savannah-like cerrados, sandy-soiled elevations (chapadas), river systems, palm forests (babapuais), among other areas (see Figure 2.6). Terra firme dominates Guajd home range and is interspersed with rivers, small lakes and ponds (igapds), tracts of secondary vegetation, seasonally inundated forest, in addition to other zones. On closer examination, terra firme forests contain a mosaic of finer grained ecological zones, a consideration which in recent years has made scholars rethink their general classification scheme of dividing Amazonia into two broad areas, i.e., vdrzeas (generally speaking, floodplain regions) and terra firme forests (see Moran 1990). That terra fire forests are generally termed "highland forest" does not in any sense mean that they are situated in an elevated area; rather, this term refers more to the fact that it is located on higher ground, away from rivers and lakes in relatively well-drained soils, and are primary or climax type forests.

Similarly, it has been thought that this region, much like that of the Amazon in general, consists primarily of areas broadly classified as a tropical humid forests, or evergreen rainforest. However, it would be more accurate to portray this general area as a seasonally dry tropical forest (see Janzen 1988; Anderson 1983). In this regard, this region exhibits two distinct seasons: a rainy season which generally occurs between December and early May, and a dry season, running from June through November. There are slight variations to this seasonality as occured in 1989-90 when the region experienced






85
































PlanaftoZ( Manminhio
Tocantins sAI
J Piauf

Scale In kmqq
6 50 160 150 Grizphic by Nick Spingor







Figure 2.6
Map of Major Ecological Zones of Maranhio State



(Source: Coelho 1991)




Full Text
THE PERSISTENCE AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE GUAJA
INDIANS: FORAGERS OF MARANHÁO STATE, BRAZIL
By
LOUIS CARLOS FORLINE
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE THR DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1997

Copyright 1997
by
Louis Carlos Forline

I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Silvana D’Incao, and
Karanohociá Guajá.

1
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Many people and institutions supported me in doing my research and writing this
dissertation. My first thanks go to my committee members Maxine Margolis, Marvin
Harris, H. Russell Bernard, Leslie Lieberman and Nigel Smith. Their theoretical and
practical guidance was instrumental in helping me assemble this work which took nearly
five years to complete. I would also like to thank the many friends I made along the way
since I first began my graduate studies at the University of Florida for their
encouragement and warm support. The anthropology department at the University of
Florida is unique in that we leam just as much from other students as we do from
classroom experiences. The discussions and debates many of us had with one another at
each other’s houses, at bars, restaurants and student lounges broadened our anthropogical
perspectives and gave us plenty of food for thought in formulating ideas and questions
about the human experience.
Bryan Byrne was a constant companion and gave me a lot of solidarity and
support to keep my hopes up when thesis writing was difficult. James (Diego) Hay
always managed to bring people together with diametrically opposed viewpoints and was
a great dialogue stimulator. Gay Biery-Hamilton shared an office with me while I was a
IV

teaching assistant for the Department of Anthropology and was a warm and
communicative friend during our “basement” days. Tom Abel also stimulated
discussions to help put our work in perspective. I would also like to thank Karen Hjerpe
who accompanied me during the initial phase of my fieldwork among the Guajá. And, of
course, the late Charles Wagley gave me a lot of helpful insight during my early days at
UF. A host of other people also deserve mention and if I did not include them here, let
my gratitude go out to them, especially those who forged a warm comaraderie with me
and other friends at our weekly “Friday Fests.”
During the research part of my work, I was given institutional support from the
Goeldi Musem of Belém, Brazil. I would like to thank the many friends I made at the
Goeldi Museum for their kind help, especially its director, Adélia Rodrigues, who
provided me with an office to conduct my work in while I wrote my thesis. Many thanks
also go to Maria Angela DTncao for giving me the boost I needed to start my thesis
writing. Warm thanks also go out to Márcio Meira, Lucia Hussak and Cándida Barros for
providing me with ideas and the opportunity to work at the Goeldi Musem, and Rui
Murrieta for his moral support. Roberto Araujo Santos Jr. was also instrumental in
giving me the leeway I needed in writing my thesis as well as Antonio Carlos Magalhaes.
I also received help from the following people in managing my thesis data: Cláudia
Eleres, Cláudia Kahwage, Selma Gomes and Humberto Cotta Jr. While taking breaks
from fieldwork, I was put up in my relative Almirzinho’s house, and I would like to
extend to him my heartfelt thanks for helping me out.

Later, Vivek Ajmani and Jack Dixon provided me with the expert help I needed in
analyzing my time allocation data. I would also like to thank Bill Leonard for his time
and patience in analyzing the dietary and anthropometric data.
The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation
(Grant No. 9216612), with additional support from the World Wildlife Fund and the
Explorers Club (Florida Chapter). I also received a Regional Development Fellowship
from Brazil’s Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq),
which helped me write this dissertation after I had terminated my fieldwork among the
Guajá.
Lastly, this research would not have been possible if it were not for the openness
and reception I had from the Guajá, the people I studied during this research. They were
warm and patient hosts and I hope to see them again someday. Towards their well-being
I dedicate this dissertation with the hopes that the indigenous peoples of Brazil receive
the due recognition and respect they deserve as regional development encroaches upon
them.
VI

TABLE OF CONTENTS
page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF TABLES x
LIST OF FIGURES xiii
ABSTRACT xiv
CHAPTERS
I INTRODUCTION 1
Theoretical Perspectives and Statement of Problem 6
The Guajá and Modem Foragers 8
The Guajá and Amazonian Development 12
The Guajá, Contact, and Global Issues 18
Thesis Organization and Methodology 25
Notes 28
B GUAJÁ ETHNOHISTORY, FIELD SETTING, AND REGIONAL
ECOLOGY 29
Guajá Ethnohistory 29
Field Setting 64
Regional Ecology 84
Summary 99
Notes 100
HI TIME ALLOCATION AND PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES AMONG THE
GUAJÁ 104
vii

Methods and Problems Associated with Time Allocation Studies
105
Time Budget Profiles among the Guajá 113
The Nature of Productive Activities 121
Hunting 121
Fishing 132
Agricultural Activities 142
Gathering 150
Food Preparation 155
Summary 159
Notes 160
IV TIME ALLOCATION, CHILD CARE, LEISURE, AND OTHER
ACTIVITIES AMONG THE GUAJÁ 163
Child Care 163
Leisure 174
The Social Component of Leisure 176
Outpost Visits 191
Rituals, Ceremonies, and “other” activities 199
Summary 207
Notes 209
V FORAGING STRATEGIES AMONG THE GUAJÁ 211
Methods Used in Collecting Foraging Data 211
Foraging Yields and Patterns among the Guajá 214
Summary 245
Notes 246
VI DIETARY INTAKE AND ANTHROPOMETRY AMONG THE GUAJÁ 247
viii

Food Consumption, Diet Breadth and Variation 247
Methods in Collecting and Assessing Dietary Data 247
Results of Dietary Consumption Data Analysis 253
Anthropometries Among the Guajá 265
Anthropometric Methods 265
Results of Anthropometric Data Analysis 266
Discussion and Summary 281
Notes 293
VE CONCLUSIONS 294
Implications of Settlement 297
The Guajá’s Future 312
Notes 316
GLOSSARY 317
REFERENCES 318
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 337
IX

LIST OF TABLES
Table page
2.1 Monthly Rainfall - Post Guajá 87
3.1 Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Dry Season 114
3.2 Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Wet Season 115
3.3 Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Wet and Dry
Seasons 116
3.4 Raw Counts in Time Allocatin Activities for Men and Women Across
Villages During Dry Season 117
3.5 Raw Counts in Time Allocation Activities for Men and Women Across
Villages During Wet Season 118
3.6 Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences Between Men
and Women Across Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti During Dry Season 119
3.7 Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences Between Men
and Women across Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti During Wet Season 120
3.8 A Partial List of Fish Captured by the Guajá 136
3.9 Partial List of Cultigens Grown by Guajá and FUNAI 143
5.1 Animals Captured at Post Guajá During Dry Season of 1992 217
5.2 Animals Captured at Post Guajá During Wet Season of 1993 218
5.3 Animals Captured at Post Awá During Dry Season of 1993 219
5.4 Animals Captured at Post Awá During Wet Season of 1994 220
5.5 Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Dry Season of 1993-1994 221
5.6 Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Wet Season of 1994 222
5.7 Partial List of Game Animals Captured by the Guajá 223

5.8 Comparative Efficiency Rates Between Traditional and Introduced
Weaponry Among the Guajá 229
5.9 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Dry Season 232
5.10 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Wet Season 233
5.11 Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters During the Year 234
5.12 Weapon Classes Ranked by Mean Return Rate 244
6.1 Mean Daily Intake by Age and Sex - Males and Females 16 Years and Older 254
6.2 Mean Daily Intake by Age and Sex -Males and Females Under 16 Years 254
6.3 Mean Daily Intake Across Villages - Individuals 16 Years and Older 256
6.5 Source of Daily Nutrition by Sex 262
6.6 Source of Daily Nutrition by Village (Adults & Children) 262
6.7 Mean Weight and Height of Guajá Compared with Other Native South
American Groups 267
6.8 Anthropometric Measures of Men by Village in the Dry Season 268
6.9 Anthropometric Measures of Men by Village in the Wet Season 268
6.10 Anthropometric Measures of Women by Village in Dry Season 270
6.11 Anthropometric Measures of Women by Village in the Wet Season 270
6.12 Mean Changes in Anthropometric Measurements of Men by Village From
Dry to Wet Season 271
6.13 Mean Changes in Anthropometric Measurements of Women by Village
From Dry to Wet Season 271
6.14 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Men and Women in the Dry Season 273
6.15 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Men and Women in the Wet Season 273
6.16 Comparison of Mean Change of Men and Women From the Dry to Wet
Season 274
6.17 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Dry Season 275
XI

6.18 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Wet Season 275
6.19 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Dry Season 277
6.20 Comparison of Stadardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Wet Season 277
6.21 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Boys and Girls in Dry Season 278
6.22 Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data For
Boys and Girls in the Wet Season 278
7.1 Summary of Major Comparisons Between Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti 313
xii

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure page
1.1 Study Area: Indigenous Areas of Maranhao Where Guajá Reside and
Adjacent Land Areas 2
1.2 Map of Carajás Project and Area of Influence 14
2.1 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Guajá (Village 1) 60
2.2 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Awá (Village 2) 61
2.3 Demographic Profile of Indian Post Juriti (Village 3) 62
2.4 Demographic Profile of All Villages Combined 63
2.5 Map of Major Rivers of Maranhao State 82
2.6 Map of Major Ecological Zones of Maranhao State 85
2.7 Distribution of Monthly Rainfall at Post Guajá (1992-1993) 88
5.1 Mean Foraging Returns for Hunters Across All Villages (Mean Kg/Hour
Hunting) 239
5.2 Average Foraging Return Rate by Weapon Class Across All Villages (Mean
Kg/Hour Hunting) 242
6.5 Guajá Youth Statural Growth Compared with 50th Percentile of U.S. Youth
Population (Ages 0 - 18) 279
6.6 Guajá Youth Statural Growth Velocity Compared with 50th Percentile of
U.S. Youth Population (Ages 0 - 18) 280
xiii

Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE PERSISTENCE AND CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE GUAJÁ
INDIANS: FORAGERS OF MARANHAO STATE, BRAZIL
By
Louis Carlos Forline
December, 1997
Chairman: Maxine Margolis
Major Department: Anthropology
This research examines socio-cultural change among the Guajá Indians of
Maranhao state, Brazil. The Guajá are one of the last groups of foragers in the world and
have only come into contact with Brazilian national society during the last 24 years. This
dissertation compares the effects of contact between three settled groups of Guajá. As
such, this study looks at changes in natural resource utilization between these three Guajá
communities and examines changes in diet and nutritional status among these groups.
The results of the study reveal that the Guajá have quickly adapted to a hunting-
gathering-farming mode of subsistence as a result of contact with Brazil’s Indian Service,
Fundayáo Nacional do Indio (FUNAI). Calorically, the Guajá have also turned to
consuming more farm products even though hunting occupies more of their time in
subsistence pursuits. The transition from foraging to farming also reveals that women
and children are faring better than adult males in terms of diet and nutritional status.
XIV

Contrasts between the three villages also indicate that the community with the
least amount of contact has a more substantial diet calorically and a better nutritional
status than the groups that have been under FUNAI’s auspices for a longer period of time.
Since contact, the Guajá have also become steadily dependent on FUNAI for goods and
services, and as a consequence they have come to play a subordinate role to the Indian
Service.
XV

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
This dissertation is the result of approximately 18 months of ethnographic
fieldwork among the Guajá Indians of Maranháo state, Brazil, where I have been
conducting research since 1990. The aim of my fieldwork was to study socio-cultural
change among this group of indigenes, one of the last foraging societies in the Brazilian
Amazon and in the world. The Guajá have come into contact with Brazilian national
society within the last three decades and approximately 158 Guajá individuals resided on
three semi-permanent nucleated settlements established by Brazil’s National Indian
Foundation (FUNAI) at the time of this study. An undetermined number of Guajá still
remain uncontacted, save for a few brief encounters with other indigenous groups and
Brazilian nationals of this region. This research entailed a comparative study among three
settled Guajá communities.
FUNAI has established three different Indian Posts to settle the nomadic Guajá
since 1973. The first of these settlements, Post Guajá, was established by FUNAI near the
headwaters of the Turiagu river in Maranháo state, after it contacted a group of 13 Guajá
Indians in 1973. At the time of this research about 44 Guajá resided in the vicinity of this
Indian Post which is situated on the Alto Turia about 530,520 hectares (see Figure 1.1). This Indian Post is located near the site of the
first encounter between the Guajá and FUNAI near the Turia^u watershed and this
1

2
Study Area: Indigenous Areas of Maranháo Where Guajá Reside and Adjacent Land Areas
(Source: Coelho 1991)
To Sama Inis

community represents the first group of Guajá to have come into permanent contact with
Brazilian national society.
3
The second Guajá community settled by FUNAI is located near Indian Post Awá
on the Caru Indian Reserve, near the Igarapé do Presidio (Presidio Creek), an affluent of
the Pindaré river. The northern limits of the Caru Indian Reserve are approximately 50
kilometers south of the Alto Turia?u Indian Reserve, and covers approximately 172,667
hectares in land area. The first members of this community were settled at Post Awá in
1980 and a total of approximately 94 Guajá individuals resided near this outpost during
the time of my study.
The third community of Guajá Indians settled by FUNAI was established in 1989
at Post Juriti, located on the northern fringes of the Caru Indian reserve near the Caru
river headwaters. About 20 individuals reside in this community. Yet another Indian Post
has been established by FUNAI on the Caru Indian Reserve near the Pindaré River, in the
event that an often-sighted group of uncontacted Guajá Indians, located in this area,
comes into contact and agrees to settle at this outpost. This observation outpost {frente
de atragáo), Mirim-Mirim, was officially installed in 1991. At the time of this study, it
hosted two indigenous individuals from an unidentified tribe who were relocated to this
locale by FUNAI from the neighboring state of Pará (cf. Balée 1992). No studies were
conducted at Post Mirim-Mirim as there were no Guajá to be studied in that particular
area.1
I spent approximately six months at each of these three research sites (Posts Guajá,
Awá and Juriti) in order to examine socio-cultural change between and among these Guajá
communities. In this manner, I attempted to compare these groups to draw a “time-lapse”

4
photograph of the Guajá experience of contact, settlement and the adoption of new
resource strategies. As such, my primary focus was on the productive activities of each
village to see what effect, if any, that contact and subsequent settlement among the Guajá
would bear on the breadth of their resources and acquisition strategies. Guajá productive
activities primarily entail hunting, gathering, fishing and farming. Thus, in terms of
drawing a comparison between villages, I examined how each of these activities is carried
out by each community. This approach helped evince the differences these endeavors
reveal between the Guajá villages in terms of productive efforts and returns.
Productive efforts were primarily examined by conducting time allocation studies
in order to see the fraction of time each village invested in each of their resource
exploitation strategies. Time allocation research was also carried out in order to draw a
general profile of each village’s time-investment profile. In this regard, time allocation
was also illustrative for descriptive purposes in that it helped in portraying a “traditional
ethnography” of the Guajá. Additionally, time allocation studies among the Guajá assisted
in drawing a year-round profile of their activities. That is, time allocation observations
were conducted during the rainy and dry seasons, respectively, in order to see how each
village alters its resource ventures according to seasonality.
Productive yields primarily focused on the foraging returns of each village. In this
regard, I concentrated on hunting and fishing yields. These productive activities were
recorded to examine the total yields each village obtained in their foraging efforts.
Foraging yields also revealed the range of resources exploited by each community in
addition to showing the seasonality of each resource acquisition strategy.

5
I also conducted dietary studies among the Guajá to examine each community’s
diet breadth and caloric consumption. Subsequently, dietary studies were complemented
by performing anthropometric studies among the Guajá. Anthropometric measures of
stature, weight and skin folds were taken on a seasonal basis to assess and evaluate
growth rates, lean body mass, and nutritional status between and among villages. Dietary
and anthropometric studies were also conducted to see how particular groups of people
compared with one another as a measure of evaluating how particular individuals are
faring during the current transitional period in Guajá history.
The research revealed differences in these communities’ approaches to the
utilization of natural resources. While some differences were anticipated in the course of
this study, reflecting the amount of time each community has been exposed to FUNAI,
other contrasts revealed a difference in the demography and social organization in each of
the villages studied, the results of contact with FUNAI and other members of Brazilian
national society. Thus, each community has a unique history and had a different
population and demographic profile before contact. Settlement and contact patterns were
carried out differently for each village, which invariably created different demographic
profiles and social structures in each community. Still, another important factor explains
the differences encountered between communities. As it happens, Post Awá is situated
near a large regional development project (Projeto Grande Carajás). The Carajás Project
has spawned much growth in the area and its proximity exerts pressure on the Guajá’s
natural resource base as well as posing a constant threat to the security of regional
indigenous communities.

6
While a number of research agendas were applicable to the study of the Guajá,
studies of modern hunter-gatherers cannot be limited to optimal-foraging, ecological
anthropology, cultural ecology and other complementary and/or competing models of
human ecology. And while this dissertation will still largely examine the Guajá as
“ecosystem people” coping with a natural environment who rely on a subsistence
economy, the Guajá situation also requires that research consider questions of political
ecology, sustainable development, indigenous resource knowledge, and humanitarian
issues, primarily within the scope of Amazonian growth and development. Thus, for
purposes of this dissertation I approach studying the Guajá as foragers undergoing a
transition to horticulture and the subsequent relations which have evolved between them
and the state agency charged with integrating them, FUNAI.
With these factors in mind, I will discuss the theoretical issues addressed in this
research. This discussion will help clarify the analytical framework which guided my
research and attempt to show what this study can contribute to the study of foraging
populations in the tropics.
Theoretical Perspectives and Statement of Problem: Research Agendas, Hunter-
Gatherer Studies, and Amazonian Development
The study of tropical hunter-gatherers is one of many ways in which we can
examine human adaptation and its consequences. Specifically, this research raises the
question of what human adaptation implies and entails for hunter-gatherers situated in the
Brazilian Amazon. The Guajá are facing a situation of rapid socio-cultural change and
their case is of great scholarly and humane interest in that they are one of the few
remaining groups of foragers in the world. In this light, research among the Guajá

7
contributes towards developing theories about modern hunter-gatherers. Studies among
the Guajá address issues of tribal peoples in the developing world and how foragers in
particular are coping with change. From a broader theoretical perspective, this study deals
with more comprehensive concepts concerning human adaptation and its consequences.
One of the main premises of this dissertation is that human actors are rational
beings and generally adapt a set of practical procedures to conduct their livelihoods (see
Harris 1979). In this manner, I embraced a methodology that examines how Guajá socio¬
cultural practices optimize benefits and reduce costs in the face of contact with the
Brazilian state. This framework can contribute to a better understanding of tropical forest
adaptation and foraging by indigenous peoples in such habitats. In addition, it can help us
understand the processes that ensue in the transition from a foraging mode of subsistence
to cultivation. It also sheds light on how foraging populations such as the Guajá have
adopted new methods of livelihood within the context of a developing modem nation
state, Brazil, and how these survival strategies can apply to similar situations elsewhere.
While many ethnographies and other studies of human societies will have to be
gathered and synthesized to fine-tune theories for assessing human cultural adaptation, this
study attempts to show some of the results, or consequences, of the Guajá experience of
contact with the Brazilian state. This research cannot answer questions at the grandiose
level of meta-theory as it is a first step in a research series regarding the Guajá Indians.
Yet contact and its consequences with the Brazilian state have already manifested
themselves in many ways among the Guajá. And to address their situation more
specifically, they have to be viewed within the context of modern foragers.

8
The Guaiá and Modern Foragers
The Guajá experience of contact, settlement, and the adoption of new modes of
subsistence has to be studied in light of Amazonian ecology and development. This
necessarily obliges one to examine the Guajá situation within the prism of ecological
anthropology, particularly as this area of study pertains to the human ecology of
indigenous populations of Amazonia. This framework envisages human societies as
dynamic and constantly adapting themselves to ecological factors, demographics,
economic conditions and technological development (Harris 1979). While it is extremely
important to salvage cultural traditions it is equally imperative to anticipate the changes
that fragile and marginal populations will invariably face as they are directly and indirectly
drawn into the net of local and regional markets, not to mention the development projects
and political processes that will affect their future (see Wolf 1982, 1990).
This perspective views culture change as inevitable and must be a part of any study
of indigenous groups within the context of developing modem nation states of the tropics.
While there are merits for heralding and admiring the persistence of a given lifeway for its
resistence and resilience (cf. Balée 1984), the anticipation of cultural change can
contribute to promoting public policies which could alter the negative consequences so
often encountered in situations of culture contact. Studies among hunter-gatherers have
often assumed that such groups have always lived in isolation, as if they were but one
more species located within their habitat (cf. Lee 1993: 32-33). Yet much evidence has
accumulated favoring a contrary view that foragers have in fact, for quite some time, been
engaged in relations with other peoples (Headland & Reid 1989). This set of relations
may reflect a symbiotic exchange between foragers and other human groups which have a

9
different mode of subsistence as is the case with Efe pigmies of central Africa and their
Bantu neighbors (Bailey et al. 1989). Conversely, relations between foragers and other
groups may also involve hostile exchanges (Gomes 1988, 1989; Balée 1984, 1992, 1994).
In the case at hand, the Guajá would occasionally encroach upon the agricultural fields of
other indigenous groups such as the Urubu-Ka’apor and in retaliation these tribes would
strike back with raids against the Guajá. Some Guajá individuals were beaten while others
were killed, and in some instances woman and children were kidnapped and adopted by
other tribes (see Nimuendajú 1949).
The picture of modern hunter-gatherers of the Amazon is further complicated by
the fact that many scholars regard them as vestiges of former agricultural societies. This
point was made early by Lévi-Strauss (1950: 469) and further supported by Lathrap
(1968) and others as a reflection of “deculturation” of erstwhile horticultural groups that
were reduced to mere fragments of their former societies and consequently forced to
abandon more productive habitats as a result of competitive exclusion by other indigenous
groups, colonial powers and non-indigenous members of modern nation states (Sponsel
1989).
In an illustrative work by Stearman (1984), the story of the present-day Yuqui of
Bolivia was reconstructed to demonstrate a past connection to the Siriono studied by
Holmberg (1969), with this latter group eventually becoming incorporated as a peasant
community in rural Bolivia. Gomes (1988, 1989) and Balée (1992, 1994) also provide
indirect yet rich evidence that the Guajá were likely to have practiced horticulture in the
past. Linguistic data show a strong correspondence between a list of cognates referring to
plant names obtained from the Guajá and other Tupí-Guaraní groups, namely, the Urubu-

10
Ka’apor, Tenetehara, Tembé, and Assurini. The list of Guajá plant names includes
referents to domesticated plants which would indicate a horticultural past since these
glosses form cognates with words employed by these other Tupi-Gurani groups that
practice horticulture.
Accordingly, Balée (1992, 1994) refers to the loss of agriculture by the Guajá and
other lowland South American groups, such as the Araweté, as a gradual process of
‘agricultural regression’. Thus, the turn to nomadism does not occur overnight as these
groups gradually phase out a series of crops in their agricultural cycle and ultimately opt
for a foraging mode of living when farming no longer becomes viable for security reasons.
The Guajá presently conduct a hunting-gathering-horticultural mode of
subsistence. Whereas the Guajá have adapted to a new mode of living, and considering the
possibility that they were once cultivators, we will still regard them as a foraging group.
That is, the Guajá are embraced in this dissertation as a foraging group which is
undergoing a transition from a hunting-gathering lifestyle to a hunting-gathering-
horticultural mode of production, embedded in the context of a developing nation state of
the tropics. While the Guajá could have possibly practiced horticulture in the distant past,
we assume here that they have primarily been adapted to a foraging style of living for
approximately 150 years, until they were drawn into the web of contact with Brazilian
nationals during the last 24 years.
There are, indeed, many variations and /or examples of groups that would
adequately fit the category of “hunter-gatherer”, especially during this day and age where
many of these societies have come into contact and no longer show many of the
characteristics one would perhaps like to see in the so-called, arche-typical version of

11
“hunter-gatherer”. In fact, it is interesting to note that while many present-day groups of
foragers do not fit any given idealized model of hunter-gatherers (Lee 1992), research
among these societies is still financed and conducted in the genre of‘hunter-gatherer
studies’. Thus, research among foragers has had to face new epistemological revisions
regarding past and present conceptualizations of “hunter-gatherers” .2
These considerations return us to an earlier point, namely, that many of these
groups probably practiced some degree of farming in the past. In the case of Amazonia,
most of the indigenous groups in pre-Colombian times were sedentary and concentrated
along the Brazilian coast and fluvial zones (cf. Denevan 1976; Hemming 1978). With the
advent of European colonization in this area, many of these groups were decimated
through contact, or reduced to mere vestiges of their former societies, while others were
absorbed by national society in the process of “caboclization” (Wagley 1977; Ross 1978;
Galvao 1979; Parker 1985). Then there were other groups, such as the Mundurucu and
Tenetehara, which survived, yet underwent a socio-economic transformative process while
maintaining their ethnic identity (Murphy 1960; Gomes 1977). Yet other groups which did
not undergo this experience fled to the inaccessible reaches of the Amazon region.
Lathrap (1968) was keen to note that many of the present day groups of foragers of this
region are actually former horticultural societies that took flight from the oncoming
encroachment of European expansion and, in turn, were eventually forced to shift to a
nomadic way of life. Lathrap illustrated this observation by pointing out the Maku Indians
of Amazonas state as probable vestiges of a former sedentary and farming group, although
not all ethnographers share this view (Pozzobon 1997: personal communication).
Previously mentioned examples, too, are the Yuqui of Bolivia (Stearman 1984), and the

Guajá (Balée 1989, 1994; Gomes 1988, 1989), not to mention the Aché of Paraguay
(Clastres 1972).
12
While this discussion about hunter-gatherer research does not cover all of the
details and issues pertaining to foraging groups, it can provide us with some focus and
direction in terms of comprehending the Guajá. With all of these considerations in mind,
then, we can proceed with examining the Guajá, hopefully sensitized to the foregoing
issues. These new directions in hunter-gatherer studies cast a new light in this area of
research. In these terms, the Guaja must be seen from an historical perspective as well as
within the framework of the modern Amazonian frontier.
The Guajá and Amazonian Development
These considerations concerning modern foragers are central to understanding
issues pertaining to foraging societies within the context of Amazonian development and,
of course, how similar historical and political factors influence other hunter-gatherer
groups throughout the world. Like many other foraging groups of the developing world,
the Guajá are not completely isolated or autonomous. Therefore, their current situation of
contact questions the validity or notion of studying them as being representative of past
hunter-gatherer societies (cf. Lee 1993; Hill & Hurtado 1989; see also Roosevelt 1989).
As development in the Brazilian Amazon involves large-scale land-use schemes,
hydroelectirc projects and massive mining endeavors, foragers and other indigenous
groups in this region stand to be invariably affected. In addition to the Guajá, for
example, the Carajás mining project of the eastern Amazon region affects approximately
40 indigenous groups, directly and indirectly (Treece 1987).

13
Thus, the Guajá situation of contact and settlement was and is a result of
Amazonian settlement and development, principally during the present century. While
settlement and development in the Amazon region is an ongoing process and reflects
Brazil’s effort to modernize and extract raw materials for export, one must be mindful of
the fact that the Amazon region is considered a large unknown in terms of the potential it
holds for many different, and often divergent, interest groups (Nugent 1990). For one, this
region is endowed with vast resources such that their exploitation and export are
considered to hold the key to liquidating the burden of a large financial debt which Brazil
has incurred with first world lending institutions and governments (Coelho 1991; Treece
1993; but cf. Sanderson 1993 for alternative view).
Likewise, Amazonia also presents us with an example of world economic
globalization and the interdependence forged between different countries. This latter point
is very relevant in that Amazonia serves as a berth and entrepot for Brazil to extract raw
materials for export to other nations, which in turn covet these items to maintain their high
standard of living. The Carajás Project (Projeto Grande Carajás, hereforth referred to as
PGC) of the eastern Amazon region (see Figure 1.2) is an illustrative case in point
exemplifying an interdependent relationship between Brazil and first world countries. The
PGC is an association of mining, agricultural, forestry and industrial projects in eastern
Amazonia, with the Carajás Iron Ore Project representing its major venture, involving the
European Economic Community (EEC), Japan, U.S., and Brazil.
The PGC represents a new Brazilian strategy not only to meet financial obligations
to international creditors but, perhaps more importantly, to continue attracting foreign
investment by offering comparative advantages, such as cheap labor, favorable tax

Figure 1.2
Map of Carajás Project and Area of Influence
(Source: Anderson 1991)

15
treatment, abundant natural resources, subsidized energy, transportation facilities - in
addition to lax environmental standards and regulations (Margulis 1990). From the
vantage point of new investment possibilities, the Amazonian local ruling elites facilitated
linking local development needs with those of the international system (ibid: 37). This
relationship is illustrative in that many developing nations are compromised by first-world
involvement and investments. In these terms, the PGC is a development scheme which
should be expressed more within the framework of “dependent development” (Cardoso
1972; but cf. Briiseke 1997 for alternative view). Thus, while foreign investment is
attractive to the Amazon region, and Brazil in general, in terms of generating jobs, income
and infrastructure, many of these ventures do not sustain internal goods and services as
lumber products, minerals, and other extractive products are destined to benefit external
economies. While this dissertation only addresses these matters briefly and indirectly, they
are mentioned here to illustrate the broader mechanisms which brought and continue to
bring the Guajá, and other indigenous groups, into contact with Brazilian national society.
For many years the Amazon region was considered a “backwater” area in terms of
recognition and self-sustaining development (Bunker 1985). Despite this perception, the
Amazon region reflects some of the general characteristics of Brazilian economic history
in terms of the boom-bust nature of investment ventures and extractive practices which
promoted cycles of quick growth and development, followed by stagnant periods in which
it languished in economic malaise. Between each of these peaks of economic growth and
stagnation, indigenous communities were invariably affected. In the early days of Brazil’s
post-colonial era, for example, the Amazonian rubber boom encouraged mass migrations
into this region’s remote areas, principally enlisting the labor of drought victims from

16
Brazil’s northeast. Many extant indigenous communities that were encountered at that
time were eventually drawn into the circuit of exchange relations between patrons and
clients, a socio-economic process which contributed much to the emergence of Amazonian
peasantry, often referred to throughout this region as caboclos (Ross, 1978; Parker
1985).3 Between these periods of economic growth and subsequent decline, this emergent
peasant class eventually had to resort to other means of livelihood. As a result, many
landless peasants often found their way driving deeper into areas inhabited by indigenous
peoples. In many cases, the alternative options available to these groups of migrant
laborers are gold-mining, clearing additional areas of forested land for subsistence and
share-cropping, working as farm-hands, and migration to towns and cities of the Amazon
region, as well as a host of other employment opportunities left open to this unskilled class
of people.
Brazilian mega-projects in the Amazon region also played a major role in
encroaching upon Indian areas. For example, in Brazil’s attempt to occupy the Amazon
region during the 1970s, through its National Integration Program [Projeto de Integrado
Nacional (PIN)], calling on people from the country’s different regions to settle on
homesteads offered by national and local Amazonian governments, the road system
implemented in this project directly affected approximately 96 different indigenous groups,
or about 56 percent of the known indigenous communities of the Brazilian Amazon
(Ramos 1984). Touted as an opportunity of “land without men for men without land”
(terra para homenspara homens sem terra) this development scheme siphoned off
another large contingent of people from the drought polygon of the northeast, in addition
to Brazilian nationals from the south-southeastern region who were driven off their land

17
by large-scale land consolidation ventures. Another flow of people from Brazil’s central-
western states were also attracted to this area in search of better opportunities (Moran
1979; Smith 1982).
The inter-ethnic contact which ensued from these occupational and development
schemes proved problematic for the Indians and led to a series of relocation and
demarcation projects by the Brazilian government (Davis 1978). In 1967, Brazil’s then
military government established its current Indian Service, FUNAI. This agency was
subordinated to Brazil’s Ministry of Interior, the state institution responsible for planning
and development. The creation of FUNAI by the Brazilian state served to relocate
indigenous groups which were then, and still are, regarded as obstacles to development,
and transferred and/or confined these communities to areas which would not interfere with
regional projects (Baines 1991; Magalhaes 1983, 1991). Many of the Brazilian state-
owned companies responsible for Amazonian development projects such as Compañía
Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and Centráis Elétricas do Norte do Brasil,
S.A.(ELETRONORTE) worked in collaboration with FUNAI and other governmental
agencies to assist in settling indigenous peoples encountered adjacent to development
projects by relocating them. These collaborative resettlement projects also entailed
contracting anthropologists to assist in identifying and attracting isolated groups of
indigenous peoples to ease the stressful transition of contact through settlement, as well as
enlisting this corps of professionals for advice and assistance in the demarcation of Indian
land areas. This was the case with the Carajás Project, whose main investor, CVRD, hired
a number of anthropologists to help establish Indian land areas adjacent to the project’s
area of influence, namely, the large land corridor created by the construction of the

18
Carajás railway. This railway extends from the large mining area of Serra dos Carajás in
Pará state to the port of Itaqui in Sao Luis, Maranhao, and is approximately 910
kilometers in length [~ 570 miles (see Figure 1.2)]. The Carajás Project, in its entirety,
covers an area of approximately 900,000 square kilometers and includes parts of Pará,
Maranhao and Tocantins states, or about 10.6 percent of Brazil’s total land area (Hall
1991: 40). All told, this project affects 29 indigenous reserves and about 40 indigneous
communties.
This particular project hired anthropologist Mércio Gomes to assist in attracting
groups of Guajá Indians located near the Carajás railway to settle them onto areas that
would not interfere with the development projects as well as keeping them out of harm’s
way. Later, Gomes was instrumental in contacting other groups of Guajá and, together
with Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), he advocated establishing a separate
land area for a group of unsettled Guajá Indians, Área Indígena Awá (Awá Indian Reserve
- see Figure 1.2). Yet subsumed under this practice of cushioning the impact of contact
and interaction with Brazilian nationals is a FUNAI mandate which works in the direction
of integrating Indians into mainstream society, a form of social engineering that views
indigenous lifeways and customs as “backward” and “neolithic” (Jaguaribe 1994).
The Guaiá. Contact, and Global Issues
Development in the Amazon region enveloped the Guajá and other indigenous
groups in a manner which coopted them into contact and involvement with Brazilian
national society. As regional settlement steadily engulfed the Guajá, they eventually ran
out of areas to where they could retreat from the oncoming frontier. Not only did the
Guajá become geographically circumscribed, they eventually became socially

19
circumscribed through a political and developmental posture taken by the Brazilian state in
Amazonia. As previously mentioned, an array of development processes and actors were
the principal agents involved in steadily drawing the Guajá and other indigenous groups
closer to contact and eventual relations with Brazilian nationals. That this process
invariably becomes articulated through an existing state’s official Indian Agency, i.e.,
FUNAI, does not necessarily invalidate the notion of circumscription as peripheral
indigenous communities are ultimately contacted, subjugated and drawn into a web of
social relations which undermines their autonomy, affects their health and demographic
structure, alters their mode of production, and develops a set of dependency relations with
the state (Cameiro 1970, 1981, 1987; Arnold 1993; Bodley 1985).
Many indigenous groups were able to avoid the impact of this process in the past
as they could elude encroachment by penetrating deeper into heavily forested regions,
away from the main watercourses of the Amazon region (Roosevelt 1991). Although
many indigenous groups of this region were decimated by direct and indirect contact in the
past through hostilities and disease (Ribeiro 1979; Hemming 1978, 1987), with a good
number of them succumbing to pressures which ultimately subjugated them to domination
and state rule, an uncounted number of other indigenous societies, such as the Guajá, fled
from the encroaching elements of the Amazonian frontier and occupied areas near the
headwaters of Amazonia’s interfluvial zones (Gomes 1989: 3). In recent years, this course
of events has changed as large-scale projects and migration within and to the region
enclosed the Guajá within an area which ultimately made contact unavoidable.
Issues of contact and circumscription will be addressed in subsequent chapters as
the Guajá experience is unique and can perhaps evince a series of processes involved in

20
other situations of contact and settlement of indigneous groups of Amazonia. In some
instances, contact is involuntary and coercive, while in others encounters are voluntarily
initiated by indigenous groups. In the case of the Guajá, contact with Brazilian nationals
has involved both situations. The situation of the Guajá illustrates a process whereby
peripheral populations are curtailed and faced with the voluntary or involuntary option of
contact and subsequent involvement with state polities.
Very often, too, indigenous communities are encountered by the “cut-throat”
elements of the frontier. Local peasant groups, gold miners and other members of
Brazilian national society in the Amazon region frequently take advantage of the Indians’
lack of experience with mainstream society. These groups often manipulate and exploit
indigenous people as the process of contact steadily places these communities at the
lowest rung of the regional socio-economic ladder. As Gray (1995: 121) notes, this form
of integration does not create a symbiotic relationship between the dominant society and
indigenous peoples. To the contrary, it is an assymetrical relationship and a form of
controlled assimilation Then, too, many indigenous groups are not always “seduced” by
the material benefits and services of the enveloping society; rather, the habitats they
occupy may become degraded and restricted in their use, forcing many Indians to turn to
wage labor and market activities in order to maintain their livelihoods (Gross et al. 1979).
While Amazonian development projects have altered many environmental habitats
and consequently besieged many Brazilian Indian communities, the emergence of a global
conservation ethic has turned some of these events around and has put Amazonia and
indigenous peoples under a new analytical focus. During the last decade the combination
of large scale projects, massive migrations and habitat destruction in the Amazon region

21
has drawn the attention of many environmental and human rights groups, both within
Brazil and abroad. The global environmental awareness that emerged during the 1960s
has since gained much momentum in monitoring the effects of environmental change and
the consequences of development on ecosystems and people around the world. This
movement has also led to the formation of lobbying groups which pressure governments
and lending institutions to alter their political and economic stances on issues pertaining to
development and socio-biodiversity.
Parallel to the upswing in global environmental issues, studies in cultural ecology,
ethnobiology and ecological anthropology have raised the possibility that indigenous and
folk societies are competent managers of natural resources. Many of these studies assert
that indigenous communities have long been adapted to their habitats and, as such, have
developed a knowledge of natural resources and practices to utilize their environments in a
sustainable manner (Posey 1985; Sponsel 1986; Moran 1990). Moreover, many of these
studies have advocated the incoporation of indigenous knowledge into developmental
schemes. Advocates of native resource management thus argue that folk and indigenous
societies are more adapted to the ecosystems of the tropics and the needs of the people
residing in those regions could be adequately satisfied if indigenous knowledge systems
were applied to local development ventures (Brokensha & Riley 1980; Posey 1984).
As the eco-manifesto for indigenous rights was promulgated, both folk and
indigenous societies emerged as new symbols in the struggle to keep the globe’s
ecosystems intact yet usable. Concomitantly, debates about the definitions of sustainable
development and its applications around the globe often bring to the fore the argument
that folk and indigenous societies are the key to maintaining biodiversity, a concept which

is deemed by many to be crucial to the maintenance of ecosystems, and the development
of new strains of food, medicines, raw materials, and other items. (Plotkin 1993; Balée
1994).
22
Although the notion of examining indigenous resource knowledge remains in
vogue, this issue has generated some polemics regarding the viability of embracing
indigenous and folk peoples as resource “consultants” in development schemes. For one,
some skepticism has been raised with regard to the idea that indigenous peoples are,
indeed, competent managers of natural resources. Thus, some criticism has been levelled
at the idea of viewing indigenous peoples as “ecologically noble savages” as they, too, are
capable of habitat destruction and species extinction (Johnson 1989; Redford 1991). The
results of the Kayapó Research Project among the Gorotire Kayapó of Pará, Brazil, were
seriously challenged by Parker (1992, 1993). These and other views have forced a
number of scholars and planners to rethink issues of conservation and development in
terms of assessing the role that rural peoples could and should play in future development
schemes. One such issue that was raised was an attempt to better define the notion of
natural resource management and what this implies in terms of indigenous resource
practices (cf. Redford & Padoch 1992). And the question of “management” still remains
unanswered as this issue brings to the fore questions of “consciously” directed action
towards manipulating resources in a sustainable manner (Balée 1994).
In spite of these views, there is still much interest in researching indigenous and
folk knowledge. Many research foundations, non-governmental organizations and lending
institutions have made more funding available to study the resource knowledge employed
by rural peoples. There has been a call for a number of projects to make inventories of

23
resource utilization knowledge and practices as a way of better preparing development
schemes in a manner that is more adequately adapted to the tropics and its peoples.
The new perception envisaged in the global environmental ethic has raised another
series of debates. Amazonians are fully aware of the fact that their region is endowed with
many resources and the notion of examining indigenous resource knowledge is often
perceived as another way of siphoning off valuable materials from this region (Nugent
1990). Indigenous peoples were already used as a human resource since colonial times;
both their labor and knowledge were put to work for the benefit of neo-Brazilians
(Hemming 1978, 1987; Fischer 1991). In this sense, many observers regard the real
outcome of indigenous knowledge if it is only perceived as a quick and effective method
of obtaining natural resources. As Gray (1995: 120-121) has pointed out, Green
Capitalism conceives of conservation in monetary terms as it can only perceive this goal as
being accomplished through marketing strategies. A similar comment was also made by
Redclift (1987), who stated that for any conservation measure to be effectively
implemented in capitalist-type economies, it will have to demonstrate feasibility in terms of
its potential for profit. Gray further reiterates a point made earlier by Dasmann (1988: 303
- cited in Gray, 1995: 119), that “ecosystem peoples” (i.e., indigenous peoples) are
ultimately controlled by “biosphere peoples,” who invariably alter ecosystems inhabited by
indigenes. As such, with the globalization of the world economy, bioshpere people can
always resort to other habitats and regions from which they can expropriate resources.
Thus, if indigenous peoples are to be embraced in marketing strategies, those who
advocate for their rights claim that it is necessary to copyright their knowledge for just

compensation and as a way of guaranteeing their security (see Cunningham 1993; Brush
1993).
24
These questions return us to a point made earlier: the significance of Amazonia
from a global perspective may always remain problematic for indigenous peoples since the
leverage exerted by core countries still remains overwhelming for peripheral, developing
nations. While the rhetoric of “green consumerism” appears to extend due rights and
recognition to those who harbor natural resources and their knowledge use, there are
disputes which remain to be resolved in terms of extending patent rights and other benefits
that would necessarily accrue to those in posession of this type of information. Take, for
instance, the U.S. position with regard to patent rights concerning the active principles of
plant material. This issue was raised in the Rio Earth Summit meeting of 1992 and was
controversial in that the U.S. refrained from ratifying and extending patent rights to
countries which are home to much of the genetic material used to develop synthetic
products in first world laboratories.
Now that Amazonia is assessed in terms of its gene-bank potential, will the role
that indigenous and folk peoples play in terms of informing us about natural resources in
any way contribute to their own well-being? This question is posited by many because it
raises a major doubt about the possibility of empowering indigneous peoples in the
process of harnessing their knowledge of natural resources. Moreover, the involvement of
indigneous peoples in marketing strategies to peddle off their materials and knowledge
may also prove problematic in terms of compromising their culture (Posey 1993).
Additionally, it has been pointed out that while tropical ecosystems have been little
exploited for their full benefit, there has been an “over-ecologizing” rhetoric, or “eco-

25
babble,” concerning the benefits that tropical forests will hold for humanity-while the
social concerns of these regions remain largely overlooked (Nugent 1990; Karliner 1993;
Fatheuer 1993: cited in Singer 1993: 172). Thus, at this juncture, there are a number of
interests converging on the Amazon region represented in the way of governments,
laboratories and conservation groups, which hope to hold sway in the region’s future.
While the discourse which favors indigenous knowledge advocates for their rights, it does
not conceal the fact that the rational use of natural resources is a “we” issue, a matter
which concerns us all and our future. Thus, in order to “sell” conservation it must be
shown that this concept is a material question which addresses everyone’s well-being
(Plotkin 1982). With these considerations in mind, we are witness to a series of interest
groups jockeying for position under the banner of eco-discourse.
These latter reflections return us to a point previously made, namely, that the
mechanisms involved in drawing the Guajá into contact and settlement pertain to the
globalization of the world economy, the interdependency of countries, and development
issues. But many indigenous societies are unaware of all of these issues pertaining to
them. Yet while they are far and removed from most discussions regarding their
articulation with mainstream society and resource questions, these unresolved issues
continue to be debated as indigenous peoples are steadily drawn into the orbit of
mainstream relations and networks.
Thesis Organization and Methodology
This introductory discussion leads into the next chapter which will outline Guajá
ethnohistory and regional ecology. It will look at the social and historical processes which

26
brought the Guajá into contact and draw a broad sketch of their habitat’s ecology and
resources.
Chapters III and IV will examine the time-allocation studies I conducted among
the Guajá to show how they budget their time. As we will see in a comparison of the
three Indian Posts, there are differences and similarities in the time each community
devotes to various activities. Chapter III will be primarily organized around subsistence
pursuits while Chapter IV will portray a general profile of other Guajá daily activities. I
will discuss some of the methdological assumptions, procedures and problems associated
with time-allocation studies as these considerations had to be weighed in terms of time,
provenience and study feasibility to successfully perform this research task. I carried out
over 6,000 spot-checks in all three research communities, Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti
which translates into approximately 2,000 observations in each community. This material
will help to compare and contrast each of the study communities in order to determine
how they differ in terms of time investments in subsistence, social engagements, leisure,
and other activities. I will describe the nature of these activities and how people engage in
them in order to flesh out the characteristics of time investments. This will also reveal the
nature of social interaction between the Guajá as well as providing us with a glimpse at the
social relations and involvement they have with the FUNAI personnel which administer
the Indian Posts.
Chapter V will look at Guajá hunting and subsistence data. I collected 229 days of
hunting data which breaks down as follows for each of the Guajá villages: for Post Guajá,
I compiled 89 days of hunting harvests; at Post Awá, hunting yields for 78 days were
collected, while at Post Juriti 62 days of hunting activities were recorded. I will describe

27
the data collection procedures and also discuss subsistence yields in terms of production
and availability of resources for the Guaja. The differences between villages is reflective
of the the length of contact, hunting pressures, weapon technology and foraging strategies.
Other differences to be discussed in this chapter will be the variation between individuals
and the the particular yields they obtained in foraging efforts.
Chapter VI will look at dietary and anthropometric data. I also collected over six
weeks of dietary data in all three Guajá villages. Dietary data collection entailed direct
observation of food consumption, and weighing of food, as well as performing dietary
recall tasks with informants. This data was complemented by collecting anthropometric
data for all three Guajá communities in order to assess seasonal differences among and
between villages. Anthropometric data was also collected to evaluate dietary
requirements for the Guajá. All of these data are useful in terms of building data for
comparison with other indigenous groups of lowland South America and other foraging
communities, in addition to evaluating the consequences of contact.
The conclusions of this thesis will be presented in Chapter VII. I will synthesize
the material presented in the foregoing chapters to draw conclusions about the Guajá
experience of contact, settlement, and adoption of new resource strategies. These closing
observations will refer to the issues raised in this introductory chapter regarding
indigenous adaptation to tropical ecosystems as well as the consequences of contact
between the Guajá and Brazilian national society. In all, this dissertation represents an
initial step in studying the Guajá. Hopefully, the material we bring together in the form of
collaborative research should contribute to developing not only a traditional ethnography

28
of these people, but also to the rights and privileges they should enjoy as new and
emerging members of a democratic nation state.
Notes
1 Since this study, this site has been officially established as Indian Post Tiracambu, and is
no longer a FUNAI observation outpost. After I completed this research, approximately
30 Guajá individuals from Post Awá have gone to reside in the vicinity of this new Indian
Post. The main reason cited by these individuals was that resources near Post Awá were
drained, and as a result, they departed for Indian Post Tiracambu.
2 Thus, hunter-gatherer studies can now embrace a multitude of societies and
terminologies to study groups that once practiced a hunting and gathering life-style. For
example, some revisionists question the use of the term ‘hunter-gatherer’ instead of
‘gatherer-hunter’ since many of these societies spend more time gathering natural
resources than in hunting—not to mention the greater caloric contributions these groups
obtain in their diets from gathering than from hunting. These revisions also imply the
greater role that women contribute to the subsistence economy of these societies (cf.
Dahlberg 1981). Morever, biological terms like ‘foraging’ have also been introduced in
hunter-gatherer studies to embrace ecological-evolutionary concepts (see Lee 1993).
3 Nugent (1997) refers to the vagueness of the term caboclo and the implications of its
historical construction. For example, while many regional peasants refer to themselves as
caboclos, the term is still rather ambiguous for it does not necessarily stand for a particular
ethnic group, per se. For purposes of this dissertation, caboclo generally refers to non-
indigenous peasantry of the Brazilian Amazon.

