The Canela (Eastern Timbira), I: An Ethnographic Introduction.
By William H.Crocker
Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology,
Number 33, 487 pages, 11 tables, 51 figures, 78 plates, 1990.
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Among existing lowland South
American indigenous groups (Map 1)
that have been studied, the Canela are unusual in having retained their tribal
cohesion in spite of contact and pacification for more than a century and a
half [II.B.1.a]. Also unlike most tribes situated as far east as the Canela,
they have remained intact while others have either not survived or been detribalized
or even urbanized. Although pacified in 1814, the Canela were not settled and
stabilized in their present location until about 1830 or 1835. Then they experienced
about 100 years of regularized but limited contact with backlanders and Barra
do Corda town dwellers. In reconstructing their aboriginal culture it is necessary
to factor in what might have been innovated by them or accepted from backlanders
during the past century. The effects of the cessation of tribal warfare on the
sociocultural system have to be viewed in this context, as well as the shift
from their principal reliance on food collecting to food producing. My long-term
fieldwork makes it easier for these extra-societal factors to be analyzed to
a fuller extent than usual.
Besides reporting on extra-cultural sectors, I describe here what I have called "expressive culture"-life cycle and daily cycle activities, recreation, and material culture-to make the Canela come alive for the reader. In addition, since a principal orientation of this monograph is descriptive ethnography, it is appropriate to include material on how the Canela enjoy themselves and on how they view and value their world.
[II.a] DATA SOURCES
Sources of fieldwork practices, information [Pr.2], and data collection are provided in Appendix 6.
[II.b] CATEGORIZING CULTURE AREAS
A number of scholars, including Kroeber (1948) and Murdock (1951), have attempted to categorize South American and Brazilian Indians in terms of culture areas. However, Steward, Galvão, and Ribeiro are the principal designators pertinent to the Canela. For Steward (1946-1959), the Canela and all Gê-speaking tribes are Marginal in his famous ecological four-way categorization of all South American tribes which is better evolved in Steward and Faron (1959:12). Galvão (1960,1967) offers another system for Brazilian tribes in which he places the Canela in his Culture Area VI(A), "Tocantins-Xingú," with most other Timbira, while the Central Gê are VI(B) and the Kayapó, Gavião, Ozoneí, Tapirapé, Karajá and others are VI(C). Kietzman (1967) develops Galvão's approach, especially for the Summer Institute of Linguistics personnel. Earlier, Darcy Ribeiro (1957, 1967) designated Brazilian tribes as being in "isolation," "intermittent contact," "permanent contact" (Canela), or "integration." Currently, Ribeiro is evolving another system for Brazilian Indians covering all of these peoples in a near exhaustive manner to replace Steward's Handbook of South American Indians for Brazil.
[II.c] ECOLOGICAL CONTEXT DURING 200 YEARS OF CONTACT
Like other lowland South American tribes, the Canela are assumed to have been in a changing environment (a two-way relationship) with the floral, faunal, and climatic systems around them in earlier times. By the mid-1950s, culture contact and resulting acculturation had disrupted this two-way relationship. Thus, precise ecological studies along these dimensions revealing aboriginal conditions were impossible, so I did not carry out the protein, soil depletion, and carrying capacity analyses of some colleagues. Instead, I researched the current ecological differences between the Canela and the Apanyekra, and the differences between the cerrado and dry forest environments for the Canela (W. Crocker,1972).
Concerning the external
socioeconomic context, warfare and trade relations with other tribes have been
disrupted for about two centuries and have been largely cut off for over a century
and a half. Thus, Canela and Apanyekra tribal experiences contrast sharply with
ethnological studies of the Kayapó (Lukesch, 1976; Posey, 1982, 1983b;
T. Turner, 1966; Verswijver, 1978; Vidal, 1977a) and other tribes to the west,
groups of which came out of isolation since the 1930s (Agostinho,1974; Arnaud,1964,1975;
Basso,1973; Chagnon, 1968; Gregor, 1977; Laráia and Da Matta, 1967; and
Taylor, 1977). Francisco Ribeiro (1815 , 1819a , 1819b ) provides
little on external socioeconomic context for the Canela just after their pacification.
In contrast, Murphy (1960) furnishes an acculturation study of several comparative
stages for the Mundurucú, and Cardoso (1976) provides some insight into
the process of assimilation at still later stages of acculturation for the Terena
To gain some perspective
on Canela acculturation, I began a survey of the socioeconomic scene in neighboring
backland communities in 1960. My plan for more extensive studies of this sort
was interrupted by the ranchers' 1963 attack on the Canela messianic movement
[II.B.2.f]. Thus, bad feelings against the Canela in the backlands made it politically
impossible for me to continue such studies until the late 1970s, by which time
my priorities had changed, so such data was not collected. I did, however, make
one visit to Jenipapo do Resplandes in 1979 (Map
3) to record conspicuous changes since the late 1950s.
Data provided in works on other backland communities in eastern Maranhão, Piaui, and Ceará (Chandler, 1972) would help determine what is aboriginally Canela and what is the result of culture contact. Folkloric studies of the Northeast (Campos, 1959) might also be helpful. See Forman (1975: 203225) for folk Catholic and psychological attitudes of dependence similar to those of the backlander of the Canela-Apanyekra region; Hall (1978: 15-54) for characteristics of the drought of the Northeast and its socio-economic problems, including backland ranching and sharecropping; Tipos e Aspectos do Brasil for socio-economic descriptions and actual drawings representative of the Canela-Apanyekra backland area (IBGE, 1956:6466, 7580, 9197, 103105, 124127, 141144, 164166, 399402, 406425); and Johnson (1971) for general material on sharecroppers (all on a larger scale) and photographs characteristic of the Canela-Apanyekra backlands, except for the vegetation and irrigation. To the lesser extent that Amazonian traits were influencing customs of the area, Wagley's Amazon Town (1953) provides background material.
[II.e] HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Turning to the external historical context of the Canela, it would be desirable to have more data on the município of Barra do Corda and adjacent municípios. The archives of cities and communities in Maranhao may contain both general materials on this part of the state and specific materials related to contacts with the Canela. (See the ethnohistorical publications in the bibliography on the Guajajara by Mércio Gomes, 1977.) My data, however, were principally obtained by talking with research assistants and knowledgeable Brazilians.
[II.A] GÊ LANGUAGE FAMILY, ITS POPULATIONS, AND ECOLOGY
Gê (Glossary) is the language of both the Canela and the Apanyekra. The two dialects are very similar and have been converging since about 1950 because of lessening hostilities and increasing frequency of contacts between the two tribes. The Gê language is more widely spread (Map 1) than the region covered by the three geographic biomes converging near the Canela area. Estimated population numbers for all Gê-speaking peoples [II.A.2] stress the scope of this linguistic context. The geography of the intermediate zone where the Canela live lies between the tropical forests of Amazonia (hiléia), the drought-stricken lands of the Northeast (caatinga), and the closed savannas (cerrado) of the central highlands to the southwest (informally, chapada). Geographic and cultural contrasts throughout the Canela backland region and the município of Barra do Corda are also presented.
[II.A.1] Gê Language Family
The Krahó, who live
in five or six villages about 330 kilometers to the southwest of the Canela
and Apanyekra (Map 1), speak a
dialect of Gê, which Jack Popjes, the SIL linguist, considers technically
the same language. The Krïkatí and Pukobyé, who live about
160 kilometers to the west in Montes Altos and Amarante (Map
2), respectively, speak a distinct but related language, as do the Gavião
northeast of Marabá, about 400 kilometers to the northwest of the Canela.
Collectively, the above-mentioned tribes are called the Eastern Timbira (Map
4). Somewhat west of the Krïkatí (about 90 kilometers) near
the confluence of the Tocantins and Araguáia rivers live the Apinayé,
who were sufficiently different from the Eastern Timbira for Nimuendajú
(1946:6) to classify them as the "Western Timbira."
The experts and their general
and principal publications on the Timbira are Arnaud (1964,1984) for the Gavião,
Da Matta (1976, 1982) for the Apinayé, Lave (1971, 1979) for the Krïkatí,
Carneiro da Cunha (1978, 1986) and J. Melatti (1967, 1970, 1978) for the Krahó,
Newton (1974, 1981) for the Pukobyé, and Nimuendajú (1937, 1938,
1946) and W. Crocker (1974a, 1974b, 1984a) for the Canela. There are no separate,
modern publications on the Apanyekra.
At least a dozen groups
of Kayapó Indians live much farther to the west (550 to 1100 kilometers)
in the state of Pará between the Araguáia and Xingú rivers
and beyond, formerly to the Tapajós. Kayapó is sufficiently different
that most Canela have considerable difficulty understanding it; but some claim
to comprehend enough Kayapó to get along well. In the late 1970s, when
asked which Indians could be included in their category, më-hii (the-ones
with-characteristic-aspects: Indians like themselves), they allowed the Kayapó
this degree of familiarity. Taking a more traditional stand than the present
Canela linguistic one, however, I equate mëhii with "Eastern Timbira,"
as the Canela probably did in earlier times (Nimuendajú, 1946:12)[IV.C.1.f].
(For general publications on the Kayapó, see Bamberger,1971; Diniz,1962;
Dreyfus,1963; Hamú, 1987 (bibliography); Lukesch, 1976; Moreira Neto,
1959; T. Turner, 1966, 1979; Posey, 1983b; Vidal, 1977a; Verswijver,1978, and
Farther to the south (775
kilometers) in the Xingú Indigenous Park (Map
1) are the Suyá (Seeger, 1981, 1987), and somewhat to their north
are the Kreen-akore (Panará). These tribes are classified as linguistically
separate from both the Kayapó and each other, but taken all together,
and including the Eastern and Western Timbira, these groups comprise the Northern
Gê speakers. It is not known whether the Canela understand Suyá
and Kreen-akore, but from comparing published words and sentences in Suyá
(Seeger, 1981) with Canela ones (Rumsey, 1971), I believe that communication
would be more difficult than with the Kayapó.
There are only two Central
Gê tribes, the Sherente and Shavante (Maybury-Lewis, 1965,1967,1971).
The former live along the eastern banks of the Tocantins River just south of
the Krahó, and the latter live further south on the Araguáia and
one of its tributaries, the Rio das Mortes (Map
1). These languages are obviously too different from Canela for intercommunication,
but Canela and Shavante contain a number of similar words, such as inkre
(egg), tep (fish), hii (meat), náá (mother),
and ta (rain).
The Southern Gê tribes in southern Brazil are known as the Kaingang (Santos, 1970) and the Xokleng (D. Melatti, 1976; Santos, 1970, 1973). These tribes (Map 1) are linguistically quite distant from the Northern Gê, though the words in the above paragraph are also cognates, and in addition, so is pi ("tree").
[II.A.2] Population of Gê-speaking Indians
The Canela population was
about 300 in 1936 (Nimuendajú, 1946:33) and increased slowly to 412 (±3)
by July 1960. The number diminished to 394 (±2) by mid-1964 as a consequence
of five deaths from attack, 17 departures from the tribe and additional deaths
in the dry forest, some due to different ecological conditions. Additional departures
and returns (13 and 2), and deaths and births, reduced the population to 382
(±2) by mid-1966. With the return to the cerrado in 1968, the population
total rose to 397 (±1) by 1 September 1969, to 416 by the same date in
1970, and to 436 by the same date in 1971 (W. Crocker, 1972, table
2). The Canela population reached 514 (?1) on 1 September 1975, 616 (±3)
by the same date in 1979, and 903 by Indian service count on 1 March 1989. In
1919, Nimuendajú estimated 118 Apanyekra (J. Melatti, 1985:4), and in
1929 he counted 130 (Nimuendajú, 1946:31). By 1970, they had increased
to 205 (±3), by 1971 to 213 (±2), and by 1975 to 225 (±1).4
By 1986 there were 791 Canela
and 294 Apanyekra (CEDI, 1986). All the following tribal population numbers
in this section come from this publication and are credited there to the FUNAI
unless stated otherwise here; census takers and years cited below in brackets
in this section can be found in the above cited Povos Indígenas no Brasil
(CEDI,1986). Thus, combined with 912 Krahó Indians [in the year 1984],
there were approximately 2000 speakers of Canela-Krahó. The Krïkatí
of Montes Altos numbered 360 [J.1. Santos, in 1986], the Gavião-Parkateje
near Marabá were 176 [Ferraz, in 1985], and the Gavião-Pukobyé
of Amarante were reported at about 300 in 1986. Living with the Guajajara on
the Pindaré were 20 Krëjê [in 1986] and 9 Kokuiregatejê
[in 1986]. Thus, there were about 2500 Eastern Timbira Indians. (I prefer round
numbers since these censuses are not precise.) Adding the Western Timbira, the
Apinayé [565 in 1986], to these numbers, there were 3000 to 3100 Timbira
Indians in the mid-1980s.
For the many Kayapó
groups, the Gorotire/Kikretum/ Kubenkranken/Aúkre/Kokraimoro count comes
to 1598, the Kararao to 36, the Mekragnoti to 526, and the Xikrin of the Bacaja
River to 186, all in 1986. Other Kayapó groups are listed without population
numbers. Vidal counted 304 Xikrin on the Catete River in 1985. In the Xingú
Indigenous Park, three Metuktire groups number 374 [Turner, in 1986]. Thus,
the Kayapó count is 3024. Considering the listed though not counted groups,
the total Kayapó population figure may be about 3500 or higher. The Suyá
are listed as being 114 [in 1984] and the Kreen-akore (Panará) as 84
[Biral, 1985]. Thus the Northern Gê total about 6800 Indians in the mid-1980s.
For the Central Gê,
the Sherente number 850 in two groups as reported by Silva e Pena [in 1984].
The Shavante in six groups total 4834 [in 1984], but the count in a seventh
group was not reported. Thus, the Central Gê sum is 5684 or at least 5700
Indians. For the Southern Gê, the Kaingang in 24 groups, some of them
urban, total 11,042, and the Xokleng 634. Thus, there are about 24,000 Gê
language family Indians in Brazil. No Gê-speaking Indians exist outside
Brazil, but tribes grouped in the greater category of Macro-Gê (Steward
and Faron, 1959:22) are widespread, such as Caribbean and Arawakan speakers
in the Antilles and northern South America.
The summarizing tabulation on the following page lists the above figures as stated, not the approximations. The years are mixed but are from the mid-1980s. (Gê tabulation)
[II.A.3] Effects of Ecology on Survival, Demography, Acculturation, Geography
Ecological effects on a tribe's history, survival, location, demography, and degree of acculturation or deculturation are often not taken into account in monographic studies. Some factors of this sort are discussed here such as (1) aboriginal tribal location near pioneer front movements in relation to river basins and mountain ranges; (2) later tribal location in relation to rivers, waterfalls, necessary settlement dispersal, and road construction, and (3) the two tribal locations in relation to their current contrasting environments. To facilitate comprehension of the above-mentioned factors affecting Apanyekra and Canela culture, I describe the geography of the Barra do Corda region and certain problems cerrado cover presents for human beings specifically and generally.
[II.A.3.a] HISTORICAL ISOLATION
Earlier and later movements bypassed the Canela region. Pastos Bons, 150 kilometers to the southeast of the modern Canela region, was an outpost of settler activity since the middle of the 18th century (Map 4). Earlier still (1694), Francisco Garcia de Avila led "a great expedition of 1350 men to the region of the Itapicuru headwaters" (Nimuendajú, 1946:3) (Map 4) on the edge of the territory held by Canela ancestors, the Capiekran (Nimuendajú, 1946:32). Consequently, dangers to the Canela from early settlers came initially from the southeast rather than from the north, from São Luis, by way of the Mearim and Corda rivers (Nimuendajú,1946:2).
The Krahó occupied the area west of Pastos Bons and São Raimundo da Mangabeira (Map 4), and so, were in the direct line of march of pioneer cattle ranchers, as they first moved west between 1810 and 1820 into the watershed of the Tocantins River, along the relatively flat and fertile basins of the Itapicuru and Parnaíba rivers (Hemming, 1987:190; J. Melatti, 1967:20). Thus, the pioneer front drove the Krahó out of their aboriginal habitat to the Tocantins, causing them numerous defeats, disorganization, and deculturation. The Capiekran, in contrast, living entirely north of the Itapicuru River, merely retreated further into their traditional lands north of the Alpercatas River, escaping the main thrust of the pioneer front. The hilly, still largely unsettled region between the Alpercatas and Itapicuru, now set aside as the Parque Nacional do Mirador (Map 2), protected the Canela to a considerable extent in the 1810s and 1820s, as did the Serra Das Alpercatas immediately to their south (Map 3).
Over a century and a quarter
later, the first tire track truck road reached the city of Barra do Corda (Map
2), coming in from the southeast. It bypassed the Canela area (Map
3), still protected by the Serra das Alpercatas. This road came from Floriano,
Mirador, and Conceição. Such access into Barra do Corda was possible
only after a bridge was built in 1956 across the Alpercatas River at Campo Largo,
24 kilometers east of Jenipapo do Resplandes.
By 1960, a central
(an unpaved highway elevated above the terrain) passed 100 kilometers south
of the Canela lands. It came from the Brazilian Northeast by way of Floriano
and Picos through Pastos Bons to reach São Raimundo da Mangabeira, and
from there continued to Carolina and on the Tocantins River. This was also the
principal route of pioneer movements during the early part of the 18th century,
as mentioned above. Thus, it is apparent that the advantages of the Canela geographical
location in relation to river valleys and mountain ranges spared them considerable
cultural disruption and even physical relocation.
The highway now running north of the Canela area and through Barra do Corda did not exist in 1956, river and air transportation being the principal modes of access. The section of the road passing through Presidente Dutra to Imperatriz was completed only in the early 1970s. (See earth moving construction on the left in Plate 3a.) This road and the one 150 kilometers to the south passing through São Raimundo da Mangabeira are built on firmer and flatter ground than is found in the hilly and sandy cerrado region of the Canela. Thus, physical geography again played an important protective role in the Canela and Apanyekra survival into modern times. The Krahó have survived as well but are considerably more deculturated.
Continuing their aboriginal
habit of going on trek [II.D.3.i] even as late as the late 1950s, the Canela
did not travel due south to São Raimundo da Mangabeira located on the
new central. Instead, they went the round-about, more populated way of
Leandro, Campo Largo (Map 3), Conceição,
Mirador, Pastos Bons, Floriano, Picos to eventually reach Juazeiro (Map
2), from where they caught trains to São Paulo in the south or went
by highway to Recife and Salvador in the Northeast. In Juazeiro, even in the
last century, they were in a well populated and developed region, the valley
of the São Francisco River.
In the late 1950s, the Canela
and Apanyekra told elaborate and extensive stories about the social "disasters"
(due to misunderstandings) that occurred on such trips. Such "trekking"
was a major part of their existence during the 1890s and up until the 1970s.
When they arrived in a town, they looked for the mayor and asked him for food
and lodging. Usually they were asked to sing and dance, and did so, and were
housed in the jail for the night. Often they sold artifacts at prices that were
far higher than in the Barra do Corda area. The next day they asked the mayor
for transportation to the next town, which was often given, probably to get
them out of town and trouble.
Sometime before May in 1958,
a group of about nine Canela males went to Rio de Janeiro: Ropkhà, 57
years old; Waakhay, 22; the younger Krôôtô, 23; Hàwpùù,
30; Khrùt, 23; Khrèt, 22; the younger Kaapêltùk,
23; Yõõkhên, 21; and Hikhuu, early 20s. Hàwpùù
and Waakay are sons of Ropkhà; Khrùt, Khrèt, and Kaapêltùk
are classificatory sons-in-law of Ropkhà; and Krôôtô,
Yõõkhên, and Hikhuu are not related to Ropkhà. The
young men, except for Waakay and Hàwpùù, are not closely
related. They all belong to the Lower age-set of Kaapêltùk except
for Hàwpùù who belongs to the adjacent older Upper age-set,
while Ropkhà belongs to the Upper age-set 20 years older than Hàwpùù's.
They took to the Indian service in Rio de Janeiro two sets of bows and arrows,
five clubs (khô-po) [II.G.3.d.(1)], and the ceremonial belt with
pendant tapir hoof tips (tsù) [II.G.3.a.(3)] of the sing-dance
master Rãrãk, age 46, according to the service agent Raimundo
Ferreira Sobrinho. They were given in return 466 meters of cloth (at least 156
wraparound skirts), 3 shot guns, and about 20 machetes. The bows, possibly ceremonial,
could have been made of what was known locally as "purplewood" (pau
roxo) and the clubs of "brazilwood" (pau brasil), both
nonexistent in the area by the late 1970s because of their value. The belt might
have had 18 to 24 tapir hoof tips. Thus, by the exchange standards of the backlands
and Barra do Corda in the late 1950s, the payment was very high, but by the
international standards of the late 1970s, the payment was extremely low.
Today, the Canela travel far less (being more controlled by the Indian service), but follow modern bus routes which take them to Belém and Brasília, not to the Northeast. They still, nevertheless, want to come back from large cities with travel trophies like in aboriginal times [IV.C.1.c.(5)], which now take the form of hunting and farming equipment and even trucks and cattle. New chiefs demonstrate their leadership ability to their people by going to cities and coming back with whatever goods they can. In the 1980s, Kaarà?khre came back with a truck, though an ex-chief, while the younger Kaapêltùk returned with 30 head of cattle.
[II.A.3.b] PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
As Nimuendajú (1946:37)
has mentioned, the Canela and other Timbira tribes were especially adapted to
their closed savanna (cerrado; Glossary)
and stream-side gallery forest (Glossary)
environments. Whereas the Eastern and Western Timbira live in the closed savannas
(except for the Gavião; Nimuendajú, 1946:19), the other Northern
Gê-speaking tribes inhabit mostly forests. The Kayapó occupy both
environments J. Turner, 1967) and go on trek in closed savannas as well as through
certain tropical forest locations in order to gather particular kinds of produce
from each environment (Vidal, 1977a).
The Canela and Apanyekra live almost entirely in the cerrado, close to six degrees south of the equator and 45 degrees west longitude. Because the "elevation" (Nimuendajú, 1946:2) is between 200 to 300 meters above sea level (with the highest immediate mesas and ridges being around 400 meters), and because they are about 650 kilometers southeast of the mouth of the Amazon River (i.e., Belém), the climate of the region is quite moderate.
Both the Canela and the
Apanyekra are located in the município of Barra do Corda, which is slightly
south of the center point of Maranhão state. This location places them
in the general region of the intersection of three biomes. From the northwest
and Amazonia, tropical forests (hiléia) reach to within 250 kilometers
of the Barra do Corda area. Dry forests (mata seca, avarandado, Figure
5)extensions of these hiléia rain forests almost reach Barra
do Corda, and do reach the Apanyekra (Map
8) and the Indian service post of Sardinha (Map
3), 15 kilometers from Barra do Corda. The undergrowth in these dry forests,
though not wet, is too dense to walk through; one must clear the way with a
machete. Some of these forests are deciduous (Figure
6), losing most of their leaves in September and October.
Dry forests are the characteristic vegetation around the village of Sardinha (Plates 32, 33), where the Canela lived from 1963 through 1968. There the trees range from 15 to 30 meters tall, but farther north and west they are higher. The Apanyekra were living in the cerrado when occupying their Rancharia village during the mid- to late-1960s, but nevertheless were on the edge of these dry forests, which run roughly along the left bank of the Corda River (Map 8). Their principal village of Porquinhos is also in the cerrado and not far from these dry forests, which lie about 10 kilometers west of the village. Much of the soil in the dry forests is good for growing crops in the traditional manner. The soil of the cerrado requires expensive additives and machinery to accomplish the same production levels (Abelson and Rowe, 1987).
From the east and southeast
of Barra do Corda, the caatinga biome of the Brazilian Northeast (IBGE, 1956:88-90)
reaches close to the Canela area (50 to 100 kilometers). These semi-arid lands,
almost deserts, spread over most parts of the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio
Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Alagoas, Ceará, and Piaui, except in the mountains
and on the coast.
True caatinga countryside
occurs in many places east of the capital of the state of Piaui, Terezina, and
can be found in patches here and there almost into Barra do Corda. The vegetation
around and just to the east of Barra do Corda, however, is scrub: small bushes
and low trees with tangled underbrush. This variety of caatinga develops where
rainfall is slightly higher than elsewhere in the Northeast.
The Brazilian Northeast
is historically famous for droughts, which occur approximately every seven years.
During such times, it scarcely rains for about 18 months, and water is obtained
from open wells that are dug 5 to 10 meters into the ground. During these droughts,
large populations have died or migrated out of the area, either to the south
or to the west, and cattle herds have been considerably reduced in size. According
to Canela research assistants, such a drought has reached as far west as the
Canela area only once (about 1915).
From the states of Mato Grosso, Pará, and Goiás to the southwest of Barra do Corda, the cerrado biome reaches the Canela and Apanyekra areas, but not the area around the city of Barra do Corda, ending just short of Ourives (Map 3), 25 kilometers from Barra. The cerrado flora mixes with the extensions of the tropical forest flora (i.e., the dry deciduous forest) and with the caatinga ground cover, prevailing over both these biomes. The Canela and Apanyekra live in these finger-like extensions of cerrado lands (IBGE, 1956:64-66, agreste; Ferri, 1969:19), reaching into their area from the southwest. Unlike the Apanyekra who live adjacent to the dry forests, the Canela have to go either to the Apanyekra (Map 8) or to Sardinha (Map 3) to retrieve products from the dry forests, such as macaw tail feathers, resin used to glue falcon down on bodies, or genipap, a blue-black ceremonial body paint.
1946:1: steppes; Eiten, 1971:159-168) is a general term (known as chapada
or campestre locally) that describes a continuum of changing vegetation,
ranging from semi-open grassy terrain to almost closed woodlands. (The traveler
sees cerrado countryside-quite similar to the Canela principal vegetation-around
Brasília.) Campos, at the other extreme, are fields of open grass
largely free of shrubbery, but such vegetation is rare in the Canela region,
found only near the sources of streams. Several transitional formations exist
distinguished by different densities and heights of trees. The term "cerrado"
(meaning "closed") applies to all of these formations but especially
to woodlands (Plate 13 c,d);
that is, where trees grow closer together, many of them touching (Ferri, 1971,1974).
These cerrado trees often take strange shapes: gnarled, twisted, and turned.
(For a list of cerrado trees, see Nimuendajú, 1946:1.) A person on a
horse or in a jeep can move freely almost anywhere between the trees even in
the more wooded cerrado (Figure
3), except where crossing a stream bordered by a gallery forest (Glossary)
(Figure 4). This person's vision, however, is totally blocked by trees 10 to
50 meters away, depending on their varying density. Mesas, or extended ridges,
are sometimes seen in the distance, helping the orientation of the person within
the cerrado environment.
In 1970, I was returning
from the Apanyekra to the new village of Escalvado with a group of Canela. To
save time after passing Papagáio, we followed a course with no trail
or markings from Por Enquanto (Map
3) directly east to Escalvado instead of taking the much longer, permanent
trail to the south. The terrain in this area generally slopes to the north.
It also slopes to the east or west at streams, but rarely to the south, which
is upstream, as the land rises toward the Serra das Alpercatas (Map
3), a west-to-east mesa-like ridge forming much of the southern boundary
of the Canela reservation. The sun was not visible in the overcast sky and the
cerrado trees were high enough so we could not see the Alpercatas ridge, which
should have been some 10 kilometers to the south. The younger Kaapêltùk
[I.G.4] was sure our course was correct, so we continued. Becoming increasingly
concerned however, I asked Kaapêl to have a boy climb a tree to see how
we were moving in relation to the Alpercatas ridge. He refused at first, being
sure of his leadership, but finally ordered a youth up a tree to appease me.
The young man came down looking embarrassed and reported that the Alpercatas
ridge was to the north, exactly opposite from the expected direction. We had
been traveling west, back to Por Enquanto, without knowing it.
This kind of mistake is
easy to make where no trail exists and when the sun does not penetrate the clouds
most of the day. One cannot see very far in the cerrado anyway, and in these
conditions, one must depend on the general slope of the land, or a mesa, to
keep on course. In May, 1960, while map-making in the cerrado with the younger
Kaapêl, I used a compass course taken from the top of a small mesa to
pass straight through an hour of unbroken cerrado instead of following a curved
trail along a stream. We arrived in camp one half hour early, which surprised
and pleased him.
The only time one cannot walk or run freely almost anywhere between the trees in the cerrado is when trying to cross most gallery forest streams. Here the underbrush can be so dense (Figure 4) that it must be hacked away by machete. Backlanders call established trails across and through the well-watered jungle terrain on both sides of the streams "passageways" (passagens). These crucial lines of communication sometimes resemble tunnels through green hills of massed vegetation. Swampy areas often line the edges of the Santo Estévão stream, and to a lesser extent the other streams of the Canela region. Thus, while some stream crossings might be free and clear (Plate 13e), others might be 100 meters long. Besides providing access to a fordable part of the stream, these passageways sometimes have long sections of built-up footbridges (më-hapàà: for-Eastern-Timbira a-bridge). Often a long grass called tiririca grows between the dense gallery forest and the cerrado. If a person pulls or rubs against this plant the wrong way, its sharp edges rip open the skin. Consequently, nobody without heavy clothing, which the Canela usually do not possess, is going to dash through a gallery forest except along the prepared passageway.
[II.A.3.c] SOCIOECONOMIC FACTORS INHIBITING BRAZILIAN ENCROACHMENT
Settlements in the cerrado are located near streams because of the need for water. Soil of the Canela cerrado is unusually sandy and dry. Only in gallery forests (Plate 12d) are soils sufficiently damp and rich in proper nutrients to support crops grown in the traditional manner. Thus, the Canela farm plots, as well as the backlander's fields, are always placed in gallery forests or their broad extensions. Recent studies suggest that the cerrado is usable for agriculture if the farmer supplies appropriate additives (e.g., limestone, phosphorous) each year. Such fertilizers have to be specific for each location (Abelson and Rowe, 1987).
Encroachment on Canela lands
was difficult for Brazilian pioneers because natural barriers restricted settlement
to gallery forests and their cerrado edges. When moving toward Canela lands,
migrants had to move their houses and farms in observable steps, advancing from
stream to stream. Because streams were 6 to 10 kilometers apart, any movement
in the direction of a Canela village was pronounced and easily recognizable,
so complaints could be unequivocable. (See the distances between the stream-edge
gallery forests in Maps 3 and 7.)
Access was also impeded by the absence of navigable riverine routes-the highways of earlier times. The Corda River is not navigable much above Barra do Corda, and its headwaters are only about 50 kilometers southwest of the Apanyekra village of Porquinhos. (See the southwest corner of Map 3). The Alpercatas River flows from west to east about 20 kilometers south of the village of Escalvado but is not navigable this far up.
The cerrado grasses of the states of Mato Grosso, southern Pará, and Goiás are famous for supporting cattle, but the grass in the Canela region will not support large herds. Most ranchers maintained herds of no more than 500 cattle during the late 1960s. Thus, the Canela cerrado region is marginal for raising cattle as well as for cultivating crops on a large scale. In addition, the fact that no natural products of great economic value exist in the Canela cerrados or gallery forests,-such as rubber trees, gold, or brazil nuts-partially explains why the Canela have not been more disturbed by the progress of the various Brazilian pioneer fronts and still live in their own lands in their tribal state.
The high degree of sandiness of the cerrado where the Canela live partly explains why, even into the mid-1980s (Map 2), no highways had been built through the area. The feeder roads running from the Brazilian Northeast to the Belém-Brasília highway in the west pass through more preferable, less sandy areas, where the ground is harder and therefore more suitable for jeeps and trucks. I have been in several vehicles stuck in the unusually sandy Canela-type cerrado, before the reinforced road was put in in 1971, but 4-wheel-drive is still necessary in many places.
[II.A.3.d] APANYEKRA VERSUS CANELA ACCULTURATION FACTORS
While both tribes live in
cerrado lands, distinct differences exist between the Canela and the Apanyekra
areas. The Apanyekra live at the edge of the dry forests, whereas the Canela
live some 20 kilometers away from them, where dry forest occurs only as small
islands in the cerrado vegetation. The Apanyekra village of Porquinhos is close
to the rapidly flowing Corda River, 5-8 meters from bank to bank. The Canela
live near meandering streams, 2-4 meters across. These differences mean that
the Apanyekra have far better hunting and fishing possibilities. They can hunt
in both cerrado and dry forest environments, whereas the Canela only have access
to cerrado and islands of dry forest poor in game. Fish is an almost daily element
in the Apanyekra diet but rarely found in Canela homes.
These conditions suggest that the Apanyekra may be better fed. The Apanyekra, on the average, are taller than the Canela, which could be the result of better nutrition. The greater height of the Apanyekra, however, may be due to other reasons. The Canela display more of the classical Mongoloid features of traditional physical anthropology, while the Apanyekra have less evidence of Mongoloid folds above the eyes as well as other associated characteristics.
The best lands for extensive
farming and cattle ranching in the Canela-Apanyekra region are near the headwaters
of the Corda River. The area just to the south of the Apanyekra lands along
the relatively fertile foothills of the Serra das Alpercatas is occupied by
the Ferreira ranching family, and the high area to the southeast of Porquinhos
is occupied by the Arruda family of ranchers (see "Sítio dos Arrudas,"
Map 3). The Arrudas report that
the Ferreiras arrived in the 1830s and that their own ancestors arrived 10 to
15 years later.
In contrast, the early settlements
near the Canela were mainly small farms. The communities of Leandro and Jenipapo
do Resplandes lie on flat lands and along lines of communication with the Northeast,
and so were less isolated (see road to Mirador in the lower right corner of
Map 3). They were settled by farmers
who became less wealthy and less arrogant than the ranchers in the hills to
the west (around the Apanyekra). These communities had numerous cowboys who
were really gunmen maintaining law and order in the backlands for their rancher
bosses. Consequently, it was easier for the Canela to establish relatively good
relations with their neighbors than for the Apanyekra.
Stories the Apanyekra told
in the late 1950s suggest extensive acculturative contacts with the Ferreira
family during the last century. The Apanyekra have experienced far greater difficulties
in retaining their lands. These two points may be related. In the late 1950s,
backland farming families associated with the Ferreiras maintained farms only
2 kilometers away from the Apanyekra village on the Aguas Claras stream (Map
8). Because of the immediacy of such contacts over a long period, Apanyekra
men were more likely than Canela men to wear cloth all the time in the late
1950s. Moreover, the Apanyekra knew how to dance in the embraced backland (Western)
manner well before my arrival, while the Canela did not practice such paired
dancing until 1959.
In contrast to the Apanyekra, Canela men often went naked in the late 1950s (Plate 40d). A great Canela grievance in those days was that men had to grab leaves to cover themselves as they passed the post building (Plate 11a) with its civilizada women, even when racing through its ford with heavy logs, or the insulted women would complain bitterly and the agent had to use strong words at meetings in the plaza.
