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THE CANELA IN THE 1980s
News from the Canela arrives occasionally in the form of letters, tapes, telephone calls, and a video cassette from Jack and Josephine Popjes and from some of my former Canela writers and family members. The Canela are surviving well in the mid-1980s, though political and agricultural instability have been problematic; but their outlook has improved with a recent turn of political events.
[Ep.l] NEW PRÓ-KHÃMMÃ'S AGE-SET IN COUNCIL
A very significant turnover took place in the early 1980s, probably 1981. A new Lower moiety age-set graduated into the council of elders and, traditionally, will control it for about the next 20 years as its Pró-khãmmã age-set. This council has a new outlook on the management of tribal affairs introduced by its new Pró-khãmmã, who are about twenty years younger than their predecessors (cf. Nimuendajú, 1946:90–92) (Figure 24). The new Pró-khãmmã age-set is for the first time made up of several individuals who can read and write Canela and Portuguese quite well and who can manage relationships with Indian service personnel, backlanders, and city people from a position of self-reliance and independence.
For the first time, a new Pró-khãmmã age-set faces a future as they enter office in which there is little likelihood that backland ranchers will invade their territories or destroy their livelihood, security, and dignity. The boundaries of their reservation were legally demarcated and registered with the federal government, and their territory increased in the process, during the 1970s [II.B.3.f.(1)]. Also during the 1970s, the Indian service built large brick and mortar buildings (post, school house, and infirmary), demonstrating the permanence of its support. The Indian service also placed a dedicated “permanent” agent in its post to lead them, provide helpful medicines, and mediate problems with backlanders [II.B.2.i.(4)]. In addition, the Indian service was beginning to provide an attitude of self-awareness (conscientização) to the Canela. For the first time the Canela were people (gente) like other Brazilians instead of cabocos (inferiors) [I.A.1]. The new Pró-khãmmã should be leading the Canela into still better times in the 1980s with the security and enlightenment provided by the Indian service during the 1970s, if this support continues.
[Ep.2] TRANSITION OF POWER
One of the first acts of the new Pró-khãmmã members after they took over was to force the old chief of the tribe, Kaarà?khre, to resign. The Pró-khãmmã successively put four new chiefs in his position over a period of several years. These young chiefs, however, did not succeed in sustaining their influence and carrying on effectively. Thus, a relative loss of power has occurred in the chieftainship and a corresponding increase in power and leadership options has accrued to the Pró-khãmmã. This shift in balance of power, and even in responsibilities to some extent, probably has taken place and continues to take place whenever there is a new chief.
[Ep.3] HISTORY OF CHIEFTAINSHIP SINCE 1951
Chief Hàktookot died in office in 1951, as was the Canela tradition. He left a struggle for succession to the chieftainship that was not completely resolved until 1968. In about 1981, the chieftainship was vacated again, and the political patterns following 1981 are similar to those following 1951, but the patterns of the earlier succession are better known.[Ep.3.a] CHIEF KAARÀ?KHRE'S ASSUMPTION AND CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
Kaarà?khre soon succeeded to the chieftainship in 1951, because he was already a deputy chief and because he brought back from Rio de Janeiro a document that he claimed made him chief by order of the head of the Indian service. Moreover, at the time of his age-set’s graduation in 1941, he was their file leader (Glossary).
Even though Kaarà?khre had assumed the chieftainship in fact, he still had a number of competitors. A principal rival was the older Krôôtô, who formed a separate village in Rodeador (Map 3) between 1952 and 1954. The older Krôôtô had been one of his age-set’s messenger boys (Glossary) at the time of their graduation in 1933. Another competitor was Ikhè who informally headed the farm community of Baixão Prêto (Map 3) in 1955. He had been his age-set’s commandant (Glossary) in 1923. Hàktookot’s three sister’s sons, likely contenders because they were his nephews, did not attempt to compete. The deceased chief’s oldest nephew was one of the tribe’s two transvestites [III.A.2.j.(5).(a)], the middle one was too frequently drunk, and the third, Kôham [I.G.15], was too young. The other competitor was the older Kaapêltùk [I.G.2] (Figure 50), who did not show his ambitions at first. He had been his age-set’s graduating commandant in 1933 (Nimuendajú, 1946:182). Ikhè’s competition with Kaarà?khre was mild, but when the Indian service sent the older Kaapêltùk to Baixão Prêto to be the village chief [II.B.2.c] [III.D.1.g.(1).(a),(b)], the rivalry between the two villages with their two chiefs became verbally unpleasant to most Canela [III.A.3.c.(3).(e)].
In 1961, a new Pró-khãmmã age-set [III.D.2.b.(3)], the one graduated in 1933, succeeded the old one, graduated approximately in 1903, according to Nimuendajú (1946:91). Thus, the age-set of the older Kaapêltùk replaced the age-set of the older Mïïkhrô (his age-set’s file leader) to dominate the council of elders. However, the older Kaapêltùk, by this time the chief in Baixão Prêto, could not dominate the new Pró-khãmmã of the tribe, most of whom were in Ponto.
In 1963, the Canela were relocated [II.B.2.g.(1)] from the cerrado to the dry forests and the village of Sardinha (Map 3). The first few council meetings I attended in Sardinha were led by the older Kaapêltùk, the traditional head of the Pró-khãmmã, because he had been this age-set’s graduating commandant. However, as soon as Chief Kaarà?khre returned from traveling away in Brasília, the older Kaapêltùk removed himself [III.B.1.h.(1)] with only half the followers who had lived with him in Baixão Prêto to reside in Baixão dos Peixes (Map 3), about 5 kilometers south of Sardinha, also on the Corda River. Thus, the older Kaapêltùk chose to continue the schism of the tribe, started definitively in 1957, when he took the position of chief of the village of Baixão Prêto. (For a little over four months, from late January into July, the tribe had been reunited by Khêê-khwèy, the prophetess of the messianic movement [II.B.2.f].
In 1968, the competition for succession to the deceased Chief Hàktookot’s position continued with the formation of four new communities in the cerrado, while one still existed in the dry forests: Ikhè’s in the Campestre, the older Krôôtô’s in Ponto, the older Kaapêltùk’s in Baixão Prêto, Chief Kaarà?khre’s in Escalvado, and the younger Kaapêltùk’s still in Sardinha. By this date, the older Kaapêltùk’s political strength had waned partly because of his involvement in a fatal accident,22 the younger Kaapêltùk was required to leave Sardinha because the Guajajara Indians of Sardinha did not want the Canela there, and Chief Kaarà?khre had the political insight to hold a Khêêtúwayê initiation festival in Escalvado, thus attracting the whole tribe there.