CHAPTER II
GUAM ETHNOHISTORY, FIELD SETTING, AND REGIONAL ECOLOGY
In this chapter, I will draw on documentary research and personal accounts to
present a general picture of the Guajá’s background, contact history and settlement. In this
manner, the Guajá are compared with other groups pertaining to the Tupí-Guaraní
linguistic family and are also presented in terms of their personal history. Their own
history has also shed light on the nature of contact that ensued in the wake of Amazonian
development projects, and subsequent involvement with Brazil’s Indian Service, FUNAI.
I will close this chapter by presenting a brief sketch of the field setting where I worked
among the Guajá and conclude with a general description of the Guajá’s habitat with an
attempt to highlight this regions’s biological and ecological characteristics, particularly
with emphasis on the environmental features which influence this group’s mode of living.
Guajá Ethnohistory
Both Gomes (1988, 1989) and Balée (1984, 1994) speculate that during pre-
Columbian times the Guajá formed part of a larger cultural complex together with other
Tupi-Guaraní groups of the lower Amazon region.1 It is possible that they were part of
what was considered to be a fairly homogeneous culture which included other indigenous
groups of this area such as the Parakana, Assurini, Urubu-Ka’apor, Amanajós, Anambé,
Tenetehara, in addition to other indigenous groups which are probably now extinct
(Gomes 1989: 4). With the onset of Portuguese colonial settlement and expansion in this
29

30
region, these groups dispersed and steadily became subdivided and fragmented, part and
parcel of the large demographic decline experienced by the indigenous groups of Brazil
during this period (Hemming 1978, 1987).
Until the early days of the 19th century, the Guajá probably lived in the vicinity of
the lower Tocantins river basin and the upper Moju river watershed area, both locales
situated in the current Brazilian state of Pará (see Figure 1.2). It is probable that the
Guajá began to disperse in an easterly direction during the Cabanagem upheavel which
occured during the years of 1835-1840. The Cabanagem was a civil war that pitted
Amazonia’s former colonial vassals against the region’s new elite, which had established
itself after Brazil gained its independence from Portugal in 1822. That this insurrection
could have also spilled over into adjacent indigenous communities is a distinct possbility as
many of the warring contingents consisted of acculturated Indians and mixed-blood
peoples (Balée 1994: 34).
The eastward course of migration taken by the Guajá in the direction of Maranhao
state was also tread by the Urubu-Ka’apor at approximately the same time. Both groups
had developed a series of skirmishes between one another over territorial disputes and the
Guajá turned out to be the more vulnerable in these conflicts as the Urubu-Ka’apor had a
numerical advantage over them. Hemming (1978: 496) speculated that the Guajá
numbered aproximately 2,000 individuals during pre-Columbian times while the Urubu-
Ka’apor probably had a population of about 3,000.2 In later years, during the 1930s, the
Urubu-Ka’apor acquired firearms which rendered the Guajá even more vulnerable during
these conflicts. Yet during the 1950s, the Urubu-Ka’apor suffered some demographic

losses and lost some territorial positions to the Guajá in the region of the Turiaqu river
headwaters in Maranháo. FUNAI intervened in the conflicts between these two groups
31
and hostilities ceased to exist between them in 1975, as part of an unwritten policy, Pax
Brasil liana, to quell all inter-Indian conflicts. Relations with the Urubu-Ka’apor are now
fairly amicable and there is even a marriage between a Guajá man from the Post Guajá
community with an Urubu-Ka’apor woman from the village of Urutawy, both currently
residing at the husband’s village located on the Alto Turia For quite some time, the Guajá proved to be rather elusive and avoided contact
with any group of Indians or neo-Brazilians. Travelers in Maranháo occasionally reported
sighting the Guajá but contact was infrequent and very brief during those periods. Many
accounts of the Guajá were reported by other indigenous groups to settlers and travelers
of the Pindaré region. This was the case of the small entry written by Curt Nimuendajú in
the Handbook of South American Indians (1949: 135-36) who travelled to this area in
1912 and obtained a brief and succinct account of the Guajá from the Tembé Indians, and
later from the Guajajara in 1929. In this account, Nimuendajú was told that the Guajá
were a nomadic people and frequently avoided contact with others. They were said to
possess a very simple material culture with the distinguishing characteristics being their
long bows and arrows, a short haircut in the form of an inverted bowl for both sexes, no
facial adornments, and no clothing except for the tucnm palm (Astrocaryum vulgare) fiber
skirt woven and worn by the Guajá women. The women also used a sling to carry babies,
which was also manufactured from tucum fiber. Moreover, observers made note of other
characteristics such as the absence of agriculture, a hunting and gathering mode of

32
subsistence, and a large dependence on the fruit of the babafu palm (Attalea speciosa).
Others also noted that their dwellings and hunting camps were very temporary, makeshift,
and simple. They also possessed a large number of pets, principally howler monkeys
(Beghin 1950). Travellers also pointed out that the Guajá lived in very small social groups
of two to four families (Dodt 1939) and Nimuendajú added that the Guajá and Tembé had
similar languages and, as such, they were able to comprehend each other. My own
experience with the Guajá revealed, too, that their language is almost mutually intelligible
with the Guajajara, whose language they claim to be easier to comprehend than that of
their other present-day neighbors, the Urubu-Ka’apor.
That the Guajá lacked agriculture perhaps served as the primary cause for their
raiding the crops of their indigneous neighbors, such as the Tembé, Urubu-Ka’apor and
Guajajara. As Nimuendajú reported, when the Guajá were caught, they were killed or at
least beaten and imprisoned. He also noted that on one occasion the Urubu-Ka’apor
Indians raided and massacred a Guajá camp. Ribeiro (1996: 282) also commented that the
Urubu-Ka’apor scapegoated the Guajá by unloading their hostilities upon them, especially
after the Urubu-Ka’apor suffered the bewildering impacts of disease and death from
contact with white people.
During another incident, circa 1910-11, the Tembé mentioned that they spotted a
group of Guajá Indians stealing crops from one of their agricultural plots and pursued
these individuals. When the Tembé caught up with this small group, the Guajá capitulated
without struggle, although they were armed with bows and arrows. The Tembé brought

33
these individuals back to their camp as captives and reported that they all eventually died
of intestinal maladies after eating the cooked and seasoned food of their captors.
Nimuendajú also listed a host of names that were ascribed/assigned to the Guajá by
other groups. He mentioned that both groups of Tenetehara Indians (Guajajara and
Tembé) referred to the Guajá as Wazaizara (wazai, an ornament of small tufts of feathers
stuck with wax in the hair, plus zara, “owner”). For their part, the Amanayé Indians
referred to the Guajá as Aiayé, while the term Guajá is said to be a neo-Brazilian
corruption of Gwazá. As for the Guajá, they refer to themselves as Awá, which means
“person,” “man,” or “people”. Only after permanent contact was established with the
Guajá in 1973, did it become evident that these reports by early travelers were limited for
lack of sustained interaction with these indigenes. The gamut of their activities was not
known, neither were many aspects of their material culture, social organization or
language.
Based on this smattering of scant reports, Nimuendajú situated the Guajá Indians
between the Capim and Gurupi rivers, in the state of Pará, and extending into Maranhao.
In Maranhao, the Guajá were thought to occupy the interfluvial zones located between the
upper courses of the Gurupi and the Pindaré rivers. Gomes (1989: 5) speculates that as of
1950 perhaps all living groups of Guajá individuals were residing east of the Gurupi river,
in the state of Maranhao (see Figure 1.1). He also notes that this was probably the result
of the fact that many Guajá groups west of the Gurupi river, in the state of Pará, were
exterminated and unable to survive the constant pressure from the expansion of neo-
Brazilians and other Indian groups. There are some incidents, however, which report the

34
existence and brief appearence of some Guajá groups in that area. FUNAI (1995: personal
communication) reports, for example, that Urubu-Ka’apor Indians have recently sighted
some Guajá near the banks of the Gurupi river in the state of Pará, on the Alto Guamá
Indian Reserve.
When Brazil’s Indian Protection Service [Servido de Prote?ao ao indio (SPI)]
established its first Indian Post in Maranháo in 1913, on the confluence of the Caru and
Pindaré rivers, it took note of the Guajá presence in that state. In 1914 a report was
prepared by this outpost which noted the presence of Guajá Indians near the Pindaré river.
Until the SPI was disbanded in 1967, many brief and sporadic encounters were made with
the Guajá. Former funtionaries of the Indian Service indicate that many of the Guajá
suffered from this contact in the way of illness, disease and death, as well as by hostile
encounters with the Urubu-Ka’apor and Tenetehara Indians. Gomes (1989: 5) further
notes that during the course of these years of sporadic contact, and even during the initial
series of contacts subsequently established by FUNAI, the Guajá were viewed in a
derogatory manner and written off as a hopeless case, because of their simplicity,
nomadism, and their presumed indifference to the advantages which they could accrue
through western goods and services - all of which they could have acquired had they
chosen to live a sedentary lifestyle. Thus, they were deemed as “indomitable” by the state
agency charged to look after them as well as by other principle actors of the region such
as traders (regatoes), ranchers and the patron class.
Both the Tenetehara Indians and former SPI workers reported that the Guajá were
frequently the targets of “extermination” groups which would form posses in local towns

or recently established communities of the expanding frontier located in the Turiagu and
Pindaré river valleys. One such incident occurred in 1948 in the muncipio (county) of
35
Amarante in Maranháo state in retaliation against a group of Guajá Indians who attacked a
woman washing clothes along a riverbank. The “avengers” boasted of liquidating a large
number of Indians while other accounts of skirmishes with the Guajá were reported by
people who travelled in the region of the upper Pindaré river. When the interstate
highway, BR-222, was under construction between Santa Inés and Imperatriz, other
reports relate incidents of planned attacks against the Guajá which allegedly resulted in
many casualties for these indigenes. As Gomes (1989: 6) pointed out, whether these
reports are, in fact, true does not diminish the nature of contact nor the general state of
besiege and subsequent decline suffered by the Guajá in this region. While some groups of
Guajá, for certain, perished unbeknownst to outsiders, other bands have probably merged.
Then, again, the surviving groups are still undergoing many of the maladies which result
from direct or indirect contact with Brazilian nationals.
For a number of years, since the 1940s, the SPI attemped to “pacify” the Guajá. In
1943 it actually managed to contact a small group of Guajá who approached the Indian
Post of Gonsalves Dias (later established as Indian Post Pindaré), approximately 10
kilometers from Santa Inés. Yet for all of its efforts the SPI was not able to maintain
sustained contact with members of this group, or with other Guajá bands, which were
occasionally sighted along the banks of the Pindaré river and one of its affluents, the
Buriticupu river. Some years later, in 1969, briefly after the SPI was succeeded by
FUNAI, anthropology student Fiorello Parise was called upon to “rescue” a group of

36
three Guajá Indians who were temporarily hosted in a squatter family compound on the
Caru river, the main affluent of the Pindaré river. Gomes (ibid, ^peculates that this small
group represents the survivors of a larger group which was decimated by the first
incursion of settlers to this region who squatted along the eastern banks of the Caru river.
This small group was relocated to a Tenetehara village, presently known as Indian Post
Caru on the Caru Indian Reserve. Only one member of this band still survives after being
incorporated into the Tenetehara tribe among whom he resides, married to a woman of
that community.
In March, 1973, a small FUNAI search party was formed to attempt contact with a
small group of Guajá Indians who were sighted by a regional hunter. This backwoodsman
had actually contacted some of these individuals and traded with them on occasion.
Subsequently, he informed a local acquaintance of his, Florindo Diniz, also a regional
hunter who had recently joined FUNAI, of the presence of the Guajá near the upper
Turiayu The search party consisted of anthropologist Valéria Parise, José Carlos
Meirelles, son of a former SPI employee, Jairo Patusco, and Florindo Diniz. This team
negotiated the upper courses of the Turiaqu river and contacted a group of 13 Guajá
Indians in this vicinity, who approached them asking for food. Coincidentally, the site of
this first contact is located near a former Urubu-Ka’apor village, situated near a cluster of
babaqu palms, an artifact of this latter group’s agricultural activities. FUNAI subsequently
brought and displayed wares such as pots, pans, machetes and food, to attract and settle
this group of Guajá. Other related groups of Guajá were attracted to this sight and
gradually settled in this locale along with the original group of thirteen people. FUNAI

37
reports that approximately five or six Guajá bands were attracted to this location, totalling
91 individuals in 1976. Shortly thereafter, FUNAI intensified its efforts to keep this group
settled and as a result many of these Indians contracted pneumonia, influenza, and malaria.
FUNAI was less than prepared to manage this contact in a competent manner as it did not
harbor a permanent health crew to negotiate this transition. The results were staggering.
Of the original group of 91 individuals, only 25 survived through 1980 (Gomes 1989: 7).
The outcome of this initial contact left the survivors disoriented and languishing in
state of shock. The group was slow to rebound as this demographic decline took a
heavier toll on its female members. This settlement later became established as Indian
Post Guajá, and during my research this community hosted a population of 45 individuals
with a proportion of approximately three adult men to one female of reproductive age. ’
This disparity between the sexes has led to the establishment of some polyandrous
marriages and has also created tension between certain men. This group slowly
recuperated, yet in a manner which saw it developing a dependent relationship with
FUNAI’s Indian Post, later established as Post Guajá, in 1978, when the Indian Reserve of
Alto Turia?u was officially demarcated. The individuals of this community began to settle
down to a semi-sedentary lifestyle and were embraced as laborers by FUNAI to help build
and maintain the post, clear horticultural plots, hunt and fish for FUNAI workers, in
addition to a number of other services and activities which the Indian Service saw fit to
engage the Guajá. The recovery is still slow as it is still plagued by an occasional outbreak
of malaria, influenza and other maladies, which come indirectly by way of land invasions in
addition to lax FUNAI standards, which do not require any form of prior medical

38
screening before admitting Indian Service personnel onto Indian Reserves. In 1985, for
example, a FUNAI report indicates that it hired an ex-gold miner (garimpeiro) who had
worked in the Serra Pelada mine of Pará state, and was later admitted to this Indian
Reserve without a medical examination. Prior to his arrival, this individual had contracted
Malaria falciparum and introduced this strain of malaria to the Alto Turia Reserve, hitherto thought to have not existed in this particular region.4
The community at Post Guajá now has a fairly amicable relationship with the
Urubu-Ka’apor Indians of Urutawy village (Indian Post Zé Gurupi) which is located
approximately 19 kilometers east of Indian Post Guajá on the Alto Turiaqu Reserve (see
Figure 1.1). Members of each community visit one another on occasion and the resulting
interaction often involves bartering food for wares, exchanging information about hunting
and game availability, and also unites some of these individuals on ritual and festive
occasions. While FUNAI acted as a go-between for the marriage arrangement previously
mentioned, between a Guajá man and an Urubu-Ka’apor woman, it also discourages
frequent contact between both communities. The Indian Service claims that during these
visits, the Urubu-Ka’apor frequently take advantage of the Guajá as the latter do not have
as much experience or power of persuasion as the former in negotiating exchanges. The
results, they claim, are that the Urubu-Ka’apor will often hoodwink the Guajá or walk
away with a better deal in these negotiations. Indeed, these types of situations do transpire
between both groups and it is through the influence of the Urubu-Ka’apor Indians that
members of the Post Guajá community grew interested in planting and selling rice in
exchange for cash.5

39
During the first years of sustained contact, the middle courses of the Pindaré and
Caru rivers became sites for new neo-Brazilian migrant squatters to penetrate and settle.
Some Guajá groups were contacted in this process while others retreated further into the
forested areas. On one of these occasions, an entire band of Guajá died except for two
young boys. News of the two youths was passed on by local settlers and FUNAI asked
anthropologist Valeria Parise to provide safe conduct for them to the Indian Service’s
Boarding House in Sao Luis.6 One of the youths died three years later of tuberculosis
while the other was later transferred to Indian Post Guajá, where he was primarily raised
at the FUNAI outpost by members of the Indian service. He also resided briefly among the
Tenetehara and Gaviáo Indians of Maranhao and later became an interpreter for FUNAI.
Eventually, he was incorporated into FUNAI’s Guajá Program and currently serves as a
salaried employee for the Indian Service. This individual, Get, is perhaps the most
acculturated of the Guajá Indians and is currently married to a neo-Brazilian woman from
a local community bordering the Caru Indian Reserve. He was also previously married to
another neo-Brazilian woman from whom he is now separated. In both unions this Gei
fathered a child.
In the 1970s, during the paving of route BR-070 (which connects Sao Luis to
Belém), a small band of six Guajá approached a crew of construction workers. Members
of this band were eventually transferred to the FUNAI boarding house of Sao Luis and
were subsequently placed on the nearest Indian Post where they were left to their luck and
died of ill health. On another occasion, a small group of Guajá Indians were sighted near
the Gaviáo-Pukobye reserve in the municipio of Amarante. One of the Guajá women was

40
apprehended with her daughter and both were taken to the FUNAI boarding house of Sao
Luis, where both fell victims to ill health. The mother eventually died while the daughter
was raised by nurses at the boarding house. She was later transferred to the Gaviao
reserve and is currently married to a man of that ethnic group and has no knowledge of
her ethnic origins or culture (Gomes ibid.)
In 1980 a group of three Guajá approached a working crew of settlers who were
clearing a plot of land near the headwaters of Timbira creek, an affluent of the Pindaré
river. There were earlier reports of this group in the region by local settlers in the vicinity
of the middle and lower courses of the creek. Vestiges of this Pindaré group often
appeared in the form of abandoned camps and skeletons. By the early 1980s, the Guajá of
Pindaré were completely enclosed by the expanding frontier and some of them had on one
occasion, been shot at by a local farmer who ambushed them on his cornfield. The Guajá
of Pindaré were famished because their principal resource base, the baba?u palm clusters,
were being cut down to make way for settler expansion of agricultural fields. FUNAI
caught wind of this shooting incident and organized a search party to contact the Guajá.
This search party was formed by two FUNAI agents, a medical doctor and anthropologist
Mércio Gomes. When contact was made with the Guajá of Pindaré, FUNAI discovered
that it formed part of a larger band consisting of 28 individuals. Some of them were
suffering the effects of influenza while others were showing signs of malnutrition. The
members of this search team decided quickly that it was time to transfer this band of Guajá
to the Caru Indian Reserve as they were completely surrounded by an ever approaching
front of settlers. The Caru Indian Reserve was only 30 kilometers to the west of the

41
contact site and it already harbored some groups of Guajá individuals in addition to a
larger contingent of Tenetehara Indians. Yet the relocation was very tenuous as members
of the search party had to negotiate the Guajá band through forested areas to avoid
contact with local settlements. Gomes (1989: 8) reports that in spite of FUNAI
indecisiveness and lack of logistical support, the transfer was managed with the help of
local farmers and two Catholic priests from Brazil’s Indigenist Missionary Council
(CIMI), as well as two Guajá individuals from Post Guajá. Between June and September
of that year the Pindaré Guajá were eventually transferred to the Caru Indian Reserve, yet
along the way four adults and three children died of influenza. A total of 21 Guajá
individuals were successfully transferred to the Caru Indian Reserve and settled along the
banks of the Presidio Creek, an affluent of the Pindaré river. Near this location a second
Indian Post was established as a support center for the Guajá, and was denominated as
Posto Indígena Awá (Indian Post Awá) in 1983. Today this community consists of 94
individuals. Although other individuals also died as a result of contact, this sharp rise in
population is both the result of a large number of births and the incorporation of other
isolated Guajá groups which were eventually contacted and incorporated in the Posto
Indígena Awá community. Gomes (ibid.) also reports that one of the community leaders
of Posto Awá was very instrumental in attracting other Guajá through his persuasive skills
and ability to incorporate people into his village.
A few years later, in an area south of the Caru Indian Reserve, four Guajá
appeared in the back yard of a settler farm, located on a settlement established by a
government land-issue project for colonists [Grupo Executivo de Terras do

42
Araguaia/Tocantins (GETAT)]. Although this small group of Guajá could barely pose a
formidable threat, it was the cause of great concern and consternation among settlers in
that area, especially after this group killed and ate some of their pigs. In 1986, FUNAI
reported that settlers residing in the hamlet of Brejo Santo Antonio near Kilometer 426 of
the Carajás railway were frightened by these individuals as they threatened to shoot
anyone who attempted to approach them. Shortly afterwards, a member of this group
attacked and shot a CVRD tractor operator, who was working on a road adjacent to the
Carajás railway. Another person was shot by this group when he was rowing a canoe and
yet a third person was also attacked but not harmed. Both CVRD and FUNAI were
alerted to these incidents, and the local press sent out alarming notices about the presence
of Indians along the Carajás corridor. A discussion ensued about the possibility of
establishing an additional Indian Reserve of 2,500 hectares in this area but these
deliberations did not materialize into any land gain for this group as the area under
consideration would conflict with land claims previously established by existing farms and
settlements. What was finally decided was that FUNAI would locate and transfer them to
the Caru Indian Reserve. After a few attempts to contact the group had failed, in 1987
they were finally persuaded to approach the FUNAI search party with the assistance of
other Guajá individuals from the Post Awá community. By that time, one of these
individuals had died and the remaining three people were convinced by the other Guajá to
accompany them to the Caru Indian Reserve.
The group, made up of two men and one woman, was slow to integrate itself into
the community. They were the last remnants of a group which orginally consisted of nine

43
individuals, as reported by the residents of Brejo Santo Antonio. Although they speak the
same language as the Guajá in the Post Awá community, they were marginalized by
members of that village as they were essentially considered “outsiders”. The Guajá from
the Post Awá community refer to these individuals as mihua, a term which designates
someone who is strange, savage and dirty. These individuals were eventually embraced by
members of the Post Awá community through a form of indentured servitude. They are
often enlisted to perform menial tasks by members of the principal band that settled into
that community, yet in return, a member of the mihua group had a couple of young girls
betrothed to him for his services. While these individuals are slowly gaining acceptance
and respect in the Post Awá community they are occasionally reminded of their position as
mihuas, as they are sometimes the butt of jokes, and the object of occasional outbursts of
aggressive behavior.
Indentureship will often figure in the life of a stray Guajá individual who does not
constitute part of the united bands brought together at FUNAI outposts. For example, a
couple of Guajá boys were encountered by local famers in 1975 and later sent to the
FUNAI boarding house of Sao Luis. These young boys were brothers and were later
transferred to Indian Post Guajá. One of the boys died while the other was incorporated
into a family unit of that community. He now enjoys the benefits and privileges of that
community and has since married, in addition to having a young girl betrothed to him, yet
it so happens that he is also the hardest worker among the members at the Post Guajá
village. A similar type of arrangement also occurs at the Post Awá community in relation
to a young boy who was found in the forest by one of the Guajá men who was hunting in

44
the vicinity of the Pindaré creek. This lad was eventually adopted by the main band of the
Post Awá community and performs many of the menial tasks and heavy labor assigned to
him by members of his foster family. In these latter cases, none of the individuals were
referred to as mihuas, rather, they were embraced into their adopted families and referred
to by their proper names.7
To the south of the Caru Indian Reserve, other groups of Guajá have been sighted
by local peasant groups and settlers. FUNAI had heard stories of a group of Guajá which
consisted of about three to four different families and dispatched another search party to
contact these people. Apparently, only two women and their children were encountered
and they told the search party that their husbands had died of illnesses contracted through
contact with local farmers or lumbermen of the region. FUNAI still speculates that there
are other survivors of this group trekking through the region. In the Arariboia Indian
Reserve, located southwest of the Caru Indian Reserve, there have been yet other reports
of two Guajá groups, totalling perhaps 30 individuals. Gomes (1989: 9) believes that some
potential conflict could ensue between the Guajá and the officially established group of
Tenetehara Indians located on the reserve, who number approximately 4,000 people. In
this case, there is much speculation as to whether contact and eventual settlement could be
negotiated and conducted smoothly in such a manner that would promote a peaceful co¬
existence between the two ethnic groups. Otherwise, newly contacted Guajá groups
would have to be transferred to another Indian Reserve.
This group formed part of a larger contingent of Guajá in times past and was the
target of the revenge posse previously mentioned, which organized itself in the town of

45
Amarante and later boasted of killing many Indians. In 1968 a member of the Arariboia
group shot a local peasant while he was clam-digging near their catchment area in the
company of some Tenetehara Indians. In 1977, another part of the group, consisting of
about 10 to 20 persons, was found in south-central Maranháo on the Gaviáo Indian
Reserve. As noted before, the Gaviao apprehended a woman and her daughter. The rest
of the group immediately took refuge in an area adjacent to the Krikati Indian Reserve and
proceeded to move in a southerly direction as they anticipated being encircled by
encroaching settlements in the forested areas to the north of this region.
In 1978, while this part of the Arariboia group was searching for domestic animals
on a farmstead in the muncipio of Porto Franco in southwestern Maranháo state, they
were spotted by a dog which alerted local gunmen (jagungos) to their presence. The
jagungos charged after the group and a young Guajá boy of approximately ten years of
age was captured and taken to the jail of Porto Franco, where local police called on
FUNAI to come and identify the youth. The boy was later transferred to the FUNAI
boarding house of Sao Luis and subsequently relocated to Post Guajá on the Alto Turiagu
Indian Reserve, where he lives till this day. He was brought up at the FUNAI Indian Post
during most of his growing years and is “unofficially” this outpost’s hunter and also serves
as an interpreter who brokers information for both visitors and FUNAI workers in the
Alto Turia^u Indian Reserve. This young adult man, ciramuküciá, christened by FUNAI
as Bemvindo Guajá,8 was referred to earlier as the person who married an Urubu-Ka’apor
woman from the Urutawy village and this union has produced a pair of children, a girl, and
a boy who recently died of intestinal problems.

46
FUNAI retraced the steps of the attack made on Bemvindo’s group in the
municipio of Porto Franco and the number of skeletons located at the site of the ambush
revealed that at least four or five individuals had been murdered by the jagungos. No
measures were taken to bring these perpetrators or their bosses to justice (Gomes, ibid ).
In the meantime, the other survivors of this group are believed to have fled south, reaching
the municipio of Goiatins, in the present-day state of Tocantins. Between 1980 and 1985,
reports from that area indicated the presence of four or five Indians in the region of the
Serra da Canastra (Canastra plateau). A few years later, in September of 1988, an
unknown Indian appeared before a crew of construction workers who were road-building
in the municipio of Barreiras, in the state of Bahia. This individual was initially mistaken
for an Ava-Canoeiro Indian and was later taken to FUNAI headquarters in the Brazilian
capital of Brasilia. As FUNAI suspected that this man could be a Guajá Indian, they flew
Bemvindo Guajá from Maranhao to Brasilia to identify the individual. As it happened, the
man in question turned out to be Bemvindo’s father, Karapiru, who was separated from
him during the ambush of Porto Franco ten years earlier, in 1978.9 This was a happy
reunion for both father and son, who were then flown back to Maranhao to reside at the
Post Guajá community on the Alto Turia<;u Indian Reserve. There, they resided together
for about a year and Karapiru then asked to go live among the Guajá at the Post Awá
community on the Caru Indian Reserve.
Karapiru’s meanderings through the Brazilian countryside saw him trek through
plateaus, forests, cerrados, and at the edge of local farms and ranches where he would
occasionally make a swift raid to kill livestock and then retreat to the forest. He avoided

47
contact with anyone for a long time and his return to the Guajá community was somewhat
cumbersome, psychologically speaking, as he had difficulty in speaking, expressing
himself, and relating to other people during the early days of his reintegration. Yet his
arrival was gradually accepted among the Guajá as he gained their respect for being a
good hunter and sharing his kills with other individuals of the Post Awá village, as well as
taking active participation in other working tasks. Today he is married to the daughter of
one of the community’s leaders. From this marriage he has a son. Additionally, at the
time of this study, Karapiru also had an 11-year-old girl betrothed to him.
Another member of Karapiru's original group wandered still further afield from
the original Guajá catchment area in Maranhao. He was found in the Brazilian state of
Minas Gerais in 1989 and was located and apprehended by local police, after a brief but
harmless struggle, in reponse to regional farmers reporting the disappearance of livestock
from their compounds. Later, the young man, Yakarecl, was flown to Brasilia for
identification at FUNAI headquarters. Another young man from the Post Awá community,
Irikatako 'a, was flown to Brasilia to identify Yakarecl and once he was confirmed to be
a Guajá individual FUNAI had both men flown back to the community of Post Awá.
Yakarecl was adopted by the main family unit of this community and has been engaged
in service for them since he arrived there. His arrival did not turn out to be as welcome as
that of his relative, Karapiru, as he does not take on working chores with as much zeal as
the latter. His acceptance, however, has been expressed in the form of the betrothal of a
young girl to him. It is interesting to observe, as well, that members of the Post Awá
community have indicated that these two individuals, Karapiru and Yakarecl, are not

48
full-fledged people, as the Guajá consider themselves to be. They do enjoy, however, a
more elevated status than the group referred to as mihuas.10
With the formation of these two FUNAI Indian Posts (Guajá and Awá) a program
for the support of the Guajá people was established by the Indian Service in 1985.
Anthropologist Mércio Gomes was selected as the program’s first coordinator and he
established a list of priorities to implement a sustainable support project for the Guajá.
This program was developed in response to the World Bank’s plans to loan funds to the
CVRD for construction of the Carajás railway. CVRD obtained a loan in the order of
U S. $304.5 million to build the railroad and the World Bank and European Economic
Community stipulated a condition which would require that the state-owned company set
aside US. $13.6 million in support of the indigenous communities located within the
Carajás area of influence. An arbitrary measure was set which would provide support to
those indigenous communities located within a radius of 100 kilometers of the railroad
(Vidal 1991). These funds would be earmarked to support these communities in areas
pertaining to their health, education, productive activities, yet primarily to establish Indian
land areas for official demarcation.
With CVRD support, FUNAI established Programa Awá in 1985 (The Awá
Program) and Gomes set as its initial priority the demarcation of a land area for the Guajá.
Since 1982, Gomes and members of CIMI had appealed to set aside a new and separate
land area for the Guajá and thus argued for the establishment of the Awá Indian Reserve
which would create a territorial corridor linking up the Alto Turiaqu and Caru Reserves
(see Figure 1.1). This initial proposal would have provided a sizeable area of land for the

49
Guajá covering approximately 276,000 hectares. There was some dispute, however, in
negotiating this initial land proposal as part of the intended area conflicted with a claim
made by the erstwhile Brazilian Forestry Service (IBDF).11 IBDF claimed that if this strip
of land were granted to FUNAI, it would compromise their own plans to establish the
Gurupi Biological Reserve, located in western Maranhao. The latter area had already been
established as a Forest Reserve in 1961 and was in the process of being instituted as a
biological reserve. The Awá Program intended to demarcate the Awá Indian Reserve by
1986 but internal political problems in FUNAI impeded this process. FUNAI eventually
conceded, and yielded the disputed land area to IBDF, subsequently renewing its request
for a new Guajá Reserve in 1988, this time reducing its proposal to an area of 147,000
hectares. Later, that same year, the proposed land area was reduced to approximately
65,700 hectares, and then renegotiated to 118,000 hectares by 1992. However, the
powerful economic interests of Maranhao state, with support from local politicians, have
continuously stalmated any effort to establish this reserve. These regional players have
employed various means to impede demarcation, such as setting up legal battles to dispute
the land claim, pitting regional colonists against the Indians, as well as intimidation (Folha
de Sao Paulo 1995a, 1995b).
FUNAI’s Awá Program deemed it necessary to establish this land corridor for a
number of reasons, the principal of which was to create an area ample enough for the
Guajá to conduct their livelihoods in a manner that would not compromise their culture or
security. This linkup would create one large tract of land for the Indians and reduce the
number of land invasions which is presently facilitated by maintaining the Alto Turia?u and

50
Caru Indian Reserves separated. Thus, a large, continuous reserve would present a more
formidable obstacle to encroachment upon these areas. Another major reason that Gomes
insisted in establishing the Awá Indian Reserve is that it would form a continguous area
with the Gurupi Biological Reserve, thereby adding increased protection for the watershed
areas of three major river systems pertaining to the Alto Turiaqu and Caru Indian reserves,
namely, the Turia^u, Caru and Gurupi rivers. As the Guajá are currently residing on
Indian Reserves which were originally demarcated to serve other indigenous groups, this
proposed land area would also provide them with a territory of their own, diminishing any
possible conflict which could potentially arise by sharing these estates with others.12
Another priority which Gomes insisted upon was that the Awá Program host a
permanent health crew, staffed with competent professionals and adequately equipped to
assist the Guajá coming into contact. As previous contact had proven to be very
deleterious for the Guajá, the Awá Program intended to implement a project policy that
would be sensitive to the Guajá’s ethnomedicine in terms of administering treatment and
offering advice. The administration of medical treatment among indigenous groups is a
delicate issue and cannot be reduced to a matter of offering counsel, administration of
western medicines, or dealing with epidemic ailments (Moore 1978). In order to
adequately address these issues, one would have to necessarily become versed in
indigenous concepts of health, illness, curing, disease and death - not to mention their
language. Unfortunately for the Awá Program, the FUNAI central administration did not
lend adequate support to Gomes’ health project and largely ignored his request.
Moreover, Gomes’ appeal that the Guajá be left to forage on their land, free of any

51
interference in the way of directing them towards settlement or adopting new modes of
production conflicted with an internal FUNAI mandate to integrate indigenous peoples to
mainstream society. These internal obstacles, coupled with other problems which occured
in the implementation of the Awá Program eventually frustrated any attempt which Gomes
had hoped to fulfill to successfully establish a sound project for the Guajá. Gomes left the
Awá Program in 1987 and in its place FUNAI implemented a new program under the title
of the Awá-Guajá Protection Service [Servido de Protegáo Awá-Guajá (SPAG)].
Another major problem which Gomes and other anthropologists encountered in
enlisting their services for FUNAI, to administer programs for the indigenous groups
impacted by the Carajás program, was the Indian Service’s mismanagement and
misapplication of funds provided by CVRD through the loan it had obtained from the
World Bank. Most observers agreed that spending priorities were indigenous health and
the demarcation of land areas, yet many claimed that FUNAI had actually used a
substantial amount of these funds to bolster its own infrastructure by constructing
buildings, and purchasing expensive equipment for its own use (Flowers 1992: personal
communication). This situation created much dissatisfaction between FUNAI and
professional consultants, and some anthropologists were prohibited from re-entering
indigenous areas or were kept at bay for a prolonged period of time. CVRD also became
reluctant to freely disburse funds at FUNAI’s request and this situation created mutual
antagonisms, such that both sides levelled accusations at one another. For FUNAI’s part,
it claimed that CVRD was responsible for undermining the indigenous projects as it was
not releasing its funds nor fulfilling its responsibilities according to the World Bank

52
contract. CVRD countered by stating that FUNAI had been remiss with its own
obligations and that it had diverted funds for its own ends. Amid these charges, CVRD
still realized that its obligations had to be met with the World Bank and it continued to
provide support for the indigenous part of the Carajás Program. It figured that if any
inappropriate handling of funds or shirking of contractual obligations actually occured,
FUNAI would have to answer for itself as, for its part, CVRD deemed that it had done its
share by providing support and money according schedule and contract.
Since Gomes’ departure from the Awá Program and FUNAI’s subsequent creation
of the Awá-Guajá Protection Service (SPAG), a new program was implemented by the
Indian Service to attract other groups of Guajá, settle them onto the Indian Reserves, and
introduce them to agriculture, in addition to providing ongoing medical support—all in
keeping with FUNAI’s mandate to integrate indigenous peoples. SPAG was staffed with
FUNAI career workers as well as functionaries which were sub-contracted by CVRD.1'’
This SPAG Protection Service is administered from its headquarters in Santa Inés,
Maranhao, which is located at the intersections of BR-316, BR-222, and the Carajás
railroad (see Figure 1.2). SPAG’s Santa Inés headquarters is termed Santa Inés Support
Center [Núcleo de Apoio Santa Inés (NASI)], which is charged with administering and
providing support to the four Indian Posts pertaining to the Protection Service, i.e., Post
Guajá, Post Awá, Post Juriti and Post Tiracambu. This service is performed by providing
transportation to and from Indian Posts, both for FUNAI workers and Indians; by
dispatching provisions, medicines and equipment to the outposts; making daily
communications with each of these units to send and receive information via CB radios, as

53
well as obtaining a brief log of each Post’s activities; serving as a liaison between outpost
members and FUNAI regional administrators; housing convalescing Indians and FUNAI
workers; managing FUNAI workers’ accounts and personal matters; and storing FUNAI
equipment such as outboard motors, guns, munitions, oil drums, etc. NASI also provides
information to outsiders about indigenous matters pertaining to the Guajá in the way of
documents and interviews and occasionally puts up visiting members of research teams
and human rights’ organizations.
SPAG was initiated with both FUNAI and CVRD funds and formed part of the
Indian Service’s Program for Isolated Indians (Programa de Indios Isolados). This
program is primarily tasked to protect groups of isolated and uncontacted Indians and,
when FUNAI deems it necessary, to attract these individuals and settle them on pre-
established reserves or other areas that may eventually become demarcated for them.
Gallois (1993: 121) estimates that there are approximately 50 indigenous groups which fall
under this category of “isolated Indian,” distributed throughout the Brazilian Amazon.
The notion of “isolated” is somewhat vague but generally refers to groups of Indians that
are remote and eschew contact with neo-Brazilians.14
The last Guajá community which was contacted and subsequently settled by
FUNAI was established as Indian Post Juriti in 1989, near the northern limits of the Caru
Indian Reserve, close to the banks of the Caru River. Sporadic sightings and encounters
between members of this community and local settlers began in the early to mid 1980s, in
the vicinity of Igarapé Água Preta (Black Water Creek), an affluent of the Caru river,
located near the headwaters of this watercourse. Some people of this community are

54
related to one of the main families of Post Awá and some of the Guajá from this latter
village assisted FUNAI in attracting, contacting and settling members of the present-day
Post Juriti village. FUNAI reports that members of this community initiated contact with
the Indian Service in July of 1989, although efforts were already under way to contact this
group by the mid 1980s. At the time of this study, 20 Guajá resided in the vicinity of Post
Juriti. Sixteen of these individuals were contacted in the vicinity of Igarapé Agua Preta.
There was also a family of three individuals which was contacted south of the Caru Indian
Reserve and eventually settled near Post Juriti. The last individual which resided near Post
Juriti at the time of this research was Gei, who lived with his neo-Brazilian wife and child
on a small, settler-type compound, with a house and farm plot, about two kilometers from
the Indian Post. By the time I had arrived at Post Juriti, in 1993, FUNAI had contacted
approximately 25 Guajá from this general area. Although no accurate records were kept,
it is estimated that about 6 of these people died during the contact experience.
When FUNAI succeeded Brazil’s former Indian Protection Service, SPI, in 1967,
it had essentially adopted the previous integrationsist policy of incorporating indigenous
groups in Brazilian society. Part and parcel of the former service’s integration policy was
the anticipation of a moving Brazilian frontier and a paternalistic vision of “protecting”
Indians. Later, the Indian Service adopted a misguided approach to Ribeiro’s
interpretation of Indian groups’ integration, whereby indigenous societies were
typologized according to the varying degrees of their isolation/contact with Brazilian
national society (1970: 446). Many anthropologists were to find problems with this view
as well as with FUNAI’s policy of integrating Indians into Brazilian mainstream society

55
(Campbell 1995: 218-219). While the SPI had adopted a policy of quick contact and
integration, such that it would intervene in the lives of newly contacted groups to speedily
involve them in produtive activites, FUNAI’s policy in relation to isolated groups entails a
prolonged plan to “protect,” attract, settle, and ultimately integrate these peoples in
Brazilian society. There are various approaches to this form of integration, among which
are the location and observation of isolated groups, patrolling and interdicting the
catchment area of these people, establishing observation posts, and in the event that
FUNAI anticipates an inter-ethnic encounter unavoidable, feasible and necessary, it
proceeds with contacting these individuals.
The criteria for attracting and settling these groups are fairly straightforward,
namely, to contact such groups when FUNAI assesses the isolated indigenes’ security to
be compromised. The process of contact can be very brief but can also entail a long and
drawn-out series of frustrated attempts, or open hostilities which the Indians can level at
FUNAI workers, until they feel comfortable enough to approach the contact team or be
approached. In some instances, members of contact teams are shot at by the Indians and
become fatally wounded in the process.
The situations which FUNAI determines as perilous to isolated indigenous
communities are generally related to the encroachments engendered by large-scale
development projects of the Amazon region. Contact with any of these groups has to be
authorized by FUNAI’s headquarters in Brasilia, which usually dispatches a search party
provisioned with supplies and equipment to locate and attract the indigenes in question.
Contact crews are often made up of regional FUNAI workers, sometimes accompanied by

56
one of the administrators from central headquarters in Brasilia. In the event that contact is
being attempted with a group that already has some members previously contacted,
FUNAI may enlist some of these individuals to assist the search as interpreters.15
These contact missions are sporadic as attraction and contact proceed slowly, with
FUNAI initiating the interaction by offering presents to the Indians. This approach to
contact has been employed since colonial times (Gallois 1992) and the gift offerings are
usually not offered directly to recipients. Gifts will consist of wares, such as machetes,
knives, pots, pans, mirrors, and sometimes food, which in most cases is manioc flour. The
search team will normally track down the whereabouts of isolated groups and place these
items in clear view, in a location where they anticipate the Indians will eventually visit.
Very often, a former campsite is selected as one of these gift-display sites, or an area
where the FUNAI team is confident that the Indians will transit through, en route to
another destination, such as a hunting trail or river bank.
The SPAG program is subordinated to FUNAJ’s regional district headquarters of
Belém, Pará. It is through this regional administrative unit [ Administrado Regional
(ADR)] where FUNAI services the indigenous communities of Pará and Amapá states.
Although the Guajá reside in Maranháo state, FUNAI support for this group is
administered through its Belém headquarters as this is where the regional coordinating
unit for isolated Indians is located. There are presently two indigenous groups which fall
under the category of “isolated Indians” that are administered through the Belém office:
the Guajá, as previously noted, and the Zo’e Indians of Pará state, another indigenous
group pertaining to the Tupí-Guaraní stock, located on the Cuminapanema Indian

57
Reserve. Maranhao state’s FUNAI headquarters does not presently accomodate an
administrative unit for that state’s groups of isolated Indians, which we believe to consist
only of the Guajá. While the contacted Guaja currently reside on Indian Reserves that
primarily pertain to other indigenous groups (see note 12), Alto Turiaqu and Caru, which
are administered through Maranhao’s FUNAI headquarters, some interchange and
cooperation exists between both regional districts. Members of each district’s
administrative staffs will provide information and logistical support for one another and
will work in collaborative effort on the occasion of expelling land invaders and in
providing medical assistance and other support to the indigenous peoples of those
reserves.
The Guajá located at the three Indian Posts pertaining to the SPAG program have
been removed from the special category of isolated Indian, as of this writing. Recent
budget cuts in FUNAI and reduced support from the CVRD were the primary motives for
FUNAI discontinuing this service among the Guajá. With this move, FUNAI has lifted the
status under which the Guajá were treated during the last 24 years, as “wards” of the
state, and in effect has placed them in a category which envisages them as more or less
autonomous, or Indians “in contact”. Yet in spite of the major gains made in the new
Brazilian consitution of 1988, most Brazilian Indians are still considered wards of the state
as FUNAI still largely controls indigenous affairs and mediates most of the interaction that
Indian communities have with the outside world. Even though Indians of Brazil
technically have the right to seek representation elsewhere than FUNAI, the Indian service
will not be so quick to relinquish its own political power to implement this policy. Many

58
indigenous groups are largely unaware of this right which has been extended to them
through the constitution. FUNAI still controls who can gain access to indigenous areas
even though the more autonomous groups should technically have the last word on
admitting outsiders to their communities. In the case of isolated Indian groups, however, it
is FUNAI which ultimately decides who may be admitted to Indian Reserves.
This shift in status implies that the SPAG no longer receives a special budget, nor
equipment, under which it operated to provide support for the Guajá.16 The Guajá,
however, remain under the jurisdiction of FUNAI’s Belém office, yet they will not be
supported as such for very long as they now pertain to the most common category of
Indian under the Indian Service’s administration. Support for the Guajá will eventually be
transferred to FUNAI’s Maranhao headquarters, in Sao Luis, as it would be more
convenient for FUNAI to manage the Guajá from that state’s headquarters. In all, this
process of attracting the Guajá, settling them, introducing them to new subsistence
strategies to make them more “autonomous,” and ultimately releasing them to fend for
themselves comprises, in effect, what Gallois (1992) described as a form of “seduction
and abandonment”. While FUNAI budget constraints and withered support from CVRD
were the primary causes of this withdrawl of special status and support, the Guajá case
demonstrates the Indian Service’s general approach to attraction, support, and subsequent
abandonment. This form of integration now places the Guajá in a situation where they are
presumed to have an “autonomy” of their own, capable of making their own decisions,
after having been engaged in set of dependency relations with FUNAI for the past 24
years, a relationship which continues en force. In this regard, the degree of autonomy

59
now conferred upon the Guajá does not quite extend to them the rights and privileges
which one would expect to enjoy as a full-fledged citizen of Brazil. By and large, then,
the lifting of the status of isolated Indian means that the Guajá will no longer enjoy the
“protection” of the state’s Indian service. Thus, the Guajá steadily experienced what had
transpired with other Indian groups during the years of Brazil’s former Indian Protection
Service (SPI), such that “after several years of receiving gifts, the now indios mansos
(‘peaceful Indians’) or even indios aculturados (‘acculturated Indians’) would be told that
to receive, they must pay in labor, native crafts, game meat, agricultural produce, or
anything else that had a price value” (Balée 1994: 42).
At the time of this study, the three Guajá semi-nucleated communities established
by FUNAI had a total population of 157 individuals. The demographic profile for each of
these communities is presented in Figures 2.1-2.4. Post Guajá (Village 1), currently has a
population of 44 people, broken down into 25 males and 19 females. This number is
increased to 45 if we include the Ka’apor woman (¡Vira) who is married to Bemvindo
Guajá (Ciramukücia). During this research there was a ratio of approximately three men
to one woman of reproductive age. At Post Awá (Village 2), the total population was 94
people, split between 52 males and 42 females. The sex ratio was almost even at this
community between adult males and females, and the bottom of its demograhic pyramid
exhibits a wide base. As for Post Juriti (Village 3), its total population is represented by
20 people, with 14 males and 6 females. Post Juriti’s demographic profile has some
distinct gaps and its population is similar to Post Guajá in that there are approximately
three adult men to one woman of reproductive age.

60-65
55-60
50-55
45-50
40-45
35-40
30-35
25-30
20-25
15-20
10-15
5-10
0-5
Population Size = 44 (25 m; 19 f)
% of Population
Figure 2.1
Demographic Profile of Indian Post Guajá (Village 1)

60-65
55-60
50-55
45-50
40-45
35-40
30-35
25-30
20-25
15-20
10-15
5-10
0-5
14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14
Population Size = 94 (52 m; 42 f)
% of Population
Figure 2.2
Demographic Profile of Indian Post Awá (Village 2)

60-65
55-60
50-55
45-50
40-45
35-40
30-35
25-30
20-25
15-20
10-15
5-10
0-5
Population Size = 20 (14 m; 6 f)
% of Population
8
Figure 2.3
Demographic Profile of Indian Post Juriti (Village 3)
i
10
i i
12 14 16

60-65
55-60
50-55
45-50
40-45
35-40
30-35
25-30
20-25
15-20
10-15
5-10
0-5
Population Size =158 (91 m; 67 f)
% of Population
Figure 2.4
Demographic Profile of All Villages Combined

64
Field Setting
All of the contacted Guajá presently reside in the vicinity of three Indian Posts
established by FUNAI, on the Alto Turiafu and Caru Indian reserves. I began my studies
among the Guajá in 1990 at Indian Post Guajá which is located on the Alto Turiagu Indian
reserve. Preliminary field research was conducted at this site between the months of
August and October of that year and I later returned to this community in 1992 to begin
my doctoral dissertation research in earnest, after obtaining financial support. As this
particular community represents the Guajá which have been in contact for the longest
period of time (i.e. at this writing, 24 years), I chose to begin my studies with this group as
among them there are a number of individuals who are bilingual in Portuguese and Guajá.
I decided that this step would ease my introduction to the field as I would be able to rely
on these bilingual speakers to develop my language skills and take my studies further
among the Guajá. In this manner, I was able to obtain a preliminary vocabulary among the
Guajá in addition to familiarizing myself better with their customs.
Although I am Brazilian-American and speak fluent Portuguese, having spent a
good deal of my childhood and adolescence in Brazil, there were some nuances to the
local customs and speaking styles to which I had to adapt. Most of my Brazilian
upbringing was in southeastern Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, and later I worked at the
Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D C., for seven years, where most of my fellow co¬
workers were cosmopolitan individuals from southern Brazil. The speaking styles and
customs of southern Brazil differ greatly from those of neo-Brazilians of the region I was
working in among the Guajá. That is to say that the Guajá were primarily contacted by

65
rural residents of Maranhao state, an area which embraces both elements of the Amazon
and northeastern regions of Brazil. In fact, most of the Indian agents working at the
FUNAI Indian Posts in the SPAG program are residents of the state of Maranhao, and the
Guajá introduction to Brazilian society was primarily mediated through these individuals.
I had some prior experience in this area, however, in that I had conducted my Masters
degree fieldwork in the state of Maranhao, in 1986-87, in a coastal fishing village,
Arpoador, in the municipio (county) of Tutóia. Research in that community helped
familiarize me with the regional dialect, accent, speaking styles, slang, and forms of
address. Yet there was still much to learn as most of the Guajá bilinguals speak a pidgin
type of Portuguese which embraces some elements of their own language in combination
with the regional dialect of Portuguese.17 The Guajá, for example, commonly use the
Portuguese pronoun ele (he) when referring to a third person, regardless of gender, as
their language does not have a corresponding set of pronouns to distinguish between male
and female (ele/ela - i.e., he/she).
Integration into that community was somewhat slow and drawn out, not so much
for the difficulties I had in adapting myself to the early days of fieldwork, inasmuch as I
encountered in Post Guajá a general state of malaise and a sour relationship which it had
engendered with FUNAI over the years. My introduction to that community was
brokered through the FUNAI Indian agents, and my first encounter with the Guajá was
actually very smooth and pleasant as the Indian agent in charge of Post Guajá in 1990 was
attentive and conducted himself in a courteous and professional manner. His presence in
the area was brief and he informed me that he was attempting to implement an approach

66
to working with the Guajá that would wean them from the dependency and servitude
which previous FUNAI administrators had engaged this community. He was quite
deferential to me, yet in no way did this compromise proceeding with his own work or
discussing matters with me in an open and straightforward manner.18
During the early days of fieldwork it was not readily apparent that, indeed, this
community had suffered many of the ill-effects of contact, and that in the aftermath of this
impact, it was steadily subordinated into a set of paternalistic relations with FUNAI. I
was beginning to accept the fact that some individuals were reticent and reluctant to talk
much about matters that interested me when I prompted them. This manner of speaking
was something I thought was merely of matter of growing accustomed to since I was
under the impression that such communication comprised their customary speaking habits.
And while there was a general curiosity about my presence I sensed that the mood of this
community was less than upbeat. Some individuals would shyly approach me and inquire
in an almost indifferent manner about some of the gadgets I brought such as watches,
compasses and other items. Occasionally they would also engage me in conversation to
find out more about my background and what my home and family were like. And on one
particular occasion, a young man approached me and commented that he was told by a
FUNAI worker that I was wealthy and had a lot of money. I was rather taken aback and
amused by the remark but then asked him who had fabricated this story. He indicated the
person to me and later I approached that FUNAI individual to confirm whether it was,
indeed, true that he had claimed I was rich. The man feigned incredulity and quipped,
“Sir, are you going believe Indian talk?!” (O senhor vai acreditar em conversa de indio?!)

67
I responded by telling the Indian agent that it was not important, yet that I would
appreciate if they would refrain from making any future comments about me to the
Indians. Later, the outpost boss interceded and reiterated my request.
Mércio Gomes (1994: personal communication) had also pointed out to me the
difficulty in relating to individuals of the Post Guajá community when he worked among
them in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He said he found them very reserved and that they
would talk among themselves in rather subdued tones. It was a striking contrast to
working with the individuals of the Post Awá community who were much more expressive
and playful. I went through a similar experience and found that working among the Guajá
at Post Awá was almost therapeutic. The tone was, indeed, very uplifting and members of
the Post Awá village took a friendly interest in involving me in their activities. In fact,
while many members of the Post Guajá community were somewhat indifferent to
communicating with me, I found that most people of Post Awá actually made a point of
teaching me their language and correcting me when I made mistakes. By the time I had
concluded my fieldwork among all three communities (Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti), I
acquired a rudimentary knowledge of their language such that I could converse with the
Guajá, albeit in a slow, awkward and deliberate manner. That I eventually became
conversant with them, such that I could conduct interviews, I have the Post Awá
community to thank.
As for Post Juriti, the field situation had its own signature as well. By the time I
arrived there, my language skills had improved to where I could directly interact with the
individuals of that community without much inter-mediation from FUNAI. That my

68
language skills had improved by that juncture in my fieldwork, would prove both
problematic and beneficial in terms of relating to FUNAI. While FUNAI would attempt to
carry out its chores among the Indians, Indian agents would often request that I
intermediate as an interpreter, especially when ambulatory health crews would visit the
Indian reserves to perform blood tests and adminster vaccines. On the other hand, FUNAI
workers would sometimes feel slighted or suspicious if I conversed with the Guajá in their
language.
Prior to my fieldwork among the Guajá at Post Juriti, I had met a number of
individuals from this community, at Post Awá, on the occasion of a FUNAI attempt to
promote an interchange between these two communities. It was FUNAI’s hope, on that
occasion, that people from each of these villages would perhaps find potential marriage
partners. The exchange between both of these communities entailed a 13 day trip which a
FUNAI team conducted from Post Juriti to Post Awá, bringing with them 19 individuals
from the Juriti village. At that time I was working among the Guajá at Post Awá and took
to observing the interaction between these communities. Later, when I began my work at
Post Juriti, my introduction to that community was facilitated by having made this prior
contact with these individuals and breaking into the field situation was, indeed, made
easier by these acquaintances.
The performance of research tasks among the Guajá required much patience and
discipline, both in terms of relating to the Indians and FUNAI workers, not to mention the
long hours involved in conducting fieldwork. My usual working day entailed waking up at
around 5:30 AM and would take me through all daylight hours, up until approximately

69
8:00 PM. As I figured that my time in the field would be brief, there were not too many
opportunities for leisurely activities, even though such moments are also part of the nature
of fieldwork, for it is often necessary to approach informants in an informal manner
without forcing particular issues (Good 1991). Before formalizing an inquiry that will
eventually require structured interviews, measurements, etc., it behooves a fieldworker to
establish a minimal of rapport with his/her informants to make these tasks acceptable to
those being studied. There were times, for example, where I found my time allocation
studies drudgery, both for me and my informants. I felt that I was taxing my informants’
humor more than necessary, and it was fortunate that I randomized the families in question
for this research task. Similarly, when I weighed game animals, or performed dietary
observations, this task became rather unpleasant as it presented an imposition in the
normal flow of activities for the Guajá. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find, that on
some occasions, some people would remind me that I had forgotten to weigh a piece of
food or would drop by my sleeping quarters at night to show me a game animal that they
had killed during the evening. During my “off-days” I would make informal visits to
people’s households and strike up conversations with them or accompany hunters and,
sometimes, their families on foraging tours. Even these latter activities were quite brisk in
nature as the Guajá walk through the forest at a robust pace. Thus, I was quite active
throughout most of my stay in the field, such that my normal weight, which is around 69
kilograms (-151 lbs.), fell to 61 kilograms (-134 lbs.) during one particular stretch of
fieldwork.

70
Many of these tasks, too, would vary according to the nature and/or disposition of
particular individuals. Some people would be more than willing to comply with one
research task or another while others preferred to not even be approached. These
individuals would sometimes require coaxing by other community members to cooperate,
yet if they remained unwilling, I would not insist and gracefully withdraw. In one
particular instance, for example, I asked a young woman to repeat a phrase she had
previously mentioned to me, and she retorted, “I’m not going to teach you - P!& you!”
(A-lebé maní - emmu-há!). There are times, for sure, where one’s presence is
imposing and, unwittingly, questions may turn out to be of a badgering nature, such that
people will, indeed, lose their patience, especially when the fieldworker is in his/her early
days and eager to learn. Yet, despite these occasional impasses I found that there was a
general acceptance to my presence and I would often be engaged in their humor. I was
often asked to sing songs, draw pictures of animals, perform magic tricks, and tell stories.
And some of these requests would come after I had put in a full day’s work, ready to
retire for the evening, on the occasion of a family stopping over at my sleeping quarters to
visit.
While conducting fieldwork in the Post Guajá community, I spent the early days of
my research at the FUNAI Indian Post. After becoming more familiar with the
community, I was invited to reside in the village by one of my informants. While there, I
alternated residence between two village households, which provided me with a better
opportunity to witness community life in its entirety. The advantage of direct involvement
in village life does, for certain, offer a glimpse of the dynamics of the community, but at

71
the same time, one’s privacy is seriously compromised. I quickly learned that I would
have to relinquish my sense of proxemics, property, sense of timing in relating to others,
among other nuances of my field situation. At night, for example, the Guajá would often
sing and invariably they would ask me to lend them my tape recorder or at least record
their singing sessions. I would oblige them but when I was ready to retire, the sessions
would be closed. Then there were situations where individuals would lay along side me in
my hammock to strike up a conversation with me. On the occasion of my making
annotations in my working log, I would paddle one of the village canoes back to the
FUNAI Indian Post, about 300 meters down the Turiafu river, to settle into an ambience
more conducive to reading and writing.
Research at the Post Awá community was facilitated in that FUNAI had
constructed a small infirmary and dispensary about 150 meters from the Guajá village.
The outpost itself is situated about one kilometer from the village. I was put up at the
infirmary facility, as are other researchers who visit this community on the occasion of
their conducting research at Post Awá. This situation offered more space and privacy,
such that I could organize field notes and make annotations without much interference. I
had also set up my own stove and gas cannister at this facility which afforded me more
independence in terms of setting my own working schedule. In some instances, my
residence at the infirmary also turned out to be beneficial for FUNAI as the Indian agents
would often ask me to administer medicines to the Guajá since I was situated closer to the
village. I would also spend some evenings in the village on ceremonial evenings to witness
these events and to obtain a view of Post Awá’s night life. Yet during the evenings I

72
would spend alone at the infirmary, visitors would frequently come by at night to chat with
me. This facility also has an electrical hookup as Post Awá is situated near the Carajás
railway, where power transmission lines are run from Sao Luis to the Carajás mining
range, such that many communities along this corridor are provided with electricity. This
situation would enable me to work with my notebook computer from a direct power
source, whereas in the other Indian Posts (Guajá and Juriti) I took a car battery and a
voltage invertor along with me to perform these operations. Fortunately, FUNAI was
equipped with portable solar panels to recharge batteries, which it also makes use of to
operate CB radios. All three outposts are also equipped with diesel generators to provide
power for operating well pumps, lathes, manioc graters, and electric light for the outposts.
FUNAI usually economizes on the use of the diesel generators and only operates them for
a few hours during the early evening, or on the occasion of filling their water tanks,
grating manioc, fashioning gun handles, etc. All of the outposts were also equipped with
refrigerators operated with natural gas cannisters, and each outpost’s kitchen was also
outfitted with natural gas stoves.
FUNAI workers would usually stay abreast of daily news in Brazil through battery
operated radios, tuned into shorwave band stations, as transimission signals from the
nearest cities, such as Belém and Sao Luis were too weak to be picked up on FM or AM
bandwaves. As such, the station which FUNAI workers mostly were tuned to was Radio
Nacional da Amazonia, a station which plays sertaneja and brega type music, gives brief
news caps, and provides special information services for people working in the remote
areas of Amazonia. It is interesting that this service occasionally makes people privy to

73
available gold mines of the region, which can frequently spark a rush to a given land area.
I took a small inexpensive radio of my own to the field and was pleasantly surprised to
pick up on BBC and Voice of America shortwave services to keep up with events in the
international scene. Thus, while fieldwork in general was a rough and rustic endeavor,
there were occasional creature comforts which reminded one of an encroaching frontier
and a world beyond forests and rivers. And, of course, with Post Awá’s electrical
hookup, FUNAI workers at this facility purchased a television to watch news and soap
operas (novelas). The Guajá of this community would often visit the outpost to watch
television and were exposed to a variety of transmissions.
At Post Juriti, FUNAI offered me a rice shack to reside in during my research tour
in this area. This particular facility was situated behind the outpost compound, about 300
meters from the Guajá settlement. Perhaps because the members of Post Juriti had been
recently contacted by the time I began my fieldwork, interaction with this group varied
from a very friendly form of communication to an occasional misunderstanding or miscue
in relating to individuals of that community. Add to this the fact that fieldwork among
Indians situated adjacent to FUNAI outposts requires a delicate balance of negotiating
one’s research without interfering with the Indian Service’s work or policy. The regional
administrator for Isolated Indians had attempted to implement a program that would keep
gift-giving to a minimum but this mandate was generally not carried out by outpost bosses
who embraced another set of criteria to elaborate their own relationship with the Indians.
As will be discussed in the succeeding chapters, this presented me with a situation which I

74
had to go to great lengths to ignore, while honoring FUNAI protocol and simultaneously
managing an amicable relationship with the Guajá.
To arrive at either of the Indian Posts which FUNAI administers for the Guajá, one
usually checks in with the NASI of Santa Inés, Maranhao, before proceeding to the field.
I would usually plan my trips in advance and contact the NASI staff to make prior travel
arrangements to the field. Field trips were usually arranged according to FUNAI
schedules, such that I would travel to my study sites when FUNAI workers planned to
visit their Indian Posts to supply provisions, medicines, transport personnel to and from
the field, etc. All of my travels to the field originated from Belém, Pará state, where I was
put up by relatives to rest during field breaks and resupply myself for future fieldwork. I
would travel from Belém to Santa Inés on interstate buses and the trips between these two
cities usually lasted about eight hours, covering a distance of about 548 kilometers along
BR-316.
Santa Inés is located on the crossroads of BR-316 and BR-222, and as such hosts
a major stop for the Carajás railroad, whence travellers can proceed to and from their
destinations along one of these highways (see Figure 1.2). This small city currently has a
population of 64,655 and serves as a regional headquarters for the CVRD, which provides
support and assistance for both FUNAI and the local citizens of Santa Inés and other
regional towns.19 Santa Inés is also home to a number of saw mills for local lumber
companies which haul wood in from local municipios (counties). This city recently went
through a sparked growth spurt with the influx of migration drives and the construction of

75
CVRD’s Carajás railway which saw Santa Inés expand with new jobs, buildings, and first-
class hotels, growing from a population of 14,902 in 1970 to 45,766 by 1986.
I would usually plan trips to Santa Inés a day or two in advance of FUNAI’s
scheduled visits to their Indian Posts. This arrangement would provide me with time to
make alternate plans for unforseen circumstances, purchase last minute field supplies and
provisions, and to discuss indigenous matters with FUNAI personnel. While I was in
transit in Santa Inés, en route to the indigenous communities, I would put myself up in the
modest accomodations provided by that town.
To arrive at Post Guajá one usually travels by motor vehicle from the NASI in
Santa Inés. The SPAG program currently has two Toyota diesel-operated vehicles, a
pickup truck and a land-rover, which were acquired from CVRD through the World Bank
contract. After packing and loading equipment and supplies onto one of these vehicles,
the trip to Post Guajá proceeds from Santa Inés and passes through the towns of Bom
Jardim, Chapeu de Couro and Zé Doca, along route BR-316, in a northerly direction.
This portion of the trip covers about 58 kilometers, and from Zé Doca the vehicle turns
left, onto a dirt road, in a westerly direction towards the Alto Turia^u Indian Reserve.
The trip then covers another 30 kilometers, passing through the hamlets of Bebé and
Igarapé Grande, and proceeds onwards until it arrives at the Alto Turia^u reserve. At the
hamlet of Bebé the road separates, and if one travels along the left side of the fork they
will drive past the Goiano Ranch, a large land-holding located just southwest of the Indian
Reserve. This road eventually leads to Paragominas in Pará state, a town which grew
from a colonist settlement project into a major lumber exporter and cattle-ranching

76
community. The road also cuts through the proposed land area for the Guajá (Awá Indian
Reserve), with the Alto Turiagu Reserve located to its north and the Caru Reserve situated
to its south (see Figure 1.1). In fact, the construction of a railroad is under consideration
which would roughly follow the course of this road to connect Paragominas with the
Carajás railway (see Oren 1988; Müller-Plantenberg 1993). These conflicting interests,
then, help explain why there has been much difficulty in establishing the proposed Awá
Indian Reserve, as its creation clashes squarely with the larger economic interests of the
region.
On the right hand side of the fork, the stretch of road leading from the hamlet of
Bebé to the Alto Turia^u Reserve takes one past a large expanse of gently rolling hills,
interspersed with occasional coolies and ravines, an area which has been largely deforested
and converted to cattle pasture. It is interesting, too, that one barely sees any cattle along
the way and many of these areas are quickly being succeeded by large clusters of baba juvenile palms. The road along this portion of the trip deteriorates into a bad condition
and contains a number of washed-out sections with small gorges, and precarious makeshift
bridges which the FUNAI vehicle delicately negotiates to traverse small streams. In the
middle to late dry season large columns of smoke curtain the horizon in many directions,
where land clearings and slash burns make way for horticultural plots and additional
pastures. As the trip nears the Indian Reserve, succeeding tufts of secondary vegetation
will begin to appear and as the vehicle approaches closer to the edge of the reserve this
vegetation stands taller and begins to intermix with primary forest, almost resembling a
forested wall which separates the Indian territory from the surrounding pastureland.