The frequency and extent of the two tribes' contact with outsiders was reversed by the middle of the 20th century. The Canela had been relatively more isolated from their neighbors (small farmers) than the Apanyekra, because of their numbers and greater land controlling and holding abilities. In 1938 however, the Indian service sent a family to live beside the Canela village. They did not send a family to the Apanyekra area because it was too far and too difficult to maintain contact between such a family and Barra do Corda. Delfino Sousa, however, an unmarried developmentally handicapped backlander, was paid a small amount to live next to the Apanyekra villages as the Indian service representative there, from the 1950s until his death sometime before 1966. Sr. Delfino made several trips to Barra do Corda a year, but his representation of the Indian service and his influence on the Apanyekra were minimal compared to the overpowering effects on the Canela by the series of city-born (Barra do Corda) Indian service agents, teachers, artisans, and their wives and children during the 1940s and 1950s.
By Nimuendajú's time
and after, acculturation proceeded more rapidly among the Canela than among
the Apanyekra due to easier access from Barra do Corda and the consequent presence
of Indian service personnel living among the Canela. The terrain was easier
to pass through to reach the Canela villages, and the distance from Barra do
Corda was significantly less.
The distance between Barra
do Corda and the Canela villages is between 60 and 70 kilometers as the crow
flies, whereas it is between 100 and 120 kilometers for the Apanyekra villages
(Map 3). The trail between Barra
do Corda and the Canela villages of Baixão Prêto, Escalvado, and
Ponto passes through easily manageable low forest (bush) half the way, requiring
only one stream crossing at Ourives. The trail is between 80 and 90 kilometers
long, depending on the village.
In sharp contrast, the trail to the Apanyekra villages runs through denser and higher forests along the Corda River most of the way, requiring several stream and river crossings. On the ground the distance varies between 130 and 150 kilometers, for the Porquinhos and Rancharia villages respectively.
During the late 1950s, roads
passable to jeeps and small trucks went through woods about one quarter of the
way to each tribe, beyond which points (Mucunã and Baixão dos
Peixes: Map 3) all travel had to
be on horse, mule, or foot. Nevertheless, motor vehicles were rarely used except
in emergencies, being too expensive. For transporting considerable equipment
or in emergencies, such as for my first entry and last exit in the late 1950s
and for service personnel during the messianic movement [II.B.2.f], Canela villages
were reached by truck through Leandro (120 km). Apanyekra villages were unreachable
Using pack animals carrying
supplies all the way took two to three layover nights to reach the Canela, whereas
it took three to four night stops to reach the Apanyekra. A man traveling by
horse at a fast walk (non-emergency) could reach the Canela in a day-and-a-half
to two days (stopping one night). I once made an emergency trip by horse from
Ponto to Barra do Corda in 18 hours, stopping only for 2 hours. It took, however,
two to three full days (stopping two nights) to reach the Apanyekra traveling
in non-emergency situations but without the delays required by a mule train.
These transportation differences, though not apparently great, made it significantly more difficult for the Indian service to maintain a family among the Apanyekra, until the 1970s, when the road from Escalvado past the Sítio dos Arrudas to Porquinhos was completed (Map 3).
The Apanyekra have one principal
watercourse, the Corda River, with its ample gallery forests. Only one of the
12 Apanyekra abandoned village settlements I visited and measured was located
on the banks of the Corda River (Ludgero), and some of them were occupied during
the last century. All other sites were on small streams. The Apanyekra live
on the smaller streams because they believe the Corda River's currents are too
dangerous for babies and small children.
The streams by the Porquinhos
and Rancharia villages were quite small. In the first (Map
6), the bathing pool reached to slightly above the knees at the deepest
point, but the water was barely flowing. The Rancharia village was adjacent
to a tepid lake unsuitable for drinking, and the headwaters of the stream where
women went to get water commenced 200 meters below the village site (Map
In contrast, the Canela
rarely have had water problems while living on the Santo Estévão.
This rapidly flowing stream is 2 to 4 meters across, and is usually ½
to 1½ meters in depth. Its waters are cool, fresh, and satisfactory for
drinking. They originate from springs no more than 10 kilometers above Escalvado.
A number of streams run through the Canela lands to eventually meet the Ourives stream, a tributary of the Corda River. From west to east, they are the Galheirinho, Pau Grosso, Dois Riachos, Santo Estévão, Pombo, Raposa, Dos Bois, and Curicaca (Map 7). The Galheirinho, Pau Grosso, Dois Riachos, and Curicaca streams and gallery forests were not used by the Canela until well after their lands were demarcated, starting in 1971, because they were either inhabited or neutralized politically by the presence of nearby rancher-influenced families in Bacabal and Leandro. (For comparing stream spacing and forest growth between the two tribal areas, see Maps 7 and 8.)
[II.B] DIACHRONIC CONTEXT
The historical materials presented within this chapter provide a context within which current changes in Canela society have occurred and may be understood. Externally, the Canela have been in close contact with the people of Barra do Corda for many decades, an urban Brazilian society of well-developed sophistication. The Canela visit Barra do Corda constantly. On any particular day 6 to 60 may be found pursuing activities within the city, which has been part of their world since about 1900 [II.B.1.c.(3)].
[II.B.1] Indigenous Accounts of Canela History from Contact to 1929
Today the Canela view their
mythology with considerable doubt. As recently as 1957, however, when I first
arrived among them, the Canela retained much faith in their mythology. These
beliefs included a large body of oral tradition, which certain elders enjoyed
narrating to young people in the plaza during the late afternoon. These tales
ranged from clearly mythological ones (Sun and Moon and Star-Woman), to war
stories (Pèp and Wayatom), through post-pacification accounts (Tempê
and Vão da Serra), and finally to narratives (Major Delfino Kô?kaypo
and Nimuendajú [Kô?kaypo]) of events that took place in known village
sites. Post-pacification accounts and village narratives, are included here
as "indigenous accounts" along with the few published historical facts
available up to the time of Nimuendajú.
The main source for reconstructing Canela ethnohistory is from the efforts of the research assistants, especially the older Mïïkhrô. We worked out the sequence of episodes together. Other Canela who are generations younger or who have not gone through the same long process of reflection probably would not put the events together in the same sequence in just one or several sittings. Other sources are Hemming (1987) and the first chapter of Nimuendajú (1946), as well as personal communication with residents of Barra do Corda, such as Olímpio Cruz, Olímpio Fialho, and Raimundo Miranda. This ethnohistorical reconstruction is only a summary account.
[II.B.1.a] FROM CONTACT TO PACIFICATION, LATE 1600s TO 1814
The Canela, or Capiekran5,
as they were called in the 18th and 19th century chronicles (Nimuendajú,
1946:29) before their pacification (Glossary),
may have been contacted first by Brazilian soldiers near the end of the 17th
century, when Francisco Garcia de Avila made an expedition into the area (Nimuendajú,
1946:3). There is also some evidence that the Canela, though not the Apanyekra,
may have come from a region farther east (W. Crocker, 1979:242), where they
might have had contact with other Brazilian forces. (There were Timbira as far
east as Oeiras in Piaui; Map 4.)
Nimuendajú (1946:32) points out that the Capiekran were so badly defeated
by the Càkamekra in 1814 that they surrendered to the Brazilian garrison
in Pastos Bons that year for protection from other Gê tribes. In 1815,
they were temporarily lured to Caxias by Brazilian leaders to fight the Càkamekra,
where they were exposed to smallpox. (For the geographical positions of most
Timbira tribes in earlier times, see Map
4, and for a publication on Brazilian militarily supported pioneer movements
in general, see Morse,1965.)
By 1817, the smallpox epidemic had killed thousands of Timbira as far west as the Apinayé beyond the Tocantins. Those who survived returned (according to their tradition) to their old tribal area near the headwaters of the Santo Estévão stream and then moved on to the junction of the Porcos stream with the Corda River (Map 3), where they stayed for some years. (For a general account in English of the pioneer front contacts with most of the Timbira tribes between 1790 and 1850, see Hemming,1987:181-199.)
[II.B.1.b.] EARLY POST-PACIFICATION PERIOD, 1815-1840
There is little mention
of the Canela until several decades later (1835), but several tribal stories
supply some information. The first story that coincides with written history
is the tale of Chief Tempê (Nimuendajú, 1946:32-33). He was the
chief of the Canela just after their surrender to Brazilian militia (bandeiras)
during their stay in Caxias and while they lived on the Porcos stream. During
the late 1810s or early 1820s, the Canela lived in hiding near a spring in a
valley (Vão da Serra) in the Serra das Alpercatas near the Sítio
dos Arrudas, an area that was to become central to the territories of the three
Canela tribes: the Apanyekra, Kenkateye, and Ramkokamekra [In.4.b]. During this
period they were well aware of the devastation Brazilians could bring them.
The tale goes that settlers found the spring and saw Indians coming to drink
there. They sent for soldiers to attack the presumed dangerous warriors. Consequently,
a military commandant came with troops and required the Canela to descend peacefully
from the hills.
According to other Canela
stories, the 1820s were years of considerable disorganization and miscegenation.
In the tale of Barnabe, a Canela woman learned Portuguese as the mistress of
a rancher and served as interpreter and go-between, facilitating good relations.
Later, word came from the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II (Awkhêê),
that the backlanders should allow all Indian peoples working for them to return
to their tribes. A similar order forbade miscegenation.
By the mid-1830s, a chief
was appointed in the new pa?hi style [III.D.1.b] (Glossary),
that is, chosen by a backland authority and accepted by the Canela. They called
him Kawkhre and the backlanders called him Luis Domingo. On one of our walking
trips to old village sites, the older Mïïkhrô, identified the remains
of a Canela village founded by Kawkhre. It lay about half way between Escalvado
and the Serra das Alpercatas to the south and just to the east of the headwaters
of the Santo Estévão stream (Map
In about 1838, a local Brazilian authority called Diogo summoned Chief Kawkhre to bring his men to help put down an uprising in the interior. Thus, according to the older Mïïkhrô, Kawkhre led his warriors into the Balaiada war (which was probably related to the Cabanagem rebellion of the same period based in Belém) (Hemming, 1987:227-237). The older Mïïkhrô also talked about when the Canela fought with backlanders against forest Gamella Indians (Map 4), and about a later Canela chief, Cadete Palkhre, who sang while in prison in Barra do Corda. The older Mïïkhrô also showed me Chief Cadete's village sites.
[II.B.1.c] TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY CULTURAL CLIMAX
On another occasion in 1959,
the older Mïïkhrô walked with me from Baixão Prêto to Ponto.
We visited about six former village sites (khrï-?wrèm:tapera)
just east of the Santo Estévão stream. Some were occupied before
he was born, around 1878, and some much later. He remembered best the two sites
in the Escalvado area because he grew up there. The locations of most houses
were still identifiable, and seeing them revived his memory about the experiences
of individuals who lived in them.
In the days of the two old
Escalvado villages, about 1894 to 1903, the Canela experienced a cultural climax
largely in economic terms. The two important chiefs were Coronel Tomasinho and
Major Delfino (Kô?kaypo). Quite clearly, economic surpluses existed in
those days, as reported by research assistants. Kô?kaypo cultivated large
fields of rice, which he took in a boat from Barra do Corda to São Luis
for sale. (For a mid-20th century boat, see Plate
4b.) With his extra funds, he eventually bought and maintained about
a dozen cattle. The Canela did not have to kill and eat them because they had
enough food during that period. Unfortunately, while Kô?kaypo was away
from the tribe traveling, he left his herd with a backland rancher in Leandro
who let the cattle "disappear" completely.
Coronel Tomasinho was known for making smoking pipes of clay and for mending shotguns. Backlanders (Glossary) came from considerable distances for his mending services. We found the remains of Coronel Tomasinho's house (and a small piece of a clay pipe). The house had been built with reinforced mud-clay walls in the backland manner, a construction very unusual among the cerrado-oriented Canela who preferred palm thatch.
In 1900, the Càkamekra (Tsoo-khãm-më-?khra: fox in they Indian-person: the fox's place Indian dwellers) came from the Rio das Flores, Mucura (Map 4), to the northeast and joined the Canela in their Escalvado village. Both tribes carried out the Hà?kawrè ceremony, in which potential warriors and antagonists were symbolically and maybe actually reduced to passivity. In this ceremony men entered the camping area of the other tribe where renowned female sing-dancersowners of the singing sash (Plate 58e,f) band of honorsatisfied them sexually. Other ceremonial acts also exist in which the potentiality of hostile activities is nullified by a female sexual presence.
In 1901, the Guajajara Indians of Alto Alegre (just west of Barra do Corda, Map 4) killed a number of monks and nuns and staged a strong military uprising against the backlanders. The authorities of Barra do Corda summoned the Canela to help defeat the Indians. Apparently the forest-dwelling Guajajara were more afraid of the cerrado-loving Canela than they were of the citizens of Barra do Corda. According to the poet and Indian service agent Olímpio Cruz (Figure 7), the Guajajara capitulated after the first rush of "wild" Canela, who shouted and blasted their horns as they arrived (Cruz, 1982). The older Mïïkhrô and the older Kaapêltùk told long and detailed stories about the Canela attack, led by Major Delfino Kô?kaypo. Nimuendajú states that 40 Canela warriors were involved (Nimuendajú, 1946:33).
Because of unsettled conditions in Barra do Corda after the uprising, the Canela withdrew several youths who were interned in the convent. Along with learning to read and write, they were taught Catholicism. A significant proportion of the folk Catholicism in the tribe today has its roots in the beliefs spread by these returning students, one of whom was the father of my research assistant Mulwa (Plate 71a).
In 1903, a very important
event occurred: the execution of a sorcerer (kay). Francelino Kaawùy
was accused of killing by witchcraft a woman who would not give herself to him
sexually (Nimuendajú, 1946:240). He belonged to the extended family of
Chief Kô?kaypo. While Kô?kaypo was away with most of his family,
Chief Coronel Tomasinho held a hearing during which Kaawùy was condemned
to death. The three men who volunteered to be the executioners caught Kaawùy
by surprise by a clump of trees on the right margin of the Santo Estévão,
about half a kilometer below the old Ponto village site. They beat him to death
by hitting him on the head with heavy wooden clubs. (See Schultz, 1976b, for
a similar execution in 1959 among the Krahó.) When officials in Barra
do Corda heard about this matter, they came and took the three executioners
(murderers to the officials) back to the city, where the executioners spent
several months in jail.
In the meantime, Chief Kô?kaypo, who did not agree with the results of the hearing on witchcraft, withdrew from the tribe in protest with his followers. He established a new village, first in the Khen-te-kô-?katswèl (hill did water pierce) area and later in the Poo-tùk (cerrado- deer-female dead) region known as Os Bois (the cattle) (Map 3). Coronel Tomasinho also left the Escalvado area with the remaining two-thirds of the tribe and started a new village in the Pombo stream (Map 3).
[II.B.1.d] YEARS OF ECONOMIC DEFICIENCY, 1903-1922
In the Canela cerrado, traditional
crops can be cultivated only in soils next to the streams and in the adjacent
area of the removed gallery forest (Glossary)
trees and shrubbery. Of the four streams that are central to the Canela lands
(Santo Estévão, Pombo, Raposa, Os Bois), only the Santo Estévão
is large enough to provide water for extensive cultivation. Outlying areas included
in the reservation today, such as Pau Grosso, Dois Riachos, Galherinho, Campestre,
Lagoa do André, Aldeia Velha, and Pak-re do have sufficient gallery forests
and soils. These lands, however, were not available to the Canela until after
the demarcation of their lands in the mid-1970s, because backland community
politics rendered them unsafe.
According to the research assistants, a schism and moving away from the Santo Estévão stream marked the beginning of a period of economic deficiencies that ended only with the tribe's return to the Santo Estévão at Ponto around 1922. Apparently, when the tribe lived on some other stream, economic deficiencies were usual. This was also the case in 1935 when they moved away from the Santo Estévão stream (i.e., from Baixão Prêto) just after the smallpox epidemic, and then returned to it in 1939 at Ponto under the orders of Castello Branco, their first village Indian agent [II.B.2.b]. I question the validity of such research assistant declarations, but history supports their belief.
Following the tribal schism
in 1903, Coronel Tomasinho made several attempts to bring Major Delfino Kô?kaypo
and his people back to the major segment of the tribe. None were successful.
Around 1907, Delfino and his people instituted a peace-maintaining ceremony
in which a youth from each of the two villages of the tribe was made a Ceremonial-chief-of-the-
whole-tribe (Khri-?kuni-á-më-hõõpa?hi: tribe
its-whole superlative plural their-chief) (Glossary).
These two ceremonial positions have descended from father to son ever since. The ceremony itself has become enshrined in the Pepkahàk festival and is enacted in the Apikrawkraw-re performance. The two Ceremonial-chiefs-of-the-whole-tribe walk back and forth between two symbolically warring factions (the Pepkahàk and the Falcons), keeping them apart. In the late 1950s, the younger Kaapêltùk and Khrùt held these positions, which are the highest of any hàmren (Glossary) status posts in the tribe. In the 1970s, the younger Kaapêltùk's son, Kôyapàà (Plate 70a), and Khrùt's son, were installed. (Thus, at least one currently maintained festival act was created as recently as the early 20th century, and it is noteworthy that this act's two performers' hàmren ceremonial status is the highest in the tribe today.)
In 1913 a disaster befell
the Kenkateye (Khen-katêyê: mountain people) living in the village
of Chinello (Map 4). The Kenkateye
were one of the three "Canela" tribes [In.4.b] as identified by backlanders.
Nimuendajú's report of the Kenkateye massacre is full and complete (Nimuendajú,
1946:30), though stories I have collected from both the Apanyekra- and Ramkokamekra-Canela
add some additional details.
Essentially, a backland cattle-ranching family and some 50 henchmen walked into the Kenkateye village and provided approximately 150 Kenkateye with a barrel of cachaça (cane liquor) and accordion music. After getting them thoroughly drunk, the backlanders tied most of the men together so they could not run away. Then they shot about 50 of them. The women and children, and a few adult males escaped to the Apanyekra and Krahó tribes, but they did not go to the Ramkokamekra-Canela (cf. Nimuendajú,1946:30), as both the Apanyekra and Canela say today.
The Ramkokamekra-Canela, terrified by news of the massacre, expected their turn would come next. Thus, they scattered into the gallery forests of all adjacent streams, hiding there dispersed, as they would do again in 1963 following the attack on their messianic movement. By this time Major Delfino had died, making reunion easier, so they came together forming a new village on the Raposa stream (Maps 3,7).
A great drought in the Brazilian Northeast in about 1915 spread as far west as the Canela location. It is the only drought they remember and talk about, any others being insufficiently severe. They call it the "great hunger" (prãm-ti). During its period, they subsisted largely on a root (mri-?ti: Caladium sp.) that grows in stream banks and supplies water as well as food (Nimuendajú,1946:73).
In about 1922, the Canela returned to the Santo Estévão stream, settling in the Ponto (Mak-pàl: mango-tree) area, which they had not inhabited since the 1880s. They claim they managed to cultivate sufficient crops to have yearly surpluses once again, eliminating the need to visit the houses of backlanders to make up the difference during the lean months of September through December [II.C.3.g], but surely a few families did go to the backlanders. They say that sharecropping on the farms of backlanders started with the tribal schism of 1903, but this practice probably originated earlier. In any case, they claim to have had surpluses in the Escalvado (1900) and Ponto villages until 1947 because they were on the Santo Estévão. Such surpluses are partly confirmed by Nimuendajú (1946:61) for his period (1929-1936).
[II.B.1.e] INTERGENERATIONAL CONTROL AND THE AGE-SET MARRIAGE CEREMONY
Failure to hold the age-set
marriage ceremony, in which marriages were witnessed by everyone in the tribe
and thereby reinforced [III.F.10], was one of the most important factors in
the breakdown of the authoritative relationship between the generations during
the 1920s,1930s, and 1940s [III.A.5.d].
In about 1923, the Canela
failed to put on the age-set marriage ceremony, because the wife of Ropkhà,
the age-set leader, was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Thus Ropkhà
(Plate 71e) and his
wife Yõtsen could not participate in the ceremony. To do so would have
been considered visually ugly and improper. The age-set leader is a role model
for other members of his age-set and their wives. Because their hàmren
leader-guide of their marching file, Ropkhà, could not lead them in the
ceremony (testing the propitiousness of the event) they believed it would be
unwise to hold the ceremony at all. (See W. Crocker, 1984a:70, for a another
account of this ceremony, and Maybury-Lewis, 1965:226-227, for a description
of a similar age-set marriage ceremony among the Shavante.)
The ancient practice requiring post-pubertal girls and youths to have sexual relations almost only with older women and men for several years, formerly enforced by their uncles, was also breaking down. The age-set of the older Kaapêltùk, which graduated in 1933 (puberty for most of them having been in the 1920s), maintained these traditional post-pubertal restrictions against sex with young girls; the age-set of Chief Kaarà?khre, which graduated in 1941, only sometimes had sex with older women, and the age-set of the younger Kaapêltùk, which graduated in 1951, almost never had sex with women of older generations (W. Crocker,1984a:75).
[II.B.1.f] 1929 FORWARD
In 1929, Curt Nimuendajú arrived among the Canela. Thus, the continuation of their history is derived mainly from his writings or from historical events recalled casually by research assistants and Indian agents rather than from the organized study of myths, folk tales, and other oral styles. Soon after Nimuendajú's final departure in 1936, Indian service personnel began living beside the Canela village (Castello Branco in 1938 and Olímpio Cruz in 1940) so that I was able to learn more about internal Canela events from city-oriented Brazilians, especially from Olímpio Cruz (Figure 7).
[II.B.2] Acculturation Influences, 1930-1970
Data starting with the times of Nimuendajú are more reliable and ample. They come from "The Eastern Timbira," my field notes, accounts of research assistants, and statements of Indian service agents.
[II.B.2.a] NIMUENDAJÚ'S ERA
The Ajudância of the
Indian Protection Service (SPI) in Barra do Corda was founded in 1920. The first
agent, Marcelino Cézar de Miranda, was a man of sophistication and considerably
facilitated Nimuendajú's research. He accepted that Nimuendajú
would almost "go native" and would speak to the Canela to support
their anti-backland attitudes. Soon after his arrival among the Canela, Nimuendajú
was adopted into a family. One of his working principles, according to the older
Kaapêltùk, was to observe and participate extensively but to ask
few questions of the Canela.
Elderly Canela research
assistants reported that he was most interested in festivals, individual rites,
and photography. They said he hardly ever spoke in Canela and then poorly. The
Canela loved his sense of fun and drama and said he was hà?kayren
(generous: gave them many things)a good man.
usually came during the summer dry season (June-August) for one to three months,
in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1936, totaling almost 14 months. It is
hard to assess his impact on them, but from what I have heard he gave them great
confidence in their way of life and supported their hostility to backlanders,
as well as their expectations of receiving large amounts of goods from big-city
In 1935, smallpox broke
out in a new village in the Baixão Prêto area on the Santo Estévão.
This dreaded disease killed most of the older people, including the strong chief,
the older Ropkhà (Fostino). My research assistants insist that their
periods of significant change come just after the death of great leaders, so
1935 must be considered an important acculturative turning point.
Nimuendajú returned for the last time in 1936 to find the tribe split between villages on the Pombo and Os Bois streams (Map 3). He persuaded the two factions to come together on the Raposa stream, preventing a damaging tribal schism that might have lasted for years.
[II.B.2.b] INDIAN SERVICE'S INFLUENCES
Two years after Nimuendajú's
final departure in 1936, the Indian service (Glossary)
sent a very active and expert Indian agent, Castello Branco to the village on
the Raposa stream. His job was to try to reverse the encroachments the backland
ranchers had made since around 1830. He warned the ranchers that if their cattle
strayed onto Indian lands, they would be shot and eaten just as if they were
the wild game they were replacing. He did in fact shoot one or two head of backlander
cattle, much to the Canela's delight. He also forced one family that had established
a farm within the Indian lands near the sources of the Santo Estévão
stream to leave. He was so fierce and hostile in his personal nature and so
able and willing to demonstrate the use of his weapons that the backlanders
After a year, Castello Branco persuaded the Canela to move their village on the Raposa stream back to the Ponto area on the Santo Estévão, because the soils there were so much better. He built a backland house for himself and his family in both villages. For the first time, the Canela had a Brazilian family living with them all the time just outside their village. This alien presence changed some of their customs [III.A.5.d].
[II.B.2.b.(1)] Olímpio Cruz
In 1940, Olímpio Martins Cruz (Figure 7) arrived with his family. Through his good rapport and his strength of character and leadership, Sr. Olímpio helped the Canela to work hard enough on their farms so that they once again were self-sufficient. After his departure in 1947, however, these farm surpluses disappeared. Consequently, they begged or worked as share-croppers during the lean months of September through December, when the produce of their own farms had been exhausted.
[II.B.2.b.(2)] Changing Perceptions of Outsiders
In 1944, a young Indian
service school teacher, referred to simply as Nazaré by the Canela, a
sister of António Ferreira do Nascimento, arrived among them. She taught
a number of young boys to read and write well enough so that they could send
written messages throughout the regional interior. Six of these youths could
still write in 1957 when I arrived: the younger Kaapêltùk, the
younger Pù?tô, Hàwpùù, the younger Tep-hot,
Hakhà, and Yàmtê. In 1964, I asked the first three to write
daily diaries, and later requested the younger Tep-hot to do the same. No teachers
since Dona Nazaré (there have been about 6) have had significant success
in teaching young Canela to write, except for Dona Risalva in 1979. Research
assistants said Nazaré succeeded because she had learned to teach in
In 1948, Sr. António arrived as the Indian service agent in their Ponto village. The Canela said that he and Dona Nazaré were the two outsiders who had learned best to speak Canela, rather than Nimuendajú or Sr. Olímpio. (There were about two dozen Indian service employees who lived among the Canela during the 1930s,1940s, and 1950s who might have learned to speak Canela.) The effects of Castello Branco, Olímpio Cruz, and Dona Nazaré on the Canela must not be underestimated. Along with Nimuendajú, these people were "good" outsiders from the Canela point of view, a realization which broke down the strong, protective stereotype of all non-Indians as "bad."
[II.B.2.b.(3)] Youths Study in Capital
In 1949, two of the students taught by Dona Nazaré were sent to São Luis, the state capital, to live with Indian service personnel. The younger Kaapêltùk and Ha-khà (its lip/edge) spent almost a year and a half learning the ways of city dwellers, going to school, and working on farms that used irrigation and fertilizers. This enabled Kaapêltùk (the younger of the two) to become the most knowledgeable about the outside world and to become the best Portuguese speaker during the 1950s and 1960s. His achievement was surpassed in the 1970s by others who were younger. His abilities also made Kaapêl (Figure 51) the best research assistant both for me and for the Summer Institute of Linguistics missionary, Jack Popjes (Figure 11), during the 1960s and 1970s.
[II.B.2.c] DECULTURATIVE FACTORS
With the death of Hàk-too-kot
(falcon-chick-green), known as Doroteu, in 1952, the Canela lost their last
strong traditional chief. Thus they moved into a new era in which the chieftainship
lacked significant power: the people did what they wanted, the economy was deficient,
and the generation gap increased significantly. The Indian service agents and
teachers were weak and of little help. The use of alcohol became rampant. The
new chief was among the worst offenders until his dramatic conversion from alcohol
[II.B.2.i.(5)] claiming that what was done under the influence of alcohol was
the fault of the alcohol.
Potential chiefs who were relatively strong leaders tried to split the tribe, taking their relatives and followers to farm areas (new potential village sites), hoping to form a community of their own. The older Krôôtô took his group to the Rodeador area (Map 3) in 1953, and Ikhè and then the older Kaapêltùk led a village in the Baixão Prêto region (Map 3) starting in 1955. By that time the Rodeador settlement had failed due to a high incidence of deaths attributed to its semi-forested environment.
[II.B.2.d] ACCULTURATIVE CONTRACT BROKEN
For some time, the Indian service had provided materials and food to many tribes, including the Canela. Around 1955, a new policy was established by which the Indian was supposed to work as much as possible for what he received. In 1957, the Canela asserted that the Indian service was neglecting its responsibilities. Since Awkhêê, the Canela culture hero, had given the shotgun to the civilizado (Glossary) and the bow and arrow to the índio, they said, it was up to the civilizado to support the índio in any needed way [IV.C.1.b.(6)]. The Indian service had given this support, I was told, until a few years before the death of Rondon (1958), the Canela's great savior in the Indian service and its founder (1910) and head. Now the service, however, was giving them very little, it had relinquished its responsibilities. This was their rationalization for much that followed during the next few years.
[II.B.2.e] TURNING POINT
In 1958, a number of recently
graduated teachers came from São Luis to spend a week with the Canela.
One of the teachers asked Tel-khwèy (jussara woman) if she would let
her son of about 12 years of age reside with the teacher in São Luis
while she brought him up and sent him to school to educate him. (This practice
followed Brazilian tradition, which included the Indian child or adolescent
working for her or his host family.) Tel-khwèy (Plate
68b) told me about this offer with great disapproval, saying that
the Canela were not like the Guajajara (Tupi-speakers) who, having only weak
feelings, could give away their children to the city dweller to raise and educate
in the cities. She said that the Guajajara have no feelings and do not care
much for their children.
In 1964, in striking contrast, the same Tel-khwèy asked me to arrange for the adoption of one of her sons by a São Luis lady who was visiting the tribe. She had forgotten her negative declarations in 1958 about "giving" children to city dwellers. What had happened since 1958 to change her attitude so completely is a very important question. The tribal stereotype of outsiders being necessarily "bad" had lost its strength, letting the inverse stereotype become a possibility: that the outsider's ways were "good" and that their own ways were insufficient.
[II.B.2.f] MESSIANIC MOVEMENT OF 1963
A messianic movement of
dramatic proportions occurred among the Canela in 1963. In January, Khêê-khwèy,
age 40, a tall handsome woman, was working in the fields. The fetus in her womb
kept telling her to go home to prepare the fire and boil water for her husband,
who would be returning from the hunt with an armadillo and an agouti for cooking.
At first Khêê-khwèy did not pay attention to her fetus, but
later, since the sun was hot and she was tired, she did go home and prepare
the boiling water. Shortly thereafter, her husband returned with a dead anteater
and an agouti. Other signs occurred and soon Khêê-khwèy came
to believe in the predictions of her fetus, as did many other Canela including
leaders of the council of elders.
(For a summary article of this movement, see W. Crocker's report (1967) and its translation into Portuguese (1974b). Also see Carneiro da Cunha (1973, 1986) for interesting structural analyses of this same movement. René Ribeiro (1982:224225, 234) places this movement in the general context of messianic movements in Brazil, Melatti (1972) provides a similar movement for the neighboring Krahó, and Wright and Hill (1985) furnish a recent analysis of an earlier movement in the northwestern Amazon.
The principal prediction was that on the l5th of May her child would be born, a girl whose name would be Kràà-khwèy (dry-woman). She would be the sister of the great acculturation hero, Awkhêê (Glossary), who on that day would come to change the world to the advantage of the índio. Since the civilizado (backlander or city dweller) was not living up to the social contract Awkhêê had given him at the time of his winning the shotgun, he would have to give the shotgun to the índio. The índio would then live in the cities, drive the trucks, and fly the planes, while the civilizado would hunt in the forests with the bow and arrow. (For a structural analysis of the Awkhêê myth, see Da Matta's (1970) complex study.)
To realize these predictions,
the Canela would have to dance a great deal of the time and give Khêê-khwèy
most of their possessions. (They danced in the traditional style on week days
and in the "embraced" (abraçado) manner of the
backlanders on the weekends.) Her helpers could sell the people's possessions
to buy meat to feast on while they were dancing. Following her instructions,
the Canela soon exhausted their resources with which to buy food. They began
to steal cattle from the regional ranchers. The fetus indicated that this was
all right because soon the índio would own the cattle of the civilizado
On May the 13th, Khêê-khwèy gave birth to a stillborn boy, and almost died when she could not deliver the afterbirth. She was saved by an able mid wife (Tel-khwèy). The younger Kaapêltùk then helped her reformulate her predictions so that the cult movement and the dancing could continue. There were, however, some significant defections, such as the withdrawal of the older Kaapêltùk, the Baixão Prêto village chief.
It was not long before the
ranchers (fazendeiros) became aware that something unusual was happening
in the tribe and that about forty head of cattle had disappeared in four months.
This loss could not be tolerated and it provided a good excuse to take over
the Canela lands, which they had coveted for years. They hired mercenaries (bandoleiros)
from a nearby municipality (Tuntum) and prepared to eliminate the Canela, those
"bichos do mato" (beasts of the forest).
On the 7th of July the first attack was made by the mercenaries to test the reactions of the Canela. A village in the Campestre region was completely burned. The inhabitants ran away, but one was killed. Consequently, a swift runner, the younger Tààmi (Plate 56d), was sent to Barra do Corda to inform the Indian service personnel.
On the 10th, some 200 ranchers
and dependent farmers attacked the largest village, which at that time was in
the Aldeia Velha area. But the Canela had been forewarned by the first attack
and had posted scouts. When the attacking force was reported, the leading men,
mostly under the direction of the younger Kaapêltùk, directed the
women to cross the adjacent stream by running through the passageway formed
by its gallery forest (Glossary)
thickets (Figure 4). The
men who still possessed the few unsold arms waited to defend this "bridge"
after the women had passed along it into the woods beyond. In this way, five
or six Canela, led by the younger Kaapêltùk, hidden in the brush
along the ford, with their shotguns, were able to hold off 200 backlanders for
the two hours needed for the women and children to move out of the area to the
In these two skirmishes and a third in the Ponto area, five Canela were killed and six wounded, while the ranchers may have lost one man, who died much later from an infected wound. On the 11th of July, the mayor of Barra do Corda, the head of the Indian service in Barra do Corda, two Service agents, and Tààmi, the Canela runner who had summoned them, arrived at the Aldeia Velha area from the east in a jeep, by a roundabout route through Leandro (Map 3). Because of the presence of the mayor, the backland ranchers respectfully allowed the jeep to pass through their lines, from which they were already preparing for another extermination attack. For the next attempt, the ranchers' intentions had been to start from Ourives (Map 3), half way between Ponto village and Barra do Corda, and to sweep south along all the Canela-inhabited streams to prevent them from escaping to the north toward Barra do Corda and the safety and sympathy found there.
The Indian service (Glossary)
jeep easily rolled 35 kilometers west that same day through the cerrado grass
lands and across three streams into the Ponto area. The Canela had fled and
were hiding in the stream shrubbery by their farms. Tààmi, on
instructions from the Indian service personnel, ran singing from farm hut to
farm hut, advising and convincing the Canela to assemble. The plan was to leave
their homelands, at least temporarily, passing north through the Ourives area
(the most direct way) to Barra do Corda with the two Indian service agents,
Virgílio Galvão Sobrinho and Bento Vieira, who had just arrived
in the jeep to save them.