Between 1968 and about 1981, Chief Kaarà?khre experienced little or no competition for his office. No potential chief attempted to form a separate community and the older Kaapêltùk stayed away from the council meetings when Chief Kaarà?khre was present. However, the younger Kaapêltùk’s political position was improving as men of the older age-sets died. By 1979, the younger Kaapêltùk’s age-set’s age averaged approximately 50 years, Chief Kaarà?khre’s age-set averaged 60, the older Kaapêltùk’s and the older Krôôtô’s age-set averaged 70, and the late Ikhè’s age-set, 80. Moreover, the younger Kaapêltùk’s age-set outnumbered Chief Kaarà?khre’s age-set about 3 to 1. These younger men knew much more about the outside world and how to work matters out with the backlanders and the Indian service. Moreover, Chief Kaarà?khre’s age-set no longer raced with logs. In 1951, Chief Hàktookot was allowed to die in office, but by the early 1980s the times were changing rapidly.[Ep.3.b] FOUR CHIEFS IN FOUR YEARS
Soon after the new Pró-khãmmã assumed its ascendancy in 1981, one of the youngest members, the younger Tep-hot, age 42 [I.G.1] (Plate 70g), denounced Chief Kaarà?khre, age 59, in a meeting of the council of elders. Kaarà?khre promptly withdrew from the chieftainship, leaving it to his scholarly son, Kaprêêprêk (Plate 69a), age 32, which is what Kaarà?khre had publicly said he had wanted [III.D.1.h]. The council accepted Kaprêêprêk [II.B.3.d] to placate Kaarà?khre, but later replaced him (probably because he was too slow and thoughtful: not a man of action) with Krôôpey, age 42 (Plate 70g). Krôôpey, a member of the new Pró-khãmmã and one of my former diary writers [I.F.2.a], was more active and ambitious. Although Krôôpey and his wife are unrelated to anyone in power, he showed himself so enthusiastic to be chief that the Pró-khãmmã, led by the younger Kaapêltùk gave him a chance to prove himself. Krôôpey proved to be ineffective as chief, and the Pró-khãmmã replaced him with Kô?tetet, age 25, who again was not related to anybody of political significance. This was a compromise appointment. In 1984, the council put still another young chief in office, the youngest Miikhrô (Plate 76h), age 31, who was a uterine sister’s son of the Pró-khãmmã individual (Tep-hot) who had denounced Chief Kaarà?khre and who was a relative of the younger Kaapêltùk. The balance of power was definitely swinging to the younger Kaapêltùk. (The ages cited above are as of 1980.)
The appointment of such young men to be chief is not unprecedented. Chief Kaarà?khre was about 31 when he assumed the chieftainship in 1952; thus, giving young men a chance in the chieftainship was not a divergence from tradition. Deposing a chief, however, was a break with tradition. Chiefs previously had held the office until they died (Nimuendajú, 1946:162).
By 1981, or 1982 at the latest, council leadership in the tribe completed its 20-year cycle and the newer Pró-khãmmã, led by the younger Kaapêltùk, took over the leadership of the council of elders from the now old Pró-khãmmã, nominally led by the older Kaapêltùk but actually dominated by Chief Kaarà?khre. This most important tribal change gave the younger Kaapêltùk his own special leadership base: command of the Pró-khãmmã for about the next 20 years.
[Ep.4] QUALIFICATIONS FOR CHIEFTAINSHIP
Leadership abilities and kinship were two traditional qualifications for office. Except for Kaprêêprêk, however, these other new chiefs were put in office more for their anticipated ability to lead the council in discussions and the various work groups than for their kinship with men in power, though Mïïkhrô was well related in this way. I was aware of the potential leadership abilities of Krôôpey, Kô?tetet, and the youngest Mïïkhrô during the late 1970s. Chief Kaarà?khre was not related to Chief Hàktookot, whom he replaced on his death, but he had the advantage of being an assistant to the late chief and of having a wife with many female kin (Figure 24,houses BBNN).
The youngest Mïïkhrô lasted as chief until the early months of 1987 partly because he was a relative of the younger Kaapêltùk and a nephew of Tep-hot, according to information from the field. Mïïkhrô led the Canela into putting a large collective farm in the Lagoa do André area in the northeastern corner of the reservation (Map 3) in 1984. He told them [in the context of a messianic movement that] he had discovered a suitcase full of money which he would distribute to them when the farms were cut out of the gallery forests where several streams join the Ourives. When the money did not materialize, the farms were abandoned with great losses in time and energy, leaving the Canela dependent once more on selling artifacts to the Indian service and on sharecropping for backland families.[Ep.4.a] OUTSIDE ECONOMIC SUPPORT
By the 1980s, funds for agricultural development were becoming available from the Vale do Rio Doce, a company related to the railroad running from the Serra dos Carajás (Map 2) in the state of Pará to the port of São Luis, delivering iron ore for shipment overseas. This railroad goes through the tropical forests of the state of Maranhão 150 kilometers to the northwest of the Canela. Some funds from this source, or a similar one, were lent to Chiefs Krôôpey, Kô?tetet, and Mïïkhrô to cut collective fields for individual family farms out of gallery forest areas. These new chiefs could not motivate their adherents into doing sufficient work to make this collective activity successful. Mïïkhrô succeeded temporarily, however, by making false promises.
By 1985 the younger Kaapêltùk, although not yet a chief, was advanced funds from this private company through José Porfírio Carvalho and did succeed in motivating his adherents into putting in a very large farm on the eastern edge of the reservation in the Pak-re area near Leandro (Map 3). The rice and beans produced there were sent in dozens of truck loads to Barra do Corda, and large piles of these foods were still left at the Indian service post in Escalvado in the late spring and early summer of 1986 for the Canela to store and eat for the rest of the year. The younger Kaapêltùk’s political credit with the Canela was now very high indeed. He had succeeded where others had dramatically failed.
In the early months of 1987, the Pró-khãmmã removed the younger Mĩĩkhrô and put in one of their own members as chief, the younger Tep-hot, who had denounced Chief Kaarà?khre earlier and who had been an important contributor to placing and deposing the preceding chiefs. After several months, Chief Tep-hot went off to Belém in the state of Pará, to the state-level Indian service agency that is now regionally in charge of the Canela, to obtain goods and machines for his people, an accomplishment every chief attempts to achieve to impress his tribe with his abilities and powers. (Chief Kaarà?khre had done this successfully many times.) While Tep-hot was away, however, the Pró-khãmmã deposed him and placed the younger Kaapêltùk in the chieftainship. Kaapêl immediately communicated with his old friend the Indian service official, who had been in charge of the agency in Barra do Corda in the late 1970s [II.B.3.e], and who was now in an important political position. Chief Kaapêltùk persuaded him (José Porfírio Carvalho) to give a herd of about 40 cattle to the Canela for them to care for and raise but not to slaughter. This was a great political coup for the new chief. Obtaining war trophies from other tribes in precontact times [IV.C.1.c.(5)], goods from town mayors up to 1960, and trucks from the federal Indian service in the 1970s were demonstrations that the obtainer was indeed a great provider, protector, and leader.
A communication received from the younger Kaapêltùk, dated 6 September 1987, describes his great pleasure in appraising the fine qualities of the cattle, which had just arrived at the Escalvado post and for which he was building a sizable corral. The day when the Canela raise cattle for future eating rather than immediate consumption may have arrived [II.B.3.k].[Ep.4.b] THE YOUNGER KAAPÊLTÙK
[Ep.4.b.(1)] His Original Power Base
The origin of the younger Kaapêltùk’s political power, in its most fundamental aspect, lies in his rise to leadership in his age-set during four initiation festival performances over a period of about 10 years—about 1941 to 1951 [III.D.2.b.(1)].
The younger Kaapêltùk (Figure 51) was prepared for leadership by being the commandant of his age-set during their final Pepyê initiation festival in 1951. Then, with the older Kaapêltùk politically seceding from Ponto in 1957, the tribal members there needed a leader for its Lower age-set moiety, which position the older Kaapêltùk had occupied. Thus, the younger Kaapêltùk, even though only in his mid-20s, took over this position. This was possible because in 1957 he was already more capable in leadership than any other member of the Lower age-set moiety. The two evident groups in Ponto village were Chief Kaarà?khre’s partido de cima (upper party) and the younger Kaapeltuk’s partido de baixo (lower party), the age-set moieties.