77
Once the FUNAI vehicle enters the Alto Turiaqu Reserve, it usually makes a brief
stopover at the Ka’apor village of Urutawy, located adjacent to Indian Post Zé Gurupi,
about two kilometers inside the Indian land area. During this brief rest stop one can
freshen up with a bath at a nearby lagoon and chat with the local FUNAI personnel and
Ka’apor Indians about recent news in the area. The Ka’apor are usually very curious
about visitors, in addition to being quite hospitable, and gather around to look on and
converse with people passing through their village. If visitors arrive rather late in the day
at Post Zé Gurupi, then they usually stay overnight at this location and part early the next
day towards Post Guajá. The FUNAI personnel conducting the trip often ask the Indian
Service staff at Post Gurupi to contact Post Guajá via CB radio to advise them of their
anticipated arrival.
As one leaves the Urutawy village to embark on the last leg of the trip to Post
Guajá, the road improves and goes past many Ka’apor horticultural plots and tracts of
secondary forests. It is easy to encounter some Ka’apor during this brief part of the trip,
on their way to hunt, fish or tend to their plots. Some of them may even ask for a ride and
the travelling FUNAI crew will usually oblige. The road then begins to cut through
primary forest, enclosed by a canopy which makes this section of the trip rather cool and
pleasant. The canopy also helps prevent rain from eroding this section of the road which
is largely intact and smoother to travel upon.
Along the way, there are a series of small bridges which were constructed by
FUNAI to cross a number of small streams. Occasionally, at these junctures, there may
some fallen trees which obstruct further travel, often the result of a brief but brisk

78
rainstorm which swept through the area. If the FUNAI travelling crew comes well-
equipped with axes, machetes and chainsaws, then it alights from the vehicle, cuts and
chops the tree into sections and removes them to the edge of the road. Otherwise, it will
have to return to Post Zé Gurupi and ask for assistance from the Indian Service staff there
and Ka’apor Indians to provide equipment and manpower. If it is late in the day, then the
FUNAI crew will usually put itself up for the evening at Post Gurupi and clear the road
the next morning to conclude their trip to Post Guajá. This last part of the trip covers
approximately 19 kilometers.
Arrival at Post Guajá, 45°58’W, 3°6’S, is usually met with a number of Guajá in
addition to the FUNAI staff which works there. The sound of the approaching vehicle can
be heard from a long distance and usually alerts both the Guajá and Indian Service
personnel to its approach. All told, a direct trip from Santa Inés to Post Guajá usually
takes about 4-5 hours under the prime conditions of the dry season, barring any unforseen
obstacles or delays. During the rainy season, the FUNAI vehicle can only go as far as the
*
hamlet of Bebé as further travel is impeded by wet road conditions. In this situation,
FUNAI would take me to Bebé and advise Post Guajá to send a mule pack to pick me at
this hamlet to continue my trip. From there we would usually proceed to Post Zé Gurupi
for an overnight stay, and carry on with our journey the next morning. In this case, the trip
would usually take about two days, adding the time from Belém to Santa Inés. When the
dry season firmly establishes itself, FUNAI will dispatch a work crew to clear the stretch
of road from Post Zé Gurupi to Post Guajá. This task usually lasts about two weeks and
the FUNAI crew initially camps out near the vicinity of Post Gurupi and begins the job of

79
clearing underbrush and weeds which grew during the wet season. The crew
progressively clears its way until it reaches Post Guajá and sets up three to four
encampments along the way. This task also enlists the services of some Guajá individuals
who assist in clearing the road and hunting for the FUNAI work crew.
It is much easier to arrive at Post Awá, located on the Caru Indian reserve as this
location is only a few kilometers walking distance from the Carajás railway. In addition to
transporting precious metals and minerals along the Carajás railroad, the CVRD also
provides passenger train service on a regular basis at a modest price. Outbound trains
from Sao Luis in Maranháo state to the Carajás mining area of Pará travel on Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. Returning passenger trains leave the Carajás mining range on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This train service, plus the freight trains which travel
daily to and from the Carajás area, create a great deal of noise and vibration which can be
heard and felt from long distances. I recall, for example, hearing the sounds of passing
trains from an area which was almost a day’s trip on foot, opposite the direction of the
railroad, on the occasion of a hunting trip which I conducted with the Guajá. The bustling
sound of the Carajás trains frighten away many of the available game animals and as my
data will later indicate, the Caru reserve is indeed not as productive as the other Guajá
hunting areas. The establishment of the Carajás railway has also spawned the growth a
number of small towns and hamlets along this route, giving rise to local populations which
frequently venture into the Indian reserve to hunt and fish.
FUNAI would drop me off at the Santa Inés train station and signal ahead to its
staff at Post Awá to pick me up at the Auzilándia train stop near kilometer 299 on the

80
Carajás railway.20 The train ride usually takes a little over an hour from Santa Inés and
makes two brief stops before arriving at Auzilándia, at the towns of Alto Alegre and
Mineirinho. This trip provides one with another glimpse of a large deforested area,
interspersed with small peripheral hamlets, farm plots and large stretches of upshooting
babaqu palms. There are two different rates by which one can travel on these passenger
trains: a first-class fare which affords one air conditioned travel and waiting services, in
addition to the economic class which is only slightly cheaper yet purchased by the majority
of passengers. Many of the passengers are modest people often travelling with wares and
purchases of food items and small equipment. For a small price, the cargo compartment
of the train will transport and insure unportable bags, pallets and boxes for travellers. I
have also noticed on a number of these trips that some people carry concealed weapons
under their clothes, perhaps a reflection of the violence which occasionally breaks out in
this region. During the two brief stops at Alto Alegre and Mineirinho, a number of
vendors will approach the train for anyone interested in purchasing refreshments and small
pre-cooked packages of food through the train windows.
When I would arrive at the Auzilándia stop, a FUNAI crew would help me
disembark and transport my supplies and equipment to the Indian Post. This would entail
walking for about a kilometer along the railway, then down a dirt trail to the banks of the
Pindaré river which runs parallel to the Carajás railroad and serves as the southeastern
limits for the Caru Indian Reserve (see to Figure 1.1). From this point, we would load an
outboard motorboat with my supplies and travel upriver for a short distance until reaching
Presidio Creek, which we would ascend until we reached the Post Awá facility,

81
approximately 46°2’W, 3°48’S. This last part of the trip to Post Awá was possible
throughout most of the year, yet during the peak of the dry season the Presidio Creek
would often shrink to a point of being unnavigable. In this situation, we would simply
cross the Pindaré river at the point near the railway and park the boat on the opposite
bank, whence we would walk for approximately another kilometer until we reached Post
Awá.
Travel to Post Juriti was more time-consuming and cumbersome. During the rainy
season, trips to this area were conducted by a small riverboart (lancha) whose driver and
service were subcontracted through CVRD. The riverboat would load its cargo in a small
town called Santa Luz in the municipio of Bom Jardim, located on the Pindaré river (see
Figure 2.5). The riverboat would then wind its way up the Pindaré river, past the town of
Alto Alegre, then turn right at the mouth of the Caru river and travel upstream on this
watercourse until it reached the Juriti outpost. Depending on the strength of water
currents, and the number of fallen trees and vines which would have to be cut or eluded,
this trip could take anywhere from 12-16 hours of travel time. Along this course, there
are many hamlets and small family farms dotting the right side of the riverbank area. To
the left is the Caru Indian Reserve, which shows signs of much secondary growth, the
results of both indigenous and non-indigenous farming activities. The principal ethnic
group of this reserve, the Tenetehara Indians, have intermingled with many peasants of the
region to whom they have granted many farming plots; likewise, many plots are also
rented out to some of the peasants of this region by the Tenetehara.

82
Figure 2.5
Map of Major Rivers of Maranháo State
(Source: Anderson 1983)

83
This route also shows signs of former patrolling posts (Postos de Vigilancia)
which FUNAI had established at one time as observation units to curtail land invasions. If
the trip starts late in the day from Santa Luz, an overnight stay is in order at one of these
former patrolling posts, most of which are old makeshift shacks constructed by FUNAI.
The major town of this rivercourse is Sao Joáo do Caru, which can also be accessed by a
dirt road which takes one to the town of Bom Jardim, located on BR-316. In fact, during
the dry season, FUNAI primarily conducts its trips to Post Juriti from this location. In this
case, the FUNAI vehicles travel to Sao Joáo and load a small outboard motorboat to
travel to Post Juriti as the Caru river is too small for the navigation of larger vessels in the
dry season. During the peak of the dry season, this trip can also be lengthy as travellers
often have to disembark from the canoe to push it over rocks, shallow straits and
submerged trees.
Post Juriti is located in the northwestern part of the Caru Indian Reserve
(approximately 3°35’S 46°25’W), actually on the side of the Caru river which would
pertain to the proposed Awá Indian Reserve. The Indian village at this location is situated
about 300 meters from the outpost, along a dirt trail which leads past the edge of a
horticultural plot established by both FUNAI and Indian labor. The outpost itself is
located a little under 100 meters from the Caru river upon a gently rising knoll which
overlooks a large area of land and affords one with a wide-open view and splendid sunsets
which are not as frequently seen at the previous two Indian Posts.

84
Regional Ecology
The general Guajá catchment area is located on the eastern flanks of the Brazilian
Amazon. From a region-wide perspective this range is occupied by a number of
continguous ecological zones such as upland forest (terra firmé), savannah-like cerrados,
sandy-soiled elevations {chapadas), river systems, palm forests (babaquais), among other
areas (see Figure 2.6). Terra fírme dominates Guajá home range and is interspersed with
rivers, small lakes and ponds (igapós), tracts of secondary vegetation, seasonally
inundated forest, in addition to other zones. On closer examination, terra firme forests
contain a mosaic of finer grained ecological zones, a consideration which in recent years
has made scholars rethink their general classification scheme of dividing Amazonia into
two broad areas, i.e., várzeas (generally speaking, floodplain regions) and terra fírme
forests (see Moran 1990). That terra firme forests are generally termed “highland forest”
does not in any sense mean that they are situated in an elevated area; rather, this term
refers more to the fact that it is located on higher ground, away from rivers and lakes in
relatively well-drained soils, and are primary or climax type forests.
Similarly, it has been thought that this region, much like that of the Amazon in
general, consists primarily of areas broadly classified as a tropical humid forests, or
evergreen rainforest. However, it would be more accurate to portray this general area as a
seasonally dry tropical forest (see Janzen 1988; Anderson 1983). In this regard, this
region exhibits two distinct seasons: a rainy season which generally occurs between
December and early May, and a dry season, running from June through November. There
are slight variations to this seasonality as occured in 1989-90 when the region experienced

85
Tocantins
Scale In km
0 50 100
Graphic by Nick Springor
150
Figure 2.6
Map of Major Ecological Zones of Maranhao State
(Source: Coelho 1991)

86
heavy rains from November through early June. Alternatively, the rainy season may begin
late, as occured in 1994, with rains starting in mid-January and terminating in early June.
The annual mean pluviosity for this region is listed between approximately 1,500-
2,500 millimeters (MINTER 1984). I took a pluviometer to the field with me and
registered readings between 17 July, 1992, and 16 July, 1993, at Indian Post Guajá. Table
2.1 and Figure 2.7 list these results with monthly precipitation values and the total for that
year. As shown, rainfall for that year totalled 1,984 millimeters, near the middle range
posted for this region. The distribution of rainfall throughout the year also exhibits a
distinct, prolonged dry season for this region, where evapotranspiration exceeds
precipitation, a characteristic which distinguishes this general area from a humid tropical
forest.
In a general sense, the further west one travels in Amazonia, there is a gradual
increase in rainfall regimes. This progressive increase in precipitation regimes toward the
western portion of Amazonia is primarily attributed to the fact that the eastern forests act
as “water pumps” in that their evapotranspiration, in combination with the earth’s coriolis
force and trade winds, steadily scatter more rainfall in that direction. As Salati (1992:
183) has pointed out, approximately 50-60 percent of the rainfall in Amazonia is produced
by evapotranspiration. It is interesting to note that the Gurupi river basin, just to the west
of both the Turiaiju and Pindaré rivers, presents an average annual precipitation regime
which is slightly higher than the rainfall for these latter two drainages. It is also
noteworthy, that of all three river basins the Pindaré exhibits the lowest annual mean in
pluviosity. The lower rainfall of this area would also have to be attributed to its

Table 2.1
Monthly Rainfall - Post Guajá
Month
Rainfall (mm)
1992 July
13.0
August
32.4
September
30.6
October
15.0
November
161.5
December
43.2
1993 January
328.4
February
421.0
March
435.1
April
219.0
May
146.0
June
91.8
July
47.0
Total Rainfall
1,984.0

00
00
Figure 2.7
Distribution of Monthly Rainfall at Post Guajá (1992-1993)

89
geographical location, which is basically a short distance from the other two river basins,
to the southeast. Not only does its eastern location contribute to its diminished rainfall, but
that it is also situated more to the south begins to place it closer to a transitional gradient
which gradually overlaps with the drier environment of southern Maranhao, an area that
embraces a large expanse of the savannah-like cerrado and caatinga areas (dry brush
zones).
The southern and eastern portions of the state of Maranhao also cover an area
which is included in the southern arc of Amazonia, an area which has undergone more
anthropogenic disturbance than most Amazonian regions. As will be discussed below, the
economic history of this region has also altered this area in a significant manner, giving
rise to the large stretches of baba pasture and farmland has diminished some of its capacity to sustain the “water
pump”effect for subsequent rainfall in areas to the west. Moreover, perhaps because of
their seasonal nature, which is fairly predictable, and their reasonable productivity and
manageability, seasonally dry tropical forests represent the most utilized land areas of the
tropics and are considered to be the most endangered ecological zone of the world
tropical belt (Janzen 1988).
Another characteristic of dry tropical forests is that many herbaceous and woody
plants are deciduous during the dry season. When leaves fall to the forest floor,
decomposition rates can be temporarily arrested during the peak of the dry season as the
lack of moisture makes this medium inviable for detritivores to continue their activities of
breaking down plant material and other forms of organic matter. Light gaps and

90
penetration are also greater in these forests than in the humid tropics, providing an
opportunity for the appearance of successional, pioneer species such as imbaúba
(Cecropia sp ).
Within the context of the successional species occupying this region’s forests, one
of the most distinguishing characteristics encountered throughout this area are the large
expanses of palm forests, particularly those pertaining to the baba (Attalea speciosa). Baba^u palm forests occupy large tracts of land in Brazil and cover an
area of approximately 196,370 square kilometers, primarily in the states of Goiás,
Maranháo and Piaui (May et al. 1985). Over half of these babaiju palm forests lie in
Maranhao (~53 percent), covering an area of about 103,035 square kilometers (Hecht et
al. 1988), representing about one-third of the entire land area for this state, which covers
328,663 square kilometers. The high density of the babaqu palm in this region is largely
because it can withstand extreme environmental conditions and is also very fire resistant.
Additionally, the fruits of this palm are extremely hard and resilient, being able to
withstand predators, as well as remaining for extended periods of time on the forest floor
until optimal conditions present themselves for germination. The babaqu fruit sprouts
through a process of cryptogeal germination, such that the apical meristem of seedlings
and juvenile palms are submereged in the subsoil layer to protect them from damage.
Thus, in the event that seedlings or juvenile fronds are cut or damaged during natural or
anthropogenic disturbance, new growth will resprout from the subsoil layers as the apical
meristem remains submerged and intact. Interestingly, Anderson (1983: xiii) also found
that these palms can remain on the forest floor as suppressed juveniles for an extended

91
period of time. In tracts of primary forest he found that these stemless palms (pindovas)
could survive on the forest floor for up to 50 years, which permitted a large accumulation
of approximately 6,000 plants per hectare. Similarly, near the Tocantins region of Pará
state, about 15,000 seedlings ofbabaqu have been recorded on a 0.48 hectare plot (Kahn
& de Granville 1992: 113).21
Perhaps this palm is more successful in thriving in dry tropical forest habitats as the
light penetration afforded this species in this general ecological zone permits its rapid
appearance and growth. In the humid tropical primary forests of central Amazonia, for
example, Kahn and de Granville (1991: 109) also report that the babaqu palm is not
encountered. They go on to report (113-114) that primary forests overrun by babaqu
palms are gradually transformed into less developed forests by two processes: (1)
overrunning by the babaqu palm and dense occupation of chablis, and (2) consequent
dissapearance of the tallest sun-loving trees which are unable to regenerate in chablis
because their seedlings and saplings are shaded out by babaqu leaves, and crushed and
smothered by palm litter. Thus, these authors contend that the floristic association of
Bertholletia excelsa (Brazil nut tree) and Attalea speciosa may be unstable and
correspond to the extension of babaqu with the correlated reduction of the density of the
Brazil-nut tree as well as of others among the largest species (ibid.). In this regard it is
interesting to note that Balée’s floristic inventory of the pre-Amazonian area, inhabited by
the Guajá and Urubu-Ka’apor Indians, exhibits a distinct absence of the Brazil-nut tree
(Balée 1994: 11). Nevertheless, it is interesting that other members of this family
(Lecythidaceae), once thought to be absent in this area, are present in Maranháo (ibid ).

92
During pre-colonial times, palm clusters of baba^u and buriti (Mauritia flexuosa)
served as an important nutritional supplement for the Tupinambá and other groups of
Maranhao’s floodplain region (Anderson 1983). Among the more nomadic groups, these
palms provided material for fibers and fuel in addition to serving as a hedge against
hunger. With the advent of Europeans, the Maranhao floodplain was steadily transformed
into large plantations of sugarcane and tobacco, and later, rice and cotton (Gomes 1977).
This colonial plantation economy stagnated after the abolition of slavery in Brazil, in 1888,
which left large abandoned land areas in its wake that were gradually converted into large
extensions of baba?u palm forests. Subsequently, many communities of freed slaves
depended on babagu palm for food, fuel and fibers. As these communities migrated into
the western portion of Maranhao, the babafu palm forests extended in the same direction.
Until permanent contact was established with Brazilian national society, the Guajá
relied heavily on the babaiju palm for multiple uses. Presently, their reliance on this palm
is still substantial because of its abundance. Different parts of the babaqu palm are used
for ritual, ceremonial and utilitarian needs, but its nutritional component still figures as a
principal factor among the Guajá. Before the Guajá were contacted by FUNAI, it was
common for them to camp in or adjacent to old fallows and secondary palm forests with
large concentrations ofbaba^u palms. In fact, the present-day Guajá still camp out in
these areas when they leave the FUNAI posts on hunting tours. The Guajá reported that
the fruit of the babagu was their principal food item and served as a security factor for
them when other forest resources such as game animals were unavailable.

93
Presently, the part of the babaqu fruit mostly consumed by the Guajá is its seed, or
kernel. Babaqu fruits contain an average of 3.1 nuts which represents a significant and
constant source of food for both the indigenous peoples and the peasantry of this region as
individual palm panicles produce an average of 200 fruits per growing season (Anderson
& May 1985). The fleshy mesocarp of the fruit is also consumed by the Guajá, which is
high in carbohydrates and was consumed with more frequency before contact (Balée
1989: 98). The hard endocarp of the babaqu fruit is very resistant, requiring a lot of force
for predators to obtain these nuts. In times past, when the Guajá wanted to eat babaqu
nuts they would have to crack open the fruit by placing it on a hard semi-concave rock
(ita) and applying a hard blow with another stone. Today, they use the most common
method of prying open the fruit used in this region, which is to place it against a
supported, upright axe-blade and, in turn, pound it with a small wooden club until it splits
open. The only known predator, other than human, which can access its seeds is the
bruchid beetle (Pachymerus nucleorum) which burrows its way in through the fruit’s
germination pores, usually after abcission, to deposit its eggs in the seed chambers. As the
bruchid larvae grow, they feed off of the nuts and assimilate the oil and protein contained
in these seeds. Although I have not witnessed the Guajá eating any of these larvae some
individuals indicated to me that in times past consumption of these insects was common
during hunger periods (cf. Dufour 1987). These larvae are used by the Guajá for fish bait,
using the hook, line and sinker method which they have acquired through contact with
FUNAI. Many regional peasants consume these larvae, which have a taste resembling
bacon, and prepare the grubs by stir-frying them with manioc flour (farinha de mandioca).

94
Other predators of the baba^u fruit are rodents such as the paca (Agouti paca) and
agouti (Dasyprocta punctata) which feed primarily off of the fleshy mesocarp and serve as
some of the principal dispersal agents for the baba?u fruit. Anderson (1983: 74) also
noted that in the act of consuming the baba?u fruit’s mesocarp, these dispersal agents also
promote its germination. Additionally, the babagu palm forests attract many of these
animals which, in turn, can be easily hunted by the Guajá. Other animals which are
reported to feed off of the babagu fruit include porcupines (Coendú prehinsilis and
Coendú sp.), spiny rats (Poechimys longicaudatus and Mesomys hispidus), and peccaries
(Tayassupécari and T. tajacu) [Anderson 1983: 77-78], Although these animals do not
serve as principal dispersal agents for the baba?u fruit, most are hunted by the Guajá.
The general forested area pertaining to this region of eastern Amazonia is referred
to by many as the pre-Amazonian forest (SUDAM 1976). While this region is composed
of a series of different types of habitats such as savannas and palm forests, the most
notable type of ecological zone is the Amazonian hiléia, or terra firme closed forest, with
its special characteristic being that it is a seasonally dry tropical forest. From a political-
geographical standpoint, the Insituto Brasileiro de Geografía e Estatística (IBGE) refers to
this region as the Brazilian mid-north (meio-norte), which combines demograhic and
ecological concepts to form this classification scheme. Thus, this region consists of
people from the Brazilian northeast which migrated to Maranháo and other regions of
Brazil during drought periods, as well as residents that have been more established in the
region, many of which exhibit characteristics more akin to Amazonian caboclos.
Similarly, as noted before, this region hosts a series of different environmental habitats that

95
share natural features that are common to Amazonia and Brazil’s northeastern states. In
this regard, then, the general northwestern area of Maranhao state is occupied by hiléia
forests while the southern and eastern sections resemble areas which would commonly be
referred to as sertao, or badland areas, which can represent a mixture of savanna-like
cerrados, sandy-soiled elevations and plains (chapadas and planaltos), and caatinga
zones (arid scrub-brush areas). Then, to the east, there is a large flood-plain region
(baixada Maranhense) and a sizeable area of coastline (litoral) facing the Atlantic Ocean.
The rivers of this region which pertain to the Guajá home range also combine
elements that render Maranhao state’s ecosytems distinct. This particular area embraces
four rivers: the Gurupi, Pindaré, Caru and Turia?u basins (see Figure 2.5). None of these
drainages empty into the hydrological system of Amazonia proper. Instead, with
exception of the Caru river which is an affluent of the Pindaré river, all of these
watercourses drain directly into the Atlantic Ocean. Both the Caru and Pindaré rivers
form perimeters for the Caru Indian Reserve. The Gurupi river comprises the western
boundary for the Alto Turiagu Indian Reserve while the Turia<;u river cuts through the
southeastern portion of this land area.
Some river fauna species encountered in Amazonia proper are not found in any of
these watercourses. Both manatees and fresh water dolphins are absent from these rivers,
and the Gurupi and Turia?u basins also lack stingrays and electric eels, all of which are
encountered in Amazonia proper. Balée (1994: 14) reported that these two drainages also
lacked the white piranha (Piranha branca - i.e. Serrasalmus gibbus), another species
found in Amazonian waters. The fish specimens I collected, however, for identification by

96
the Goeldi Museum’s Icthyology Department revelaed that the Turiagu river does, indeed,
harbor this particular fish species. Yet the absence of stingrays and electric eels does, for
sure, make one more at ease to bathe and wash clothes in the Turia caboclos would often mention to me, too, that the Turiafu river was a rio manso (tame
or harmless river) as it did not harbor any of these harmful species, although caimans are
also encountered in this basin as well.22
Conversely, stingrays and electric eels are encountered in the Pindaré and Caru
rivers. On one occasion, in fact, I witnessed a Guajá adolescent boy get pierced by A
sting ray while the youth bathed in the Presidio creek, an affluent of the Pindaré river.
And on another occasion, a young Guajá man told me that he had once been shocked by
an electric eel while bathing in Presidio creek, and noted that he was lucky to have not
drowned from the experience, as the eel’s jolt thrusted him onto the creekbanks, where he
recovered after being rendered unconscious by the shock (maná). That these species are
present in the Pindaré and Caru rivers may be attributed to the geological history of their
watershed areas. While some absences of species in all of these rivers would perhaps be
attributable to the tectonics which separated these pre-Amazonian basins from Amazonia
proper, the presence of Amazonian species in the Pindaré and Caru watercourses would
suggest that they were linked to the Amazon Basin for a longer period of time (Balée
1994: 13-14).
As for the Caru river, part of its watershed area drains off of the Serra da
Desordem, a sandy-soiled elevation which bestows upon the Cam’s upper courses
characteristics similar to those of an Amazonia black water system. That this section of

97
the Cam drains off of sandy soils would imply that the incomplete breakdown of leaf litter
in this area would drain plant phenols into that portion of the river. As such, its upper
courses would be more acidic in nature. While I noticed that this particlar stretch of the
Cam river, situated near Indian Post Juriti, was not strikingly darker than the other river
areas I worked in (Pindaré and Turiagu rivers), it did, nonetheless, exhibit other
characteristics that would liken it to a black water river. During the rainy season, for
example, I noticed that there was a significantly reduced number of insect pests which
often pester human inhabitants of the Turiagu and Pindaré rivers. In this respect, both
mosquitoes (Culicidae gen.)and black flies (pium - Simulium sp.) were almost absent,
whereby one could comfortably work by wearing only shorts and sandals. In contrast,
there were times where work in the Turiagu and Pindaré rivers required wearing long-
sleeved shirts and pants during rainy seasons to keep these insect pests at bay.
Another feature where the upper courses of the Cam river resemble black water
sytems is the fact that fish production in this stretch of the waterway was lower in
comparison to the Turiagu and Cam rivers. Although the Guajá of Post Juriti did not
necessarily suffer for want of fish or game, black water systems of the Amazon region
have been often characterized as “rivers of hunger” (cf. Moran 1991: 362). This
characterization can be misleading, however, for while these rivers do indeed lack the,
productivity, biological diversity and number of species encountered in other ecosystems
of the Amazon, they are still significantly rich in biological species such that indigenous
groups of these habitats have successfully adapted to these limitations (ibid). And it is
interesting to point out, as well, that the further one travels down the Cam river, more

98
streams are added to its watercourse and the insect pests one is relieved of in its upper
courses steadily prevail upon any traveller as one approaches the confluence with the
Pindaré river.
While a number of biological studies have been conducted in this general region,
the gamut of research pertaining to this area still needs to be synthesized to better analyze
its ecological characteristics (Oren 1994: personal communication). Yet this synthesis
would probably reveal that more research also needs to be conducted to fill the paucity of
data that still exists, as little is known about this region in comparison to other Amazonian
habitats. Manzatti (1989), for example, pointed out that while some affluents of the
Gurupi river exhibit neutral characteristics, her short study indicates that further research
must be carried out in order to better understand the river systems of the region.
This region also forms part of what was considered to be one of Amazonia’s
biogenetic matrices, as some scholars speculate that it was a refuge area during the earth’s
last glacial period (Meggers 1988). Thus, proponents of the “refugia hypothesis” point
out that during the Pleistocene period, the Amazon region’s forests receded to form
scattered refuge areas which promoted speciation in these isolated habitats, while most of
the land area between these zones was converted to dry-land savanna during this glacial
era (see Colinvaux 1989). While the earth warmed in the latter part of the Pleistocene and
Early Holocene, the refuge areas expanded and gave rise to the species interchange
between these matrices. As such, many of the “core” areas of these former refuge zones
are thought to contain species which appear to be endemic (but cf. Hecht & Cockbum
1989 for alternative view).

99
Studies conducted by Oren (1988) point out that the avifauna of Maranhao
contains a number of species of endemic birds, even though the avian species profile
pertaining to the Guajá home range is primarily Amazonian. Likewise, Queiroz’s work
(1992) among the Guajá of Post Awá revealed a new species of Capuchin monkey (Cebus
kaaporii). My particular studies among the Guajá revealed that the Turiaqu river hosts
five species of fish which appear to be endemic to this region.23 As for this area’s floristic
profile, Balée (1994) has indicated that there does not appear to be much endemism.
While this area awaits further studies, however, it is difficult to state whether increased
knowledge of this area’s unique flora and fauna will necessarily impede habitat destruction
in the pre-Amazon region. In fact, Oren (ibid.) has pointed out that with the advent of
habitat destruction in the eastern and southern portions of Maranhao state, there has been
a marked tendency for this region to lose much of its biological diversity such that it will
begin to resemble ecosystems pertaining to Brazil’s northeast. On this count, Oren
referred to this loss as the “northeasternization” of Maranhao state’s forests (ibid.).
Summary
The foregoing account of Guajá ethnohistory, field setting and regional ecology
provides a broad picture which helps contextualize this ethnic group within the framework
of Amazonian Indians and regional development. With these factors in mind, we can now
proceed to examine daily activities among the Guajá. I now turn to Chapter III to look at
time allocation and productive activities among the Guajá.

100
Notes
'This region, also referred to as Baixo Amazonas, embraces the general area of the
Amazon river basin east of the Brazilian state of Amazonas.
2These figures are contestable as many accounts present conflicting numbers for these
populations (see Balée 1994: 43), yet it should be noted that the Urubu-Ka’apor were
likely to still have had a numerical advantage over the Guajá.
?The reasons for this reduced number of women will be discussed later, as we presently
do not know whether there was such a lop-sided proportion of men to women prior to
contact among the Guajá.
4Whether in fact there was no prior incidence of Malaria falciparum in this area cannot
be substantiated, yet the presence of this individual is indicative of the lack of
professional oversight in managing FUNAI personnel or in performing adequate medical
screening of their staff. Another FUNAI document which was prepared and submitted to
its Awá-Guajá Program in 1989 also mentioned, in an urgent tone, that illnesses and
disease were primarily introduced into Indian Reserves by FUNAI personnel and called
for the expeditious evacuation of convalescing Indian agents.
"The Guajá and Urubu-Ka’apor Indian Posts are managed by different FUNAI
administrative district units which will be explained in the proceeding pages. Although
administrative districts will cooperate with one another, they also attempt to interfere as
little as they can in the work of other units, particularly in this case as the Indian Agent
working for the Ka’apor Indians had been accused of exploitative practices and
corruption.
6These Indian Boarding Houses {Casa do Indio), located in regional towns and cities, are
FUNAI accomodations arranged to host convalescing Indians sent there for medical
treatment. They also serve as hostels for visiting Indians who pass through these
communities to discuss matters with FUNAI or to procure goods and services which they
would otherwise not encounter in their villages. Occasionally, Indians from unidentified
tribes are also sent to these support centers, pending identification from other Indians and
FUNAI workers. These boarding houses are frequently the bed of contagious infirmities
which eventually get passed on to healthy Indian visitors on the occasion of these
individuals accomodating themselves in there.
y
Other examples of these types of arrangements will be presented later in the chapter
pertaining to the social organization of the Guajá. These types of working arrangements
are variable and newly admitted members to the community usually have to earn their
respect by putting in some work effort and will be embraced by family units according to
their production and presence of personality.

101
8FUNAI will often give its own set of names to Indian individuals, which frequently
become assumed by the Guajá in their own communities. FUNAI has been criticized and
admonished for this usage of nicknames and other terms of address as it can often
compromise a person’s identity and culture.
9The story of this father-son reunion was later given press coverage and appeared as a
feature story on Brazil’s GLOBO Television network. Another brief account of Karapiru’s
flight and eventual return to the Guajá community was broadcast by an educational
television network (TV Cultura) in Belém, Pará state.
10These two individuals were pointed out to me by other members of the community at
Post Awá as being “almost people” (Awá a'eroá), not quite like themselves. The reasons
and subtleties of this social category will be discussed in the chapter pertaining to social
organization. This term should be compared with the expression the Urubu-Ka’apor use to
refer to their acculturated brethren, i.e., Ka ’apor-ran, or ‘false Ka’apor’. Note that a ’eroa
forms a cognate with ran (see Balée 1994: 33). It should be pointed out, too, that both of
these individuals are often lauded by the press, FUNAI, CIMI and anthropologists, as
symbols of Guajá resilience in the face of the negative impact inflicted upon them through
contact.
1’instituto Brasileiro de Florestamento (IBDF) is now defunct and was merged with other
Brazilian environmental organizations (SUDEVEA, SUDEPE and SEMA), to form its
current federal environmental institute (IBAMA) in 1989.
12The Guajá currently share land with the Tenetehara Indians on the Caru Indian Reserve,
while on the Alto Turiaqu Reserve they share land with the Urubu-Ka’apor, Timbira, and
Tembé Indians.
13CVRD is not permitted by Brazilian law to furnish direct employment in these
contractual obligations with members of its own staff. Instead, it has to subcontract
employment out to its subsidiaries or enterprises which make bids to provide goods and
services to CVRD.
14”Isolated” Indians can refer to a gamut of indigenous societies which practice different
modes of production, such as hunting and gathering, as well as agriculture. The Zo’e
Indians of Cuminapanema Indian Reserve of Pará state, for example, are horticulturalists
yet fall under the category of “isolated”, given their physical distance from neo-Brazilians.
15The task of requesting indigenous assistance in some of these contact attempts may
prove difficult as some individuals will be reluctant to venture any form of interaction with
other Indians, even if the persons in question are of the same tribe. The reasons can be
mutually hostility and suspicion, in addition to fear of other Indians. Some Guajá, for
example, have indicated to me that they were more willing to approach neo-Brazilians
than other indigenes as contact with the latter often turned out to be hostile.

102
16The FUNAI program for isolated Indians extends to both Indians and Indian Service
personnel certain privileges which are not granted to other groups which are in more
permanent contact with Brazilian national society. While the Indians which fall under the
category of “isolated” do not enjoy the benefits of being recognized as full-fledged
Brazilian citizens, they are “protected” by the state in that they have many free benefits
such as medical support, guaranteed territorial rights and other priveleges which some
“autonomous” groups do not enjoy. Similarly, the FUNAI personnel working with
isolated Indians have special support for working with groups which are, indeed, more
isolated and harder to work with, given their geographical and physical isolation, in
addition to difficulties in working with recently contacted Indians. One principal benefit in
working with isolated groups of Indians is that FUNAI personnel can apply for an early
retirement after 15 years of service, while Brazilian law only grants this to other federal
employees who have worked for at least 30 years. Similarly, the Indian Service personnel
at these “attraction fronts” will also receive free provisions and supplies to conduct their
work while FUNAI personnel at other Indian Posts have to pay for these goods and
services from their own personal accounts. Additionally, FUNAI budgets for working with
isolated groups may be assisted by state owned companies such as CVRD and
ELETRONORTE
17Balée (1984) also encountered this experience among the Urubu-Ka’apor when he
conducted his docotoral dissertation fieldwork. Yet my conversations among many of the
Ka’apor, while I was en route to the Post Guajá community, revealed that many among
them, indeed, speak fairly good Portuguese and a few of them are actually semi-literate.
18Many of the FUNAI workers come from humble to modest backgrounds, with little or
no scholarly education. Indian agents in charge of outposts usually had a higher level of
education than their fieldhands. Some of the FUNAI staff was literate, while others were
semi-literate. And there was one Indian Post boss who was completely illiterate. This
situation is at variance with a FUNAI policy which requires, at least in principle, that
outpost bosses acquire a basic theoretical knowledge of general indigenous culture,
accompanied by training that would earn them the certificate of Indigenist Specialist
(Técnico Indigenista).
By and large, my presence was treated deferentially, and I was occasionally
greeted or addressed with the honorific title of Doutor Luis (Dr. Louis). Yet while my
presence conferred some respect, there was also some degree of suspicion and resentment
by some FUNAI workers, as being among the Guajá upset the normal flow of activities
that usually transpired between Indian agents and the indigenes.
19CVRD provides special transportation through its ambulatory railcar (auto-linha) which
makes routine checks along the Carajás railroad. This railcar also services local
communities in emergency situations by transporting accident victims and convalescing
people to hospitals in Santa Inés and other cities which are equipped with health facilities.
Communication with these ambulatory railcars is made by transceiver radios which
facilitates dispatching working crews and emergency teams to provide relief and support.

103
20Kilometric counts for the Carajás Railway begin in Sao Luis (Kilometer 0) and end in the
Carajás mining range at Kilometer 910.
21This particular survey was carried out prior to the inundation of this area by the
construction of the Tucurui dam (see Kahn and de Granville 1992: 111).
22 The presence of piranhas in these rivers never proved to be problematic as attacks were
never reported to me by the Guajá and I would frequently bathe in these rivers, sometimes
with discarded fish bait in close proximity to me.
23 These species are 1) Hassar cf. Wilder i (Mandi boca de raíz); 2) Rhinodoras sp.
(Carral); 3) Hypostomus sp. (Bodó); 4) Schizodon cf. dissimili (Piau bandeira); 5)
Pseudopimelodus sp. (Pacamao). The scientific names of these species are listed first
with the corresponding regional Portuguese folk gloss, obtained from FUNAI agents,
listed in parentheses. While the Goeldi Museum’s Icthyology Department identified these
specimens as “endemic”, they urged that more specimens be collected to confirm if these
species are indeed unique. There are, for example, morphological features which could be
attributed to sexual dimorphism that could easily confound positive identification of the
specimens (Assun^ao 1991: personal communication).

CHAPTER III
TIME ALLOCATION AND PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES AMONG THE GUAJÁ
This chapter describes how the Guajá engage their time in productive endeavors
and the nature of these activities. I outline their daily activities in order to draw a
comparison between community members and to compare and contrast time budgets
between the three communities I researched, Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti. This
methodological approach was considered important as a measure of determining how
length of contact and other factors would differentiate these villages. As mentioned in the
previous chapters, the Post Guajá community has been in contact for 24 years; Post Awá
has been settled for 17 years, while members of Post Juriti have been in permanent contact
for 8 years. I recorded over 6,000 spot-check observations among the Guajá, thus taking
note of approximately 2,000 individual activities in each community. In order to portray
as representative and as accurate a profile as possible of Guajá daily activities, to embrace
a year-round picture of events, approximately 1,000 spot-checks were recorded in each of
these research communities during the dry and rainy seasons, respectively. Observations
were recorded between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM, which include all daytime and the early
evening hour activities.1 In this manner I was able to take note of the bulk of Guajá
activities before they settled into their domiciles for the evening.
104

Methods and Problems Associated with Time-Allocation Studies
105
Time allocation studies were introduced to ethnography by Allen Johnson in the
1970s (1975) and since then this research has been fine-tuned to draw an accurate profile
of how people budget their time (see Gross 1985). Yet some problems are still
encountered in time allocation research, principally in relation to procedures of sampling,
measurement, and coding.
With respect to sampling, I had originally proposed to take note of all Guajá
individuals during selected observation periods. This procedure proved unfeasible as the
recording of activities was time-consuming and cumbersome. Thus, during the initial
phase of time-allocation spot-checks, I recorded activities of all community members at
randomly, pre-selected time periods. As the recording of activities engaged much time in
writing down observations of Guajá individuals in each household, one particular spot-
check of all community members required about 30-40 minutes to register. This approach
compromised the number of observations I could have possibly conducted during the
course of a single day, thus reducing the sample size of observations. Likewise, the
random pre-selection of time-intervals also proved to be infeasible as some of these
observations invariably turned out to be too close to one another, rendering any recording
of both activities unworkable. For example, a randomly pre-selected observation of 6:00
AM could be followed by another previously chosen time-interval of 6:03 AM. Thus, if a
spot-check was scheduled for 6:00 AM, taking due note of every activity performed by all
community members during that instance, the time required to record all of these events
would not permit one to conduct the following pre-selected interval of 6:03 AM, much

106
less enabling one to make adequate observations. This problem was resolved by selecting
40 daily observations, at pre-determined intervals of 20 minutes. Ideally, random selection
of time periods should have been chosen, yet proved to be unworkable in terms of
adequate execution and sampling.
As far as choosing an appropriate sample size of people, I decided to randomly
select a set of different domiciles in each of the research communities during given days of
the week. In this manner, every effort was made to ensure that the selected sample size
would embrace at least 15 percent of the community under study in order to draw a
representative sample. Similarly, while conducting fieldwork at Post Juriti, I sampled
nearly all members of this community as it consisted of a very small population of 20
people. In this community I consistently conducted time allocation observation among a
sample size of 16 people.2
That I reduced my sample size to manageable units of observation was based on
two working assumptions. Although there was a degree of arbitrariness in selecting a
smaller sample of people, my first working assumption operated under a statistical rule-of-
thumb principle, establishing 10 percent as a minimum working requirement for drawing
adequate, representative samples (Champion 1981: 31-32). Secondly, I also operated
under the assumption that hunter-gatherer communities, by and large, do not exhibit a
complex division of labor, stratification, nor an intricate and diversified set of activities or
special events which would have invariably required a rigorous, random, stratified sample.
This procedure was coupled with the task of randomly pre-selecting 4-5 different
days of the week in which to conduct time allocation observations. By randomly selecting

107
the days of the week and households, I was able to conduct a random spot-check method
to ensure that all people and days had an equal chance of being represented to perform
time-allocation observations. In all, these procedures amounted to approximately 50 days
of time-allocation research in each of the Guajá villages studied, such that 25 days were
selected during the rainy and dry seasons, respectively.
The use of these methods for conducting time-allocation worked out to be
manageable in terms of diversifying my research activities. As I also performed other
tasks, such as weighing game animals, observing dietary intake, interviews, etc., this
choice of time allocation procedures, albeit demanding of time and energy, yielded
reasonable results as I was able to coordinate this task with other research activities, in
addition to maintaining a respectable sample size, both in terms of the number of
observations and people selected (see Bernard & Killworth 1993). Thus, my reduced
sample size of people provided me with enough time to perform spot-checks, record
activities, converse with people and make casual observations. This approach helped add
an informal tone to my work in that observations were not so rigorous as to compromise
the time needed to establish a relaxed and casual rapport with members of the Guajá
community. In this way, I was able to arrive at a household, observe what people were
doing, and take note of their activities while briefly chatting with them and participating in
some of their engagements. The randomness of selecting households also relieved some
individuals of my constant presence, which could frequently be importuning in performing
time allocation studies. Ideally, I would have preferred to have conducted these tasks
within a wider time period, which would have given me an opportunity to spread my

108
sample more uniformly throughout the course of the year as this, too, would have made
the research task less overbearing for informants, not to mention the improvement of my
sample.
Another problem associated with time allocation research is the fact that many
study subjects are not present during scheduled visits. When I would frequent a
household, I would take note of all of the activities every person was performing at the
time of my visit. In the event a household member was not present, I would inquire about
their whereabouts and the activity they were performing. Most often, people would oblige
and when the absent person would return I would ask him/her what activity they were
engaged in. Alternatively, if said person was within close walking distance I would take a
short walk over to their location to ascertain their activity. If a person had left to hunt or
gather wild fruit, or engage in any other activity that would require their prolonged
absence from the village I would register the reported activity and cross-check with other
people. If others were also engaged in the activity, then I would also inquire with them as
to what tasks they were performing whilst absent from the village. If I was uncertain of
the activity people were engaged in, no data were recorded for that particular instant.
A major problem that occurs with the recording of such situations is that many
people do not commit themselves to one single activity while hunting, gathering,
collecting, etc. Good’s work among the Yanomamo (1989) took important note of this
fact and reported that, while people convey their involvement in one single generalized
activity, a host of other activities can be associated with their main endeavor. Thus, while
a man is out hunting, he may be temporarily side-tracked into collecting and eating honey;

109
momentarily resting; engaged in reverie; and so on (Wagley 1977: 53). Similarly, time
allocation studies will necessarily be remiss in reporting the time a hunter takes to leave his
village and spot game, in addition to the time the hunter is returning. These features of
time allocation are crucial to a better understanding of optimal foraging strategies and
similar studies, for this research takes an interest in appraising the time foragers take to
encounter, pursue, capture and prepare scarce resources (Kaplan & Hill 1992). To
circumvent this problem, Good accompanied Yanomamo groups during their short and
long-term treks to better understand how time was allocated during these hunting forays
(ibid.: 34). Likewise, other scholars have used this approach and have produced
interesting results in terms of comparing village life to foraging treks (Hawkes et al.
1987a, 1987b).
Unfortunately, because of time constraints, my study was largely limited to
observing the Guajá from the vantage point of settlement life. While I conducted some
studies with the Guajá at their hunting camps the samples I obtained during these treks
were not substantial enough to draw a fair and accurate picture of the full anatomy of
Guajá foraging expeditions. The few trips that I did conduct with the Guajá away from
their village did, however, provide me with some insight as to how they budget their time
during these periods. Nevertheless, these limited studies cannot be offered here as
significant for statistical purposes. At this time, a longitudinal project would be required
to accurately portray the full cycle of a Guajá hunting or trekking session. As such, any
activity which entailed a person’s absence from the settlement for a lengthy time period
was registered as the general activity reported. It is interesting to note, as well, that while

110
people report single objectives in their hunting and gathering efforts, the data I gathered
demonstrate that the Guajá are also opportunistic in exploiting available resources and will
invariably bring back other items not reported in their original quests (Wagley: ibid.; Hill
& Hawkes 1983).
While hunters and their families cannot always be accompanied in their walking
tours, other types of data can be recorded in order to complement time allocation data.
One such procedure was conducted by Hurtado & Hill (1989) in their work among the
Hiwi foragers of Venezuela. In addition to conducting time allocation research, Hurtado
& Hill also recorded an “out” and “in” time for people who left their villages to compare
with time allocation results. This method helps evaluate the time spent away from the
village in terms of drawing a general comparative picture with other time allocation
studies conducted in other societies. Although this approach does not reveal what people
were specifically doing while away from their villages, it is useful in arriving at accurate
values for assessing the time invested in resource utilization. These results can be
compared with the final tabulations drawn from time allocation studies to cross-check
results. In this study among the Guajá I was able to record this type of data and it will be
presented in the following chapter on hunting yields.
The observation of people was facilitated by the fact that most Guajá domiciles
(tapiris) are open structures with no walls and permit one to see activities from a distance.
Ideally, one would prefer to observe a household without unduly influencing peoples’
activities as an unexpected and unannounced arrival can often disrupt the stream of events
normally occurring among a given group of people. Add to this the fact that even an

Ill
unsystematic casual visit by an outsider can potentially make a group of people depart
from their regular set of activities.
In terms of coding Guajá activities, an element of arbitrariness accompanied my
assessment of events. As it happens, people are capable of and frequently engage in
performing more than one activity at any given time. Gross (1985) presented this fact as
problematic as far as the multitude of simultaneous activities which people engage in may
not be given equal weight by an ethnographer. For example, a woman may be sitting in
her hammock, while holding and breastfeeding her baby and simultaneously stirring a pot
of boiling sweet potatoes. Alternatively, a man can be visiting another household, laying
down in his host’s hammock while fletching an arrow as he chats with his host. In his
work among the Urubu-Ka’apor, Balée (1984) attempted to solve this problem by giving
more priority to productive activities. Thus, while chatting and laying down in a
hammock may represent social and leisurely activities, more weight would be given to the
fact that the man in the preceding example was engaged in an activity of manufacturing a
weapon.
While these procedures favor productive activities over other observations, I chose
to give equal weight in reporting all noticeable events people were involved in during
these studies. This did not necessarily diminish the significance of productive activities,
rather this procedure took all possible activities into consideration as the full assessment of
time allocation studies is necessary in conducting time motion studies as well (cf. Picchi
1982). Some problems will necessarily remain, however, as simultaneously recorded
activities must be separated as much as possible during data entry in order to establish as

112
much independence of association as possible for statistical operations. As such, a
minimal margin of error will persist in time allocation studies as not all events or activities
are mutually exclusive.
One final consideration which must be addressed in comprehending time allocation
studies is that people will not cease all of their activities during evening hours. Even
though my experience among the Guajá revealed that people usually settle into their
hammocks between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM to retire for the evening, some individuals will
remain awake and sing into the late evening hours. Similarly, people frequently wake up
during the evening to rekindle a dying fire or go to the bathroom. Then again, some men
would leave their village in the late afternoon to go night-hunting. As mentioned earlier,
activities were recorded between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM, yet I noted these night-time and
early-morning hunts in a separate data format. For instance, if a man would wake up at
4:00 AM to go to a hunting blind, I would ask him to wake me up and report to me where
he was going and I would enter this data to record the time of his departure, while later, I
would take note of the time of his return. Informants were usually cooperative in this task
and would also bring me game and fish they hunted during the evening for purposes of
weighing the slain animals. I also participated in a few night hunts with some people to
experience what these activities entailed since these endeavors also had to be recorded for
purposes of evaluating time-motion studies and the nature of these hunting strategies.
All of these considerations do not necessarily cover all of the methods and
problems associated with time allocation research. Perhaps they comprise the most
common situations encountered in this type of research and represent the obstacles I had

113
to deal with in observing people’s activities. With these factors in mind, a look at the data
is in order.
Time Budget Profiles among the Guajá
The overall profile of general activities among the Guajá is presented in Tables 3.1,
3.2 and 3.3. The first set of data, presented in Table 3.1, shows the percentage of time
spent in each of the listed activities among men and women (aged 16 and older) across all
three villages during the dry season. Similarly, Table 3.2 presents the percentage of time
spent in the same activities between men and women for the wet season. A summary for
the activity profile during the whole year (for the dry and wet seasons) is presented in
Table 3.3.
The raw scores, or counts, for the activity categories of each village are presented
in Tables 3.4 and 3.5. Statistical tests were subsequently run to see which activities bore
out significant differences between men across all three villages and, in turn, between
women. Tukey’s Studentized Range was employed to detect significant differences
between the villages in addition to determining which village or combination of villages
differed.15 These results are presented in Tables 3.6 and 3.7, for comparative purposes.
This visualization of the differences between villages can now help us proceed with
describing the Guajá’s time allocation activities and examine the nature of these
endeavors. In this chapter, I will describe the nature of productive activities among the
Guajá and in Chapter IV I will look at leisure, child care, and other categories.