On the night of the 14th, the Canela marched some 35 kilometers through the ranchers' lines in the Ourives area, and another 15 kilometers toward Barra do Corda. They were accompanied by Sr. Virgílio and Sr. Bento, who were risking their lives in the line of duty. At the settlement of Matinho, the southern end of the principal dirt road into this backland region, a number of trucks were supplied by the Indian service for transportation into Barra do Corda. Swift movements and courage of certain Canela individuals and three Indian service personnel saved the lives of an entire Timbira tribe.
[II.B.2.g] "EXILE" AT SARDINHA, 1963-1968
The Guajajara Indians have had several large, legally demarcated reservations (Map 3) west of Barra do Corda and northeast of Grajau for a number of decades. They are best known by anthropologists through the book on the Tenetehara (a Guajajara group) by Wagley and Galvão (1949). The reservation lies entirely within the dry forests and is relatively close to the Apanyekra lands. Their Rancharia village (occupied in the late 1960s and early 1970s) is on the edge of the dry forests (Map 8) and only about 10 kilometers from the nearest Guajajara settlement on the extensive Guajajara reservation on the left bank of the Engeitado stream (Map 3). Sardinha, closer to Barra do Corda, is another Guajajara settlement where there is an Indian service post with minimal personnel.
The day after the Canela escaped from the ranchers at Ourives, they were taken by truck to Barra do Corda. From there, they walked 30 kilometers to the Sardinha Indian service post, which is about 50 kilometers to the northwest of their old Ponto area. The Canela, who had always lived in the cerrado, were expected to live, temporarily at least, in these dry forests.
Two days later, on the 18th of July, I arrived at the Sardinha post to find that the Canela had already cut down trees to form the circle that would be the plaza for their new village. It was located adjacent to the post and the road to Barra do Corda, presumably to enhance their psychological security. (The village houses nearest the post buildings had no back yards because they were so close.) No huts or houses had been erected yet, so they were living in the shade of trees and mats (Plate 38). This was not a hardship during July when it never rains, though the nights are the coldest of the entire year. The families had placed themselves in their traditional positions and order [III.E.2.e], around the potential village circle, in relation to the sun.
The Indian service personnel had told me about the stolen cattle and the ranchers' attack, but no one knew about the messianic movement that had caused the thefts. Thus it was a great surprise to me when my old Canela friends and research assistants told me about the dancing and the predictions of Khêê-khwèy. Little by little it became obvious that the Canela had had a full scale and very dramatic messianic movement. Khêê-khwèy was by now thoroughly discredited because of the deaths. She had predicted that if the ranchers attacked to avenge the appropriation of their cattle, Awkhêê would divert the bullets so that none of his people would be wounded or killed.
The dry forests (mata
seca or avarandados; IBGE, 1957:405) were familiar to the Canela.
They had been accustomed to traveling throughout the whole Barra do Corda municipality,
and even to the great coastal cities (and recently Brasília) for at least
a century. Still, they disliked the "tall" trees (Figure
5) and particularly the "closed in" shrubbery. There are no open
spaces and no views (W. Crocker, 1972:255.) A person could not just walk through
those woods as one could in the cerrado (Glossary);
one had to stay on trails or cut one's way, at least to some extent, with a
machete. Another negative aspect was their memory that deaths had been much
more frequent in the village of Rodeador (occupied 1952-1954), which was on
a projection of cerrado into dry forest (Map
What was more important
to the Canela, however, was the fact that they had been brought up in the cerrado
and were used to it aesthetically. The cerrado gave them pleasure. It gratified
their senses and made them feel at home. Because of the rolling hills and mesas
(as found on a larger scale in the southwestern United States), a person could
see great distances, and this furnished a special satisfaction. Moreover, most
of their herbal medicines did not exist in the dry forests. The style of hunting
they had practiced in the cerrado, tracking and running, could not be carried
out. They easily lost their way because there were no hills from which to take
their bearings. The trees were more difficult to fell, being bigger and closer
together, and the soil was harder to penetrate, making the planting of crops
far more work.
On the other hand, the Canela have no religious attachments to certain mountains, rocks, streams, springs, or lakes, as do so many other tribes. They need the cerrado as a biome for practical and aesthetic reasons and the streams, hills, and views individuals grew up with for emotional reasons.
Psychological reasons were
the most important factors preventing the Canela's adaptation to the dry forest
around Sardinha. Certain men in the younger Kaapêltùk's age-set
did successfully adopt the new hunting and farming techniques. For hunting,
it was more a question of knowing how to position oneself and waiting until
game came along instead of tracking it down; and for farming, doing much heavier
work taking far more time. However, in this new environment, game was more abundant
and soils were far richer, so harvests could be considerably greater for the
size of the area cleared and even for the amount of labor expended. Thus, what
initially seemed an unwanted amount of work turned out to be well worth it in
The younger Kaapêl,
his group of followers, and most of his age-set preferred the forests where
they had successfully established farms. There they could be more independent,
and rely less on free goods from the Indian service and on sharecropping with
the backlanders during the lean months. By far the larger portion of the Canela
people, however, and especially the kin of Chief Kaarà?khre, his wife,
and their political followers, wanted to go back to the cerrado. There were
many more deaths in the forest, the work was harder there, and they simply wanted
to be in their own lands. In addition, they were not welcomed in the reservation
by the Guajajara Indians. The younger Kaapêl's group was the last portion
of the Canela to move back to the cerrado, late in 1968.
There were also the psychological factors of not wanting to be where they had been forced to go and of knowing that they could go back. If the Canela had been transported 1000 kilometers away and had been relocated in the same type of dry forests, they would have adapted to them; but their own lands were only a tempting 65 kilometers away. When small groups occasionally went back to get cerrado herbal medicines, the contrast reminded them of their plight. One potential leader, Ikhè, with a small contingent of about two dozen Canela, returned to the Campestre (Map 3) area in 1965.
The Canela adopted many
of the habits regarding dress of the Guajajara while in Sardinha. In their own
lands, the Canela men had been used to going about naked, except when backland
or urban women were present. On the Guajajara reservation, however, this custom
was unacceptable. Guajajara women found nakedness in men intolerable. Furthermore
the personal habits of the Guajajara (both women and men) with respect to elimination
and exposure of the body were more conservative.
An improved dirt road connected Sardinha with Barra do Corda, resulting in far more intercourse with outsiders. Besides visits by Barra do Corda residents, Brazilian tourists and big game hunters drove through the region or detoured from Barra do Corda to see the Indians. As a consequence, the Canela males had to become used to wearing clothing all the time, and to be more circumspect in their personal hygiene. Canela women continued to go bare-breasted because in the eyes of Brazilians, this was appropriate for tribal Indians.
The Canela awareness of
the different values of both small-and large-city dwellers was sharpened while
at Sardinha. They discovered that large-city people viewed them with esteem,
respect, and sometimes concern, and would therefore pay large sums for their
artifacts, even if sloppily made. Consequently, a new way of making money was
developed, as well as a new sense of self-worth, which was to make a difference
to them in the late 1970s. If large-city dwellers admired them and their culture,
they must have something of value.
They also learned to use different materials for building houses, such as mud and wattle for walls and raised clay for floors; their traditional material of palm thatch was difficult to find and farther away. In addition, utensils and tools of the city were easier to obtain.
The Canela reached a nadir in morale while in Sardinha. Many were essentially on strikenot preparing fieldsto convince the Indian service of the need to return them to their homelands. They appeared to be "dying off," as service personnel said, but when numbers were counted, their low population was due more to youths traveling in the world than to deaths. However, some older people died before their time due to poor nutrition and higher disease rates. Some Canela spoke to outsiders about their plight. I contrasted these appearances with my impressions of old Ponto: the dignity of older individuals and the conviction that their ways were best.
When I first arrived in
the old Canela village of Ponto in 1957, my impressions were of individuals
who showed great self-respect and pride, and believed in their traditions. I
was impressed by the dignity and proud bearing of older people. They carried
great personal presence into their activities.
In the late afternoons I saw old men in their 60s or 70s walking down the radial pathway from their houses to the plaza, with maybe just a square of cloth hanging in front from their leather belts and a delicately carved baton of some hard wood in their right hands. At the edge of the plaza, they almost always took the cloth off to enter their sacred place of conciliation naked, which showed more respect.
When visiting the Apanyekra a year later, I noticed one old woman with the same great dignity. I asked about the lady and was told she had been born and raised among the Canela of Ponto and had come to live in their village of Porquinhos only upon marriage to an Apanyekra. This did not surprise me because the Apanyekra did not present this sense of self-worth to the same degree as old Canela. These contrasting attitudes were reflected in their houses. Some Apanyekra merely put up a lean-to whereas almost all Canela houses (Plate 7) were better made and larger than Apanyekra ones.
Since my arrival in 1957, most of these magnificent Canela old-timers had passed away. Some died in Sardinha of disease and malnutrition. An era had ended, and the age of the last strong chief, Hàktookot, had been superseded. In 1961, the leading age-set membership in the council of elders was passed down to an age-set 20 years younger [III.D.2.b.(4)]. Thus, the council of elders' leadership was passed from the age-set of the older Mïïkhrô to the age-set of the older Kaapêltùk. Individual members of this younger ruling age-set had vastly more experience in dealing with outsiders. Consequently, it is to be expected that the atmosphere in Sardinha was different both because of this major change in leadership and because of the recent disaster of the messianic movement, together with the deculturating tribal displacement into the dry forest. It is noteworthy that the direction of the cult movement in 1963 was future-oriented rather than past-oriented. This was an attempt to bring about something new, rather than to restore old traditions and practices. The Canela had become disenchanted with the traditions of their ancestors and wanted, at some psychological level, to rise up and take the cultural place of the civilizado. However, with their disappointment in the movement and with their personal frustrations due to their relocation, demoralization on a near-tribal scale in Sardinha was understandable.
According to the records
of the Indian service published in the Enciclopédia dos Municípios
(IBGE, 1959:75-78), there were 585 Canela Indians in both tribes (Canela
and Apanyekra): 185 men, 185 women, and 215 children. There were 229 Ramkokamekra-Canela
Indians. In 1960 I counted 412 Ramkokamekra-Canela, 265 in Ponto and 147 (±2)
in Baixão Prêto.
The Ramkokamekra-Canela population had been a little less than 300 in 1936 (a year after the smallpox epidemic), the time of the last visit of Nimuendajú (1946:33). Thus, they were growing in numbers slowly but steadily (300 to 412 in 24 years). During their stay in the dry forests of the Guajajara Indian reservation, they were reduced to about 397 (W. Crocker, 1972:239, Table 2), but the Indian service personnel thought their numbers were lower and that they were "dying off." The Canela themselves kept saying they were dying because of the living conditions in the forest, although a careful census showed that some 40 youths were away in the cities and about half that number had secretly returned to the cerrado. Their morale was very low, and many preferred to starve rather than work. Many of the youths appeared listless, unable to perform most activities or to solve problems.
[II.B.2.h] RETURN TO CERRADO HOME
During the Canela stay in the forest, the ranchers made threats and occupied parts of the Canela homelands. The national military revolution of 1964, however, strengthened the federal Indian service and put fear into the ranchers. Although some cut new farms out of the nearest Canela gallery forests in June of 1964 (the season for opening new lands), by June of 1966 they stopped taking over additional Canela lands for farming for fear of what the military might do. The federal government had stationed a battalion of engineers in Barra do Corda to build a bridge across the Mearim River and to improve the roads of the area. If the ranchers moved farther into the Canela lands, the Indian service could call on these local troops to force the ranchers back.
By August 1966, official
word came from the Indian service in Brasília that small groups of Canela
were allowed to inconspicuously go back to their lands. This was militarily
feasible, because during early 1966 the engineering garrison in Barra do Corda
had built a bridge (Figure 8)
in Ourives and opened the road a few kilometers farther to the edge of the cerrado.
From there, specially equipped army trucks could drive due south without a road,
just going between the cerrado trees in the direction of the old Canela settlements,
or they could fan out in the direction of any one of the Canela farming areas.
Without the bridge in Ourives, vehicles would have had to go far to the east
(Map 3) through the ranchers' region
of Escondido and Leandro in order to get to the Canela lands (about 110 kilometers).
During 1967 more Canela families moved back. By November of 1968, all had returned to their homelands, including the younger Kaapêltùk and his farm-oriented group, who arrived last.
Returning to the cerrado
offered the Canela a future with hope, but a problem in leadership still existed.
The tribe was split into four new villages in the cerrado under aspiring leaders:
Chief Kaarà?khre (Figure
18) in the Escalvado area, the older Kaapêltùk (Figure
50) in Baixão Prêto again, the younger Mïïkhrô
(Plate 70c) in the Campestre
(I?khè had died), and the older Krôôtô (Plate
77d) just north of the old Ponto area.
who controlled the largest number of people, resolved the problem by putting
on a Khêêtúwayê boys' initiation festival [IV.A.3.c.(1)]
in his new Escalvado village. Everybody had to attend for the benefit of their
children, so the tribe assembled in one place for the duration of the 4-month
festival. Finally, they all agreed to stay in the Escalvado village permanently.
This meant that in 1968 the entire tribe was together for the first time since
about one year after the death of Chief Hàktookot in 1951, except for
short periods of time in 1954,1955, and during part of the messianic movement
The reintegration greatly contributed to the rise in general morale as evidenced in part by the succeeding rise in population from about 400 to 600 in the following decade of 1969 to 1979.
[II.B.2.i] REASONS FOR NEW HIGH MORALE
Once the Canela were back in their beloved cerrado lands, the rise in their morale was obvious. I had observed this change in 1966 while traveling with a small group from Sardinha to the Apanyekra village of Porquinhos. As we came out of the forest, at a place called Boca do Mato (mouth of-the forest) (Map 3), one of my companions joyfully said i kaykuk-re (I light very: I feel very light). This was the subjective reaction to the considerably lower relative humidity in the cerrado during the summer months [II.C.1.b]. A male companion was so full of delight that he grabbed a young female and dragged her off into the bushes, much to her pleasure.
The first and most obvious reason for new high morale was that the Canela were back in their beloved homeland where they had been raised. Second, hunting and fishing were much better because game and fish had become plentiful during their 5-year absence. (For a study of the zoological species of the Canela region, see Vanzolini, 1956-1958.) Third, their traditional enemies, the ranchers, had been denied access to the Canela lands. They were in political disrepute in the muncípio of Barra do Corda for what they had done to the Canela. Thus, for the first time since 1957, the Canela were free of fear of the backlanders. (In 1960, when I had been preparing to leave, the Canela had repeatedly asked me to stay. They said they were afraid of an attack from the ranchers, which could not occur if I were present, because the ranchers would not want to risk killing me as well.)
The fourth factor contributing
to higher Canela morale is the greater presence of the Indian service. In 1970
and 1971, the new Indian service, renamed the Foundation for the Indian (FUNAI),
built in Escalvado a sizable post building (Plate
11c), with eight rooms of bricks and mortar, a roof of red tiles,
and a plaster and white-washed exterior. They also erected a substantial school
(Plate 11e) of the same
construction, and several auxiliary houses of dried clay walls, whitewashed
and reinforced with tied wooden poles and a roof covered with palm straw. There
were also the post agent's house (Plate
11e, center), the well and pump hut, and a house where backlanders
could hang their hammocks and leave their things while visiting the Canela or
traveling through the area.
The commitment represented by these constructions, and the three to five additional personnel, made it evident to the Canela that the Indian service intended to be present to help them in the future. This factor contributed very significantly to raising their morale. (See Map 5 for the arrangement of these buildings in relation to the village of Escalvado.)
The completion of the road from Ourives to Escalvado in 1971 was the fifth factor in raising Canela morale. No part of the road from Barra do Corda was graded or graveled, so ordinary cars could not use it; but jeeps, trucks, and other vehicles with high suspension could make the trip in two to three hours, depending on the nature of the vehicle and the particular road conditions. The round about trip through Leandro and points further east had required at least nine hours.
The sixth factor contributing
to Canela high morale was the presence of Sebastião Ferreira, the Indian
service agent, who is rendering outstanding service to the Canela (Figures
Indian service agents and
other personnel come and go, usually staying one or two years, or less, in one
position. The maximum allowed is 5 years in one tribe, according to Indian service
policy. However, the Indian service made an exception for Sr. Sebastião,
extending his stay indefinitely, because of his especial helpfulness to the
Canela. The post agent's position is secure and the level of pay is far above
what can usually be earned in the region [I.F.2.b]. Goods on credit can be obtained
anywhere when a merchant knows the buyer is an employee of the federal Indian
Living conditions in the cerrado are difficult at best. Families either have to live at a post many kilometers from the city of Barra do Corda and its relatively good schooling, or the wife and children have to live separately from the agent, who has to spend many of his days at the official post by an Indian village. In spite of these conditions, the Indian service has had several outstanding agents, among them Olímpio Cruz, Virgilio Galvão, Sebastião Ferreia, and others, such as Nazaré, António Ferreira do Nascimento, and Júlio Tavares. My admiration and respect go out to them.
Sebastião Ferreira's record, at least through 1979, is a magnificent example of duty, ability, and effective action. He is a trained enfermeiro (male nurse). In 1970 and 1971, he walked from house to house with his medicines, sometimes making these rounds several times a day, instead of requiring the Canela to come to his infirmary. The very old people had almost all died in Sardinha, so there were few to treat, but Sebastião saved most of the babies and children up to the critical age of nine, which previously had been the demographic segment of greatest loss. Needless to say, the parents were delighted and Bastião, as they called him, became the Canela hero. "Bastião really cares (mëku-mã hapê: them-for he-cares: Ele tem pena), they said to me, and that was what mattered.
During my period with the Canela, only their earlier love for Olímpio Martins Cruz (Figure 7) can be compared to their devotion for Sebastião Ferreira. Sr. Olímpio had been an Indian service agent (encarregado) in the old Canela village of Ponto between 1940 and 1947. Because his family house (Plate 2a, left) was just across from the Indian service agency in Barra do Corda, the Canela came to him for all sorts of help and advice, even when he was no longer the Indian service official in charge for Barra do Corda. The depth of the relationship between Sr. Olímpio and most Canela was very impressive.
Sr. Sebastião helped
in eliminating alcohol from the tribe by forming a special group of Canela youths
to go after individual drinkers when they were getting rough with others, a
strategy that Chief Kaarà?khre could not have carried out. He also led
groups of Canela farm workers into the post farm and obtained their cooperation
in extensive work which Kaarà?khre and other post agents had usually
failed to do. (This kind of leadership had been the great strength of Olímpio
Cruz.) A soccer team (Plate 28b,d)
trained by Sebastião was undefeated throughout the interior region of
the municipality of Barra do Corda in 1979 [II.F.2.d].
The most striking aspect of Sebastião's acceptance among the Canela that I observed during my 1974-1975 and 1978-1979 stays was his constantly being summoned by Chief Kaarà?khre and the council of elders to sit with them in the center of the plaza and to give advice when any significant matters to do with the backlanders of the region came up before the council. He was even called in on some marriage family council meetings. He understood the language but probably not as well as Dona Nazaré or Sr. António Ferreira. He knew Canela law and custom very well and was more respectful of Canela practices than earlier agents could have been because of changed attitudes in Brazilian national life by the 1970s. Sebastião and his family were the first Indian service people to be decorated in the plaza in the Canela manner and to be adopted by Canela families.
In 1979, Sebastião's principal aim was to leave the Canela only after he had trained some of them to take over his position and the other positions of the post personnel. It seemed possible that he might accomplish this. In 1979, he had already trained a young Canela enfermeiro (Krokro) to assume many responsibilities of caring for the sick, although there was a full-time Indian service enfermeira (female nurse), Luzanira Gieira de Araojo. There were also two Canela men of intermediate age but with little training who could teach in the school in Portuguese (Kaprêêprêk and the younger Kaapêltùk) although there was also a full-time, professionally trained Indian service professora (female teacher), Risalva Freire de Sá. Risalva was fully Indian (Tuchá) genetically, but was brought up in the city of Rodelas in the northeast (Bahia) in an acculturated tribe that had lost its indigenous language. Thus, she had a great deal of sympathy and concern for the Canela students. I had never seen so many enthusiastic young people doing homework at night as during the winter and spring of 1979 when she was first in charge. (In 1987, Lusanira and Risalva are still in these same positions.)
The seventh factor contributing
to high morale was Chief Kaarà?khre's conversion from alcohol, which
actually happened in the mid-1960s. The effects of this personal transformation
was felt within the tribe in the 1970s when Sebastião reinforced Kaarà?khre's
example by praising him to others, spreading the fact of his conversion to other
In the late 1950s and 1960s,
Chief Kaarà?khre (Plate
75c) had not been a strong chief politically but was a good and very
kind person. For this reason, he easily won the competition for leadership with
the older Kaapêltùk. The people liked Kaarà?khre (Plate
77g), but he had not set a good example. He drank excessively and
spent much of his Indian service pay in Barra do Corda [II.B.3.(1)]. Consequently,
his family sometimes did not receive any benefit from his salary.
In 1964 in Sardinha, however,
Kaarà?khre converted to sobriety. One day, like several other hunters
before him, he became totally lost when hunting in the dry forests. There were
no recognizable landmarks and he did not have a sufficient sense of direction
to find his way back to the village before nightfall, especially since it was
raining heavily. Because of his fear of jaguars, he climbed a tree to spend
a safe night. (Another Canela, in the same plight, dug a hole deep enough to
stand and maneuver in, and covered it over with branches heavy enough to support
a jaguar. He stood in the hole all night ready to impale the beast on the point
of his machete. Guajajara Indians said these Canela fears of jaguars were imagined.)
a cold during the night as he sat in the tree. His fever mounted, and he had
a powerful dream. In it he found himself caught between God and the Devil. The
Devil was about to lead him away to hell, but Kaarà?khre begged God to
save him, promising to give up alcohol. Kaarà?khre escaped the Devil
and alcohol, and I gave him Terramycin for what I thought was his pneumonia.
No one believed it would be possible for Kaarà?khre to abstain, but he did. Sr. Sebastião facilitated his effort to also help others by providing a room at the post for temporary incarceration of other Canela with drinking problems. After the return to the cerrado, other Canela who drank followed Kaarà?khre's example, such as the younger Kaapêltùk. Thus, by the 1970s Kaarà?khre was gaining considerable stature and had contributed significantly to raising the morale of the tribe. It was not enough, however, to handle many problems of the tribe.
[II.B.3] Significant Events of the 1970s
It is hard to choose which
events of the 1970s should be presented as the most significant with respect
to change because there occurred so many important ones. Moreover, the assessment
of some is necessarily more subjective than others. Some of the events presented
here require a passage of time before their impact upon the Canela can be properly
[II.B.3.a] MISSIONARY FAMILY CONTRIBUTIONS
Jack Popjes (Figure 11), a missionary with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (Glossary) arrived in 1968 in the village of Sardinha. From there he moved with the younger Kaapêltùk's group to the cerrado in the Escalvado area. He built a large house of pole-reinforced clay with a palm thatch roof on the new village circle (Map 5, Figure 24), the second Escalvado village of the late 1960s. At first, he devoted most of his time to learning the language. He also participated in some of the Canela festivals, rites, and traditional activities like log racing, and both he and his wife were adopted by different Canela consanguineal families.
Jack's early effect on the
Canela was primarily economic. At low but fair fixed prices, he bought Canela
artifacts to sell in Belém. He sometimes furnished canned foods, kitchen
utensils, and farming tools in trade for artifacts so that the Canela would
become more used to the equipment of cities. Very little was simply given, as
often had been the practice of the Indian service, certain Indian service individuals,
and myself, in compliance with strong Canela demands that were in keeping with
Awkhêê's acculturation contract. Thus, the attitude of "if
you have earned it, you get it" and "if you have not, you receive
nothing" was firmly established by him especially for the younger generations.
This new attitude oriented young Canela toward understanding the practices of
backland and urban economies.
With the help of John Hostetler, an SIL community development expert, Jack installed wells at several places in the village and at the post. Jack also helped extensively in medical ways, having had considerable training. Among his many films, he showed animated portrayals of germ theory which many Canela came to understand, with the result that some began to wear sandals when in the village.
Following SIL policy, Jack
talked very little about the Christian God and never held formal services. Nevertheless,
the comportment of Jack and his wife demonstrated Christian virtues, which had
a significant effect on the younger Canela. The ultimate purpose of his work
was that in time the word of God would come to the Canela through the translated
Scriptures of the New Testament, even if it took 15 to 20 years. It was clear
that he could wait. (He is spending his 21st year there now, in 1989.) His policy
was not to move against traditions he felt to be unchristian (e.g., extensive
and traditional extramarital sexual relations), but rather to let the word of
God, as felt through the translated Scriptures, take the place of these customs.
He talked about new activitiessuch as specialized arts and crafts, commerce,
and sports, and for some, even the new world of reading-that would some day
take the place of extramarital relations. Jack told me that if they lost their
ancient practices too soon, with nothing to replace them, their lives would
indeed become very empty and dull, leading some into alcohol and other problems.
Jack's strongest spiritual influence was on the lives of individuals who worked for him extensively, helping him learn the language and later make the translations. Some 16 to 20 young men and women learned to read and write in their own language by the late 1970s. Two or three used a typewriter very well and transcribed translations. Finally in the 1980s, years after Jack arrived, he was preaching in the plaza and has made some conversions. (For more information, see [Ep.5.d].)
II.B.3.b] MANUSCRIPT WRITING
For an ethnologist to attempt
to fairly and fully assess her or his own effects on the tribe being studied
is not realistic. Such assessments are necessarily very subjective; but in a
limited manner, she or he can hypothesize about some effects of certain studies.
I will do this for the diary manuscript and tape program.
Three Canela men started
writing daily journals for me in 1964, and in 1970, this number became five,
with two of them also recording their daily activities on cassette tapes. By
1975 the number increased to seven, and by 1979 twelve were writing manuscripts.
I believe that this program gave writing and reading a certain amount of prestige,
which facilitated Jack Popjes' Gê literacy program and enhanced the popularity
of the school teacher's courses, though in Portuguese, in 1979.
The new and young Pró-khãmmã, coming into power in the early 1980s, was led by the younger Kaapêltùk (Frontispiece), who had been the outstanding diary writer, translator, and cassette recorder. Kaapêl's very extensive work with both Jack and me trained him to understand and value the outside world and to analyze, categorize, and therefore assess ideas and concepts both there and in his own world. I can best illustrate the big step in learning to analyze concepts and activities consciously, instead of just unconsciously in traditional and limited ways, by comparing an experience I had in 1957 with Tep-hot, another assistant, to a very similar one with the same person in 1979.
Several months after my
arrival in 1957, the Canela terminated the Pepyê initiation festival.
I tried to write down the words of a number of songs and remember well that
neither Tep-hot (Plate 70g
right), age 18, nor any other singer could interrupt their singing and then
resume it to help my efforts. Whenever I stopped Tep-hot to catch certain words,
he had to start over from the beginning. In 1979 Tep-hot could stop, start,
repeat, and speak at any pace necessary for me to have time to evaluate the
sounds, turn them into phonemes, and write them on paper. He had learned to
write in Portuguese from Dona Nazaré in the 1940s, and he joined my diary
group in 1970. He became a translator in 1975, writing his daily manuscripts
first in Canela and then in Portuguese. His writing and especially his translating
enabled him to analyze, discriminate, and categorize management concepts in
a more numerical and verbal way than is done by preliterate Canela.
While Tep-hot did not participate as a daily research assistant in my work group sessions, the younger Kaapêltùk did and was my principal research assistant during my last nine stays with the Canela. Thus, even more than Tep-hot, he was better able to analyze, synthesize, and categorize concepts, ideas, and specific words in 1979 than before my arrival. This development for several research assistants constitutes, I believe, my most significant impact on the Canela. This was also, I hypothesize, my most significant effect on them from the point of view of their potential development and possibly their future morale. My program helped several leading Canela think in deliberate and conscious ways that were more Western in style, both about their own world and about the outer worlds of the backlander and the city dweller.
The Apanyekra, who were
more acculturated than the Canela in 1958, were far behind them by 1979. Few
Apanyekra were able to read and write even minimally. (For differences in acculturation,
see [II.A.3.d].) While working among the Apanyekra in the 1970s, without Kaapêl
or certain other Canela helpers, I realized how hard research was without their
help, and how far I had come in developing good research assistants among the
Canela over the course of 15 years. Because of the younger Kaapêltùk's
general development and our work on Canela phonemes and manuscript translations,
Jack Popjes said in 1969 that I had saved him two years of research in linguistics.
[II.B.3.c] VISITS OF OTHER ANTHROPOLOGISTS
Gilberto Azanha and Maria
Elisa Ladeira visited the Canela in the summer of 1974 and again in the late
winter and spring of 1975, when he also visited the Apanyekra. Azanha was studying
myths and their structure as a graduate student of Lux Vidal from the Departamento
de Antropologia of the Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, and
Ladeira was studying kinship and name-set transmission.
In 1976 and 1977, Madeline
Ritter spent some 18 months among the Canela as a doctoral candidate from the
City College of New York, a student of Daniel Gross of Hunter College. Among
many other topics, she studied the relationship of the Canela to their environment
(especially protein consumption) and has published on age-sets (Ritter, 1980).
No other anthropologists carried out potentially significant work among the Canela, at least through 1979 and most likely through 1989, except for Miguel Layrisse of Venezuela, cooperating with a lady medical doctor from Salvador, Bahia, in July 1963, and Jacob Mehringer, a physical anthropologist from Oldenberg University, West Germany, in the late 1980s. Layrisse took extensive blood samples in the village of Sardinha, but the data are unpublished. These contacts with foreign professionals made the Canela considerably more aware of the characteristics of large-city dwellers and constitute a significant part of their history.
[II.B.3.d] EDUCATION OF KAPRÊÊPRÊK
The education of Chief Kaarà?khre's
son, Kaprêêprêk (Plate
69a), in Catholic convents in Barra do Corda and Montes Altos (Map
2) during the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as later for a year in
the Brazilian army in São Luis during the mid-1960s, may well be very
significant for the tribe.
wrote daily manuscripts for me [I.F.2.a], he received more extensive linguistic
training from Jack Popjes during the 1970s. His Portuguese was better than the
younger Kaapêltùk's, especially in grammar, but the latter could
analyze materials more critically and indicate the shades of meaning of words
and concepts far better. Kaprêêprêk wrote diaries and made
tape cassettes for me from 1970 to the end of the program in 1979; but he did
not translate or serve as a regular research assistant in my groups because
of his youth.
Kaprêêprêk, with his superior education and knowledge of city life, is certain to have a significant influence on the future of the tribe, partly because he is the son of Chief Kaarà?khre and partly because of his own personalityunderstanding and honesty. In 1979, he was one of the few Canela young men who could be trusted to carry a payroll from Barra do Corda to Escalvado. He inherited his father's mantle as chief of the tribe in the early 1980s. Although he soon lost this position, possibly because he was slow to make decisions and not forceful enough, he will, nevertheless, influence his people more through his clear vision and his knowledge of city culture.
[II.B.3.e] OFFICIAL POLICY OF CONSCIENTIZAÇÃO
From 1978 into 1980, José
Porfírio Carvalho, was the Indian service delegado (high level
official) in Barra do Corda. He felt the Indians should become aware of their
potential political power and should make great efforts to have matters as they
Carvalho said that any Canela
who found cattle of backland ranchers on his land could kill the animal and
eat its meat without having to pay for it, and this did happen. He also greatly
reinforced Kaarà?khre's position as chief of the tribe, giving him instructive
lectures in Barra do Corda and enabling him, with Sebastião's cooperation,
to lock up disorderly and disobedient Canela in the post building.
Carvalho also founded a
small newspaper in Barra do Corda in which Indians could publish articles in
their own languages (only Guajajara and Canela) to encourage the pan-Indian
movement through greater intercommunication. His message was that conscientização,
or self-awareness, was their right, and that they should exercise and carry
out their rights to the fullest extent possible.
as a movement made considerable advances during the 1980s, with Indians of certain
tribes gaining state and national fame, as in the case of Juruna of the Shavante.
By 1984 an Indian was head of the cabinet of the president of the federal Indian
service in Brasília, and, for the first time, an Indian was director
of the Xingú National Park. Certain Kayapó contributed to the
overthrow of a president of the Indian service and were instrumental in selecting
the new one.
A great deal has changed nationally in how the Indian views himself. In fact, even in the late 1970s, it was clear that the Canela were better off than many backlanders, as several backlanders pointed out. One asked me: "Would a truck come and take my son to São Luis if he needed an operation?" [II.B.3.g] It is too early to assess the effects of Carvalho on the Canela. However, he has succeeded in making them live by far stricter rules, such as restricting travel without permission and reporting to the chief upon their return. Another is that he introduced conscientização to the Canela, and this concept should have vast ramifications for them in the future.
[II.B.3.f] DEMARCATION OF LANDS
During my 1969 stay with
the Canela, a young French-Italian anthropologist arrived, named Valerie. She
had been sent ahead by the Indian service in São Luis to prepare the
way for a group of recently graduated law students to live in the village of
Escalvado for a week as part of the Operação Timbira plan sponsored
by the state of Maranhão, a sort of internal Peace Corps. Under this
program, a new law was to be implemented, which would give the Indians title
to lands they had once lived on if they could show official engineers old village
sites on such lands. She explained that four recently graduated law students
were coming with the Operação Timbira group, and that if she returned
to São Luis and reached them in time, they could draw up legal papers
for demarcating the Canela lands.
Later, the recently graduated lawyers arrived with the Operação Timbira group, with land demarcation papers drawn up. Each day they went out with Chief Kaarà?khre and other Canela to survey the proposed boundaries.
The ranchers took the situation to the state capital and created an impasse. The students spread the news of the resistance of the ranchers to the press and to the federal Indian service, and the Indian service acted. By 1971 the lands were being demarcated to be held by the Indian service for the Canela Indians. By 1983 the legal process was completed for 125,212 hectares (CEDI, 1985-1986:235), about 35 by 45 kilometers. The ranchers lost the legal struggle partly because of their earlier attack on the Canela in 1963. The Canela, through this demarcation, came to possess more land than they had in 1963, especially in the direction of Leandro from where the principal attack had come. Besides the proof of strong support by the Indian service, the Canela gained new and significant forested lands for agriculture. The relative affluence of the mid-1980s is based on effective use of these forests, which are near Pak-re (Map 3).
Various attempts were made
to demarcate the Apanyekra lands; but as of 1979, none were successful. By 1986,
the legal demarcation was completed for 79,520 hectares (CEDI, 1985-1986:235).
Access was a particular problem for any engineer attempting to demarcate the
Apanyekra lands. Army trucks from Barra do Corda could easily reach the Canela
once the bridge (Figure 8)
was built at Ourives, but they could not to reach the Apanyekra. A very round
about road was finally completed to the Apanyekra village of Porquinhos in the
mid-1970s. The route passed south from Barra do Corda to Escalvado and then
went due west across the headwaters of several streams to finally reach the
Apanyekra area. Thus, substantial bridges did not have to be built.