Thus, the younger Kaapêltùk’s solid basis for political power is his age-set members, who have grown used to his effective leadership over the years. They are now the new Pró-khãmmã, and they are personally loyal to the younger Kaapêltùk, partly because of traditional age-set cohesion and partly because of his politically effective but individually considerate manner of leadership. However, the younger Kaapêltùk has extended his leadership authority well beyond his age-set, potentially to every individual in the tribe through procedures sometimes novel to the Canela [Ep.4.c.(2)].
Although it is too early to be absolutely certain, I think the younger Kaapêltùk will be able to maintain his chieftainship for many years. If so, he is essentially the first successful chief to succeed Kaarà?khre. While Kaarà?khre took 17 years to consolidate power (1951–1968), the younger Kaapêltùk has taken only 6 (1981–1987). A difference in their approaches to power is that Kaarà?khre assumed it almost immediately after the death of Chief Hàktookot in 1951. The younger Kaapêltùk, in contrast, has approached power through waiting until his rivals have expended their ambitions and demonstrated their inability to lead. Particularly Krôôpey and the youngest Mĩĩkhrô needed to find out they could not lead the tribe. Moreover, the younger Kaapêltùk had already developed a basis for sustaining himself as chief and had demonstrated his ability to motivate his followers, as he had done in 1967 [II.B.2.g.(5)] and 1986 [Ep.4.a] through the establishment of large farms.
[Ep.4.b.(2)] His Power Sources
Through his store, which he has maintained since the early 1970s, the younger Kaapêltùk has allowed most Canela to become indebted to him, which they do not resent, because they do not believe in the necessity of being self-reliant [III.A.5.b]. His extension of debt is an offering of kindness and consideration to them [III.B.1.a,b], and their return sentiment is to owe him a certain degree of freely given allegiance. He has collected and extended these debts for a long time, in Sardinha as well as in Escalvado, by getting his debtees to work in his fields for him. Nevertheless, regardless of the quantity of the debt, Kaapêltùk provides them with good lunches and, under certain circumstances, wages. Thus, his success during 1987 in putting in a record size community field is understandable. He had done this before on a smaller scale, having planted and fenced a number of large fields for his wife’s kin in Sardinha during the mid-1960s and in Escalvado during the 1970s. He works in the fields with his men but continuously urges them on (më-hààpôl: them-encourages) to do better work, never demanding too much nor speaking too loudly or harshly. In the late 1950s and 1960s, he used to motivate a set of women to provide the men with cheerfulness in the morning and sex in the early afternoon [II.E.5.f.6.a].
[Ep.4.b.(2).(a)] Personal Characteristics
Kaapêltùk is clever, shrewd, and knows when to dissimulate to protect his interests. Like people of strong character everywhere, he was not without controversy. Nevertheless, his intentions were ultimately to help his people—genuinely so, in my judgment. He knows to turn the other cheek to their small thefts, injuries, and hostilities [III.D.3.e.(3).(b)]. Because he never forgets he is a high hàmren, he is never harsh in exacting returns from his many debtors.
In his last communication, the younger Kaapêltùk also spoke of his pleasure in holding his many tribal positions: in being the first chief of the tribe, the head of the Pró-khãmmã, the father of the Ceremonial-chief-of-the-whole-tribe (Glossary), and the grandfather of a Wè?tè girl—all at the same time. He also spoke of how he intends nothing but compassion, service, generosity, honesty, and openness for his people, and how he expects to lead them into putting in great collective farms each year, which he has already done for 1985 and 1987 making it his second year to feed his people well, as a great hàmren should (Nimuendajú, 1946:99).
[Ep.4.b.(2).(b)] Extensive Personal Networks
A frequent joke about Kaapêltùk is that he has few female relatives, having turned most of them into “other wives” [III.F.1], which is substantiated by his reputation as a consummate lover [III.F.8]. In any case, I know he can call on many women in the village to support him because of exchanged sexual favors, many more than most men. Moreover, his “other wives” [III.E.3.a.(6)] can and do subtly motivate their husbands to support him. In addition to these influences, his wife Atsuu-khwèy belongs to the largest longhouse [III.E.2.e.(2)] in Escalvado (Figure 24, BBNN), as does Kaarà?khre’s wife. Thus, Atsuu-khwèy can call on most of her longhouse “sisters” and they on their husbands to further his causes. Chief Kaapêltùk can also call on his own female kin (hõ-?kahãy: his-females: a common expression used when talking about a person’s influence) in his longhouse (Figure 24, TTZZ).
[Ep.4.b.(2).(c)] Proof of Courage
An ultimate political trump card he can play, and I have heard him talk proudly on this subject several times, is his organization of his people’s defense during the attack on the messianic movement of 1963 [II.B.2.f.(4)]. Chief Kaarà?khre and the older Kaapêltùk had left the area with their families before the attack occurred because of their fear of what the backland ranchers might do. The younger Kaapêltùk, however, stayed with his people, and they remember his heroism. Such a performance is a source of inexhaustible and timeless credit in a society where influence is organized around a balance of subtle personal debts and credits that are never quite called or paid. Everyone knows Kaapêltùk has courage, alertness, and presence in a crisis [III.B.1.e], and they respect this.
[Ep.4.b.(2).(d)] Internal Support from Chief Kaarà?kre and Sr. Sebastião
Former Chief Kaarà?khre and the Indian service post agent Sebastião Pereira [II.B.2.i.(4)] have played and continue to play behind-the-scene roles in promoting and sustaining the younger Kaapêltùk in his position. According to Jack Popjes, while Kaarà?khre has not sought to become chief again, his voice in almost any matter is still significant. When he addresses a question in the plaza, his arguments are powerful and convincing. Although not a new Pró-khãmmã member, Kaarà?khre still lectures occasionally. One reason why he cannot seek the chieftainship again is that he lacks the support of Sr. Sebastião [II.B.2.i.(4)]. This dedicated post agent expected in the 1970s a new kind of politics that would serve the good of the people as well as that of the individual leader’s kin. What Sebastião said in the plaza at evening council meetings was to the point, well meant, and usually accepted and followed. He favored a chief “who would do well by the Canela,” which really means, these days, whoever feeds them best.
[Ep.4.b.(2).(e) ] Advocacy
The younger Kaapêltùk has quietly campaigned for leadership for most of his life. He has always advocated that certain backlander ways are all right for his people [I.G.4] [II.B.2.g.(5)]. He has maintained this posture as far back as the late 1950s in old Ponto, before the rest of the tribe had accepted such an untraditional idea [II.B.2.b.(3)]. Much of Kaapêltùk’s source of power, comes from his introduction of backland or Western practices (largely through example). His people are aware that many of these innovations have helped them survive. Nevertheless, the leadership of his age-set, his principal political base today, is traditional in nature. Thus, he is solidly grounded: one leg in backland culture advocacy and the other in traditional representation. The importance of the backland advocacy is that it enables adjustment and survival in the local economic setting. The ordinary Canela individual feels safer with the knowledge that Chief Kaapêltùk is overseeing and negotiating external affairs because they know he understands the backlander.
