brazilian indigenous


Quilombos of Brazil, Tyrone Turner

Largely conducted out of sight of Europeans, the complex interplay between black and red is a hidden drama that historians and archaeologists have only recently begun to unravel. Nowhere is the presence of this lost chapter more in evidence than in Brazil, where thousands of maroon communities are emerging from the shadows, reaffirming their mixed culture and pressing for legal title to the land they have occupied since the era of slavery. The stakes are high: New laws are giving Brazil’s maroon communities, called quilombos (the word for “settlement” in the Angolan language of Kimbundu), a key role in determining the future of the great Amazon forest.

1 - Terecô priest Pedro de Souza is “channeling” a menacing female spirit: A client has hired him to cast spells on her unfaithful husband. Terecô is one of the quilombos’ many hybrid religions, interweaving African and Christian beliefs with native practices.

2 - Jacey Mendes of Santiago “kills the hunger” with a shot of cachaça, or sugarcane rum. She’s helping clear land to grow cassava root using a slash-and-burn method that some sharecroppers have come to rely on.

3 - A villager dressed as a bull parades through northeastern Brazil during the festival of Bumba-Meu-Boi, when virtually every quilombo, and every village and town, celebrates the hero of a Brazilian folktale. In the story a bull is killed by a slave eager to appease his pregnant wife’s craving for bull tongue, and then is magically restored to life.

4 - A lone chimney is all that remains of a sugar plantation in Frechal, which was partially deeded to former slaves in 1925. The quilombo applied for, and received, protected status in 1992.

Photo by Kurt Severin. 

Ilha de Marajó (Marajó Island) is a coastal Brazilian island, located in the northeastern state of Pará, Brasil

The island was the site of an advanced pre-Columbian society, the Marajoara culture, which existed from approximately 400 BC to 1600 AD. The island has been a center of archaeological exploration and scholarship since the 19th century. The population lived in homes with tamped earth floors, organized themselves into matrilineal clans, and divided tasks by gender, age, and skill level.

The arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century was catastrophic to the indigenous population of the island; 90% died due to high mortality from Eurasian infectious diseases they lacked immunity against, which had become endemic in European and Asian cities.[9]

Between the years 400 and 1300, the Island of Marajó was occupied by approximately 40 thousand inhabitants who lived in a society characterized by maternal lineage. From childhood, the Marajoaras developed the art of clay modeling and production of the Marajoara pottery as well as the cultivation and handling of cassava. In the beginning of the adolescence, the marajoaras had their bodies painted and they used a ceramic thong decorated with traces referring to the genitals. 

Indigenous cultures and languages

or a lack of them are so important to a language or even varieties of the same language. My friends and I were talking about the general topic of corn, and specifically elote (’corn’ in Mexican Spanish) and how it’s prepared. Though we were talking about food and not necessarily language, I kept trying to remember what ‘corn’ was in Brazilian Portuguese because I know it wasn’t anything close to elote or even maíz. And I suddenly remembered milho, which comes from Latin. (I know at least) Mexican Spanish has loaned a ton of words from Nahuatl, which is where elote comes from, and even though the Brazilian Portuguese word milho comes from Latin, there are a ton of words and name places that come from indigenous cultures and languages of Brazil. If you’re looking for these things, look at names of fruit and food, animals, name places. 

Aside from indigenous cultures and languages, I find immigrant groups and movement to be fascinating, especially when it shows up in language. I was in shock when I was in Brazil and realized that the Japanese word for persimmon (pronounced /kɑki/) and the Brazilian Portuguese word for persimmon were the same. After further investigation, this isn’t just because of coincidence. Brazil has the second largest population of Japanese after Japan, so it’s most likely that Brazil got persimmons from Japan. It’s less likely that the Portuguese got persimmons from Japan (due to being the first Europeans in Japan) because Portugal still seems to use the Latin word for persimmon, dióspiro

That the Portuguese use dióspiro over caqui isn’t from personal experience, but a corpus can be telling. Brazil uses caqui much more than dióspiro, while Portugal barely even uses caqui (well, based on the quantitative data. If anyone wants to comment on this, feel free).

Overall, I just love that you have to consider indigenous languages and cultures and even immigrant languages and cultures to understand a whole new language and culture. Without the indigenous people AND immigrant people of Mexico or Brazil or America or anywhere, we wouldn’t have what we have. And that would be pretty sad. 