To defend and preserve the Apanyekra lands in the critical 1960s, the Indian service had the Apanyekra cut an airfield out of their cerrado in 1966, about a half kilometer from their Porquinhos village site. (See Figure 2 and Map 6 for the relationship of the airstrip to the village.) The airstrip was 600 meters long, 20 meters wide, and built on hard, smooth ground. Small military planes could have landed there to defend the lands against the ranchers. This airfield was rarely used although it was far longer, broader, and flatter than the SIL air strip built in Escalvado in 1969.
[II.B.3.g] RADIO TRANSMITTER AT VILLAGE POST
The significance of the two-way radio transmitter, which was installed in Escalvado in the late 1970s, was not evident at first, but it definitely changed the expectations of the Canela. It enabled Sebastião to receive and send messages between his Escalvado post and Indian service personnel in Barra do Corda and São Luis. Once he sent for an Indian service vehicle to come and take out a younger son of Chief Kaarà?khre, who had an acute attack of appendicitis. After being seen by a doctor in Barra do Corda, the young man was taken to São Luis in the Indian service ambulance, was operated on successfully in a hospital there, and was returned to Escalvado in the same vehicle, all within ten days. The existence of the radio transmitting station may have been crucial, but so was the rough road to Barra do Corda, the doctor in Barra do Corda, the highway to São Luis, and the medical facilities in São Luis. Only the latter existed in the 1960s.
[II.B.3.h] CHANGES IN TRANSPORTATION ROUTES
In contrast to the living conditions and reasonable expectations of the Canela in the late 1950s, 20 years later their outlook on life has considerably changed. In 1956, the first ungraded, one-way, two-wheel track road for jeeps and trucks was pushed through to Barra do Corda from Mirador and the Brazilian northeast (Map 3). When the tire-made tracks sank too deeply, the trucks would simply bypass these ruts, carving new tire tracks out of the landscape. The impassable forests precluded transportation directly from coastal São Luis. Travelers came up river to Barra do Corda in small boats (Plate 4b) or flew from São Luis in a commercial DC-3 or DC-4. Then came the three-day horse or mule ride south 75 to 80 kilometers (by ground measurement) to the Canela villages of Baixão Prêto and Ponto. The SIL put in the first airstrip in 1969. No permanent resident doctor resided in Barra do Corda, but hospitals with surgeons did exist in São Luis. In any case, the Canela could only expect to die from such ailments as acute appendicitis in the late 1950s and even in the 1960s and mid-1970s. By the late 1970s, conditions had changed considerably enough, especially in transportation, that their expectations could change in a very significant way.
[II.B.3.i] PUBLIC HEALTH AND POPULATION GROWTH
Before the time of Sebastião
Ferreira (1970s) at least half the Canela population died before the age of
9, usually from some form of dysentery and the resulting dehydration. By the
mid-1960s, a half-dozen adults were dying each year of tuberculosis. It was
a relatively simple matter for Sebastião to save almost all the children
from dying of dysentery. What they needed was his presence, his persistence,
and the medicines. But tuberculosis was another matter. As far back as the 1950s
medicine was available in sufficient quantities to cure tuberculosis among the
Canela, but in the 1950s and 1960s no Indian service agent had the knowledge
to follow through with each case in order to bring about the cure.
After two months of taking
medicines and injections, the tuberculosis patient felt better and resumed various
activities, even log racing and heavy work in the fields. With the resulting
relapse, however, the medicines were no longer effective. The Canela did not
heed the warnings of nurses and agents in the 1950s and 1960s that tuberculosis
patients must continue taking the medicines and following the ordered physical
restrictions for nine months.
over tuberculosis came when he managed to convince the younger Tààmi
(Plate 56d) that his
sick daughter had to receive injections every day for nine monthsnot just
two or three monthsno matter how well she felt. Tààmi then
convinced the rest of the tribe. It took a person of Sebastião's character
and stature with the Canela to achieve this feat of communication. By 1979,
tuberculosis was all but eradicated.
The near elimination of childhood dysentery and even tuberculosis contributed greatly to the increase in Canela population between 1969 and 1979 from around 400 to about 600.
[II.B.3.j] AGRICULTURAL PROBLEMS
With the significant increase in population likely to continue into the 1980s, the question of whether the land would support the people was becoming very important. In 1979, an Indian service agronomist lived at the Escalvado post for several weeks to study the question. "Quick rice" (arroz ligeiro) was provided, which was supposed to enable the Canela to plant two crops a year instead of one. There was much talk about cutting down and fencing in a large area of land in which most of the Canela could plant their crops. Unfortunately, backlander cattle invariably broke down the fences of the gardens and destroyed large portions of the crops before they could be stopped. (Plate 12a) shows a backlander's fence. Canela ones were less substantial.) In 1979, the Indian service delegado in Barra do Corda allowed the Canela to shoot such cattle. Consequently, the backlanders had to watch their cattle more carefully in order to prevent them from invading the Canela lands. This helped the situation considerably, but it was not a final solution.
When asked why they had
to frequent backland houses from September through December to sharecrop in
order to have enough to eat, the Canela invariably said this was necessary because
backland cattle kept destroying their crops. While partly true, evidence showed,
and Indian service personnel concurred, that in spite of recent improvements,
a considerable number of Canela were demoralized, listless, and lacking in hope
and favorable expectations. Consequently, they did not work hard enough or long
enough to make their farm plots grow sufficient crops to support their families
until the next harvest. Moreover, extensive agriculture was not a traditional
practice. Thus, not just cattle invasions but also demoralization accounted
for insufficient harvests since 1947 (when Olímpio Cruz left).
Another factor that weakened
Canela resolve to put in sufficiently large farm plots was their ancient custom
of begging [II.C.3.g] [IV.A.3.c.(5).(c)]. Individuals in need simply went around
the village asking for food from relatives and non-relatives alike. Thus, if
a person's crops had been destroyed by backland cattle, or if he simply did
not put in a large enough farm plot, she or he just went begging to make up
the difference. Women and men who had planted large farms, and thereby had sufficient
family foods for the year, were required by custom to supply those in need with
an ample supply of foods. Thus, even hard workers had to resort to sharecropping
on backland farms to make up for the food they had furnished others.
By the late 1970s, however, fewer individuals were going to backlander farms, and the idea of working on such farms had become shameful. The alternative of making and selling artifacts had developed and provided the Canela a new way of obtaining food during the lean months of the year.
In 1979, the Canela had a tractor, which was run primarily by Kaprêêprêk (Plate 69a). He could be trusted with money, so the Indian service gave him funds to fuel and maintain the vehicle for hauling materials and transporting people. One common use was the transportation of palm straw thatch from the location of its cutting to the village. Some of the younger, more educated Canela were beginning to find walking, especially to Barra do Corda, an indignity, and so were relying on the tractor for many of their transportation needs.
[II.B.3.k] CATTLE RAISING
The Canela were unsuccessful in raising cattle because of their practice of killing and eating the calves. For instance, a daughter might cry because she is hungry for meat, so her father, feeling sorry for her, kills the calf to fulfill his daughter's desires. By the mid-1970s, however, some Canela began to keep a few head of cattle mixed in with the Indian service herd, which was kept browsing outside the village in the cerrado. The Indian service employed one Canela, Yõõkhên (Plate 73b) to watch over the small herd. He was one of the most honorable and trusted individuals in the tribe. Nevertheless, not more than half a dozen Canela put savings into cattle. Horses were a more secure financial investment because eating them was not a custom. About a dozen Canela had horses in the mid-1970s, which they used for traveling (both for riding and as beasts of burden) and to make large judicial payments for their entire extended kin when necessary [III.D.3.a,e.(5).(b)] .
[II.B.3.l] WESTERN ABRAÇADO DANCING
Dancing abraçado, in the manner of backlanders, started among the Canela in 1959 and was a central focus of the messianic movement of 1963 [II.B.2.f.(2)]. However, the Indian service forbade abraçado dancing in 1964 because it was associated with the movement. By the mid-1970s, however, it was flourishing again as a form of recreation. The Canela danced with appropriate backland clothing as a part of the necessary cultural complex, but without cachaça (cane liquor). The popularity of this dancing did not diminish their interest and love for traditional dancing. Some Canela's battery-run record player and records were borrowed for the evening, and the dances took place inside a house that had pounded mud-clay floors and sufficient spaceusually Chief Kaarà?khre's house (Figure 24 house LL). Abraçado, dancing represents a very considerable acceptance of backland culture.
[II.B.4] Barra do Corda Influence on the Canela, 1950s-1970s
Unlike many tribes contacted
by settlers and attracted from the forests by the Indian service in the middle
of the 20th century, the Canela have lived within 50 to 70 kilometers of a small
Brazilian cityBarra do Cordaduring the entire century. While some
Canela have also sporadically visited many great coastal citiesBelém,
São Luis, Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeirosince some time in the
last century [II.A.3.a.(3)], continuing their aboriginal practice of going on
trek, they have had Barra do Corda close at hand as a constant influence in
The older Kaapêltùk
(Figure 50) was the first
Canela to work for the Indian service (1938); and since that time until 1978
has traveled to Barra do Corda almost monthly to receive his pay. By the 1950s,
six Canela were on the Indian service payroll and generally made the same trips.
Because their salaries were set at the same level of compensation as those for
Barra do Corda service employees until 1978, they had far more funds than were
needed to support a family in the backlands, especially by Canela standards.
The Canela valued generosity far more highly than keeping what was earned (seen
as being stingy and evil, so "begging" (Glossary)
Canela often stripped the six Canela employees of their entire salaries before
they had even left Barra do Corda to return home.
Canela individuals who were
not earning sufficient support in the villages, as well as creditors from the
Barra do Corda stores, pressured Canela employees on pay days, exacting their
due and often considerably more because the Canela could not keep proper accounts
on paper. Moreover, Indians who were conveniently present in Barra do Corda
on pay day expected food and goods just because they were hungry or needed a
certain item in a store. Strong desire on the part of any individual was sufficient
justification for demanding and receiving significant food and goods from another
Canela who did have money. In addition, when men were alone, they were often
enticed by promises of free alcohol into the red light street, where the combination
of alcohol and women left them with high debts. Sometimes their families back
in the village received nothing at all for months in a row.
This loss of salaries in
Barra do Corda was at its worst in the mid-1960s when the Canela lived next
to the Guajajara Indian service post of Sardinha (Map
3), only about 25 kilometers from Barra do Corda by road. By the 1970s,
however, back in their homelands, a number of leading Canela began to resist
alcohol [II.B.2.i.(5)] so that the situation improved considerably.
Backlanders living in the
region around the Canela had a greater influence on them before the time of
Nimuendajú (1929-1936). Backlander influence is still felt, because many
Canela families work for them during the economically lean part of the year
(September through December). Barra do Corda life, however, has had a greater
influence on the Canela since the beginning of the receipt of salaries (1938).
The Apanyekra, in contrast, are far more isolated (being farther away) from
Barra do Corda influence and receive no service salaries. Therefore, the influence
of backland culture is still greater on them than is that of Barra do Corda.
Considering the great extent of Canela contacts with Barra do Corda since 1940, it is surprising the Canela are not more acculturated than they are. The Canela have highly valued their own way of life, however, so that they change very slowly. Nevertheless, it is important to describe the Barra do Corda world, and how, though a small interior city, it is very much part of the national Brazilian culture, which has been of great influence on Canela historypast, present, and future.
[II.B.4.a] GEOGRAPHY AND DEMOGRAPHY OF BARRA DO CORDA
Barra do Corda (Plates
2,3) is a small city that
lies about 50 kilometers north of the Indian village of Escalvado at 45°6'W,
5°30'S. This municipality (município) would be roughly comparable
in political structure to a county in the United States, and all the Canela
and Apanyekra lands lie within it (Map
The center of the city is about 81 meters above sea level, and heights above the city near the airport are about 150 meters. The central part of the city lies in a basin about 70 meters deep, formed by the junction of the Corda and Mearim rivers (Plate 3a).
The population of the município
of Barra do Corda was 18,140 in 1955, while 5,725 lived in the city itself.
It was the sixth largest município in the state of Maranhão, covering
14,294 square kilometers. In 1950, backland settlements near the Canela Indians
had the following populations: Leandro 365, Resplandes (Jenipapo) 766, and Papagáio
22. (See the Enciclopédia dos Municipios do Brasil, 1959:7071
for Maranhão and Piaui.)
According to the 1970 census of Brazil, the city of Barra do Corda had about 8,570 inhabitants, and the entire município about 56,000. Thus, most of the population of the município is rural.
Most of the data for the
following report that are not personal observations come from the mayor of Barra
do Corda, Lourival Pacheco, who granted me an extensive interview in December
1970. The administrative secretary of the município, Sr. António
Gomes Cordeiro, assisted him. According to this source, Manoel Rodrigues de
Mello Uchoa, a Brazilian merchant-explorer, founded Barra do Corda in 1835 as
a trading post at the junction of the Mearim and Corda rivers. This is the highest
point to which small water craft can navigate up the Mearim River. Merchandise
came to Barra do Corda from the Atlantic Ocean this way, as well as from the
state capital, São Luis, at the river's mouth. São Luis is about
350 kilometers to the northeast as the crow flies but considerably farther by
the river's slow, winding course into the backlands.
Barra do Corda was the last outpost traders reached by water as they moved south and west into this part of Brazil. From here, some took their goods by horse and mule across the travessia (a long, dry crossing), the principal watershed just southwest of the Apanyekra lands. The Kenkateye-Canela village, Chinello, was at the beginning of "the crossing." Once past this village travelers moved on to Riachão and into the Amazon basin, first to streams and then to rivers flowing into the Tocantins River. (See the trail going off the bottom of Map 3 near its southwestern corner, as one of the ancient routes leading to Riachão (see also Maps 2,4).)
[II.B.4.c] AGRICULTURE OF BARRA DO CORDA
As of 1970, the município
of Barra do Corda was still mostly agricultural, though it had some cattle ranchers.
Most of the small ranchers maintained between 20 and 50 head of cattle. Only
about 12 ranchers had as many as 1000 cattle. Most of the communities were linked
by unimproved, small dirt trails good only for horses and donkeys. The principal
product of the município was rice: dry rather than paddy cultivation.
Barra do Corda was the second largest producer of rice in the state of Maranhão.
However, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, bitter and sweet manioc, cotton, beans,
lima beans, and a number of other products grew in quantity.
The farmers of the backlands ate principally rice, beans, and farinha (bitter manioc flour). They raised chickens, pigs, and sometimes had two or three head of cattle, and maybe some goats. Sugar mills produced blocks of brown sugar (rapadura) and cane liquor (cachaça). Generally speaking, it was prestigious to raise cattle, but in the forests they cultivated food products. Data from the Enciclopédia dos Municípios (IBGE, 1959) indicate the município of Barra do Corda was the greatest producer of tomatoes in 1955: 57,000 kilograms, and about 22,000 head of cattle were grazing there in 1956.
[II.B.4.d] INSTITUTIONS OF THE CITY
The city is divided into
three parts, the Centro, Trisedela, and Altamira. In 1970, it had about 2,350
houses. About 200 shopkeepers (comerciantes) had businesses in town with
about 400 maintaining theirs throughout the município. Approximately
220 industrial plants existed in the município, most of which processed
and sold wood or rice. The city had one bank, the Casa de Crédito do
Estado do Maranhão, which was founded in 1968, but by 1979 several banks
had been established.
A large Catholic church (Plate 3b) faces the central plaza, which has been managed for years by priests who come from Italy for this purpose. A large convent stands two blocks away (Plate 3b). A chapel, referred to as the Calvário, exists in the Altamira part of the city. The Calvário overlooks the Centro, which lies most dramatically in the basin formed by the two rivers (Plate 3a). At their juncture, a long sand bar, the barra, gives the city its name. Another Catholic church is located in the Trisedela sector. At least two Protestant churches exist in the city, a large one in the Centro and a smaller one outside.
[II.B.4.e] COMMUNICATIONS WITH URBAN BRAZIL
The first transportation
into the area was by boat (Plate
4b), followed by the airplane. The first airfield was constructed
in the Altamira section in 1941, just on the edge of the bluffs overlooking
the city. It was merely a wide dirt road with grass on either side, where trees
had been cleared. The present, far larger airport with a hard surface was built
in 1962 about 5 kilometers from the center of Barra in the Altamira region well
beyond the first landing strip. It was equipped with lights in 1969, so airplanes
could land at night.
The first commercial airline
flew into Barra in 1941. Varig Airlines put in a route between Goiânia,
in the central plateau near Brasília, and São Luis in 1959. Round
trip flights took place only twice a week, at first using DC-3s and then later
DC-4s. In September 1969, the first turboprop was introduceda Japanese-made
The Brazilian Air Force
(FAB) routed flights through Barra do Corda twice a month, connecting this city
with Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. Poor citizens of the region traveled
free with their goods and sent parcels airmail. The federal government sent
supplies to the city via this service.
Ground transportation in
the traditional pau de arara (wooden-rod of macaw-parrot), a colorfully
painted truck with benches and high sides to keep people in, became available
in 1956, after the bridge in Campo Largo (Map
3) over the Alpercatas River was finished. This road came from the Brazilian
Northeast by way of Floriano and Mirador (Map
2). Thus, Barra do Corda was linked commercially with the Northeast long
before it became connected by ground transportation with its own state capital.
This backland road to Mirador and Pastos Bons (Maps
2 and 3), over which I traveled
in June 1960, was carved out almost entirely by tires of trucks and jeeps. When
the two tire tracks became too deep through use, or an area too muddy, vehicles
merely drove around the difficult spot and formed a new tire-track route. The
road was elevated to some extent after reaching Mirador and definitely after
Pastos Bons, where it was called a central. The central was wide
enough for two-way traffic without vehicles going partly off the road to edge
around each other.
In 1957, people in Barra
do Corda showed me gas-run refrigerators and other heavy equipment that had
arrived by truck just since the completion of the Campo Largo bridge. Truck
conveyance was a great improvement over river transportation. Propeller-driven
boats took four days from São Luis to Pedreiras (Map
2), but the rest of the voyage took 30 days, poling against the current.
Even in 1956, however, trucks needed eight days to bring merchandise from São
Luis to Barra do Corda using the Mirador route.
The city's two older bridges
(Plate 3b), one across
the Corda River and the other across the Mearim, were built in 1945 just above
where the Corda flows into the Mearim. In 1970, another was constructed just
below the city, permitting road BR-226, an access route to the Trans-Amazon
highway, to bypass Barra do Corda (Map
2). (See construction work on this highway in Plate
3a.) The route was paved from São Luis up to Presidente Dutra,
but from there to the west, through Barra do Corda, it was a 2-way, elevated
dirt road, full of potholes in the late 1970s. (Information received in 1987
indicates this road is being paved.)
Another access road to the
Trans-Amazon passes south of the Canela area through Floriano and Pastos Bons
to Carolina and the Belém-Brasília highway. Thus, the boundaries
of the Canela reservation lie about 40 kilometers south of this northern access
road to the Amazon and about 85 kilometers north of the southern one (Map
In 1968-1969, installation
of Barra do Corda's telephone system began, and the mayor's office put in a
short-wave communications system TELAMATELNA (Telecomunições de
Malayon). By 1978, a television broadcasting station and tower were erected
in the Altamira section, and it began broadcasting taped programs sent from
São Luis. Soap operas (novelas) from the national system were
put on the air locally two or three days late. By 1984, I received news that
Barra do Corda had been linked into the regular interurban telephone system.
The meteorological station in the Altamira area is part of the Northeast network. It was run according to a contract with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the United States AID program.
[II.B.4.f] REGIONAL AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
In 1943, the federal government
built a base just across the river from the Centro of Barra do Corda. Called
the "Colônia" (Colônia Agrícola do Maranhão;
Plate 3b), its purpose
was to train backland farmers to work the soil intensively. Model farms demonstrated
irrigation and intensive agriculture. The methods taught, however, were not
adopted partly because the farmers derived satisfactions from their traditional
slash-and-burn practices and way of life and partly because they did not have
the necessary capital.
After the Colônia was renamed the "Núcleo Colonial," migrant families came to it from states of the Northeast. These immigrants were prepared through technical training to use the soil intensively and were expected to travel and settle themselves westward along the Trans-Amazon highway to put their training into practice. By 1970, 100 families had arrived. The Núcleo Colonial was prepared to receive at least 1,000 more in training agrovilas a few kilometers to the west. Each of these communities was large enough to support one family for many years, without having to cut down more forests in a new area every one to three years. (For an assessment of this government program, see Moran's study, 1983.)
[II.B.4.g] INDUSTRIAL ZONE
In 1978, an area planned for an industrial zone was marked out in the Altamira area. Eight hundred lots of 20 by 40 meters each were marked, and the Banco Nacional do Habitação helped people with development loans. A saw mill was erected and schools were built for the expanding population. The Canela pass by this planned industrial park area every time they arrive from or leave for their village, because it is on the road to their homelands.
In 1970, about 3,000 young people were studying in three educational centers. The state of Maranhão ran two of the schools, and private funds (mostly Protestant missionary) supported the third, the Maranata. The Catholic church built a teachers' training high school in the Centro next to the church. The município ran two other groups of schools in the city, one in the Altamira and the other in the Trisedela section. There were 83 rural schools in the backlands.
[II.B.4.i] MEDICINE AND SANITATION
In 1970, the city had two health units, one run by the Centro de Serviço Especial de Saúde Pública and the other by the Legião Brasileira de Assistência. Each had one doctor and several nurses with everything needed to provide good medical services. A private clinic was about to be built. (At the time of my arrival in 1957, the city only occasionally had a doctor in residence, with the nearest permanent one being in Grajau, and therefore available only by horse or mule over dirt trails and simple roads.) Also in 1970, plans were being made for distributing piped drinking water in all parts of the city. Piped water was being used by most of the households I visited in 1975 and 1979.
Construction in the city
suggests the pace of modernization in Barra do Corda. In 1945, houses for the
federal employees of the Núcleo Colonial were erected along with the
offices of CSESP (malarial control)the first substantial buildings beside
the Catholic church's. In 1952, the post office building was constructed, and
between 1958 and 1960 the high school of the Catholic church was built. In 1968,
the high school of the Centro was constructed.
In 1970, a diesel generator
was installed to furnish electricity for certain parts of the city until a connection
was made in 1971 with a regional dam located at Boa Esperança (Map
2) in the city of Guadelupe on the Parnaíba River.
A military engineering battalion arrived in Barra do Corda in 1969. It built the bridge that let highway BR-226 bypass Barra do Corda.
[II.B.4.k] MODERNIZATION AND ATTITUDINAL CHANGES
When I first arrived in
Barra do Corda in July 1957, it was a sleepy town. Stores closed at noon and
few reopened before 2:30 or 3:00 PM. Cattle wandered throughout the muddy central
plaza where the Catholic church stands. Vaqueiros (cowboys) drove herds
of cattle through the Centro's dirt streets to the plaza, or to where they were
butchered near the convent. The vaqueiros wore the typical leather hats,
jackets, and breeches of the Northeast. Street vendors set up stores with inexpensive
merchandise in the plaza. By 1970, this central plaza had been completely renovated
(Plate 78). Trees, grass, benches,
and a children's playground took the place of bare, uneven ground. By 1970,
and even more so by 1979, stores did not close during the day. With few exceptions,
the siestas of former years had disappeared.
In 1957 when it rained extensively,
streets filled with water and mud, which washed into the central plaza creating
ponds pedestrians had to circumnavigate. In another plaza by the convent, herds
of cattle were often standing in such pools waiting for sale or slaughter. By
1970 this area had become a mall with many stores and markets, including a tiled
butcherythe place to go for fresh meat at 4 AM.
In 1957, I was invited to the house of a school teacher who was one of the more intellectual citizens of Barra do Corda. Some American missionaries were hauling wood into the courtyard next to his house, and he commented that educated people did not carry lumber. By the 1970s, the sons of these same intellectuals were working hard with their hands, and the old gentlemanly attitude about educated people not doing physical work had disappeared, like the siesta. In 1979, the most intellectual member of the Indian service was working on his back under his jeep one day, a job somebody else would have done for him two decades earlier.
The feeling of Brazil's
being on the move was strong in the late 1950s. Young truck drivers came into
Barra do Corda from the Northeast, expecting excellent earnings. One driver
rarely saw his wife and family but just transported goods in his truck between
Recife and Barra do Corda to pay off the truck's debt. The opportunity to move
up in the world and make money were clear possibilities for many people.
In 1957, most of the goods
and merchandise in Barra do Corda stores, and in São Luis, were made
in the USA. The machetes, for instance, were made in the Collins factory, in
New England, just as during the time of Nimuendajú. By 1964, almost every
thing was made in Brazil, even though the brand name probably was the same.
The construction of Brasília
and the roads radiating from it brought the sleeping Brazilian giant dramatically
to his feet. In 1960, I knew youths who left the backlands of Barra do Corda
to go south to Brasília. We even sang a popular song about answering
the call of Juselino (their President: Juselino Kubescheck) to come to the southern
part of Goiás state to build the new capital.
Modernization and change were also evident in the demise of old traditions. In Barra do Corda of 1957, I remember a number of intellectuals who, if given the complementary suggestion, would recite poetry, even on the sidewalk. In my boarding house, the owner's young son had a birthday party at which everybody stood up and recited poetry they created spontaneouslythe old skill of declamação. I also found this same custom at the beach and at a state Historical and Geographical Society meeting in São Luis. In 1970, educated people were no longer engaged in this highly skilled verbal activity. Barra do Corda, as an integral part of "Brazil on the move," changed especially rapidly between 1957 and 1960, and more regularly during the 1960s and 1970s. (For a history and description of Barra do Corda, see Banco do Nordeste do Brasil S.A., 1985.)
While hot and muggy because
of being in a basin, Barra do Corda nevertheless had some truly delightful characteristics
(Plate 78). Church bells rang
on the hour on Sundays, and on certain hours of weekdays schoolgirls paraded
in uniforms on sidewalks. Green plazas decorated the city here and there. Swimming
in the Corda River during the 1960s was refreshing and clean, especially in
contrast to the Mearim, which carried mud and was warmer. A recreational club
stood where the rivers came together just before the sandbar, and other clubs
served different socioeconomic classes.
In 1970, tourists came to Barra from other states to hunt jaguar, deer, wild boar, armadillo, partridge, and even tapir. By 1978, however, hunting game was illegal, except Indians could hunt on their lands. People placed a recreational emphasis on the Corda on which varied boating activities for individuals of all backgrounds and ages were possible.
The influence of greater
Brazil on Barra do Corda was manifested in styles of clothing, level of awareness,
items sold in stores, aspects of schools and churches, contents of books and
magazines, programs on radio and later television, and in many other ways. Popular
songs of the United States frequently came over the public address system of
the central plaza, either translated or without words, along with Brazilian
carnival music and bossa novas. Aspirations of young Barra do Corda citizens
reached out to the greater world of Brazil. Sons and daughters of the Indian
service agent Olímpio Cruz, for instance, all graduated from local high
schools and went on to universities in the coastal cities or Brasília.
They are now married and living in the larger cities of Brazil, as are many
other natives of Barra do Corda.
Culturally speaking, the
significant break in the continuum between urban life (North American or Brazilian)
and the backlands around the Canela and Apanyekra lies between Barra do Corda
and the backlands. Barra do Corda culture is far closer to sophisticated urban
Brazil and to the United States than it is to culture of the backlanders, which
in the United states might be compared to the culture of mountain folk in Appalachia
before World War II. When I first arrived among the Canela in 1957, traveling
minstrels stayed at the service post and sang songs about the court life of
royalty in earlier times in Portugal and Brazil. Musicians played the fife and
fiddle for people to dance at festas in backland communities (e.g., Bacabal;
Map 3). By 1960, however, the accordion
had come to most backland communities and was the only prestigious form of social
Considering the acculturative influences on the Canela, these Indians can choose between the backland practices and the urban ones, which are significantly different. While the Canela are largely adopting the ways of the backlander, their leaders in the 1980s are sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate and enculturate the urban values to some extent. Conflicts between these two Brazilian ways of life may partly explain the current political confusion among the Canela [Ep.3.b].
[II.C] ANNUAL CYCLES
The Canela have four annual cycles that mark their passage through time [V.B.1]. The first, the climatic cycle with its alternation between wet and dry seasons, is an important factor upon which the other three cycles are based. The second, the environmental cycle, shapes Canela culture with its contribution of cerrado fruits, animal births, and farm harvests as time markers. The third, the economic cycle, is formed by the timing of the first two cycles and by the society's traditions, which satisfy the people's needs for food, social activities, and psychological orientation. The fourth cycle, the ceremonial one, is largely determined by the first three, though unique traditional factors and particular culture contacts of the last 250 years surely contribute to its formation as well. This annual ceremonial cycle is fully elaborated in the sections on festivals [IV.A.3,4,5], with only a brief description provided here in order to examine its relationships to the other three cycles. The Canela see these "annual cycles" (my concept) as being repetitive annual occurrences passing through time in a linear manner [V.B.1.b].
[II.C.1] Climatic Cycle
Because the Canela region constitutes an intermediate zone between the rain forests of Amazonia to the west, the cerrado (Plates 12, 13) of the central plateau to the southwest, and the dry caatinga of the Northeast, it experiences a combination of the climates of these three ecological biomes [II.A.3.b.(1)].
[II.C.1.a] REGION OF CLIMATIC SHIFT
The annual rainfall is about
900 to 1,500 millimeters, but it was drier during the late 1950s (Barra do Corda,
1957: 949.8 mm [I.B.G.E., 1957:71]) than during the 1970s (Table 1). My estimation
for the Canela area is that 70 percent of the rain falls in the months of January,
February, and March, but there are great occasional heavy rains in late December
and the first half of April. Another 20 percent falls in early December and
late April, while the final 10 percent falls during May, September, October
and November. I have never known rain to fall in June, July or August among
the Canela, but this has happened in Barra do Corda (Table 1).
The meteorologist at Barra
do Corda, Sr. António Gomes Cordeiro [Ap.6], argued that the differences
between the climates of Escalvado and Barra do Corda could not be significant
because the distance between the two locations was only 60 kilometers and the
difference in elevation only about 100 meters. I was not there during the summer
months of 1971, having arrived among the Apanyekra only by September, but I
was in the backland Canela or Apanyekra areas during the summers of 1957, 1958,
1959, 1960, 1970, 1975, 1978, and 1979. It did not rain during the months of
June, July, and August of those years. Moreover, it did not rain in the Canela
or Apanyekra backlands during the months of July 1966 and August 1969. Cordeiro,
however, records small amounts of rain for the months of June, July, and August
1971 (Table 1) for Barra do
Corda. (Except for rainfall, differences between the humid basin of the Centro
and the wind swept flats of the meteorological post2 kilometers away and
100 meters highermay be significant.)
It would appear, however, that there is indeed a significant difference in the climates between the Canela backlands and Barra do Corda, so the data in Table 1 should be understood with this claim taken into consideration. Moreover, my reporting includes the conditions of the late 1950s, which were drier. These differences can exist between the two places because the Canela are in a region of sharp climatic change between the biomes of Amazonia and the Northeast. On geographical and meteorological maps, in almost all cases, the isobars representing rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, evaporation, and isolation are relatively close together (ECE- PLAN, 1969). When there is a great drought in the Northeast, it can be expected that the climate of the Canela region will be pushed somewhat west [II.B.1.d.(4)]. When the meteorological conditions in the tropical forests to the west take precedence, however, the Canela climate moves east and becomes wetter. (The old Barra do Corda resident, Olímpio Cruz, used to take vacations with his family in the summer months in the 1950s, spending them at the old Ponto Indian service post because the climate was so much "better" there [cooler by night and less muggy by day] than in Barra do Corda.)
[II.C.1.b] CANELA ANNUAL CLIMATIC CYCLE
Besides the heavy rains
appearing at a later time of the year (December) and the lower annual precipitation
in Barra do Corda, the low relative humidity during the months of June, July,
and August is another variable that distinguishes the climate of central Maranhão
from conditions farther west in the Amazon basin.
After no rain at all for
the three summer months of June, July, and August in the Canela area, several
heavy dews or mild drizzles early in the morning are likely to occur during
the first part of September. No further precipitation occurs until mid- or late
October, when there may be several rainstorms. This pattern continues until
mid- to late December, when the rainy season really begins. By mid-April the
heavy rains are over, but occasional storms or mild precipitation may occur
in April or May.
The relative humidity is
high every night during most of the year, but during the summer months it may
drop to 45 or 35 percent by 3 PM in the early July winds. During August, the
humidity slowly rises in the mid-afternoon to 50 and even 70 percent, and remains
in that range or somewhat higher throughout the rest of the year. By late May,
the relative humidity during mid-afternoon begins to descend from the 70s through
the 60s and occasionally even into the 50s.
The high and low daily temperatures
become most extreme in July. The highest ranges are between 33 to 37 degrees
Celsius at 2 to 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and the lowest between 12 and 15
degrees at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. By mid- to late August these extremes
are reduced to below 32 and above 15. As the humidity rises in October and November,
and the heavy rainy season begins in late December, the daily highs and lows
range between 21 and 29 degrees Celsius, the daily variation being mostly due
to clouds and precipitation.
Around the Canela region,
the prevailing winds come from the east, or east by southeast, during most of
the year. Their variation is more in their intensity. They shift somewhat from
the east to the east by northeast during the summer months of June, July and
August. In May or sometimes during the last weeks of April, they become drier
and stronger. This may happen once a week in mid-May, and more frequently around
the first of June, until winds are consistent every day. During June there are
few clouds, but toward the end of July and certainly in August the wind begins
to abate and high banks of cumulus clouds begin to race across the skies from
east to west. Occasionally, during these dry months, small tornadoes (up to
3 and even 6 meters high) absorb and carry off much sand when they touch the
ground. (For meteorological data of the city of Barra do Corda supplied by the
meteorologist António Gomes Cordeiro, see Table
Although climatic changes are less discernible than in temperate North America, there are two distinct seasons. Backlanders call the months of June, July and August, verão (summer) and the rainy months of December, January, February and March inverno (winter). They do not, however, use the expressions "spring" and "autumn" for the transitional periods. The Canela use these Portuguese terms for summer and winter quite freely and accurately. Their own terms are kakhuu (summer) or ta (winter), but kakhuu can also mean "year." In still another context, kakhuu means "season," which can be either dry or wet. Another expression for counting years is pul, the word also used for farms. The wet part of the year in Canela thinking runs from September through May, though there is little rain until mid-December, while the dry part is restricted to June, July, and August. (See [V.B.1.b] for the linear passage through time of paired seasons, summer and winter.)
[II.C.2] Environmental Cycle
For the backland Brazilians
of the Canela region, the calendar year starts with the first of January. The
Canela, however, do not have a precise beginning or ending of their year. Research
assistants point to the first heavy dew or drizzling precipitation (Table 2)
of the early mornings in the first part of September as being the variable beginning
of their year. This is the time when the first green shoots appear on them trees
and wild flowers bloom on the sands of the cerrado. Even an outsider cannot
miss the change in color of the landscape from yellow-brown to green. In the
dry forests to the northwest, by contrast, leaves on deciduous trees begin to
fall (Figure 6).