Chief Kaapêltùk’s most conspicuous advocacy of backland culture is his emphasis on formerly unprestigious agriculture and hard work in the fields [II.D.3.i.(7)], which he demonstrated thoroughly in Sardinha in the mid-1960s, making a success of adapting to dry forest living while the rest of the tribe (the older age-sets) stopped trying to adjust [II.B.2.g.(5)]. His second advocacy of backland culture is the example of his store (cantina) and the benign caretaker-adherent, or the creditor-debtor network he has built up around it. (In Amazonia, creditor-debtor relations meant abuse, but this is not the case with this new institution among the Canela of the 1970s.) His third backland-originated base of influence is his position as priest to his people on Good Friday evening [I.G.4]. This innovation provides a background for his continuously expressed folk Catholic (Glossary) recommendations, such as resting on Sundays, searching the post almanac for babies’ saints’ day names, and referring frequently to God in the expression, se Deus quiser (God being willing).23
A fourth influence—this time urban rather than backlander—and a nontraditional source of his political strength, is his income from and leadership of my group of manuscript writers and tape producers for so long [I.F.1,2] [II.B.3.b]. This group included four individuals who later became chiefs: Kaprêêprêk, Krôôpey, Tep-hot, and the younger Kaapêltùk (Figure 51) [Ep.3.b]. Similarly, his employment by me during my long field stays was prestigious and enabled him to provide the all-important lunches for his work groups [III.D.1.c.(2)].
Finally, his employment in the Indian service since 1980, including the salary and how he uses it for his people, is his most important current non-Canela source of power. Employing this source of power is essentially an advocacy of drawing upon urban resources, because this employment necessarily brings tribal leaders to Barra do Corda, Belém, and Brasília. After receiving reemployment24 in the Indian service in 1980, he was able to accumulate the necessary funds from his new salary to give treats to individuals when he led the work exchange groups on the farms. He could give them significant merendas (light food: lunch) [III.D.1.c.(2)] to keep them wanting to follow him, an absolutely essential touch for anyone assuming a position of leadership among the Canela [III.A.5.b]. Although such compensation is not nearly worth a full day’s work, it keeps workers happy and gives them the feeling they are being cared for and not being used. Thus, the younger Kaapêltùk became well equipped to take over the chieftainship. (Chief Kaarà?khre and the older Kaapêltùk had had employment in the Indian service for decades [III.C.3.c] but had not successfully used the younger Kaapêltùk’s methods to gain allegiance.)
While supported by “urban” resources, Kaapêltùk’s principal current advocacy is backland agriculture, which is a novel program for a chief to present his people. Agriculture, even as recently as the 1970s, has never been prestigious among the Canela [II.D.3.i.(6),(7)], as has hunting, running, sing-dancing, and being a good lover. Agriculture must be becoming prestigious in the 1980s, however, because Kaapêltùk has used it in a major way to become chief of the tribe and probably will continue to do so to maintain his leadership. Since agriculture is the means for survival in this region of Maranhão, this pragmatic trend in Canela history augers well for the Canela future.
[2003: The competition between the younger Kaapêltùk and the younger Tep-hot has continued into present times. Kaapêltùk, while chief, led a messianic movement at the end of the millenium (1999), the failure of which has discredited him, so he was deposed. In the meanwhile, the earlier Chief Kaarà?khre, who used the quasi-military title of "major," died, leaving a behind-the-throne power vacuum. Tep-hot assumed this title becoming Major Tep-hot, a permanent position of authority higher than that of the first chief. The current first chief is Hõõkô, like Kaapêltùk and Tep-hot, another one of my diary writers .]
[Ep.5] ASPECTS OF THE 1980s[Ep.5.a] COMMERCIAL OUTLETS AND CONTINUITY OF INDIAN SERVICE PERSONNEL
Sometime after 1979, the Indian service (Glossary) opened a store at the post at Escalvado, where they traded goods for artifacts. Thus the tradition of making artifacts for trade to city dwellers, which essentially started in its large scale form in 1964 in Sardinha [II.C.3.f], is continuing and probably will sustain itself for some time. The younger Kaapêltùk and Kaaprêêprêk [II.B.3.d] ran competing stores in the 1970s, and the Indian service bought a truck load of artifacts from the Canela almost every month in 1979. Having an official store at the post building in the 1980s, however, puts this source of income onto a more permanent and dependable basis for the Canela. It appears from the recent communications that instead of going to the houses of backland families to sharecrop with them [II.B.3.f.(1)], most Canela are now selling artifacts to the Indian service in order to obtain what they need during the lean months of September through December [II.C.3.g]. If this is true, and becomes a permanent adjustment, it will constitute a significant change. Sharecropping with backland families is depreciating and demoralizing [II.B.4], research assistants say, and minimally productive economically [II.B.2.g.(7)].
(A report received in August 1989 indicates that both men have given up their stores: Kaapêltùk works for the Indian service and is chief; Kaaprêêprêk drives the Indian service truck.)
[2003: Kaaprêêprêk has given up his store, but has become relatively rich from his Indian service salary as a truck driver and lives in the only brick-walled and ceramic-tiled roof house outside the village. He maintains one of the two gas generator-run, satellite TV sets in the village and is the male head of the most aristocratic family. Kaapêltùk lives in the village and keeps the biggest store and the other gas generator-run, satellite TV set. He puts on free and public TV shows each weekend to bolster his prestige and is important politically as the senior member of the council of elders, though he does not have the title of "major" as does Tep-hot. Kaaprêêprêk cannot be a member of the council of elders because he belongs to the wrong age-set moiety party, the Upper one. However, he maintains his prestige by throwing large abraçado dances with Western music provided by outside accordion players and singers from the backlands or from Barra do Corda. The most memorable acculturative view of my 2001 field work presence was to watch an abraçado dance during which young Canela women dressed and made up their faces in the manner seen on Kaapêltùk's TV set, when the beauty contest for Miss Brazil was being shown.]
It is of particular note that the Brazilian Indian service employees who were at the Escalvado post in 1978–1979 were still there in mid-1988: Sebastião Pereira the post agent (Figures 9, 10), Luzanira Gieira de Araojo, the nurse, and Risalva Freire de Sá, the teacher [II.B.2.i.(2)]. New to the scene is Tsààtu (Plate 45d, on left), who left Sardinha in his adolescence in 1964 and lived in Rio de Janeiro in the Cosme Velho area with a Brazilian family [II.B.2.g.(9)]. He went to a school run by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) but withdrew when told he was not qualified to be a pilot. He then worked for years in the family store framing pictures and photographs. He returned to his tribe some time between 1979 and 1984. Knowing arithmetic and how to read and write, he is employed by the Indian service as assistant to the teacher (Risalva). This consistency of employment of dedicated Indian service personnel at the Escalvado post (the opposite of what had been the case before Sr. Sebastião’s arrival in 1970) gives the Canela a sense of security and a feeling of confidence in the future. The new Pró-khãmmã for the first time when coming into office has a reasonable basis for planning for the future.
[2003: By 1991, Sebastião, Luzanira, and Risalva had left and Tsààtu had to be retired medically because of an eye problem. By 1993, the Indian service was no longer able to provide a significant amount of funds to support medical and other programs, so much of the positive atmosphere of the 1970s and 1980s was lost.][Ep.5.b] NEW FARM VILLAGES AND THE POTENTIAL FOR SCHISMS
With the Canela population rising rapidly since 1970 [II.B.2.i.(4).(a)], it should not be surprising that 13 secondary farm villages, newly called setores, have sprung into existence in various parts of the reservation (Map 3, circled numbers). Each potential chief [III.D.1.g] has his separate farm community. With some families the farm community more or less replaces Escalvado as a principal place of residence, although never for festival events. (They celebrated Wè?tè season great festivals in Escalvado each year from 1984 through 1988.) The Indian service buildings at Escalvado are permanent and were so expensive to build that moving them cannot be considered [II.B.2.i.(2)] (Plate 11). However, the post truck goes out to all new communities, sometimes on barely passable roads, to give medical attention and furnish other needs when necessary. Whether this decentralization will result in schisms in the tribe, as occurred between 1957 and 1968 [III.D.1.g.(3)], is an important question. The potential for division of the tribe is certainly there in these farm communities and in the leadership opportunities they offer potential chiefs [III.D.1.f.(2)] when leading individuals do not face each other in tribal council meetings every day [III.D.1.g.(1).(b)].