Table 3.1
Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Dry Season
Expressed in Percentage of Time Observed
114
Activities
Post Guajá
Post Awá
Post Juriti
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
13.5
4.5
4.5
0.5
1.6
0.0
Hunting
18.6
0.0
9.1
0.1
19.7
0.0
Fishing
6.0
0.5
6.5
0.3
2.4
0.2
Gathering
6.0
10.3
6.1
4.3
2.3
2.5
Crafts
0.7
5.4
0.8
3.7
0.4
1.5
Arms
5.2
0.3
1.2
0.0
4.8
0.0
Homebuilding and Maintenance
0.5
1.1
0.2
0.8
0.6
0.2
Working for Outpost
3.7
0.0
1.7
0.0
3.4
0.0
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
0.0
0.0
14.2
9.5
5.4
4.6
Accompanying foraging trips
0.0
4.8
0.0
4.2
0.0
7.1
Food Preparation
Agriculture
5.3
2.1
2.5
1.3
1.9
0.1
Game
1.0
2.5
1.0
1.1
0.8
1.1
Other
0.2
0.5
0.1
0.4
0.5
0.6
Health and Hygiene
Eating
4.5
6.4
3.5
3.5
2.4
3.2
Hygiene
2.0
4.2
2.7
3.7
1.7
2.6
Convalescence
1.0
0.3
4.5
1.3
0.1
12.9
Child Care
1.2
13.4
0.8
17.6
0.8
4.6
Pet Care
0.6
2.2
0.4
1.1
0.4
3.2
Leisure
Idle
16.0
28.6
26.6
33.5
30.1
39.8
Socializing
13.0
11.2
11.5
11.4
19.1
14.8
Other
0.5
1.0
1.1
1.0
0.6
0.2
Total*
99.5
99.3
99.0
99.3
99.5
99.2
* Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding error.
Men - n=48; Women - n=32

Table 3.2
Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Wet Season
Expressed in Percentage of Time Observed
115
Activities
Post Guajá
Post Awá
Post Juriti
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
1.4a
0.6
2.3
rO
o
©
1.9
0.0
Hunting
18.8
0.0
16.0
0.6
19.1
0.0
Fishing
2.0
1.3
4.0
0.0
1.9
0.0
Gathering
8.2
7.7
3.4
3.6
4.1
2.5
Crafts
0.3
3.7
0.4
3.0
0.7
4.4
Arms
6.0
0.0
3.6
0.1
5.3
0.0
Homebuilding and Maintenance
1.2
1.8
1.5
1.5
0.1
0.0
Working for Outpost
3.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
0.4
0.6
8.1
6.3
0.0
0.0
Accompanying foraging trips
0.0
1.2
0.0
4.7
0.0
11.3
Preparation
Agriculture
2.6
2.3
1.9
3.7
2.0
0.3
Game
1.2
1.8
0.5
0.8
0.5
0.7
Other
0.2
0.8
0.2
0.1
0.0
0.0
Health and Hygiene
Eating
3.4
5.0
3.0
3.4
2.4
2.2
Hygiene
1.5
2.4
2.2
2.6
2.4
2.6
Convalescence
0.5
2.4
1.3
0.2
1.0
16.7
Child Care
1.0
10.2
0.8
15.7
0.6
3.2
Pet Care
0.4
1.8
0.8
1.4
1.0
1.7
Leisure
Idle
34.5
43.0
29.3
34.4
34.9
38.1
Socializing
12.0
12.0
18.6
15.3
20.2
15.1
Other
1.0
1.0
1.7
1.8
0.9
0.3
Total*
99.6
99.6
99.6
99.2
99.0
99.1
* Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding error.
Men - n=48; Women - n=32

116
Table 3.3
Time Allocation for Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti During Wet and Dry Seasons
Expressed as Percentage of Time Observed
Activities
Dry Season
Wet Season
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
6.0
2.0
2..0
0.2
Hunting
18.0
0.0
18.0
0.2
Fishing
4.0
0.5
2.0
0.5
Gathering
4.0
6.0
5.0
4.5
Crafts
0.6
4.0
0.5
4.0
Arms
4.0
0.1
5.0
0.0
Homebuilding and Maintenance
0.6
0.7
0.7
1.0
Working for Outpost
3.0
0.0
1.0
0.0
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
5.0
5.0
2.0
2.5
Accompanying Foraging Tours
0.0
6.0
0.0
6.0
Preparation
Agriculture
3.0
1.0
2.0
2.0
Game
1.0
2.0
0.7
1.0
Other
0.4
0.5
0.2
0.3
Health and Hygiene
Eating
3.0
4.0
3.0
3.5
Hygiene
2.0
4.0
2.0
2.5
Convalescence
1.0
5.0
1.0
7.0
Child Care
1.0
12.0
0.6
10.0
Pet Care
0.4
2.0
1.0
2.0
Leisure
Idle
25.0
34.0
34.0
38.0
Socializing
16.0
12.0
18.0
14.0
Other
0.8
0.7
1.0
1.2
Total*
98.8
101.5
99.7
100.4
* Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding error.
Men - n=48; Women - n=32

Table 3.4
Raw Counts in Time Allocation Activities for Men and Women
Across Villages During Dry Season
117
Activities
Post Guajá
Post Awá
Post Juriti
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
1,040
185
184
23
196
0
Hunting
1,427
0
374
6
2,388
0
Fishing
463
24
269
16
301
10
Gathering
463
428
250
199
290
118
Crafts
57
224
19
170
55
72
Arms
396
12
51
2
587
4
Homebuilding and Maintenance
38
47
11
39
76
10
Working for Outpost
287
2
71
0
414
0
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
0
0
583
437
662
216
Accompanying foraging trips
0
200
3
192
0
333
Food Preparation
Agriculture
413
88
105
60
239
8
Game
90
106
45
51
104
51
Other
18
23
7
19
67
30
Health and Hygiene
Eating
345
265
147
161
292
152
Hygiene
150
175
108
170
213
123
Convalescence
75
16
185
60
22
600
Child Care
90
554
35
805
100
214
Pet Care
48
91
17
51
51
151
Leisure
Idle
1,241
1,182
1,092
1,518
3,641
1,851
Socializing
984
464
470
522
2,313
690
Other
45
45
48
41
77
14
7,670 4,131 4,073 4,542 12,336 4,647
Total*

118
Table 3.5
Raw Counts in Time Allocation Activities for Men and Women
Across Villages During Wet Season
Activities
Post Guajá
Post Awá
Post Juriti
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
82
24
96
3
220
3
Hunting
1,053
3
665
31
2,119
0
Fishing
113
46
171
3
214
5
Gathering
458
267
143
171
464
123
Crafts
21
128
17
143
81
213
Arms
337
1
149
6
597
3
Homebuilding and Maintenance
69
63
62
71
21
3
Working for Outpost
168
0
0
0
2
0
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
21
21
341
299
0
0
Accompanying foraging trips
0
44
0
225
0
543
Food Preparation
Agriculture
147
79
77
175
231
16
Game
67
64
23
41
57
36
Other
16
28
8
8
10
2
Health and Hygiene
Eating
196
171
123
161
266
108
Hygiene
87
83
94
124
270
126
Convalescence
30
84
53
13
114
799
Child Care
53
352
36
740
68
153
Pet Care
21
64
36
64
115
84
Leisure
Idle
1,931
1,474
1,219
1,619
3,870
1,824
Socializing
660
401
778
724
2,232
723
Other
65
38
75
87
103
18
5,595 3,435
4,166
4,708
11,353
4,782
Total*

119
Table 3.6
Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences Between
Men and Women Across Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti (1, 2 and 3) During Dry Season
Tukey’s Studentized HSD (a=0.05)
Activitiesa
Post Guajá(l)
Post Awá(2)
Post Juriti(3)
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
2
2 & 3
1
1
N/S
1
Hunting
2
N/S
1 &3
N/S
2
N/S
Fishing
2
N/S
1 & 3
N/S
2
N/S
Gathering
N/S
2
3
1
2
N/S
Crafts
N/S
2
3
1
2
N/S
Arms
2 & 3
2
1 &3
1
1 &2
N/S
Homebuilding and Maintenance
3
N/S
3
N/S
1 &2
N/S
Working for Outpost
2
N/S
1
N/S
N/S
N/S
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
2
N/S
1
N/S
N/S
N/S
Accompanying foraging trips
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
Food Preparation
2
2
1 &3
1 &3
2
2
Health and Hygiene
Eating
2
2
1 &3
1 &3
1 &2
2
Hygiene
2 & 3
2
1 & 3
1 &3
1 &2
2
Convalescence
N/S
N/S
N/S
3
N/S
2
Child Care
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
Pet Care
N/S
2
3
1
2
N/S
Leisure
2 & 3
2
1 & 3
1 & 3
1 &2
2
Other
3
2
3
1
1 &2
N/S
Men - n=48; Women - n=32
a In this table and in Table 3.7, significant differences in time invested in activity categories are indicated
by village numbers. For example, for agricultural activities in the dry season there is a significant
difference in the time invested between the men of Posts Guajá and Awá (villages 1 and 2, respectively).
Yet the time invested in farming acitivies at Post Juriti is not significantly different from these two
villages and is indicated accordingly (N/S). Similarly, for women, Post Guajá (village 1) agricultural time
investments are significantly different than Posts Awá and Juriti (2 and 3, respectively).

120
Table 3.7
Time Allocation Activities Bearing Significant Differences between
Men and Women across Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti (1, 2 & 3) During Wet Season
Tukey’s Studentized HSD (a=0.05)
Activities
Post Guajá(l)
Post Awá(2)
Post Juriti(3)
Men
Women
Men
Women
Men
Women
Production
Agriculture
3
2
3
1
2 & 1
N/S
Hunting
2
N/S
1 &3
N/S
2
N/S
Fishing
3
1
3
1
1 & 2
N/S
Gathering
2
2
1 & 3
1
2
N/S
Crafts
3
N/S
3
3
1 &2
2
Arms
2
N/S
1 & 3
N/S
2
N/S
Homebuilding and Maintenance
N/S
2 & 3
N/S
1
N/S
1
Working for Outpost
2 & 3
N/S
1
N/S
1
N/S
Time Spent at Hunting Camp
2
N/S
1 & 3
N/S
2
N/S
Accompanying foraging trips
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
Food Preparation
2
N/S
1 & 3
N/S
2
N/S
Health and Hygiene
Eating
2 & 3
2
1 & 3
1 & 3
1 & 2
2
Hygiene
3
N/S
3
3
1 &2
2
Convalescence
N/S
N/S
N/S
3
N/S
2
Child Care
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
N/S
Pet Care
N/S
N/S
3
3
2
2
Leisure
2 & 3
N/S
1 &3
3
1 &2
2
Other
3
N/S
3
N/S
1 &2
N/S
Men - n=48; Women - n=32

The Nature of Productive Activities
121
While the foregoing tables reveal similarities and differences between community
members and villages, the nature of these activities is also subject to variation. The
variation in performing a given activity is encountered on both an individual and
community-wide basis, not to mention that these activities vary between communities.
The anatomy of these activities merits some description in order to portray their
characteristics. These activities are described below as they appear in the tables. The
description of these activities are presented in this section to better illustrate the nature of
Guajá behavior. As such, some passages in this section are presented in the form of a
“traditional ethnography” in that the activities listed are simply described to flesh out their
particular features. However, in some sections these activities are also interpreted in order
to explain Guajá behavior and variation. Additionally, as this dissertation does not have a
separate chapter devoted to social structure and organization, parts of this section will
also explicate time allocation activities as they pertain to social relations, particularly in
Chapter IV. Thus, it is my intention to describe not only how time is spent among the
Guajá, but also to show how these activities interface with their social life in general.
Hunting
Hunting takes on a varied nature between the three Guajá communities and also
differs between the wet and dry seasons. At Posts Guajá and Awá hunters were assisted
with the aid of shotguns and hunting dogs. Although shotguns are a great boost to
hunting efficiency (Yost & Kelly 1983; Hames 1979) they were not used very frequently in
these communities as ammunition was not always readily available. The availability of

122
primers, shot and gunpowder depended primarily on FUNAI Indian agents and community
visitors. The distribution of munitions was primarily up to FUNAI’s discretion, depending
on whether there was enough money to purchase such supplies or if there was a sufficient
supply on stock to share with the Guajá. Then, too, availability also depended on whether
the Guajá and Indian agents were on good terms with on another during any given time.
Hunting dogs were only present in Posts Guajá and Awá. They were introduced to
both communities in the 1980s primarily through FUNAI. On other occasions, the Guajá
would raid a hunting camp of illegal hunters and steal their dogs along with other items.
As for Post Juriti, FUNAI deemed it more appropriate to refrain from introducing firearms
and hunting dogs to that community. As it happens, the unavailability of munitions can
often create tensions between Indian agents and the Guajá not to mention that FUNAI
stated that it wanted to wean the Guajá from any type of dependency on the Indian Posts.4
Hunting usually begins early in the morning after hunters check and prepare their
weapons. Most people are awake by 6:30 AM and will begin their day huddling around
their fires to warm themselves. If food had been left cooking overnight, it will be
distributed and eaten before the community begins to engage in other activities. Hunters
will then proceed to apprise their weapons and discuss with others where good hunting
will occur and the routes that should be taken. On some occasions, at Post Juriti, hunters
will scout and reconnoiter an area in the late afternoon and return to their village in the
early evening to inform others of game availability and hunting locations.
While hunters discuss their hunting strategies, this interaction will often occur
simultaneously with weapon manufacture and maintenance. This activity usually entails

123
checking the effectiveness of their bows and arrows, in addition to cleaning their guns and
preparing ammunition. Bows will usually be checked for flexibility and tautness. A hunter
does this by drawing on his bow and then tightens or loosens the bowstring until desired
tautness is obtained. When bows are stored for the evening, bowstrings are unfastened to
maintain bow flexibility; otherwise, the bows will become rigid and inflexible. Arrows are
usually checked for straightness and are heated over a fire and rectified by bending them
back to shape. A hunter can straighten an arrow with his hands or gently bite on it to
adjust any crooked spot along the shaft or point. Similarly, arrow points and shafts will be
whittled for necessary adjustments. Arrow points will also be whittled to desired
sharpness before hunters commence hunting.
Shotguns will be checked and cleaned and shells will be loaded before hunting
begins. The Guajá would obtain these supplies at the Indian posts and the FUNAI agents
would distribute them sparingly. At most, hunters would be given enough gunpowder,
buckshot and percussion caps to load approximately five shells. Shells were often used
many times over before they were discarded. If no extra shells and other munitions were
available, then gun owners would return to using their bows and arrows for hunting and
wait until FUNAI provided them with an extra supply. For this reason, shells were often
used even if they were cracked from overuse. Shells were first scraped clean on the inside
and outside with steel-wool pads. Then the old firing cap was plucked out with a knife
and replaced by a new one by tapping it gently into its slot. Next the hunter would load
the shell with gunpowder and pack it in tightly with wadding made of natural fibers or
newspaper; then on top of this layer approximately 12-18 units of size 3-T shot were

124
placed and sealed in with beeswax. FUNAI workers pointed out to me that the Guajá
were using too much buckshot and gunpowder, and that the beeswax would pack the shell
too tightly. As a result, they claimed, too much pressure was put on the shells when firing
guns and they would invariably crack. The Guajá only used brass shells as these could be
used many times over, even when they became cracked. Cardboard shells, on the other
hand, were more expensive to purchase and could not be reused.
Although such use of the shells could become potentially dangerous to the Guajá, I
did not witness or hear of any shooting accidents caused by shell misuse. However, there
was a shooting accident which occurred at Post Awá but it was the result of careless
handling of a shotgun. In this instance, the victim of the accident was quite fortunate to
suffer only a minor wound to his fingers when his gun went off as he was attempting to
clean it.
Two shotguns were owned by the Guajá at Indian Post Guajá. Both were single¬
fire shotguns, one a .28 caliber rifle and the other a .20 gauge. At Post Awá, seven guns
were owned. All of these were also single-fire shotguns. Five of them were .20 caliber
and the other two were .28 and .32, respectively. In addition to this supply of guns,
FUNAI had a stock of its own firearms at the three Indian Posts. Indian agents used these
guns for hunting and security. On some occasions, these guns were loaned to the Indians
on patrolling tours or when FUNAI would enlist the service of one of the Guajá to hunt
for them. As previously noted, I did not observe guns being loaned or distributed to the
Guajá of Post Juriti.

125
Often, hunters will pair off with others to embark on a hunting tour (wata) i
Sometimes these hunts are conducted individually but by and large most hunters depart
from the village by two or more people. Occasionally, entire families will leave the village
to accompany hunters. Wives and children sometimes accompany hunters part-way
through their hunting tours and stop to collect fruits, nuts, fibers and other forest
products. Women and children usually lag behind and situate themselves in a location
whence a hunter will return to resume the hunting expedition or return to the village.
Women and children will normally keep pace with a hunting group upon leaving the
village but will gradually lag behind. In the meantime, the hunters pick up their pace to
quickly reach an area more abundant in games resources. This endeavor can cover
anywhere from two to five hours before hunters slow their pace and begin a more careful
search. The hunting party moves along at a brisk pace and when it reaches an area where
game is deemed more abundant it splits up and fans out in different directions.
Occasionally, hunters will reencounter one another after they split up and comment to one
another about sightings of game and other occurrences. On other occasions, hunters will
reencounter their families, too, and sit down to chat with them for a while. In this
instance, they will momentarily freshen up then double back to their hunting chores.
While the hunting party is engaged in the encounter and pursuit of game and other
forest products, women and children may sit and chat, groom one another and begin to
process items they collected in the forest. In the event a hunter brings back a slain animal
to drop off with the group of women and children, one of the women or older children
may begin weaving a temporary basket to transport the slain animal. Sometimes, an older

126
boy will begin the process of butchering the animal to pack and transport back to the
village.
Most hunters and hunting parties return in the late afternoon and early evening.
The return trip will not necessarily entail taking the same course that was used on the way
out. Occasionally, people will stop to scout out a beehive or other item of interest. If a
resource is spotted well before evening, they will stop to pursue it. The Guajá avoid
staying in the forest overnight for fear of getting lost or being attacked by spiritual entities
(maneho) or “wild” Indians (mihua).6
If the hunt was successful, singing is often heard from a distance as hunters
approach the village. People in the village will often chant back to the returning hunters.
This chanting is not only celebratory but also serves as an orienting device to guide
hunters back to their villages as these individuals sometimes return in the dark, early
evening hours. In this case, people from the village will walk towards the chants of the
returning hunting party and start singing back to help guide them home. I observed this
occurrence more at Posts Guajá and Juriti.
When the hunters return to the village with their catch, people will gather around
to observe the slain animals and listen to the hunting story. As people huddle around, the
hunter and his family sometimes take a short trip to the nearby river to bathe. When they
return to the village the hunter will lay down in his hammock, take on a proud air, and
begin to relate the story of the hunt. Hunting stories are usually told when big game is
netted as in the case of killing a peccary, tapir or deer. The hunter will describe how he
spotted an animal and give interesting details of its pursuit and ultimate kill. This will

127
often cause great excitement on his part and evoke laughter and responses from those
listening on. On some occasions, some hunters would ask me to record their hunting
stories to hear these accounts played back to them. These taped stories were often
listened to with great zeal by members from other Guajá villages.
When hunters returned from unsuccessful hunts there would be a somber mood in
the air and no one usually approached the hunter on these occasions. He would usually
initiate conversation if he so desired. There was evidence sometimes, too, of some
subdued tension between the hunter and his wife on the occasion of an unsuccessful hunt.
During one of these instances I innocently committed the blunder of approaching an
unsuccessful hunter to ask him if he had killed anything that particular day. The man
glowered at me and turned his back on me without answering. Momentarily bemused, I
walked back towards my tapiri and noticed that the man and his wife began to bicker with
one another. Then people from other domiciles began to laugh at my blunder and the
commotion I inadvertently initiated.
Another type of hunting activity engaged in by the Guajá employs the use of a
hunting blind (takaya). Takayas are also built for ritual and ceremonial purposes but are
primarily used as stake-out devices by the Guajá. They are constructed by the use of palm
fronds, almost exclusively extracted from babagu juveniles. The hunting blinds are built in
a dome shape and are constructed by fixing the base of the frond shaft in the ground and
tying the ends together with fiber or rope. Stake-outs are usually built along animal trails,
near fruiting trees and along river banks. The hunter will sometimes “bait” an animal by
placing a carcass of a rodent or other creature near the blind to attract their prey. This is

128
done, for example, in the case of attracting vultures or hawks. 7 As the unsuspecting
animal approaches the bait, the hunter quietly observes his prey from within the stake-out.
The small gaps between the palm leaves permit the hunter to spot the game and from this
vantage point he gently draws on his bow to shoot his arrow. Guns are also used in stake¬
out hunts, but not as frequently. Hunters informed me that they would prefer not to use
shotguns on the smaller game that wanders by stake-outs and firearms also have a
tendency to scare other game away if a hunter plans on staying in his blind to kill other
animals.
Takayas are also constructed near tree tops, supported by lower, underlying
branches. Stake-outs built on trees are almost exclusively used to kill birds. And the use
of tree hunting blinds was limited to hunters of the Post Awá village, primarily during the
wet season, when the fruiting of magaranduba trees was in abundance and attracted a
large number of toucans.8 Likewise, the use of ground-built stake-outs was more
commonly observed in the Post Juriti community. In fact, the only time I encountered the
use of hunting blinds in the Post Guajá community was during the conclusion of a fishing
expedition which entailed the use of fish poisons {timbó). On this latter occasion, the
aftermath of the fishing expedition left many dead fish floating near the banks of the
Turia narrow bends of the river. A Guajá youth constructed a stake-out near one of these
junctures and netted several vultures in this venture. It was reported, too, that caimans
and ariranhas (river otters) will be attracted to dead fish, and consequently become an
easier prey by the use of a hunting blind.

129
During other instances, hunting blinds will be built near the edge of horticultural
plots to shoot game animals and birds. This type of hunting was performed exclusively at
Post Awá, largely by Guajá male youths. Sometimes they would be accompanied by
friends, male or female, who would sit quietly in the stake-out with them while they
waited for game animals. These situations would often take on a more playful nature with
jokes and sniggering going on in the hunting blind.
Another type of hunting strategy which the Guajá perform is night hunting. This
type of hunting strategy is used only by members of the Post Guajá and Awá communities
as night hunts are conducted with the use of shotguns and flashlights. The Guajá reported
to me that they did not engage in this type of hunting activity in the past and that it was
introduced to them by FUNAI personnel, some of which are skilled woodsmen. Night
hunting is common throughout the Amazon region and is primarily used by caboclos who
refer to this type of activity as caga de espera or mutá9 These hunts are performed with
the use of a shotgun, flashlight and hammock. A hunter will scout out an area during the
day where game often forages, near fruiting trees, and build a small, elevated scaffold
nearby, which he can scale to string up his hammock. This location provides the hunter
with a fairly omniscient view of the ground area below him to fire his shots and kill
approaching game animals. As dusk approaches, the hunter gathers his gear and heads
towards the mutá. These hunting areas are located anywhere from two to seven
kilometers’ distance from villages.
Once the hunter arrives at the hunting location and situates himself, he lays
attentively in his hammock with shotgun and flashlight in hand. When prey begins to

130
approach, the hunter will listen carefully to anticipate the animal’s location and the
direction it is taking. Sometimes there are false and misleading sounds emanating from
other animals such as rodents or owls, and experienced hunters will ignore these without
turning on their flashlights. Once the hunter senses that the animal is within shooting
range, he holds his gun and flashlight together in one hand, to point both the firearm and
light beam in the prey’s direction. The hunter’s trigger hand is used to buttress the
shotgun up against his shoulder and fire the weapon. Then the hunter will turn on his
flashlight to spot the animal. Game animals are usually not startled by this action; rather,
most prey are momentarily mesmerized by the flash and remain gazing at the light. This
brief moment gives the hunter ample opportunity to fix his aim and shoot the animal.
Needless to say, night hunts can be very productive as prey become easy targets to this
strategy. I have witnessed hunters bag up to four pacas {Agouti paca) in one evening.
Hames (1979) also noted that perhaps night hunting is the most productive of hunting
strategies used among lowland groups in South America.
Hunters must remain attentive to approaching animals or prowlers, although they
occasionally doze off momentarily. It would also be difficult to fall fast asleep during one
of these hunts as there are numbers of pests, such as mosquitoes, which keep the hunter
awake and active in warding them off. It is surprising, too, that although the shotgun
blasts are loud and can be heard for long distances, presumably scaring other game away,
subsequent animals will appear and be slain during the course of the evening.
Furthermore, in the deep forest, the dense vegetation has a muffling effect on shotgun
blasts, as opposed to shots which are fired near river areas or fields.

131
When dawn approaches, hunters clamber down from their hammock and tie up
their belongings. The slain animals are tied up with nooses around their front and hind
legs and slung over the hunter’s shoulder to carry back to the village. At Post Guajá,
night hunts were not conducted in groups as only two individuals owned shotguns. One
of these individuals was the outpost hunter and did not participate in many hunts with the
Guajá who resided in the village. Conversely, at Post Awá night hunts were commonly
performed by two or more individuals. These hunters would set up their mutás at
different locations, within earshot of one another, and they would leave and return
together. Another interesting feature of this hunting method is that it must be performed
during the initial or final phases of the lunar cycle. A full moon sheds too much light on
the forest for hunters to successfully conceal themselves from their prey and as a result the
Guajá will refrain from this type of hunting activity during those evenings.10
Hunters will also use shotguns and flashlights to hunt caimans during evening
hours. Caimans frequently appear on the water surface during the evening to mate and
search for prey, and become readily visible for hunters to shoot at with the aid of
flashlights. These types of hunts are usually conducted in groups of two or more men.
This type of hunting also requires the use of a canoe which the Guajá borrow from the
Indian agents at the outpost. While one mans sits at the rear of the canoe and gently rows
it along the riverbanks, another man will be seated towards the front with shotgun and
flashlight in hand searching for caymans. Other animals such as pacas will also appear
near riverbanks during the evening and be spotted and killed by the Guajá.

132
During my stay among the Guajá I did not observe any extensive use of hunting
traps. The traps they use are not very elaborate and are used mostly to capture birds at
the edge of their horticultural plots. Knowledge and use of this trap was passed on to
them through FUNAI workers and I only noticed this type of hunting activity at Post
Awá. FUNAI agents referred to this type of trap as alqapáo which is a very simple
contraption that can be made out of wicker material {cipo) and resembles an inverted of
basket. This trap was used mostly by adolescent youths at the Post Awá community. The
trap is supported at one end by a twig fastened to a string while its other end is laid on the
ground. The hunter unreels the string and holds its other end at a distance of about twenty
meters. The hunter conceals himself at that distance and observes if any birds approach
the trap, which is usually laced with manioc flour, corn-kernels or rice bait. When the bird
walks inside the trap to eat the bait, the hunter yanks on the string and releases the twig.
The trap shuts down on the bird and contains it within until the hunter opens it and grabs
his catch.
Fishing
Although fishing is not a new activity to the Guajá, in recent years it has come to
play a more important role in their productive endeavors. Before the Guajá were
contacted they were located away from major river courses, near small streams and in
headwater locations. This permitted them limited access to riverine resources and they
reported to me that most of their fishing was done with bow and arrow. Today the Guajá
fish with the use of fish poisons, fish hooks, cast nets, harpoons, bow and arrow, canoes,
fish traps, flash lights and barricades.

133
There were conflicting reports as to whether fish poisons were used in the past,
prior to contact, or whether their use was borrowed from other indigenous groups such as
the Ka’apor. Members of the Post Guajá community were observed using fish poisons
more often than the Guajá of Post Awá and Juriti. In fact, residents of the Post Juriti
community were unfamiliar with the use of fish poisons. Perhaps because the Guajá may
have been dispersed and reduced to small groups in the past, this dispersal could have
consequently fragmented not only their bands but their knowledge of resource utilization
as well. For example, while members of the Post Guajá community utilized a specific type
of liana as a fish poison, timbó, Post Awá residents utilized another species although they
reported familiarity with the former. Then, again, the Post Juriti Guajá were unfamiliar
with the use of fish poisons altogether. In the first case, the fish poison in question was
very potent and when used in large concentrations, it would kill the fish instead of
stunning them. In fact, on some occasions there would be overkill and one could see a
number of dead, decaying fish floating down the river on the day following the fishing
expedition. Conversely, the fish poison more frequently utilized at Post Awá would only
stun the fish and seemed to target more specific species such as the large, river-bottom
catfish (surubim). Whether these reflected strategies or localized knowledge is not known
at this point, and it is only speculative as to whether the use of these fish poisons reflects
borrowing or prior knowledge (or perhaps both). Whatever the case, the use of fish
poisons is detailed below to describe the nature of this type of fishing.
The use of fish poisons is practiced only during the dry season, when rivers and
lakes are reduced to a size that makes this type of fishing feasible. During the wet season,

134
rivers and lakes expand in size and, as a result, scatter fish populations. Conversely, the
smaller size of lakes and rivers encountered during the dry season draws fish populations
closer together. In this manner, smaller bodies of water also allow for a more effective
use of fish poisons as they are heavily concentrated on a denser population of fish.
At Post Guajá, fishing with timbó often involves community-wide participation.
First, a small group of individuals will head out early in the morning towards the forest to
locate the lianas and cut them with machetes into small sections, usually a little less the a
meter in length. These are then beaten to a pulp with clubs and wrapped into bundles to
transport to the river. A spot is then selected along the river which would best be suited
for placing the fish poison. Usually, a narrow section of the river is chosen which widens
to a larger stretch of water downriver. In turn, this spot usually funnels down to another
narrow bend further downstream. The effect of this selection is that the fish poison will be
concentrated in a slow moving and semi-dammed area of the river.
The bundles of fish poison are then taken out of their carrying packs and steeped
into the river. This work is done by men and after they steep the fish poison in the river it
is placed on a rock or log and beaten again. The bundle is retied and steeped again into
the river. The Guajá repeat this process several times and then stop to observe if the fish
poison has begun to take its effect. Meanwhile, other people take positions downriver,
along the riverbanks, to observe the effects of the fish poison and begin netting the fish
once they begin to float to the water’s surface. Men, women, and children will be located
along the riverbanks and capture the stunned fish with harpoons, bows and arrows - or
their hands if the fish are so stunned that they can be easily picked up by reaching out and

135
grabbing them. Occasionally, some of the Guajá’s pets, such as their capuchin monkeys
(Cebus apella), will be situated with groups of people along the river bank, or
overhanging tree limbs, and grab for floating fish as well.
The first fish to surface are usually the flecheiros. The initial effect timbó has on
these fish causes them to rise to the river’s surface and swim in an erratic, disoriented
fashion, without much control. Gradually the fish poison takes a bigger toll and the fish
will be completely stunned and float motionless downriver, only struggling occasionally in
an attempt to free themselves of the effects of the timbó. Eventually, other fish follow suit
as they are affected by the fish poison. A partial list of the fish netted by the Guajá at Post
Guajá is noted in Table 3.8. One peculiarity of the fish poison used in this community is
that it seemingly does not have any effect on pacu fish, which is otherwise caught by the
Guajá when they use hook and line.
After the timbó bundles have been fully steeped, they will be discarded in the river
and the fishermen will then hurry downstream to catch up with the rest of the group who
is capturing fish downriver. One individual told me that after the men finish steeping the
vines in the river, they will perform a few rites of sympathetic magic so as to not incur any
supernatural sanction for overkilling the fish. Even though I did not witness any of the
men perform these acts, I was told that to avoid any bad luck (pane)11 they would urinate
and/or spit in the river before preceding with the fishing event.
Members of the fishing expedition will then begin to overlap past one another in a
downriver direction. While some persons remain at a fixed position capturing fish as they
float by, other people will take paths to situate themselves further downstream.12 As the

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Table 3.8
A Partial List of Fish Captured by the Guajá
Portuguese Name3
Guajá Name
Scientific Name
Traira
t 'raera
Hoplias malabaricus
Piau bandeira
i 'ropopo-pirá
Schizodon cf. dissimile
Piau cabega gorda
ipiá
Leporinus ffiderici
Piau do igarapé
tatu-pirá
Anostomus trimaculatus
Ubarana
aramuku-pirá
Hemiodopsis microlepis
Branquinha
pirá-cí
Curimata isognata
Curimatá
pirá-cü
Curimata isognata
Joao duro da lagoa
pirá-pata
Curimata sp.
Piranha branca
piraña-hü
Serrasalmus gibbus
Piranha vermelha
kaí-pirá
Serrasalmus eigenmanni
Pacu
tepetepe-pirá
Myleus sp.
Joáo duro
yapói-pirá
Hyphessobrycon cf. stegmani
Piaba
amanato
Tetragonopterus argenteus
Cacunda
tapi-pirá
Charax gibbosus
Flecheiro
arapánahé
Acestrorhynchus falcirostris
Sardinha
pirapopó
Triportheus cf. Angulatus
Sarapó
sarapo
Gymnotus carapo
Lampréia
arapó
Sternopygus macrurus
Tubi
tamanoá-pirá
Rhamphichtvs rostratus
Lampréia preta
tamokiké
Apteronotus albifrons
Mandi boca de raíz
iratá-pirá
Hassar wilderi
Carral
piramukwé
Rhinodoras sp.
Supista
ñameri
Auchenipterus nuchalis
Mandubé
pirakápehd
Ageneiosus brevifilis

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Table 3.8 (Continued)
A Partial List of Fish Captured by the Guajá
Portuguese Name
Guajá Name
Scientific Name
Mandii agu
ñagata anuhü
Pimelodus omatus
Mandii cabega dura
ñagata
Pimelodus sp.
Pacamao
tarapó-pirá
Pseudopimelodus sp.
Surubim
uretá-pirá
Pseudoplatystoma fasciatus
Liro
pirápinuh ü
Hemisorubim platyrhynchus
Bodó
makari
Hypostomus sp.
Acari
makari-amo
Pseudocanthicus sp.
Peixe agulha
piráchiakwa
Potamorrhaphis guianensis
Peixe sabao
Cimokwana
Crenicichia sp.
Cará do igarapé
arakamató
Cichlasoma sp.
Card
arakamató
Geophagus sp.
* Portuguese names are the terms provided by FUNAI workers and local residents of the Alto Turiagu
area.

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timbó begins to stun larger numbers of fish, people will continue to up and leave from
their positions and walk downriver to capture more fish. The Guajá barely wade or swim
into the river to capture stunned fish which sometimes attract caimans that could pose a
threat to an unsuspecting swimmer. In fact, they were very surprised to see me wander
into the river and swim after floating fish to toss back to them along the riverbanks. As
the fish catch gets bigger, people will begin to clean and scale the fish, and pack them to
transport back to the village.
In order to make a “clean sweep” of the river, the Guajá will sometimes get into a
canoe and go paddling up and down the river to places which would be inacessible from
river banks. While one man paddles, other persons in the middle and front of the canoe
will harpoon the fish, grab them with their hands or shoot them with bow and arrow.
During these instances, it is interesting to observe the Guajá’s keen sense of location as
some fish submerge out of view but end up being accurately shot by arrows. The arrow
shooters usually stand at the front end of the canoe and hold their bow in one hand with
about three to four barb-tipped arrows, all crafted for small game, birds and fish. When
fish come into view, they take quick aim and shoot. When larger fish, such as the surubim
are spotted, many arrows are shot at it to secure the catch. The fisherman quickly shoots
off his first arrow, then in rapid succession loads his remaining arrows in the bowstring
and keeps striking the fish. Although not unexpected, it is still quite astonishing to see
how the Guajá deftly shoot their arrows with such precision, and in rapid succession. And
the killing of a surubim brings on much joy and excitement, as onseers will hoot and holler
when the fish finally succumbs.

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Although the foregoing description of fishing with poisons represents a major
productive endeavor, the bulk of fishing activities, however, entails the use of fish lines,
hooks and sinkers. This technology was introduced by FUNAI and was readily adopted
by the Guajá as it is easy to use and takes little time to produce good fishing yields. The
fishing line provided by FUNAI is made of nylon thread and it is distributed a lot more
generously among the Guajá than are munitions for their shotguns. It is cheaper to supply
and lasts longer. Similarly fish hooks, too, are inexpensive to supply and the Guajá will
not lose them with the frequency that munitions are expended. Both fishline and hooks
can get lost or damaged when they get entangled in fallen tree branches or severed by the
bites of large piranha fish. The lead weights which are given to the Guajá to use as
sinkers are made from shot. The pellets are slightly tapped with a stone or the side of an
axe blade until flattened. Then they are folded around the fishing line a few inches above
the hook.
The Guajá use a variety of bait to hook fish. Perhaps the most common is the use
of the bruchid beetle larvae (tapu ’a) found in the chambers of the babaqu fruit. The fruit
which harbors this bait is easy to identify as its abscission spot is riddled with many holes
bored by the bruchid beetle. A number of fruits are collected and then cracked open to
remove both the babaqu nuts and the grubs. The larvae are usually stored in a leaf and
taken to the river. They will then be impaled on the hooks after which they are cast into
the river to lure the fish. Another bait commonly used by the Guajá is the seed of the
mamona tree. This particular bait seems to target the pacu but also attracts other fish as
well. Occasionally, the Guajá will dig for worms to bait their hooks and interesting

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enough I only observed this activity at Post Juriti. Lastly, the Guajá will also use termite
nests to attract fish to their hooks. A termite nest will be broken off of its supporting tree
or shrub and carried to the river. There the Guajá will break off pieces of the nest, mash
them up in their hands and throw them into the river. The floating pieces of nest along
with the termites attracts many fish to the water’s surface and this fishing technique
usually does not require baiting the hook before it is cast into the river.
Men, women and children can participate in fishing with hooks and lines, although
adult males engage in this activity more often. It can be done throughout the day and is
frequently used as a strategy to hedge against any negative hunting yield. Thus, late
afternoon fishing with hook and line is frequent among the Guajá, especially when hunters
return empty-handed to their villages.
Net fishing is also performed by the Guajá and also represents another method
which was introduced to them through FUNAI. The most common of these is the use of
the cast net {tarraja). These nets are provided by FUNAI which loans them out to the
Guajá to fish for themselves or for the outpost. Occasionally, these nets are also obtained
by confiscating them from poachers and those that are obtained in this manner are owned
by the Guajá. Cast nets take some training to use adequately and the Guajá have
assimilated the use of these very competently. The Guajá usually cast the nets from
riverbanks or canoes and pull them back after a few moments to check and see if any fish
have been captured. If they do not encounter any fish in one location, they up and leave to
find another spot that will be more productive.

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Fishing can also be done during evening hours in much the same manner that night
hunting is performed. That is, a flashlight is used to mesmerize the fish at the water’s
surface and in turn they are either speared, shot with bow and arrow, or netted. This type
of fishing can be done from either riverbanks or canoes. Night fishing is not too frequent,
however, as it requires the constant use of a flashlight. Contrary to night hunting, where
the flashlight is used only on the occasion of an approaching animal, fishing during evening
hours entails a heavier use of a flashlight, thus draining its batteries. In either case,
FUNAI will not provide a constant and steady supply of flashlight batteries so the Guajá
will perform night fishing only sparingly.13
Bow and arrow fishing is another technique used by the Guajá. It persists from the
time prior to their contact with FUNAI. This type of fishing is conducted from either river
banks or, in present days, canoes as well. The most common type of fish captured in this
manner are curimatá or electric eels (merake). This type of fishing was performed in all
three villages. More often, it is performed in the morning or late afternoon hours when
fish come up to the surface to feed. Occasionally an arrow is lost in this pursuit but more
often they are easily recovered as they are long and easy to spot. This type of fishing
exclusively employs the use of a barbed-type arrow (uwi ). When a fish is caught in this
manner it is difficult to flee and is easily located by the Guajá as their long, barb-tipped
arrow keeps bobbing up and down on the water’s surface indicating the prey’s location.
The fishermen reach for the arrow, pull it out of the water, and proceed to twist the fish
off and store it nearby. The wet arrow is then twirled firmly for a few seconds to shake
off the moisture and continue fishing. In the event the Guajá shoot an electric eel they pull

142
it up with the arrow to the riverbanks without touching it, lest they get shocked by their
prey. Then they grab for a stick and club the eel to death before proceeding to handle it.
Agricultural Activities
Although it is has been speculated that the Guajá possibly could have been farmers
in the past, in recent times swidden agriculture is a novelty in their life. While agriculture
was only recently been embraced by the Guajá, the foregoing section showed that it has
now become an integral part of their livelihoods. For this reason they can no longer be
strictly termed as a “foraging” group. It would be more accurate to characterize them as a
hunting, gathering and horticultural society. Bearing this in mind, the nature of
agricultural activities can be described as a general endeavor that embraces the
participation of men, women and children.
Swidden agriculture, as taught by FUNAI and practiced by the Guajá, represents a
year-round cycle of events that enlists most members of the Guajá community. Generally
speaking, these activities include clearing the underbrush of future agricultural fields,
felling the trees; burning the slash; planting, weeding and harvesting. The Guajá plant and
harvest a diverse array of crops, of which manioc is the most important (Table 3.9). Far
and away, this crop surpasses all others in terms of the time and effort invested in
producing it, the amount of land cleared for its production, plus the integral part it
comprises of the Guajá diet.
The Guajá begin to clear their plots after the dry season has firmly set in, usually in
the month of July. Site selection is often discussed with FUNAI Indian agents, who give
advice and help the Guajá delimit the perimeters of their fields. At both Posts Guajá and

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Table 3.9
Partial List of Cultigens Grown by Guajá and FUNAI
English Name
Portuguese Name
Guajá Name
Scientific Name
Bitter Manioc
Mandioca
Tarsma
Manihot esculenta
Sweet Manioc
Macaxeira
Makase
Manihot esculenta
Corn
Milho
Awaci
Zea mays
Rice
Arroz
Tapu 'a*
Oriza sativa
Yam
Cará
Kará
Dioscorea sp.
Sweet Potato
Batata Doce
Macitu
Ipomea batata
Melon
Meláo
Melao *
Cucumis melo
Watermelon
Melancia
Melanci *
Cucúrbita citrullus
Squash
Jerimum
J'rumü
Cucúrbita moschata
Banana
Banana
Pako
Musa sp.
Cucumber
Pepino
Pepino *
Cucumis sativa
Bean
Feijao
Kamara-I
Phaseolus vulgaris
Passion Fruit
Maracujá
Marakuyá
Passiflora sp.
Orange
Laranja
Taya*
Citrus sinensis
Pineapple
Abacaxi
Karatapera
Ananas sp.
Sugar Cane
Cana de Agucar
Kana*
Saccharum sp.
Guava
Goiaba
Wayá
Psidium guayava
Papaya
Mamao
Mamo*
Carica papaya
Mango
Manga
Manga*
Mangifera indica
Cashew
Caju
Kayu
Anacardium occidentale
Spring Onions
Cebolinha
Cebolinha*
Allium schoenoprasum
Pepper
Pimenta
Ki-ki ’a
Capiscum sp.
Okra
Quiabo
Kiab*
Abelmoscus esculentus
Coconut
Coco
Kóko*
Cocus nucífera
Urucum
Urucum
Uruku
Bixa orellana
* These names are Guajá adaptations or glosses given to these introduced crops

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Awá there are many stretches of secondary forest, the result of prior agricultural activity,
areas which are frequently selected to start new plots. As previously noted, the general
Guajá home range is occupied by large concentrations of baba?u palms and it is generally
within these areas where the Guajá begin clearing and felling. In fact some of the sites
which the Guajá have selected for horticultural plots are former fields and village locations
of the Ka’apor Indians. Although the productivity of these areas is not as robust as areas
cleared from virgin, primary forests, they are easier to clear and require less time and
effort to prepare. When tracts of primary forest are cleared, FUNAI informed me that the
Guajá were oriented to seek new plots after fields have passed through three to five
burning cycles (capoeira de tres a cinco fogos). At that stage of field development, fields
are left to fallow but are still utilized to harvest leftover manioc and fruit from trees
scattered throughout the plot. Additionally, old fields also attract game animals and these
areas are frequently visited for hunting purposes. At this time, the field is usually overrun
with many weedy plants, bushes and cecropia trees (imbaúba), the fast-growing pioneer,
light-loving species that occur with high frequency during the early stages of forest
succession. Then, too, a large number of babaqu juveniles appear and are utilized by the
Guajá to build huts tapiris, stake-outs, and other items.
The clearing of fields begins with the cutting of forest understory growth. Men are
the ones usually engaged in this activity and may be accompanied by their wives, sisters,
mothers and daughters who bring them food snacks and water for their work breaks.
Clearing largely entails the use of a machete to cut the herbaceous plants of the forest
floor. Axes are also taken along to clear woody juveniles that require little effort to chop

145
down. Later, when the undergrowth is leveled it is left to dry for a brief period and the
men will then proceed to chop down the trees of the plot. During this effort, the Guajá
usually work in crews consisting of friends and family members. More often than not, it is
the young Guajá men and adolescents who are involved in this activity. Occasionally, a
FUNAI worker will go out to apprise the situation of a field-clearing to see how it is
developing and may even lend a hand in chopping down a tree.
When fields are cleared in tracts of primary forest, this endeavor can take up to
three months to achieve, depending on plot size, work commitment, motivation and group
size. Work groups are usually based on friendship and kin ties. Axes are owned by the
Guajá which they acquired through FUNAI. These are mostly sharpened at the outpost
which lends them a file for such purposes. Occasionally a Guajá individual will also own a
file or whetting stone for purposes of sharpening their knives, machetes, axes and steel
arrows. For a number of years, the Guajá mostly cleared communal plots, but recently
FUNAI has urged a number of people to prepare individually owned plots. FUNAI
claimed that the Guajá would invariably become more productive in this manner,
diminishing the effect of “free-loaders”, or unproductive individuals who would only delay
the progress of others by non-collaboration and hoarding. Individual plots were only
commonly seen at Post Guajá while at Post Awá and Juriti, cleared fields were more
communal in nature, or shared by at least two or more families.
Felling will take some concerted effort as large trees require a lengthy investment
of time and strength to chop down. Trees are not cut very systematically yet are generally
chopped down in a manner which will assist in the felling of other trees. Thus, they will be

146
cut down to fall in a direction that brings down as many other trees and vines as possible
to reduce work effort. When trees are chopped and felled they make a substantial noise
which can be heard from long distances. A felled tree will also bring much satisfaction to
members the felling crew which hoots and hollers at the result of their work efforts.
Interestingly, most mature palm trees will be left intact and will not be felled by the Guajá,
principally the baba^u palms. The Guajá reported that the babafu palms are too tough to
cut down and dull their axes not to mention that there is no great loss in leaving them
standing as they constantly provide fruit which can be harvested throughout the year. As
noted in the previous chapter, the baba^u palms are very fire resistant and will indeed
continue to provide for the Guajá after the fields are burned.
Once all trees are felled, the slash is left to dry. Small branches and debris will
later be cut and gathered to form burning piles. Burning will commence anywhere from
late October through early January, depending on the variation in the approaching rainy
seasons. As the first rains arrive, the Guajá will usually wait until this first wave of rainfall
subsides to begin burning. The slash will be given a day or two to dry off before it is
burned.
The Guajá commence burnings by applying fire to the slash heaps they created.
Fires are usually started by using a smoldering log taken from one of their village hearths.
Then the fire is rekindled in the field by blowing on the log and applying a dried out palm
frond on the glowing ember. When combustion is achieved the Guajá will stick the
flaming frond into the slash piles. They circle around the piles applying fire in various
spots until the whole heap is ignited in flames. People usually burn from the center of the

147
field towards its periphery, but if there is a slight wind workers will start their burning in
an upwind direction. FUNAI workers will sometimes assist the Guajá in the burning of
their fields and give advice and comments about burning procedures. As the fire spreads
throughout the field and becomes intense, people begin to withdraw from the heat and
flames, and watch the burn from the edge of the forest.
The smoke from the field rises and darkens the sky above. As the burning season
proceeds, one can see large vortexes of smoke rising from other regional fires on the
distant horizon. The smoke disperses throughout the skies and tints the air with a golden
hue in the afternoon. The Guajá keep a watchful eye on the proximity of other fires which
seem to approach ever nearer to their reservations with each oncoming year.
After the initial burn, workers return to the field and begin the process of coivara,
a procedure used by many swidden agriculturists of the region to complete the burning
cycle. This step involves taking the unburned slash and charred remains of branches, and
other debris to form new burning piles. Burns are then reapplied and this procedure is
repeated for a couple of weeks until the only material left unburned is the stand of palm
trees and charred trunks of the larger, felled trees. Thus, the burning process takes several
days to finish; however, burnings are never thorough and take many seasons before all the
original material from the cut slash is either converted to ash or volatilized. Of course,
this point is never reached as fields are eventually left to fallow and the large, charred logs
remain behind, interspersed with the pioneer species of forest succession. This organic
material will eventually be left to decay by natural processes.

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Planting begins usually before the advent of heavy rainfall. Manioc stems from
extant fields will be selected and cut into sections and carried over in bundles to plant in
the newly cleared plot. Some of these stems will be given to FUNAI workers to plant in
their own horticultural plots located near the outpost. Both bitter and sweet manioc will
be selected to plant in the new field. These varieties are usually planted in separate
locations of the field even though the Guajá would have no major problem in identifying
the difference between sweet and bitter manioc. Stems are usually cut into smaller
sections of 25-30 centimeters before being planted. Digging sticks, hoes and shovels are
used to plant stems and this activity is performed by men, women and children. Shallow
holes of approximately 15 centimeters will be dug to plant the manioc stems which are
then covered up with soil, forming a large number small mounds throughout the field.
Another array of crops will also be planted at this time, which includes rice,
squash, melons, corn, okra, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, beans, yams and other cultivars.14
These are quick-growing crops and will outpace the manioc which takes longer to
develop and matures only after all of these have been harvested. Most of these crops are
harvested from the mid-wet season to the early dry season, while manioc takes roughly
one year to mature and can be harvested all year round. These crops are interspersed with
manioc and can either be planted in different sections of the field or near one another.
Beans, for example, are sometimes planted in conjunction with com and mature at
approximately the same time. As the com stalks grow to maturity, the bean plants will use
the stem for growth support without compromising their host’s development. Similarly,
the growth of all these crops will not affect the development of the manioc as most of

149
them will have been either harvested or weeded out before they could shade out the
growth of succeeding crops.15
Crop harvesting also involves men, women and children. Most of these crops are
easily harvested with the exception of manioc, which requires a more strenuous effort to
pluck from the ground. Thus, mostly men harvest manioc, occasionally assisted by
women and children. Manioc harvesting can be done individually but more often it is
conducted by work crews. If men, women and children are involved, what usually occurs
is that men will pluck the tubers from the ground while women and children will cut the
stems and tips off of the roots with a knife or machete. As the plucked tubers begin to
accumulate at a harvesting site, the women will start weaving a small carrying basket made
from baba^u palm fronds. In the meantime, another person will head off to the nearby
forest to strip some bark (wira) off a tree to make the basket’s carrying straps. Once all of
the tubers are placed in the makeshift carrying basket and packed, they will be walked
over to one of the nearby streams or river to be soaked, thus beginning the procedure of
food processing. Alternatively, FUNAI will lend the Guajá a wheelbarrow to transport the
manioc to the river and back to their toasting site.
As for sweet manioc, this crop does not require the lengthy process of preparation
that its sister variety entails. Thus, the Guajá will only harvest sweet manioc sporadically
and sparingly as it is quick to prepare and does not require a large amount of tubers to
comprise or supplement a meal. On the other hand, the bitter variety takes much longer to
prepare and requires many harvested tubers to produce an ample amount of its end
product, the edible manioc flour [ tarema (Guajá) farinha de mandioca (Portuguese)].16

150
That the previous time allocation tables showed that members of the Post Guajá
community are more engaged in farming activities than are individuals of Post Awá and
Juriti would be indicative of their time of contact with FUNAI and their acceptance of this
new resource strategy. Yet an additional comment must be made on the nature of cleared
plots and the sampling procedures used in arriving at this interpretation. First, not all
communities will begin their agricultural clearings at the same time;17 similarly, neither of
these communities will necessarily be clearing the same type of plots. During my stay at
Post Guajá, I happened to observe members of this community clearing a tract of primary
forest which is more toilsome and time-consuming to perform. Meanwhile, members of
the Post Awá and Juriti communities were found working mostly in the clearing of old
fields, which reduced the time and effort to do so. Nevertheless, some members of the
Post Awá community were opening up new tracts of primary forest although not to the
extent that was encountered at Post Guajá.
Gathering
The productive activity which entails the equal participation of all members of the
Guajá community is gathering. This activity is not restricted to one gender or the other
and can also count on a substantial contribution by elderly people and children. There are
a number of edible products gathered from forest and riverine areas as well as other
materials which are used as construction items and fuel, such as palm fronds and firewood.
Most of these items do not present any major obstacles or restrictions which would
impede one from obtaining them. Fallen fruit and juvenile palms, for example, are among
some of the many products which require no major effort to gather and take back to the

151
village or be consumed at or near the gathering location. Moreover, many of these
products are encountered in tracts of secondary forest, the result of prior agricultural
activity, ecological zones which are frequently exploited by the Guajá, and offer a host of
items that can be easily gathered and collected.
As noted previously, the one product which has been at the hub of Guajá gathering
activities is the array of items offered by the babagu palm. Since contact was established,
perhaps the list of products that this palm offers the Guajá has come to play a lesser role,
yet presently these items still represent significant materials for this community in the way
of food, fibers, fuel, fish bait, construction, medicine and ritual activities. For this reason,
it would be illustrative to outline some of the major contributions that this palm provides
for Guajá gathering activities.
The fruit of the babagu palm has long been an important food item for the Guajá.
This is a product that can be gathered year-round and is easy to acquire as the mature fruit
are frequently encountered on the ground. These are located very nearby the three
villages I worked in and do not require long treks to spot or obtain. The fruit can be
gathered and collected in carrying baskets to be taken back to the village or consumed
immediately. Occasionally, the fruits are cracked open on the spot and its seeds are
packed to be transported back to the village. Otherwise, the Guajá forego cracking open
the fruits, and carry them back intact to their homes.
The fruits are very hardy and can remain for a lengthy time on the forest floor
without decaying or suffering much consumption by predators. Although one encounters
a good number fruits already partially consumed by other animals, this does not

152
compromise the remaining potential it can provide to the Guajá, for other than human
predators, the only other species which can access the seeds of the babaqu fruit is the
bruchid beetle which deposits its eggs in the seed chambers. As the brachia’s eggs
develop and grow to a larval stage, they assimilate the seed materials which are rich in oils
and protein. That this predation is encountered on up to 40 percent of the babaqu seeds
(Anderson 1983: xii) does not pose any obstacle to the Guajá as the bruchid larvae can be
used as fish bait. Even though I have not observed the Guajá consuming the larvae, some
of them reported that in times past they did eat them during moments of extreme hunger .18
Other predators which prey on the babaqu fruits are pacas and agoutis. Although
these rodents have a formidable set of teeth, at most, they can only chew away at the
outer-lying fleshy mesocarp of the babaqu fruit. Many of the fruits are, indeed,
encountered in a state whereby their mesocarp had already been consumed by these
animals, yet this does not impede the fruit from developing into further growth stages nor
does it alter the Guajá’s ability to harvest its seed (wa ’ l) or consumption.19
The seeds of the babaqu fruit are its principal items of consumption. The mesocarp
can also be eaten and, in fact, was consumed more often by the Guajá in times past before
the introduction of axes, which facilitate in breaking open the fruit to harvest its seeds.
Before contact the Guajá would place the hard fruit on top of a semi-concave rock (itd)
and with the use of another stone they would crack it open. To access the mesocarp is a
lot less laborious and only requires slightly cracking its shell, to peel and scrape it off with
the aid of a sharp implement such as a knife, bone, agouti’s tooth, or arrow head

153
(takwara). More frequently, however, the whole fruit is placed to roast in embers which
facilitates breaking off the starchy mesocarp in plates.
The palm fronds of the baba?u juveniles are often collected for construction
purposes. These can be used to build and maintain their tapiris, construct stake-outs,
making ceremonial lodges, weave fans, mats and carrying baskets. In addition to this, toys
for children can be woven from baba?u juvenile fronds and they are also used in making
the small corrals which the Guajá construct near river banks and streams to soak manioc
tubers. The fronds are easy to gather and usually only require a short walk from a village
to locate. Although encountered in a juvenile stage, many of these fronds tower over an
adult individual. The size, however, presents no major problem in terms of cutting down
the fronds and transporting them back to the village. The fronds are cut at the base with a
machete and collected into piles before they are picked up at one end and dragged back to
the village. This procedure usually requires a few trips in order to gather all of the cut
fronds and will sometimes enlist the participation of more than one individual.
A number of other items are gathered in climax and secondary forests in the Guajá
home range. When compared with the role that farming has come to play in the Guajá’s
livelihoods, it is evident that gathering has diminished in its significance. Yet many of the
items that do remain on their repertoire of extracted products are significant and
complementary to agricultural activities as many of these are gathered in old fallows and
secondary forests, such as palm by products and firewood. In fact, the volume of
products gathered by the Guajá are extracted for agricultural purposes. In this regard,
many palm products, firewood, and construction materials are now gathered to assist in

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food production and preparation. Thus, since farming was adopted by the Guajá and has
steadily played a stepped-up role among them, gathering has shifted its role to conform
more to what has now become a hunting-gathering-agricultural mode of
subsistence/production.
While the gathering ofbabaqu products represents a year-round activity, other
items are more seasonal in nature. Honey production, for example, increases in the dry
season and is also easier to extract during that time of the year. This is an activity that can
also be participated in by men, women and children, but the heavier burden of felling a tree
with a beehive in it is left primarily to adult males. Sometimes this is not a successful
venture as the hives sometimes do not have any honey in them and on other occasions the
Guajá pick a bees nest with sour and/or unpalatable honey. To get honey from a tree, an
axe is usually used to chop it down. If the bees are more aggressive, then the Guajá will
sometimes attempt to smoke the bees out of their hive by building a fire nearby. Once the
bees have scattered, they quickly chop down the tree and scurry to gather the honey haira.
Honey will be eaten on the spot and if a large batch is found, it will be stored in a
container to be taken back to the village. Since contact was established with the Guajá
they often take their metal pots out to the beehive to collect the honey. Otherwise, they
will make small carrying and drinking vessels to consume and transport the honey. This is
usually done by finding a large understory leaf and shaping it into a funnel-shaped drinking
cup.
On some occasions hunters will leave their villages with axe heads in the event that
they encounter a beehive lodged in a tree. He will then locate a juvenile tree and chop it

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down with a machete to fashion an axe handle. This way he can relieve himself of the
burden of carrying an often cumbersome axe while he treks through the forest on a
hunting quest. In this manner he threads a bark strap through the axe head’s hole and
carries it across his shoulder. If the honey tree is encountered late in the day, however, he
returns home but doubles back to the same location the next day to gather the honey.
Food Preparation
Food preparation among the Guajá is an activity that principally counts on the
participation of adults, with some minor contribution provided by children. It is
interesting that in all three villages that the preparation of agricultural food occupies more
time than processing products obtained by either hunting, fishing or gathering. Although
hunting engages more of the Guajá’s time in terms of procuring resources, processing of
agricultural products requires more time to prepare and usually entails a group effort,
especially the cycle of manioc preparation.
The Guajá grow and prepare both the sweet and bitter types of manioc {Manihot
esculenta). Although the Guajá have learned to grow a wide variety of crops, the
preparation of their horticultural plots is primarily for raising manioc. The crop can be
harvested year-round and occupies more space in the Guajá’s horticultural plots than any
of their other cultigens.
The bitter variety of the crop is usually harvested by men, but women also
accompany them in this effort. Occasionally, families will go out to these plots and
harvest the crop together, but the effort required to pluck and yank the manioc root from
the ground is primarily left to men. Once harvested, the tubers are placed in makeshift

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baskets, usually manufactured on the moment by women, using babagu palm fronds. The
tubers are placed in the carrying basket which is tied together by tucum thread or wicker
material (cipo). Then the baskets are carried over to riverbanks, streams or lake areas.
The Guajá then unfasten the basket and place the tubers in the water to soak for a period
of two to five days. If they place the manioc roots in rivers, the tubers are usually
deposited into small corrals made of babaipu palm fronds. This construction ensures that
the river currents will not wash the tubers downstream. Alternatively, if the tubers are
placed in small streams or lakes, they are simply placed at the water’s edge. However,
during a strong rainy season, there is a tendency for the Guajá to contain the tubers within
makeshift corrals or old, worn-out canoes.
After this soaking cycle is completed, the tubers are taken from the water and
peeled. This is a rather simple procedure and can enlist the participation of men, women
and children. Of course, the suppleness of the root’s bark depends on how long it has
been soaked and the softer tubers are easier to peel. The tubers are peeled by hand but
this can also be facilitated with the use of a knife. Once all of the tubers have been peeled
they are placed in baskets and are carried over to the village or outpost for further
processing. All three Indian Posts were equipped with a manioc processing area, which
FUNAI would allow the Guajá to use, as Indian agents earn a parcel of the finished
product for their own consumption. These facilities (casa de farinha) consisted of vats,
troughs, manioc presses, griddles and hearths. In addition to these implements, Posts Awá
and Juriti are equipped with manioc graters (caitetu) which facilitate the process of

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breaking down the manioc to a finer-grained flour. At Post Awá, the caitetu is operated
manually, while the Post Juriti grater is powered by a diesel generator.
Once the soaked and peeled tubers are carried over to the manioc processing
facility, they are removed from their carrying baskets and grated. If the tubers are grated
manually, the hard, central fiber of each root is removed and discarded. The roots are
then mashed by hand in the processing vats and troughs. At this point the manioc is
mashed to a paste-like consistency and the Guajá then have the option of either pressing or
grating this material. Since there were no caitetus to grate manioc at Post Guajá, it was
grated manually with the use of sieve-like wicker graters which were obtained by FUNAI
or through trade with Ka’apor Indians. Afterwards, the manioc is placed and wrapped in
a basket which is then put inside the pressing mechanism to squeeze out the roots’ prussic
acid. At Posts Guajá and Juriti, the presses were the type which required screwing
downwards to apply pressure on the manioc. At Post Awá, the village farinha house had a
more rudimentary press. This press was used by placing a large block of wood on top of
the manioc-filled basket. Then pressure would be applied on the wood block by using a
long wooden lever which was fastened down at one end near the manioc basket while the
other end was pulled down tightly and tied securely. In the absence of any press, the
people of Post Guajá use (manioc sleeve presses) tipitis which they obtain from trade with
the Ka’apor Indians or through FUNAI. This is a more indigenous method of pressing out
the manioc’s prussic acid and requires more time to complete this step in processing.
After grating and pressing are completed, the manioc is then ready to be toasted.
The materials the Guajá use for toasting manioc are all obtained from FUNAI. Indigenous

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methods for toasting in the Amazon region mostly use clay griddles, but the Guajá utilize
the large metal pans given to them by FUNAI. These griddles are either round or square
in shape and are placed above hearths to be heated. The Guajá will then collect firewood
and build a fire. Afterwards, they clean the griddle and spread a small amount of cooking
oil or animal fat across it to begin toasting. Once the griddle is sufficiently heated up, the
pressed and grated manioc will be placed upon it to toast. Toasting then requires a
constant stirring of the manioc to make sure that it will be cooked evenly and that no part
of the batch will be burned. The stirring stick resembles a wooden hoe and has a lengthy
handle so the person toasting the manioc flour can reach and stir across the large griddle.
Depending on the amount of manioc flour the Guajá place on the griddle, this procedure
can take anywhere from approximately forty minutes to one hour. The Guajá constantly
taste the manioc while it is being toasted to see how much more cooking it will require
and to verify if it is done. They toast it until it is dry, crisp and crunchy and usually test to
see if it is ready to be stored by lifting a small amount of it from the pan to see if it falls
ands spreads evenly on the griddle.
The sweet variety of manioc prepared by the Guajá does not necessarily refer to
any quality of “sweetness”, per se; rather, it refers to its non-toxicity. In Brazilian
Portuguese this variety is called macaxeira and the Guajá pronunciation of the term is
makasé. Macaxeira plants do not occupy nearly as much space as does the bitter type of
manioc on Guajá horticultural plots. While some indigenous groups of the Amazon prefer
to plant this variety more than the toxic kind, under FUNAI’s orientation the Guajá have
only planted small sections of their fields in sweet manioc. In fact, this type of manioc is

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not intercropped with the bitter variety and is kept in separate sections of the horticultural
plot for easy identification. Although the Guajá have no problem in distinguishing the
bitter and sweet varieties of manioc, perhaps this is done as an added safety measure and
to ensure that no undesirable interbreeding would occur between these two plants. The
sweet variety does not require the lengthy preparation process that it’s bitter counterpart
entails and is usually stir-fried or cooked. The Guajá primarily cook this sweet variety by
boiling it in pots or kettles given to them by FUNAI.
Summary
Productive activities among the Guajá include an array of procedures which now
reflect a hunting-gathering-farming mode of living. While hunting still occupies most of
the Guajá’s time in productive pursuits, farming has come to play a significant role in all
three communties since it has been introduced by FUNAI. Chapter VI will show that
although farming does not match hunting in terms of time investments, it surpasses this
activity in caloric consumption among the Guajá. Fishing, too, has also increased in
importance among the Guajá as they are now situated near rivers with easier access to
riverine and lacustrine resources. Gathering is still a marked activity among the Guajá in
all three communities and has been altered in the sense that the gathering of materials has
become more taylored to complement farming procedures and a more sedentary lifestyle.
Now that I have described the nature of productive activities among the Guajá, I
turn to relating child care, leisure, social relations, and other time allocation categories.