During the late 1950s, very few Canela could employ the Portuguese-Brazilian names for the months of the year with accuracy. By the late 1970s, many could identify the parts of their yearly cycle using Portuguese names for the months, but they felt it was more accurate to use their traditional markers. For the months from September through January, they used the terms for the times when wild fruits ripen. By late September the fruits of the buriti palm tree (krówa) become ripe and continue throughout October. Buritirana appears during October, piqui (prin) in November, and bacaba (kaapêl) in December. The final wild food of the year, bacuri (kümtsêê), ripens in January. From January through May, the terminology refers to the times when crops are ready for harvesting. Watermelon appears in January, while squash and pumpkins are ready in February. March is the month for corn, and rice becomes ready in April or May. May is also the time when locust (sucupira: ku?tàà) trees blossom with their vivid blue flowers. June is marked by the coming of winds; July by the daily extremes in temperature and humidity; August by the return of clouds (cumulus) and the end of August by the availability of honey (pen) and the wild cashew fruit. The time when babies of various animal species are born also serves as a time marker. (See Table 2 for additional information on identifying the time of the year.)
[II.C.3] Economic Cycle
In earlier times, the Canela supported themselves more by hunting and gathering and even fishing than by agriculture (Nimuendajú, 1946:57). Thus the degree to which they have taken on backland-oriented agriculture is a mark of long-term acculturation and change over the last 150 years. Many of their current techniques have been learned from the backlander. The Apanyekra have retained far more of their aboriginal horticultural practices than the Canela, who lost their seeds for aboriginal corn, cotton, and probably peanuts when they were suddenly relocated from the cerrado to the dry forests in 1963 [II.B.2.g.(1)] (Table 3).
[II.C.3.a] CLEARING FIELDS
During June and July, groups of men clear the underbrush (Figure 4) on each other's farm plots with machetes. Usually, between 6 and 12 young men (relatives, affines, and friends) work actively for several days before the job on one farm can be completed. During July or even August, farm owner groups, composed of related women's husbands with their sons-in-law, fell trees with axes. Very large trees are left standing, since it is scarcely worth the time and energy to remove them. There is no attempt to chop up large branches and roll logs out of the center of the cleared area. They and the stumps remain even after burning and become part of the planted field.
[II.C.3.b] BURNING AND FENCING
Although the most logical
time for burning is late August, before the drizzles of early September, Canela
farm plots are not usually burned until September or even late October, due
to the low priority placed on farming. After the brush has been cleared and
trees felled, a month is needed for drying so that the fire will be sufficiently
intense to consume the leaves and small trees. If the slash is not completely
burned, the crop will suffer.
If a farm was cleared in June, it could dry during July and most of August, and then be set on fire in late August or September. When I traveled between Belém and Brasília in October of 1974, however, I could see the fires raging. The skies were laden with smoke, and the haze was so thick that the sun appeared to be dark red. This does not happen in the Canela zone because the farms in gallery forests are separated by stretches of cerrado, so they are farther apart. By October or November, the Canela farm plots are burned and new sprouts are growing in them (Plate 12d). Men are erecting fences (khwèk) around them to keep foraging backland cattle from eating the new growth. The fences are made by creating forks using several branches and laying trunks or saplings between them (Plate 12c shows a similar, but better made, backlander fence).
[II.C.3.c] PLANTING AND WEEDING
Planting can start not long
after the fields have been burned. Cuttings or seeds are placed between the
tree stumps, trunks, and branches that have not been consumed by the fire. They
do not plant anything in a straight line; most crops are mixed so that an individual
plant of one kind is planted next to any other one. However, there are differences
in what is planted near the stream, on the higher land, and near the fenced
Weeding is done in December, January, or even February, depending upon when the various crops were planted and their progress. (For a brief but concise discussion of tropical soil clearing and slash-and-burn agriculture, see Meggers, 1971: 18-21.)
[II.C.3.d] DIVISION OF LABOR
Both women and men weed
and plant crops, while clearing brush, felling trees, burning fields, and putting
up fences are men's work. Once the men have performed these tasks, and some
weeding, crops become the responsibility of the women, although the men will
help if further assistance is needed. For this reason, the men help harvest
much of the rice for which many individuals are needed, because rice must be
gathered quickly after it is ready and before the parakeets and other birds
consume it (Nimuendajú, 1946:60-61), or before a rainstorm flattens it.
The women let the tubers remain in the ground until they are needed. Corn, which
used to be a principal crop, is less trouble in these respects than rice, because
corn ripens over a longer period. Thus, corn is harvested by women as it is
I find the "strict division of labor" between the sexes described by Melatti (1979a:48) for the Krahó, less strict for the Canela [II.D.2.i.(1)]. Men fill in, doing "womens' work," wherever needed: carrying water, tending babies, transporting manioc roots, and cooking for themselves when traveling in the absence of women.
[II.C.3.e] CROPS, FRUITS, DOMESTICATED ANIMALS, HUNTING, AND FISHING
Crops planted cyclically
are as follows: corn, rice, sweet manioc, bitter manioc, beans, lima beans,
sweet potatoes, yams, sesame, squash, pumpkin, watermelons, and melons. In earlier
times, the Canela planted peanuts (kahù) and cotton, and various
other crops (Nimuendajú,1946:58). A few gourds and calabashes are planted,
but most large gourds are bought from backland Brazilians. Only a few Canela
attempt to plant and harvest tobacco and sugar cane. Most tobacco is bought
from backlanders, as are brown sugar blocks (rapadura) and raw cane alcohol
Fruit trees are grown, both
in farm plots and around houses in the village (Plate
14a,c,d), a practice learned from backlanders. The following trees
are typically cultivated: banana, mango, orange, papaya, and lima (which is
not a lime or lemon, but a citrus fruit larger than an orange and sweeter than
a grapefruit). Cashew trees, coconut palms, lemon trees, and papayas are less
common. Rarely, pineapples are raised for sale.
The Canela depend very little
on domesticated animals for meat. A few families have chickens and pigs, and
occasionally a few ducks and goats. Some own horses and mules if they travel
much in the backland area. Maybe half a dozen Canela had cattle during the 1970s,
which they kept with the Indian service herd.
Most families have dogs,
which are used to track and kill wounded game. Dogs are abused and kept hungry
in order to make them courageous enough to kill. These dogs know not to come
up to an individual to be petted, for such attention might attract a beating
or at least a stone.
Fishing is only a small factor contributing to the Canela economy, because their streams and therefore the fish are small and few. The Apanyekra, however, have the Corda River flowing through their reservation, and, therefore, frequently and substantially include fish in their diet [II.A.3.d]. (For more information on the economic cycle, see Table 3.)
[II.C.3.f] TRADITIONAL ARTIFACTS FOR SALE
While at Sardinha on the
Guajajara reservation from 1963 through most of 1968, the Canela learned a new
way of partly supporting themselves; they began making artifacts (Plates
17b, 18) for sale
in great numbers. This occurred because the village of Sardinha was close enough
to Barra do Corda to be visited by local citizens and even tourists from other
states, who paid high prices. In earlier years, when Canela groups visited cities
on the coast and later Brasília [II.A.3.a.(3)], they made and took artifacts
to sell. It was not until the exile period in Sardinha [II.B.2.g.(7)], however,
that they began making them in large quantities. By 1978 and 1979, production
was so voluminous that they had even exhausted some of the raw materials of
the region, such as Brazil wood (pau brasil: pi kaprêk) and purple
wood (pau roxo). During this period, they took large quantities of baskets,
bows and arrows, head pieces, switch brooms, and many other traditional artifacts
to Barra do Corda, and Indian service trucks arrived in Escalvado and left loaded
with such objects to be sold in coastal cities at service stores, often at airports.
Thus, a minor supplementary economic activity that started in the last century became accelerated in Sardinha because of new dire need and new market accessibility. The great acceleration of the late 1970s, though in times of less dire need, was largely due to artificial, extensively increased accessibility provided by the Indian service. (For an analysis of the connection between the difficulty in making a living from local resources and the degree of market participation, see Gross et al., 1979, 1980.) However, with the greater agricultural self-reliance of the mid-1980s [Ep.5], it will be interesting to see if this marketing of material artifacts continues at the same high level.
During the 1940s and 1950s,
the Canela received occasional but extensive handouts from the Indian service.
Such help was considered against service policy [II.B.2.] during the 1960s and
1970s, except when an important administrator visited a village.
When I arrived, the Canela
were used to occasionally receiving machetes, axes, hoes, shotguns, lead shot,
powder, salt, cloth, pots, pans, and transportation home from coastal cities
from the Indian service. The service personnel of recent times, however, provide
few items of this sort but make great expenditures in the form of personnel,
buildings, schooling, medicine, and medical care. Thus, the current economy
of the Canela is based mainly on produce from their fields as well as on game,
domesticated animals, small handouts from the Indian service, and trading or
selling traditional artifacts in exchange for various kinds of goods.
A considerable support factor
not mentioned yet is share-cropping with backland families from September through
December [II.B.3 j.(l)]. A Canela family lives near a Brazilian family house
in a backland community, and pulls out and grates manioc roots for the backlanders,
keeping half. The backlander may also supply hunting equipment for a Canela,
who then shares his catch with the backland family. The Canela may receive manioc
roots for helping to build fences around a backland farm. The extensiveness
of Canela economic support through this kind of sharecropping should not be
underestimated. Some Canela and Apanyekra families spend much of the usual lean
months of the year living near and working for Brazilian families in backland
communities. They may spend most of the year during very difficult times working
for several backland families, but usually they go to the same family with whom
they may have a compadre relationship. While in mourning [IV.B.3.d.(2)]
or during a long illness, a Canela family may lose its crops through inattention
and, therefore, have to spend most of the following year supporting themselves
by working in backland communities.
Except for root crops stored
and available in the fields and a certain amount of rice stored for later consumption,
the Canela lead a hand-to-mouth existence, especially between the months of
September to January [II.B.1.d.(5)]. Hunting (Plate
15c) is still a possibility, though the amount of game available
is quite small. Very little thought is now being given to the conservation of
game animals, which are being killed off too rapidly [IV.D.2].
Under the leadership of
the younger Kaapêltùk, a growing interest in communal agriculture
exists in which many men work to clear large gallery forest areas and then take
part of the clearing as their families' plot [Ep.4.b.(2).(e)]. (For an extensive
description and analysis of the process of clearing fields and cultivating manioc
among the Kuikuru which parallels Canela activities, see Carneiro's (1983) and
also Johnson's (1983) careful presentations. For an analysis of the Canela crops
and game obtained, and the nutrients consumed, see Flowers et al (1982).
Traditionally, the Canela went on trek for parts of the period while the planted crops were growing (November through January), or during parts of the summer after their festival season was ended (June through August). Reasons for going out into the world or to the houses of backlanders for work are different now than the reasons for aboriginal trekking were. Current Kayapo reasons for trekking (Werner, 1984b) might be similar to Canela traditional ones.
[II.C.4] Ceremonial Cycle
The ceremonial cyclethe
festival annual cycleis more extensive and complex among the Canela than
among most Amazonian tribes [IV.A.1] (Table 4). Whether its activities are sacred
or secular is hard to determine and not important, but whether certain activities
are within the festival system or outside of it and therefore just daily activities,
is clear. Most Canela can distinguish immediately and tell the outsider. These
festivals are important to the Canela and occupy much of their time.
These festivals are pageants,
which consist of many separate consecutive acts, involving few or many people,
carried out according to precise traditions year after year. Some festivals
take an evening and others take a number of months for completion. Each act
constitutes a dramatization of certain traditional principles or of the model
behavior between certain categories of individuals, such as between sisters
and brothers [IV.A.2]. Festivals are put on by the tribe and involve most tribal
members in contrast to life-cycle rites, which are put on by an individual's
Unlike the environmental and economic cycles, which necessarily start in September and June respectively, research assistants point to no particular time when the annual festival cycle is believed to begin. Thus, this discussion of festivals begins arbitrarily with the Regeneration moiety season which coincides with the arrival of relative wetness and new growthsprouts, grass, flowersin September, though the actual activities of the season these days may be delayed until October. The Canela name for the Regeneration season, Më-ipimràk (they change-and-change: regenerate), epitomizes the nature of this season.
[II.C.4.a] REGENERATION SEASON (më-IPIMRÀK)
During the Regeneration
season (Glossary), the tribe
is divided into the competing Red and Black Regeneration moieties according
to traditional name-set transmission distinctions [IV.A.4]. The season fundamentally
starts with the Ayr?n ceremony. For this ceremony, Red women choose Black men
to hunt for them and Black women choose Red men. The successful hunter presents
his game to the woman who chose him (Figure
47) in return for extramarital sexual relations, an act symbolizing fertility
and regeneration [IV.A.3.f.(2)].
In earlier times the Red and Black moieties competed in several dozen log races during the season. Initially, the logs were so small they could be held in one hand. Each day they raced with slightly larger logs, representing growth, culminating in great logs that took four men to lift onto a runner's shoulders. This process of growth is repeated four times, twice with the logs cut in the Black style (long and thin) and twice in the Red style (Glossary) (short and wide), until the season ends in January with one final race with large logs in the Red style [IV.A.4.b]. The regeneration in the climatic, environmental, and economic cycles has been completed through the activities in the festival cycle.
Long before the traditional end of the Regeneration season in January, the Corn Planting ceremony takes place [IV.A.5.a] in the month of November. During this ceremony a sing-dance leader sings and provides rhythm for the singers by dropping an akàà belt [II.G.3.a.(3)] and its deer hoof tips onto a mat (Plate 53a). Before him is a gourd bowl about one-fifth of a meter in diameter filled with kernels of corn that will be planted the next day. (Using a tsù belt is traditional.)
[II.C.4.b] UNNAMED CEREMONIAL SEASON
With the end of the Regeneration
season sometime in January, the Canela enter the second but unnamed part of
their festival year during which they race according to age-set moiety membership
and styles [III.C.3] instead of Regeneration season ones. During one 10-year
period the Upper age-set moiety trains and graduates an age-set of young men
coming of age, and during the next 10 years the Lower age-set moiety does the
same, and so on [III.D.2.b.(1)]. These age-set moieties often constituted the
work forces that cut family farms out of the stream-side gallery forests in
June or July.
The unnamed ceremonial season
[IV.A.5] starts in January with an initial race between the Upper and Lower
age-set moieties with a pair of logs cut in the Corn ritual style to enhance
the corn harvest. The Sweet Potato ritual (Glossary)
(Hô-tswa: leaf-pointed: the pointed leaf of the sweet potato) (Nimuendajú,
1946:6364) follows in February (Plate
47a,c), and the Corn Harvest ritual (Plate
53) follows in late February or early March. Both rituals enhance the growth
of these crops. The members of the Corn family (membership through matrilineality
[III.C.8]) make shuttlecocks of corn husk. One objective of the ritual (Glossary)
is to see how many times a shuttlecock can be batted up into the air without
falling on the ground. Some relationship is believed to exist between the number
of timesoccasionally 40 to 50and the increase in the corn harvest.
The last ritual in the unnamed ceremonial season is the Pàlrà log race (Plates 50, 51), and its surrounding activities [IV.A.5.e]. This log race, which is run by the Upper and Lower age-set moieties, is said to be a forerunner of, or to bring on, the Wè?tè festival season of the summer. Thus, the race occurs in March, April, or early May. Representatives of the two high-ceremony Wè?tè girls [IV.A.3.e.(1)] give the starting signals of the log race. The logs themselves, the Pàlrà, are symbolically related to similarly cut ceremonial logs used in the three internment festivals held in the Wè?tè season [IV.A.7.c].
[II.C.4.c] WÈ?TÈ SEASON
One or two weeks after the
termination of the Pàlrà ceremony, the Opening Wè?tè
(Glossary) festival begins. Racing
by age-set teams continues until the beginning of the Regeneration season in
October, except for occasional racing in the men's society membership of the
particular great Wè?tè season festival chosen for the summer [IV.A.3.c].
With the regeneration of the Canela world completed by the Regeneration moieties,
and the harvesting of the various crops carried out by the age-set moieties,
the Canela are ready for the fun and freedom of the dry summer months.
In the opening ceremony
of the Opening Wè?tè festival [IV.A.3.a], the women march out
of one of the two Wè?tè houses, and the men march out of the other
one. The groups of women and men circle around each other in the plaza, singing
songs with explicit sexual referencessongs of antagonism between women
and men in general. Later, after a lecture by the chief of the tribe, admonishing
spouses against expressing sexual jealousy toward rivals during the Wè?tè
season, the men walk to their age-set's Wè?tè house, and the women
go to the Wè?tè house opposite from their husbands' membership.
Spouses are symbolically segregated in this way, and some spouses may see little
of each other for the duration of the summer's festival.
Extramarital relations and
fun away from the family setting are two of the diverting purposes of the summer
Wè?tè season. This summer festival season begins in April or May
with the abating of heavy rains and harvesting and ends in August to October
after a period of almost no rain. The dry summer season is associated symbolically
with male dominance, hilarity, burning the cerrado grasses, sportive activities,
extramarital relations, and formerly with warfare [IV.A.3].
The modern economic cycle,
however, begins in June or July, with its extensive and lengthy preparation
of fields. These exhaustive labors occur at exactly the same time as the principal
recreative activities of the festival cycle. In earlier times field preparation
was lighter and therefore began laterin September or October, after the
termination of the summer's great festival season, trekking, and warfare. Thus,
the peak demands of the newer economic and older ceremonial cycles are now in
conflict with the necessary development of agriculture.
The five great summer festivals
[IV.A.3.c] are the Khêêtúwayê (Glossary)
(Plate 41), Pepyê (Plates
42, 43), Pepkahàk
(Plates 44, 45),
Fish (Plate 46), and Masks'
(Plates 48, 49)
festivals. One of them is put on each year between the Opening and the Closing
Wè?tè (Plate 52)
festivals. They each last from two to four months and have a similar structure
[IV.A.3.b]: (1) an opening part of two to three days with acts stressing the
principal theme; (2) a middle part of one to three months with several interspersed
ceremonial great days, and (3) a terminal part of three to seven days of great
drama followed by comical acts. Traditional principles and processes of enculturation
(aspects of religion and societal maintenance) are portrayed and carried out
in the many sequential acts of these festivals.
The two initiation festivals,
the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê, enculturate boys and
youths into adult groups: age-sets. The Pepkahàk, an internment festival
(Glossary) like the Khêêtúwayê
and Pepyê, reinforces in adults certain maturing practices experienced
and learned in the two initiation festivals [IV.A.3.c.(3).(f)]. The Pepkahàk
festival serves also as an arena for manifesting and sanctioning honored (hàmren)
ceremonial roles and values in contrast to the comical (non-hàmren) ceremonial
roles and values of the Fish festival [IV.A.3.c.(4)]. This latter festival also
portrays the independence of the individual from authoritative controls. The
Masks' festival [IV.A.3.c.(5)] is not indigenous, having been adopted from the
formerly neighboring Krahó tribe. In its Canela form it sanctions "begging"
and generosity, values which make it possible for scarce food to be circulated
relatively evenly throughout the tribe.
The Masks' festival (Glossary)
continues directly without stopping into the Closing Wè?tè festival.
The other great summer festivals, however, do not continue directly into the
Closing Wè?tè festival, so a gap of considerable time [IV.A.3.c.(5)]
exists between them and the Closing Wè?tè festival which is put
on to terminate the Wè?tè season. During this non-ceremonial period,
the log-racing is still carried out in the age-set moiety fashion.
The Closing Wè?tè
festival lasts only two days but takes place during extensive activity on the
farms, especially when Canela families are late in burning, planting, and fencing
them, as is often the case. Consequently, there were years when the Closing
Wè?tè festival was not put on at all because of the urgency for
working in the fields before the rains came. This is the only festival, however,
for which inconsistency in performance actually occurs. The Apanyekra are far
more inconsistent in putting on any of their festivals.
The hostile competition
between women and men found in the Opening Wè?tè festival is less
apparent in the Closing Wè?tè festival, though the women playfully
steal meat pies from the ovens of one of the men's societies. The erection of
the Kô?khre log in the boulevard in front of one of the houses of the
two Wè?tè girls marks the end of the Wè?tè summer
season of hilarity and licensed extramarital relations [IV.A.3.e.(3)]. The almost
2-meter high Kô?khre log, with its carved out recess the size of a girl
of 6 to 8 years old, symbolizes the Wè?tè girls' absence from
the boulevard and thereby the end of extramarital license and the return to
serious family living: to work the family farms with the coming of the rains
and the need to regenerate the Canela world.
A few minutes after the erection of the Kô?khre log, the men divide according to the Red and Black moieties of the Regeneration season for a foot race. The Regeneration season moieties thereby supersede the Wè?tè season age-set moieties as the ceremonials in operation.
[II.D] LIFE CYCLES
The data in this chapter constitute a brief summary of the more universal events within the life cycles of the individual in Canela society, e.g, birth, growth, maturity, and aging (Table 5). Thus, the nature of the material concerns the roles individuals play in Canela life and the behaviors associated with these roles. (For more comprehensive data concerning various aspects of the life cycles, see [III.A] [III.F] [IV.B].)
[II.D.1] Birth and Childhood
The life cycle experiences for both sexes are similar up to the age of six or seven. Babies are born into the world surrounded by women, for no men are allowed in the mother's house while the birth is taking place. The father's female kin may all be present. The father's mother, his wife's mother-in-law, "catches" the baby, which is said to "fall" from the mother at the time of its birth [IV.B.1.a.].
[II.D.1.a] PARENTAL ROLES
Parents are very supportive of their children and inclined to be permissive in their prepubertal training in such activities as feeding, weaning, toilet training [III.A.2.a,b,f,h,i]. They must be serious with their children (little joking) and always partisan, because they are only one genealogical link away [III.E.2.b]. Whereas parents are responsible for all the day-to-day activities of the child, they turn to certain ones of their children's aunts and uncles for severe discipline, ceremony, and legal matters [III.A.2.p]. These kin (Glossary) are two or more genealogical links away from their children [III.E.2.b], and therefore, it is believed, can be less partisan, more detached, and more objective in their relationships and decisions. However, the ultimate responsibility for raising the children is the parents' [III.A.3.a.(2).(i)], with most child-rearing taking place in the household group in which the children's mother's mother and the mother's sisters are likely participants [III.E.2.e.(1)] [III.F.7].
[II.D.1.b] ROLES OF AUNTS AND UNCLES
Aunts and uncles (Glossary) are defined as kin generally in ascending generations who are "further-linked" (Glossary) (more than one genealogical link away) from ego, although there are a few aunts and uncles in the same and in descending generations from ego (according to Crow skewing) [III.E.2.a,b]. (Classificatory one-link kin, though actually further-link kin also, are not aunts and uncles (Figure 23).) Aunts and uncles carry out more significant roles than they do in American life. Certain kin related in such a manner, especially opposite-sex ones, maintain a joking relationship with each other. Exceptions exist for the aunts and uncles who carry out naming relationships [III.E.4] or advising roles [III.A.3.b.(1).(a),(b),(c)] with their nieces and nephews.
If the baby is a girl, she
is usually named by a person of the paternal aunt category (tùy),
usually a father's sister or the latter's first or second cousin by all female
linkages. The father's father's sister is also an appropriate person to name
her great niece. If the baby is a boy, a person of the maternal uncle category
(kêt), a mother's brother or the latter person's first or second
cousin by all female links, gives the name. Similarly, a mother's mother's brother
may name his great-nephew. In the cases of both the girl and boy, exceptions
can be found, usually because no suitable person in the above-mentioned categories
can be located just after the time of the childbirth. (For detailed information
on the name-set transmission and the naming rite, see [III.E.4] and [IV.B.1.c].)
takes her named-"niece" bathing when she is little and gives her a
back-pendant head-basket (khay-re) when she is 6 to 9 years old [III.A.3.a.(1).(b)].
This aunt has a very special relationship with her named-niece, advising her
on any ceremonial matters. In contrast, another woman of a girl's father's sister
category may carry out the advising rather than the ceremonial roles,
or if none are available, the name-giving aunt can also do this. Otherwise,
a woman from another kin category [In.4.i] can carry out the advising behaviors
necessary to raise a child.
The naming-"uncle" visits his named-"nephew" every now and then, and gives him a miniature bow-and-arrow set, when he is about 7 or 8 years old, but he does not take him bathing as does the aunt for a girl. The uncle also instructs his nephew in his ceremonial roles. The naming-uncle takes his named-nephew along with him during name-related ceremonies in which they perform side by side (Plate 52a). In many ceremonies (hatsà yahêl tsà: his-place filling-in instrument: he fills in his place), the nephew takes the place [III.E.2.d] of his naming-uncle.
The naming-uncle may also
assume the roles of the disciplining or advising-uncle (i?-tàmtswè
to hapak-khre: his-nephew to he-advises: he gives advice to his nephew),
but it is more likely that the mother's brother, or at least some other uncle
(Glossary) in the youth's kêt
kin categoryor even some person not in the youth's kêt kin
category [In.4.i]will carry out the discipline that maintains the youth's
appropriate post-pubertal food and sex restrictions (Glossary)
[IV.D.3.a]. This applies to a girl as well, but to a lesser extent. In either
case, the advising-uncle carries out the strong disciplining and punishing roles
(Figures 14, 15)
for his sister's children of either sex [III.A.3.a.(2).(i)], especially in the
audiências (the legal hearings) whether pertaining to marriage,
theft, or any other problem [III.D.3.b].
A girl usually has an advising-aunt, one who assumes a special responsibility especially just after puberty. Her role is less important than the advising-uncle's, except for examining the genitals of her niece to establish her virginity. This practice, however, was abandoned before the 1950s.
When not carrying out naming or advising roles, aunts and uncles provide their nieces and nephews with much of the amusement and humor in life that is so characteristically Canela [III.B.1.c.(l)]. This lighter side of life of aunts and uncles contrasts with the more serious and responsible parental side, as well as with the ceremonial and advising side of avuncular roles, in a way that is characteristic of the Canela (J. Melatti, 1979a:4950). If one role is serious, its "adjacent" one must not be. For instance, seriousness with a Formal Friend [III.E.5] is set in contrast by joking with her or his spouse and children.
[II.D.1.c] CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES
As children, the girls and
boys are allowed to play with each other until they are about 6 or 7 years old.
Then they begin to play with members of their own sex (Plate
19a). Little girls imitate many of the adult female roles in their
games, like playing house with dolls (Plate
19d,e) [III.A.2.m]. By the time they are 6 to 10, they begin to closely
follow the activities of their mothers, assisting in the daily chores of house
cleaning, food preparation, cooking, fetching firewood (Plate
17d) and water, and the care of younger children and babies (Plate
Boys of this age have a much freer life since they can go off in groups to roam the cerrado and streams. Once they have been caught in a Khêêtúwayê (Glossary) initiation performance [IV.A.3.c.(1).(a)], their age-set commandant from an older age-set may summon them for age-set activities in the cerrado, even when an initiation festival is not in session that year. Boys are brought into adult activities far less than girls; they do not work in farm plots or go hunting until they are considerably older.
[II.D.2] Life Cycle of Women
From the time of puberty, females and males have increasingly different roles and responsibilities. Symbolically, the woman's principal place is in the house while the man's is in the plaza [V.A.5.c.(2)]. Women never hunt; men do. Work on the farms is shared [II.C.3.d]. However, men work in preparing the fields (cutting out shrubbery, felling trees, and building fences), though single women sometimes do this too.
[II.D.2.a] LOSS OF VIRGINITY
In earlier times, girls
were engaged to be married when they were 4 or 5 to young men 12 to 15 years
older; but the engagement affected their lives very little [III.F.4.a] [IV.B.l
.d]. However, by the time the girls are 11 or 12 and their breasts begin to
form, they become of interest to older boys or young men. If at this time a
girl loses her virginity (kol-mã kuuni naare: still whole not),
the Canela consider her married [III.F.4.b] to the youth who took it, although
the marriage may not last very long. The average age of first pregnancy in 1970
was about 15 ¾ years (W. Crocker, 1984a:91).
For either sex, what amounts to social puberty is the individual's first experience with full sexual intercourse. Girls almost always have intercourse before they menstruate, so their experience reinforces the Canela theory that sexual intercourse is the cause of menstruation. Ideally a girl has first intercourse with a young man in his late teens or 20s who has no children of his own [III.F.4.b.(1)]. One of the girl's aunts, the advising one, comes to talk to her seriously about the change in her status, and her uncle insists that she undergo certain food and sex restrictions in seclusion in a special room made for her in her mother's house.
In earlier times, the menstruating
girl was secluded in a corner of her mother's house [IV.B.1.f]. She observed
total restrictions against sex and against all "bad" foods [IV.D.3.a]
for a number of days, restrictions very similar to those of a postpartum mother.
She was allowed to eat only the blandest foods, such as traditional white corn.
This first menstrual experience
set the model for later ones. When older, she was secluded only while actually
menstruating, but for the first experience the time of seclusion was considerably
In earlier times, a girl used to wear a red band around her waist during her menstrual period so that everybody would know of her condition (Nimuendajú, 1946:121). All people would then avoid her, and men would know not to attempt advances when she left her place of seclusion within her mother's house and went about certain necessary activities, such as going down to the stream for bathing or fetching water. Now, with wrap-around cloths, the red band is not worn [IV.B.1.f].
[II.D.2.c] POSTPUBERTAL RESTRICTIONS
First menstruation was followed
by a period of postpubertal partial restrictions against sexual relations and
certain rich foods [IV.D.3.a], both of which were supposed to be avoided during
the immediate postpubertal months and sometimes for as long as a year. The duration
of restrictions depended on the degree of respect for tradition. The purpose
of such restrictions against pollutions was to help her gain the strength of
a mature woman. These restrictions were not as severe for the girl as they were
for the boy, who sometimes maintained them for up to three years.
During this period, a girl was supposed to have sexual relations mostly with older men [II.B.1.e] [III.A.2.s.(1)]. From men in their 30s through 50s, she would gain strength; from men in their teens and 20s, she would gain any weaknesses they had [IV.D.3.d.(4)]. Of course, a post-pubertal girl might be married, in the sense that she had had her first intercourse with a man who had not paid to leave her [III.D.3.c.(1)]. This husband visited her only very occasionally at night because both were supposed to be observing adolescent restrictions. If he were older, he still was not supposed to visit her often because she was young and weak and because he should be having sexual relations mostly with older women to gain strength from them. Moreover, she, too, was supposed to be observing postpubertal restrictions.
[II.D.2.d] PRIVACY FOR ADOLESCENT GIRLS
An adolescent girl has her
platform bed raised high under the rafters of the house, perhaps 2 to 3 meters
off the ground, so that when young men, or her husband if she is married, crawl
up the notched tree trunk ladder to her, nobody can see what they are doing
(Plate 9b). What is heard is
largely ignored. The Canela are not embarrassed by the sounds of sex, even when
heard by a mother and father below. In any case, for a married girl, only her
husband is supposed to climb up to spend the night with her. With an unmarried
girl (whose husband had paid to leave her [III.D.3.c.(1)]), any of her lovers
may spend the night in the loft bed. Traditionally, whether husband or lover,
the youth was supposed to leave before the time of the early morning dance,
and certainly before daylight. The husband was not to be seen around the house
until the woman had given birth to a child [III.F.4.i].
These days, however, there are very few women without husbands [III.F.4.b.(2)], and young women no longer have sexual relations with older men [III.A.2.s.(1)]. Thus, it is usually only the husband who climbs up into her raised platform bed. It has become the practice in the 1970s for the young husband to join his wife's family and live with them immediately upon marriage. Therefore, instead of leaving at dawn, he is still there in the morning when the sun rises and the family awakes.
[II.D.2.e] BEING A GIRL ASSOCIATE
Being a girl associate (Glossary) is the epitome of a girl's teenage life [IV.B.1.h], with only childbirth impacting more on her life course. Between the ages of 6 and 14, girls become "girl associates" (më kuytswè) to a men's society (Nimuendajú, 1946:95-97) in a festival to win their i?pre (maturity belt) [II.G.3.c.(1)]. The older associates learn about multiple extramarital sex [III.A.2.j.(6).(a)]. The nature of the men's society [III.C.3.f] largely determines the age of a pair of girl associates (Nimuendajú, 1946:95) who act as "wives" to the male group. In contrast, a Wè?tè girl (cf. Nimuendajú, 1946:9293) behaves as a sister [III.E.10] and her parents behave as parents to the age-set moiety opposite the location of her family house (cf. Lave,1977:312).
The ceremonial prestige of a girl associate is ranked according to the men's group she has joined. If the position is assigned by the governing age-set, the Pró-khãmmã [III.C.3.b], and held for a longer time than most others, the girl attains a high rank. If she is chosen by the membership of a men's group [III.C.5.c,6.b], her status is lower. These positions are ranked in terms of the life-long prestige that they carry. For example, although Kàànõ (age 33 in 1975) was childless, unmarried, and without many close relatives, as well as being hired as a servant in a relatively well-to-do Canela household (a rare situation), everyone still remembered and honored her for her role as the elder Pepkahàk girl associate in 1958. (For a general discussion on the varied statuses of girl associates, see [III.C.9].)
All girls want to win their
ceremonial belts (i?-pre: her-bond: her harness), a symbol of relative
female maturity [IV.B.1.h]. (See also [II.G.3.c.(1)]; Table
8, item 19; and Plate 59d.)
The usual way is through serving as a girl associate to a men's society. Those
girls, however, who have never been chosen as an associate and are already becoming
too old or are visibly pregnant earn their belts by climbing onto the cage of
the Little Falcon (Hàk-re) (Figure
46) and then running with him in the boulevard during a Closing Wè?tè
festival [IV.A.3.e.(2)] [IV.B.1.h.(2)].
A girl who realizes she
is pregnant will always take the route of the Little Falcon's cage if she has
not yet won her belt as a girl associate. Of course, a 13 month period
in early pregnancy exists when she might not know to take this advantage. Usually
there are two or three girls gaining their belts this way each year.
Canela women feel that it is proper to win their belts before becoming married, but this ideal is rarely attained these days. It is difficult to see how this could have been accomplished unless they had experienced their first sex at an older age (not claimed by the Canela and unlikely) or married later (claimed). A woman cannot win her belt at all, however, if she has already given birth to a child, or is in an advanced stage of pregnancy. (A pregnant woman performing in a ceremonial role is not a pleasing sight for a Canela to see.)
One purpose of being a girl
associate is for a girl to learn to like group sexto enjoy sexually receiving
certain individuals (maybe 12) of a large male group in sequence [II.E.5.f].
Consanguineals and yê-addressed individuals of the group are excepted
[III.E.3.c]. Such experiences are a large part of what earning a ceremonial
belt and becoming an adult woman means. She grows accustomed to liking to please
many men, to create group joy with her body [III.B.1.a.(4)].