[2003: The farm setores are fewer now with two principal ones and several minor ones. The principal ones are led by Kaapêltùk in the Aldeia Velha (Pak-re) area and by Mïïkhrô in the Aldeínha area. Kaaprêêprêk founded the Aldeínha farm community, about five kilometers east of the portão gate to the reservation, but has recently, in self-elevating retirement, ceded its leadership to the youngest Mïïkhrô, a potential first chief. The potentiality for a schism is always present, but is feared and supressed by members of the council of elders, who still remember the bitter days of the 1957 to 1968 schism. During the 2001 census, it was clear that everyone still had a family house in the village of Escalvado to return to and live in for festivals.][Ep.5.c] PAN-INDIAN SERLF-AWARENESS
A change has occurred in the Canela perception of their basic condition as human beings. The Canela and their chiefs used to recognize and accept that they were at the bottom of a long chain of a quasi-military command leading up to the president of the Indian service and the President of the nation [I.A.1]. They also understood, when it came to social rank as individuals, that they were somewhat below backlanders who were also in turn somewhat below small city and great city Brazilians [III.D.1.c.(3).(a)]. These perceptions of relative status, however, were changing in the late 1970s [II.B.3.e] and must be changing considerably more rapidly in the 1980s with the increasing world emphasis on human rights. Anthropologists tell me that this is so in other tribes in Brazil. A Shavante, Juruna, whom I read about in a Washington, DC, newspaper, was in the federal House of Deputies of Brazil and another one was near the top of the administration of the Indian service itself. These changes must be having an effect on how the Canela see themselves and must be giving the young Pró-khãmmã significant new ideas on how they can take initiatives to help themselves.
[2003: Unlike the Kayapó, whose several massive demonstrations in Altamira (Pará) prevented the World Bank from putting in a dam on the Middle Xingu River in 1988, the Canela are non-confrontational and not aggressively political by nature. Political competition between individuals is always underway, but it is subtile, personal, and not group supported. The Canela do well at the pan-Indian sports and folkloric festival competitions held every year in various parts of Brazil. They do not do well at pan-Indian political meetings.][Ep.5.d] IMPACT OF THE SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINQUISTICS (SIL)
Jack Popjes’s general newsletters indicate significant movement toward the tribe’s acceptance of Christianity. (See Glossary: Summer Institute of Linguistics.) Much of the New Testament is now translated, checked, and rechecked for meaning and fluency. The new Pró-khãmmã invites Jack to speak about God in the plaza on Sunday evenings. His students dramatize Bible stories in the boulevard in front of his house. Reading and writing classes attract an increasing number of followers (even the older men), and Josephine Popjes gives special classes for women. Proficient readers graduate into well-attended Bible classes. At least one young Canela leads prayers and conducts classes. The following excerpt from their newsletter (The Canela, February 1986:2) demonstrates the course of the SIL among the Canela since my last visit there in 1979.
Sunday Sundown Mass Meetings
At the beginning of the session we held Sunday evening Bible reading and dramatizations in front of our house on the edge of the village. From 80 to 150 people would come out to participate in these meetings. We noticed, however, that most of the group were women and children. Very few men attended, other than the evening Bible class students. I checked with the leaders and the council members up in the village plaza who said they would be quite happy to have these Sunday meetings as part of their regular sundown council meeting. We were delighted, and so were the students! From then on, every Sunday when there were enough people in the village to call a council meeting, we would participate. After a few preliminaries, the council chief would call on the town crier to call the people together, and he would shout out, “All right, everybody, come up here to listen to God’s word. All you women and children, come and join the men and listen to ‘our old-headed one’ tell us God’s work!” By the way the ‘old-headed one’ is me; it’s a term of respect used for teachers, not to describe my balding head and bearded face—at least I hope it isn’t!
When four or five hundred people have gathered, I begin with some explanation, then Pijat prays, followed by all the students repeating the Lord’s Prayer. I then read a story, usually from Luke. After I explain the passage, the students dramatize it. It always goes quite well since it is one of the stories we studied and dramatized during the previous week. Usually two or three dozen little kids get involved in it as well. They were the water rushing down to the houses of the wise man and the foolish man, with hilarious and memorable results; they were the trees in the Garden of Eden, as well as the animals that Adam had to name; and, of course, they were the sheep in the Christmas story. The Canela are such drama-oriented people that this sort of thing is a natural for them; and, since almost no one has a problem with shyness, these plays are enjoyed by everyone, spectator and participant as well. Pray with us that the basic truths of Scripture will be dramatized, remembered, and obeyed long after we are gone—in the same way their own cultural values have been dramatized and reinforced for centuries.
To my knowledge [1970s] Josephine and Jack Popjes (Figure 11) have not interfered verbally or directly with traditional sing-dances and festivals, nor with the extramarital sex system [IV.A.3.f]. They participated regularly in both the sing-dances and festivals, as did their daughters when in the tribe. Jack, when younger, even log-raced with them. Evidence of such interference has not appeared in the Popjes’ communications to me or in their newsletters. They believe, as expressed in our numerous late evening discussions, that the Spirit in the Bible translations will transform the Canela, little by little, appropriately to the Canela’s needs. These transformations will take place when the Canela are ready to be changed, and the timing and extent will vary in each sociocultural sector. They explained, quite specifically, that the extramarital sex system should not be abandoned until the Canela have something just as meaningful and satisfying to replace it. Of course, I do not know what Jack says in the plaza in the mid-1980s.
The influence of the Popjes family on the Canela in the 1980s must be extensive. I believe that Jo and Jack’s example and word may be helping families and individuals accept and mediate their differences, though they were doing this quite well already [III.D.1.c.(1),3.b]. I know that they have taught the Canela economic orientations that considerably facilitate their relationships with backlanders [II.B.3.a.(1)]. For instance, instead of trying to sell an item only for an exploitative amount well above the market, or selling it for any price well below the market when in need, the Canela have learned through the Popjes family that items have fixed and fair prices, determined by the market and by inflation. They also have learned that such prices should be respected if a Canela is to do well with and please a backlander.
Jack’s relationship with the younger Kaapêltùk appears to be excellent, though on Good Friday evenings they have competing roles. In the late 1970s, Kaapêltùk extended his political influence as a folk Catholic “priest” each year [Ep.4.b.(2).(e)], turning his house into a chapel [IV.A.3.d]. Jack also used the younger Kaapêltùk as a final checker on translations for years but now uses Kaapêltùk’s son-in-law, Yaako. However, Jo Popjes lists Yaako as the principal editor of two small books published by the SIL in 1988 and Kaapêltùk’s son, Kôyapàà as the draftsman (Instituto Lingüístico de Verão, 1988a, 1988b). (The drawings on each page of medical plants and birds of the region are remarkably realistic.) Thus, the cooperation between the two families must be continuing.