ARCA was named by the locals as it came as a ship in the middle of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. If fact, on a more anecdotic level, it’s an earthship project, that comes from a wish to mimic a specific Brazilian indigenous house typology (Asurini, Médio Xingu) and be a stand alone object with minimal impact to the surrounding.

Ñe'ẽ: Word/Soul in Guarani language (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay).

Ñe'ẽ – With my word I am and I am my indigenous brothers and sisters.
Ñe'ẽ – They are Ne’˜e mine, my word, my soul
Ne’˜e – Their lives are my life, their happiness my happiness, their sadness, my sadness
Ne’˜e – Any uttered word by them is my sustenance and my limit.
Ne’˜e – in their words my soul
Ne’˜e – in their soul my vocabulary
Ne’˜e – That is why I care, my word, their souls, my soul their daily sight. 
Ne’˜e – their and our words, our continuous world, together and mixed, but with care and attention.
Ne’˜e – Their soul my library, their words, my depth. 
Ne’˜e – Make their vocabulary my own . Serve them, honor them, love them.

Brazilian Mythos and Folklore

 The Pink/Amazon River Dolphin

(o boto cor-de-rosa, in Portuguese)

Originated in the North region of Brazil, within the Brazilian native indigenous communities, the legend of the Pink River Dolphin features the encantado*, a shapesifter whose forms are that of a handsome young man, who’s seductive and very attractive - tall, muscular, wearing white social clothing and a white hat to hide his blowhole -; and that of a pink colored dolphin.

It is said that, the Encantado gets out of the river to turn into his human form on Festa Junina** nights, or when it’s a full moon night, to look for beautiful young women, enchanting them with his charm until they agree to follow him to the depths of the river, where he impregnates them, and then turns into a dolphin as soon as the sun rises. 

The Pink River Dolphin is considered to be a great friend of the local people - helping fishermen, guiding boats safely during storms, helping people who are drowning, etc. And so, people believe one is to get terrible bad luck if they kill one of the creatures - stating even that if you eat the dolphin’s meat you’ll lose your mind, and it is said that if someone makes eye contact with them, they are doomed to have nightmares for the rest of their lives.

  • The Pink River Dolphin tale is used to give reason to children whose father is unknown - when a child is born and the mother doesn’t know who the father is, people say that child is the PRD’s child.
  • To be made sure a man is not an Encantado, it’s recommended you make him take his hat off, so you can see if he has or not a breathing hole on his head.
  • The tale is also used to justify outside-of-marriage pregnancies.

Encantado = enchanted

** Festa Junina = Party of June, or “junine” party or parties, traditional Brazilian celebrations that happen throughout the month of June.

(i do not own the picture)



  • ADRIA ARJONA  —  half puerto rican, half guatemalan / 25 years old
  • ADRIANA LIMA  —  parts indigenous brazilian, african, and japanese; part white / 36 years old
  • ANNET MAHENDRU —  half indian, half white / 27 years old
  • GOLSHIFTEH FARAHANI  —  iranian / 34 years old
  • JENNA DEWAN-TATUM  —  one quarter lebanese, three quarters white / 36 years old
  • JULIA VOTH  —  white / 32 years old
  • NICOLE BEHARIE  —  half afro-caribbean, half unspecified black / 32 years old
  • TANAYA BEATTY —  half da'naxda'xw native american, half himalayan / 26 years old

I have made a list of young celebrities who are East Asian and could play a teen/young adult. Be aware some of those listed are mixed race, however it will be mentioned what other ethnicity they are. This list is useful if ever you need a face claim who is of this ethnicity. Majority have resources available.

Keep reading


Kene Kuin or Kenê (true design). The Sacred Art of the Huni Kuin Kaxinawa people (and also the Yawanawa people). Txana Muru, Brazil 2014. Photos by Gê Vasconcelos

“The keñes are all over the world, is everywhere we don’t know, we don’t take notice. We are here in the keñe of light, luminous - bright. We separate the day from the light, and in our chants we ask for clarity of mind, for a carpet of light to be placed so we can enter. On the sacred carpet of light we ask not to be in danger, not to step into places that can disturb our path. The carpet of light is something given to us by the spirit, it is a path that one has to walk without fear of doing something wrong. It is the sacred carpet, the keñe of good things, the guardian, which the creator places on our path so that we may walk over.“
- Yuve Keñe, by Nani Yanawawa (Brazil)