Female research assistants have assured me that they do like the group sex relationships inherent in the festivals. If women accept such relationships in semipublic settings, it is only a simple step further to accepting almost any non-related men for private amorous trysts [III.F.8.a]. Women take the initiative and choose men for these quick sex encounters at least as often as men choose women [III.F.8.b]. Extramarital sexual relations are sanctioned by their performance in a number of festival occasions as part of the scheduled proceedings, though not seen publicly (W. Crocker, 1974a:188). During the 1970s these sanctioned extramarital activities were involving fewer individuals. It may be difficult to imagine the extent to which Canela women enjoyed such frequent and obligatory extramarital activities. They grew up with expectations of pleasures of this sort, hearing stories about them constantly as little girls [III.A.2.j.(6)]. Near puberty, they are thoroughly familiar with and accustomed to such expectations as part of their future way of life. A Canela's sexuality is considered among her or his most valuable assets in interpersonal relations. Thus no one should be stingy when somebody else wants or needs the pleasure his her cooperation can give. The traditional orientation around personal generosity is applied to a person's body [III.B.1.a.(4)] as well as to her or his possessions. (For information on how women are socialized into extramarital and multiple sex, see [III.A.2.j], and for a relatively complete description of the extramarital sex relationship system, see [IV.A.3.f].
[II.D.2.f] WINNING OBJECTS OF CEREMONIAL HONOR
Besides appointment to a
role of honor as one of the special girl associates, young women can receive
three different kinds of material artifacts as honor awards: a little gourd,
a little comb, and a cotton singing strap (Table
8, items 6, 7, 8) [II.G.3.a.(6),(7),(8)] [III.A.3.b.(3).(a)]. These artifacts
of honor might be bestowed either before or after a girl has won her belt, but
most certainly before she has her first baby. When old people talk about the
festivals of previous years, they usually remember who were the little gourd
and little comb winners of a particular festival in a certain village many years
ago [I.C], just as they recall who were the great girl associates of the dry
If a girl (aged 10 to 14)
goes out to the plaza in the early morning and sings most of the time in the
woman's line (Plate 32a),
then her naming-aunt, noticing this estimable behavior,
may make her a hahi-sash of woven cotton with tassels at either end (Plate
After being awarded the ceremonial singing sash by her naming-aunt, such a young girl or woman, until recently, was obliged to appear every morning and sing for several hours in the plaza during the early morning sing-dance [II.E.4.a]. It is believed that the owner of the singing sash had to make her appearance first of all, and by so doing she was the incentive for other girls and women to come out and join the woman's sing-dance line [III.A.3.b.(3).(a)]. Not all girls are as eager to cooperate socially as the owner of the hahi, but family and especially their sex partners force most of the girls to go out of their houses and sing-dance in the early morning [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)] .
When a girl has won her
belt, she can be considered a young woman, though childbirth is the final step
in achieving adult female status [IV.B.1.h]. She has learned to cope with the
extramarital experiences expected of her, but now she must go through a period
of seclusion for the "maturation" of her new belt. She undergoes food
and sex restrictions for several days while her uncles hunt deer in the cerrado
or dry forests for her [IV.B.1.h.(3)] (Plate
During her 35 day seclusion, she is supposed to be very quiet and to eat only the blandest items so that her belt will "grow" and "mature." Once again she learns, as during her menstrual seclusion, that restrictions against food and sex are the means by which a person gains individual strength in order to face most of life's challenges [III.A.3.b.(1).(a)]. Uncles (or aunts) come and lecture on situations expected later in life, reinforcing their roles and their relationships with her. Moreover, without the deer her uncles kill, she knows her female in-laws will not paint her belt red, introducing her into the free stage (nkrekre-re) due women without children [III.F.4.e.(2)]. This fact reinforces the significance of her uncles' roles to her life.
With the deer killed and
brought home, the young woman goes to her mother-in-law's house with her belt
and gives her the deer [IV.B.1.h.(4)]. There the mother-in-law and sisters-in-law
paint her body and her belt red with urucu (Figures
48, 49). With this belt-painting
ceremony over, the young woman is now thoroughly accepted and integrated into
her sisters-in-law's and mother-in-law's longhouse [III.E.2.e.(2)] [III.F.4.e],where
she is expected to come quite frequently and work with them.
After this rite the young woman is so completely accepted by her female in-laws that she is totally free [III.F.4.e.(1)], now for the first time, to enter fully into any of the extramarital activities whether they commence from a work group situation [II.E.5.f], a festival occasion [IV.A.3.f], or from her own or a lover's initiative [III.F.8.a]. Before this time her mother- and sisters-in-law might have objected to her love trysts and to her appearing at public, though sanctioned, extramarital sex occasions.
[II.D.2.g] WOMEN'S "FREE" YEARS
Between the age of her belt
painting and the arrival of her first child, a young woman experiences the "free"
period in her lifethe nkrekre-re stage [III.F.4.e.(2)]. If the
first child dies, this free period continues until a woman is definitely encumbered
by raising surviving children [IV.B.2.b]. During this period, she is usually
married, is fully accepted by her female in-laws through their belt-painting
rite, and is therefore free to do as she pleases with respect to extramarital
relations. In earlier times she slept in the plaza on the opposite side from
her husband [III.F.4.e.(2).(a)]. Today she still must help her mother, her mother's
sisters, and her sisters, however, in their economic activities and in the raising
of their children [III.F.7]. Because she is an nkrekre-re, however, they
cannot trust her with babies and small children because she is almost certainly
"tainted" by remains of sexual fluids on her skin, under her fingernails,
or in other places. These fluids would be "pollutants" to small children
and certainly to babies if she touched them [IV.D.3.d.(4)]. Thus, she is freed
from such duties.
The term më
is interesting. (In this particular usage, më
indicates a category [plural] of people, but only Eastern Timbira people. When
not used, the term is singular.) The term means being slippery and loose. Women
and men of this period [II.D.3.f] are unattached and free, and therefore hard
to catch or slippery. Research assistants compared the nkrekre-re person
to the greased pig in a backlander pig-catching game.
An nkrekre-re woman takes
the initiative in love trysts [III.F.8.b], and has them as often as responsibilities
in her household permit. The chief of the tribe frequently chooses her as a
girl associate for workday or group hunting situations [II.E.6.a]. These women
also are the ones who are most likely to join men in the bushes on the Wild
Boar festival days [IV.A.3.f.(1).(b)].
In formal hearings about extramarital sex problems [III.D.3.c.(1)], I have often heard uncles lecturing nephews about letting their young nkrekre-re wives have their day, because unlike for young men, the opportunities for young women eventually become limited by children and heavy household duties.
[II.D.2.h] ATTAINING WOMANLY MATURITY
The principal watershed in a woman's life, greater than earning her belt, is the period surrounding the birth of her first child [IV.B.2.b], especially if this child survives and another follows. A child or children tie her down to her mother's and sisters' house: to the many shared "hearth" household duties [III.E.2.e.(1)], including child care for others [III.F.7], food preparation, work in the fields, and transporting tubers from farms, firewood from the cerrado, and water from the streams with other women of her house and longhouse.
Evident pregnancy [IV.B.2.a]
does not change the behavior of an nkrekre-re woman very much. She has secured
the man she is living with, who cannot leave her because he is the principal
father (the social father) to the unborn child [III.E.9].
No traditional restrictions exist on sexual relations during pregnancy, and sexual intercourse continues with any "biological" fathers until the seventh or eighth month, depending upon the nature of the pregnancy and the point at which intercourse becomes difficult.
During her pregnancy, a woman begins to think about whom she wants as contributing-fathers (Glossary) (co-fathers [III.E.9]) for the "biological" formation of her fetus, and looks around for chances to have love trysts with such men. It is believed that personality traits [III.A.4.a] are inherited through a man's semen, and that any semen contributed to her fetus while she is pregnant makes the contributor a biological father. Thus, she chooses her partners for their hunting and athletic abilities, although farming and the potential for general overall economic support count as well these days [II.D.3.i.(6),(7)]. She arranges to have sex privately with each of them in the usual manner. If any of them show resistance, which is unlikely, she can say she is pregnant. Then the reluctant man knows he cannot refuse because Canela say this might cause a miscarriage. In selecting him, she is also thinking about the support of her child because contributing-fathers are supposed to furnish some food to support their children.
A pregnant woman is very careful to avoid certain actions that will affect the fetus' survival. In addition to their own traditional Canela beliefs, some of these strictures may come from local backlanders. For instance, expectant mothers do not eat eggs with two yolks, rice that sticks to the cast iron pot through burning, or emu (ostrich) flesh. Twin yolks produce twins (Canela), stuck rice causes the baby to stick in the birth passage (backlander), and emus have long necks so the baby will have a difficult birth (Canela).
Childbirth [IV.B.2.b] is
an abrupt transition to many young women in the më
nkrekre-re stage, because their freedom is limited by their baby's birth.
However, many baby sitters exist, such as a woman's sisters and her first and
second parallel "longhouse" cousins (Figure
23) [III.E.2.e.(2)], and even her mother and her mother's sisters. Nevertheless,
the primary responsibility lies with her, so the style of her life changes sharply
from nkrekre-re freedom to encumbered motherhood. Through childbirth
women enter into the principal role of their lives. As new mothers, they are
referred to as më
?khra-?tàm-túwa (their child-raw-newly) (Table 9, stage 11).
Several terms of address
accentuate the importance of the role of motherhood. Her brother now addresses
her as his named-nephew's mother, just as she calls her brother her named-niece's
father [III.E.8.a]. Her husband calls her their oldest child's mother [III.E.8.b].
Even the women who do not stay married are proud, nevertheless, to be mothers
although they may remain single persons for life
Mothers discipline their
children, but the principal role of discipline, other than for behaviors oriented
to daily conformity and encouragement, is the responsibility of the children's
advising-uncle, usually one of the mother's brothers [III.A.3.a.(2).(i)].
At formal marital hearings [III.D.3.b], the atmosphere is laden with motherly concerns. Canela mothers live for their children as much as for anything else, and are caring and loving.
[II.D.2.i] WOMEN'S ROLES
A Canela woman is ideally first a mother and then a wife. Secondarily, she is also a lover (Figure 29) [III.E.3.a.(6)]. Keeping a viable household, maintaining a healthy social environment for children [III.F.7], and providing food for family men are other very important roles [III.E.2.e.(1).(a)]. In addition, she is an agricultural worker, food gatherer, and sometimes the principal economic provider for her children [III.F.4.b.(2)]. However, being mother to her children, in my observation, is the principal role that a woman fulfills. Being a wife also means seeing to it that the house and its surrounding area are clean and that foods are well prepared. Of course, sexual relations with her husband occur, but sex among the Canela is so diversified through extramarital contacts [III.F.8] that sex with her husband is not one of her principal roles as a woman or wife. Both female and male research assistants saw women in general, which really means mothers in particular, as being the more stable of the two sexes. While married men travel, hunt, and enjoy a broader participation in social and political activities, women are fixed in their familial position, being supportive of men and children [II.D.1.c] [II.D.3.i.(1)] [II.E.4.a.(2)] [III.A.2.m].
In contrast to men, women do most of the work in the fields once they have been prepared [II.C.3.d] and bring most crops home to the village. A woman is totally responsible for preparing the food that is to be consumed by her children, husband, and other people who reside in the house where she is the principal woman. Whereas her husband helps her in all phases of her work in the fields, he does not assist in food preparation or house maintenance. Although able to cook, clean the house, carry water from the stream, and even take care of babies when necessary, he does not usually carry out such principally female roles.
Formerly, women were the principal food collectors in the cerrado and woods. These days, though such foods still exist, the Canela feel themselves to be largely above such a form of subsistence. However, women still collect certain favorite delicacies such as cashew, buriti, buritirana, bacaba, and bacuri fruits, when they are in season (August through January) (Table 2). Men collect honey in August.
As a mother with several children, a mature woman does not go to the plaza to sing in the dance line unless the occasion is very significant and the dance line very long. She has too many other things to do. By the time she is 30 years old, festival activities are watched with her children rather than participated in. She may, however, have a ceremonial role due to some form of inheritance [III.C.8.d]. In such a capacity she will carry out the role with the help of her sisters and male relatives. Moreover, she is the principal person involved in the preparation of the necessities for most of the life cycle rites of her children, and she helps female relatives with their children's rites [IV.B].
For decisions about her children's marriage problems and festival positions she participates in the family council, composed of her brothers and uncles (Figure 21). Her husband may sit some distance away listening or go to visit his female kin. She is the parent who has some say in ceremonial and judicial proceedings involving her children [III.D.3.c]. In both cases, the father may be consulted, but the mother is a principal decision maker. In these responsibilities the mother plays a dual role as parent and as counselor along with her brothers and mother's brothers.
The principal woman of a household (probably 40 or 50 years old) is thus often an impressive individual. She is the primary person in charge of the household (the "hearth" (Glossary) unit [Figure 22] [III.E.2.e.(1)]), which includes raising her children and those of others [III.F.7], rationing and distributing food for all, keeping the men satisfied (not yet grown sons, brothers, her husband, her sisters' husbands, and maybe her father), satisfying sisters and female relatives of her longhouse (Figure 24) [III.E.2.e.(2)], and especially the part of her longhouse that constitutes her hearth unit. Ideally, the Canela expect this principal person of the household should manipulate these relationships with great dignity and poise. Of course, not all older women have the personality and character to fulfill such a role with equal success, so most women are in subordinate positions, being younger sisters or less able older ones in their household. I have seen many women who, as heads of households, have behaved in a very responsible way, arranging conscientiously most aspects of living for the people staying under their roof. My Canela sister Te?hôk and my brother's wife Mïï-khwèy are excellent examples, and so is Pootsen, my Apanyekra sister. The household group, with its nearer "longhouse" (Glossary) members included, is the women's solidarity unit, which can be contrasted with the age-set membership for men.
The role of the permanently
unmarried woman, mpíyapit (Glossary)
[III.F.4.b.(2)], with or without children, used to be a very special and respectable
status in Canela life. A woman might simply prefer to live in this state because
she was widowed and had not found a suitable new husband, or because her husband
had paid to leave before she became pregnant and she had not found another husband.
A woman of this state either maintained a household by herself or lived with
her sisters or mother in a large house.
All adult women, whether
single or married, are traditionally expected to have their own separate fields.
These are usually adjacent to their mother's and sisters' fields, and their
fathers and their sisters' husbands often help prepare them.
The number of such confirmed single women is diminishing because of acculturation. Such a position is not esteemed by outside backlanders, or by Indian service personnel, whose influence is ever-present. Moreover, this kind of independence is not as prestigious within the tribe as it used to be, so that women are trying to remain married rather than attempting to support themselves. It has also become more difficult for such women to convince men to work for them.
[II.D.2.j] STATUS OF THE ELDERLY WOMAN
Any time I have been in
Canela or Apanyekra villages, one or two old women, just under or over 80, were
still alive, usually magnificent people with warm and generous feelings (Plate
When a woman's children are all grown and have married or have left the household for adjacent dwellings, she is considered freed of most responsibilities. No longer encumbered by children produced through the marriage, men can leave their wives and seek younger women at this time, but they seldom do. Married couples usually stay together until death.
Because an older woman lives
in the house of her daughters, she loses her position of authority (Figure
21) as her daughters gain in stature with the growth of their children.
The grandmother helps in the household through taking care of the children,
fetching large gourds of water, cooking meals, and cleaning the house. She also
works in the fields with her daughters and maybe even her granddaughters. Such
an older woman characteristically smokes a pipe and can be seen sitting comfortably
on a racing log just outside her daughter's house in the late afternoon, observing
Murphy and Murphy (1974:105-106) describe a Mundurucú woman as being "retiring and demure, at least during her child-bearing years." A postmenopausal Mundurucú woman, however, has greater freedom. She sits where she pleases, interrupts men in conversations when her views are pertinent, and gives her opinions freely on community matters. A Canela woman does not experience a similar postmenopausal change of status and is not necessarily retiring and demure before men when she is still bearing children. Her stature and verbal freedom among men in middle age depends on her personality and household position (a leader or follower), not on becoming postmenopausal.
Since sometime in the late 1970s, and certainly in 1978 and 1979, Canela women and men over the age of 65 have been receiving pensions as retired agricultural workers of national Brazil. Thus, almost all older women have become legally retired, and as such are an economic asset to their families. Since most of the older women know very little about the use of money, their finances are manipulated by younger people, such as a son, a son-in-law, or a nephew or grandson. Usually, the small income the pension provides is used to pay family debts. Consequently, the older woman receives little direct benefit from it. This may seem sad or unjust, but at least she has something to offer her family in these times of less respect for older people, female or male. With the generation gap increasing among the Canela, an old personeven an old woman in this matri/uxorilocal societyis less well-integrated into the whole sociocultural system than she used to be.
[II.D.3] Life Cycle of Men
[II.D.3.a] INDUCTION INTO AGE-SET
From the age of 6 or 7,
young boys are segregated from girls. They go with other boys quite freely into
the cerrado, swimming, hunting for small game, and carrying out activities of
their age-sets [III.A.2.m].
Any time from the age of
1 to 10 years, a boy may be inducted into an age-set [III.C.3.a] through his
first Khêêtúwayê festival performance (Plate
41) [IV.A.3.c.(1)]. Boys that are younger than 4 or 5 years old are not
expected to attend and partake in the several daily performances in the plaza
of the Khêêtúwayê troops [II.F.1.c.(1)]. Such very
young boys remain at home with their families even if they have been inducted
into the age-set at the beginning of the Khêêtúwayê
festival. The boys who are older than 4 to 5 years of age live with their age-set
group during the festival. They are housed in either one of the two rooms (Plate
41a) made ready for them, one on either side of the circular village,
facing each other.
While interned in this manner,
they hear many stories from their uncles, or members of the Pró-khãmmã,
who instruct them in the ways of their ancestors. Then, several times a day,
the boys from each of the two cells march out into the center of the plaza (Plate
41b) and sing several of the Khêêtúwayê
songs (Plate 41c).
Age-set activities are maintained between festivals in non-ceremonial periods, if the assigned commandant from a higher age-set remains active and interested in leading them. Thus, these boys learn to know each other well and become trained at a young age in the ways of age-set conformity and solidarity [III.A.2.n].
[II.D.3.b] EAR-PIERCING RITE
Research assistants say
that in former times a boy's ears were pierced by the time he was between the
ages of 9 and 11, making it a prepubertal rite (Nimuendajú, 1946:4951)
(Plates 24, 25)
[IV.B.1.e]. Since the rite's seclusion and its food and sex restrictions are
similar to those of the Pepyê festival's internment [IV.A.3.c.(2).(a)]
and the seclusion at the onset of puberty, the ear-piercing rite let the boy
become used to internment and to gaining strength through maintaining restrictions
[IV.D.3.c]. The focus of attention on the ears signified the importance of listening,
understanding, and compliance [III.A.2.o] [III.B.1.k] [III.D.1.a.(1),(2)].
Unlike the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê festivals, however, the ear-piercing rite was totally focused on the individual. The boy was not a member of a group, although his ears may have been pierced at the same time as the ear-piercing of several other boys. The practice of ear-piercing and wearing ear-spools has fallen largely into disuse among the Canela (although not among the Apanyekra), because, due to acculturation, Canela men do not want to be identified as índios when they travel in the outer world.
[II.D.3.c] LOSS OF VIRGINITY
Today, a boy's virginity
is taken by an older woman, who is in her 20s or late teens but formerly was
in her 40s or 50s [II.B.1.e]. An advising aunt collects his virginity payment
from her [III.A.2.j.(2).(a)]. As soon as it is generally known that he has experienced
his first sexual intercourse, one of his mother's brothers, the one who has
chosen the role of advising-uncle (or an advising-uncle surrogate [In.4.i]),
comes to tell him that he must now undergo a long seclusion and then move from
sleeping in his maternal home to sleeping and living in the plaza. From this
time on, this uncle is more likely to discipline and tell him what to do [III.A.2.p]
[III.A.3.b.(1).(c)] than are his parents, though of course, his parents never
cease to give him advice on many matters.
It is particularly the aunts and uncles who can advise their nieces and nephews about sexual matters, marital relations, and food and sexual restrictions against pollutions [IV.D.3]. Parents are usually too embarrassed to talk about sexual matters with their children and are not severe enough to enforce the food and sexual restrictions properly, having too much feeling for their children [III.A.3.b.(1).(a)].
Immediately after his first
sexual experience and before being sent to live in the plaza, the youth is interned
to avoid contact with certain "pollutants" [IV.D.3.d]. Confined to
a room made of mats in his maternal house, he is placed on a restricted diet
to avoid eating certain polluted foods [IV.D.3.d.(1)]. After his first sexual
intercourse, he is considered to be in a liminal situation, as if he were weak
or almost sick. Thus, if he were to come into contact with pollutions, he could
become ill and possibly even die.
In his enclosure of mats, the youth's uncles, but particularly his advising-uncle, lecture him about the use of restrictions to avoid pollutions in order to become a strong, effective man, especially for hunting and running. They talk about admirable living men the youth knows, pointing out how these male models devoted several years to their post-pubertal restrictions. The more severe and longer these restrictions are maintained, the more able a man becomes [IV.D.3.c]. Thus, the youth should continue practicing these restrictions long after leaving seclusion, warning others of his condition by appearing with charcoal smeared at random over his body for several months and, formerly, for several years [II.F.5.d].
When this private internment,
lasting maybe a week, is over, he was ordered in earlier times by his advising-uncle
to live in the plaza. There, the "unattached," or childless, women
[III.F.4.b.(2)] were free to have sex with the somewhat older men who were also
living there away from their wives, for various reasons. Now, the youth could
have sex with them too. Nevertheless, he was ordered by his uncle to avoid such
young women and to have sex only with much older women in their 40s and 5Os
[III.F.4.e.(2).(a)], and then only rarely. Thus, his newly-gained sexuality
and freedom were quickly restricted. [II.D.3.c.(3)]
Earlier than 1938, before the Indian service presence in the village [II.B.2.b], the advising-uncle of a youth, and other uncles to a lesser extent, would scold a nephew severely when they found him eating much food, especially if the food contained pieces of meat. Moreover, if the uncles heard the youth had had sexual relations with adolescent women, they were likely to summon him to appear before the late afternoon sing-dance line in the plaza and thoroughly harass him with words and painful punishments while he stood directly before the female line [II.E.7.b] [III.A.2.r.(1)] [III.A.3.b.(1).(c)].
[II.D.3.d] INTERNMENT IN THE PEPYÊ FESTIVAL
Whereas age-set life, both
in and out of festival conditions, is one of immersion in the group's continuous
activity [III.B.1.c.(4)], the internment in the Pepyê festival (Glossary)in
stark contrastis one of social isolation. This difference acts as a shock
for the confined boys. During his 2 to 3 month internment, a youth is expected
to think in solitude [III.B.1.c.(3)] about his future development and is told
many traditional stories by his uncles. He cannot escape the older relatives
and run out into the cerrado if they bore him. When he emerges from the internment
with his age-set, he hears more stories about traditional behavior from the
commandant of the age-set.
The Pepyê festival
(Plates 42, 43)
internment in a youth's maternal house is either alone or with siblings, even
when the sibling is one of the two age-set's girl associates. This is the time
when the youth formally learns and practices food and sex restrictions which
are believed to be the main tools in life for developing his personal abilities
[III.A.3.b.(2).(a)] [IV.D.3.c, f]. He may or may not have lost his virginity
by the time of his first Pepyê internment, so he may or may not have already
experienced his post-pubertal seclusion.
Graduating through four
or five initiation festivals over a 10-year period [IV.A.3.c.(1).(2)] enculturates
a youth into membership in an age-set [III.C.3.a], which is the equivalent to
the woman's winning her belt; both are a mark of relative maturity [IV.B.1.h].
While neither the woman with her painted belt nor the graduated youth is recognized
as a fully mature person (as would be a parent), nevertheless, by this stage
the young woman or man has received most of the formal social processing that
comes from agents outside her or his home.
The Pepyê novices are led and disciplined as a group by a commandant from an older age-set (and by their own leaders) during the Pepyê festival and between initiation festivals [IV.A.c.(1),(2),(3)], and in the Khêêtúwayê [IV.A.3.c.(1).(c)]. When moving as a troop, they are likened in Canela tradition to a pack of wild boar who run close together and respond fiercely when attacked by outsiders. The shout of the Pepyê troop as they jog across the plaza or around the boulevard is krôô, krôô, krôô, krôô , the word for wild boar. Thus, the Pepyê festival furnishes experience in group behavior and obedience to the commandant, deputy commandant, and the representatives of the opposite age-set who are present with their long, thin wands to keep the novices alert.
[II.D.3.e] WINNING HONOR AWARDS FROM PRÓ-KHÃMMÃ
As in the case of young
women, youths can also win honored awards in the Khêêtúwayê,
Pepyê, and Pepkahàk festivals. These highly prized awards motivate
the young men, as well as the young women, to perform well in the festivals
and in life [III.A.3.b.(3).(b)].
(Glossary) award a ceremonial
lance (Table 8, item 1; Plate
63c,d) [II.G.3.a.(2)] to the youth who, though not a principal actor
in the festival, has sung the best during the festival period. Eight to ten
of the macaw tail feathers that the novices have worn in specially made headdresses
(Table 8, item 24; Plate
61a) [II.G.3.b.(1)] for the Khêêtúwayê festival
are assigned to this winner's naming-uncle for him to use in making the lance
for his named-nephew.
To go with the ceremonial
lance, the Pró-khãmmã award the right to own a war bonnet
headdress (Table 8, item 2)
[II.G.3.a.(1)] to the same youth and give the rest of the macaw tail feathers
from the Khêêtúwayê novices' headdresses to the naming-uncle
of the same award winner so that he can use them (Plate
56e) in making this artifact for his named-nephew. The young man
who has been awarded these items of honor is subsequently obliged to sing frequently
before each house around the boulevard, entertaining the villagers with his
fine voice (Plate 32d)
Another award is a pair of cotton wristlets (Table 8, item 34; Plate 60f) [II.G.3.b.(7)] worn by each of the young male singers who sing in the Waytikpo act (Plates 43a, 44e) as apprentices of a great sing-dance master. The Waytikpo act is the culminating dramatic point [IV.A.3.c.(2).(c)] in each of the three internment festivals. The Pró-khãmmã take these wristlets from the young male singers and give them to the best young male performers of the entire Wè?tè festival season to reward them for their excellence in general singing and dancing.
[II.D.3.f] THE NKREKRE-RE PERIOD
Young men go through a period
of being nkrekre-re, loose and free, until social fatherhood, as do the women
until motherhood. Men graduate from their final (usually their second) Pepyê
festival internment between the ages of 12 and 22. In former times the ages
were more like 17 and 27 (cf. Nimuendajú, 1937). In any case, the nkrekre-re
period of freedom can be longer for men.
Formerly, after graduation,
men moved about in their age-set groups (Plate
40b), with their terminal Pepyê festival deputy commandant
or their file leader as their leader [IV.A.3.c.(1).(c)]. They carried out many
kinds of group activities, such as assisting the work on family farms. The graduated
age-sets (especially the two youngest, the kàà pê tsuu-yê)
would dance around the boulevard repeatedly in the late afternoon and early
evening and sing while the council of elders was in session [II.F.1.b.(2).(d)].
They also had foot races [II.F.2.b], sometimes in the evening, but more often
in the morning during the council meeting.
Formerly, young men slept
all night in their wives' houses only after childbirth [III.F.4.h] [IV.B.2.b].
More recently, however, young men have moved in to live with their wives' families
soonerupon marriageand so become obliged to work on the farms of
their fathers-in-law at a younger age. Thus, the nkrekre-re period for
men is more encumbered by work than it was. Relative freedom does, however,
continue for men even though they become married and fathers. They are freer
than mothers from raising children and household duties, and continue to a lesser
extent their age-set moiety activities.
The change brought about by fatherhood at a younger age has dramatically reduced young men's reliance on age-set activities, so it should not be surprising that the age-set as a separate social unit has fallen into almost complete disuse. Only the age-set moieties still carry out various social and tribal activities [III.C.3.c.(1)].
When a baby arrives these
days, maybe several years after marriage, the young husband is already well
integrated into his wife's family. In former times, however, the first night
he spent in his wife's house was during the couvade [III.F.4.i] [IV.B.2.c].
Because of the great freedom
the young nkrekre-re man enjoyed with his age-set in earlier times, it was necessary
for the postpartum couvade to be severe in order to separate him from his recent
life and to bind him closely into the marriage. The postpartum couvade was and
still is (though less so) difficult for a young man. He was older in those days,
maybe in his late teens or twenties, so his greater experience in life might
have made the ordeal easier to endure.
Under the direction of the
mother-in-law, who cannot speak to her son-in-law because of total avoidance
rules [III.E.3.a.(4)], instructions arrive through his wife for him to obeyall
for the sake of the baby's welfare. In the house of his in-laws, particularly
during the period of the couvade, he is treated like a stranger. His wife and
her female kin, and her male kin who happen to appear, arrange and manage everything.
He has little or no say in matters.
During the period of the couvade, he scarcely converses with his wife except to understand and obey directions. Although they are in the same part of the house, a partition stands between them. He does not care for his child but merely lies on his platform bed or on mats on the floor. His food restrictions [IV.D.3.a] are more severe and narrow in scope than his wife's. At the time the baby's umbilicus falls off and the navel heals, he goes hunting for meat for his wife so that her milk will flow plentifully. On such expeditions he goes alone, talks to nobody, and behaves almost as if he were in mourning. He must especially avoid sexually active young women [IV.D.3.d.(4)] while hunting and in general.
[II.D.3.h] STATUS OF FATHERHOOD AND SONS-IN-LAW
The father is the principal
household provider; his wife's uncles and brothers are providing for their wives'
families elsewhere, as sons-in-law or fathers-in law. However, research assistants
insist that in former times men furnished some meat and other foods for their
sisters and their sisters' children as well, but this is not done today. The
young father and husband supplies only his wife's family and is their principal
source of economic support.
A husband helps his wife discipline the children in all the ordinary day-to-day situations. Although rarely done, only a mother or father slap or strike their children in ordinary situations, though rarely, because it is recognized that only parents have sufficient sympathy and feeling for their children to strike them fairly and beneficially. Uncles or aunts, the principal disciplinarians of children in larger problems, do not strike their nieces and nephews except in very extreme and unusual situations [III.A.2.j.(3),k.(2)] [III.A.3.a.(2).(i)].
Often when I was visiting
a man in his house and something had to be arranged, he would send his son-in-law,
rather than his unmarried son, to carry out the chore, such as taking a message
to the post or summoning someone to talk to me. No compensation exists for such
services; this epitomizes the son-in-law's role.
The status of the son-in-law seems to have risen, however, since the time of Nimuendajú (1946:125), who reports that the various wives' brothers visiting the household took considerable advantage of the wives' husbands living there [III.E.3.a.(2)]. These days, however, the wives' husbands (the brothers-in-law or sons-in-law (Figure 28)) hold the potential of complaint against their wives' families for their wives' marital "infidelities" [III.F.4.e.(2).(b)]. Formerly, such complaints were scarcely listened to, since a husband's own uncles silenced him, telling him the old traditions allowed his wife considerable freedom. Another factor in the rise of the son-in-law's status is the greater economic importance of agriculture among the Canela. The son-in-law's principal activity as a young father is to work with the several other sons-in-law of the housethose having the same father-in-lawin the fields of their wives and their mother-in-law. Thus, the common work unit for clearing the farms is the father-in-law with his several sons-in-law [II.C.3.d]. Thus, the son-in-law who works well in the fields has assumed a position of greater importance and value to family members. They try harder to keep a good son-in-law satisfied these days. Nevertheless, even with his rise in status, the son-in-law still is usually not talkative and active in the house of his wife's family.
As children grow older,
their father assumes a more significant role in the house, until he eventually
takes over its governing from his father-in-law [III.E.2.d]. It is usually the
husband of the oldest daughter who does this, but leadership ability is also
considered. If discontented, two or three of the sons-in-law are likely to move
out with their wives and children to form another household alongside (or behind)
the house of their mother-in-law and their wives' sisters (Figure
Kracke's (1978:3740) analysis of father-in-law authority in uxorilocal residence for the Kagwahiv resembles the Canela situation. The principal differences lie not in the psychologically similar triangular relationship between a man and his daughter and son-in-law, but between this triad and its sociopolitical matrix. First, the young Canela couple cannot leave after just five years of bride service, but must stay with her father until their children are largely grown. Secondly, significant political power lies in the hands of Canela tribal chiefs and in the council of elders, which are higher scale social institutions than the institution of the father-in-law. When, however, his family is away from the tribal village living in their small farm community, the father-in-law may dominate several sons-in-law and other temporary adherents. Tribal chiefs derive their power from their adolescent festival leadership positions, their proven ability in such roles, their later assignment to assist actual chiefs, and their assumed power in successful and unsuccessful schisms [III.D.1.j]-not from the institution of the father-in-law as among the Kagwahiv. There the father-in-law successfully attracts and keeps sons-in-law and other adherents so that he becomes a headman through gathering a number of families who are willing to follow his leadership. The latter basis of power and course to individual leadership, however, seems characteristic of the deculturated Krïkatí (Lave, 1979:3943).
[II.D.3.i] ADULT MALE ACTIVITIES AND ROLES
Adult men, with their relative freedom from household duties, have a number of other roles besides age-set participation and being fathers, which occupy their time.
[II.D.3.i.(1)] Going On Trek
An activity that was practiced
frequently during the last century and in pre-contact times was going on trek
(khri ?wên to mõ: village trek makes go: the tribe goes
on trek). This expression denotes the tribe breaking into two or at the most
three large groups for protection through size, research assistants said, unlike
in post-pacification times. Groups of 6 to 12 young men with older leaders went
to the great cities on the coast. These days, they go to Brasília and
São Paulo as well. Women seldom accompanied the men on these trips.
When I first arrived among
the Canela and Apanyekra, I made a study of such trips, asking each male about
the cities he had visited. Surely some men exaggerated, but the list was impressive:
almost every male above the age of 20 had traveled once to a coastal city, and
others had gone to such places a number of times (Map
Indians in those days took trips around Brazil at no expense to themselves, since they were picked up frequently and allowed to travel free in trains, trucks, and horse-drawn vehicles, until the 1970s. When they reached large cities (capitães: capitals: state capitals), they sometimes received invitations to speak over the radio and sing publicly, as did the younger Tààmi in Salvador in 1960. Sometimes, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) flew them back to Barra do Corda on scheduled flights.
[II.D.3.i.(2)] Ceremonial Roles
Women are involved in ceremonial
life to a very considerable extent, especially in individual rites [IV.B] (Glossary),
but men carry out by far the larger portion of ceremonial roles at the tribal
festival level [IV.A]. Festivals are held throughout the whole village, but
primarily in the men's area, the plaza. Individual rites are held around the
family houses, part of the women's domestic world, and the circle of houses.
Rituals (Glossary) [III.C.8]
are held in both locations, though ultimately dominated by the Pró-khãmmã
of the plaza but owned and put on by women or men of the houses. Nevertheless,
a number of important festival roles for women exist [III.C.9]: male societies
have two female associates each, except for the most prestigious Visiting Chiefs
[III.C.7.a], who have none, and the most prestigious of the plaza groups, the
Otters, who have only one [III.C.5.c].