Jo and Jack maintained excellent relations with Sr. Sebastião and his wife and fair relations with Chief Kaarà?khre in the late 1970s, and refer to them favorably in their letters of the 1980s.
In the coming days of certain overpopulation, many youths and families may have to leave the tribal reservation. With their ability to read and write, due partly to the efforts of Jack and Jo, they are more likely to find lower middle class associations and jobs instead of being assimilated into the lowest lower class elements of Brazilian towns and cities, as is usually the case in Brazil with detribalized Indians. Such a contribution by the SIL, if this turns out to be the case, will constitute a very great advantage for the Canela. Jack makes the point that translations of the New Testament open alternative courses in life for the Canela. Instead of their traditional way alone, they now have a new way as well. Now they can choose.
Jack and Jo Popjes are publishing a dictionary on the Canela-Krahó language, a theme at a time, with the first part being on the physical environment (1982). I understand that Canela-illustrated publications on plants and then animals will follow.
[2003: The Popjes family finished the translation of the New Testament and some Old Testament Bible stories during 1990, and after distributing many Bibles to the Canela, they left. My estimation of the effects of the presence and work of Jack and Jo Popjes is that it is as much their model Christian behavior as their words that have brought about significant changes in the behavior of a number of Canela indiviiduals. There certainly is more of a sense of honesty, fairness, and truthfulness in trade and in interpersonal relations among many of them these days than formerly. Begging has become relatively more shameful than it used to be. The great quantities of household goods and canned foods that the Popjes family exchanged with the Canela for material artifacts certainly seduced the Canela into compulsively needing these household goods, thereby bringing them closer to the Brazilian society in certain attitudes, values, and beliefs. The personal behavior of the Popjes family and most probably their lectures durng the1980s surely planted the belief in certain individuals that extramarital sex was simply wrong and against God's word, contributing to the demise of the extramarital sex system by the late1990s. Whether conversions were the work of the Popjes family or of the preaching and personal contacts of several visiting evangelists during the 1990s is a question. In any case, the 2001 census registered some 15 per cent of the Canela as saying that they were crentes (Christian Protestant "believers"). Major Tep-hot performed in a church, reading and singing, set up on the village circle by the Assembleia de Deus missionaries from the backland community of Jenipapo do Resplandes during the 1990s, and carried on with regular services until the church building was burned down. The current first Chief Hõõkô is an avowed crente whose beliefs and practices go well beyond not just drinking and smoking, the usual definition of being a crente. Kaapêltùk remains a folk Catholic, though he has given up smoking for health reasons. The Canela are tolerant, so being a crente or a católico does not create any sort of schism.]
[Ep.6] OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE
Unlike what is expected for the future of most tribal Brazilian Indians (namely, an impoverishment in economic, cultural, and psychological aspects), we can expect the Canela to do better in these respects. They have learned a great deal about the outside world and their position in it. Furthermore, they have accepted their situation and are now working harder and more effectively, I believe, to improve the circumstances in which they are living. Continued improvements, however, depend on continued support by the Indian service.
An important dimension of the relatively new Canela economic self-sufficiency, besides the community farms, lies in their relatively new access to sell or trade large numbers of artifacts at the post store. The Indian service has established a national system of stores in large cities and places like airports throughout most of Brazil where even foreign tourists can buy such artifacts. This helps not just the Canela but also many other Indian tribes by creating a place for them to market their traditional (or modified) artifacts for public purchase. Obviously, no certainty exists that the Canela will continue to have access to these markets and that they will remain viable in the future. Moreover, a more total dependency on such commercialized outlets, even if reliable, would surely change their way of life from the present orientation around the more rugged requirements of hunting, farming, and log-racing, for example, to the more facile and sedentary skills of making artifacts for immediate exchange for store foods.
In thinking about the future of the Canela in relation to the development and growth of this region of Brazil, the construction of roads and industries near the Canela is important to consider. With the completion of the Belém-Brasília highway in the 1960s and the continuation of the work on the Trans-Amazon highway in the late 1960s and 1970s, feeder arteries were built from the Brazilian Northeast, through the greater Canela region, to these major highways. Roadbeds for these east-west feeder arteries were built in the late 1950s and 1960s and further developed in the 1970s. One of these feeder highways, going from Floriano through Pastos Bons to Carolina (Map 2), was constructed south of the Canela area in the late 1950s and 1960s. The other principal two-lane arterial road was built from Presidente Dutra through Barra do Corda to Imperatriz in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Map 2). It was strengthened to support the largest buses (Plate 4a) and raised well above the terrain but not yet paved by 1979. (It is being paved in 1987, according to Jaldo Pereira Santos [I.H].) Thus, the principal highways from the Northeast, and also from the state capital of São Luis, pass the Canela’s Escalvado village by about 50 kilometers to the north and by about 85 kilometers to the south. These existing highways serve the area well enough so that no parallel east-west highways are likely to be constructed nearer to the Canela reservation in the near future, an important factor that favors gradual rather than precipitous acculturation for the Canela.
On the negative side, however, a small north-south road between Barra do Corda and Riachão (Map 2) has been planned for some years. It appears on certain regional maps of the 1960s and 1970s in a dotted line, and passes through Papagáio directly between the Canela and Apanyekra reservations (Map 3). This road was not yet under construction in 1987; the Indian service may block it because its proximity to both tribes would acculturate them too rapidly, Jaldo Pereira Santos tells me.
Additionally on the negative side, an industrial park was under construction in 1979 on the southeastern outskirts of Barra do Corda near the airport [II.B.4.g], just in the direction of the Canela reservation, so that Canela pass through it when they travel between Barra do Corda and Escalvado. Employment for Canela individuals in such a place would certainly accelerate their current rate of acculturation.
[2003: The strong Indian service support disapeared during the early 1990s for lack of fundsa new federal policy. The mass sale of artifacts came to an end during the early 1980s because the distribution system was terminated. These days only a very few items can be sold in Barra do Corda to the saturated market. The north-south road between Barra do Corda and Riachão was not built, and no Canela have been employed in the growing industrial park. In fact, it is very hard for any Canela to find employment in Barra do Corda or throughout the region, because, regionally, there is a strong prejudice against tribal Indians. This is because the neighboring Guajajara Indians have held up buses passing from Barra do Corda to Grajau through their reservation. They have killed and abducted individuals traveling on this road and conducted small wars over property rights resulting in deaths on both sides. The fear and prejudice against tribal Indians covers the Canela as well, though they have done nothing to merit the generally bad feelings against Indians.]
[Ep.7] KAAPÊLTÙK'S POTENTIAL ROLE
Since the Canela reservation’s cultivatable forest lands are limited, and the population is growing so rapidly (903 in a 1 March 1989 service census sent me by Sr. Sebastião), the tribe will eventually be forced to practice some form of more permanent agriculture than the slash-and-burn (swidden) techniques they now use, learned partly from backlanders of the region and still practiced by them. The Canela have largely lost their aboriginal practices, unlike the Apanyekra. An alternative solution to overpopulation, of course, is emigration, though most Canela like their way of life so much that this course seems unlikely until the population pressures become extreme.
Chief Kaapêltùk  knows something about irrigation, fertilization, crop rotation, etc., because he was employed on a model farm near São Luis as an adolescent in 1949 and 1950 [I.G.4]. With Indian service help, the Canela could go this way. Another direction is that the Canela may learn once again the indigenous agricultural ways still practiced by the Kayapó, which are being studied by scientists in the Kayapó Project directed by Darrel Posey (1983).