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Notes
'Since the Guajá home range is embraced by Brazil’s equatorial region (i.e. roughly 3°
from the equator), it receives about 12 hours of sunlight daily in both the rainy and dry
seasons.
2 In the Post Juriti community, there was one family of recently contacted Guajá which
was shy and avoided frequent contact with FUNAI workers and other Guajá from the
main village. This family constructed its tapiri about 200 meters away from the main
village, in the forest, and was too elusive and non-communicative to conduct a sound time
allocation study. Another Guajá individual was also not observed in my time allocation
studies as he lived at too far a distance from the main village to make observations
logistically feasible. Similarly, at Post Guajá there was another family which eschewed
frequent contact and was not chosen during my time allocation observations.
3 While a three-way ANOVA test would have indicated whether there was a significant
difference between the three villages, Tukey’s Studentized Range indicates which village/s
is/are significantly different from the others in terms of involvement in particular time
allocation categories.
4Perhaps it would be more appropriate to state that FUNAI was operating on a low
budget and refrained from incurring any extra expenses of buying munitions and
maintaining weapons than to state that it wanted to avoid creating relations of dependency
or paternalism, per se, as these types of interactions were already in practice at all three
villages. The firearms which had already been issued to the residents of the Post Guajá and
Awá communities were maintained and supplied with FUNAI assistance. Notwithstanding
FUNAI’s effort to suspend the issuing of wares and other items that were part of the
process of attracting isolated groups of Indians, FUNAI still continued to provide
assistance for the firearms of the Post Guajá and Awá communities.
5I use the term hunting tour, and its Guajá correspondent (watá) to designate daily hunts
which usually entail leaving the village early in the morning and returning in the late
afternoon or early evening. This term is used in opposition to hunting or foraging treks
which the Guajá engage in for extended time periods.
6The exceptions to this are the night hunts which hunters participate in, but usually at
predetermined locations and often in the company of other hunters. These types of hunts
will be covered in subsequent pages.
7These animals are usually not eaten by the Guajá as there is a taboo on eating their flesh.
There are exceptions to this rule, however, and these will be covered in the chapter on
dietary data. These animals are primarily hunted for the use of their feathers and down.

Hawk and vulture feathers are used for fletching arrows and the down of King Vulture
(Urubu rei - Portuguese), Sarcoramphus papa, is used for ritual purposes.
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8The reason for the use of tree takayas being almost exclusive to Post Awá will be
explained in Chapter V, as far and away, birds represented the highest number of kills
among the Guajá in this community during the wet season.
9These terms are variable throughout the region and mutá usually refers to the contraption
which is built to support the hunter’s hammock while hunting, although the term is also
used to designate this type of night hunt. The word is Tupi in origin.
10It is interesting that Balée did not report this type of hunting activity among the Guajá
nor Ka’apor. Balée (1984) notes that the Ka’apor use flashlights more as a guide for
hunting than an attracting mechanism for game. Yet the Ka’apor have been in contact
with Brazilian national society for a lengthier period of time than the Guajá and reported
to me that they often engage in night hunting using this method.
"Compare this term with the cognate panema, which is widely used throughout the
Amazon basin to depict bad luck in hunting and fishing.
I2Most embankments of the Turia?u river are covered with overhanging limbs from trees,
fallen branches and other debris. The few, small stretches of beach that do occur along
this river are sought after by the Guajá during these fishing expeditions to capture fish.
13In fact, regional caboclos claim that using flashlights on water will drain the batteries
more. Whether this is a caboclo form of avoiding overkill or just a prudent measure to
refrain from battery overuse needs to be ascertained. In both cases, people are motivated
to use the flashlight for fishing only sparingly.
14Not all of these crops will be available at all growing seasons as they largely depend on
FUNAI shipments or trade with other indigenous groups to provide seeds for planting.
15FUNAI indicated, however, that additional weeding is not done with much zeal by the
Guajá which consequently compromises the full productivity potential for their crops.
FUNAI estimated that approximately 30 percent of crops are lost from full potential
because of faulty weeding practices.
16 Pehaps the Guajá term used here refers to the general class of flour and may be a
cognate of the Tupinambá word used for flour, carima (cf. Metraux 1948: 102).
17 Members of the Post Juriti community, for example, got a late start in working their
fields in 1993 as many of its members were engaged in a three-month visit to Post Awá
under the direction of FUNAI. Thus, they were only able to begin working their fields

162
when they returned to their community in October, whereas members of Post Guajá and
Awá started clearing their fields in July-August of that year. Fortunately, for members of
Post Juriti, the first heavy rains of the wet season did not set in on them until late January
of 1994. In spite of this situation, it is still common for different indigenous and caboclo
communities throughout the region to not clear plots at the same time.
18 It is interesting, however, that the larvae are consumed by regional peasants and I
personally experimented eating them when they were offered to me by FUNAI Indian
agents who prepared the grubs by stir-frying them in a sauce pan, mixed with manioc
flour. Their taste is very similar to fried bacon.
19 In fact, Anderson (1983: 74) noted that the removal of mesocarp by dispersal agents
(agoutis and pacas) was found to promote seed germination.

CHAPTER IV
TIME ALLOCATION, CHILD CARE, LEISURE, AND OTHER
ACTIVITIES AMONG THE GUAM
In this chapter, I describe the time allocation categories among the Guajá that
pertain to activities other than productive efforts. These categories involve Child Care,
Leisure and “Other” activities practiced by the Guajá. This chapter complements the
productive activities described in the previous chapter to present a more in-depth profile
of how the Guajá spend their time.
Child Care
Child care is done by the elderly, men, women and children, but is primarily carried
out by adult females. Infant care is done almost exclusively by mothers. This latter
activity generally involves holding, breastfeeding, and watching over her child, in addition
to supervising others who are taking care of their children. This responsibility can also be
shared by other women who will assist in helping take care of children. When other
children are involved in childcare, it is usually the girls who engage in this endeavor.
Mothers and young infants are together for a great portion of time, spending most
of this time in a hammock. The mother will spend most of the day in a sitting/reclining
position with her baby as the child either idles, sleeps or nurses at her bosom.
Occasionally, she will get up to adjust herself and the baby, and then sit back down in the
hammock. Newborns require a lot of attention and mothers will almost be inseparable
163

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from their children during this early period in childcare. In some instances the mother will
hand her child over to her husband, a relative, child or friend while she takes care of her
personal hygiene, but even this activity is often accompanied by the young infant. For
example, if the mother goes down to the river to bathe and wash clothes, she will take her
young infant and cleanse the child along with herself. Or in the event that the mother
wishes to visit a neighbor, she will take the child with her.
Infant children are carried by their mothers in slings made of the tucum palm fiber,
which facilitates carrying the baby while the mother performs other chores. In this
manner, the child can comfortably be carried while the mother engages in other activities
such as manioc processing, fiber making, etc. The sling is usually strung across one of the
mother’s shoulders while its other end supports the baby around waist level. While
performing other activities, the mother will switch the baby and sling around to her
backside so that carrying the child will not encumber her as she handles other tasks. If the
child is sleeping and wakes up crying, the mother will quickly attend to her baby and begin
breastfeeding.
As mothers are constantly together with their infants, they are frequently seen
cleansing themselves of their children’s urine and feces. The infants are not clothed, so the
child’s urination and defecation will often stain the mother’s sling, skirt or hammock. The
mother usually wipes herself clean in a hurry with the aid of a rag or other implement and
proceeds to clean her child in the same manner. Often, babaqu husks are used to wipe the
child’s bottom. On some occasions, the mother will anticipate her child defecating and
pick the baby up and put it in a semi-squatting position on her dirt floor. Once the child

relieves itself, the mother cleans the child and sweeps dirt onto the feces and urine then
scrapes them up to discard outside of her house.
165
Most mothers reported to me that they gradually weaned their infants after the first
set of baby teeth begin to appear. Prior to this time, infants are occasionally introduced to
solid foods such as strands of boiled fish meat or sips of warm broth. Children will be
fully weaned by the time another child is bom or when their full set of baby teeth are
grown. At this point in child care, it is not infrequent to see a child cry or complain to its
mother. In one instance, at Post Guajá, I saw a toddler search for his mother as she
deliberately avoided him while visiting another household. As the infant ambled about his
family’s compound in search of his mother, he happened across his father who was
lounging in his hammock. Upon seeing his father, the toddler inquired about his mother.
The father pointed in a direction opposite from where the mother was and misled the child
to search for her in another location. As I saw the child walk out of his house to continue
looking for his mother, the father turned to me and laughed. Later, the child began to cry
as he could not find his mother and she started walking towards him with a stern look on
her face. She firmly grabbed him by the arm and led him back home telling him to quiet
down. The boy was eventually allowed to nurse but was staunchly admonished for
bothering his mother.
Child discipline varied among the Guajá with young children. I rarely witnessed
any corporal punishment among the Guajá, but it did occur. Most frequently, children
were disciplined with admonishment and ridicule. Children are raised quite independently
and are not forced to perform any action, take on any particular attitude or obey their
parents on command. In one particular occasion, a medical doctor came to visit Post

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Guajá to check on the health situation of the Indians in that community. He was asked to
examine an eight-year-old boy who had a leishmaniosis sore on one of his feet. When the
FUNAI workers took the doctor to the village, the youth ran into the woods with bow and
arrow in hand. As people approached the boy, he drew on his bow and backed off into
the forest. Everyone kept their distance from the boy and some of the other Guajá of the
village tried to convince the youth to comply and come along with them to be treated, but
to no avail, so they gave up and left him alone. The boy’s parents also tried to call him
back to the village but he refused to return. At that point, the medical doctor proceeded
to examine other people and then returned to the outpost. During the early evening, the
youngster returned to the village and his parents attempted to convince him to accompany
them to the outpost for treatment the next morning. The boy eventually agreed but was
not pressured in any authoritarian manner to comply with his parents. Instead, the parents
laughed at the boy’s fear and stubbornness as did others who were visiting his household.
Perhaps the fact that the youth became the center of attention shamed him to the point of
relaxing his fear of being treated. The following morning the lad willingly went to the
outpost with no struggle and cooperated readily with the doctor while being treated.
Child punishment was rare, and usually occurred with children in the 3-6 year-old
range. One incident involved a mother chastising her 3-year-old daughter for biting
another child. The mother chased after her child laughingly while her daughter desperately
tried to run away from her. Her mother caught up with her, however, and administered a
quick bite to her daughter’s arm. It was not a severe bite and left no mark, but
nevertheless painful enough to make the child cry. On another occasion, I saw a mother
slap her whining 5-year-old child as he entered his house to complain of other children

167
who had just teased him. The child ran out of the house crying and was left to himself to
resolve his problem alone. In another occurrence, the same child entered his house and
called out to his father who was beginning to doze in his hammock. The father did not
respond to the child so the boy called out to him again. Without responding, the father
reached over from his hammock and picked up his bow and arrow. He drew on his bow
and took aim at his son who quickly scurried out of his house wailing. The father was
about to put his bow and arrow away when the boy returned and shyly peeked inside with
his head. Once again the father drew on his bow and took another aim at the boy. This
time the boy stayed away. The father put his bow and arrow down and started to doze off
again. He momentarily opened his eyes to look at me and a slow smile broke over his
face.
On another occasion, a 4-year-old boy was playing with his toy bow and arrow a
few yards from his foster father, who was toasting manioc flour. The boy kept shooting at
a pet dog and annoying it with his toy bow and arrow. He proceeded to do this several
times and eventually incurred his father’s annoyance. The father immediately stopped
toasting the manioc flour, grabbed the boy’s toy bow and arrow, broke them in two, and
threw them in a fire. The boy cried at his father’s action and walked away.
All of these preceding examples of child chastising represented relatively isolated
incidents. These occurrences were only placed here for descriptive purposes to show
instances of how Guajá parents negotiate disciplining and chastising their children. The
overall relationship between children and their parents is quite good-natured. Rarely did I
notice any tension or hostility between them. In fact, most of the time this relationship is
harmonious and endearing. As adults may be engaged in many marriages during their

168
lifetime, they often assist in the raising of children other than their own. In these instances,
the relationship between foster parents and adopted children is quite amicable, however,
one does not encounter the degree of emotional investment that exists between parents
and their bonafide children.
Hill and Hurtado (1996) pointed out that among the Aché there were instances
where young infants from previous marriages or extra-marital sexual liaisons were killed
by their foster fathers. Similar incidents were reported among the Guajá. In one situation,
a woman who resided in the Post Awá community was reportedly raped by one of that
village’s senior males. This woman pertained to the small group ofmihuas, the peripheral
group of Guajá that was recently contacted and incorporated into that community in 1988.
As a result of this alleged rape, the woman became pregnant and bore a female child. It
was interesting that members of the presumed rapist’s family assisted the mother during
labor, but after the child was bom, the woman’s husband surreptitiously took the infant to
the nearby forest and buried it. On other occasions, some men beat up on their preagnant
wives, jealously claiming that they were not the true father of the conceived child. In both
instances, the women were beaten so badly that they aborted their children.
Perhaps some of these occurrences of infanticide and wife abuse stem from the fact
that the Guajá notion of paternity conforms to the general Tupian ideology of
reproduction. This ideology perceives men as the makers of seeds and women as the
“sack”, or repository of these seeds (cf. Laraia 1986). As such, Guajá men reported to me
that there are occurrences of mixed paternity in their communities. Thus, if a woman has
sexual liaisons with more than one partner, any child resulting from these trysts will be
assumed by all of these men. The Guajá claim that in this case the semen of all of the

169
woman’s sexual partners is “mixed” (manámaná) and as a result all of her lovers will
claim paternity of the child. Midlin (1992) reported a similar situation among the Sumí of
Rondónia state, Brazil, another Tupi-Guarani group. Midlin added that in such a situation
a series of post-partum food taboos would have to be observed by the father/s of the child,
so as to not incur any supernatural sanctions which would invariably affect the health and
well-being of the newborn. In this case all of the men admitting paternity to the child
could conceivably observe the post partum food taboos so as to not harm the infant.
However, it is more likely that the official husband of the mother in question will be more
strict about honoring these food taboos. While the official husband would continue to
observe these food proscriptions, the other “fathers” would gradually cease to honor them
as they would most likely be engaged in their own endeavors.
Whether this set of procedures is present among the Guajá would be difficult to
determine and merits a separate study in itself. But the Guajá have reported to me that
they do indeed observe a series of food taboos during a woman’s pregnancy and post¬
partum period and these taboos are strictly enforced. There was one instance, for
example, at Post Awá, where a couple’s child was born with a contracted anus. This
created complications for the child as it could not defecate. Apparently this is a common
problem that could be corrected by minor surgery and FUNAI was ready to transport the
child to a nearby town with a medical facility to perferm the operation. However, FUNAI
was sluggish in attending to the child’s health and as a result the baby died before reaching
the city of Santa Inés where it was going to be treated. This caused much bereavement on
the part of the newborn’s parents. Other village members told me that the child was born
with a shut anus because the father had previously eaten a species of hawk which

170
invariably affected the health of his baby. They claimed that as a result of eating the hawk,
the father caused the child to have incorporated part of the animal’s essence, thus being
born with a small anus (haikwára micika ’I) Much talk surrounded this incident in the
village and some people actually went to the point of ridiculing the father of the deceased
child. The father became very downhearted and even approached me one day and
confided that one of his neighbors rudely scorned him for having consumed the tabooed
animal. The incident continued and one day he was asked to leave the house where he
resided. As it happened, he lived in a composite house, which consisted of his nuclear
family and three others. The senior man of the household confronted him and told him
that he did not want him residing there anymore. However, the father said that he would
continue living there and that he would behave himself. It so happened that one of the
other men in the household suspected that this individual was having sex with his wife and
the occasion of the child’s death detonated some underlying hostility towards the father of
the deceased baby.
Perhaps this incident also bespeaks to the notion that since a man’s wife could
conceivably be engaged in other sexual liaisons, the Guajá would therefore anticipate some
of their children being born with the characteristics of other men. In the preceding
situation, it could well be the case that the other Guajá of the father’s household were
fearful that this man could invariably harm any children which would be conceived through
his “co-contribution” in making a child that would result from an extra-marital affair.
Although Midlin (ibid) mentioned that supernatural sanctions could be incurred
against the health of a child in the event that one of its other “fathers” ceased honoring a
food taboo, there are other implications to this reproductive ideology that may, in fact,

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benefit the overall well-being of the newborn and its mother. If, for instance, a man does
assume paternity to a child, he can share a parcel of netted game with the child’s mother.
Even if he gradually ceases to bring her meat, as he will be involved with other social
obligations, from time to time he would be generous to his lover and favor her in parceling
out extra pieces of meat.
Crocker (1974) once noted that among the Canela Indians of southern Maranhao
state, Brazil, that extra-marital sexual liaisons acted as a “social lubricant” in that these
affairs latently created a sort of functional harmony among members of the Canela
community. Perhaps this idea could also be extended to the Guajá as extra-marital liaisons
would not only act to ensure a mother and child’s well-being, but they could also soothe
community tensions during times of scarcity. Similarly, Werner (1984) observed what he
referred to as a form of “incipient prostitution” among the Mekranoti of central Brazil.
While Werner did not refer to this behavior as “prostitution” per se, he noted that among
the Mekranoti there were a group of unwed mothers who did not have the social “safety
net” that married women of their community could rely upon. These women exchanged
sexual favors in return for meat and gifts from both single and married men of their
villages to ensure their well-being and that of their children. In both instances, there is a
presence of an “informal economy” which not only guarantees social cohesion in the
community, but fosters a hedge against any possible scarcity that would invariably affect
the health and well-being of mothers and children - and by extension, perhaps, other
people of the mother’s family.
Both Siskind (1973a, 1973b) and Gregor (1985) made similar observations among
other lowland groups of South America. Siskind, for example, speculated that the

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exchange of animal protein for sex has a wide distribution among hunting peoples and that
it actually increased productivity. For his part, Gregor (1985: 75) noted that among the
Mehinaku women receive many gifts from their lovers and that, “a sexually active woman
is therefore a recognized asset in her family, bringing in a modest but regular supply of fish
[and by extension, perhaps, game in general] from grateful lovers” (brackets mine).
Gregor (ibid: 88) further noted a situation akin to the Guajá concept of mixed paternity
among the Mehinaku in that, “with comic intent, men refer to joint paternity as ... an ‘all¬
male collective labor project’, placing it on the level of a fishing expedition or the clearing
of a field.” Yet despite Gregor’s claim that the Mehinaku’s statement was made with
‘comic intent’, he goes on to say that:
Joint paternity is further recognized at birth when
the putative fathers of the baby honor attenuated versions
of the couvade and accept some of the obligations of the
in-laws when the child grows up and gets married. For
the most part, however, the relationships generated by
extramarital affairs are hidden from cuckolded spouses so
an underground kinship system flourishes alongside the
public network of relatedness.
If, indeed, a firm belief in mixed paternity and resultant social obligations exists
among the Guajá, and other lowland groups, would invite further studies to affirm this
connection. What these observations suggest, however, is that social obligations grow out
of sexual relations. For their part, it would indicate that while women are engaged in
sexual play, they are also investing in a sort of commitment by their sexual partner. And if
a man wishes to be involved in extra-marital relationships, the more public these unions
become, the more he would invariably be compromised by social indebtedness.

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The notion of mixed paternity must also address another feature of Guajá social
life. As noted in their ethnohistory, there are a number of polyadrous marriages among
the Guajá. This type of marriage arrangement was only encountered at Posts Guajá and
Juriti, where the adult sex ratios were approximately three men to one woman of
reproductive age. At Post Guajá there were two polyandrous marriages, each of these
involving a woman married to two men. At Post Juriti, there were two cases of
polyandrous marriages, as well. Both of these marriages were instances of fraternal
polyandry. In one of these marriages, a woman was married to two men who were
brothers, while the other arrangement involved a marriage of one woman to two brothers,
plus a third man who would have an occasional encounter with her. Most of these
marriage situations usually had a “senior” male, but this was more informal in nature and
depended on a series of factors such as the person’s age, presence of personality, hunting
ability, and other attributes. At Post Awá, where the adult sex ratios were balanced, there
were no polyandrous marriages. Instead, there was one case where one man was married
to three women, one of these involving a child betrothal.
Low (1996: 950) pointed out that there are very few instances of polyandrous
marriages in the world. In fact, out of the 186 societies surveyed, polyandry occured in
only 4 societies, or approximately 2 percent of the sample. In over 80 percent of this
sample, polygynous marriages seemed to be the norm, whereas monogamy with
occasional polygyny occured in 10 percent of these societies. Very few of these societies
exhibited exclusive monogamy. In the case of polyandrous marriages, most were reported
to be fraternal in nature and were mostly linked to land inheritance. It was also reported

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that polyandry was more common in Africa and India, and in most cases men were seeking
wives rather that wives husbands.
Laraia (1974) observed a number of polyandrous marriages among the Surui of
Rondonia state, and speculated that these arrangements represented a reproductive
strategy among indigenous groups of Brazil to repopulate, especially after their large
population decline, particularly on the part of women. A similar situation was also found
among the Parakana of Pará, state (Magalhaes 1995: personal communication). The
situation among the Guajá would seem to indicate a similar situation encountered among
the Sumí. And there also seems to be a fluid nature in these arrangements as people are
constantly exchanging partners among the Guajá. This flexibility is also extended to the
domain of polygynous marriages when the sex ratios begin to tilt in a more balanced
direction, as is the case at Post Awá. Thus, all of these arrangements point to strategies
where both men seek wives and wives seek husbands, as the Guajá attempt to recover
population losses.
Leisure
Leisure among the Guajá is represented here as involvement in both social and
idling activities. Socializing involves visiting, conversation, playing and co-participation in
other activities such as food processing, sewing, bathing, etc. I interpreted the bond of
mothers and infants as a social activity as well, and in these cases there was a double
tallying if I encountered a woman holding her child, such that child care was also
considered a form of socializing. While mother and child in this situation are not actively
or voluntarily seeking a social interaction, I considered this union to be a “social bond”,
thus registering childcare in the socializing category as well.

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As Table 3.3 indicates, people engage in many leisurely activities. In fact, this
activity, overall, occupies more time than any other of the activities in which the Guajá are
engaged. Visiting is an activity where one leaves one’s premises and actively seeks out
interaction with people in other households. In this regard, socializing is an activity where
people interact with one another in their own domicile or in someone else’s. Laying
together in a hammock side by side with another person was registered as a social activity,
in addition to visiting, if at least one of the persons involved came from another
household. Play, too, was coded as a leisure/social activity and was recorded as such.
As for idling, this activity entails resting, lounging, sitting, standing, kneeling,
ambling, laying or squatting, and generally is not coupled with any productive activity.
This category of leisure represented the single most activity which occupied most of the
Guajá’s time. Although seemingly insignificant in terms of the lack of “effort” or
complexity that this activity entails, overall it stands out in that it represents approximately
56 percent of Guajá activities. As compared to leisure time for U S. workers (22.6
percent), this activity is substantial among the Guajá (see Hill 1985).
Resting can occur at any time of the day. Given that time allocation spot checks
began at 6:00 AM, there were a number of times that individuals were found sleeping.
However, resting was not necessarily restricted to this time of the day as people often
napped in the early to mid afternoon periods. When time allocation observation periods
ended at 7.00 PM, some people were already dozing off to sleep, but mostly children and
infants. Sitting and laying in a hammock also occupied much leisure time and was
sometimes accompanied by humming or singing. Then, of course, there are times when
people simply idle, whether they are standing, squatting, sitting, kneeling or laying down.

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In other words, in this activity people were doing “nothing”. As people settled down for
the evening, they prepared food, conversed and ate. Then activities simmered down and a
number of people would begin to sing as they lay in their hammocks.
Singing was mostly done by men and these songs are all individual in nature, with
no chanting done in unison In fact, as much singing is often done simultaneously, many
of these songs would criss-cross one another and generate a cacophony of sounds. And if
one hears these chants at a distance from the village during evening hours, the maelstrom
of sounds emanating from the songs leaves an eerie impression that the wailing is other¬
worldly. Perhaps one of the effects that this joint singing has is to fend off any would-be
prowlers to the Guajá’s camp.
Individually, however, these songs have a haunting melody and possess a mantra¬
like quality to them. The content of these songs primarily deals with themes of hunting,
fishing and work in general. Hunters will often sing about particular hunts they
participated in, successful or not. Some men would sing about their exploits as hunters
which will pique the curiosity and comments of others. And some men are considered to
be “chant specialists” as their repertoire of songs involve many interesting themes, which
are laced with a variety of melodies and rhythms. Not all men know how to sing and
sometimes will ask the chant specialists to sing for them during the evening. But one also
notices that others are jealous of these men and will mutter in a hushed tone, “what he’s
singing is a lie” (anya maiwéh).
The Social Component of Leisure
Social/leisure activities are more varied than involvement in idling in that people
will be more actively engaged in interaction with other people. Visiting is quite frequent

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among the Guajá, even in instances where people are not necessarily friends. The Guajá
are not very “exclusive” about their domiciles and people come and go pretty much as
they please between households. People may drop in to visit another person at any given
time of day, and may even lay down and sleep in their host’s hammock with no need for
consent. In fact, the only time I saw a person ask another to get out of his hammock was
so that he himself could sleep. During evening hours, however, everyone slept in their
own particular hammocks. At Post Juriti, some people slept on the ground on top of log
beds.1 Sleeping in households is usually situated near hearths so that people can stay warm
throughout the night.
When people would visit others there was not much proxemic distance between
one another, particularly friends. People could often be seen idling next to one another in
a hammock, not minding the frequent bodily contact that this interaction would often
involve. Children in particular were often seen in close proximity to one another,
especially during play periods. Frequently, married couples would lay next to each other
along with their children. If their hammock was big enough, they would even sleep
together. Normally, however, if the couple had a young infant child the mother would
sleep in a separate hammock with the baby, while the father would sleep in another
hammock alone or with other children. Children would often sleep with one another once
they were beyond the toddler stage.
Proxemic distances were very short among the Guajá and bodily contact was
frequent among family and friends. Close contact between unrelated men and women was
not frequent. In fact, close contact between adult brothers and sisters did not occur

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although they addressed each other with terms of endearment (cikari for brother
addressing sister and ci for sister addressing brother). If the Guajá were not interested in
interacting with a person they would turn their back on the individual and refuse to talk to
them. Similarly, they would avoid approaching said individual or eschew someone who
per chance might walk towards them.
In my particular case, there was a mixed reaction between individuals. Indeed, I
had to grow accustomed to people wanting to sit in my hammock along side me,
particularly children. Children would indiscriminately lean on me, sit or lay on my lap, and
sometimes some of them would even ask me to sleep with them at night. On other
occasions they would ask me to sing or draw pictures for them in my notebook. Adult
friends would sometimes sit beside me, too, unprompted. And perhaps the little
importance the Guajá place on the comings and goings of visitors facilitated my studies
among them, particularly during this task of time allocation.
Sometimes, I was taken aback by the proxemics of Guajá social interaction.
Although the proxemics of my own cultural heritage (i.e. Brazilian-American) involve
much affection, I was still unfamiliar with the contexts of Guajá bodily contact and would
feel “crowded” during certain instances, particularly when I had to work. There were
some rare instances, however, when people were not inclined or willing to communicate
with me, and once I became more attuned to their reticence and body language I would
not insist on continued interaction.
Playing was mostly done by children. Adults participated in play activities, too,
but to a much lesser extent. As for children, playing involved a multitude of activities as

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they would creatively invent games and situations among one another. Perhaps because
Post Awá had a larger number of children than the other two Guajá villages, people in this
community engaged more in recreational activities. As noted earlier, it was indeed
uplifting to be among the Guajá of Post Awá as there was quite frequently an upbeat
mood among its members. Parents also had a lot more playful relationship with their
children at Post Awá than witnessed at Post Guajá or Juriti.
Some play implements were introduced by other tribes by way of some Guajá
individuals having lived among other indigenous groups or trading with them. At Post
Guajá, for example, both adults and children played flutes which they acquired through
their Ka’apor neighbors. If fact, the Guajá at this community often make their own flutes.
Similarly, one individual who resided at Post Juriti introduced a rotating see-saw which he
learned to make and use among the Tenetehara.
Children would often engage in sexual play with one another. This would be done
in front of other people which would provoke the laughter of those present, children and
adults alike. What this type of play involved was one child laying down on his or her back
in a hammock, with legs opened, while another child would assume the adult male
position, laying on top his/her playmate, and go through the motions of sexual intercourse.
Alternatively, they would switch positions and the child assuming the role of the adult
female would get on top of the other child, who would lay down flat on his/her back.
Interestingly enough, even though children would reenact what would be a sexual liaison
between an adult male and female, this type of play was only observed between members
of the same sex, usually among kids in the age range of 3-10. In fact, in the one instance
where I did encounter a little boy and girl playing sexual intercourse, this activity was

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hidden and when I accidentally happened across them engaged in their game, they
immediately separated. The little girl went off towards her home apparently indifferent to
my presence, but the little boy stood shamed by the incident and cried.
In this situation it was interesting to see that this sexual play was performed
standing up. As the little girl stood in front of the boy with the rear of her skirt lifted, and
her back arched, the lad was trying to penetrate her from behind. Although my presence
“interfered” with this sexual play, it was telling in that it revealed another difference from
the more public, same-sex intercourse play of other children. In this instance, the sexual
play was not only more private and serious, but it also involved an attempt at genital
contact. During another incident, I witnessed a little 3-year-old girl mount a young man
who was laying down in a hammock on his backside. The little girl proceeded to go
through the motions of sexual intercourse and the man told her to stop and put her down.
News of this playful incident reached the girl’s parents, and her father admonished her in a
gentle, paternal tone, “you shouldn’t have sex - you’re too young” (eminu noani - ña
makre).
Perhaps the act of playing at sexual intercourse among children is a form of
imitative behavior which serves as “practice” which invariably prepares them for future
relationships. That I noticed a number of sexual positions being played out among Guajá
children made me wonder if they had actually ever seen their parents copulating. And
children responded affirmatively to me that, indeed, they had witnessed their parents and
other adults having sex. The intercourse that they did witness was in the forest, away
from the village, and it occurred when they were toddlers, old enough to remember these

181
incidents yet young enough to be taken by their parents everywhere they went. And it was
fascinating, too, to hear from both children and adults all of the intrigues that are involved
in sexual relationships among the Guajá. People were quite frank about sexual
relationships and were rather uninhibited in describing to me the nature of these liaisons.
As a matter of fact, many times people would volunteer information to me about these
matters without any prior prompting.
Among adults, extra-marital sexual liaisons is usually initiated by the man and is
somewhat surreptitious although not always discrete. The man usually makes a pass at the
woman and if she accepts, they make arrangements to meet at an agreed upon location for
their amorous rendezvous. If a woman is met alone by another man on a trail, while on
her way to perform some kind of task, he may make a pass at her. I witnessed such an
occasion during which a middle-aged man crossed paths with a young woman who was on
her way to fetch water. The woman had a pail in her hand and was carrying her toddler in
a sling. The man approached the woman and snuggled up to her affectionately. She
responded by shrugging him off and gruffly said, “I’m going to fetch water” (ía aú-tah),
and proceeded to walk towards the village water pump. For sure, my presence may have
altered whatever interaction could have transpired, but it was interesting in that it did not
inhibit the man from coming on to the woman. In this regard, I cannot say whether my
presence was perceived by the man as harmless or “neutral”.
During another couple of occasions, I inadvertently came across men and women
involved in extra-marital encounters. In one of these incidents, most of the village was
vacant as many of its members were out foraging or camped out at hunting retreats. I was
returning to my sleeping quarters, at the Indian Post’s infirmary, and as I was leaving the

182
village I noticed one of the community leaders in a warm and amorous embrace with his
neighbor’s wife. She stood passively with her baby in sling, smiling but not actively
returning the affection as the man lightly kissed her on the ear. I walked on looking
straight ahead, acting as if I had not noticed the incident. Momentarily, I looked askance
and observed that the couple was not too fazed with my presence, although the man
relaxedly withdrew from the woman with a warm smile. Similarly, on another occasion, I
was arriving at my sleeping quarters in the late afternoon and accidentally found a young
married man warmly embracing another man’s wife. Both of them were sitting on a bench
situated in the infirmary’s patio. As in the preceding examples, the woman had a baby in
her sling and was passively receiving the man’s affection. In this latter instance, the man
was startled by my sudden appearance and immediately pulled back from the woman. She
smiled indifferently and did not seem to be very concerned with my presence. The young
man, on the other hand, was very embarrassed and nervously greeted me as I approached.
I tried not to act surprised and returned the man’s greeting. I entered my quarters, pulled
out a snack and offered it to them. The woman accepted and remained seated, but the
man hurriedly walked away back towards the village eating his snack along the way. In all
of these instances, I kept the incidents to myself so as to not create any untoward gossip in
the village.
Perhaps because men usually initiate sex in these extra-marital unions, they are the
ones who incur ridicule in the event that a couple is discovered in an amorous rendezvous.
And, as previously noted, any child which would result from these unions could incur a
social debt by the father. An incident was reported, for example, where a couple engaged

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in an illicit sexual liaison. No one had acutally seen them involved in the act of
intercourse, but a person noticed that both the man and woman’s footsteps led to a spot in
one of the village’s manioc patches. This location was heavily marked as if someone had
laid down, moved about and performed sexual intercourse. News of this finding spread
throughout the village. The following day the man was openly denounced by another man
who brashly beat on his own chest2 and pronounced out loud, “we saw your footsteps and
the mark you left” (hatapaira acia). The denounced man was on his way to fetch water
and he lowered his head in shame and proceeded with his task without contesting.
Conversely, the woman who was involved with the man in this incident was unaffected by
any negative consequence or stigmatization.
On another occasion, while I was interviewing a man about village genealogy and
kinship relations, he admittedly told me that he had been involved in an extra-marital
relationship with another woman. The man laughed but was very embarrassed by the
situation. It was during this interview that I learned about the Guajá concept of mixed
paternity, mentioned previously. In this situation, the man admitted to me that as a result
of this liaison, he became the “co-father” of one of the woman’s children along with her
husband.
As noted above, most of these incidents diminished any “culpability” towards the
woman, although I previously mentioned that some women were beaten by their husbands
if their spouses suspected them of being pregnant by other men. There is indeed some
variability to this situation, as the following example will show. That is, on a couple of
occasions married women initiated amorous encounters with other men. One of these

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incidents occurred when some members of Post Juriti visited the Post Awá community.
This visit was promoted by FUNAI in an attempt to initiate a friendly interchange between
both villages, with the hope that some of the bachelors of Post Juriti could find eligible
spouses at Post Awá. The visit entailed a two-week trip through the heart of the Caru
Indian Reserve, and when the Post Juriti Guajá arrived at Post Awá, they initially received
a warm welcome from their hosts. However, as the days unfolded, some tensions began
to arise. In one incident, a married woman from Post Awá became enamored with a
young man from Post Juriti. The two of them eloped with a sexual encounter. When the
woman’s husband found out about his wife’s infidelity he wept and went to discuss the
incident with the Indian Agents at the outpost, accompanied by one of his village’s
leaders. They complained to the FUNAI workers that they were angered by this incident
and that the visit of the Juriti Guajá was becoming disruptive to their community. They
asked FUNAI to intercede lest they take some measure of their own to fend off the
woman’s lover. The FUNAI workers acted on the request and told the young man from
Post Juriti to stay away from the deceived man’s wife. ' The young man complied, but
then proceeded to flirt with other women in the Post Awá community.
Meanwhile, many comments began to circulate in the village about the deceived
man’s wife. While she became the object of much discussion, I did not notice any
negative consequence levelled at her. Some of the Guajá told me in their pidginized
Portuguese, “ela é muito safada, Ponina”4 (she’s very sly and shifty, Forline). FUNAI
workers had mentioned to me that she had been through two previous marriages and that
she had been “marginalized” by the Guajá community. In fact, her current marriage was
the result of being “passed on” by her former husband to her current spouse in exchange

185
for the latter’s services to his household. In spite of this status, however, I noticed that
the woman also had other qualities, namely, she was very firm and resolute, in addition to
exhibiting a marked presence and headstrong personality. A woman who lived next door
to her once confronted her and accused her of having sex with her husband. A heated
discussion erupted between the two and a scuffle ensued. She overpowered the neighbor,
ripped one of her clothes off, and sent the woman back to her house crying.
Other women in the Guajá community also flirted openly with men. There was a
young woman, for example, who would frequently visit one of her neighbors while her
husband would be out attending to a chore. She was particularly enamored with a young
married man of this other household and would cuddle up to him regardless of whether his
wife was present. In fact, the man’s wife seemed not to mind her neighbor’s affection for
her husband and would continue performing her household chores while he was being
caressed by the other woman. As I would walk out of their house after visiting, people
would snigger and motion to me that the two were going to have intercourse. One day I
asked the woman why she was so attracted to the man, to the point of openly expressing
her affection towards him in view of everyone in the village. She replied to me that he
was a sweet person and that he was strong and handsome (.Mihaciá katu - awá pcmahá
hata).
It was interesting, too, that this woman belonged to the strongest family of the
Post Awá community and, as such, apparently enjoyed certain privileges and benefits that
others did not have. Her husband, for example, did not have any particular seniority in the
household and, in fact, was a form of indentured person in their domicile. In return for

186
being married to her, he was particularly tasked to run a number of errands for the family.
Her husband was also physically impaired, with scrawny hands that could not grip objects
adequately, in addition to having a hunched back. These physical disabilities, however, did
not hinder this man’s ability to hunt and perform errands that were asked of him. In fact,
he was one of the better hunters of the village. It is interesting, as well, that other people
who were in this “indentured” status usually turned out to be some of the hardest workers
in their respective communities in exchange for the opportunity to be coupled with a
marriage partner.
Sexual intercourse started at an early age among the Guajá. Women may begin to
bear children as soon as they enter puberty. For this reason, health workers and
professionals visiting the Guajá communities would administer prenatal tetanus shots to
adolescent girls so as to anticipate any unforeseen complication which could occur during
post-partum periods. As indicated previously, sexual play begins at an early age but actual
attempts at real sexual intercourse can also start at a young age. The Guajá reported to
me that young men with betrothed girls would sometimes attempt to penetrate their future
wives. Needless to say, this type of intercourse would often be harmful to the young girl.
I only heard of this situation occurring, however, with a betrothed girl who came from a
more peripheral family that did not enjoy the status or safety net of stronger social ties.
Sometimes conflicts over women would occur between men. In one situation, a
middle-aged man fended off a young adult male for frequently associating with his
betrothed wife. The young man often invited the young girl to go out fishing with him and
his wife, in addition to accompanying them in other tasks. This interaction irked the
middle-aged man who confronted the young man and punched him. The young man

187
responded by gathering his belongings and retreating to the forest with his wife.5 After a
couple of weeks the young man returned with his wife and the incident was forgotten, yet
the middle-aged man’s betrothed girl was not reapproached. It is curious that during this
fight, the young man’s father did not intercede and remained neutral. Furthermore, it is
also interesting that the middle-aged man resided in the same household as the young
man’s father and was indentured to that particular domicile in exchange for being married
to one of the latter’s former wives. It so happened that this man had earned a lot of
respect in the Post Awá community for providing well to his household, even though he
was not elevated to full-fledged status of a senior male. He was also involved in another
scuffle over his betrothed girl and got into a club fight with the would-be trespasser.
There was no victor in this brawl and both men retreated to their respective homes bloody
and bruised from the incident.
When the Juriti Guajá visited the Post Awá community, their stay was received
with a shaky welcome. While some of the young men from Post Juriti were initially
negotiating marriage partners in the form of betrothed girls, these unions quickly dissolved
as they were also flirting with other women in the Post Awá community. As a result,
there was a subdued tension in the air and rumors began to spread in the community that a
young man from Post Awá was going to kill one of the visiting Guajá if he encountered
them in the forest. What conceivably could have been a positive interchange sponsored by
FUNAI left a sour taste among both communities, and antagonisms prevail to this day
between members of Post Juriti and Post Awá.6
During the visit there was one incident where members of Post Awá exerted their
dominance over the people of Post Juriti. A young man from Post Juriti was often

188
pestered and teased by the youths of the host village. As he would come and go from the
temporary tapiri he had built for himself and his father, another young man, from Post
Awá, would briefly step out of his own tapiri and blurt out to him with a smirk on his face,
“we’re going to sodomize you!” (ká eminú). The young man from Post Juriti would
chuckle and hurriedly move along. This occurred over a period of several days, with the
young man from Post Awá continuing his taunt. One day, a number of male youths and
young men from Post Awá converged upon their host, grabbed the man, and forced him
flat on the ground, face down, in the middle of the village. They then proceeded to
perform a mock, gang-rape on the young man from Post Juriti. The young man was
laughing all the while, but squirmed and tried to get away. The youths from Post Awá
would pull him back and continue their play. Many people from the village gathered
round to witness the incident and laughed at this playful display of dominance. The play
finally subsided and the man from Post Juriti scurried away. While all this was done in jest
it should be pointed out that the men of Post Awá did make their point in prevailing upon
their guests.
I did not know if indeed there was any type of homosexual behavior among Guajá
other than in jest. They would frequently make jokes about men coupling with one
another but none of them reported to me that people did actually become involved in this
type of relationship. And other than the same-sex sexual play which would occur between
children, I did not notice or hear about homosexual behavior among Guajá females. Both
young men and male youths would sometimes attempt to engage me in this type of play,
going through the motions of approaching another male from behind and performing a

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mock penetration of the unsuspecting person. Frequently, if a male would flatulate, others
around him would laugh and comment to me that he wanted to be sodomized.
There was one particular occasion at Post Juriti where I witnessed a man
masturbating. He was off and alone, squatting at the edge of a nearby lake and I was
going to pay him a visit as I thought he would be there preparing manioc. As I
approached the man from a distance at the upper banks of the lake, from about 30 meters,
I came short of calling out to him when I noticed that he was engaged in what I deemed as
a very private act. I withdrew and walked away, wondering to myself if this was an
isolated incident among the Guajá. Without naming anyone in particular, I inquired
among the other Guajá if they were familiar with such behavior and they indeed confirmed
that it existed, i.e., yapa piro, literally, to “peel one’s foreskin”. Without passing
judgment on the individual in question, it was interesting that he also happened to be a
peripheral member of the Post Juriti village. The man had no family ties with the village
other than a son which he had fathered from a previous tryst he had with one of the
women in that community. This bond was not strong and lasting, however, as the six-
year-old boy was firmly attached to his mother who had since been involved in other
relationships and was currently married to two other men. This individual was also
physically impaired and walked with a limp. Others in the village commented to me that
his physical disability was the result of a fight he had had with another man. During the
brawl, one of the man’s legs was broken and subsequently it did not heal properly. It was
interesting, too, that his impairment caused him to move at a slow pace which would not
permit him to keep up with groups of other hunters, as they tread along in the forest at a
brisk cadence. In the time I spent at Post Juriti, I noticed that this man was invited only

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once to go along hunting with another party. Other than this one occurrence, the man
would hunt only infrequently and alone, in addition to occasional gathering and fishing.
And his hunts produced little results. Much of his time was spent visiting the outpost and
frequently he would ask for food. Occasionally, he would also pilfer food while FUNAI
workers were napping or attending to other chores. Some of the other members of the
Post Juriti community would deride him for wearing no clothes, principally the youths of
the village who were bilingual and had close ties with FUNAI.
During the time I resided at Post Juriti, this man was married to a 14-year-old girl
who was epileptic. The girl would have frequent convulsions, up to as many as four a
day. FUNAI tried to remedy her situation with anticonvulsive medicine, which left her
groggy and sleeping throughout much of the day. Members of the Post Juriti community
mentioned to me that she was “crazy” (waki) and that as a result of her state any child
conceived by her would inevitably die. Other than her grandmother, the members of Post
Juriti, including her father, had no particular affection or attachment to her. Consequently,
perhaps by default, she was paired up with this physically impaired man. The girl would
spend much time at the outpost sleeping, and occasionally would get up to wander around
the vicinity of the village or outpost.
The girl’s convulsions did not cause much alarm to people, perhaps because of her
marginalized state. Likewise, as FUNAI was accustomed to witnessing her frequent
epileptic bouts and saw no particular hope for her improvement, outpost workers were
almost indifferent to her seizures. As she would go through one of her convulsions on the
outpost floor, it would not be uncommon to see FUNAI workers walk over or around her,

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unacknowledging her condition, as if she were just another object to be negotiated as they
moved along. The girl exhibited a few scars on her body, too, the result of having had a
prior seizure in one of FUN AT s horticultural fields that had recently been burned. On that
particular occasion, the girl was possessed by a seizure, fell on one of the plot’s
smoldering embers and burned her flesh. The only firm measure I saw FUNAI take with
this girl was to request that she take her baths at the outpost shower, otherwise if she
bathed alone at the river there would be a chance that a convulsion could seize her,
causing her to drown if she fell in the water.
As the girl would spend much of her time sleeping on a bed situated on the Indian
Post’s porch, her husband would frequently accompany his wife and nap next to her. One
afternoon, her husband took advantage of her groggy, drugged state and began to
copulate with her as she lay on the outpost bed. Meanwhile, a FUNAI worker who was
napping inside the outpost was awakened by the commotion and walked outside to check
out the situation. When he saw the man copulating with her he berated him and shooed
him away. I caught the end of this incident, only seeing the husband flee with an erect
penis. Then the FUNAI worker began to explain to me what had happened as the girl sat
motionless in her bed in a stupor.
Outpost Visits
In his study of the Araweté, another recently contacted Tupi-Guarani group,
Viveiros de Castro (1992) noted that there was no notion, per se, of “public space” among
these people. As such, he pointed out that there was a marked absence of central meeting
places where people congregated to socialize or perform ritualized ceremonies. Each

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domicile had a particular “patio area” of its own but any public space that there would be
among this group was established by FUNAI. As Viveiros de Castro (ibid: 21) claimed:
One of the fundamental characteristics of the Arawaté village is the absence
of a communal patio, an area equidistant from all the houses. The unity of
society is not expressed in a clear or constant manner in the ritual use of
space. The limited nature of their chieftaincy does not suffice in producing
this unity either. In the present conditions, with the village being an aggre¬
gation of the remnants of diverse local groups, this sociomorphological
noncentralization becomes even more accentuated. As a result, the Post
and its personnel assume a central place in the life of the group. The
FUNAI teams who were active at the Post ever since contact seem to have
encouraged the Arawaté to transfer decisions that affected the entire
population to the white men’s hands. The successive crises befalling the
group (epidemics, enemy attacks, relocations) consolidated this tendency.
This situation is very similar among the Guajá, where the outpost has become a big
point in congregation between FUNAI workers and the Indians, but also an area where
village members interact with one another.
Visits to the Indian Posts are frequent occurrences among the Guajá. In many
instances, these visits will entail asking for materials such as fishing and hunting supplies,
such as nylon line, fish hooks, and munitions. Sometimes, FUNAI will even lend the
Guajá some implements, such as shotguns, cast nets and traps. In other instances, the
Guajá will simply drop by the outpost to pay a social visit. Over the years, FUNAI has
established an ongoing relationship with the Guajá as the process of attraction and
settlement to Indian Posts firmly took pace. Part of this settlement procedure entailed
attracting the Guajá by offering them medicines to cure them from the infirmities
contracted by contact. This was a rather difficult procedure to execute as till this day,
some of the Guajá are weary of FUNAI and remain aloof. Some of the so-called
peripheral groups which eventually became incorporated in the already settled

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communities, are not necessarily marginalized by the main families residing in the village;
rather, some of these small bands remain distant by their own choice as well. If one of
these individuals falls ill, FUNAI is left with the difficult task of convincing them to stay in
the vicinity of the outpost to undergo medical treatment. These individuals may often
associate the illness with their proximity to FUNAI posts and invariably will evacuate
themselves to the forest to seek their out own treatment. In the meantime, FUNAI will
make several attempts to locate the Indians and treat them, but sometimes this is done at
some risk as the Guajá who retreat to the forest do not like to be approached.
Perhaps even the most seasoned of fieldworkers would have a difficult task in
negotiating these medical procedures with the Guajá as one would indeed have to be
attuned to their ethnomedicine to better assist them in treatment. As noted earlier, when
Gomes acted as coordinator of FUNAI’s first Guajá support program, he called for special
training of personnel to be better versed in this group’s practices and concepts of health
and illness. Yet as it happens, FUNAI is not very sensitive to the Guajá’s health situation
and a number of individual’s die or fall seriously ill because of faulty or lax treatment.
There are times, for example, when an individual visits the Indian Post to request medical
treatment and gets turned aside or put off until FUNAI deems it necessary to administer
assistance. Similarly, misunderstandings will occur and Indian agents will make frustrated
attempts to communicate with the Guajá and treat them rudely. And ill will towards the
Guajá can also invariably undermine any successful attempt to adequately treat the
Indians. On one occasion, for example, a Guajá young man encountered a land invader
fishing in the vicinity of Presidio Creek on the Caru Indian Reserve. After exchanging
gunfire at one another, and missing, both men fled in opposite directions. The Guajá man