Some festival roles give men significant prestige, and the ceremonial respect they gain sometimes carries over into daily life [III.E.10]. In particular, this pertains to the role of the Ceremonial-chief-of-the-whole-tribe [II.B.1.d.(1)] [IV.A.3.c.(3).(e)], and also to the role of the chief of the Visiting Chiefs (Tàmhàk) [III.C.7.a] [IV.A.3.c.(3).(e)].
Sing-dance leaders (më
nkrel-katê: pl. sing/dance-master) [II.F.1.a] like the older Krôôtô
(Plate 77d) in Escalvado
and the old Kupaakhà in Porquinhos were highly esteemed by their tribesmen
because they could lead and direct the singing and dancing in most festivals
with or without a gourd or belt rattle. They could either lead the singing themselves
or teach an apprentice how to lead by their side for the duration of a particular
Young sing-dance leaders
may receive their training while holding a festival position [II.F.1.a.(l)],
singing before the women's dance line every morning or evening [II.E.4.a,8],
and leading certain sing-dancing formations.
The severe food and sex restrictions against pollutions [IV.D.3.a] during adolescenceso important for developing most adult rolesare not considered necessary for developing the abilities of a great sing-dancer. Nevertheless, these sing-dance leaders have remarkable stamina and memory [II.F.1.a.(2)] .
As young sing-dance leaders advance in age, one from each age-set is asked to be the master performer for an age-set of the opposite age-set moiety [III.C.3]. He is then made their më-hõõ-pa?hi (pl. his chief: their [ceremonial] chief) in a ceremony. Standing in the center of the plaza on a mat, he receives small presents from each of his new sing-dance followers. This is the same ceremony in form as the ones in which Visiting Chiefs are installed (Plate 28e,f) [III.C.7.a] or visiting dignitaries are honored [IV.A.5.e.(3)]. In this way, the young honorary chief becomes the sing-dance master [II.F.1.a] for the age-set directly following his own age-set in graduation. Once the honorary chief of an age-set, he is more or less obligated to come out every time his age-set followers want him to lead them in singing and dancing. This is a great honor, but the role does not carry as much ceremonial prestige as being inherently hàmren in status [III.C.7].
[II.D.3.i.(3)] Political Roles
Men learn political leadership in the initiation ceremonies of the two Nkrel-re (initiation) festivals (Glossary)the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê [IV.A 3.c.(1),(2)]. Some novices are more able in leadership than others, so they are appointed the deputy commandant (më-kapõn-katê kahàk-re) (Nimuendajú, 1946:182), or the file leader (mamkhyê-?ti) [IV.A.3.c.(1).(c)] by the Pró-khãmmã. Between the four to five Nkrel-re festival internments, the deputy commandant may be changed each time. If a particular individual is outstanding, he is re-appointed to the post from festival year to festival year. The deputy commandant at the time of his age-set's graduation is his age-set leader for life. He is also one of the more obvious candidates for the tribal chieftainship when an old chief dies. Thus, the festival system prepares young men for political leadership of the tribe [III.D.1.i.(1)] .
[II.D.3.i.(4)] Town Crier
After every tribal council
meeting, and in a number of other situations, the town crier (Glossary)(më-hààpôl
katê: them urge-on master: the one who urges them on) [II.E.8] sings
messages from the center of the plaza, which all Canela are expected to hear
and obey. The position of the town crier was thought to be hàmren
in status [II.C.7] by some Canela individuals, but information from my most
well-informed research assistants indicated this was not the case. This role
is onerous because the town crier must be in the plaza every day, carrying out
necessary activities after all council meetings. The Pró-khãmmã
chooses the individual for this position because he has physical stamina and
a good voice. He is decorated in the center of the plaza in urucu and falcon
down, after which the whole tribe lays presents at his feet, since he will be
serving them all.
I have known a number of men assigned this position, such as the younger Krôôtô (Plate 70g) and Hôy (Plate 77h), but they invariably tire of the tedious repetition of the job and eventually fail to carry it out. Old Kawkhre (sitting, far side of circle, Plate 40d) filled this role well in Ponto, and Rõõ-re -?hô (Plate 68d) was very consistent with it in Baixão Prêto and Escalvado for years. Only these two men consistently carried out the role during my period with the Canela. Usually, when the town crier is not available, the tribal chief, or anyone with a good voice, steps away from the council of elders [III.D.2] when their meeting ends and performs this role.
[II.D.3 i.(5)] Shamans
Ghosts may visit a very sick person, and through curing him, make him a curer (kay) [IV.D.1.e]. Also, a number of youths become shamans during their adolescence because they have visitations from ghosts during their formerly lengthy postpubertal restrictions period, or during their Pepyê festival internment [IV.A.3.c.(2).(a)]. These youths are then given a chance to prove their ability to cure specific diseases during a presentation in the plaza before the whole tribe (Plate 29). If successful, these young men are then generally known to be able to cure certain sicknesses. They are called upon at any time to carry out cures. They are paid a certain amount for their effort only after a successful cure.
Recognition as an exceptional
hunter is very prestigious for a Canela man [III.A.3.c.(1).(d)]. The political
chief of the tribe is more prestigious, but for the average man, the role of
being a good hunter is highly rewarded by the admiration of others in general.
The Canela and Apanyekra have strong cravings for meat. A special expression
even exists for hunger for meat as distinguished from hunger for any other food
(i-yatê: I hungry-for-meat). Women select husbands, lovers, and
contributing-fathers [III.E.9] [IV.B.2.a] partly for their ability to provide
Successful hunters have
the advantage over others in extramarital sexual relationships [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)].
Women like to receive a present from a man before beginning sex, even if they
have taken the initiative [III.F.8.b]. Because of this tradition, a little meat
as a present goes a long way toward enabling a man to have extensive extramarital
While the Canela were in the village of Sardinha in the dry forests [II.B.2.g], little meat was available. But partly because it was almost necessary to give a woman some meat in order to gain her cooperation in sexual activities during those hungry times, the practice of extramarital sex diminished considerably, I am told.
[II.D.3.i.(7)] Farmer and Hunter Compared
Farming does not carry
the same high prestige as hunting even though most food these days comes from
farm plots maintained by family members [II.C.3.g]. The greater prestige of
hunting suggests the earlier reliance on game. Although the Canela spend far
more time on farming than hunting, I think they are closer to their hunting
and gathering background psychologically than they are to their food producing
one, even though they have relied principally on agriculture during the 20th
century. Canela men love the excitement and skills of hunting and find the practices
of farming dull and uninteresting (Plate
12c,d). Both require endurance, but the endurance of farming is hard
labor with an axe or machete under the noonday sun, or weeding growing crops
with the wife and older children. There is little glamour in such activities
for the Canela male who wants movement [III.B.1.c.(4)].
The hunter, however, receives a great deal of enjoyment out of the skills of tracking, concealment, and the final dash before shooting. Then the wounded quarry may have to be chased for many kilometers. In any case, the physical activity and skills of hunting are more thrilling to the Canela. When somebody comes into the village with a deer across his shoulders (Plate 15c), the news passes quickly to everybody. It is not easy to shoot a deer and bring it back to the village without being seen, and everybody wants a portion for her- or himself. But when people return from their fields with roots, tubers, and grains, nobody notices them, because field products are relatively plentiful and lack prestige.
[II.D.3.j] MIDDLE AGE
When men are entering their
50s, some of them are thought to be më
?khà-re (they skin/body-dim.: they a little bit tough), (Table 9,
stage 13), and this might be termed "middle-aged." By their late 50s
and early 60s, they are më
?khà (they skin/body), without the -re, indicating they are fully
"tough." Being më
?khà implies that a person has become "tough": he can endure
almost anything [III.B.1.e.(3)]. The very fact that a person has lived to reach
his 50s and 60s is proof he has overcome a number of diseases and has survived
hard work for a long time (Figure
16). This hardiness is seen in the behavior of the person as well as in
the state of his health.
Such më ?khà
individuals used to be highly respected just because they had survived and were
conducting their life roles well. Today survival alone, however, does not inspire
such respect. When people have advanced to their 70s and 80s, research assistants
do not deny that they are më ?khà, but the definition and
full sense of the meaning may no longer be applicable.
The termëkhà can also be applied to women. Among the Apanyekra, the expression më ?khà replaces the Canela term Pró-khãmmã for the council of elders.
[II.D.3.k] COUNCIL OF ELDERS
By the time a man is over
50, he is likely to be a member of the council of elders [III.D.2]. This membership
adds dignity [III.B.1.f.(4)] to the life of older men. There can be no question
that they have a purposeserving the village through debating various points
of significanceand they can return home to hold forth before the women,
children, and younger men, about what was going on in the plaza. Such reporting
enhances their prestige and gives them a special role in the household.
The councilors also enjoy much camaraderie both before and after the formal meetings in the plaza, particularly in the evening [II.E.7]. It is gratifying to these older men to have some place to go in the evenings where they can enjoy themselves and carry out an important role as well. Membership in the council includes the older age-sets of both age-set moieties and involves every older man whether hàmren or not [III.C.7], thus maintaining prestige for all older men.
[II.D.3.1] OLD AGE
Old men in their 70s and
aboveusually two or three are in their early 80sare weaker and less
firm in their speech and bearing. They often have staffs and lean on them while
walking. They can still wear body paints, though they are more likely to use
just solid black, if any at all. They usually smoke rolled cigarettes, rather
than pipes, which are characteristic of old women, whether Indians or backlanders.
Old men often sing alone in the early morning while their relatives are still
sleeping. By this time they have lost any traces of their former fierceness
and authority, if they had these characteristics, and are little restricted
by what they call "shame" [III.A.3.c.3.(a)].
Old age does not require
any sort of retirement from being a councilor in the late afternoon and morning
meetings. Aged men are welcomed in the plaza during these meetings and often
make significant verbal contributions. Their attendance, however, is likely
to be less frequent.
These days, Canela over 65 years old receive pensions for having retired from the agricultural work force of the country. Consequently, they are economically significant in supporting their relatives. Older men appear to be happy, calm, and usually at peace with the world and their age.
[II.E] DAILY CYCLE
[II.E.1] Definitions of Individual Activities
In some societies, the daily round of activities is extremely irregular or diffuse. When the Canela are in residence in their village the daily cycle is quite regular but rather complex (Table 7). The Canela make a distinction between festival activities (amyi-?khin nã: self-esteem in: during a time of positive self-expression, joy, and euphoria) and all other activities that can occur simultaneously. In Canela dualism I found no term in opposition to amyi-?khin nã that covers all other activities. Daily cycle activities are subsumed in the category, "all other activities," which also includes an individual's life cycle rite activities and a person's idiosyncratic activities. Except for the contrast between tribal festival activities [IV.A] and all other activities, these distinctions are imposed as an explanatory vehicle. Most life cycle rites are put on by the individual's kindred, but some are staged in the setting of a festival and governed by the council of elders. Those that are put on by the individual's kindred are called "individual rites" [IV.B] here.
[II.E.1.a] OCCURRENCE OF DAILY AND FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES
While festival activities
are in progress, daily cycle, individual rites, and idiosyncratic activities
may also take place. More characteristically, when festival activities stop
in the plaza on any particular festival day, daily cycle activities take over.
Individual rites are not usually carried out on busy festival days, but occasionally
they are. There is, however, no necessary opposition or exclusion of one while
the other is taking place. Obviously, idiosyncratic activities do take place
during the occurrence of any of the other activity categories.
Before I was well aware of the characteristics of specific festivals, I used to ask if a certain activity I was watching was amyi-?khin nã, i.e., part of the festival. Clearly, the evening, morning, and afternoon sing-dances were not part of the festival, but some boulevard sing-dancing on a festival day was amyi-?khin nã, and some was not. During the Festival of Oranges [IV.A.3.f.(5)], for instance, the women's group singing just outside the village in the evening is part of the festival, but the evening sing-dance taking place at the same time in the plaza is not. In addition, when the Pepyê novices [IV.A.3.c.(2).(c)] are going through the various stages of transformation from being seclusion-oriented to being open society-oriented, they join the morning sing-dancing for the first time. Here, joining the sing-dancing is a Pepyê festival activity, but the sing-dancing itself is a daily cycle activity for the tribe. They occur at the same time.
[II.E.1.b] NONDAILY CYCLE ACTIVITIES
In selecting the activities
that are part of the daily cycle, I am excluding festival activities, individual
rites, idiosyncratic behavior, and any other activities that cannot be seen
as being part of the daily, repetitive routine that takes place while the Canela
are assembled in their village. For instance, plaza curing ceremonies are in
this smaller category of "other activities."
For a greater part of the year the Canela are either residing in their farm huts or living next to the houses of regional backlanders [II.C.3.g], doing odd jobs in exchange for food. (About 75 percent of the total Canela population reside in the village residence less than half the year.) Obviously, they do have a daily routine while away from the village on their farms, but these farm practices are too different and diffuse, varying too much with the different needs of individual families, to be reconstructed as a farm life daily cycle. While the Canela are in their village, however, a daily pattern of activities exists. They feel no necessity, however, for performing every item on their traditional daily agenda every day, especially these days, due to the omnipresent effects of deculturation and acculturation. For instance, sometimes no sing-dance leaders are willing to perform for a daily sing-dance, so it does not occur. All sing masters may be sick, in mourning, visiting Barra do Corda, away on backland trading trips, or just unwilling to perform. Sometimes, when a council meeting follows an afternoon dance, youths may not feel like sing-dancing around the boulevard. They feel no compulsion to perform these potential daily activities just to complete the cycle's agenda.
[II.E.2] Time Orientations
The Canela point to the
area of the sky where the sun will be, or was, to indicate when an event will,
or did, occur. In the late 1970s, however, many men did indicate the occurrence
of events by the hour of the day. The Canela also give descriptive expressions,
related to the position or characteristics of the sun or other elements, to
indicate the time of day. These expressions are found in Table
After carrying out considerable
research on the characteristics of the Canela unit "today," and after
relating Canela terms and expressions with solar events, I was able to reconstruct
precise periods of time, around the clock and for several days ahead and behind,
which follow their view of past and future Canela "todays."
The word for "today"
is ita-khãm (this-in: this one [day] we are in) phonemically and
itá-khãmmã phonetically [Ap.4.a.(6)]. It is, however,
simply written as itakhãm.
If the speaker is talking
during the daytime (i.e., between sunrise and sunset), the itakhãm
she or he is referring to includes three periods: (l) the night before (sunset
to sunrise), (2) the daytime she or he is in (sunrise to sunset), and (3) the
next night (sunset to sunrise). Thus, itakhãm (today) for the
Canela person speaking in the daytime (sunrise to sunset) refers to a period
of 36 hours and its time markers are sunset (pùt tsàl:
sun enters) and sunrise (pùt katol: sun comes-out) (Table
If the speaker wants to
talk about the adjacent nights, she or he says itakhãm katswa ri
(today's night there), letting the context indicate which one is meant (Figure
12). If she or he wants to specify which night is meant more precisely,
itakhãm katswari amu të (today's night away moves: last night)
indicates the past one, while itakhãm katswari aypên të
(today's night this-way moves: tonight) indicates the approaching one. (Katswa
and katswa ri have essentially the same meaning: night.)
The sequence of "todays"
is seen as being linear, the past ones going away from the speaker, and the
future ones coming toward her or him-to eventually pass by her or him and then
go away in turn [V.A.6].
The term for tomorrow is
apë-?na (daylight-on: tomorrow), which is the next day, from sunrise
to sunset, when the speaker is talking in the daytime. "Tomorrow night"
is apë?nã katswa ri (tomorrow's night there), from sunset
to sunrise. Apë?nã hakpµµ-mã (tomorrow's
backed-onto: tomorrow's beyond day: the day after tomorrow) means the day after
tomorrow, and apë?nã hakpµµ-ma katswali (tomorrow's
backed-onto's night: tomorrow's beyond day's beyond night: the night before
the day after tomorrow) is the night just before the day after tomorrow. It
is interesting that while the Canela unit of today that the speaker is in lasts
36 hours, the Canela tomorrow (one daytime and one nighttime) and the Canela
day after tomorrow (one daytime and one nighttime) last only 24 hours each.
The Canela view of yesterday and the day before yesterday is similar to their view of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Complications are added, however, when the individual is speaking at night rather than during the day, and before midnight in contrast to after midnight. Because of the complexity of the references to time in terms of the speaker's position in relation to the days to come and the days past, this topic is discussed more fully in Appendix 5. Figure 12 represents these concepts pictorially.
[II.E.3] Evening Activities
The Canela day begins at
sunset. I first noticed this when people talked during the evening about "the
morning dance today," meaning the coming dawn one, which to me was
going to take place tomorrow. Consequently, it seems appropriate to begin
the discussion of the Canela daily cycle with occurrences just after sunset.
Sunset for the Canela is pùt tsàl (sun enters). Twilight is a?preprel and the early evening when the night is first completely dark, is katswa khat (night's base). Unlike the daytime, which begins sharply with sunrise, the nighttime is pictured as having a "root" that precedes its base (khat), namely, twilight. Nine or ten o'clock can be rá-ma katswa rùù (already nighttime long).
In the Canela world, this
twilight period is most delightful, with picturesque skies, warmth emanating
from the sand, and soft indirect light. It is a time for peace and relaxation.
In earlier years, the council
of elders adjourned their meeting in the center of the plaza just after sunset
(6 to 6:30 PM) and returned to their homes for the evening meal. In the late
1950s, however, the chiefs' employment in the Indian service [II.B.4] has delayed
the start of the afternoon council until 6:30 to 7 PM, so it is really an evening
meeting. Both earlier and today, the two most recently graduated age-sets and
the novices [III.C.3.a] dance around the boulevard usually in single file, chanting
a number of songs. These days, however, the younger men sing-dance around the
boulevard considerably less often than formerly, frequently preferring to sit
in their age-sets' position at the edge of the plaza (Figure
24), or even sitting as individuals around the council of elders [III.D.2]
in order to listen to the discussions. This period of the evening is a time
of male sociability when women are preparing meals in houses or attending babies
and children. Cooking fires appear inside or behind the houses, and for the
Canela, the day is just beginning.
One electrifying event occurs at this time every 28 to 29 days. The youths shout and cheer at the first evidence of a new moon in the western sky, no matter how dim or slim. They watch for this occurrence as the sky grows darker. The cheering acknowledges the moon's association with a woman's approximately 28-day fertility cycle. The youths love women and sex, and finding the first sliver of the new moon is a challenge and fun.
[II.E.3.b] EVENING SING-DANCE
At the end of the council
meeting most men return to their wives' houses, but others visit the homes of
female kin. Younger men may continue to sing in the boulevard for a while, or
may disband and return to their homes. Then by about 7:30 PM, but always after
the council meeting, the sing-dance leader (Nimuendajú, 1946:114117)
[II.F.1.a] appointed during the meeting by the councilors or by members of one
of the age sets, begins to roll his rattle in the center of the plaza, waiting
for the women's sing-dance line to form. There are about 12 sing-dance leaders,
beginners and masters, who could conduct the evening session.
The evening sing-dance starts
at the center of the plaza with a few strong-voiced women and a hahï-owner
forming the core of the singing. Later other girls and women join, extending
the single sing-dance row to 20 or 30, all of whom face uphill toward the sing-dance
leader, (Plate 33), regardless
of the cardinal directions. During festivals, this same "daily" sing-dance
line may be extended to between 60 and 70 women. Those who have young daughters
dancing sit behind and downhill from the line of women, where their babies and
children play in the sand. Men may be conversing in their houses with their
families, or having private trysts with lovers [III.F.8]. On festival occasions,
they still may be singing with their age-set around the boulevard.
By about 9 or 10 PM, the evening dance is over, and women in and behind the dancing line drift slowly homeward. Sometimes younger women and teenagers want additional fun, so they summon another sing-dance leader to lead them in a different set of songs that are more informal and come from another Eastern Timbira tribe. Youths join this phase of the sing-dancing, which may involve expanding and contracting circles, files coiling in and out, or any of many other formations. It is noteworthy that the Canela claim these various kinds of late evening sing-dances came from other tribes [II.F.1.b.(2).(a)] rather than from their ancestors.
If the weather is good,
four to eight singers of both sexes may continue to sing without a maraca, while
walking very slowly around the boulevard when most of the villagers are asleep
or going to sleep. This serenading is rare these days and usually occurs during
great festivals when no festival acts have taken place that evening. These troubadour-like
serenaders [II.F.1.b.(2).(b)] sing sad but relaxing music in a minor key, in
slowly resolved chords. This poignant serenading may continue past midnight.
At one or two in the morning other troubadoursand this occurs even more rarelyserenade the villagers, strolling in a small group around the boulevard in the same manner. At this time the singing appears to my ear to be in the major key common to the West. (This may not be precisely the case.) This is the only time the Canela or Apanyekra use a similar scale to the major Western one to my knowledge, and again the chords are long-held and slowly resolved. Research assistants say this serenading was done more frequently in the distant past.
[II.E.4] Midnight and Early Morning Activities
It is surprising to me how
early the Canela get up in the morning whether to sing-dance, watch festivities,
fabricate material artifacts, or make an early start on the trip to their farm
or the house of a backland family. This early rising is less surprising, however,
when one considers the beauty of the early morning with its soft tones and freshness.
Moreover, the Canela find time to nap for moments at different times during
the day so that getting a full night's sleep is not important.
It is noteworthy that the
Canela speak of midnight (katswa pikapôn: nighttime divided-in-half)
with precision while noon (pùt pa-?khrã yimok ji : sun
our-head over sits: the sun is overhead), in contrast, is not referred to precisely.
Midnight is a principal divider of the Canela night's "today" [A.5.b],
while noon divides nothing.
At awkati-tsà ?wèl (dawn-period toward), no sign of dawn or light on the horizon exists, but the dawn sing-dance begins at this time: 23 AM. When some daylight is about to appear at 3:304 AM, they may say apë yà ?têp (daylight near). When some definite coloring of the sky occurs, the expression koykhwa kaprêk khãm (sky red at) can be applied as a time indicator-about 44:30 AM. When daylight has definitely arrived, they say katswa ka?hul (night's end), apë katol khãm (daylight arrived at), or apë yihôt (daylight's point). There are many more expressions marking the times of the morning than for the evening. The early morning is the more valued part of the day, because the Canela enjoy its coolness and changing colors more than the darkness of the late evening.
[II.E.4.a] EARLY MORNING SING-DANCE
By two or three in the morning,
the sing-dance leader, who was probably appointed by the council or one of the
age-sets the afternoon before, emerges from his house and goes to the plaza
where he begins to rotate his gourd rattle for all in the village to hear. Summoned
this way, energetic young women and older girls are expected to join him promptly.
Still young owners of ceremonial honor sashes [II.G.3.a.(8)] should be the first
women to appear and to form the dance line [II.D.2.f, III.A.3.b.(3).(a)]. Sometimes
the best Canela singing occurs when only three or four of these vocal experts
in their cotton sashes sing at the top of their voices. It is exciting to watch
a singing duelas it almost isbetween a great sing-dance master with
his gourd rattle and one or two hahi më-ntsii
with their cotton singing sashes (hahi). The women sing with high volume
at the sing-dance leader who is singing powerfully and directly, facing them.
They accentuate the several-part harmony by bending their knees to the rhythm
but keeping their torsos erect. When the sing-dance master pauses, for whatever
reason, the cotton sash owners (Plate
32a) must carry on the singing unhesitatingly. They are also know as the
hõ-?khre-pôy (pl. their throat comes out-from: it comes out
of their throats: singers).
When more women assemble in the sing-dance line, the vocal quality deteriorates, though the volume increases. During this type of singing, the Western listener hears some dissonance, because the Canela singing at this point becomes microtonal. Until I heard three or four experts sing this way alone, I wrongly assumed some of the singers in the large groups were off key.
Usually, after the first three or four more eager women have come to the plaza, the less involved ones may still be reluctant to appear. Consequently, a young male leader goes from door to door calling them out. He uses their names, his relationship terms for them, or the necessary circumlocutions for his avoidance women. He moves on to the next house only when older female relatives give "valid" reasons excusing girls. The leader is very persistent, insisting a girl should not be "stingy" [III.B.1.a]. After going once around the village boulevard, he leads his young group to the plaza where they join the sing-dance line.
By 33:30 AM, some boys and young men come to the plaza and either sit around watching or join the fun. They dance about individually in front of the dance line, skipping and hopping, and occasionally making whoops of delight and shouts of enthusiasm. Women are "bound" in a single line facing the sing-dance leader, while men move about individually in front of the female line and over most of the plaza, behind and on all sides of the sing-dance leader. Men, except for the sing-dance leader, do not sing with the women during these "daily" social (i.e., not ceremonial) dances, though they do sing with them in most festival situations.
The early morning sing-dances
start slowly, but by about 4:30 AM they move into fast time while the men shout
and blow their horns (Plate 56a)
[II.G.3.e.(1)], and play on small ocarina-like gourds [II.G.3.e.(4)], which
have four tiny holes for fingers and one more to blow across. They use none
of these instruments to produce melodies, nor do they tune them to a certain
pitch; they just use them to increase the existing sounds and excitement [III.B.1.c.(4)].
Around five in the morning,
the sing-dance leader begins to sing the terminal set of slower and more formal
songs, making everyone more serious. The performance ends around 5:30 AM. By
this time it is broad daylight, but the sun has not yet risen. The Canela always
stop singing before the sun appears. They stop soon enough for young men and
women to become calm before going down to any one of the swim-bathing holes
in the nearby streams. On the way, young men blow cheerily on their gourd ocarinas
and sometimes make loud cries in the style of several festival acts, such as
the high and descending calls of the all night singing of the Pepyê festival,
just before the novices go out to shoot field rats not long after sunrise [IV.A.3.c.(2)].
The pace has slowed from the dawn dancing period, but the euphoria lingers on.
The Apanyekra follow a similar early morning sequence of events, but I have never heard the two types of "troubadour" singing while among them.
Both the Canela and Apanyekra
believe the young must bathe in the cold water of streams every morning to grow
up strong and healthy. Therefore, the unmarried of both sexes, and the young
marrieds up to 30 or 35 almost always go bathing at this time in the several
bathing spots (Map 5). Women usually
carry large gourds to procure water, or these days five liter cans or even ceramic
pots. Their little children often accompany them, but older children may go
with friends in groups.
In earlier times women and
men bathed together nude. They still did this in the late 1950s, though the
practice was diminishing. By the 1970s, women always wore wraparound cloth skirts
from the waist to the knees when out of water. They were already self-conscious
about "being seen" by men. (Ka te hõõ-pun: you past-tense
her-see: you saw her [genitals].) When covered by water, however, they did not
mind the presence of men. Opposite-sex people of certain relationships, however,
carefully avoided being in and near the bathing holes at the same time: uterine
siblings, parents and their adolescent offspring, and high avoidance-related
individuals (affinals and Formal Friends) [III.E.3.a.(4)]. If one member of
such a pair was already in the water hole area, the arriving member waited up
the trail, slightly out of sight of the bathing hole.
While some Canela now use soap these days, none used it for bathing in the late 1950s. At that time, they asked for soap primarily to scent their hair. Most people bathe twice a day (morning and noon), using a lot of hand friction and sand on their ankles and legs. In the morning, people can be seen by the water holes swiftly brushing their teeth with their fingers. Today, a few use tooth brushes in their houses.
[II.E.5] Morning Activities
While the morning is the
principal time for workthe most serious and sober time of daythe
Canela drift into it slowly. Thus, after the sun is up, they still race, sing,
hold meetings, visit kin, and eat slowly before beginning any sort of economically
When the sun makes its appearance, they say pùt khrã katol (sun's head/ball comes-out), or more simply, pùt katol (sunrise). This is the beginning of the daytime; any time before sunrise is nighttime. Dawn (awkati-tsà ?wèl: light period toward) is part of the nighttime; the sun has not yet arrived. When the sun is fully up, from about 6:157:30 AM, the period is irààràn (no translation), and at about 810 AM, the expression used may be pùt yààpil khãm (sun climbed-up at).
[II.E.5.a] AGE-SET MEETINGS
When the Canela come back from bathing, women go home and men go to their age-set places (Nimuendajú, 1946:90) (Figure 24: Plate 40f) on the edge of the plaza, where they sit by fires and chat. Pró-khãmmã, and men of the age-sets (Glossary) who sit with the Pró-khãmmã, soon leave their age-set groups and go to the center of the plaza to begin the morning council meeting. Usually, they begin the council of elders (Glossary) when the chief arrives, and then the style of speaking becomes more formal.(Figure 18). (While men do not work in groups organized by age-set anymore, they do hold meetings at the edge of the plaza organized by age-sets.)
[II.E.5.b] MORNING COUNCIL MEETING
Likely topics of the morning council meeting are the following: unresolved problems of the previous late afternoon meeting, activities of certain men's groups, assignment of female associates to working groups, assignment of tribal messengers to go to backland communities to buy necessary goods, and other possibilities. They also decide which acts and steps will be performed in the festival that day and by whom. Subjects are related more to the activities of the coming day than to discussions of the evening before. (For more on council meetings, see [III.D.1.c.(l)] and [III.D.2.a,e].)
[II.E.5.c] TRACK EVENTS
Sometimes during the council meeting, younger men hold various sorts of competitions between the age-sets such as log-races, relay races with batons, and individual foot races several times around the boulevard [II.F.2.a.(3),b]. These races occur less frequently now than formerly, but even now council members occasionally stop talking to watch the outcome of a race.
[II.E.5.d] MEN VISIT FEMALE KIN
By 7:30 AM the council meeting is over, and the councilors and youths troop back to their houses for food and family matters. Men often visit the houses of mothers or sisters to discuss problems with their female kin [II.D.2.i.(4)], where they, as a mother's brother or a brother, hold ultimate authority [III.A.3.b.(1).(b)]. This is the time for short interfamilial hearings [III.D.3.b], almost always on marital problems.
[II.E.5.e] OFF TO WORK
Some women go off to the family farm (Map 7) as early as 5 or 6 o'clock; others leave by 8 or 9. Still other women stay in the village, tending children and preparing food or possibly making objects for their own use and, especially these days, for sale ([II.B.2.g.(7),II.C.3.g],and [Ep.6.a]). Both sexes may get ready for a serious interfamily judicial hearing (Glossary) [III.D.3.b,c], which may last all morning. Men may go to the farms with their wives at this time or remain home doing odd jobs or making artifacts. Sometimes, men go out with their age-set moieties to work on a task for the tribe, such as clearing or maintaining tribal boundaries: narrow vistas cut through the cerrado [III.D.1.c.(2)], or they might repair the road to Barra do Corda, hunt in a group, harvest rice, or help finish the work on another person's farm.
[II.E.5.f] WOMEN FOR MALE WORK GROUPS
For many of these work groups, the chief used to select several girl associates (më kuytswè) (Glossary) to go with each moiety for sexual purposes. These women usually did not have husbands (më mpíyapit) (Glossary) [II.D.2.i.(6)] [III.F.4.b.(2)]. These days (1970s), it is hard to find women of any category to accompany the men, because a stigma is increasingly being attached to activities that run counter to the backlanders' way of life [II.B.4], to the folk Catholicism the Canela are learning [E.4.b.(2).(e)], and to the spirit of SIL translations of the New Testament [Ep.5.d]. Traditionally, however, female associates mixed with the men during the morning work period, depending on what kind of activity the group was undertaking. On age-set moiety hunting days, the women with each moiety remained at a camp to wait for the men's return. If the day's task was working in fields or on territorial boundaries, the women mixed with the men while they worked, joking with them and generally adding amusement. If the men were working in fields of the Indian service, they hid the women nearby to avoid disapproval from service personnel.
[II.E.5.g] QUALITY OF WORK
The Canela work sporadically,
but have time to find fun in almost everything they do [III.B.1.c]. Everything
is done with great care. To most outsiders, they probably do not seem to be
working very hard in their farms, and they lack persistence [II.D.3.i.(7)].
They seem to converse a great deal, rest much of the time, and indulge in childlike
play. I have also observed this style of work occurring during the construction
of village houses. Backlanders of the region said backland workers on their
farms do twice the amount of work the Canela do in a day on a backlander farm.
Their daily work period usually lasts only 4 to 5 hours.
Canela youths tend to work more consistently if they are carrying out an agricultural task in a group, and even more so if female associates are present. Under such conditions, those who are working hard anyway may exert themselves even more to impress the women [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)]. The point was made many times by research assistants that working alone in one's own field is sad and quiet (a?kari k-ti) [III.B.1.c.(3)] but that working together with others is full of gaiety and fun. The leader of the group occasionally urges them on through song and individual verbal encouragement.
[II.E.6] Mid-Day and Afternoon Activities
Serious work in the fields,
or on projects in the village, stops shortly after noon. Then people undertake
lighter matters as the heat of the day begins to tell. If the sun is not overcast,
sands of the village boulevard become so hot that even toughened Canela soles
can scarcely bear the heat. Individuals find shade, lie down to rest, catch
naps, and chat (Table 6). The
working part of the day is over (a notably short period) and men turn to more
pleasing matters. Woman's work in the houses, however, is never over, but women
too manage to catch naps.
When away from the village and living in huts by their farm plots, men work in the afternoons alone in the fields or with their wives, or with their fathers- and brothers-in-law and their wives, depending on the time of the year and the needs of the fields [II.C.3]. When the base of operations is in the village, the daily village schedule is considerably different, because afternoon log races, sing-dances, and council meetings do not occur.
On an age-set moiety work
day, the Canela labor from about 9 AM to noon or 1 PM, and then rest until 3
or 4:30 PM when they race home with logs. During the rest period they doze or
sleep, eat small amounts of food, bathe in a nearby stream, and perhaps have
sex. The women (usually two or three) wait in the bushes in different directions
from the base camp so that they cannot be seen either from the camp or from
each other's location. Waiting their turn, men sit or lie in a group close enough
to the women's several locations in the bushes so that they can see when a man
stands up, signifying he is leaving.
Research assistants say
that in such impersonal group situations the sexual act takes place very quickly,
perhaps in less than a minute: 10 to 24 thrusts. If a man takes much longer,
he is likely to become the target of jokes. The position for intercourse used
at such times is always their impersonal one, with the woman on her back and
the man squatting between her legs, which are raised over his thighs. (For more
on extramarital sex relations, see [II.D.2.e.(3),g] [III.A.2.j.(6).(b),(c)]
On ordinary village-based (not farm-based) days, women were not usually provided. Men working in a certain regionon one or two streams(Map 7)assemble where logs have been cut [II.F.2.a.(1).(b)] to race back to the village in this manner.
[II.E.6.b] LOG RACE
Log racing [II.F.2.a] (Figure
13; Plates 34, 35)
is a Pan-Gê sport (Nimuendajú, 1946:146). It is a principal daily
cycle, village-based activity and is a favored way of returning from work sites
to the village in the mid-afternoon. Basically, each Canela moiety has a heavy
log, which one runner from each team carries on his left shoulder. When he becomes
tired, he passes the log to the next runner on his team. The logs are so heavy
that it takes four men to lift and place one log onto the shoulder of the first
runner. The team that carries their log to the village first wins.