Experimentations in new forms of agriculture are possible for the Canela. Their minds are more open to new ideas than those of the tradition-fixed backlander. The soil-leaching rains characteristic of, and so destructive of, areas farther west (Meggers, 1971:14–16) are not as heavy in central-southern Maranhão [II.C.1.a] (Table 1). Some relatively flat, well watered lands exist in the Lagoa do André area (Map 3), where several streams come together providing enough land for a permanent community farm. Nevertheless, small separate intensive family gardens may always be best. The recent discovery, however, that the cerrado is usable for agriculture [especially soy beans] after the application of soil analysis and appropriate additives may be the more advisable direction for the Canela (Abelson and Rowe, 1987). In any case, sufficient capital, technical expertise, and continuous Indian service support, direction, and encouragement for many years would be absolutely necessary for the Canela to achieve success in such multiple small scale or larger scale community undertakings.
Chief Kaapêltùk’s position is reminiscent of the similar situation of the Mayan leader, Don Eustacio Ceme, as reported by Robert Redfield (1941). Don Eustacio could choose to some extent between advantageous and destructive influences of acculturation to protect his Mayan people and to help them to flourish.
A VIEW FROM 2003
Before the sociopolitical breakdown of the Canela society during the late 1940s, the social system functioned well through the giving of orders (haprè-khôt) at different levels: the chief's, the council of elders', the age-set leaders', the festival society leaders', the advising uncles' and aunts', the parents', and anyone who, from a temporary position of leadership or of momentary responsibility, might give orders. Everyone followed orders without thinking much about them, though there were substantial rewards for cooperation. Money was not involved significantly in those days.
The alternative to order-followingdoing something socially significant on your own (amyiá-khôt)was seen as being anti-social and almost evil. By the 1950s, money was partly used and by 2001, payments were necessary to get anyone to do almost anything. Most individuals would not work for the community without being paid, while close kin and affines did not require payments from each other. Even sons-in-law had to be rewarded with shot-guns and other goods from time to time to keep them in a cooperative frame of mind.
The usual services of a Brazilian town of over 1,300 are not being carried out among the Canela population. For instance, funds to fix the three manioc-grating mills are not provided by leaders at any level. Nor can they repair their rice-hulling mill. (Outsiders had donated these four mills.) The Canela wait for funds from the Indian service or from the visiting NGOs, anthropologists and missionaries. Although Awkhêê may no longer be helping them, they still keep looking to outsiders for assistance instead of helping themselves. For instance in 1999, members of the soccer team asked me to buy them a new ball, but when I suggested that they might all contribute to buy one in the city, they looked at me as if I were stingy and evil.
I suggested to leaders in 2001 that they might take the tenth or twentieth sack of milled manioc or rice as contributions toward paying for future repairs. They could easily have sold the collected sacks on the local markets. However, no one trusted the leaders to collect and distribute the sales honestly. Consequently, leaders usually could not collect sacks from women coming with manioc or rice to be milled. One time, younger Kaapêltùk collected some sacks, but became discouraged when he was accused wrongfully of misusing the funds. Thus, it must be clear that the first chief and the council of elders can do very little for their people, except travel to cities, and especially to Brasília, hoping to return with goods to prove their worth as leaders to their followers. Chiefs have obtained trucks this way from the Indian service and from NGOs. This largesse increases the Canela's conviction that dependency works.
It is not that the Canela are so poor that they could not support certain civil services. They have ample funds to support many needed services, though such funds would not come from agricultural harvest surpluses, as would be expected. Few families are resourceful enough to produce a surplus of manioc flour or rice to sell on the markets, largely because members of families who are less self-sufficient come and beg their surpluses from them. Nevertheless, ample social support funds flow to Canela individuals from the three higher levels of governmentfederal, state, and municipal.
Of the funds flowing in to Canela individuals, no funds go to the tribe as a whole. Individuals receive at least seven Indian Service salaries that may be three to five times the national minimum wage. FUNASA (The National Foundation for Health) furnishes at least three nurse-assistant salaries that may be two to three times the minimum wage. The municipality pays for six teachers, four Canela men and two women from Barra do Corda at the minimum wage or a little higher. There are about half a dozen medical disability pensions. However, the largest source of income by far comes from agricultural retirement pensions. Canela men retire at 60 and women at 55 to receive the minumum wage, which goes far in the interior to resolve economic problems and even further among the Canela who have comparatively few fixed expenses. There are around 120 agricultural retirements. The health foundation also supplies maternity assistancethe minimun wage for four months for each birth. Finally, the municipality supplies about one-tenth of the minimum wage for every child kept in school per month.
Thus, funds could be collected from many individuals to pay for community services such as cleaning the streets, improving the roads, fixing the mills, repairing the two trucks and the one tractor, and keeping the town water pump operating. However, no one trusts Canela tax collectors, for good reason. Leaders do not believe in stealing to get richer this way; this is not an accepted practice. The difficulty lies more in the problem that once the money is collected, it is hard for the collector to use it for the purposes intended, because people beg or borrow some or most of it off him or her. Or, the collector has a pressing family need that must be attended to first. Thus, such services are left incompleted until some outside agent or agency can be obliged to furnish the necesssary funds. During the 2001 census we discovered that about one-quarter of the men still expect Awkhêê to arrive some day to solve their problems.
The operation of the trucks is an exception, because many individuals must go to Barra do Corda and the Banco do Brasil there to collect their funds each month. Few relatives can be trusted to deliver funds in the village. The drivers of the two trucks are paid by FUNAI salaries. They almost always succeed in collecting fares from their passengers, because they do not start their trucks until the passengers have paid. Such funds go to pay for deisel fuel and lubricating oil, but not much more. The drivers and the Canela in general still look to the FUNAI, FUNASA, and outsiders for the larger repairs and new tires. While Canela will not revert to walking 40 miles to the citythis is too undignifiedthey can and do go back to hand-milling manioc and rice. This latter reversion is easy to carry out, and the women will do it.
In may be important to note that this first step into collecting funds for a community service can only be carried out successsfully under some degree of compulsion and that this duress lies in the nature of the particular situationa kind of squeezable social bottleneck. Moreover, there is the easily observed example to copy of backland truck drivers collecting fares from their passengers.
Two strongly-held values work against the collection of taxes for even simple civic purposesthe balance between generosity and stinginess and the feeling that no one may make himself or herself greater than others. Nevertheless, individuals who have had Indian service salaries for decades have managed to raise their families above others quite significantly, both financially and ceremonially. Most conspicuously, these are the extended families of the late Chief Kaarà?khre (including his son Kaprêêprêk), the younger Kaapêltùk, and Major Tep-hot.
Turning from socioeconomic matters to other sectors of interest, most of the Canela still live in their circular village, though four closely related families (all female descendants of the late Chief Kaarà?khre) live along the road that starts in front of the Indian service post and goes west to the village of Porquinhos of the Apanyekra Indians. The Canela spend more time in their farm communities than they used to do, but they do not go off the reservation to work on the backland farms for food during the lean part of the year to the extent that they formerely did. They have become ashamed to work for the backlander in this way. With extensive government social support coming to many Canela individuals, a Canela has become considerably more the equal of a backlander.