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ran back to his village near Post Awá, in just enough time to catch his breath and quickly
relate the incident. The man was hysterical and immediately afterwards he fainted and
collapsed. He remained in an unconscious state for several hours and was carried to the
outpost for treatment by friends and family. The Guajá who assisted the young man to the
outpost attempted to explain the incident to Indian Post boss who was less than receptive
in accepting the Indians’ presence on his premises. Although the FUNAI nurse staff
proceeded to administer treatment to the young man, the outpost boss muttered that the
Guajá were lying when they related the incident to him.
While these types of interactions between the Guajá and FUNAI occur with some
frequency they do not characterize all situations which transpire between both parties. For
sure the Guajá have been involved with FUNAI for quite some time and the ongoing
relationship has fostered a friendship of sorts between the indigenous community and the
Indian Service. Although the majority of these interchanges indeed represent a situation
akin to a patron-client situation, there are amicable exchanges between both parties. The
Guajá, for example, may have some favorite personalities among the FUNAI personnel at
the outpost and will frequently visit these individuals to socialize with them.
Conversations are light and lively, and include a lot of gossip. FUNAI personnel are
frequently curious to know about occurrences of village life and will often inquire among
the Guajá about the whereabouts of certain people and whom they are engaged with.
Responses among the Guajá will vary and can occasionally include fabricated stories. The
Indian agents will listen attentively and put bits and pieces of accounts together to see if
there is any consistency. The Guajá may at times be reticent and be shy to reply about
these incidents but make quick and glib comments about the situation. On other

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occasions, the Guajá have such a good relationship of confidence with some of the outpost
members that they will even confide to them intimate details about their lives. In one
instance, for example, I witnessed a Guajá man relate to Indian agents, in disbelief, an
account of his wife’s infidelity. The Indian agents were humored by the situation and kept
asking for details about the tryst, and with quite some alacrity the man delved into the
story.
The Indian agents’ attitudes and behavior towards the Guajá are somewhat varied
but clearly represent a relationship of superiority over their charges. This situation can
range from a mild-mannered interaction to a belligerently authoritarian stance towards the
Guajá. This gamut of behavior is interpreted with some ambivalence by the Indians but
similarly, the Indian Service personnel have mixed reactions towards the Guajá. As I
witnessed a host of behaviors and attitudes coming from both directions, both parties
would express to me their feelings of contempt, disdain, mistrust or affinity with regard to
one individual or another. For sure, inter-ethnic contact ushers in with its interactions
many misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the “other’s” attitudes and behaviors,
such that both parties will harbor ambiguous feeling towards one another. For their part,
indigenous stories and mythology regarding contact are charged with much ambivalence
towards white people (see Hill 1988). The literature on this subject shows that to whites
(karaí), Tupian groups attributed a series of characteristics, from God-like qualities, for
all of their power and highly sophisticated technology, to evil beings for bringing on
disease, conflict and despair (see Crosby 1972; Gomes 1988; Viveiros de Castro 1986).
Many situations encountered at the Indian Posts attest very much to the qualities
that whites have accrued in the Guajá perception of karai. While FUNAI offers security

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and protection against would-be invaders, not to mention medicines which cure them from
introduced ailments, friendships that the Guajá foster with Indian Service personnel wax
and wane through a series of interactions on a day-to-day basis. Take for example an
interaction I witnessed between one of the community leaders of Post Guajá and the
Indian Post boss. The two men had made arrangements for the Indian Service personnel
to help the Guaja measure and delimit a horticultural plot that the Indians were going to
prepare. Next day, during the time of the scheduled visit the FUNAI workers did not find
the Guajá to begin delimiting the plot. It turned out that one of the Guajá had spotted
some peccaries and returned to the village to beckon other hunters to assist them in the
pursuit. A number of men up and left and went to hunt the peccaries. This absence left
the FUNAI agents annoyed and they returned to the outpost to take care of other duties.
When the Guajá were returning from the hunt, the man who had made arrangements with
the outpost boss to delimit the horticultural plot meekly offered him part of a quartered
peccary. The Indian agent took the offer but gruffly turned his back on the Guajá man and
returned to the outpost without saying anything to him. The Guajá young man then shyly
followed the outpost boss and asked him if they could still mark off his horticultural plot.
The outpost boss brusquely responded, “yeah, we’ll take care of it tomorrow” (amanha a
gente cuida disso). The next day the FUNAI worker did not show up to mark off the field
and left the Indians waiting. Then the Guajá walked over to the outpost and inquired if
they were going to perform the task. The outpost boss told the Guajá man that he was
busy and put him off till the next day. The Guajá walked away dissatisfied and
begrudgingly accepted the situation. Later, the Indian agent told me that, “you have to be
that way with them or they’ll run your lives - Indians are always going to be Indians” (tern

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que ser assim com eles se nao eles aproveitam e montam em cima - Indio sempre vai ser
Indio).
The Guajá can also be very solicitous and constantly request items from FUNAI
and visitors. FUNAI will comply at times while at others, it will refrain and turn the Guajá
aside. Sometimes this incurs the wrath of the Indians and they shout at the workers and
curse at them. A frequent phrase expressed by the Guajá if they think someone is a bad
character is “he’s no good” (awá n ’katui). The Guajá sense no particular criteria by which
FUNAI administers the outpost or distributes goods. This situation will necessarily lead
to misunderstandings. The Guajá, for example, always expect that FUNAI personnel will
bring them back some token of appreciation for their work on the occasion of a FUNAI
worker returning from his monthly leave period. In fact, the Guaja expect FUNAI
personnel to announce ahead of time when they are scheduled to take their monthly leaves
so that they can ask the Indian agents to bring them gifts.
On one occasion, an Indian agent did not announce that he was going to leave and
left for his monthly leave unnoticed by the Guajá. When the Indian agent returned from
his leave, five days later, he was not greeted by the Guajá upon his return. In fact, when
we both bathed at the river some of the Guajá were paddling by in canoe and said nothing
to us, an odd gesture, as they are usually more communicative and greet people after they
have not seen them in a while. As the Guajá paddled away one of them turned to the
FUNAI worker and blew a curse on the FUNAI agent (kamiyu). The Indian agent then
turned to me and said, “those Indians are worthless -1 don’t trust them for anything”
(esses indios nao prestam nao - eles nao sao de confianza). Later, when the mutual
antagonism subsided between this FUNAI worker and the Guajá, he told them that he

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returned with nothing because they had not requested anything from him. The Indians
answered that he left unannounced. His answer to them was that he had to leave on a
moment’s notice, which was not true, and the Guajá ended up accepting his explanation.
Besides often being the target of authoritarian and paternalistic behavior, the Guajá
are also witness to a series of less than exemplary conduct between Indian Service
personnel. Take, for example, a situation I witnessed among FUNAI workers during a
visit the Guajá made to one of the outposts. A couple of FUNAI field hands were
engaged in an argument with one another and got into a minor brawl. One of the men
threw hot coffee on the other’s face and pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. Then he
yelled at the man and told the Guajá who were witnessing the incident that he was
lascivious and was going to have sex with their women if they did not keep a watchful eye
on him. The accused man remained speechless and motionless, and could not contest the
other. The accuser put his gun away then walked away in a gruff manner. Some of the
Guajá were awestruck by the incident while others laughed at the accused man.
In another incident which occurred between FUNAI agents at Post Guajá, two
Indian Service personnel were engaged in a shouting match with one another, albeit
playful. One of the men told the other, “I can handle you anytime—I’ve got a .38 special
and can lay you to waste.” The other Indian agent retorted, “Oh yeah?! Well, I’ve got a
.20 gauge shotgun and I can take care of you anytime you cuckhold.” The Indians
assisting this verbal dual were amused by the situation and were rather excited by the
commotion. This rough and heavy-handed humor was not uncommon between Indian
Service personnel and even though they initially tried to remain on their best behavior
when I was present, they lost their inhibition and proceeded to act pretty much as they

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pleased, regardless of my presence. Although these examples of Indian personnel
interactions do not amount to very exemplary behavior, after a while it became evident
that there was an undercurrent set of relations between FUNAI and the Guajá that could
not be concealed.
Rituals, Ceremonies, and “Other” Activities
Although the Guajá do not have the complex array of rituals and ceremonies
encountered among other groups of the Amazon region, these activities were present and
especially evident at the Post Awá community. These activities, moreover, are not
significant in terms of the amount of time spent but they represent the majority of events
which I refer to as the “other” category in tables 3.1-3.3. While these activities are not
significant from the perspective of total time spent, they stand out as important events
since they represent a component of religious/ideological life which helps explain some of
the ordinary events of day to day living among the Guajá. These rituals are not as robust
in this time allocation study because the majority of these activities occur more during the
evening hours. Recall that the time allocation studies described here covered all of the
daylight hours (from 6:00AM to 6:00 PM), and one short, early evening hour, from
6:00PM to 7:00PM. And even though the rituals and ceremonies of the Guajá are not as
elaborate as the events encountered in more settled groups of the Amazon region, they are
significantly rich enough to relate in this final section of time allocation studies. That
some of these events are only present in two of the Guajá communities studied also
reveals the nature of activities in the face of inter-ethnic contact.
The ritual and ceremonial occasions which stood out the most among all three
communities occured primarily during the initial stages of the dry season. As these events

were only witnessed at Post Awá, I will give a brief description of them as observed in
that community.
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Perhaps one of the most significant ritual and ceremonial events which occurs
among the Guajá is the occasion of their visit to the spirit world. There is no specific
name for this activity and they would often refer to the event as a “visit to the sky world”
{ohó iwá-bé) or that they were going to “visit the spirits” {karawára acia)1 This is an
event that occurs with more frequency at the beginning of the dry season, but may persist
until the rainy season sets in. Men are the “voyagers” during this journey, but women also
have an important role to play in this ceremony.
Preparations for the event are perhaps one of the most elaborate parts of Guajá life
as the paraphernalia used in this occasion may take many months to collect. The Guajá
usually have a good supply of the materials used for the occasion on stock but collect
these items throughout the course of the year The main items used in the event are the
ornamental plummage used by the men who participate in the visit to the sprit world, in
addition to tree resin and beeswax. The plummage used is vulture feather down from the
King Vulture {uruhu rei - Portuguese; uruhu - Guajá), Sarcoramphuspapa, and toucan
{tucano - Portuguese) feathers, plucked mostly from the takayu toucan {Ramphastos
vitellinus).
The men participating in this event take off all of their clothes and don nothing
more than these ornamental feathers. Their wives help them prepare for the event by
decorating them with the vulture down and bird feathers. The wives take these items from
storage and paste the urubu down on their husbands’ bodies with beeswax or tree resin.

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The toucan feathers are either tied around the men’s arms or made into head dresses. The
ornamental decorations are varied among each of the men and can take on many forms
and designs. The women usually prepare the men for the ceremonial occasion before
sundown, mostly during the days when a full moon is about to appear. The Guajá claimed
that the moon would illuminate their way to the sky, where the spirits reside, as they
journeyed to the spirit world.
As the women prepare their husbands for the event, the men begin chanting in
ritual preparation for their journeys. Other men, with the occasional assistance of
children, quickly assemble a takaya, similar to the ones they construct as hunting blinds or
stake outs, using the fronds of the baba the house of the family which initiated or hosted the event for that particular occasion.
When evening approaches, all of the men are ready to begin their journey to the spirit
world. The men will then situate themselves with their respective families around the
takaya, with each family usually locating itself at an equidistance from the small hut. Each
of the men will then dance towards the takaya away from their families in a prance-like
manner, with arms flexed and hands held against their chests. The dancing is usually to
and fro, as they gradually approach the takaya. Each of the dancers will momentarily stop
and continue their singing as other men approach the takaya dancing. Then as the other
men briefly stop their dancing the first man in the dancing order will enter the takaya.
Each man will then take turns in entering the takaya individually. While there, they
continue chanting and ready themselves to journey to the spirit world. When a man is on
the verge of leaving the earth, he increases the volume of his chanting, stamps his feet, and
takes flight towards the spirit world in the sky.

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The Guajá claim that only experienced people with the right amount of preparation
for the event can take this journey, for if an inexperienced person attempts this journey, he
will fall from the sky to the earth and harm himself. Initiates will usually travel to the spirit
world under the guidance of their fathers, and a moral boost from their mothers. The
journey is usually performed by adult men but boys as young as twelve years of age can
also travel to the sky world.
Once the men enter the realm of the spirit world, they encounter different spiritual
entities, among which can be some of their ancestors or members of their pantheon of
spirits. Men would frequently tell me that they had face to face encounters with some of
their deceased relatives or cultural heroes such as Maira, a popular entity among Tupian
groups. The spirit world (iwá-bé) was described as a beautiful place, where men and
women are strong, well-fed and beautiful. The bounty of nature is very generous and
game is plentiful. There was no drug taking involved in this ceremony and the visions the
men related to me were strictly induced through their faith and beliefs.
When men arrive in the spirit world they take a “tour” of sorts, but usually have an
objective in mind, namely, to seek out a particular spiritual entity. As these entities are
encountered, the voyagers negotiate a “trading” of spirits. In other words, they exchange
their own spirit with a particular entity, incorporating its being, while leaving their own
spirit behind in iwá-bé. The incorporated spirit then descends to earth, in the form of the
man who had recently visited iwá-bé. This entity then leaves the takaya and dances
towards the man’s family. The rountine is similar to the dancing and singing which goes
on prior to travelling to the spirit world, except in this instance the man dances towards
his wife and family, incorporated by a spirit other than his own. In all, the man spends

about five to ten minutes in the takaya while his spirit ascends to the spirit world and
another spirit becomes incorporated in his body.
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When the man arrives at the station where his family is located, the spirit he
incoporated begins to sing to his wife and she responds by singing back to him. The
conversations in this bantering of songs was difficult to follow and interpret, but the
general message I got was that information about happenings in the spirit world was being
exchanged and advice was given by the spirit to the man’s wife. In many instances, these
spirits would come down to perform ritual healing and chanting for convalescing people.
In this case, more than one incorporated spirit would dance towards the convalescing
person to heal them. Part of the healing procedure would involve singing and blowing on
the convalescing person. Blowing is a very popular healing technique among shamans
throughout the world and is encountered in many indigenous groups of lowland South
America. Among the Guajá, blowing is a symbolic gesture which represents the giving or
bestowing of life from one entity or individual to another. It is also a form of blessing,
much like the sign of the cross would be to a Christian.
After the incorporated spirits finish interacting with the people involved in the
ceremony, they return to iwá-bé, following the same procedure of dancing and chanting
towards the takaya. From the takaya, the spirit journeys back to iwá-bé to find the spirit
of the man it replaced while it travelled on earth. They “return” their spirits to one
another and the man’s spirit can either return to earth to visit his family or seek out
another spirit exchange, in which case the new spirit would also descend to earth to
interact with people involved in the ceremony.

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While the spirit of the travelling man remains in iwá-bé he does his own series of
interactions with the entities of the spirit world and observes special events and occasions.
In addition to seeing spiritual entities in iwá-bé, men told me that they also encountered
species of animals which were not common to the Guajá homerange. Whether this is
indicative of where the Guajá may have resided in the past or if these species strictly
represented mythological/spiritual entities could not be ascertained.
One of the main purposes of this particular ceremony was to muster good spirits
and disposition for health, harmony and hunting luck in the upcoming dry season. The
ceremony gave guidance and orientation to the Guajá as many of the celestial events and
visits were instructive to their community and gave them a sense of purpose and meaning
during a time of the year when their mood was usually down. The visit to the spirit world
was uplifting for, afterward, people exchanged information on events and what was said
during their exchanges with the mythological personalities of the spirit world. For as the
dry season approaches, the disease and illness load is up, hunting and fishing are not as
productive as they are in the dry season, and there is a general mood of anxiety in the air
among the community. The event also provided some moral guidance as the following
example will show.
At Post Awá there was a particular man who allegedly killed a former wife of his
during a hunting tour. Village members suspected that his wife had been killed by him,
and not by some hostile Indians as he had claimed during the incident. Many rumors
circulated in the village for a number of years concerning her disappearance. One day, the
man decided to take a trip to the spirit world and other village members told me that he
encountered a very bizarre experience while he travelled there. When he arrived in iwá-

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bé, he encountered a man who asked him where his wife was. He responded that he did
not know and proceeded to wonder about iwá-bé. Later, he was startled to find his
deceased wife, accompanied by another man. With this encounter he became so dismayed
and was appalled to find that the other man and his former wife looked strong, healthy and
content with one another. The man then aborted the rest of his trip to the spirit world,
descended to earth and returned home without continuing to participate in the ceremony
during that particular evening. He remained in his hammock for the next two days,
enervated and depressed by the experience, with no courage or motivation to hunt or
participate in any activity. Village members talked in hushed tones about the man’s travels
and related the incident to me.
This situation is not one of the most typical events encountered when men journey
to the spirit world, but is indicative of the how it could also establish a moral code of
conduct and order of sorts among the Guajá. While the man could have well felt much
guilt and pain for the loss of his former wife, that he encountered her in his vision, in the
context of the spirit world, with others admonishing him with incriminating comments and
looks, perhaps shows how trips to iwá-bé also helped the Guajá rectify certain situations
with justice dictated from a world beyond their everyday experiences.
It is also interesting to point out that only men were privy to these trips to the
spirit world. I know of no woman ever journeying to iwá-bé. Yet although the spirit
world represented a sphere which only men could access, women were the prime
organizers of the event and were the ones who usually requested from the men that one
particular spiritual entitiy or another be contacted. On many occasions, too, women also
initiated particular ceremonies by requesting that men organize a particular trip to iwá-bé.

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The event itself is not a very solemn affair. There is no rigidity or strict order
involved, as people participate in a very relaxed manner, although there is a definite
purpose in mind. While the event unfolds, children are often seen playing and running
around, and other people stand by and watch the event to satisfy their curiosity. Jokes are
often made during the occasion, too, as people will comment on how one particular
dancer dances or may even giggle at the nuances of one particular participant or another.
The Guajá claimed that the event of going to iwá-bé helps boost their morale. It
makes them irérá, or strong, happy, uplifted and optimistic. They would look forward to
good luck in hunting with the unfolding of the dry season. And even though it was not
made explicit by the Guajá, trips to the sky world also set the tone for exemplary behavior
and conduct in their community. This event was markedly present in the Post Awá
community and people looked forward to participating in it. The day following each of
these visits would be filled with much talk about what people saw and experienced while
they were in iwá-bé.
The members of the Post Guajá community did not journey to the sky world. As a
matter of fact, one of the only persons from that village who claimed to have travelled to
the sky world in the past said that the last time he journeyed there, the spirits were so
angry with him that they expelled him. Since then he said that he did not venture to
return. Another man who was raised at Post Guajá told me that he did not believe in any
of the occurences of the spirit world visitations. He claimed that all of the stories that the
men told were fabrications and lies. The Guajá are, indeed, fond of telling stories to one
another and often relate impressive accounts about hunting trips, encounters with
supernatural beings or land invaders. That they can really relish these events may find

207
some parallels in the stories they relate to one another about trips to the spirit world. But
this is also indicative of the meaning that this event holds for the members of the Post Awá
and Juriti communities. It attests to the faith they have in these journeys and how
significant it was for them to have these visions and incorporate themselves with particular
spritual entities for purposes of healing and establishing some sort of harmonious balance
in there community.
It is curious, too, that there was a definite ecological cycle associated with visits to
the spirit world. During the wet season there was a gradual build-up to these visits as
people gathered materials for the occasion of the incipient dry season. As I will show in
Chapter V, the animals which were hunted the most were birds, mostly toucans, which in
addition to being hunted for their flesh, they were also sought out to harvest materials for
this religious ceremony. Although I speculate that the reason the Guajá at Post Awá
hunted birds as they were in need of adding new items to their diet, it was a big
coincidence, too, that these animals were sought out for ritual and ceremonial purposes.
Perhaps the need to bolster their diet breadth reinforced the call to participate with more
zeal in these religious ceremonies as celestial visits were, indeed, a reorientation to a new
cycle in ecological events and a reflection of the need to gamer morale through difficult
times. This situation will be addressed with better detail in Chapter V, which discusses
the foraging yields of each community.
Summary
The problems and methods associated with time allocation studies have to be
considered while researching time-budget activities. Yet time allocation research remains
a sound method for understanding how people spend their time. This study revealed that

208
the Guajá still engage most of their productive acitivities in hunting endeavors. While
members of Post Guajá have cleared more horticultural plots and engage more in farming
activities than the Post Awá and Juriti communities, hunting still remains their mainstay in
terms of time being allocated to any single productive activity. In all three communities,
fishing has come to play a more substantial role for the Guajá as they are now settled near
riverine areas. As the next chapter will show, however, farming products contribute more
calorically to the Guajá diet since they have come into contact. Although farming is recent
to the Guajá, not to mention that time invested in this activity remains second to hunting
and gathering, farming products, principally manioc, contribute substantially to their diet.
While the Guajá are not working, they spend a lot of time in leisurely activities.
The foremost of all activities is leisure and the idling component of leisure time stands out
as its single most activity. The social component of leisure involves a host of behaviors
that reveal the nature of social relations. Interactions among the Guajá are rather amicable
with some variation in the way people relate to one another. Since estranged groups have
been settled and now coexist with one another in the same community, contact has
spawned a new series of relations among the Guajá. Unfamiliar groups that were initially
hostile towards another now exchange marriage partners although these interactions can
sometimes create tensions.
The relationship between adults and children is variable but largely smooth and
easy going. “Mixed paternity” is admitted among the Guajá which perhaps establishes a
set of “underground” kin relationships, as cofatherhood can cement social and economic
ties and form community cohesion. Playfulness is also present among the Guajá and helps
relieves tensions and serves as “practice” for children in future endeavors and

209
relationships. Peripheral groups are initially marginalized among the Guajá but eventually
embraced by the major bands of this community in the form of indentureship.
FUNA1 has come to play a major role among the Guajá in terms of attracting them
and settling them into semi-nucleated communities. FUNAI is pivotal in fostering ties
among and between community members but also grooms certain individuals for special
roles, such as leadership and specific productive tasks. In addition, FUNAI has
established a platform for the Guajá community to unite and interact in a more “public
sphere”. The Indian Service, although authoritarian and paternalistic, has provided
security to the Guajá community in the form of food, passing on new productive
strategies, medicines, and new technologies for procuring and producing resources.
Notes
'Among the Guajá adult females are the weavers of hammocks. As this community had a
very low number of women, there were a few number of hammocks and a number of
individuals, primarily men, slept on the ground on log beds made of agai palm (ihara).
2The Guajá frequently thump on their chest with clenched fist when they want to
emphatically express themselves or underline a point. This gesture is often used when
men relate their hunting stories or point out a thought that suddenly illuminates them.
Tt is interesting that the authority that FUNAI has come to acquire and administer among
the Guajá extends to the mediation of these types of disputes. In some instances, FUNAI
is begrudgingly accepted by some Guajá but is still sought out to resolve incidents such as
this one.
4I made an attempt here to transcribe the sound that the Guajá used to utter my name, i.e.,
Forline (pronounced Forlini). The Guajá, however, have no “f” sound in their language
and their attempt to utter my name was pronounced as Ponina.
5These types of situations are not uncommon among the Guajá. If conflicts occur between
individuals or families, one of the parties will become angered (emahi) and go off to the
forest for an undetermined amount of time. When the incident subsides they usually return
to the village. The more peripheral families have a tendency to stay away longer if they

210
are turned aside in conflicts and sometimes will only return if they are beckoned back by
FUNAI or family members.
6This visit was not administered well by FUNAI as many Guajá fell ill during the
interchange. There were over forty cases of colds, flu and malaria, since both
communities ‘exchanged’ their respective infirmities. Moreover, one of the visiting Guajá
accidentally fell from a tree and died. All of these incidents, coupled with the existing
antagonisms fostered further ill feelings between both communities.
7This last term, karawára, may be introduced to the Guajá language from the Tenetehara.
While it and it’s cognates in other Tupi-Guarani languages usually refers to bad spirits,
through contact, the term has come to represent the pantheon of spirits visited in the
Guajá spirit world. Likewise, the expression ohó iwá-bé also refers to the trip people
make to the spirit world after they die, as the first part of this saying (ohó) means to
“leave” as well as “go”.

CHAPTER V
FORAGING STRATEGIES AMONG THE GUAJA
This chapter examines foraging patterns and strategies among the Guajá. As
hunting still occupies much of the Guajá’s time in terms of investment in productive
activities, this endeavor is given special attention; however, since contact, it must be
pointed out that farm products have come to comprise a substantial part of their diet. For
this reason, attention will also be drawn to dietary studies among the Guajá in Chapter VI,
which include diet composition and breadth, caloric expenditure and intake, as well as
anthropometric data. Dietary studies were embraced in order to draw comparisons across
villages and to arrive at some general indices of the Guajá’s health and well being.
Similarly, foraging studies were examined to assess the differences in resource acquisition
strategies between villages and particular individuals.
Methods Used in Collecting Foraging Data
I collected 229 days of hunting data among the Guajá over a period of 18 months.
Hunting data were collected in both the dry and wet seasons, respectively, to look at
hunting techniques and strategies as they change throughout the course of the year. At
Post Guajá, I collected 89 days of hunting data, 37 days in the dry season of 1992 (from
September through December) and 52 in the wet season of 1993 (from January to March).
Seventy-eight days of hunting data were collected at Post Awá, corresponding to 42 days
in the dry season (from June to September of 1993) and 36 in the wet season
211

212
of 1994 (from March through May). At Post Juriti, sixty-two days of hunting data were
recorded, with 30 days observed in the dry season of 1993-1994 (December 1993 through
mid-January 1994), and 32 days in the wet season (mid-January through late February).
To record hunting data, I noted the time an individual left to go foraging and the
time the person returned. The company the person took was also recorded in the event
that the expedition involved more than one party. I also made note of the weapon/s the
person took on the foraging trip and the resultant catch the individual brought back, if any.
Then this data was summed up to see what the return rate was for that particular foraging
trip (i.e. kilograms/hour foraging). On a separate data recording format I also noted what
people brought back from foraging expeditions, noting the individual person, the time of
the day they returned, the name of the game animal, and the gross weight of their catch.
Game was weighed by using two weighing scales, one for large animals (> 10
kilograms) and another for smaller prey and fish (< 10 kilograms). Most game was
weighed towards the late afternoon, when individuals would begin returning from their
foraging trips, through early evening. Visits were made in the late afternoon to all
households to see if people had already returned with anything from foraging trips.
Informants were very compliant with this task and took an interest in seeing and
comparing the weights of different animals. Some hunters would return earlier in the day
and by way of doing other tasks, such as time allocation studies, I would spot them and
quickly take time out to weigh those animals. In fact, it was hard to not notice people
returning from foraging trips, being situated in such small communities. Yet on rare
occasions I did miss seeing people return with game. Most people were very cooperative
with this task of weighing animals. In fact, I was usually informed by someone that I had

213
missed weighing game brought in by a particular individual on the occasion of my not
noticing their return. And, as mentioned in the previous chapter, some people would visit
me in the evening when they returned from night-hunting or fishing, so that I could weigh
their catches. If, indeed, I missed noting and weighing any harvested game, I estimate it to
be insignificant.
In order to arrive at values that would accurately reflect the “dressed” weight of
game animals, or the edible portion of netted game and fish, I conducted a few
experiments to average out what percentage of the prey could actually be assimilated by
Guajá individuals. That is, I would weigh netted game and then ask informants to provide
me with the skin, bones, viscera, and other unwanted materials of slain animals so that I
could subtract the weight of these unedible portions to calculate the assimilable parcel of
each general class of animal (i.e. mammals, fowl, fish and tortoises). Next, these figures
were compared with values found in the literature pertaining to hunting and nutrient data
(cf. Hill & Hawkes 1983; Good 1989) as a means of assessing my estimation of edible
game meat .1
Even though the full anatomy of foraging expeditions cannot be detailed, I
accompanied the Guajá on a number of trips to experience what these events entailed. I
went on approximately 15 daily foraging trips, and accompanied the Guajá to 4 hunting
camps. Time spent at hunting camps with the Guajá totalled 21 days. This time was
broken down to 8 days in the dry season and 13 days in the wet season. Of this time, 3
days were spent among the Post Awá Guajá at dry season hunting camps, and 3 days in
the rainy season hunting retreats. Among the members of Post Guajá, I spent 15 days at
hunting camps, 5 days in the dry season and 5 days in the wet season. No time was spent

214
with the Post Juriti Guajá at hunting camps as the time I spent at that community did not
permit a more in-depth investigation of full range of hunting patterns. Moreover, this
community did not venture out much to foraging camps during my stay there. The
reasons for their limited number of hunting treks will be discussed below.
Additionally, I participated in 3 ovenight hunts and 7 fishing expeditions, which
employed the use of fish poisons. This participation cannot even begin to reveal the full
nature of all of these ventures, yet provided me with a reasonable glimpse of how the
Guajá conducted foraging behaviors. Subsequently, I interviewed a number of people
about features of foraging trips and talked with FUNAI personnel about their experience
in observing Guajá foraging patterns. The very nature of foraging is quite unpredictable
from the standpoint of the opportunism which the Guajá engage in when surveying the
forest. Similarly, forgaging involves momentarily stopping to take a break, resting,
chatting and grooming, in addition to a host of other activities and endeavors which will
engage the Guajá (cf. previous chapter on time allocation). Yet the broad picture of
foraging behavior follows in order to illustrate the general patterns encountered among the
Guajá in their hunting and gathering trips.
Foraging Yields and Patterns among the Guajá
Hunting yields differed among the three Guajá communities, both in terms of
harvested animals and netted game. The primary factors contributing to these differences
were hunting technologies, techniques and strategies, in addition to the different habitats
occupied by each of these villages. Although, in a general sense, the three communities
are situated in similar ecological zones, some variation was encountered in each of these
areas which contributed to differences in yields and species composition. Both Posts

215
Guajá and Juriti were relatively unaffected by land invasions in comparison to Post Awá.
As noted in Chapter II, Post Awá is situated on the southern fringes of the Caru Indian
reserve, where many land invasions have been spawned from local towns and hamlets
located along the Carajás railway. Many of the poachers are landless peasants and
subsistence farmers whose land area has been steadily degraded and, in turn, seek out the
more productive hunting zones in the Indian Reserves to bolster their diets and income.
Additionally, many phony land titles are deeded out to local peasants who inadvertently
purchase areas located on the Indian Reserves. These activities have put much pressure
on the southern margins of the Caru Reserve and these incursions are reflected in the
hunting data. Moreover, as previously mentioned, the frequent passing of freight and
passenger trains generates much noise, which scares game away, further afield in the
forest. Another factor contributing to the depletion of game in this area is that the
indigenous population at Post Awá is higher than that of Posts Guajá and Juriti combined.
All of these factors have caused the Post Awá Guajá to adopt new hunting strategies, in
addition to being the village which retreats more to hunting camps than Posts Guajá and
Juriti.
Regional ecology also contributes to the difference in netted game and hunting
yields. Post Juriti is situated adjacent to a black-water ecosystem, which is less productive
when compared to other Amazonian ecological zones. As will be seen, this feature of
Post Juriti is reflected by comparing fishing yields between the villages. Perhaps this could
be extended to the rest of this community’s foraging yields, but since members of Post
Juriti only hunted with bows and arrows, without the assistance of shotguns or hunting
dogs, it is difficult to assess whether the productivity of their habitat is equal to those of

the other Guajá communities, given that, at best, we can only compare returns between
villages based on foraging technology, techniques and strategies. Yet, as mentioned,
fishing yields are lower for Post Juriti using the same technology employed by the other
two Guajá communities, with the exception of fish poisons.
With these factors in mind, the foraging yields of all three communities are
presented in Tables 5.1-5.6. Tables 5.1 and 5.2 represent the hunting yields obtained at
Post Guajá while Tables 5.3 and 5.4 show the harvested game of Post Awá. Similarly,
Tables 5.5 and 5.6 show the game harvests of Post Juriti. These tables represent the
harvested game during the dry and wet seasons, respectively, for each of the villages. An
examination of these tables reveals that hunting yields were higher at Post Guajá than the
two remaining outposts. The hunting yields at Post Guajá are higher both in terms of
gross game harvests and return rates. That is, the overall weight of harvested game is
higher at Post Guajá, as is the net yield in terms of hours hunted. In tables 5.1 through
5.4,1 only listed the ten most hunted items in each of those villages (Posts Guajá and
Awá). Hunting yields beyond this point are rather insignificant. The full range of the
harvested animals observed during this research is listed in Table 5.7. Tables 5.5 and 5.6
list all of the harvested animal yields obtained by members of the Post Juriti community.
Tables 5.1 through 5.6 rank animal harvests according to frequency, gross weight
and dressed weight.2 The first three columns list animals ranked according to their
frequency of capture. The second column in each of these tables lists the game in order of
gross captured weight, while the third, and last, column posts these animals in order of
their dressed, assimilable weight. Both columns two and three are totaled at the bottom to
show gross and net foraging yields.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
8
9
217
Table 5.1
Animals Captured at Post Guajá During Dry Season of 1992
37 Day Observation Period
Animal
Freq.
Rank
Animal
Gross Rank
WgL(Kg.)
Animal
Dressed
Wgt(Kg.)
Fish
73
1
Peccaries
362.38
1
Peccaries
235.55
Tortoises
63
2
Tortoises
245.91
2
Fish
73.8
Agoutis
35
3
Fish
105.44
3
Tortoises
71.31
Fowl
20
4
Pacas
96.63
4
Pacas
62.8
Peccaries
16
5
Agoutis
82.19
5
Agoutis
53.42
Pacas
14
6
Deer
66.54
6
Deer
43.25
Monkeys
08
7
Armadillos
57.96
7
Armadillos
34.77
Coatis
06
8
Caimans
45.0
8
Caimans
29.25
Armadillos
06
9
Jaguar
36.36
9
Jaguar
23.63
Deer
04
10
Monkeys
33.7
10
Monkeys
21.91
Chickens 03
(domestic)
Total 649.69kg

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
7
8
9
218
Table 5.2
Animals Captured at Post Guajá During Wet Season of 1993
52 Day Observation Period
Animal
Freq.
Rank
Animal
Gross
Wgt.(Kg)
Rank
Animal
Dressed
Wgt.(Kg.)
Tortoises
144
1
Tortoises
436.08
1
Monkeys
205.23
Monkeys
65
2
Monkeys
315.74
2
Tortoises
130.82
Fish
43
3
Deer
100.57
3
Deer
65.37
Armadillo
29
4
Armadillo
63.68
4
Fish
43.19
Fowl
17
5
Fish
61.7
5
Armadillo
41.39
Agoutis
10
6
Peccaries
40.0
6
Peccaries
26.0
Deer
05
7
Agoutis
26.37
7
Agoutis
17.14
Chickens
05
8
Anteaters
20.0
8
Anteaters
13.0
Tamarins
03
9
Fowl
13.03
9
Fowl
8.47
Peccaries
02
10
Pacas
7.6
10
Pacas
4.94
Total 555.5 kg

Table 5.3
Animals Captured at Post Awá During Dry Season of 1993
42 Day Observation Period
Rank
Animal
Freq
Rank
Animal
Gross
Wgt.(Kg.)
Rank
Animal
Dressed
Wgt.(Kg.)
1
Fish
158
1
Pacas
197.0
1
Fish
136.9
2
Monkeys
62
2
Fish
182.6
2
Pacas
128.1
3
Fowl
61
3
Monkeys
141.7
3
Monkeys
92.1
4
Tortoises
38
4
Tortoises
68.1
4
Caimans
40.2
5
Pacas
32
5
Caimans
61.9
5
Deer
33.9
6
Agoutis
20
6
Deer
52.5
6
Agoutis
29.7
7
Rats
13
7
Agoutis
46.7
7
Peccaries
24.2
8
Caimans
07
8
Peccaries
37.3
8
Armadillos
17.3
9
Armadillos
06
9
Armadillos
26.7
9
Sloths
14.8
10
Coatis
05
10
Sloths
22.8
10
Fowl
10.6
Total 527.8 kg

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
9
220
Table 5.4
Animals Captured at Post Awá During Wet Season of 1994
36-Day Observation Period
Animal
Freq.
Rank
Animal
Gross
Wgt.(Kg.)
Rank
Animal
Dressed
Wgt.(Kg.)
Fowl
486
1
Peccaries
297.4
1
Peccaries
193.3
Fish
73
2
Fowl
153.9
2
Fowl
103.1
Tortoises
48
3
Tortoises
104
3
Monkeys
64.5
Monkeys
38
4
Monkeys
99.2
4
Agoutis
45.2
Agoutis
32
5
Agoutis
69.4
5
Tortoises
36.3
Armadillos
10
6
Pacas
49.7
6
Pacas
32.3
Peccaries
08
7
Fish
42.1
7
Fish
31.6
Pacas
07
8
Deer
36.2
8
Deer
23.5
Sloths
06
9
Armadillos
29.9
9
Armadillos
19.4
Snakes
06
10
Sloths
29.4
10
Sloths
19.1
Total 568.4 kg

221
Table 5.5
Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Dry Season of 1993-1994
30 Day Observation Period
Rank
Animal
Freq.
Rank
Animal
Gross
Wgt.(Kg.)
Rank
Animal
Dressed
Wgt.(Kg.)
1
Fish
41
1
Tortoises
83.4
1
Monkeys
49.0
2
Tortoises
28
2
Monkeys
73.2
2
Tortoises
29.2
3
Monkeys
16
3
Fish
33.4
3
Fish
25.0
4
Fowl
06
4
Armadillos
13.7
4
Armadillos
9.2
5
Armadillos
03
5
Agoutis
6.2
5
Agoutis
4.2
5
Agoutis
03
6
Fowl
3.0
6
Fowl
2.0
6
Tamarin
01
7
Tamarin
0.5
7
Tamarin
0.3
6
Toad
01
8
Toad
0.3
8
Toad
0.2
Total 119.2 kg

Table 5.6
Animals Captured at Post Juriti During Wet Season of 1994
32 Day Observation Period
222
Rank
Animal
Freq.
Rank
Animal
Gross
Wgt.(Kg.)
Rank
Animal
Dressed
Wgt.(Kg.)
1
Tortoises
48
1
Tortoises
116.45
1
Monkeys
57.4
2
Monkeys
20
2
Monkeys
88.2
2
Tortoises
40.7
3
Fish
16
3
Fish
17.2
3
Fish
12.8
4
Fowl
03
4
Pacas
12.4
4
Pacas
8.1
4
Agoutis
03
5
Armadillos
8.3
5
Armadillos
5.4
5
Pacas
02
6
Agoutis
5.6
6
Agoutis
3.6
5
Armadillos
02
7
Fowl
4.5
7
Fowl
2.9
Total 130.9 kg

223
1
Table 5.7
Partial List of Game Animals Captured by the Guajá
English Name3
Portuguese Nameb
Primates (Ccbidac)
Night monkey
Squirrel monkey
Capuchin monkey
White fronted capuchin
Black saki
Saki
Howler monkey
Macaco da Noite
Macaco Mao Dourada
Macaco Prego
Cairara
Cuxiu
Cuxiu
Guariba/Capelao
Callitrichidae
Tamarin
Tamarim
Sloths fBradvoodidae
and Meealonvchidae)
Brown-throated 3-toe
sloth
Southern 2-toes sloth
Prcguiga
Prcguiga
Anteaters
(MvrmecoDhagidae)
Giant anteater
Collared anteater
Tamanduá bandeira
Tamanduá mambira
Racoon Family
(Procvonidae)
South American coati
Kinkajou
Quati
Jupará
Weasel Family
(Mustilidae)
Southern River otter
Tayra
Huron
Ariranha
Papa mel
Papa-mel
Cat family (Felidae)
Margay
Ocelot
Puma
Maracajá
Maracajá
Onga Vermelha
Deer family (Cervidae)
Gray brocket deer
Red brocket deer
Foboca
Veado
Hvdrochaeridae
Capybara
Capivara
Guajá Name
Scientific Name
Aperiké
Yapayu
Kai
Kaihó
Kusió
Kusió
Wari
Aotus sp.
Saimirí sciureus
Cebus apella
Cebus kaapori
Chiropotes satanus
Chiropotes sp.
Alouatta belzebul
Tamar i
Saguinas midas
A 'Í
Bradypus variegatus
A 'Í
Choloepus didactylus
Tamanoá
Tamanoa-i
Mymecophaga tridactyla
Tamandúa tetradactyla
Kwaci
Yapirihá
Nasua nasua
Potos flavus
Yawatra
Haira-pi
Hairá-cü
Lutra longicaudis
Eira barbara
Galictus vittata
Yawara-kai
Yawara-kai
Yawara-pih ü
Felis wiedii
Felis pardalis
Felis concolor
Arapa-i
Arapohá
Mazama rutina
Mazama americana
Kapivá
Hydrochaeris
hydrochaeris

224
Table 5.7 (continued)
Partial List of Game Animals Captured by the Guajá
English Name
Portuguese Name
Guajá Name
Scientific Name
Tavassuidae
White-lipped peccary
Collared peccary
Queixada
Caitetu
Ma ’ata
Tehó 'a
Tayassu pécari
Tayassu tajacu
TaDiridae
Tapir
Anta
Tapire
Tapirus terrestris
Porcupine family
(Erethizontidae)
Brazilian porcupine
Quandu
Kwanü
Coendú prehensilis
Large Rodents:
Aeoutidae
Paca
Paca
Kararuhu
Agouti paca
Dasvoroctidae
Black rumped agouti
Red-rumped agouti
Cutia
Cutia
Akusi
Akusi
Dasyprocta prymnolopha
Dasyprocta agouti
Armadillo familv
(DasvDodidae)
Giant armadillo
9-banded long-nosed
armadillo
Southern naked-tailed
armadillo
7-banded long nosed
armadillo
Great long-nosed
armadillo
Tatu canastra
Tatu
Tatú rabo de couro
Tatu
Tatu
Taratatu
Tatu-te
Tatu-pepenih Ü
Tatu
Tatuámuhü
Priodontes maximus
Dasypus novemcintus
Cabassous unicintus
Tatu septemcintus
Dasypus kappleri
RcDtiles
Tortoise
Jabotí amarelo
Kami ciá-té
Geochelone sp.
Tortoise
Jabotí vermelho
Kamiciá-tó
Geochelone sp.
Caiman
Jacaré
Yakaré
Cayman sp.
Crustaceans
Crab
Carangueijo
Uhá
?
“This list represents the gamut of observed game captured by the Guajá from different Phyla of the animal
kingdom and is more comprehensive than the game lists posted in Tables 5.1-5.6. Thus, in addition to the
game listed in these latter tables, this table lists observed game captured during the length of my
fieldwork. As such, Tables 5.1-5.6 only list game that was weighed and recorded during specific
observation periods sampled during the wet and dry season for each of the villages studied.
'’English and Scientific names are drawn from reference manuals (i.e. Emmons & Feer 1990; Mittermeier
et al 1980; Medem 1983), while Portuguese names where taken from both manuals and the terms which
were provided to me by FUNAI workers and residents from the Maranháo and Pará states. Guajá names
were taken from all three villages and there may be some variation to these glosses, yet the word I listed
for the Guajá referent is one I found most commonly used for each particular animal during my period of
field research.

More game species are captured at Post Guajá than at the other Indian Posts.
Tables 5.1 and 5.2 show that members of the Post Guajá community capture, slay and
225
consume fifteen different types of animals, including a domesticated animal, the common
chicken. In fact, if chickens were not included in this table both Posts Guajá and Awá
harvest the same number of animal types, or fourteen categories of animals. In this
respect, Post Awá actually surpasses Posts Guajá and Juriti if we were to include the
range of avian fauna captured by the members of that community. Post Awá hunts birds
in a large scale during the rainy season and this fact alters the comparison between each of
the Guajá villages. It is interesting to point out as well that members of Post Awá eat
domestic rats. These animals are located in the village refuse mounds and also lodge
themselves in the palm thatching of the Guajá’s huts.
Three principal factors help explain this range of game capture. First, Post Guajá
is located in a larger Indian Reserve (Alto Turia^u - approximately 5,300 km2) than are
Posts Awá and Juriti (Caru - approximately 1,720 km2). As such, this area has been less
prone to land invasions, thereby exerting less pressure on its game population. Although
the size of this area may only dilute the significance of land invasions which may be as
large as those encountered in the Caru reservation, Alto Turiafu yielded higher game
counts as the animals encountered in this area are not as overhunted as they are in the
vicinity of Post Awá. Another reason which contributes to the larger capture of game
near Posts Guajá and Awá is the introduction of new hunting technologies. These
technologies permit the Guajá to exploit diurnal animals and broadens the ecological
niches from which game can be obtained. Not only do the Guajá embrace a wider array of
niches from which they can obtain game, the introduction of new technologies and

226
techniques also enables them to exploit already utilized habitats in more depth. Thus,
settlement and the introduction of new technologies extended to the Guajá the ability to
exploit riverine sources and other areas more so than they did before. This statement, of
course, assumes that the Guajá rarely approached riverine habitats, save for the
headwaters of rivers and small streams, both areas generally less abundant in riverine fauna
than major river courses. Lacustrine areas were also not as visited as they presently are,
and provide yet another storehouse of resouces for the Guajá to exploit riverine type
fuana. Through settlement, then, the Guajá have embraced lacustrine and riverine areas
more extensively and intensively, with the aid of new technologies. Arboreal niches, too,
have become more acessible to the Guajá with the introduction of shotguns as hunters do
not have to scale trees as often as they did in the past to strike at their prey with bows and
arrows.
During the dry season, fish have come to play a major role in the Guajá subsistence
pursuit at all three villages, as can be seen in Tables 5.1, 5.3. and 5.5. At Post Guajá, fish
ranked highest in the frequency of successful foraging pursuits and were second only to
peccaries in terms of the net weight obtained from their catches. In gross capture weight,
fish were ranked third (see Table 5.1). At Post Awá, fish ranked as the highest captured
class of animal both in terms of frequency and net weight, while ranking as second to
pacas in their gross captured weight (see Table 5.3). At Post Juriti, fish ranked first in
terms of frequency and third for both gross and net weight, respectively. Although fish
are sometimes caught by traditional methods at Post Guajá and Awá, by use of fish
poisons and bows and arrows, most of the fish captured were by fishing lines and hooks. 3
Yet even with the use of traditional fishing strategies, the Guajá are now situated near

227
rivercourses which makes this subsistence strategy easier and more productive to pursue.
As riverine areas have been choice ground for competition between Amazonian groups in
times past, the Guajá and other numerically inferior groups of the Amazon region have
only recently been able to exploit these habitats as they were excluded from them by other
indigenous peoples and settlers (cf. Sponsel 1989).
As new settlement locations, hunting technologies and strategies have selected
towards a new subsistence profile among the Guajá, land invasions have also contributed
towards the adoption of new techniques and approaches to hunting. This factor is
especially evident among the Guajá at Post Awá who have broadened their resource
strategies to include night hunting and fishing. This approach is reflected in the data
presented in Tables 5.1 and 5.3. Deer, pacas and agoutis are often encountered in night
hunts and pacas are especially abundant in this type of hunting strategy. Land invaders
also engage in this type of hunting strategy and shots sounded from their guns can often be
heard at night, not too far from the village at Post Awá. Occasionally, the Guajá at this
community will also set gun-traps to kill nocturnal prey. These weapons (badogue) are
crudely-fashioned and resemble sawed-off shotguns. They are usually placed along an
animal trail in the late afternoon or early evening, and primed with a trip-wire which
releases the gun’s trigger should game accidentally stumble across the trap. These
weapons are either loaned out by FUNAI or absconded from land invaders should the
Guajá encounter the traps on the forest floor. And these weapons can be dangerous, too,
as an individual may inadvertently run across one of the traps and get shot in the process.
No such incident has occured so far, but the Guajá are wary that this could easily occur if
they are returning home at night from a long day’s hunt.

228
As noted before, members of the Post Awá community possess seven shotguns in
all. These guns breakdown into the following types: one .32 gauge, one .28 gauge, and
five .20 gauge shotguns. At Post Guajá, members owned two shotguns: one a .20 gauge
and the other a .28 gauge. Yet for all of these shotguns, the Guajá cannot always hunt
with the aid of these weapons as munitions are not available on a year-round basis. The
availability of these items depends on visitors to the Indian Reserves and FUNAI.
Similarly, many of these weapons are aged and do not always function properly. There
are times when the guns misfire or simply do not work. On other occasions, humidity can
render firing caps useless and the guns do not fire when the Guajá are about to down an
animal. Gun repair, too, may take a while as FUNAI has to take the Guajá’s guns to
neighboring towns or hamlets for iron workers to fix. And, of course, these repairs are
done at a cost which FUNAI may not always be prepared to pay. Thus, some guns are
sent away to FUNAI’s support center in Santa Inés (NASI), which may delay the repair
and return of these weapons. During my visit to Post Awá I paid for gun repair and this
may have been an anomaly in the life of the Guajá during that time period as the firearm
was returned to that community, repaired, within a couple of days.
These factors notwithstanding, the Guajá opt for hunting with shotguns over bows
and arrows when the former weapons are functioning and supplied with munitions. The
efficiency of introduced weapons over traditional ones is apparent if the return rates of the
two classes of weapons are compared with one another. Table 5.8 illustrates this
comparison and shows a distinct and significant advantage of introduced weapons over
traditional foraging technologies. At Post Guajá, during the dry season, introduced
weapons yield a return rate of 0.66 kg/hour as compared with 0.34 kg/hour obtained by

229
Table 5.8
Comparative Efficiency Rates Between Traditional
And Inroduced Weaponry Among the Guajá
Village
Season
Traditional3
Weaponry (kg/hr)
Introduced
Weaponry (kg/hr)
Difference (as
percent of other)
Post Guajá
Dry
0.34
0.66
194
Post Guajá
Wet
0.20
0.78
390
Post Awá
Dry
0.24
0.44
183
Post Awá
Wet
0.19
0.30
157
Post Juriti
Dry
0.23
0.13
56
Post Juriti
Wet
0.12
0.05
42
“’’Traditional” weaponry in this table is understood to be the array of weapons which the Guajá
presumably used before contact with Brazilian national society. These weapons include bows and arrows,
hand, sticks, fish poisons and stakeouts (hunting blinds). Introduced weaponry refers to new technologies
presented to the Guajá through contact with FUNAI, anthropologists, other Indian groups and Brazil’s
Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI). Those weapons are as follows: shotguns, flashlights, traps,
fishing line and hooks, fish nets, hunting dogs, machetes, axes, knives, and canoes. At Post Juriti, hunters
were not assisted by the aid of shotguns, flashlights, or hunting dogs.

230
traditional methods. This advantage represents a return rate of 194 percent over
traditional means. This disparity increases during the wet season at Post Guajá as
introduced foraging technologies yield an advantage of 390 percent over traditional
means. Similary, at Post Awá, dry season yields for introduced weapons show an
advantage of 183 percent over traditional technologies. For the wet season, this advatage
drops to 157 percent but still remains significantly higher. As for Post Juriti, which did
not forage with the assistance of hunting dogs or guns, introduced technology only nets 56
percent of the yields obtained by traditional methods during the dry season; during the wet
season new weapons only captured 42 percent of the prey snared by traditional
techonology in this community. It is interesting to note, however, that introduced
weapons yielded higher return rates during the wet season than did traditional methods in
the dry season for the members of Post Juriti, or 0.13 kg/hour for introduced weapons
versus .012 kg/hour for traditional weapons.
Turning to the wet season, hunting data among the three villages reveals a different
profile than the dry season. At Post Guajá, the frequency of peccaries dropped from 16 to
2, and the frequency of tortoises rose dramatically from 73 to 144. As for fish, the ranked
frequency of capture dropped from 1 to 3, while in terms of net weight their ranking
dropped from 2 to 4. The Guajá reported to me that peccaries are usually easier to
capture during the dry season as they are more evenly scattered through the general
catchment area. Encounter rates are diminished during the wet season, yet peccary herds
also seem to be more concentrated during the rains and, when they are encountered, the
number of kills can be more substantial. FUNAI workers corroborated this information
and this situation is reflected in the wet season hunting data for Post Awá. Tables 5.3 and

231
5.4 show that only one peccary was encountered and killed in the dry season, while during
the wet season eight of these animals were slain in one outing. These animals were all
killed during one hunting trip on the occasion of a single hunter encountering their herd.
He immediately ran back to the village to notify other individuals in the Post Awá
community and recruited seven hunters to double back to the peccary sight.
At first glance, I was under the impression that this occurence reflected an
“outlier” in the data set as the general area around Post Awá has reduced game yields
because of higher hunting pressure. However, peccary herds also migrate over large
distances and their encounter rates, even in pressured areas, cannot only be attributed to
chance (Richard Bodmer 1996: personal communication). Yet considering that this kill
occured towards the end of my observation/sampling period should not be diminished
either. As it happens, the Guajá at Post Awá resorted to killing a large number of birds
during the rainy season. In all, I tallied 486 kills for birds during the observation/sampling
period. Birds were primarily killed from hunting blinds constructed on tree branches near
fruiting trees. Of all the animals killed by the Guajá, avian fauna falls below the optimal
set for the Post Awá community. Tables 5.9-5.11 list the encounter rates of captured
prey for all three villages. At Posts Guajá and Juriti, all of the animals listed fall within
their optimal set. At Post Guajá, the yearly average return rate per man-hour of hunting is
783 Kcal/manhour, while at Post Juriti this value is 247 Kcal/manhour. In both cases, the
encounter rates expressed in Kilocalories per encounter, for all of the captured animals in
these two communities, fall above their respective average return rates.4 On the other
hand, at Post Awá, the Guajá are exploiting a large number of avian fauna whose
encounter rate falls below the average return rate for this community. As noted in Table

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Table 5.9
Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Dry Season
Animal
Post Guaiá
Kcal
Animal
Post Awá
Kcal
Post Juriti
Animal Kcal
Peccaries
44,166
Peccaries
72,600
Armadillos
9,200
Puma
33,791
Deer
21,188
Monkeys
6,125
Caimans
21,938
Pacas
12,009
Agoutis
4,200
Armadillos
17,385
Armadillos
8,650
Tortoises
1,564
Deer
13,516
Caimans
8,614
Fish
837
Pacas
13,457
Sloths
7,054
Tamarins
680
Coatis
5,850
Coatis
5,850
Fowl
633
Monkeys
5,478
Agoutis
4,455
Toad
300
Agoutis
4,579
Monkeys
2,971
Tortoises
1,698
Rats
1,950
Fish
1,385
Fish
1,187
Tortoises
940
Fowl*
330
ARRa
1,049
ARR
490
ARR
244
* Out of the optimal set.
a Average Return Rate (Kcal/manhours spent hunting). Kcal in Tables 5.9-5.11 actually reflect the
energetic food value of each class of animal (as per dressed weight) and not the encounter rate as
expressed in the diet-breadth model used in optimal foraging studies. Optimal foraging theory espresses
encounter rate as the energetic value of a given resource divided by required handling time (Smith 1983).
These tables more accurately reflect the patch choice model where the caloric value of a resource is
divided by total foraging time (Hawkes et al. 1982; Kaplan & Hill 1992). Thus, while animals in these
tables are treated as “patches,” for heuristic purposes we cite the optimal set in these tables in terms of the
diet-breadth model. Note, too, that the “optimal set” of resources listed in these tables does not include
other sources of food energy such as vegetal sources, and refers specifically to the range of animals that
the Guajá captured, with the exception of fowl for Post Awá. (See note 4).

