tribe brazil

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KAYAPO COURAGE: “The Amazon tribe has beaten back ranchers and gold miners and famously stopped a dam. Now its leaders must fight again or risk losing a way of life.” ~ Chip Brown.  photography by Martin Schoeller - full story & gallery via National Geographic (January 2014)

  • “YNHIRE expresses his identity as a warrior with a headdress of parrot feathers.”
  • “BEPRO wears the beads and cotton-wrapped earrings that boys receive as part of their naming ceremony.”
  • “ROPNI, an internationally known chief, is one of the few Kayapo who still wear the mahogany lip plate.”
  • “PHNH-OTI has an inverted V shaved into her scalp, a ceremonial female practice.”
  • “BEPRAN-TI wears an impressive display of feathers for his betrothal ceremony, a Kayapo rite of passage.”
  • “MEKARON-TI, the great chief, speaks Portuguese and is a powerful advocate for his people.”

“Oreru nhamandú tupã oreru” (our fathers are the sun and the thunder). 


Here I want to talk about something that gets me sad; 
How the brazilian indian tribes are forgotten. 

In 1500 Brazil was discovered by the expedition of Pedro Alvares Cabral and since then our natives have been killed and since then almost nobody cares. It’s estimated that when Cabral discovered Brazil there was 4 or 5 millions of natives, and now, as FUNAI researchers said, there is only 460 thousand natives living in villages (specially in Amazonia). And we don’t know about them, they don’t teach very much about them in school. They expose facts about them like the canibalism of some tribes and how they interacted with portugueses. They are forgotten, underestimated, thrown under the bus. 

Please, remember the brazilian native tribes. Remember the indigenas. Their language. Their people. And how they were brutally killed through all these years. 

I want the world to see them. They deserve it. 

The Unseen Museum: Ka’apor Necklace

This necklace (tukaniwar) was worn by women of the Ka’apor tribe of eastern Brazil for the Ta’i Rupi Taha name-giving ceremony. The museum’s collections include beautiful feather work from the Amazon Basin of South America. The Ka’apor are particularly adept at working with small feathers.

The yellow feathers on the cord are from the breast of the channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus ariel); they are twined to a tiny thread, which is lashed to the larger cord. The pendants are made of turquoise blue breast feathers and purple throat feathers from the spangled cotinga (Cotinga cayana) and black feathers from the white-tailed cotinga (Xipholena lamellipennis). The cotinga feathers are stuck to cut scarlet macaw (Ara macao) tail feathers with sap from the macarandua tree (Manilkara huberi).


Deb Harding is a collection manager in Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Section of Anthropology. She frequently blogs and shares pieces of the museum’s hidden anthropology collection, which is home to over 100,000 ethnological and historical specimens and 1.5 million archaeological artifacts.

Mixed-Race Brazilian

I’m a 24 year-old brazilian woman born, raised and still living in Brazil. My father’s family is white, while my grandmother on my mother’s side is native-brazilian and my grandfather is mixed (white and african-brazilian). I have a younger brother who is white-passing but I took after my mother, so I am dark skinned and have really curly hair. People of mixed race are relatively common in Brazil, but I was raised in a city that was founded by Swiss and German immigrants. So most people I interacted with growing up were blonde and blue-eyed. While I can’t say I experienced overt racism, I should point out that I was seen as kind of an oddity by a lot of people.

Beauty Standards: I think my biggest issue with beauty regarding my race is my hair. When I was growing up I used to dream of having blonde, straight hair, like the girls at my school. As I grew up, I kind of made peace with my hair but I still have to hear just about everyone I know saying how much ‘prettier’ I’d be if I had straight hair.

Food: Brazilian food is made up, basically, of rice & beans (in pretty much every meal) some kind of meat and salad. There are variations according to regions, but this is the most basic Brazilian meal.

History: As it happened in many parts of the world, when Brazil was ‘discovered’ (by the Portuguese in 1500) there was already a big Native population living here. This population was, of course, promptly massacred, stolen from and, eventually, assimilated. There are still Native tribes in Brazil (mostly in the North), but they are constantly mistreated by both the government and the general population. For a long time during Brazil’s colonial period (and some time after) the economy was run by sugarcane farmers. The owners of the farms were the Portuguese but the workers were the slaves brought from Africa. The slavery continued even after Brazil became an independent country. When slavery was finally abolished, the farms (now mostly Coffee farms) required workers, so we brought in immigrants from other countries, like Italy and Japan (fun fact: Brazil has the biggest community of people of Japanese origin outside of Japan). This accounts for Brazil’s cultural and racial diversity. Black people are still sadly marginalized in Brazilian society, even though African-Brazilian have had a huge influence in Brazil’s culture.

Holidays: The biggest holiday celebrated in Brazil is Carnaval. It lasts four days (in theory) and it usually happens during February. Although it has religious roots, a lot of Carnaval seems to be about celebrating African-Brazilian culture, considering that samba is an African-Brazilian dance and most of the samba schools originated from African-Brazilian communities. This year alone, for example, two of the samba schools had an Africa-related theme. Carnaval is mostly a time of the year in which people forget class and race differences and just party together while honoring some of the best parts of Brazilian culture.

Microaggressions: Like I said before, I never experienced overt racism. Growing up I mostly got weird looks and questions from the other kids of the “how come you’re so dark?” variety to which I answered “I don’t know, I was born like that”, but no one has ever been cruel to me because of the color of my skin (I was lucky). One thing that did bother me was when, in school, whenever a teacher was explaining anything related to race he/she would always single me out as an example of miscegenation (that is, mix of race/culture) and make a big deal about how different I was from the rest of the class.

Things I’d like to see less of: The oversexed latina stereotype needs to die.

Things I’d like to see more of: Latinas who don’t look like the usual hollywood latina. Although I do look like the usual image Americans have of latinas (dark-ish skin, dark hair, dark eyes, thick lips), I know a lot of people who don’t. I’d like to see more Native latinas, black latinas and (yes) even white latinas. So maybe we can drive into people’s minds that Latinx is an ethnicity NOT a race. I’d also like to see more latinas in shows, books and movies that don’t discuss race every five minutes. I am aware that these kind of discussions are important but just once I’d like to see someone who looks like me being a hero/heroine without a big deal being made about how different they are and how they suffer for it.

Read more POC Profiles here.

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The Asháninka or Asháninca (also known by the exonym “Campa” or “Kampa”, which is considered derogatory) are an indigenous people living in the rainforests of Peru and in the State of Acre Brazil.

The Asháninka (their name means: our kinsmen) are estimated between 25,000 and 45,000. Only a few hundred of these live on the Brazilian side of the border. That means that among the 300,000 native people from 65 different ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon, the Asháninka are the second largest indigenous group, the Quechua being the largest.

Ashaninka Indians apply face-paint each day, in a design that reflects their mood. Made from the seeds of the Urucum plant, the paint has a rich, red color. Men take just as much care of their appearance as women.