Moreover, the backland community of Jenipapo do Resplandes, due to a considerable population increase, has become a city/municipality (cidade/município) in its own right, having broken off from the municipality of Barra do Corda in about 1998, taking the Canela and Apanyekra reservations with it. Thus, the Canela population forms a significant part of their new municipality of Fernando Falcão in contrast to their small former presence in the populous municipality of Barra do Corda. Now, they have a Canela-elected representative to the municipal government of Fernando Falcão, Khää-re, who meets regularly with the other vereadores of the municipality. Consequently, the Canela have become better integrated into the political life of the backlanders. The mayor of Fernando Falcão has to try to win Canela votes to secure his political position. There is no longer the remotest possibility that the backlanders would attack the Canela these days over land questions and cattle theft, as they did in 1963.
As a result, the Canela have become quite secure in their current existence. Several families even raise cattle and no one steals them anymore. Nor do they eat calves before they can grow up to reproduce. The Canela have learned to be more restrained or "stingy," as they would call it. Although they still experience some hunger during September through December, it has become harder to beg food off of the more self-sufficient families. Stinginess is no longer the evil that it once was. The younger Kaapêltùk boasted to me in 2001 that he now says "no" to borrowers to whom he already has made significant loans.
The Canela still put on most of their festivals, though the Opening and Closing Wè?tè festivals are likely to be omitted, and the Regeneration season Red and Black moiety activities are all but forgotten. Festivals are likely to be staged at what is the wrong time of the year according to their ancient custom. In this way, much of the sense of what a festival is all about has been detached from its ecological base, and its meaning thereby has been modified. Many of the artifacts that are specific to certain festival acts are no longer made.
Soccer (futebol) is replacing log racing and social paired dancing is supplanting sing-dancing in the plaza, though these transfers of emotional attachment have not been completed yet. My feeling from attending a social dance under a large open shed before the house of Kaprêêprêk in early December of 2001 is that the hearts of the young Canela men and women are more involved in embraced dancing, and in getting dressed up for it, than in their plaza, female-line sing-dancing.
A social structure that is remaining firmly in place is the practice of matrilateral kinship and responsibilities. Since women are becoming stronger in power and influence in relation to men, it should not be surprising that matrilocal residence and matrilateral practices are still strictly maintained, as is male and female name transmission. Nevertheless, it is still only men who meet in the plaza and can belong to the council of elders and become tribal chiefs. However, chiefs come and go, lasting six months to two years in office. Then they are voted out by one or more of the male age-sets, or they retire out of frustration. A chief's principal domestic job is to resolve marital separations, but few abide by the decisions. In contrast, the council of elders is relatively strong. It may depose a chief. Although members of age-sets may propose new chiefs, it is the council of elders that must accept and confirm a new chief. The council of elders still runs the festivals and spends long periods of time trying to recall what must be done on each succeeding day during a festival period to carry out every act as the ancestors would have performed it.
The current council of elders is holding office beyond its customary twenty-year length of tenure. They took office during 1981 or 1982, so it is already time for them to turn over their privileges to the age-set that is about 20 years younger. However, due to modern medicine, more Canela are living healthily to an older age, so the current council of elders will most likely be able to retain power for a few more years. Their present strong man, Major Tep-hot, may be only 64, so he probably has four to six more years of effective control of the elders if he chooses to retain this power. The more formal leader of the elders (because he was the commandant of their graduating Pepyê festival), the younger Kaapêltùk, may be 73, but he is already in physical and mental decline, being a heavy smoker. Thus, it is not he who would be attempting to maintain today's council of elders in power, but rather the much younger Major Tep-hot. Nevertheless, sooner or later, as members of the council die off or become somewhat senile, the age-set about 20 years younger will challenge the current elders politically and take over. After that turning point, many Canela customs will change, because most younger Canela seek education in the Brazilian system and place little trust in the ways of their ancestors.
Large parts of the festival system will surely be lost, because many festival acts depend on master singers beating out the rhythm with a gourd rattle (ku?tõy) or a belt with pendants (tsù). The last masters are Major Tep-hot and the younger Tààmi, who are both in their mid-sixties, and no young men are learning the old songs seriously enough to take their places. Many acts of a festival have their special songs without which the acts cannot be performed. The Pepkahàk songs will surely survive, because they have become an integral part of the Good Friday folk Catholic ceremonies, but this is an exception.
Another aspect that supported the festival system, furnishing considerable general satisfaction, was the extensive extramarital sex system. This practice has been all but lost due to missionary teachings, to new values brought in with commercial goods, and to the loss of power of the older generations over the younger ones. The system was enforced by the older generations so that when they lost their power, they were no longer able to suppress the sex jealousy that arose among younger men. This made the system unworkable. It is especially the festival-sanctioned sequential sex practices that have been lost, but individual males still catch young women without children occasionally during the Fish Festival and some other festivals.
The practice of food and sex restrictions (ipiyakri-tsà/aykri-tsà) is all but lost already, so young men are poor hunters for this reason, they say. In contrast, curers (kay) still supplement pharmacy medicines from the city with herbs and psychic remedies for certain purposes. It is my belief that the acceptance of such folk medicine and related practices will last for a number of decades. During the 2001 census, some 15 percent of the men claimed that they had some kay abilities.
The Canela are not fatalistic. They do not accept inferior conditions for themselves without sufficient justification. That Awkhêê had relegated them to inferior status in the Brazilian society was a sufficient justification or explanation for them to keep their self-respect between about 1850 and 1963, when their first messianic movement occurred. Significant movements followed in 1980, 1984, and 1999, while at least four lesser ones took place between 1984 and 1994. Thus, the Canela appear to be susceptable to such movements as alternative sollutions to agricultural ones. To try to understand why, I am writing a book with Priscilla Linn. We hope to suggest why so many Canela tend to rely on the other world for life's major solutions.
The Canela think highly of themselves; they were exceedingly proud of their ancestors' way of life. Instead of just accepting current drudgery fatalistically, the Canela seek to improve their lot in life, and this seeking has followed fads: messianic, agricultural, artifact-making, athletic, and cultural ones. The current craze is formal education in the Brazilian system. The ambition of many young individuals is to complete the first four grades in the village. Then, they move on to live in a largely Canela neighborhood on the outskirts of Barra do Corda to continue their studies. They believe that if and when they become formadohave completed highschoolthey will be given jobs, and will not have to work in the family farms (grueling work) ever again. One Canela has graduated and he became the Indian service post agent. If six or eight more Canela graduate, they probably will find jobs. However, the job market for Canela individuals would soon become saturated so that dispointments would follow if many young Canela men and women graduated.
At this time, many Brazilians, especially regional ones, hold negative opinions about tribal Indians, because of Guajajara, Kayapó, Xavante and other Indian "unseemly incursions" onto the national scene. Thus, few people besides the government will employ tribal Indians, and this is especially true in the Barra do Corda area. External employment is a very limited solution.
Looking to internal improvements, Canela leaders must learn to become trustworthy and accountable, and Canela individuals must grow to accept moderate taxation for purposes agreed to by the first chief and the council of elders. However, such funds in the hands of leaders would take the tribe only a small part of the way toward self-sufficiency and a new self-respect in the Brazilian world. More than anything else, the Canela need to wean themselves from their messianic tendencies. They need to want to work much harder in the fieldsevery family, not just a few of them (without much begging)toward self-sufficiency through selling agricultural products, and anything else, on the local markets. They were largely self-sufficient during the 1920s and 1930s, before their obedience to orders was lost and before money entered their society significantly. Surely, they could become self-sufficient again in a world operating on money, once some educated young Canela leaders came back to the village to show the rest of them the new way.
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