Table 5.10
Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters in the Wet Season
233
Post Guam
Animal Kcal
Animal
Post Awá
Kcal
Animal
Post Juriti
Kcal
Peccaries
39,000
Peccaries
72,491
Pacas
12,090
Anteaters
18,590
Deer
14,687
Armadillos
8,100
Deer
16,343
Pacas
13,842
Monkeys
5,740
Pacas
14,820
Armadillos
5,820
Agoutis
3,600
Monkeys
6,315
Sloths
4,555
Fowl
1,837
Agoutis
5,142
Agoutis
4,238
Tortoises
1,273
Armadillos
4,282
Monkeys
3,395
Fish
1,101
Fish
1,376
Tortoises
1,137
Tortoises
1,363
Snakes
975
Fowl
947
Fish
593
Fowl*
403
ARRa
566
ARR
496
ARR
250
* Out of the optimal set.
Average Return Rate (Kcal/manhours spent hunting)

234
Table 5.11
Optimal Set of Animals Captured by Hunters During the Year
Animal
Post Guaiá
Kcal
Post Awá
Animal Kcal
Animal
Post Juriti
Kcal
Peccaries
43,592
Peccaries
72,503
Pacas
12,090
Puma
33,791
Deer
17,938
Armadillos
8,760
Caimans
21,938
Pacas
12,338
Monkeys
5,911
Anteaters
18,590
Caimans
8,614
Agoutis
3,900
Deer
15,086
Armadillos
6,881
Tortoises
1,381
Pacas
13,548
Coatis
5,850
Fowl
1,034
Armadillos 6,528
Sloths
5,388
Fish
911
Monkeys
6,223
Agoutis
4,321
Tamarins
680
Coatis
5,850
Monkeys
3,132
Toad
300
Agoutis
4,704
Rats
1,950
Tortoises
1,465
Tortoises
1,050
Fish
1,382
Fish
999
Snakes
975
Fowl*
395
ARFC
783
ARR
493
ARR
247
* Out of the optimal set.
Average Return Rate (Kcal/manhours spent hunting)

235
5.11 the yearly average return rate for Post Awá is 493 Kcal/manhour and the encounter
rate for birds in this community (395 Kcal/encounter) falls below the threshold for their
optimal set.
The optimal foraging theory predicts that foragers, by and large, will pursue prey
choices that are at least equal to the average return rates for the range of animals
embraced in their optimal set. As such, foragers would decide to primarily opt for animals
that would be equal to or superior to this “threshold”, or the average return rate for
resources encountered in their environment (Setzer 1989). The optimal foraging model
also predicts that foragers would only begin to search for other prey items below this
threshold once they begin to experience diminishing returns on the yields for resources
within their optimal set. This scenario would be likely to occur during seasonal changes or
when expanding populations would exert pressure on resources. Both of these situations
occur at Post Awá and members of this community are not just killing birds on occasional
chance encounters, rather they are actively seeking out and pursuing avian fauna in large
numbers during the rainy season. Of course, the information presented in this study
cannot adequately address optimal forgaing models as the time investments contained in
my data set only reflect time allocation and total hunting hours. As such, I recorded the
time people left their village to forage and the time they returned. Foraging time, then, is
not broken down to other units of analysis which are germane to optimal foraging studies,
i.e., search and handling time (Kaplan & Hill 1992). Nevertheless, the situation at Post
Awá is still illustrative in terms of demonstrating the strategies embraced by the Guajá of
this community to offset some of the high hunting pressure encountered in this region.

Thus, in Table 5.4 birds rank first in terms of frequency of game capture and second in
both gross weight and net, assimilable weight.
One of the other features of wet season hunting that should be pointed out is that
members of Post Guajá actively pursue monkeys during the wet season. During this
season, many howler monkeys (Alouatta belzebul) abound in this region and particularly
prey on the fruit of the magaranduba tree. The Guaja pointed out that the monkeys were
fatter at this time of the year and that they were more evenly distributed throughout the
region because of the massive fruiting. In a sense, then, we encounter a reverse situation
in relation to peccaries. Whereas peccary herds seem to contract to limited stretches of
dry land during the wet season, howler monkeys become more evenly distributed.
Conversely, as the fruit of howler monkeys recedes in the dry season, their population, in
turn, contracts and their encounter rates are diminished. Table 5.2 shows that monkeys
rank second in terms of frequency captured and gross weight yields, while ranking first in
terms of net weight for Post Guajá during the wet season.
Generally speaking, monkeys stand out as prominent food items among the Guajá
of all three villages. At Post Awá this broad class of animal ranks second in frequency and
third in terms of gross and dressed weight during the dry season. In the wet season,
although monkeys fall to fourth place in frequency and gross weight, they remain third-
ranked in dressed weight (see Tables 5.3 and 5.4). At Post Juriti, monkeys are ranked first
in dressed weight in both the dry and wet seasons, respectively. In the dry season, they
are ranked third and second, in frequency and gross weight. Within these same categories,
they are ranked second in the wet season (see Tables 5.5 and 5.6).

237
The hunting strategy for monkeys usually entails searching for them with hunting
parties of two or more hunters. In fact, this strategey can also enlist the assistance of
women who play an interesting role in helping to kill the monkeys. If the Guajá do not
hunt monkeys with guns, they are pursued by scaling trees and shooting them with bows
and arrows. While one individual scales a tree, other members of the hunting party remain
below and flank the troop of monkeys from all sides. This procedure usually contains the
monkeys as they normally do not wander out of their hiding places if they notice any
predators below on the ground. Meanwhile, the main hunter scales the tree, or vines
attached to them, with the aid of a woven palm-fiber tassle wrapped around their ankles.
Once the hunter situates himself within striking distance, from the vantage point of a good
shot, he either wraps his legs tightly around the tree-trunk, or sits on a branch to shoot at
his prey. When the monkey falls after being hit, other members of the hunting party
quickly scurry towards it to deliver the coup de grace. This can be done by taking extra
shots at it until it succumbs, or hitting it over the head with the dull side of a machete
blade. Alternatively, the monkey is picked up by its tail and slammed firmly with its head
against a tree. The Guajá are excellent tree climbers and perhaps rank as some of the best
hunters employing this hunting technique along with the Aché of Paraguay (cf. Hill &
Hurtado 1996). Despite this, falls from trees are not uncommon and, during my stay
among the Guajá at Post Awá, two accidents of this type occured, one of which resulted
in the death of an individual. The other man’s fall was not so severe, but he punctured his
buttocks on an upturned tree-root when he fell and was later evacuated to Santa Inés for
treatment of his wound.

238
The overall hunting patterns and profile do not change much from the dry to wet
seasons at Post Juriti. In all, there were only nine types of animals embraced in the
hunting list during my sampling period at Post Juriti (see Tables 5.5, 5.6 and 5.11). That
the Guajá of this community hunt without the assistance of hunting dogs or firearms
certainly contributes to its lower yields, not to mention the reduced range of animals
included in this set. And, as mentioned above, they are situated near a black-water
ecosystem which would broadly indicate a less productive area. On a few occasions, the
FUNAI Indian Post boss loaned out guns to some of the young men of this community to
hunt, but his superiors reprimanded him for doing so and urged that he strictly enforce
their new policy. This did not occur during my observation period and it remains to be
seen how long this community will go on without using firearms. As some of these youths
mature into adults, they may pressure FUNAI to give or loan out guns to them.
Figure 5.1 lists the hunting return rates for different classes of hunters across
villages. This figure reflects the efficiency rates that each class of hunter obtained during
my sampling period. “Classes” of hunters were arbitrarily constructed by me to assess the
differential return rates for the various “status” categories of individuals I encountered in
the three villages. These categories were determined to be villages leaders, indentured
people, betrothed females, “average” citizens, impaired persons, peripheral members,
individuals who were both indentured and impaired, peripheral and impaired people, and
lastly, indentured and peripheral people. Individuals pertaining to these positions of
hierarchy and differentiation yielded different results in their hunting returns. Some of
these results reflect differential access to firearms, types of hunting strategies and

239
0,7 n
123456789
STATUS OF INDIVIDUAL
Figure 5.1
Mean Foraging Returns for Hunters Across All Villages
(Mean Kg/Hour Hunting)
Legend:
1) Leaders
6) Peripheral People
2) Indentured Men
7) Indentured & Impaired
3) Betrothed Females
8) Peripheral & Impaired
4) “Average Citizens”
9) Indentured & Peripheral
5) Impaired Individuals

240
techniques, participation in group hunts, hunting abilities and, perhaps, social obligations
and responsibilities to provide for other people.
Village leaders produce higher hunting returns than other members in this hunting
pool. Indentured people also fared well in these comparisons, which reflects their efforts
and investment to marry into certain families and share in the general pool of resources.
“Average” citizens’ yields ranked almost comparably with the indentured class of hunter
and most of these individuals were heads of families, which I did not rank as leaders as
they did not have a high degree of articulation with FUNAI. Leaders were determined to
be individuals who were influential among their families and community at large, in
addition to articulating well with FUNAI. The “indentured and impaired” category of
individual was constructed to see how one particular member of the Post Awá community
compared with other individuals. This man had a hunched-back and gnarled hands, and
was incorporated into one of the main families of Post Awá through marriage and
indentureship. In spite of his impairment, however, this individual turned out to be one of
the better hunters of Post Awá. The next category of hunter was constructed to examine
the results of another individual who resided at Post Juriti. This man had weak family ties,
as described in Chapter IV, and was rarely invited to hunt with other people. He had a
broken leg which healed badly and this impairment impeded him from keeping up with
others during hunts. His hunting returns were minimal and for the most part he stayed in
the vicinity of the outpost, occasionally pilfering and begging for food, or harvesting
crops. The last category of hunter studied refers to one individual who was recently
settled at Post Awá and subsequently was incorporated to one of the main families
through betrothal. As for betrothed girls, there hunting yields were insignificant, yet they

241
were recorded during this sampling period as they often accompanied their husbands on
foraging trips and occasionally fished.
It is surprising that neither the number of hours invested in foraging nor the size of
hunting groups contributed to higher hunting yields. This finding is counterintuitive and
also contravenes some of the studies conducted among the Aché of Paraguay (Hill &
Hawkes 1983; Kaplan & Hill 1992). In only one instance were higher hunting yields a
function of the number of hours invested. This occured during the dry season sampling
period at Post Guajá. Perhaps the biggest reason which accounts for these results is the
type of hunting area involved, not to mention the varied and unpredictable nature of
hunting in itself. The new and introduced hunting technologies also diminish the time
necessary to capture prey, and the combination of weapons used in foraging trips renders
the general picture of hunting returns somewhat erratic. The erratic pattern may also be
reflective of the fact that firearms are not steadily available to the Guajá as well. As
observed above, the availability of firearms depends on munition supplies and fully-
functioning guns. Other introduced technologies which obtain relatively rapid results, too,
are fishing lines and cast-nets. Fishing by these methods does not yield robust results but
represents a steady and secure strategy.
The return rates for the different classes of weapons used in individual hunts are
listed in Figure 5.2. In order of return rate, the combination of hunting dogs with
shotguns yield the highest results. Next in order are dogs. As dogs sometimes make kills
on their own they are credited with slaying animals and count separately as a distinct
weapon category. The third hightest return rate is the combination of the dog along with
the use of a bow and arrow. In the first two instances the number of foraging trips is

242
WEAPON CLASS
Figure 5.2
Average Foraging Return Rate by Weapon Class Across All Villages
(Mean Kg/Hour Hunting)
Legend:
0) Hand & Stick
12)Trap
1) Fishline & hooks
13) Nets
2) No Data
14) Fishline, machete & knife
3) Bow & Arrow
15) Hunting blind
4) Machete
16) Gun & dog
5) Gun
17) Axe, machete & dog
6) Flashlight, hand & stick
18) Gun, flashlight & fishline
7) Bow & Arrow/Machete
19) Dog
8) Bow & Arrow/Gun
20) Bow & Arrow, canoe & fishline
9) Bow & Arrow/Dog
21) Bow & Arrow/fishline
10) Machete/Axe
22) Gun & machete
11) Gun & flashlight
23) Gun & fishline
24) Fish Poisons

243
relatively small in comparison to the total number of outings (n=6 and n=10). Yet
combined with the number of outings made with the bow and arrow and dog (n=45), the
presence of canines in hunting strategies is evidently a valuable contribution to the Guajá.
The next ranked weapon class is the combination of axes and/or machetes, accompanied
again by hunting dogs. All possible combinations of outings with dogs represent
approximately 4.5 percent of the total foraging trips registered by the Guajá during this
study (see Table 5.12). Despite this small number, however, the value of hunting dogs
cannot be diminished. Yost & Kelly (1983: 206) remarked that the introduction of
hunting dogs to the Waorani changed their hunting yields and patterns so dramatically that
many former hunting taboos were all but eradicated. In a similar vein, it is interesting to
point out that much of the hunting data collected among the Aché of Paraguay were
recorded without the use of hunting dogs, which would alter the foraging scenario in
terms of returns, strategies, and the contributions that time investments would bear on
yields (Hill & Hawkes 1983: 146).
In addition to the high value that dogs have in Guajá hunting, the combination of
other weapons listed in Figure 5.2 would act as intervening variables in diminishing the
significance of time investments in game capture. The use of traditional weapons, in
various combinations with new technologies, opens up a variety of strategies and resource
availability to the Guajá. These factors may suggest that the Guajá are not only
responding to a diminished resource base, but are also working out the permutations of
weapon combinations to improve hunting results vis-á-vis time and labor.

244
Table 5.12
Weapon Classes Ranked by Mean Return Rate
Weapon Class & ID
Number
Mean Return
(Kg/hour)
SD
Frequency of
Usage
Percent of
Usage
Gun & dog
16
3.4
6.2
06
0.3
Dog
19
2.4
2.0
10
0.5
Bow&Arrow/dog
9
0.9
2.2
45
2.0
Axe/machete & dog
17
0.9
1.0
15
1.0
Machete
4
0.8
1.6
14
1.0
Trap
12
0.7
1.2
05
0.2
Gun & flashlight
11
0.6
1.1
18
1.0
Net
13
0.6
1.0
59
3.0
B&A/canoe/flashlight
20
0.5
0.4
07
0.4
Machete/axe
10
0.5
0.5
03
0.1
Gun
5
0.4
1.1
157
9.0
B& A/Fishline
21
0.3
0.7
08
0.5
B&A/machete
7
0.3
0.5
13
0.7
Hand/Stick
0
0.3
0.7
149
8.7
Fish poisons
24
0.25
0.1
03
0.1
Gun/machete
22
0.24
0.3
02
0.1
Bow and arrow
3
0.23
0.6
569
34
Fishline/machete/knife
14
0.22
0.3
59
3.0
Gun/fishline
23
0.17
01
0.0
Gun/flashlight/fishline
18
0.17
01
0.0
Fishline
1
Flashlight/hand/stick
6
0.16
0.25
352
21.0
0.13
0.1
03
0.1
B&A/gun
8
0.12
0.14
04
0.2
Hunting blind
15
0.09
0.1
247
15.0
Total
1,695 hunts
100%

245
Summary
Foraging patterns, yields and strategies show different results between Posts
Guajá, Awá and Juriti. Members of the Post Awá community hunt a larger range of
animals, especially when wet season yields are taken into consideration. This community
has had to expand its options as hunting pressure has diminished yields in the vicinity of
Post Awá. As for Post Juriti, this community does not use some of the introduced hunting
technologies encountered in Posts Guajá and Awá, namely, shotguns and hunting dogs.
Similarly, this community is also located near a black water ecosystem which may
contribute to the lower foraging yields and range of animals captured in this village.
The introduction of new hunting technologies also makes hunting returns
somewhat erratic in that return rates are not necessarily dependent on time investments
nor the size of hunting groups. Yet, as shown, hunting returns are boosted by the use of
introduced technologies and the Guajá have indicated that they prefer the use of these new
aides over traditional weaponry. In particular, the use of shotguns and hunting dogs
stands out as the most productive combination of introduced weapons. Particular groups
of individuals also stand out as capturing higher returns in foraging endeavors. The top
two categories of people among the Guajá who net the highest yields are community
leaders and indentured men.
I now turn to Chapter VI in order to examine diet breath, food consumption and
anthropometries among the Guajá, followed by a discussion and summary of their food
intake and foraging patterns.

246
Notes
'Edible portions of game vary among different groups as some body parts of animals are
considered delicacies among particular tribes while others despise or shun what would
otherwise be considered a “choice” selection. For example, the Guajá find the fetuses of
some game animals to be particularly appetizing, while other groups would eschew these
parts and give them to their hunting dogs.
2Fish in Tables 5.1 through 5.6 are not listed in order of their “quantity” caught by the
Guajá, rather, they are listed in terms of the number of times a fishing party returned with
a successful catch. This does not, however, diminish the significance of fishing among the
Guajá for, in fact, when a person returns from fishing, very often they catch more than a
single fish.
?It is debatable whether fish poisons were used traditionally by the Guajá (see Chapter III),
yet here we refer to the use of fish poisons as “traditional” technology.
4 Encounter rates in these tables actually refer to the caloric value of each class of animal
and not the encounter rate as expressed in the diet-breadth model of optimal foraging
theory. Actual encounter rates reflect the caloric value of an animal upon encounter,
divided by handling time (Smith 1983). These tables actually reflect the patch choice
model where the caloric value of the animal is divided by total foraing time (Hawkes et al.
1982; Kaplan & Hill 1992). Thus, while animals in these tables are treated as “patches,”
for heuristic purposes we express the optimal set in these tables in terms of the diet-
breadth model.

CHAPTER VI
DIETARY INTAKE AND ANTHROPOMETRY AMONG THE GUAJA
Food Consumption, Diet Breadth and Variation
Changes in indigenous dietary patterns have been a major focus of researchers
studying the transition from foraging to farming (Keegan 1986; Harris and Ross 1987).
Among the Guajá, the shift from foraging to food production has occured relatively
rapidly. Although the time investments in farming are not comparable to those of more
settled horticultural groups, the Guajá have steadily incorporated new modes of
subsistence and broadened their diet. From the previous chapters, it is evident that they
have settled into a foraging-horticultural mode of subsistence. Additionally, farm products
now represent the major component of the Guajá diet. When compared to hunting and
gathering, the Guajá spend less time farming (see Table 3.3, Chapter III). However, as we
will see later in Figures 6.3 & 6.4, farming products contribute the largest share of calories
(57 percent) to the Guajá’s diet.
Methods in Collecting and Assessing Dietary Data
In order to examine food intake and nutritional status among the Guajá, I recorded
dietary data over six weeks in all three villages, during the dry and wet seasons. At Post
Guajá, I recorded ten days of dietary intake for a household of five individuals during the
dry season, and ten days of intake for a family of four individuals during the wet season.
At Post Awá, seven days of dietary intake were recorded for two households in the dry
247

248
season (i.e. three days at one composite household of two families consisting of five
individuals and four days from another household of four individuals). Wet season dietary
intake at Post Awá was recorded from the same families over a period of five days, three
days in one household (noting the food intake of five individuals) and two days in the
other household (among three individuals). At Post Juriti, six days of food consumption
were recorded among a family of four individuals in the dry season. Dietary intake was
observed among the same family in the wet season over a period of seven days.
I obtained opportunistic samples to select these households for dietary observation.
My selection criteria consisted of the willingness and approachability of subjects,
friendship, and observability. This approach facilitated data collection procedures as
people would be more at ease and helpful in conducting this task.
During the initial stages of dietary observation I weighed all prepared food that
people consumed. Any discarded piece of inedible material such as bones and cartlidges
was weighed to subtract from ingested amounts. Food was weighed using both the small
weighing-scale for game animals and a spring-dial platform for miniscule portions of
meals. Later, when I gained a fair idea of food portions, sizes and weights, consumption
was estimated to calculate dietary intake. While this procedure diminishes the accuracy of
dietary intake, it was a necessary step as people could consume their food with more ease,
not to mention that dietary estimates tax an informant’s humor less than the constant
interruption of weighing food. Occasionally, however, with willing subjects, I weighed
food as often as I could to remain as accurate as possible in recording dietary intake. As
dietary observation proceded, I also resorted to counting unitary food items to estimate
food intake. Thus, as subjects would ingest single food items such as babagu nuts, I tallied

249
the total number each individual ate to estimate the weight he or she consumed. Prior to
this observation, on a separate occasion, I weighed a large number of single food items to
average out the weight for each morsel. Similarly, I averaged out the weight that each
handful of manioc flour as subjects would often consume this food item in this manner.
And to estimate the amount of food consumed by spoons, I weighed a large number of
spoonfuls for each of these food types to average the weight for each individual helping.
Direct dietary observation was complemented by performing some dietary recall
with subjects. If a subject went out hunting during a day selected for dietary observation,
I would ask the individual to indicate if he or she had consumed any food during their
foray. I would then ask them to calculate the consumed amounts by showing different
portions of selected food items to arrive at an estimate. If subjects would take food along
with them during their outings, I would weigh the food before they left and if any portion
was left over when they returned, I would reweigh the item to calculate food intake during
the trip. If the item was absent upon their return I would ask them if they ate it and record
the total amount eaten.
One major problem associated with direct dietary observation is that subjects often
eat at different times of the day and will leave their own household to eat among other
people. This latter situation occurs particularly among children as they would often visit
other households to help themselves to food. The Guajá frequently share food among one
another and visitors may drop by to snack off of their host’s food supply. As a matter of
fact, visitors may walk over to another perón’s house and reach into the host’s pot to help
themselves to food, only to return to their own domecile without ever exchanging a word.
One advantage I had in terms of keeping track of the amount of food consumed was that

many households had no walls, providing an open view to activities occurring among
neighboring domeciles.
250
Another problem which occurs in observing dietary intake is that it is difficult to
assess the dietary intake of breastfeeding infants. And it is equally as difficult to measure
food consumption among toddlers undergoing the weaning process. During the initial
stages of dietary intake observation I would record the number of minutes I observed an
infant breastfeeding. Although this procedure can provide a general idea of milk
consumption it cannot assess the intensity of suckling. For example, an infant may be at
their mother’s bossom, half-asleep, while only going through the suckling motions of
breastfeeding without consuming any milk. Also, it was difficult to assess the full amount
of milk consumed as infants sleep with their mothers and often wake up at night to
breastfeed. Mothers usually breastfeed on demand, too, thus making it difficult to record
nursing in the event that women go out foraging with their husbands and children. For
these reasons, I excluded infants and young toddlers from dietary observations as any
chance of estimating an accurate diet for these subjects would be compromised by these
difficulties.1
At Post Guajá the family I observed during the dry season consisted of three adults
and two children, the latter a girl and a boy, aged seven and ten, respectively. During the
wet season I observed a family consisting of three adults, a polyandrous trio of two men
and one woman. During the dry season at Post Awá, I observed one household with two
families. Observations in this household entailed recording dietary data for four adults,
two men and two women, and one male 4 year-old toddler. Members of the other
household observed consisted of three adults, two men and one woman, and a four-year-

251
old girl. During the wet season, the same households were observed, with the exception
that one of the adult men at the latter household was excluded from dietary observation.
Finally, at Post Juriti, I observed dietary intake for a polyandrous trio of two men and one
woman, plus a young boy seven years old. Members of this family were observed in both
the dry and rainy seasons. In all, direct dietary intake was observed among 21 individuals
in all three villages.
After dietary data was amassed, energy and nutrient intake were determined using
general food composition tables for Latin America (Leung 1961), and specific sources for
neotropical/Brazilian food items (Sizaret & Jardín 1977). Data compiled from current and
ongoing studies among lowland South American groups (Carneiro 1983; Hill & Hawkes
1983) were also consulted. The computer software program Food Processor II was also
used to compute values for other food items more commonly encountered in U S. and
European diets, such as rice, potatoes, oranges, etc. Intakes were compiled for calories,
protein (animal and vegetal), fats and carbohydrates. Diet energy and protein adequacy
were based on age and sex specific references presented in the FAOAVHO (1985)
recommendations. All statistical analyses were carried out in FASTAT (2.0) and SPSS-
PC.
With the analysis of any non-traditional diet, there are several limitations. First,
not all food conforms to the data listed in food composition tables. That is, some of the
animals encountered in the field of study were never analyzed by nutritionists and
equivalent food sources had to be utilized to estimate food caloric and nutritional values.
Some of the more common game species are encountered in nutrition manuals yet there
are a large number of other species which indigenous groups of lowland South America

252
consume that are not listed, such as the several species of monkeys and birds captured by
the Guajá. Moreover, as noted in Chapter II, the Guajá homerange harbors a number of
endemic species, some of which are new to science. As such, I had to use “equivalent”
animals to approximate the amount of calories and nutrients for a given class of game.
For example, there are many species of birds consumed by the Guajá, particularly at Post
Awá, and food composition tables will only list a few species of avian fauna. Thus, I had
to resort to the general class of birds listed in these tables to estimate their food values.
Furthermore, considerable variation was observed in the “ripeness” of the fruit
consumed by the Guajá. Less ripe fruit will tend to have low sugar levels and be less
digestible then ripened fruit, thus altering the energy content. One must recall that, as
foragers, the Guajá are competing with other species of animals and pests and will harvest
green, or unripened, fruit (cf. Hamilton III 1987: 122). It was common, for instance, to
see the Guajá pick unripened papaya from old orchards and later pound the green fruit
until it was soft enough to eat. Consumption of green fruit is important to mention since
food composition tables only list values for ripened species. Short of being able to film
people eating meals to assess accurate food intake, all of these disclaimers must be
considered before conducting dietary studies among indigenous and folk groups.
An additional consideration must also be mentioned in that not all of the food
intake situated in a sedentary, village context can accurately portray the full diet of
lowland groups in South America which practice a hunting-gathering-horticultural mode
of subsistence. Although I attempted to estimate food intake for people when they
returned from daily foraging trips, these calculations cannot precisely measure the amount
of food eaten while a an individual is absent from the village. Additionally, meals

253
consumed at hunting camps usually consist of a different menu than courses eaten in a
village context. Temporary hunting camps often consist of higher return rates for animal
capture and meat consumption, and less farm products (cf. Good 1989). If any farm
products were consumed by the Guajá at hunting camps they were either carried along
with them from their main villages, or they were obtained from old abandoned fields near
hunting retreats. In some instances, particularly at Post Awá, people would toast a batch
of manioc flour to take with them to their hunting retreats. And at Post Guajá, there is
one hunting camp located near an old horticultural plot which still contains much
harvestable manioc.
Although I spent time at hunting camps with the Guajá, these visits were limited
and less systematic, so I restricted my study of the Guajá diet soley to the context of
village life. Nevertheless, some of the meat consumed by people in these dietary studies
was from game animals that were killed at hunting camps and brought back to the village.
Hill and Hurtado (1983) point out that the Aché would customarily consume
approximately 5-7 percent of their diet while they out on daily hunting trips (also cf. Posey
1986). This amount is likely comparable to the level of underestimation expected in the
nutrition data presented below. Thus, this nutrition data will only reflect observed diets
complemented by some dietary recall values. With all of these considerations in mind, the
following dietary data is presented for discussion and analyses.
Results of Dietary Consumption Data Analysis
Mean daily dietary intake and adequacy of adult Guajá are presented in Table 6.1.
Adult male Guajá (aged 16 and older) ingest an average of 1,856 Kcal of food daily, while
women eat 1,971 Kcal a day (n.s.). This level of consumption is only 16 percent above

Table 6.1
Mean Daily Intake by Age and Sex
Males and Females 16 Years of Age and Older
254
Measure
Males (n=
Mean
m
SD
Females (n=5)
Mean SD
Dietary Consumption
Energy (Kcal/day)
1,856.0
361.9
1,971.0
185.3
Protein (g/day)
54.8
15.7
59.6
15.8
Fat (g/day)
41.8
13.7
47.3
14.3
Dietary Adequacy
Energya
1.16
0.2
1.7***
0.2
Proteinb
1.05
0.3
1.4
0.4
a Energy Adequacy = [Total Energy Intake/Basal Metabolic Requirement]
b Protein Adequacy = [Total Protein Intake/Total Protein Requirement]
* Male and female means are significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.
Table 6.2
Mean Daily Caloric Intake by Age and Sex
Males and Females Under 16 Years Old
Measure
Males (n=3)
Females (n=3)
Mean SD
Mean
SD
Dietary Consumption
Energy (Kcal/day)
1738.0 326.55
1596.0
409.4
Protein (g/day)
49.5 14.35
45.26
21.4
Fat (g/day)
46.2 16.33
38.40
16.8
Dietary Adequacy
Energy a
1.68 0.2
1.5
0.2
Proteinb
2.42 0.5
2.3
1.9
a Energy Adequacy = [Total Energy Intake/Basal Metabolic Requirement]
b Protein Adequacy = [Total Protein Intake/Total Protein Requirement]

255
basal metabolic requirements in men, as estimated from body weight (after Schoefield
1985), whereas women consume 66 percent above basal metabolic needs. This disparity
is significantly different (p<001). These results indicate that men have marginal energy
intakes, while women consume enough to support a moderate level of activity.2 Women
eat an average of 59.6 grams of protein a day while men consume 54.8 grams, with no
signficant difference between them. Fat consumption is relatively modest (women ingest
47.3 grams daily and men eat 41.8 grams) and shows no significant difference between the
sexes. Protein intakes are relatively more adequate as men average 4 percent above
recommended levels while women’s intakes are 43 percent above recommended
requirements. This latter comparison reveals no significant difference between men and
women.
For individuals under 16, boys consume an average of 1,738 Kcal a day (n=4)
while girls have a mean daily intake of 1,596 Kcal (n=3), as shown in Table 6.2. Boys’
caloric consumption is 60 percent above basal metabolic requirements (FAO/WHO 1985)
while girls consume 50 percent above their BMRs. This difference was not statistically
significant. No significant difference was encountered between girls and boys in terms of
total protein intake, with females eating 45.2 grams of protein daily and males 57.2 grams.
With regard to fat intake, no significant differences were encountered as boys consumed
47.7 grams a day and girls 38.4 grams. Differences in protein adequacy ratios are not
significant either between the sexes, with boys consuming 116 percent above requirements
and girls 131 percent.
One-way ANOVAS revealed significant differences in dietary intake between
villages. Table 6.3 shows that caloric intakes among adults (16 and older) average 1,702

Table 6.3
Mean Daily Intake Across Villages
Individuals 16 years Old and Older
256
Measure Guajá (n=6)
Post Awá (n=6)
Juriti (n=3)
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Dietary Consumption
Energy (Kcal/day) 1,702.0
230.79
1,848.0
168.76
2,372.0
117.9
Protein (g/day) 55.66
8.83
44.98
7.46
80.93
3.26
Fat (g/day) 51.47
7.7
30.28
3.96
54.93***
3.72
Dietary Adequacy
Energy3 1.23
.30
1.29
.28
1.62
.28
Proteinb 1.19
.29
.91
.15
1.68**
.28
3 Energy Adequacy = [Total Energy Intake/Basal Metabolic Requirement]
b Protein Adequacy = [Total Protein Intake/Total Protein Requirement]
* Village means are significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01;
***P<0.001
Table 6.4
Mean Daily Intake Across Village
Individuals Under 16 years Old
Measure
Guaiá (n=2)
Mean SD
Post Awá (n=3)
Mean SD
Juriti (n=l)
Mean SD
Dietary Consumption
Energy (Kcal/day)
1,710.0
314.66
1,554.0
432.13
1,920.0
Protein (g/day)
60.45
9.26
34.1
10.21
61.2
Fat (g/day)
60.15
6.43
31.1
8.1
40.3
Dietary Adequacy
Energy 3
1.69
0.017
1.44
0.027
1.86**
Protein b
3.33
1.56
1.52
0.61
2.95
a Energy Adequacy = [Total Energy Intake/Basal Metabolic Requirement]
b Protein Adequacy = [Total Protein Intake/Total Protein Requirement]
* Village means are significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.

257
Kcal/day at Post Guajá, 1,848 Kcal at Post Awá, and 2,372 Kcal at Post Juriti (p<001).
Expressing intake as a percent of basal needs, we find that the adults at Post Guajá
consume approximately 23 percent more than their basal requirements whereas those at
Post Awá and at Post Juriti consume 29 and 62 percent more, respectively. This trend is
also reflected if we compare differences between all subjects (adults and children) across
villages: Post Guajá consumes an average of 34 percent above basal metabolic
requirements; Post Awá 34.2 percent and Post Juriti 68 percent. In terms of total protein
intake, adults at Post Guajá consume an average of 55.6 grams a day; adults at Post Awá
eat 44.9 grams daily while at Post Juriti adults are averaging 80.9 grams a day. These
differences are significant (p<001). Fat consumption is also significantly different among
adults across villages. Adults are consuming an average of 51.4 grams of fat daily at Post
Guajá; 30.2 grams/day at Post Awá and 54.9 grams/day at Post Juriti (p<001).
When this same series of tests was run to compare between children under 16
across villages, Table 6.4 shows that individuals at Post Guajá consumed 1,710 Kcal per
day; at Post Awá 1,554 Kcal were consumed; while at Post Juriti the single individual
sampled in this test averaged a caloric intake of 1,920 Kcal a day. Comparing protein
intake per day for the same category of individuals across villages showed that the two
people sampled at Post Guajá ate 60.45 grams a day; individuals at Post Awá consumed
34.1 grams daily, and the individual at Post Juriti consumed 61.2 grams per day. As for
daily fat consumption, children at Post Guajá averaged 60.15 grams per day; individuals at
Post Awá ate 31.1 grams daily, and the child at Post Juriti consumed 40.3 grams a day.
There was no significant difference in any of these tests. In terms of dietary adequacy, the
children at Post Guajá are achieving 69 percent above their basal requirements; children at

258
Post Awá reach 44 percent above their BMRs, while at Post Juriti the single child sampled
achieved 86 percent above his BMR. In this case there was a significant difference
between the villages (p<0.01). As for protein requirements, children at the first village
averaged 333 percent above their setting; at Post Awá they consumed at mean of 152
percent above standard requirements, and the single individual at Post Juriti ate an average
of 295 percent of his required amount. These differences were not significantly different.
Pooling the dietary data for Posts Guajá and Awá reveals further significant
differences when compared with Post Juriti. The mean daily caloric intake for Posts Guajá
and Awá (adults and children) are 1,728 Real, while at Post Juriti the mean caloric intake
is 2,259 Kcal/day (p<01). There is also a significant difference in total protein intake
when we pool together Posts Guajá and Awá and compare their consumption with Post
Juriti. The former communities consume an average of 48.6 grams of protein a day while
members of Post Juriti eat an average of 76 grams of protein per day (p<005).
The macronutrient composition in Guajá diets are presented in Figures 6.1 and 6.2.
These differences across villages are significant. For adults and children at Post Guajá,
protein comprises 13.5 percent of the total diet; at Post Awá 9.4 percent; and at Post
Juriti, 13.4 percent (p<001). Fat consumption comprises 28.4 percent of Post Guajá’s
diet; 15.8 percent of Post Awá’s and 20.3 percent at Post Juriti (p<001). Mean daily
percentages for carbohydrate consumption across villages is as follows: Post Guajá
consumed 57.9 percent, Post Awá 74.6 percent and Post 66.2 percent (p<001).
Dietary intake was then combined to see if there was any difference between males
and females (for both adult and children), pooling individuals from all three communities.
Males consume an average of 1,828 Kcal/day and females’mean daily intake is 1,830

Percent of Energy
100
80
60
1 2 3
Village
Protein
Fat I l Carbohydrates
Figure 6.1
Macronutrient Sources of Energy: Village Differences
(l=Post Guajá; 2=Post Awá; 3=Post Juriti)

Fat
22%
Figure 6.2
Sources of Dietary Energy: All Villages Combined
(Comgined Average Intake = 1,829 Kcal/day)
to
Os
©

261
Kcal/day, yet no significant difference was encountered in this comparison (two-tailed t-
test). In terms of total protein consumption, females average a higher intake than males
(54.2 grams/daily vs. 53.6 grams a day), with no significant difference encountered
between the sexes. Fat consumption reveals that females average 43.9 grams daily while
males intake an average of 42.8 grams. On the other hand, males consume a slightly
higher average of carbohydrates on a daily basis than females (308 grams vs. 296grams),
with no significant difference between these comparisons. In terms of basal metabolic
requirements, female caloric consumption is 60 percent above the baseline average while
men consume 28 percent (cf. FAO/WHO 1985). This difference is significant at p=.005
(two-tailed t-test).
Further comparisons between males and females were drawn by examining the
difference in percentages of calories derived from protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Overall, females consume 11.8 percent of their calories from protein sources while males
eat 11.7 percent. Fat contributes 21.8 percent to female diets and 21.2 percent to male
diets. As for carbohydrates, males derive 66.9 percent of their diets from this source while
females consume 66.2 percent. None of these comparisons was statistically significant.
Diets were then broken down to see what the activities of hunting, gathering,
fishing and farming contributed calorically to the Guajá diet. Tables 6.5 and 6.6 and
Figures 6.3 and 6.4 show the mean percentages that each of these sources contributes to
all people (adults and children) across villages, in addition to presenting the composition
derived from these sources for males and females. The only significant difference
encountered in all of these comparisons was the contribution that mean hunting calories

262
Table 6.5
Source of Daily Nutrition by Sex
Males (n=
Ú11
Females (n=8)
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Hunting
17.45
7.8
19.02
7.5
Fishing
5.16
6.65
4.21
3.75
Gathering
19.59
14.04
20.86
8.36
Farming
57.78
17.09
55.21
16.34
Table 6.6
Source of Daily Nutrition by Village (Adults & Children)
Source
Guaiá (n=8)
Mean SD
Post Awá (n=9)
Mean SD
Juriti (n=4)
Mean SD
Hunting
24.25
5.55
10.72***
3.10
22.15
1.04
Fishing
4.77
4.17
4.48
7.97
5.55
.47
Gathering
17.38
8.75
26.01
21.11
12.1
1.32
Farming
53.62
8.67
58.01
24.25
60.45
3.04
* Village means are significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.

Percent of Energy
1 I Hunting Fishing
] Gathering
Farming
Figure 6.3
Sources of Dietary Energy: Village Differences

Gathering
20% ^
Fishing
5%
Farming
57%
Figure 6.4
Contributions to Dietary Energy: All Villages Combined
264

made in the Post Awá diet (p<001). This finding is not too surprising because of the
higher pressure placed on game sources in the Post Awá community
Anthropometries Among the Guajá
Anthropometric measurements provided additional means of assessing their
nutritional status. Anthropometric data is a good indicator of seasonal variation in
addition to examing intra and inter-community variation (Flowers 1983) and is one of the
markers used by health professionals to assess general well-being (Frisancho 1990; Baksh
1995).
Anthropometric Methods
The sample consisted of 146 individuals. At Post Guajá, all 46 community
members were included. At Post Awá I obtained measurements for 85 people, and at Post
Juriti 15 community members were sampled.
For adults and children above four years, anthropometric measurements used were:
height (cm), weight (kg), skinfolds (mm) and arm circumference (cm). For children under
four years of age, measurements were restricted to weight (kg) and length (cm), in
addition to head and arm circumferences (cm). Post Guajá was equipped with an
infirmary and medical dispensary which included weighing scales and height measures.
Neither Post Awá nor Juriti were as well equipped, so I had to measure out and draw a
height measurement scale to assess people’s stature. This was done by measuring out and
drawing a line on a building wall and marking off intervals to assess people’s heights. To
look at people’s weight, I used the heavy duty weighing-scale that was also employed in
weighing captured game. The scale was tied up to one of the outpost’s cross-beams and a
sling was placed on the scale’s hook for people to sit in and weigh themselves.

266
Skinfold measurements were taken using a Lange skinfold caliper. Skinfolds were
taken from individuals’ triceps, biceps, superiliac and subscapular regions. Each
measurement represents an average of three readings.
Anthropometric data were later entered into the FAST AT program data
management editor. Subsequently some initial descriptive tests were run on the data to
look at the general pattern of the data. From the raw measures, two derived indices were
calculated, the body mass index [BMI= wt (kg)/ht (m2)] and arm muscle area [AMA=
(cm2)]. Afterwards, with the assistance of Dr. William Leonard, the data were
standardized as z-scores with relation to the baseline data of Frisancho (1990).
Results of Anthropometric Data Analysis
Table 6.7 shows the average heights and weights for adults of 21 indigenous
groups of lowland South America (after Holmes 1995:133).3 The Guajá’s weights and
heights fall in the middle range for lowland S.A. populations. Guajá men average 159.1
cm while women average 145.4 cm.4 Towards the top of the table are listed two Gé
groups (the Xikrin Kayapó and the Mekranoti) which occupy the transitional
savanna/cerrado regions of central Brazil and southern Amazonia. At the bottom of Table
6.7 are listed the Yanomami and Motilón, both groups situated near the northwestern
Amazonian highlands. Similarly, the weights for men averaged 56.9 kg while the mean
weight for women was 44.5 kg.
A general summary of anthropometric data for men 18 and older, across villages, is
presented in Tables 6.8 and 6.9, for the dry and wet seasons, respectively. One-way
ANOVA are used to detect statistical differences between the villages. During the dry
season, there are significant differences between men in body mass index at p< 01; arm

267
Table 6.7: Mean Weight and Height of Guaja Compared with Other
Native South American Groups
Groups
Heiaht (cm)
Men
Women
Men
Weiaht (ka)
Women
Xikrin
168.7
155.9
63.6
56.0
Mekranoti
166.4
153.1
66.6
56.4
Yaruro
165.6
58.8
Warao Jabure
160.7
57.5
Warao Sacopana
154.6
50.8
Waro Winikina
156.6
57.0
Pemon Camaracoto
160.0
146.9
Pemon Jaurepan
156.0
146.0
Guajiro
159.2
60.5
Guajá
159.1
145.4
56.9
44.5
Curripaco
157.3
144.4
59.2
50.2
Karina
156.6
146.7
56.5
Yecuana
156.0
146.0
62.0
53.0
Tucano
156.0
146.0
Mundurucu
155.6
145.4
Guahibo
155.4
54.1
Bari
154.5
Apalai-Waiana
152.4
142.8
Auca
154.0
144.0
Yanomami Coyoweteri
152.3
139.6
44.3
38.2
Yanomami Parima
146.9
136.9
43.7
37.9
Motilon
146.2
138.1
Source: Holmes 1994 (except for Guajá)

268
Table 6.8
Anthropometric Measures of Men by Village in the Dry Season
Measures
Guaiá (n=
Mean
116}
SD
Post Awá (n=20)
Mean SD
Juriti (n=
Mean
=6)
SD
Height
158.9
0.0
159.92
5.17
156.66
4.36
Weight
56.06
3.13
58.16
4.45
59.99
3.38
Body Mass Index
22.20
1.24
22.73
1.21
24.46**
1.42
Arm Muscle Area
38.78
3.26
40.93
5.49
45.04*
4.28
Sum of Skinfolds
27.29
4.43
30.42
4.71
38.05***
5.76
Percent Fat
13.40
3.37
15.19
2.90
17.26*
2.83
* Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.
Table 6.9
Anthropometric Measures of Men By Village in the Wet Season
Measures
Guaiá (n=
Mean
116}
SD
Post Awá (n=
Mean
r!2}
SD
Juriti (n=6)
Mean
SD
Height
158.9
0.0
160.60
4.25
156.66
4.36
Weight
55.36
3.51
58.73
4.42
60.93*
4.47
Body Mass Index
21.92
1.39
22.77
1.64
24.83***
1.63
Arm Muscle Area
36.69
4.24
40.97
5.97
45.43**
5.27
Sum of Skinfolds
29.52
4.65
32.61
5.40
37.29**
7.17
Percent Fat
14.32
3.45
15.84
2.79
17.07
2.71
* Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** PO.Ol; *** PO.OOl.

269
muscle area at p< 05; sum of skinfolds (p<001); and percent of body fat (p< 05). And the
means for each of these variables increases successively from Posts Guajá, Awá to Juriti.
During the wet season significant differences remain between the men across
villages in BMI (p<0.001), AMA (p<0.01), and sum of skinfolds (p<0.01). In terms of
body fat percent there ceases to be a significant difference. Yet in terms of weight a
significant difference emerges from the dry to wet seasons (p<0.05).
Tables 6.10 and 6.11 present anthropometric data for Guajá women across
villages, contrasting the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Comparisons across the three
villages reveal no significant differences between women.
Table 6.12 shows the mean seasonal change for men across villages from the dry to
wet seasons, respectively, for the variables of weight, body mass index (BMI), arm muscle
area (AMA), and sum of skinfolds. There are no significant differences presented in this
table although the men of Post Guajá underwent more negative changes from dry to wet
seasons (in weight, BMI and AMA). Their skinfold sums increased, however, perhaps
because they were more sedentary during the rainy season and relied on the combination
of farm products and an especially good yield of bacaba palm fruit (Oenocarpus
distichus), for which there was an abundant fruiting season in the wet period of 1993.
As for the mean changes in anthropometric data from dry to wet seasons between
women across villages, Table 6.13 shows that there was only one significantly different
change for weight. While there was a gain for Post Guajá women in all categories from
dry to wet, the women of Post Awá experienced a negative change in weight, BMI and
AMA. Among Post Juriti women there was a negative change in AMA.

270
Table 6.10
Anthropometric Measures of Women by Village in Dry Season
Measures
Guaiá in-
Mean
=8)
SD
Post Awá in
Mean
=16)
SD
Juriti (n=2)
Mean SD
Height
145.0
0.0
145.32
4.11
146.0
0.0
Weight
45.07
3.13
46.98
5.73
46.67
2.29
Body Mass Index
21.32
1.48
22.21
2.21
21.89
1.07
Arm Muscle Area
26.01
4.30
25.40
3.25
25.86
5.75
Sum of Skinfolds
40.08
6.87
47.43
16.06
54.62
2.22
Percent Fat
24.71
3.74
26.87
4.24
28.73
1.48
Table 6.11
Anthropometric Measures of Women By Village in the Wet Season
Measures
Guaiá (n:
Mean
i»1
SD
Post Awá (n=14)
Mean SD
Juriti fn=
Mean
=2)
SD
Height
145.96
1.59
145.38
4.29
146.0
0.0
Weight
46.14
3.68
45.99
5.85
47.97
2.65
Body Mass Index
21.66
1.82
21.73
2.31
22.50
1.24
Arm Muscle Area
27.15
3.71
24.86
4.75
25.52
5.88
Sum of Skinfolds
43.50
9.68
51.36
17.76
61.67
0.38
Percent Fat
25.60
4.83
27.85
3.90
30.41
0.87

Table 6.12
Mean Changes in Anthropometric Measurements of Men by Village
From Dry to Wet Season
271
Guaii (n=16) Post Awá (n=19) Juriti (n=6)
Measures
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Weight
-0.69
0.79
0.01
2.27
.94
1.14
Body Mass Index
-0.27
0.31
0.01
0.88
.37
0.45
Arm Muscle Area
-0.20
2.25
-0.27
4.1
.39
2.23
Sum of Skinfolds
2.23
2.3
1.93
4.32
-.76
5.55
Table 6.13
Mean Changes in Anthropometric Measurements of Women by Village
From Dry to Wet Season
Guaiá (n=8) Post Awá (n=14) Juriti (n=2)
Measures
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Weight
1.06
1.26
-1.11
2.15
1.30*
0.35
Body Mass Index
0.34
0.79
-0.52
1.05
0.60
0.16
Arm Muscle Area
1.14
1.83
-0.21
3.95
-0.33
0.12
Sum of Skinfolds
3.42
4.72
3.47
7.68
7.05
1.83
*Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.

272
Next, a comparison of standardized means (z-scores) are presented in Tables 6.14
and 6.15, to examine differences between men and women across all villages, for both the
dry and wet seasons. These measurements are drawn to see how men and women match
up against baseline data for their respective groupings (Frisancho 1990). In all four
categories of measurement (i.e., height-for-age, weight-for-age, AMA, and skinfolds) both
men and women fall under the 50th percentile for their particular groupings. In terms of
height-for-age, the z-scores for men and women suggest some degree of stunting, perhaps
from periodic/seasonal nutritional stress. In both the dry and wet seasons there is a
significant difference between men and women in terms of weight-for-age (p<05). On
this point, women stray less from the standard measurement than men.
The next set of data presented in Table 6.16 compares the mean changes from dry
to wet seasons across all three villages between men and women. Both men and women
experience losses in weight and BMI from dry to wet seasons, while men undergo yet
another negative change in AMA. There is a positive change for men in skinfolds while
women gain both in AMA and skinfolds from the dry to wet seasons. There are no
significant differences between men and women for any of these categories.
Turning to the anthropometries of children, Tables 6.17 and 6.18 compare
standardized measures of z-scores for youths under 18 for the dry and wet seasons, across
villages. In both instances there are no significant differences between the villages with
the exception of skinfolds (p<001), in both the dry and wet seasons. In either case, the
children of Posts Awá and Juriti are above the 50th percentile, with the latter exhibiting
higher scores in both seasons.

I
273
Table 6.14
Comparison of Standardized Means (¿-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Men and Women in the Dry Season
Measures
Men (n-42)
Mean
SD
Women (n=26)
Mean
SD
Height
-2.47
.59
-2.69
.54
Weight
-1.43
.36
-1.22*
.36
Arm Muscle Area
-1.09
.46
-.64
.40
Sum of Skinfolds
- .68
.32
-.71
.52
Table 6.15
Comparison of Standardized Means (¿-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Men and Women in the Wet Season
Measures
Men (n=41)
Mean
SD
Women (n=24)
Mean
SD
Height
-2.44
.53
-2.65
.56
Weight
-1.43
.40
-1.23*
.39
Arm Muscle Area
-1.15
.54
-.63
.46
Sum of Skinfolds
-0.58
.36
-.60
.59
Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.

Table 6.16
Comparison of Mean Change of Men and Women From Dry to Wet Season
Measures
Men (n=41)
Mean
SD
Women (n=24)
Mean
SD
Weight
-0.12
1.74
-0.18
2.09
Body Mass Index
-0.04
0.68
-0.14
1.02
Arm Muscle Area
-0.88
3.35
0.22
3.20
Sum of Skinfolds
1.65
3.93
3.75
6.42

275
Table 6.17
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Dry Season
Measures
Guajá
Mean SD
Post Awá
Mean SD
Juriti
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.42
1.08
-1.81
0.99
-1.55
0.45
Weightb
-0.78
0.53
-0.89
0.87
-0.55
0.32
Arm Muscle Areac
-0.57
0.62
-0.65
0.67
-1.06
0.38
Sum of Skinfolds d
-0.45
0.49
0.13
0.53
0.90***
0.47
Table 6.18
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Children Younger Than 18 by Village in Wet Season
Measures
Guajá
Mean SD
Post Awá
Mean SD
Juriti
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.62
0.97
-1.64
1.05
-1.50
0.40
Weightb
-0.91
0.44
-0.75
0.74
-0.58
0.74
Arm Muscle Areac
-0.66
0.68
-0.61
0.79
-1.10
0.18
Sum of Skinfolds d
-0.35
0.45
0.18
0.57
0.85***
0.65
* Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.
a Sample during dry' season (Guajá, n=18; Post Awá, n=45; Juriti, n=7).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=18; Post Awá, n=47; Juriti, n=7)
h Sample during dry season (Guajá, n= 18; Post Awá, n=46; Juriti. n=7).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=18; Post Awá, n=47; Juriti, n-7).
c Sample during dry' season (Guajá, n=l 1; Post Awá, n=28; Juriti, n=6).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=l 1; Post Awá, n=29; Juriti, n=6).
d Sample during dry season (Guajá, n=ll; Post Awá, n= 28; Juriti, n=6).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=l 1; Post Awá, n= 29; Juriti, n=6).

276
The data for children under 13 years of age reveal a similar pattern. Tables 6.19
and 6.20 show comparisons of standardized means (z-scores) across villages for this age
group, for both the dry and wet seasons. Again, there is a significant difference (p<001)
for mean of skinfolds.
Lastly, Tables 6.21 and 6.22 present a comparison of standardized means (z-
scores) to examine overall differences between boys and girls for all three villages during
the dry and wet seasons. The data show that there were significant differences between
girls and boys in the height-for-age and AMA categories. And girls seem to fare slightly
better than boys in all measurements with the exception of skinfolds. In neither instance is
there any indication of stunting or wasting.
Next, Figure 6.5 graphs the statural growth for Guajá individuals from ages 0
through 18, relative to the U.S. 50th percentile. The graph shows that Guajá children are
shorter than U.S. children throughout this growth. Guajá children also seem to taper off
at approximately the same age that U.S children begin their decline in growth, or at
around 14 years of age for girls and about 15-16 years for boys. The one outlier in the
graph which approximates the U.S. male growth curve was the tallest of all Guajá
individuals, approximately sixteen years old, from Post Juriti.
Finally, Figure 6.6 shows the Height Velocity (cm/yr) for Guajá children, from 0 to
18 years old, relative to the growth velocity for U.S. males and females. A number of
individuals represented in this graph show that they do not exhibit the same growth
velocity that U.S. children obtain, while others accompany the rate at a fairly close range.
A few points along this graph would also suggest that some Guajá boys begin their growth
spurt earlier than U.S. males, ending this brief period at a later age.

277
Table 6.19
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-socres) of Anthropometric Data
For Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Dry Season
Measures
Guaiá
Mean SD
Mean
Post Awá
SD
Juriti
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.34
1.11
-1.58
.90
-1.77
.90
Weightb
-.74
.55
-.91
.92
-.66
.47
Arm Muscle Areac
-.59
.65
-.59
.51
-1.09
.03
Sum of Skinfolds d
-.46
.54
.07
.48
1.4***
.36
Table 6.20
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-socres) of Anthropometric Data
For Children Younger than 13 across Villages in Wet Season
Measures
Guaiá
Mean
SD
Mean
Post Awá
SD
Juriti
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.56
1.01
-1.37
.91
-1.59
.41
Weightb
-.88
.46
-.68
.73
-.56
.18
Arm Muscle Areac
-.75
.67
-.50
.59
-.96
.02
Sum of Skinfolds d
-.37
.50
.21
.56
1.64***
.19
* Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** P<0.001.
a Sample during dry season (Guajá, n=16; Post Awá, n=36; Juriti, n=3).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=16; Post Awá, n=38; Juriti, n=3)
b Sample during dry season (Guajá, n= 16; Post Awá, n=37; Juriti, n=3).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=16; Post Awá, n=38; Juriti, n=3).
c Sample during dry season (Guajá, n=9; Post Awá, n=19; Juriti, n=2).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=9; Post Awá, n=20; Juriti, n=2).
d Sample during dry season (Guajá, n=9; Post Awá, n= 19; Juriti, n=2).
During Wet Season (Guajá, n=9; Post Awá, n= 20; Juriti, n=2).

278
Tables 6.21
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Boys and Girls in Dry Season
Measures
Bo
Mean
ys
SD
Girls
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.76
0.88
-1.24*
0.95
Weightb
-0.98
0.80
-0.70
0.80
Arm Muscle Areac
-0.82
0.31
-0.43*
0.66
Sum of Skinfolds d
0.16
0.66
-0.15
0.65
Table 6.22
Comparison of Standardized Means (z-scores) of Anthropometric Data
For Boys and Girls in the Wet Season
Measures
Bo
Mean
ys
SD
Girls
Mean
SD
Heighta
-1.48
0.92
-1.39
0.92
Weightb
-0,80
0.61
-0.64
0.69
Arm Muscle Area0
-0.69
0.30
-0.51
0.82
Sum of Skinfolds d
0.23
0.73
0.02
0.69
*Means significantly different at *P<0.05; ** P<0.01; *** PO.OOl.
a Sample size of boys (n=29) and girls (n=26) in the dry season.
Sample size of boys (n=31) and girls (n=26) in the wet season.
b Sample size of boys (n=29) and girls (n=27) in the dry season.
Sample size of boys (n=31) and girls (n=26) in the wet season.
c Sample size of boys (n=15) and girls (n=15) in the dry season.
Sample size of boys (n= 16) and girls (n=15) in the wet season.
d Sample size of boys (n=15) and girls (n=15) in the dry season.
Sample size of boys (n=16) and girls (n=15) in the wet season.

Stature (cm)
Figure 6.5
Guajá Youth Statural Growth Compared with 50th Percentile of U.S. Youth Population (Ages 0 -18)
^1

Height Velocity (cm/yr)
Age (years)
Figure 6.6
Guajá Youth Statural Growth Velocity Compared with 50th Percentile of U.S. Youth Population (Ages 0-18)
280

281
Discussion and Summary
From the foregoing set of data some major trends become apparent. First, drawing
comparisons between villages reveals that the nutritional status at Post Guajá is marginally
sufficient, both in terms of standard requirements, and in contrast to Posts Awá and Juriti.
Both dietary intake and anthropometries demonstrate that members of Post Guajá undergo
periodic instances of mild nutritional stress. I found this to be particularly true during the
wet season in this community as there was an apparent, although somewhat subdued,
mood of anguish attendant to the hunger people felt in that village. Three of the Guajá
dogs, which are perpetually hungry, died from starvation during the wet season of 1992.
Other Guajá pets were edgy and fought with one another over the scarce food available to
them. And the pet peccary which the Guajá of this community kept corraled in a
makeshift wooden pen broke out of its quarters in search of food. In addition to this,
toddlers would cry or fall asleep from hunger.
It is interesting that such a situation is encountered in the community which has
had the lengthiest period of contact with FUNAI. This runs counter to FUNAI claims
which state that it is in the better interests of indigenous peoples to be under their
administration and taught new modes of subsistence (cf. Possuelo 1993). For not only is
this community privy to the accoutrements introduced to it through FUNAI, members of
Post Guajá also occasionally receive assistance from FUNAI when it suffers periodic
shortfalls in food. During the wet season of 1989, for example, FUNAI shipped in some
extra sacks of manioc flour to the Post Guajá community as the rains were particularly
intense that year and subsequently flooded and rotted the existing manioc crop. It is
interesting, too, that Post Guajá has more land area cleared for horticulture than the other

282
two Guajá communities. In addition to FUNAI’s own plot at Post Guajá, members of this
community had approximately 1.75 hectares in harvestable horticultural plots, most of
these fields planted in manioc.5 Post Awá had approximately 1.2 hectares, while the
members of the Post Juriti village had a plot of about 0.5 hectares, in addition to a one
hectare plot which it shared with FUNAI.
Post Guajá began experimenting with farming on its own initiative in 1984 and
since 1989 FUNAI encouraged Post Guajá members to clear individual plots of their own,
thus beginning a new era of “privatizing” among the people of this village. And it is
interesting to point out that the clearing of individual plots acutally increased the amount
of cleared land. This measure was accompanied by a series of policy shifts in FUNAI
which claimed to be releasing the Indians from the clutches of dependency relations and
paternalism. What this policy implicated for the Guajá was an almost abrupt withdrawl of
support. With this withdrawl of support, some of the Guajá at Post Guajá expressed an
interest in selling part of their rice crop. FUNAI complied with this request and in 1991
they helped the Guajá transport an undetermined amount of rice to regional markets and
sold it for an equivalent of approximately U.S. SI 15.00. In turn, the Guajá asked FUNAI
to purchase a series of wares with these proceeds. The Guajá continued with their
requests to sell rice but FUNAI withdrew it support as it anticipated that this venture
would be too costly to bear out, as it would constantly have to act as the “middle-man”
and provide transportation for these sales, a burden which it deemed too expensive to
sustain. Consequently, FUNAI offered to transport extractive products such as wicker
material (cipo titica), apiculture products (primarily honey), and copaiba oil. The market
for these materials is not as robust as the regional rice market and some of the Guajá

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expressed to me that they would have preferred to keep selling rice, yet FUNAI would not
comply with their request. Instead, the new products were being sold within FUNAJ’s
own distribution program to lend support to regional indigneous groups. The apicultural
products, however, were benefitting FUNAI personnel and some of the Indians were
aware of this, in spite of the fact that they were not familiar with money or regional
markets. One day, in anger, one Guajá young man told me that he was going set the
FUNAI beehives on fire.
Pior to 1989, the Post Guajá community received many hand-outs from FUNAI
personnel in the way of wares, clothing, medicines and food. In fact, during the early days
of contact, many of the Guajá were situated near the FUNAI Post but in subsequent years
they were told to construct their village at a distance from the Indian Service’s facility,
across the Turiafu river. FUNAI workers mentioned to me that the reason for the village
being situated away from the Indian Post was to leave the Guajá more at will, and at ease
(é para deixar eles mais a vontade). But in truth this gesture was also coupled with
FUNAI’s unwillingness to be burdened by the Guajá’s solicitousness, not to mention that
the mutual distrust which occassionally arises between both parties can create some
tensions and hostility.
Another factor that runs counterintuitive to the findings of the nutritional and
anthropometric data is that Post Guajá is situated on a larger Indian Reserve with less land
invasions. As the hunting data revealed, game yields of this area are larger than those
encountered at Post Awá and Juriti. Yet in spite of all of these benefits, other situations
intervene which may explain why the Guajá of this community do not necessarily accrue
any presumed advantages in being the community with longest period of contact, or being

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situated in a better hunting area. For one, this community is located farther away from
FUNAI’s support center than the other two Guajá communities. This community has
difficult access to outside support during the rainy season, and in the event that any Guajá
individual falls ill, evacuation becomes difficult for FUNAI to negotiate. During the rainy
season, this situation becomes exacerbated as travel to the nearest town can take up to
two days, and at quite a struggle. Moreover, if any Guajá becomes so ill that he or she
cannot be transported on mule-back, FUNAI has to provide transportation with an
outboard motor to the town nearest a road whence a vehicle can evacuate the individual to
the support center. This scenario can easily entail a three-day trip and commonly occurs
during the rainy season when the makeshift road from the town ofZé Doca to Post Guajá
is completely flooded and intranstitable.
Good health is essential among indigenous communities because if no other
support is provided for them in the way of medical treatment or food supplements, many
convalescing individuals will have to recover before they can provide food for themselves.
Hunting, gathering and farming require good health to perform the robust efforts required
of these activities. Also, a convalescing individual often cannot eat bulky diets which
require heavy digestive processes. Moreover, other members of the community will not
necessarily provide extended support to convalescing individuals. Within the Guajá
community, support depends on good family ties, food availability, and the individual’s
willingness to be assisted. As recalled earlier, some individuals will not always comply
with the medical treatment provided to them by FUNAI. In the case that an individual
contracts malaria vivax, this person will experience bouts of heavy fever and pain,
followed by temporary periods of relief, until cured of this illness. During these temporary

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relief periods some individuals will up and leave for the forest to go foraging and not
terminate treatment. This behavior only excacerbates the illness and worsens the
individual’s condition.
When I first began my fieldwork among the Guajá at Post Guajá in 1992, there had
been a recent outbreak of malaria in the area and many individuals were recovering from
this malady. That I began taking anthropometric measurements shortly afterwards may be
reflected in the data. A number of individuals were being put up at Post Guajá’s infirmary
and being placed on intra-venous solutions, in addition to receiving treatment for malaria.
Others had retreated to the forest in search of food, a situation which alarmed some
FUNAI workers as they were trying to administer treatment to these individuals. It is
interesting to point, however, that FUNAI workers may sometimes give up out of
frustration and in anger refuse to administer medicines to Indians on other occasions. I
was particularly alarmed to learn, too, that FUNAI justified making the Guajá perform
labor for the outpost by claiming that, in return for their work, the Indians were receiving
medical treatment. It so happens that FUNAI is under obligation to administer medicines
and health treatment to the Guajá regardless of the relationship it has with the Indians - a
responsibility which is part and parcel of administering indigenous affairs.
Meanwhile, Posts Awá and Juriti are situated in a different setting, which may
explain some of the counterintuitive findings presented in the dietary and anthropometric
data. Both the hunting yields and dietary data reflect that the game population has been
reduced in the vicinity of the the Post Awá community. As noted previously, the Guajá
from this community are going beyond their “optimal set” in order to capture an adequate
intake of game meat. Many birds have been included in their diet, and new hunting

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strategies have been embraced to overcome the problem of diminished yields. Moreover,
although their diet reflects a diminished intake of protein in comparison to Post Guajá,
their food intake and anthropometric data reveal that they are generally faring better than
this latter community. A couple of reasons may shed some light on this difference. First,
whatever paucity the Guajá of Post Awá obtain in terms of hunting yields is made up by
trekking to their hunting camps. Game capture at hunting camps increases substantially
over the yields obainted from daily forays in the vicinity of their base community. Recall,
too, that the time allocation studies revealed that time spent at hunting camps by the Guajá
of Post Awá is significantly different than time invested by their counterparts at Posts
Guajá and Juriti.
Despite the fact that Post Awá is situated in an area that would presumably make
its situation more precarious in terms of health, nutritional status, and general well-being,
it is precisely because of its proximity to the Carajás railway that this community is
benefitted by the goods and services which are difficult to acquire at the other Guajá
communities. When the Guajá of Post Awá fall seriously ill, they can be easily evacuated
to FUN AT s support center in Sta. Inés, or the city of Sao Luis in the event that more
serious medical treatment is required. Indeed, in the early days of this community’s
settlement at Post Awá, there were a large number of malaria outbreaks, but since the
establishment of the Carajás railway in 1985, the CVRD has provided emergency
evacuation service to all of the communities affected by the this development project. In
addition to the passenger train service which runs on a regular basis, the CVRD also
provides emergency rail service to transport special equipment and evacuate people in
need of medical treatment. Part of CVRD’s contractual obligation with the indigenous

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communities in the vicinity of the Carajás project entails providing logistical and medical
support to the Guajá. Although FUNAI can be lax in terms of expediting evacuation
service for the Guajá, the fact that the railway is located nearby provides a benefit to this
community which is not encountered at Post Guajá or Juriti. To sum this situation up,
then, it is ironic that the very development which brought the Guajá into contact with
Brazilian nationals and subsequently submitted this community to many maladies, also
happens to be a partial panacea for the ills they have contracted through settlement. That
the community of Post Awá is positioned in an area that reduces game yields and makes it
more prone to contracting malaria, influenza and other infirmities, also extends to it a
service which offsets some of the negative consequences of contact.
Perhaps one additional factor can explain why the Guajá at Post Awá retreat to
hunting camps more often than their counterparts at Post Juriti and Guajá. As it happens,
the demographic profile encountered at Post Awá (see Chapter II) is more complete than
that encountered at Posts Guajá or Juriti. In these latter two communities, the
demographic situation exhibits a ratio of three adult men to one woman of reproductive
age. Thus, in spite of the polyandrous associations encountered in these communities
there are a number of adolescent and adult males without marriage partners nor families.
Many of these youths are called upon by FUNAI workers to perform labor and end up
becoming involved in a set of dependency relations with the Indian Service. On the other
hand, members of Post Awá were not as drawn to that community’s outpost to perform
labor for FUNAI. The men of Post Awá are more bound to their family ties and social
obligations, and as such, will pay more abeyance to the requests that their families will ask
of them than to FUNAI’s demand for labor. This situation can sometimes create tension

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between men and their wives, with husbands usually deferring to their spouses’ request to
perform subsistence work for their own families. Thus, if FUNAI calls on a man to help
put new tiles on the outpost’s roof or weed the compound, his wife may tell him to do
otherwise and, instead, engage him in a hunting expedition. Men are very concerned with
the well-being of their wives, children and relatives and will comply with their requests to
supply food. One of the principal reasons men would be solicitous of me to provide them
with hunting and fishing gear, for example, was that their children were hungry (mimira
yamaha). And one of the principal demands placed upon men was to occasionally retreat
to a hunting camp with their families.
As for Post Juriti, the situation of this community is interesting in that it is the
group which has been in contact for the shortest period of time in relation to the other two
Guajá settlements. Contrary to expectations, the dietary and anthropometric data of this
community present a better nutritional status than encountered in Posts Guajá and Awá.
That is, one would intuitively expect to find that as a newly contacted group, this
community would be suffering from the ill-effects of low disease resistance, dietary
transition, and the general problems associated with an adaptation to new a situation
altogether. Similarly, the lengthy contact period through which members of Post Guajá
have been exposed would lead me to believe that they have survived the “hump” of
contact and, subsequently, would have adapted well to settlement and the adoption of new
resources. Although there is some truth to both of these scenarios, some of the features of
Post Juriti may help explain why, paradoxically, this community fares better from a
nutritional standpoint. As it happens, members of Post Juriti are in the early days of
contact with FUNAI and are receiving a special treatment in relation to the other two

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Guajá communities. Thus, although this community has just left the “flirtation” stage of
contact with FUNAI (see reference to the namoro effect in Chapter I), this community is
receiving preferential treatment in contrast to Posts Guajá and Juriti. Their community is
situated a lot closer to the Indian Post than are the other two villages. As a matter of fact,
at the time of my study, their village was located at about 70 meters from FUNAI’s main
horticultural plot and they frequently helped themselves to the crops of that field.
At Posts Guajá and Awá this situation is not allowed and although the Indians will
occasionally be allowed to pick fruit from FUNAI’s orchard, they will eventually be told
to leave. Part of my dietary study during the wet season was sampled during a period
when the Guajá of Post Juriti were picking many watermelons from FUNAI’s horticultural
plot. This situation, of course, may have skewed my sample but, for sure, FUNAI was not
turning the Guajá aside and had no intention of doing so - or at least while I was there.
The FUNAI outpost boss at Post Juriti was also a more lenient person in relation to the
other Indian Service personnel working at Posts Guajá and Awá. Indeed, the nuances of
any contact situation will necessarily depend on the personal characteristics of the
individuals administering these inter-ethnic encounters, but perhaps this particular person
was placed at Post Juriti as he was an experienced sertanista, or a seasoned worker
specifically involved with contact situations within FUNAI. This particular man would
occasionally supply food for the Indians when they had no luck in hunting, and he
particularly rewarded some of the adolescent boys with food when they worked for the
outpost. A former worker for this outpost also indicated to me that three Guajá
adolescent boys of this community were practically raised at the outpost and fed primarily
on outpost food.

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During the initial stages of contact, too, FUNAI begins to teach the Indians how to
clear and plant fields. In this process the Guajá are fed quite often with farm products and
cooked meals from FUNAI’s kitchen. These foods are also provided in exchange for the
hunted game the Guajá bring back from the forest.
As for the general health situation at Post Juriti, there have not been as many
malarial outbreaks in this community as there have been in Post Guajá or Awá. When
outbreaks did occur in the way of influenza or malaria, FUNAI had other Guajá from
Posts Guajá and Awá assist them in the early stages of contact. These individuals helped
retrieve wayward Guajá from Post Juriti who retreated to the forest when they became ill.
During the early days of contact with the Guajá in the 1970s and 1980s, there were no
other Guajá individuals “available,” in contact, to assist as facilitators in contacting their
brethren. Yet as more Guajá individuals came into contact and learned Portuguese, a
number of male youths were recruited by FUNAI to work as interpreters, facilitators and
articulators. Their assistance, of course, eased the contact situation which had priorly
been more detrimental to the other Guajá of Posts Guajá and Awá. The implications of
their presence meant that not as many Guajá from Post Juriti died or fell ill in the process.
And when they did fall ill, the bilingual Guajá interpreters would convince their
convalescing brethren to heed to the medical advice and treatment given to them by
FUNAI. As such, contact among the Guajá from Post Juriti was much smoother than the
same process which occured at Posts Guajá or Juriti.
Lastly, it should also be mentioned that the Guajá at Post Juriti have easier access
to major medical treatment in the event they fall seriously ill. During both the dry and wet
seasons it is relatively easy to transport a sick person to a local town where FUNAI can

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pick up the individual and evacuate him or her to a regional health center. Although travel
to Post Juriti is rather time consuming and sometimes difficult, the Caru river is a swift
conduit, especially during the rainy season.
All of these factors must be weighed against one another in order to assess the
comparative similarities and differences between the Guajá villages. The foregoing
circumstances and situations are not permanent, and constantly shifting. As such, they may
not always be available as ready explanations for the nutritional status I encountered at
these communities. Yet although they are ongoing and changing, the general picture
presented in this discussion helps us to draw a fair assessment of why the longest
contacted group among the Guajá has found itself in a stressed nutrional state.
While the foregoing discussion helped provide some of the reasons which account
for village differences, another set of factors will now be addressed to explain differences
between men, women and children. Of these three groups, it was the men who seemed to
be bearing the burdern of periodic nutritional stress. Men’s investment in time and labor,
plus diminished leisure hours in comparison to women and children place a particular
emphasis on their work efforts to provide for their families (refer to Chapter III). Men do
not only work for their families but also provide goods and services to FUNAI.
Additionally, some food taboos may place an extra burden on the men in terms of dietary
intake. Hunters usually refrain from eating any of the game animals they captured and, at
most, will only consume a symbolic amount of their catch, usually the paws, hands, or tail
of their prey. Other portions of the animals will usually go to everyone else, with the
senior woman of a household having preferential pickings of game parts, particularly the
head of animal. After an animal has been processed and cooked, the hunter usually

distributes to family and friends, often serving his wife or mother first. The mother, in
turn, will divide her parcel with her children.
292
Although there is much variation involved with food taboos in addition to the fact
that a number of them are related to reciprocity between hunters, I noticed that there was
a heavier stigma placed on men in the event they broke any of the taboos. Recall, for
instance, the incident mentioned in Chapter IV involving a man who was scorned for
eating a hawk. Generally speaking, the taboos which applied to women seemed to involve
a smaller class of animal, although there was much variation to these prohibitions and
frequently I saw people breaking these proscriptions. And it is interesting to point out as
well, that the protocol for food distribution was more commonly observed at Posts Awá
and Juriti.
What this general situation suggests then is that women and children are being
given preferential treatment. Thus, this scenario would also suggest that there is a
premium being placed on the well-being of women and children. As females of
reproductive age are scarce among the Guajá, these trends point to an “investment” in
women and children. The immediate return would be the maintenance of women and
children’s overall health and well-being, yet in the long run this behavior implies that the
Guajá are also banking on their future. In these terms, the polyandrous marriages
encountered among the Guajá point in the direction of a reproductive strategy to recover
population losses. On the one hand, the Guajá polyandrous marriages, reinforced by their
reproductive ideology, would indicate that women are being handed preferential
treatment. Conversely, others have also pointed out that these types of matrimonial
arrangements are sought out by men in search of women (see Chapter III). These terms

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are debatable, yet from either perspective the data indicate that women and children are
more favored in terms of time allocation, diet and anthropometry. We can only speculate
as to what the Guajá situation was like prior to contact, yet when the balance sheet is
drawn, it appears that men are bearing the brunt of their current transition.
Notes
'it is assumed that infants who rely totally on breastfeeding, when fed on demand,
consume a daily milk intake of 750 milliliters (Elaine Turner 1996: personal
communication), however, this figure cannot be incorporated here as it would exclude
dietary variation and practices germane to the Guaja.
2FAO/WHO (1985) recommends daily caloric intakes of 40 percent above BMR to
achieve energy requirements.
3The Guajá heights and weights were inserted in this table while data from the other
groups were compiled by Holmes (ibid.).
4These averages are not completely accurate as the height data for men and women at
Post Guajá was either lost or stolen. To arrive at average heights for the adults of Post
Guajá I averaged out the heights for all adult individuals 18 and older from Posts Awá and
Juriti. However, the estimated averages are very close to the readings made by Gomes
(1985) which list adult males’ mean stature at 160cm and adult females average height as
145cm.
5This figure does not include old or “abandoned” plots which still have a series of
salvagable crops and fruit trees encountered in the general vicinity of Post Guajá.

CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSIONS
The foregoing chapters describe some of the experiences which the Guajá have
undergone during the last 24 years. Each of these communities, Posts Guajá, Awá, and
Juriti, had similar experiences in the process of contact, settlement, and the adoption of
new resource strategies. Yet there was much variation between these villages which
resulted from different pressures on natural resources, especially at Post Awá, variegated
ecosystems, such as the black water characteristics encountered at Post Juriti, population
profiles, foraging technologies, and the length of contact.
Originally, I had assumed that time was the most influential variable in accounting
for the similarities and differences at Posts Guajá, Awá, and Juriti. Thus, I began this
research assuming that length of contact with FUNAI would be the decisive variable for
explaining the new modes of living adopted by each of the Guajá villages. I also
anticipated that length of contact would act alone since other factors, such as ecology,
were largely equal across villages and could not have any special influence in directing
culture change between the communities. As it happened, the preliminary research I
conducted among the Guajá in 1990, at Post Guajá, was relatively brief (two months) and
the working assumptions I developed to propose research in all three villages was based
on this short trip. When I returned to continue my work among the Guajá in 1992,1
became aware that time alone could not explain the different contact experiences of the
Guajá communities.
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Contact not only introduced farming to the Guajá but it also reshaped extant
resource practices such as fishing and hunting. The greater hunting pressure which is
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exerted in the vicinity of Post Awá, by way of illegal land invasions and the larger
population encountered in that community, saw the Guajá adopting new hunting strategies
with the aid of new technologies. Shotguns, hunting dogs, fishing gear, flashlights, canoes
and other items contributed towards expanding pre-existing resource strategies to increase
their options, particularly at Posts Guajá and Awá. These factors, coupled with contact,
helped the Guajá of those two communities intensify the utilization of already exploited
niches and diversify resource strategies. It should be pointed out that in order to exploit
some of these niches, contact had to demystify some beliefs about the forest, such as the
dangers of wandering in this habitat at night. Although night hunting and fishing do not
represent absolutely secure strategies, the fact that the Guajá hunt and fish during evening
hours suggests that a decision was made to accept perceived risks in order to cope with
pressures exerted by neighboring communities and development. New technology and
drained resources have also stimulated the Guajá to exploit arboreal niches with more
frequency and intensity, primarily at Post Awá. Fishing, too, has played a stepped up role
among the Guajá in all three communities.
Another major factor which affected each of these communities was their health
status prior, during, and after contact. The communites were affected differentially by
infirmities and disease, the results of which are visible in their respective demographic
profiles. For example, contact took its heaviest toll on the health of members of the Post
Guajá community. In this village contact was mediated through a series of failed attempts
to attract the Guajá and settle them in a secure and safe manner. A number of Guajá

296
told me that FUNAI acted in a very rough and brusk manner. The FUNAI agents charged
with attracting and settling the Guajá reportedly forced some individuals to settle and stay
in the vicinity of the newly-established attraction post by way of threats and physical
coercion. Many Guajá individuals could not resist some of this coercion as they were in a
sickly state, and it was reported that some individuals were even physically abused. I,
myself, witnessed a FUNAI worker slap a Guajá child as her mother looked on, petrified.
The Guajá even noted that some of their pets were killed by FUNAI workers who
considered them inconvenient.1
At Post Awá, the contact situation was negotiated differently, and although
members of this community suffered serious setbacks in the early days of contact, the
personnel involved in approaching and settling them were more attuned to their needs.
Mércio Gomes (1995: personal communication) claims that this smoother transition from
contact to settlement was one of the principal reasons why, here, one does not encounter
the malaise found among the members of the Post Guajá community.
As for Post Juriti, fewer of its original members died in proportion to deaths which
occured at Posts Guajá and Awá.. That is, in this community the process of attracting
members to settlement was not as lethal as elsewhere. Bilingual Guajá individuals assisted
in the transition which eased some of the tension and illnesses often encountered during the
early phase of contact. The enlistment of other Guajá reduced the problem of poor
communication that FUNAI workers had during the early days of contact, a difficulty
which persists until this day. This miscommunication frequently leads to
misunderstandings in dealing with Guajá health problems and often the Indians will up and
leave the community to heal themselves. If and when FUNAI finds the wayward Guajá,

297
they may encounter them in a more sickly state and treatment may be refused by some
individuals. In the early days of contact, many Guajá perished in this process of settlement
and withdrawl. In these instances, FUNAI workers would sometimes encounter
decomposed bodies, or only skeletons.
Implications of Settlement: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives
In summary, the Guajá experience of contact, settlement, and adoption of new
resource strategies has both theoretical and practical implications. The foregoing
chapters can now help us readdress some of the basic research questions of this
dissertation. Namely, why did the Guajá accept contact in the first place, and why did
they accept living in semi-nucleated settlements? Moreover, how and why did the Guajá
embrace new resource strategies? What considerations were involved in these processes
and what mechanisms are at play in the elaboration of their decision to come into contact
and subsequently settle into a hunting-gathering-horticultural mode of subsistence? And
from a basic humanitarian point of view, what are the consequences of settlement and
change for tribal peoples in a modem developing nation state? All of these questions
address such issues as culture contact and change, indigenous resource management, and
the transition from foraging to farming.
The transition from foraging to farming has long been of interest to anthropologists
in terms of understanding the causes and consequences of this shift to food production.
Mine and Vandemeer (1990) have pointed out that early plant domesticaton and incipient
agriculture were largely the result of human efforts to reduce risk and rely on resources
that would ultimately be more predictable. In this regard, the human neolithic “revolution”
has been considered by many to have been a response to global warming,

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pleistocene big-game extinction, foraging population pressures, and the subsequent
refinement of technologies (Harris and Ross 1987). While this transition did not occur
overnight, farming spread across the globe within a relatively short time-span in the
context of human socio-cultural evolution. It is interesting, too, that farming developed
independently in the Old and New Worlds. Thus, this parallel innovation addresses
questions beyond cultural diffusion, showing that similar inventions can arise
independently. In this regard, plant domestication and permanent settlements arose under
similar conditions encountered in the Old and New Worlds, respectively (Harris 1989). At
one level this type of adaptation entails the expansion of diet breadth (Binford 1980; Hill
1982) while selecting alternative resources as a hedge against risk factors such as
starvation (cf. Johnson 1971). Additionally, plant domestication became part and parcel
of the “broad-spectrum diet” as humans expanded their resource base and sought out the
populous “r”-selected species lower on the food chain (Flannery 1973; Binford ibid.;
Roosevelt 1984, 1987).
While these considerations pertain to a broader theoretical level, the situation of
the Guajá must be placed within the context of Brazilian Amazonian development. Simply
stated, within the last thirty years the Guajá have been circumscribed by other human
actors encroaching upon their home-range. In addition to the Guajá, other uncontacted
Tupí-Guaraní groups such as the Parakana (Magalháes 1991) and Araweté (see Viveiros
de Castro 1992) were cordoned by regional development. All of these groups are located
within the Carajás Program’s general area of influence and, consequently, more
encounters with indigenous populations became inevitable. As the Guajá and other

isolated groups were steadily pressured by the moving frontier, FUNAI subsequently
attracted and settled them into semi-nucleated communities.
299
As the Guajá are now situated within the web of state relations it is important to
draw on some of the latest works put forth by Ferguson and Whitehead (1992 and 1995).
Both authors point out that the concept of “tribe” is a misnomer and became steadily
employed with the linking up of world systems and expanding states (1992: 112-13).
Ferguson (1995) also points out that in this process many diverse ethnic groups were
pitted against one another as they jockeyed for position to obtain state goods and services
and warred in an effort to control trade routes. To this position, Whitehead aptly adds
that, “tribes make states and states make tribes” (1992: 127).
Balée (1992) characterized the Guajá and other foraging groups of lowland South
America as “people of the fallow,” since they would often supplement their diet by
exploiting resources in old abandoned agricultural plots, in addition to raiding the fields of
other indigenous groups. In recent times, this raiding would occur on settlers’
homesteads. Similarly, regional development started to fill in the spaces of Amazonia and
the Guajá’s movements were steadily curtailed. Hostilities from both indigenous groups
and regional settlers put pressure on the Guajá from many angles.
In the meantime, the Guajá had had some intermittent contact with local traders
and backwoodsmen who would occasionally sight them and, in some instances, trade with
them. Eventually, contact with regional players became less sporadic and various Guajá
groups risked more encounters with neo-Brazilians. In this light, the question of contact
becomes an issue of security just as much as it may have been a foresight on the part of
the Guajá to obtain new resources. Initial contact with FUNAI was more linked to

300
security and, consequently, access to new resources. Hill and Hurtado (1996) observed a
similar situation among the Aché of Paraguay and point out that this group became more
attracted to settlements because of the protection they could acquire through mission
outposts. The Aché were steadily drawn into the web of mission involvement and in the
process obatined wares and new resources through state players.
Gragson (1990) pointed out that foragers can combine mobility, alternative
resource and exploitative strategies to overcome periodic shortfalls in specific resources.
Thus, notes Gragson, among foragers agriculture is an alternative subsistence strategy
within a range of more-or-less equally weighted options. As such, contact has
subsequently opened the range of alternatives available to the Guajá in terms of health and
subsistence, in addition to the security which they have obtained by situating themselves
near FUNAI Indian Posts. The Guajá are aware that they are safer from hostilities within
the perimeters of their land area and rarely venture outside of their reserves, if at all.
Accordingly, the Guajá report to FUNAI any land invader that they sight on the reserve
for the Indian Service to expel. And often, the Guajá will participate in a patrolling tour
with FUNAI workers to ascertain any land invasions.
Yet many tradeoffs were involved in the process of contact. On the one hand, the
Guajá gained access to a series of goods and services provided to them through FUNAI.
Yet during the process of contact, many Guajá fell ill and died. In spite of this
devastation, the Guajá opted to stay near FUNAI Posts to cure themselves of the maladies
which were introduced to them through contact, and to help themselves to newly acquired
wares and resources. Thus, the issue of security extended itself to regaining and
maintaining their health status, as well as gaining access to new resources. Concomitantly,

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an agricultural intensification resulted as some of the Guajá have opted to augment their
food supply. Add to this their proximity to river courses which enables them to fish, and
the fact that new technologies have enabled them to exploit resources more efficiently.
Another series of “push and pull” factors set the tone for further Guajá contact and
subsequent settlement of new individuals. That is, while the already settled Guajá were
living in the vicinity of Indian Posts, they learned to speak Portuguese and became
involved in many activities with FUNAI. Many of these individuals were orphaned boys
who were practically “raised” at the Indian Posts. Young orphaned girls, on the other
hand, were incorporated into Guajá families in their respective villages. The Guajá youths
who became involved in outpost life were put to work by FUNAI and subsequently
became general laborers for the Indian Service to perform such chores as hunting, weeding
and fishing. These youths also became articulators between FUNAI and the Guajá of the
villages. As these youths grew into young adults they became the new leaders in the
Guajá community, upending the previous structure which favored elderly men and women.
Although there is no firm or settled authority among the Guajá, elderly people and heads
of family were more influential in terms of making decisions in their respective
communities. As FUNAI groomed the new up and coming youths to become articulators
and interpreters, these individuals began to receive preferential treatment by the Indian
Service personnel. The harder they worked for the outpost, the more they were praised as
being “good Indians” and “hard workers”, and consequently were provided with personal
clothes, wares, and preferential access to the Indian Post.
On the one hand, FUNAI was able to influence many of these youths as some of
them did not have strong family ties, having been orphaned at an early age. Moreover,

302
recall that in Posts Guaja and Juriti there is a scarcity of women and the boys that would
be paired up with any potential marriage candidates consequently do not have the strong
family ties or obligations that would be expected of a married man. This vacuum in social
roles and obligations is thus filled by FUNAI which incorporates these individuals into its
sphere of influence. However, FUNAI also communicates well with other Guajá youth
who have been raised in contact. Some of these latter individuals do, indeed, have family
ties of their own, but will be influenced by FUNAI to become future articulators and
leaders among the Guajá.
Later, these individuals were instrumental in attracting uncontacted groups of
Guajá. In some instances they refuse, but if there is a possibility of gaining access to
women these youths will volunteer to join the contact teams. FUNAI has helped these
individuals acquire women in this manner and in three known instances, the Indian Service
arranged marriages for the Guajá. In one of these match-ups, FUNAI acted as a go-
between in arranging a marriage between a Guajá man from Post Guajá and a Ka’apor
woman from Urutawy village on the Alto Turiagu Indian Reserve. On another occasion,
FUNAI introduced a Guajá adolescent male to alcohol and brothels in the neighboring
hamlets and towns adjacent to the Caru Indian Reservation. This individual eventually
settled down within a consenual union with a local prostitute. Later, he requested that
FUNAI admit him to the Indian Service and after much pressure, they complied with his
demand. He is now a salaried worker on FUNAI’s staff, and at the time of my research he
was residing at Post Juriti and was one of the principal players employed in helping settle
the members of this community. At the time of my study he had parted with his first

303
partner and was living with another woman from a local hamlet on the border of the Caru
Indian Reserve. In both unions he fathered a child.
It is interesting that his second union drew him into relations with his partner’s
extended family. Although they were residing on the Caru Reserve at the time of my
research, his partner’s family had forged ties of Active kinship with him and were free to
come and go on the Indian area. These ties were reinforced by the fact that the outpost
boss had also committed himself to regional peasants. In fact, the outpost boss had
fathered a child with a local woman and her family also felt free to enter the Indian area to
obtain food and medicines from the outpost. It is curiously ironic, then, that an orphaned
Guajá Indian who had come into contact within the last twenty years is now a salaried
worker among the state agency charged with administering Indian affairs - thus ensconced
in a position of distinct advantage over the regional peasantry.
Another interesting feature about this individual is that he is considered in high
regard by other members of the Guajá community. This man lives with his partner in a
separate house at the edge of the Caru Indian Reserve and enlists the services of other
Guajá to work on his private horticultural plot. He wears a FUNAI uniform, and a full set
of wares and medicines were stored at his house. It was also common to see this man
deride other Guajá individuals for not wearing clothes and would speak down to them in
Portuguese. At one point, he had even mentioned that he was ashamed of being an Indian
(tenho vergonha de ser indio).
FUNAI was equally instrumental in arranging women for other Guajá youths from
Post Awá in the contact process. That is, a number of Guajá individuals from Post Awá
were enlisted to help FUNAI attract their brethren from the Post Juriti community, and to

304
keep them in contact. During this process, two young men from Post Awá obtained
women from the Post Juriti community. This process involved manipulation, persuasion,
material advantages and the wielding power which FUNAI had in the interchange between
members of the two communities. As these relations became established, the young men
from Post Awá at first settled in the Post Juriti community, but eventually took their newly
acquired wives back to their home villages. Later, when the youths from Post Juriti
started coming of age, FUNAI attempted to promote an interchange between these two
communities. However, the young men were turned aside by members of the Post Awá
community, as mentioned in Chapter IV. Since then, members of Post Juriti often voiced
to FUNAI that it was not fair that two of their women had now gone to reside among the
Guajá of Post Awá. It so happens that the families of Post Awá are politically the
strongest of all the Guajá groups and have the power to draw and attract people. At an
earlier date, FUNAI also tried to arrange an exchange between members of the Post Guajá
community and Post Awá, with the hopes that some of the fledgling youths of the former
community would find marriageable partners in the latter village. In this situation, the
youths from Post Guajá were also rejected during their visit.
Hill and Hurtado (1996) encountered a similar process in play among the Aché of
Paraguay in that young adult males actively sought out partners among uncontacted
groups. Moreover, these individuals eventually filled the power vacuums among the Aché
and became more influential in their community as articulators between the missions and
their communities. Some of these individuals were more privy to cash goods, as well, and
later became religious leaders among the Aché.

305
One of the other consequences which ensued from contact and subsequent
settlement among the Guajá was the reorganization of their social structure. The younger
generation of males are gaining access to goods and services, in addition to being assigned
new and privileged roles within their communities. Although elder people and heads of
family still enjoy the benefits of prestige, they do not have the privileges which the
younger generation is acquiring through new language skills and familiarity in dealing with
outsiders. This has many implications, too, in terms of women’s status and roles in
indigenous communities that come into contact. As the state players charged with
handling indigenous affairs (FUNAI) are primarily men, most of their encounters with
Guajá individuals and subsequent interaction will be negotiated through the adult males of
this community. There are already a number of bilingual young men, but I only
encountered one woman at Post Guajá who could speak a fairly proficient, pidgin
Portuguese. While some women can understand much of the Portuguese spoken to them
by FUNAI agents, they largely nod or communicate with manual and facial gesticulations,
interspersed with pidgin Portuguese.
Although the foregoing chapters suggest that females and children are being
invested in from a nutritional standpoint, in the foreseeable future, sustained contact with
FUNAI may undermine women’s influence in the Guajá community and eventually
estrange them from major decision-making processes. In this regard, men would have
more access to the outside world and gain more economic power than women This
mechanism was observed by Murphy and Murphy (1985) who noted that contact with
outsiders radically changed the social organization among the Mundurucu Indians of Pará
state, Brazil. As Mundurucu men became more linked with outsiders by providing

306
extractive products to middle-men and regional markets, women’s influence subsequently
shrank to the unit of the domestic sphere. A similar situation occured among the Kayapó
Indians of north-central Brazil as this process diminished women’s contributions. The
women of this tribe are one of the main sources of cultural information and practices, and
much of this knowledge is lost by relegating them to second class citizens (Posey 1994).
Kayapó men now deal with some of the major players in the Amazon region such as
loggers and goldminers, and receive large sums of money in these transactions. Perhaps
the power now accrued by select men in this community renders the disparity between the
sexes even greater than might be found elsewhere among tribal peoples of the Brazilian
Amazon.
A parallel process also occured among tribal groups that came into contact with
early settlers during the colonial and post-colonial periods in other world areas. The
Iroquois, for example, were a matrilineal-matrilocal society where many of the the political
and economic decisions of that society centered around women. They were steadily
overwhelmed, however, as they became more involved with frontier elements in North
America. Their extended families and households were eventually broken down into
single patriarchal family units, with adult men articulating with the outside world (Brown
1970; Wallace 1970, 1971). This atomization of social units similarly occured among
many of the Tupi groups of Brazil where formerly extensive kinship networks were broken
down into nuclear units of production (cf. Balée 1984).
While leisure time and nutritional status would indicate that Guajá women are
faring better than men during the current transitionary period, one must be mindful of the
cirucumstances presented above to anticipate similar consequences occuring in other

307
contact situations. As mentioned before, some tensions arise when a man has to decide
between working for the Indian Service or foraging for his family. Among married men,
women presently hold equal sway over their spouses. Yet the power wielded by FUNAI
in certain situations cannot be diminished. As FUNAI retains many of the goods and
services necessary for the well-being of the Guajá they often use these items, such as
medicines, as “bargaining chips” to influence the Indians.
Another component of social organization which has changed among the Guajá are
marriage practices and living arrangements. Now that a large number of different groups
have been contacted and subsequently settled near one another, the Guajá have made new
marriage arrangements. When some of these groups were settled, there was some
hostility and tension between some of the family heads. While no violent outbreaks
occured between these factions, these individuals would only acquiesce in each others’
presence and keep a distance from one another. Their children, however, always
interacted with one another and eventually forged friendships and alliances, in addition to
seeking out possible marriage candidates. In fact, a number of marriages have occured
between members of families which were formerly belligerent to one another, particularly
at Post Awá.
There has been some speculation as to marriage practices in the past among the
Guajá. Mércio Gomes (1995: personal communication) indicated that one of the
preferential marriage arrangements was between men and their sisters’ daughters. I only
encountered one such situation among the Guajá and in this instance the arrangement was
a betrothal between a man and his niece. Similarly, there has also been some speculation
that the kinship system of the Guajá would be akin to what many believe is encountered

308
among a number of lowland groups in South American (cf. Kensinger 1984; Balée 1984).
This form of social organization is referred to by many as Dravidian, as elaborated by
Morgan in 1871, and primarily involves marriage between cross-cousins. However, this
situation does not prevail among the Guajá. As mentioned earlier, what seems to be
occuring today is a search for exogamic partners. And we can only conjecture as to what
the consequences of these new marriage arrangements will be in the future in terms of
establishing predictable social relations and structures. It was difficult to reconstruct past
genealogies as some individuals were reticent about mentioning the names of their
deceased relatives. For sure, however, both types of marriage arrangements were
allowed, which means that cross-cousins and men’s sisters’ daughters are included in the
category of “marriageables”.
Lévi-Strauss (1969) had pointed out that one of the kinship principles of marriage
procedures included the creation of “allowance” and “negative” rules for determining
which people could be embraced in the category of “marriageble”. And in addition to
these allowance and negative rules, there are marriage preferences. In the Guajá case,
members beyond one’s family cluster are being sought out, sometimes through FUNAI
mediation. Viveiros de Castro (1993) observed that the concept of affines, or potential
marriage candidates, is constantly shifting and redifining itself among lowland groups in
South America, and this may be particularly true nowadays as many of these societies are
undergoing radical changes in their demographic structure. As indigenous societies
regroup in the face of contact, an alternate set of reproductive strategies must be
developed in order to survive (Wagley 1974a). The polyandrous marriages encountered
among the Guajá would conceivably indicate that they have adopted this practice as a

309
response to the low number of women and an effort to repopulate. Additionally, female
child betrothal may be a complementary reproductive strategy in this direction. Wagley
(ibid.) had speculated that female child betrothal did not exist in the past among Tupian
groups of Brazil. Instead, he asserted that this practice probably occured as a result of
demographic decline suffered by these populations.
Wagley (1974b, 1990: personal communication) also pointed out that an intact
social structure is critical to maintaining the cultural practices, beliefs and attitudes of
many lowland groups. Population decline can often create gaps in the social structure,
which can be devastating in some instances as the absence of key social actors may
terminate certain aspects of cultural knowledge and behaviors. This loss may be
unrecoverable as certain members such as shamans or specialized social groups cannot
always be replaced, to say nothing of the knowledge possesed by these key social figures.
The demographic structure among the Guajá illustrates this point very well. Through
contact and settlement, Post Awá experienced a unification of various groups which
contributed towards creating a well-balanced demographic structure (recall Chapter II).
At this village, social ties and obligations have a tendency of binding the Guajá more to
one another than to FUNAI. The cultural knowledge at this particular village also seems
to be more intact, with less gaps in resource management knowledge or religious practices
and beliefs. That this community avidly performed religious rituals and ceremonies not
encountered in the other two villages is testimony that their belief structure is more intact
and meaningful to their existence. It is interesting, still, that the two main family clusters
of this village have incorporated marginal and peripheral newcomers into their extended
network, in a form of indentureship. Thus, what we are witnessing in this development is

310
a hierarchization among village members, as well. And if the position of family heads and
village leaders is reinforced by the flow of FUNAI’s good and services, then social
relations will probably solidify some of these hierarchies.
Boehm (1993) remarked that authoritarian leadership in egalitarian societies is
usually curtailed by the “reverse dominance” of community members. In times past, many
Amazonian groups could free themselves of coercive leaders, either from within their
communities or by an encroaching state, by fleeing beyond the clutches of domination.
Similarly, community members could diminish a leader’s dominance by levelling
mechanisms, such as a stepped up demand for goods and services. The present situation
among the Guajá may undermine this process of “reverse dominance” as differences
among groups can only be temporarily relieved by leaving a village to avoid conflict.
Other implications in the restructuring of Guajá social organization must
necessarily address claims made by socio-biologists concerning inclusive-fitness and
reproductive strategies. For example, proponents of optimal foraging studies claim that
biological organisms tend to maximize energy intake in an effort to improve their
reproductive success (see Hawkes et al. 1982; Hill 1982; Hill & Hurtado 1996). Coupled
with this strategy is an effort to promote inclusive fitness, or the carrying of a person’s
genes from one generation to the next. The social consequences of these behaviors imply
that resource acquisition strategies are thus used as a method of securing food and, by
extension, selecting mates that will help foster this objective. Thus, optimal foraging
studies also imply that individuals who secure more resource benefits and share their
catches would be more favored in terms of mate selection (Hawkes 1992). Other

311
implications are that individuals will also select partners that would be more conducive in
promoting their own individual reproductive fitness (Hill 1997: personal communication).
While I have embraced some of the concepts of optimal foraging strategies in this
study, they were only used here in terms of analyzing resource acquisition procedures
among the Guajá. Optimal foraging concepts are useful tools in understanding human
adaptive strategies, yet proponents of these models sometimes conclude that such
behaviors are geared towards improving one’s inclusive fitness. However, it has been
shown that mate selection among the Guajá embraces a wide variety of possibilities.
Although peripheral members are subjected to indentureship, they are admitted into the
group and allowed to marry spouses from the principal families of the Guajá community.
Marriage practices encountered nowadays also see the Guajá searching for partners
beyond their particular groups—and outside of their respective communities. In one case,
a Guajá man is married to a member of the Urubu-Ka’apor, while another is married to a
local peasant woman. In fact, this latter individual mentioned previously, Gei, was also
married to a local prostitute, and before that this man had a child with a woman from the
Gaviao ethnic group.
That women also have trysts with a number of individuals would indicate that mate
choice is not limited to a set group of potential fathers, not to mention that women, too,
are active in the selection process. And the reproductive ideology encountered among the
Guajá with regard to mixed paternity would indicate that diveristy and variation are
actively sought out and awaited, if different partners are considered sound and stable
mates.

312
To summarize the comparisons between the three Guajá communities Table 7.1
lists the major differences encountered at each village. This table compares each village in
terms of type of contact, village size, regional ecology, subsistence patterns, settlement
patterns, and health situation. These comparisons attempt to show the major differences
presented thus far in this dissertation.
The Guajá’s Future
The concluding remarks of this chapter should briefly mention a study conducted
by Baines (1991) among the Waimiri-Atroari Indians of Amazonas state, Brazil. This
group underwent contact through a process similar to that of the Guaja’s and were for a
number of years placed in the category of “isolated” Indian by FUNAI. Baines took note
of how the Waimiri-Atroari followed FUNAI orders with an alacrity that was quite
alarming and commented that during their process of integration, these indigenes had
come to embrace a language that diminished their self-esteem, yielding total deference to
the Indian Service. The Waimiri-Atroari had become so accustomed to the authoritarian
manner in which FUNAI addressed them that they were unable to fathom Baines’ attempt
to be civil, cordial and respectful to them. Baines observed that, “as they (the Waimiri-
Atroari) had become so used to receiving orders and instructions from the FUNAI team,
they expected the same treatment from me and were confused to not encounter it. In turn,
they would question their own concepts about the world, subordinating them to the
concepts imposed by the team charged with administering their affairs - and reinterpreting
their own ideas and self-worth in this light” (ibid: 51 - my translation).
A similar situation has spawned itself among the Guaja and I anticipate a process
of gradual “peasantization” of their community over time. As many of them will be

Table 7.1
Summary of Major Comparisons Between Posts Guajá, Awá and Juriti
Village
Village Size
Type of
Contact
Regional Ecology
Subsistence Pattern”
Settlement
Pattern
Health Situation
Indian Post
Guajá
Initial contact
began in 1973
44 people;
(25 males; 19
females); sex
ratio: 3 men to 1
woman of repro¬
ductive age; more
bilingual
speakers; one
woman speaks
some Portuguese
Abusive and
coercive; over
2/3 of original
group died;
minimal
assistance from
anthropologists
or other Indians
in contact
Seasonally dry tropical
forest; some tracts of
babagu; some biological
endemism; evidence of
past land use by other
Indian groups; land
invasions more distant;
more Amazon species
than anticipated; less
deforestation
Farm, hunt, gather,
and fish; hunt & fish
with aid of introduced
weapons; more land
area cleared for
farming; less reliance
on FUNAI for food
and provide some food
to FUNAI
Semi-nucleated
settlement with
some retreat to
hunting camps;
evidence of
community
tensions and some
fissioning; two
polyandrous
marriages
Stabilized; rebounding
from contact; some
malaria outbreaks and flu
from indirect contact with
land invaders and direct
contact with FUNAI;
nutritional status not as
good as other two villages;
women and children fare
better than men
Indian Post
Awá
Initial contact
began in 1980
94 people; (52
males; 42
females); sex ratio
almost even; not
as many bilingual
speakers; few
women
understand
Portuguese
Smoother
contact, fewer
individuals
died; FTJNA1
aided by
anthropologist,
medical doctor,
and other Guajá
individuals in
contact
Seasonally dry tropical
forest; tracts of babagu;
biological endemism;
located near Carajás
railway; more hunting
pressure; evidence of
past land use by other
Indian groups and
settlers, more Amazon
species than anticipated
Farm, gather, hunt,
and fish; hunt & fish
with aid of introduced
weapons; intermediate
amount of farmland
cleared; some reliance
on FUNAI for food
and provide some food
to FUNAI
Semi-nucleated
settlement; retreat
more to hunting
camps; more
group cohesion;
no polyandrous
marriages;
group recently
split due to
drained resources
Relatively stable; contact
not as debilitating;
outbreaks of malaria and
flu from indirect contact
with land invasions and
direct contact with
FUNAI; nutritional status
better than Post Guajá;
women and children fare
better than men
Indian Post
Juriti
Initital contact
began in 1989
20 people; (14
males; 6 females)
sex ratio of 3 men
to 1 woman; few
bilingual
speakers; women
do not understand
Portuguese
Smoother
contact; fewer
individuals
died; FUNAI
aided by other
Guajá
individuals in
contact
Seasonally dry tropical
forest; some black-
water characteristics;
less tracts of babagu ;
land invasions
intermediate; needs
biological inventory to
assess species profile
Farming, hunting,
gathering, fishing; no
guns or dogs; fish
with nets and hooks;
more reliance on
FUNAI for
subsistence; provide
some food to FUNAI
Semi-nucleated
settlement with
less retreat to
hunting camps;
some group
tension; two
polyandrous
marriages
Stable; contact not as
debilitating; some colds
and malaria from land
invasions and contact with
FUNAI; nutritional status
better than other villages;
women and children fare
better than men
Subsistence sources appear in order of amount consumed by each community (see Figure 6.3)

314
absorbed by FUNAI and other ethnic groups encountered on their reserves, they will be
the last link between themselves and the state. Since FUNAI contacted and settled the
Guajá, and subsequently pacified hostilities between them and other ethnic groups, it is
interesting that they are now allied to one another in a quest to protect their lands. But
part and parcel of this process also places them in a subordinate role to other indigenous
groups who have been in contact longer than the Guajá, and in turn will manipulate them.
As it happens, the Guajá were inspired by the Ka’apor to grow cash crops during the brief
venture they had in selling rice in 1991. When the Guajá trade with their Ka’apor
neighbors, most deals favor the latter group. This situation is very similar to the bartering
procedures that FUNAI currently conducts with the Guajá when meat is exchanged for
medicines and other good and services. And now that the ironically “priveleged” status of
isolated Indian has been lifted from the Guajá, they will become more involved with other
ethnic groups and Brazilian nationals.
For its part, the NASI program and Indian Service personnel located at the three
Indian Posts are no longer working with a group deemed as ‘isolated’ Indians by FUNAI.
As the Guajá have been shifted to the most common category of Indian ministered by the
state’s agency, NASI workers will also undergo a change in status. Thus, they will no
longer receive the benefits and privileges they once enjoyed since they are currently
working with Indians “in contact”. NASI workers’ new status means that they will not be
privy to the supplemental support they received, both from FUNAI or the CVRD.
Without this extra, added support, it is likely that FUNAI workers, in turn, will demand
more of the Guajá in terms work effort and forest products. Although I anticipate that
FUNAI stocks of medicines and other items will be drained as a result of reduced support,

315
it would still be easier for a FUNAI employee to request work from the Guajá instead of
drawing cash from his own pocket to provision himself While FUNAI will not have the
luxury it once had in the NASI program to leverage in its favor, Indian Service personnel
still have the upper hand in this situation as the Guajá have been drawn into a dynamic of
protection and obedience since they came into permanent contact.
Both Gomes (1988) and Galváo (1976) predicted that the Indians of Brazil would
eventually rebound and recover from the staggering effects of contact with the Brazilian
state. On this score, it is interesesting to note that the Guajá, as with many other
indigenous groups of the Americas are, indeed, rebounding from earlier impacts of
demographic decline. Yet in Brazil’s case this recovery only sees them as a very dwindled
minority in the face of a large, overwhelming, nation-state (cf. Crosby 1986: 270). As it
happens, the indigenous population of Brazil does not even approach a percent of its total
population. Elsewhere in the Americas, indigenous populations are substantially larger,
sometimes even representing the majority group of their respective countries. If Brazilian
Indians are to achieve or enjoy any degree of autonomy, it cannot be through their efforts
alone. The recent upswing in worldwide human rights’ campaigns and environmental
issues, alluded to in the first chapter, has aided hitherto disenfranchised groups, and for its
part, FUNAI, too, has sought aide from foundations, film crews, and NGOs.
Furthermore, with the spread of globilization, neo-liberal politics, and the privitization of
state-owned companies in Brazil, indigenous groups will feel the repercussions of the
state’s new policy. The Brazilian government recently privatized CVRD and, as such, this
company’s continued commitment to indigenous groups is uncertain at this point (Scharf
1997). The CVRD already withdrew a substantial amount of support from the Guajá

316
program prior to being auctioned. Moreover, many non-indigenous communities which
receive support from the mining company are apprehensive about the implications of
privatization. And as privitization can imply a number of layoffs in the labor market, the
surplus working force of the Amazon region may invariably apply more pressure to
regional indigenous communities.
Whatever relation the Guajá have forged in the past or have recently acquired
through contact keeps the above questions open to more discussion. Indeed, the Guajá
have been, and still are, part of a ongoing process of state expansion and reformulation,
as tribal peoples are enveloped in a cycle of absorption. It is only my hope that they can
be embraced as a distinct ethnic group with all the rights, benefits, and privileges that
should accrue to them as new members of a fledgling, democratic nation state.
Notes
'On one occasion, for instance, FUNAI workers reported that the person in charge of
contacting the Guajá shot and killed one of their pet capuchin monkeys because it had
snatched and ran away with a pack of cigarettes.

GLOSSARY
ADR
A.I. Alto Turia9u
A.I. Awá
A.I. Caru
Awá
Baba9u
Caatinga
Cabanagem
Caboclos
Cerrado
Chapada
CIMI
CNPq
CVRD
EEC
ELETRONORTE
Far inha de Mandioca
Frente de Atra9áo
FUNAI
GETAT
Garimpeiro
IBDF
EBGE
Igapó Forest
Jagun90
Mihua
MPEG
Municipio
NASI
PGC
PIN
Posto de Vigiláncia
Programa Awá
Programa de Indios
Isolados
Regatáo
Serra da Canastra
Sertao
SPAG
SPI
Takaya
Terra Firme
Várzea
Administra9ao Regional (FUNAI Regional Headquarters)
Alto Turia9u Indian Reserve
Awá Indian Reserve
Caru Indian Reserve
Guajá term used to designate self, person, man or people
Palm tree common to Guajá area (Attalea speciosa)
Dry Brush zones, more common to Brazilian northeast
Amazonian Civil War in Brazil, circa 1835-1840
Non-indigenous peasants of Amazonia
Savannah-like ecozone of North-Central Brazil
Weathered elevation with sparse and stunted vegetation
Indigenist Missionary Council of Brazil
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Científico e Tecnológico
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
European Economic Community
Centráis Elétricas do Norte do Brasil
Manioc Flour
FUNAI Observation Post for Isolated Indians
Funda9áo Nacional do Indio
Grupo Executivo de Terras do Araguaia/Tocantins
Goldminer who employs rustic means of panning
Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Florestal
Instituto Brasileiro de Geografía e Estatistica
Upland forest with scattered ponds and small lakes
Regional gunman hired by land owners
Guajá designation for “strange,” “dirty,” or “savage” Indians
Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
Brazilian equivalent of county
Núcleo de Apoio Santa Inés
Projeto Grande Carajás (Carajás Project)
Projeto de Integra9ao Nacional
FUNAI Patrolling Post
Awá Program, established by Mércio Gomes in 1985
FUNAI’s Program for Isolated Indians
Regional Traders in Amazonia
Canastra Sierra
Ecozone referring to “badland” areas of Brazil’s northeast
Servio de Prote9ao Awá-Guajá
Servio de Prote9áo ao Indio
Guajá palm thatch hut used as stakeout or in ceremonies
Upland Forest area of Amazon region
Ecozone referring to floodplains of Amazon region
317

REFERENCES
Anderson, Anthony
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Louis Carlos Forline was bom in Washington, D.C., on February 2, 1953. He is
the son of Louis Theodore Forline and Maria Isabel Forline. His interest in anthropology
came after living abroad for most of his childhood and adolesence in Panama, Libya, and
Brazil. He graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1971.
His undergraduate degree is from the University of the District of Columbia, in 1985, in
social sciences, and he received his master’s degree in anthropology from the American
University, Washington, D. C., in 1988.
337

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Maxine Margolis, Cfiair
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Marvin Harris
Graduate Research Professor of
Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Bernard
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
did t-J Qta i 'CftSy&trP'r"
Leslie Lieberman
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. ~
Nigel Smith
Professor of Geography

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
December, 1997
Dean, Graduate School

r
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Maxine Margolis, Chair
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Graduate Research Professor of
Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
ell Bernard
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Leslie Lieberman
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
William Leonard
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Nigel Smith
Professor of Geography
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
December, 1997
Dean, Graduate School

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
'â–  \ l A-T!a
Maxine Margolis, Chair^
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Marvin Harris
Graduate Research Professor of
Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Leslie Lieberman
Associate Professor of Anthropology
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
William Leonard
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Nigel Smith
Professor of Geography
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of
Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and
was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy.
December, 1997
Dean, Graduate School




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