Races often start from near
the day's work site. The moiety that made the challenge just after the morning
council meeting in the plaza, cuts the pair of buriti logs from one tree and
prepares them to be the right shape and nearly equal in weight-usually around
100 kilos. Much time is spent testing the logs by walking and jogging with them.
Then the other moiety, which
has been working all morning and is now resting not far away, enters the area
where the logs are displayed so that the two teams can pick up their logs at
approximately the same time and start racing to the village. The rest of the
moiety members shout and urge their runners to do well. By this time the women,
and other villagers who are not racing, have gone ahead so they can see some
of the race from the sides of the trail, or so they can be near the village
to see the finish.
Another and parallel scenario
takes place when the men leave for the afternoon log race from the village.
This is done when they have not been working in a group on a farm, road, or
boundary project, or been out on a moiety hunting expedition; or, when a number
of men working in farms on adjacent streams have agreed to race home together.
It is also done when the tribal council members have agreed on a certain day
to work in the village and not to go out to work in the family farm plots.
If a log race takes place
during the Wè?tè season, the challenging age-set moiety team assembles
in their Wè?tè house before going out to race. For about half
an hour before they gather there, one of their members sings in a corner of
the house to summon the rest of his moiety. He stands singing with his arms
high and his hands on the top of a ceremonial lance. While waiting for others
to arrive, those present often put fresh bands of anaja palm leaf frond just
above their ankles, just back of their wrists, around their waists (including
a short tail), and around their foreheads to make a headdress (often with points
in front). This is done to look fresh and dashing [III.B.1.f] for the race,
and maybe for certain female spectators [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)].
Once most of the runners
have assembled, the monotone chanting by the summoner stops. It is usually somewhere
between 2 and 2:30 PM when the runners leave the village, walking rapidly in
single file along a trail to where the log cutters are shaping the racing logs.
The racers join in the final cutting, preparing, and maybe the painting of the
logs. Then they test them, passing them from shoulder to shoulder. Onlookers
chat and talk during this period to motivate the runners.
At about 3:30 or 4, members
of the challenged team assemble similarly in their Wè?tè
house. They also go out to the agreed-upon place. Once the two teams have sighted
each other, the challenged team members jog swiftly to pick up their log, hoping
the challengers' small head start will not leave them too far behind.
Many men and some women
watch and run alongside the racers through the cerrado, cheering on certain
runners to overtake and pass their immediate opponents [II.F.2.a.(1).(f)]. The
town criers [II.D.3.i.(4)] or chiefs may also urge on their team in a chanting
style which augments the already considerable noise. Some youths may play their
gourd ocarinas (Table 8, item
22; Plate 58c) [II.G.3.e.(4)],
others may blast their horns (Table
8, item 20a,c; Plate 56a,
and still others may shout and urge on their team. In the great race of the
Krówa-ti in the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê festivals,
girls and young women with gourds (Table
8, item 29) follow the racers in order to give them water along the way
(Nimuendajú, 1946:138). Some runners may wear belts with deer-hoof-tip
pendants hanging behind in a bunch (Table
8, item 5; Plate 59h)
[II.G.3.a.(5)], and one runner may wear a heavy cotton belt with tapir-hoof
pendants hanging down on all sides (tsù) (Table
8, item 3; Plates 56d,
My favorite trick was to
run well ahead of the racers (they jog slowly with heavy logs) in order to place
myself and camera in heavy shrubbery directly in their path. The thundering
herd of racing men then had to split and go around my island of bushes, and
as they did, I caught close-ups of their expressive faces (Figure
Arriving in the village,
the leading team drops its log in the boulevard, as does the losing one. Then
usually the team that has just lost makes a challenging shout in unison, and
the now-challenged team swiftly responds with a corresponding shoutloud
and crisp [III.B.1.f.(l)]. Consequently, the logs are lined up again in the
boulevard by the challenging team, with the logs always exchanged to insure
fairness in equal weights by the logs' cutters. The challenged team members
run in to pick up their log, and the race is on again, around the boulevard.
These revenge races may be carried out several times, while the men become increasingly
exhausted. After these races in the boulevard are over, men troop to the bathing
holes (Maps 5,6)
to wash and cool off.
Participants talk a great deal about these races, but once they enter the plaza any grudge talk must cease. Members of both age-set moieties are there, and nothing competitive or disagreeable should be heard in the center of the plaza, which is traditionally a sacred place.
[II.E.7] Late Afternoon Activities
The climax of the day lies
in sing-dancing, ceremonialism, and a council meeting. After log racing and
bathing, the Canela become serious once again. This time, however, their seriousness
is not over work but over matters of tribal concern. The sing-dancing in the
plaza is dignified, slow, and short, intended mainly to enhance ceremonial presentations
to the Pró-khãmmã [III.D.2.c.(3),(4)]. When no such presentations
are occurring, however, the sing-dances are longer and more animated (Plate
33) [II.F.1.b.(2).(a)]. With the last rays of the sun, the elders assemble
for a dignified council meeting with its notably dramatic oratory [III.D.2.a].
The great heat of the day has passed, and the remaining warmth, much of it rising from the sands, is pleasant and relaxing. The Canela report their gratifications for just being alive to enjoy the sights in the plaza, hear the singing from the boulevard, and feel the sensations of the sun and breezes.
[II.E.7.a] AFTERNOON DANCE IN PLAZA
By 5 or 5:30 PM, an appointed sing-dance leader is out in the center of the plaza twirling his maraca [II.F.1.a.(2)], and some women form a sing-dance line before him. Usually, on more important occasions when most of the tribe is in the village, a great sing-dance master (in the 1970s, Tààmi (Plates 44g, 56d) is selected, and the formal set of sing-dances, the ceremonial Great Sing-Dance (Inkrel-re Kati: sing-dance dim. great) is put on. At such times large numbers of women (maybe 60 to 70) join the dance line, and about the same number of youths and men dance in front of it.
[II.E.7.b] KEY AUTHORITY-MAINTENANCE CEREMONY
Before 1938, when the Great
Sing-Dance was being sung regularly, a mother's brother or a grandfather would
publicly discipline certain of his sister's sons or grandsons [III.A.2.r.(1)]
at this time of day. He started this ceremony by carrying out a fierce-warrior
(hààprãl) act [IV.C.1.d.(l).(c)]. He entered the
top of the plaza with a shotgun, shoutingreally screechingthat he
would be the first one to go out into the cerrado to kill any enemy coming to
attack the tribe [IV.A.3.c.(2).(a)]. These days, mock performances of the old
disciplining act still occur (Figures
14, 15). When the loud
screech is heard and the wild behavior seen, the singing and dancing stop immediately,
and the attention of all present turns to the "wild Indian" that has
just entered the plaza. A close-by Informal Friend or relative stops him and
takes his gun away. The somewhat chastened warrior goes down to the center of
the plaza and grabs a "nephew" [In.4.i], the one to be disciplined,
and stands him up in front of the center of the women's line. He does this so
that everybody can see how brave this young man has become and to shame him
if he has not gained enough strength to bear up under the discipline. In earlier
times, the uncle may have stamped on the youth's insteps, yanked him off the
ground by his sideburns, or just chastise him verbally. If he had committed
a serious infraction of the code for adolescent boys [II.D.3.c.(1),(2)], such
as having sex more than occasionally with young girls, the "uncle"
(Glossary) might have grabbed
his penis, pulled back the foreskin and exposed the glans to the womenthe
greatest shame conceivable (W. Crocker, 1961:7879). This is no longer
In any case, regardless
of the extent of shame or pain, the youth must not utter a word of complaint
or show any response to pain at all [III.B.1.e], or all the women present would
know his weakness and be less likely to want him for a love tryst (W. Crocker,
1961:79) [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)] [III.F.8]. The uncle may then proceed to discipline
several other nephews or he may leave the plaza to let another uncle take his
turn with a nephew.
This warrior's act is reminiscent of the Kayapó's rop-krore kam aibãn state (Moreira, 1965), an expression of temporary "madness" allowed by the society. The discontented or alienated Kayapó individual in the article started his act by brandishing weapons wildly in the plaza, and in one case was taunted by youths. He then attacked his taunters physically, throwing rocks at them and chasing them with sticks, taking the action out of the plaza to the circle of houses temporarily. In the plaza, certain responsible individuals finally subdued and tied him up to calm him out of his "exalted state" (estado de exaltação). In the Canela act, the uncle starts his act as a warrior wildly brandishing his shotgun in the plaza, which is quickly taken from him. The behavior of the Canela "wild" individual is limited and controlled even in his subsequent harassment of his nephew, while the behavior of the "wild" Kayapó is allowed full expression and only controlled much later by agents of the society. Moreover, for the Canela the act is a dramatization, while for the Kayapó the act is an outlet for frustrated emotions.
[II.E.7.c] HIGH CEREMONY FOR HÀMREN PEOPLE
The Canela are so informal
and relaxed about their ceremonies that the observer is not necessarily aware
when an act of high ceremonial honor is taking place. This is certainly the
case with the Hààkwèl ceremony, the performance of which
I have occasionally missed while watching something else, even though I knew
ahead of time that it was going to take place during the performance of the
ceremony is carried out after a hàmren (Glossary)
person has been very sick, has been in mourning [IV.B.3.d], or has been away
on a long trip to a large city of Brazil [II.D.3.i.(1)]. It signifies an individual's
return to active participation in the social life of the tribe.
The ceremony does not occur
very oftenabout two dozen times a year. A brief performance of the Great
Sing-Dance is put on as background setting for the ceremony. During the Hààkwèl
an individual of hàmren status [III.C.7] gives a meat pie to the
Pró-khãmmã [III.D.2.c.(3)], as they sit in their age-set's
place on the southwestern edge of the plaza (Figures
When the sun is low in the western skies, the hàmren individual comes out of his maternal household (khà-tsà: breast-place: place of his mother's breasts) adorned in falcon down and red urucu paint [II.F.5.a] and cloth on her or his head. This person is followed by two to four female relatives carrying the sizable meat pie or a bowl of food. Some member of the Pró-khãmmã walks to meet the procession. He receives the meat pie and head- or waist-band cloth for the Pró-khãmmã and the present (a machete, or some other item) for himself. After delivering the food, the hàmren individual joins either the women's dance line or the men and boys dancing in front of it, depending on her/his sex.
Before the Pró-khãmmã
proceed to eat the presented food, one of them exhales strongly all over it.
It is said that the effect of the breath of a Pró-khãmmã
on the food spreads good health and strength to those associated with the food:
the hàmren individual, the bearers, and the preparers.
Great respect is paid to
the foods that have been presented to the Pró-khãmmã in
the plaza. No one but the Pró-khãmmã, a person of an older
age-set, or of the immediately preceding age-set, may eat a portion of a Hààkwèl
meat pie or bowl of food, and only then if offered these foods by a Pró-khãmmã.
These days every family, if they can afford it, wants to present their young people to the Pró-khãmmã in the Hààkwèl manner, covered with falcon down, even if the young people are not hàmren. In the late 1970s the Pró-khãmmã were not strong enough to resist this change. The primary Formal Friends [III.A.3.c.(3).(b)] [III.E.5] of an individual returning to active social life put pressure on the family of the returning person to have the ceremony performed so that they, the primary Formal Friends, could gain compensation for their duties in adorning the returning individual with urucu (Glossary) and falcon down. While I have almost always seen individuals come out of their maternal houses in falcon down for the Hààkwèl ceremony, older Canela research assistants claim that in earlier times such hàmren persons were decorated not by Formal Friends, but by their kin, and then only in urucu.
[II.E.8] Early Evening Council Meeting and Boulevard Sing-Dancing
The evening council of elders
(Glossary) used to take place
in the late afternoon just after the afternoon dance. The two youngest graduated
age-sets and the novices used to sing-dance around the boulevard at this time
while the sun was quite low. Since before the late 1950s, however, the former
late afternoon council meeting has taken place in the early evening, as has
the singing of the younger age-sets. This singing event is now a rare occasion.
These events shifted from the warmth of the late afternoon to the cool of the
evening, because of the Indian service employment of the two principal chiefs:
older Kaapêltùk since the late 1930s and Kaarà?khre in the
1950s [II.B.4]. Since they were not released from their services in time to
conduct meetings in the late afternoon, these meetings had to take place in
the early evening. Thus, afternoon age-set sing-dancing around the boulevard
also had to start later. Because the Canela feel somewhat negative about the
night and the moon [IV.C.1.b.(1)] in contrast to the day and the sun, it is
not surprising that the age-sets sing-dance less around the boulevard [II.F.1.b.(2).(d)]
Council meetings [III.D.2.a]
are held twice-daily to resolve tribal problems and for the men to enjoy each
other's company [II.D.3.k]. Before and after council meetings, the men gather
in their respective age-set locations on the edge of the plaza to chat and exchange
news. Besides discussing or resolving major problems, meetings in the plaza
serve to enhance male solidarity [II.D.3.d], especially within their age-sets
The Canela and Apanyekra
need these meetings to maintain peace and order [III.D.3.e.(1)]. When the meetings
do not occur, and when the tribes are separated physically into two villages
[III.D.1.g.(1).(b)] that can still communicate with each other, rumors grow
and spread to a damaging extent to certain individuals [III.A.3.c.(3).(e)].
These evening meetings may be the most important factor contributing to the
notably high degree of social cohesion found among the Canela [III.D.2.e].
At about 6 to 6:30 PM, after
the late afternoon sing-dance with its rare Hààpral and occasional
Hààkwèl ceremonies, the Pró-khãmmã
move from their traditional location on the southwest edge of the plaza to the
center of the plaza and begin to chat informally. They may talk about success
or failure in hunting, marks in sand revealing individuals involved in love
trysts, sharp financial arrangements of backlanders, fights in festivals between
drunken backlanders, ghosts bothering living relatives, rodents burrowing into
somebody's field and eating most manioc roots, and other similar topics. Soon,
members of the older and possibly the next younger Upper age-sets gather around
them moving from their age-set spots around the edge of the plaza, and finally,
when almost all are assembled, the first chief joins them. He usually sits on
the downhill side facing up towards the mass of seated men with few if any individuals
to his rear. These days members of still younger age-sets, though not the novices,
may sit around on the edges of this group when very important questions are
being discussed, having moved in from their age-set locations (Figure
The meeting has no formal
beginning, but usually the chief of the tribe or one of his recognized subordinate
chiefs begins to speak in a formal manner, indicating the beginning of the meeting.
The informal political hierarchy of certain individuals orders the sequence
of speakers at the more important of these evening meetings. After about the
first four to six speeches, the degree of formality is somewhat, though never
totally, relaxed, and the order of speakers does not matter. These days even
much younger men may speak.
The topics debated at a
late afternoon council meeting are more general, varied, and less immediate
than those discussed during the morning session. They may have to do with Indian
service matters, backland activities, and internal problems such as determining
the basis of a rumor to render it harmless. In the late 1950s, some of the more
difficult marital problems between two sets of kin were debated in the plaza,
but in the 1970s, such difficult cases were taken to the chief's house, completely
bypassing the Pró-khãmmã.
At the formal ending of a council of elders' meeting, they make a cry that goes first from low to high pitch. Then it descends dramatically and ends in tsii (chee). After this precise terminal statement, the town crier [II.D.3.i.(4)] leaves the circle of seated men and goes half way to the edge of the plaza to sing out the news of the meeting, which he may do several times in different directions for about a minute each time. Some of the vowel qualities of words are distorted in such traditional singing forms; nevertheless, the Canela in their houses understand such messages well enough.
[II.E.9] Canela Day Seen Ethnostructurally
The Canela day is over with
the sunset, and a new day begins (Table
6). In their concept, night (katswa) and day (amkro) do not meet-they
do not touch each other. Night ends (katswa ka?hul: night's end) at about
4:30 to 5 AM, which is before the day begins at sunrise (pùt katol),
and the day ends with sunset (pùt tsàl) well before the
night begins (katswa khat: night's base). Thus, apë (daylight)
separates night and day, and a?preprel (twilight) separates day and night.
But a?preprel ends with the coming of night, while apë continues
throughout the daytime, a structure that is similar to the continuation of the
age-set moiety system during the Wè?tè season, while Regeneration
log racing and its ceremonial season are coterminous, and night does not continue
back into dusk.
While the Canela say they
do not see the sun as going into a house (setting) and coming out of a house
(rising), the expressions used (tsàl: enter and katol:
come out) are the same ones used for entering and leaving a house. They say
that the sun goes behind (or under) the earth and comes back to repeat its performance
every day, using a verb implying the tracing of the same course over and over
again, i.e.,"cycling" (amyi-yakhyê: self-stretching/repeating),
as in their periodic trips between the village and their farm plots.
Research assistants say that night and day are in paired opposition with each other synchronically, but that diachronically, night "pushes" day and day pushes night: katswa amkro-mã to-kuyate (night day-onto pushes: the night pushes on the day). When using apë instead of amkro, they say that night "delivers" [something] to the daylight, but they could not say just what is delivered. Actually, it can be said that the three concepts, pùt (sun), amkro (day), and apë (daylight) all push night and that night pushes all three of them onward, all following each other, through time forever, linearly [V.B].
The Canela have a good time.
Youths play at dawn, and before, during, and after the two council meetings.
When the tribe is assembled in the village, serious work takes place four or
five hours a day. The scheduling of their village day is flexible. Village living
is interspersed with frequent absences on farms and even with travel "in
the world" [II.D.3.i.(1)], which keeps life varied especially for men.
The time given to sing-dancing (4 to 6 hours) and council meetings (1 to 3 hours)
seems unusual to backlanders. The Canela do, nevertheless, resolve reasonably
well most of their major societal problems: most individuals' satisfaction with
life, almost all communication between societal segments, and certainly tribal
maintenance of peace.
Table 7 reviews and summarizes the sequence of events of the Canela day but does not represent the activities of women and men equally. The daily cycle of women is not as conspicuous as the men's cycle. It consists mostly of raising children, preparing food, keeping house, and fetching firewood and water. These are largely continuous activities that take place at any hour of the day and therefore occur independently of the men's activities.
The fun-loving Canela immensely
enjoy their various kinds of recreation, found informally in abundance throughout
their sociocultural system and in a more prescribed manner in music, sports,
games, and body painting. Their many expressive activities include sing-dancing,
log racing, track events, and body painting, as well as their games for children
and "games" provided by Formal Friends [III.A.3.c.(3).(b)]. These
dramatic events and daily practices are fully developed and carried out in a
spirited and sporting manner.
In modern times, the aunts
and uncles have lost much of their authority to discipline their nieces and
nephews after puberty [III.A.5.d]. This loss has been increasing since about
1938, so there is considerably less adolescent self-discipline these days than
formerly to control hostilities due to frustrations. Thus, the Canela need these
forms of recreation to provide gratifications to offset frustrations [III.A.5.e].
(For other materials on the acculturative loss of disciplinary mechanisms, see
[II.B.1.c.(4),e] [II.D.3.c.(3)] [III.A.2.k.(5)] [III.A.2.s] and [III.A.5.d].)
Thus, with these ample expressive outlets the Canela individual can resist becoming too demoralized when faced with modern acculturational problems. Modern difficulties, such as having to work longer hours in farm plots to produce sufficient agricultural products, are not faced and endured very well by the traditional Canela. (For more materials on agricultural difficulties, see [II.B.3.j] [II.C.3.c] [II.D.3.i.(6),(7)] and [Ep.4.b.(2).(e),7].)
Canela music is principally
vocal. Instruments for producing sound are the maraca (ku?tõy:
gourd rattle), a little ocarina-like gourd played like a flute (ku?khõn-l-re:
gourd [nonphonemic phenomenon] dim.), and a horn (hõ?hi) made
either of cow's horn or gourd [II.G.3.e]. While the maraca gives a very precise
percussion beat, the ocarina-like gourd and the horn are not instruments of
precision. They neither keep rhythm nor play melodies and are not tuned to any
standard. The tones produced from them are random, and more attention is paid
to the noise and excitement [III.B.1.c.(4)] they produce than to the pitch,
producing a sense of activity and contributing to the general euphoria and drama
of the scene [II.E.1] [IV.A.1].
For comparative purposes, see Seeger (1987) for a notable analysis of singing in one ceremony. Seeger's Suyá speak Northern Gê as do the Canela, but Suyá forms of vocal expression are strikingly different. Groups of Canela males almost never sing many different songs all together at the same time [IV.A.3.c.(4).(b)], competing with each other, but this is a principal Suyá form (Seeger, 1981).
The gourd rattle (maraca)
(Table 8, item 21; Plate
65a) [II.G.3.e.(3)] is made of the kind of gourd that is nearly spherical
in form. Two holes are bored exactly opposite each another, and a rod of hard
wood is introduced and fastened in place through these two holes in order to
have a handle on one side and a pointed end on the other (Nimuendajú,
1946:114 and Plate 32b,c).
Hard little seeds are placed in the cavity of the gourd, and the sound of these
seeds hitting the inner surface of the gourd makes the sharp, precise rhythmic
beat that the Canela like so much [III.B.1.f.(l)].
A man who can handle a gourd rattle especially well becomes a sing-dance leader/master (nkrel-re-katê: sing-dance [nonphonemic phenomenon] master), Nimuendajú's (1946:114) "precentor" [II.D.3.i.(2).(a)]. More than one or two sing-dance masters rarely exist in any age-set. It takes a great deal of experience to become an expert; in fact, a youth starts learning when he is about 13 or 14.
Almost every activity that
a young man learns while growing to be a capable and respected adult is learned
through casual and informal personal contact rather than through formal training.
One exception is the formal training in playing a maraca and singing. During
the Pepyê festival a special role for novices learning to become sing-dance
leaders exists [IV.A.3.c.(2).(b)]. Just after the novices are discharged from
internment, they spend two to three weeks in a camp by the stream, carrying
out various activities in the cerrado. Each morning they sing at their camping
spot with a mature sing-dance master who has come from the village to train
them, especially those who want to become gourd rattle users (Nimuendajú,
1946:190191). This Pepyê encampment outside the village may last
for as long as six weeks, so this training period for young sing-dance leaders
covers a considerable period of time [II.D.3.d]. During the following Waytikpo
ceremony, as a presentation of the results of training, one or two of these
novice sing-dance leaders (Plate
43a) sing with the master and the two girl associates [IV.A.3.c.(2).(c)].
In festivals, a young man who is learning to become a sing-dance leader sings with his gourd rattle along with the master sing-dance leader. Apprentice sing-dance leaders practice their skills while leading the women's dance line [II.E.4.a,8], when most of the tribe is away from the village and the few remaining people want some sing-dancing. Eventually, when these young sing-dance leaders become more able and are better known, the Pró-khãmmã or one of the age-sets appoint them to lead an evening, morning, or late afternoon session, or to lead a Më Aykhë-style dance [II.F.1.b.(2).(c)] around the boulevard.
The sound of one gourd rattle
is strong enough to be heard through the voices of 50 to 60 women, each singing
loudly in the female dance line. Sometimes two maraca leaders appear before
a very long female dance line. The Canela employ rhythms of two or three beats
to a measure as well as other counts. Generally, the rhythms employed are not
complicated. Sometimes the gourd rattle is rotated so that the sound made by
the hard seeds inside the gourd is continuous rather than sharp. This technique
is used at the beginning of a dance, for instance, when a sing-dance leader
has just started but is pausing in his regular performance to summon women to
the plaza to form a dance line [II.E.4.a].
A sing-dance leader (Glossary) keeps the maraca rhythm constant during a set of songs that may last well over half an hour. After a small break, he continues in the same way with a different set of songs, and so, may perform for as long as two or three hours. He dances very actively himself, trying to bring out the best in the dancers by his own enthusiasm and movements. The sing-dance leaders are so experienced and well trained that they appear to carry out long, exhausting roles with very little effort. They are not visibly tired when they finish, though they may be perspiring freely.
Not all Canela singing,
whether ritual or secular, is accompanied by a gourd rattle. In some cases,
no particular instrument accentuates the beat, but people, nevertheless are
sing-dancing, keeping their own precise rhythm. On other occasions as tradition
demands, rhythm is provided by shaking a cord belt (tsù) (Table
8, item 3; Plate 60c,d)
[II.G.3.a.(3)] on which 20 to 40 tapir hoof tips are attached as pendants. The
hoof tips hang from the belt on cords strung with either seeds or beads. The
sound comes from the belt being dropped on a mat causing the tapir hoof tips
to rattle against each other [IV.A.5.a]; or the sing-dance leader ties the belt
below his right knee and stamps his right foot on the ground at regular intervals,
knocking the hoof tips together [II.F.1.c.(1)]. This belt rattle is used only
on ceremonial occasions, never for secular ones; whereas the gourd rattle is
used much more frequently on all sorts of occasions. Tradition prescribes whether
a gourd rattle, a belt rattle, or no percussion instrument at all is used in
a particular performance.
One example of using the belt rattle is when the novices perform the daily sing-dancing in the plaza during the Khêêtúwayê festival (Nimuendajú, 1946:173174) [IV.A.3.c.(1).(b)]. Here a sing-dance leader has his tsù tied just below his right knee (Plate 41c) so that every time he stamps his right foot on the ground, the sound from the rattling tapir hoof tips is heard. The belt rattle is also used in the evening just after the council meeting either for the corn planting ceremony (Nimuendajú, 1946:62) (Plate 53a) [IV.A.5.a] or for the Pàlrà ritual (Nimuendajú, 1946:164) (Plate 32e) [IV.A.5.e.(1)]. In both cases, most of the men sit around in a circle in the center of the plaza and sing, and a master drops a belt rattle on a mat to provide the rhythm.
[II.F.1.b] Secular Sing-Dancing
Singing and dancing are generally done together, though occasionally individual singing occurs without dancing. It is noteworthy that one Canela word (nkrel: sing-dancing) is used for both singing and dancing when performed together. Otherwise singing is më hõ?khre pôy: (their throat it-comes-out: it comes from the throat), while dancing is described by referring to one of its many steps like më ?khõn toy toy (their knees spring-up spring-up).
While women are working in their houses, they often sing to themselves. Sometimes songs of the festivals are used, but usually they sing special songs they have learned from other women. Similarly, men may sing while working or when walking along a trail. Returning to a village after having been away, men like to sing loudly to announce their return. More than 90 percent of the Canela and Apanyekra have developed big, booming operatic-style voices because as children they learn good breathing habits and diaphragm support by copying their parents and singing almost daily as they grow up.
A little girl 3 to 4 years
old sits with her mother almost every evening behind the female sing-dance line.
By the time she is 5 or 6 she is standing in the women's sing-dance line, bending
her knees, keeping her torso vertical, and moving her arms and hands subtly,
just as the older women are doing, in the style of that particular sing-dance
session. In the early morning, little boys in great numbers sing-dance in the
plaza before the women's dance line. As cited above [II.F.1.a.(1)], actual individual
instruction is given each novice for some weeks as part of the Pepyê festival
proceedings. The strong voices of men have a mild tone fluctuation in pitchvibratolike
trained singers in the Western world. Women have voices that are just as well
developed and supported, but their style lacks fluctuation in pitch, and has
a particular nasal quality.
Before the 1970s when Canela Indians visited great cities of the coast [II.A.3.a.(3)] [II.D.3.i.(1)], they were often asked to perform, and their usual choice of activity was singing. When city people discovered how well they could sing, the Canela were sometimes asked to put on shows. In 1960 when the younger Tààmi (Plate 44g) returned from a trip, he told me he had sung over the radio network in Salvador, Bahia. At that time he was one of the young sing-dance leaders; however, almost any Canela sings well enough to perform and be of interest to people listening to the radio. (Backland Brazilians, even their professional singers, generally have weak, pinched, nasal voices that are unsupported by their diaphragms and correct breathing.) Considering the amount of time the Canela spend on singing (three social sessions a day [II.E.3.b,4.a,7.a]), and the early age at which they start, their remarkable singing ability should not be surprising.
A musicologist should do
a special study of Canela group singing before complete Westernization takes
place because this singing is apparently evolved and certainly plentiful. With
this thought in mind I borrowed a high-quality Nagra tape recorder (Plate
69f) in 1978 to record as many of the great variety and large number
of songs as possible. Enough material is available for an ethnomusicologist
to study for several years, I am told.
I find Canela sing in harmony of two, three, or more parts. These parts tend to parallel each other rather than to systematically converge, diverge, and return. Although I cannot analyze or describe the scales, I found only one kind of singing, the early morning troubadour-like chanting, similar to the Western major scale. Half tone and less than half tone intervals are sometimes used. I heard fifths, minor fifths, fourths, thirds, and minor thirds a number of times, and surely other intervals exist I did not recognize. When I tried to sing with them (I have a reasonably good ear), I could do so and stay on key, but I could not sing any of their songs by myself without soon finding myself off key. I thought at first that the "dissonance" in their choral singing was due to some individuals' singing off key, but later recognized the sound to be consistent with their traditional harmony. In attempting to categorize their various types of music, it is best to think of it in terms of styles of sing-dancing. (I learned in 1987 that a professional ethnomusicologist of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Tom Avery, has tape recorded and already analyzed much of the Canela choral music.)
The daily sing-dances in
the plaza (Nimuendajú, 1946:114117) (Plate
33) are led by one sing-dance master with a gourd rattle. The set of songs
that may be sung during each of these periods is different, and each set includes
considerably more songs than can be sung during one period. Thus, the sing-dance
master chooses from a large repertoire the song he wants the female sing-dance
line to sing next.
The evening sing-dance (katswa
ri nkrel: night then sing-dance) [II.E.3.b] may last for two to three hours.
This traditional Canela sing-dancing is relatively dignified, with the sing-dancing
women remaining in the sing-dance line and the men performing individual hop,
skip, and jump steps before them, but they do not sing. The sing-dance leader
moves among the individual men as if to agitate them with the point of his gourd-rattle.
The Apanyekra sing-dance form, including the maraca master and the sing-dance
line of women, is almost identical to its Canela equivalent.
For songs of other tribes
(Apanyekra, Krïkatí, or Pukobyé) the women and men often
form a circle, which moves inward and out, contracting and expanding. There
can also be a file of women and men hanging onto each other, with their hands
planted firmly on the shoulders of the person in front, as the lead man pulls
the file around the plaza. A number of other forms are possible.
The early morning sing-dance
(awkati khãm nkrel: dawn in sing-dance) [II.E.4.a] is by far the
most animated. Unlike the evening dance, young men sing as well as women. The
pace of the sing-dance is slow (khên-pôk) until about 45
minutes before its termination at first full daylight. At this time the pace,
the animation, and excitement of the performers increase (khên-pey).
Theoretically, this kind of sing-dancing may take place every day.
After the log race and bathing,
the late afternoon dance (pùt-khãm nkrel: afternoon sing-dance)
[II.E.7.a] begins between 4:30 and 5 o'clock. It is the shortest of the three
secular dance periods, and is frequently omitted. In the cooler air of late
afternoon, and in the light of the low sun, the women face the sing-dance master
in a single line, bending their knees rhythmically to the beat of each measure.
They hold their torsos erect and swing their arms as they push their knees forward.
When late afternoon high ceremony is scheduled (Nimuendajú, 1946:116), a different set of songs than the ordinary ones for the time of day may be put onthe Great Sing-Dance series of songs (the Nkrel-re Kati: sing-dance [nonphonemic] great). These sing-dances are quite distinct from the three other series of more secular songs, and they are truly magnificent to watch. Most of them are performed in three-quarter time, like a waltz, and are carried out in a sedate and refined manner. The motions of the women are minimizedconservativethe knee bending and thrusting forward is distinct but less extended. The torsos move up and down only slightly, with the arms and hands held upward, the hands cupped, swinging together side to side in front of the woman at chest height. This is the time when uncles discipline nephews [III.C.7.b] and falcon-downed hàmren individuals present themselves with meat pies to the Pró-khãmmã in the plaza in the Hààkwèl ceremony [II.E.7.c].
After the evening sing-dance
and the songs of "other nations," four to eight young singers of both
sexes may sing in the boulevard. As they walk slowly around the boulevard, several
abreast of each other with others bunched informally behind, they chant chords
with long sustained tones. No instrument accompanies them. This same style of
casual singing and strolling may occur very early in the morning.
This kind of "troubadour" singing [II.E.3.c] took place only about a dozen times during any full year of my stays. Nimuendajú does not report the existence of such a style of singing.
Whenever some form of excitement
is needed, or whenever a spontaneous festive occasion is appropriate, the Canela
are likely to put on a Më Aykhë/Më Ipikhën sing-dance (Nimuendajú,
1946:196). This consists of one line of men with a few women interspersed, sing-dancing
sideways as they progress around the boulevard, with each person facing outwards
toward the houses. They are dancing in a row kept together by arms held around
the adjacent person's shoulders or waists, while they hop sideways, first with
the leading foot in front and then with the following foot crossing behind.
(I found this exhausting.) They sing a set of songs that is special to this
dance form. Upper age-sets go clockwise while Lower age-sets go counterclockwise
around the boulevard.
Traditionally, and certainly
in the late 1950s, though to a lesser extent by the late 1970s, members of an
age-set danced in this style including wives of husbands of the other age-set
moiety in their line, while age-sets of the other moiety did the sameall
within sight of each other. On festival days like the Wild Boar day [IV.A.3.f.(1)],
the men left behind in the village after dancing in this style, take their "other
wives" [III.E.3.a.(6)] (i.e., wives of the men who went out to a farm house)
into their Wè?tè house for sexual relations, or to some swimming
spot on one of the streams (Map 5).
Më Aykhë sing-dancing suggests that extramarital sexual relations
are going to take place.
This style of sing-dancing also takes place during parts of the whole day when they reconfirm the status of the Ceremonial-chief-of-the-whole tribe [II.B.1.d.(1)] [IV.A.3.c.(3).(e)]; when they instate such a chief, a town crier [II.D.3.i.(4)], a ceremonial sing-dancing chief of an age-set [II.D.3.i.(2).(b)], or a Visiting Chief [III.C.7.a]; or when they honor an outsider [IV.A.5.e.(3)], giving her or him a name and a falcon-down body "painting" [II.F.5.a].
There are many occasions for and styles of sing-dancing. One particular form is put on during or after the evening council meeting. A sing-dance leader with his maraca leads a file of young men (and maybe women these days) into the boulevard where they dance around it with their hands on the next person's shoulders, singing one song after another. The age-sets also use this form as they go in opposite traditional directions around the circular boulevard. This style of sing-dancing served to keep the younger men busy while the elders were holding council meetings in the center of the plaza [II.E.8]. Because these days many of the youths attend the council meeting instead of dancing, this kind of age-set dancing is likely to be performed only during a large festival.
[II.F.1.c] CEREMONIAL SING-DANCING
The singing ability and
repertoire of the Canela and similar Timbira tribes is quite remarkable. Other
specialists, especially Alan Lomax (personal communication), who calls them
"the Africans of South America" and musicologists who have heard their
singing on tapes, confirm this observation. Traditional Canela rituals and festivals
must be carried out exactly as they believe their ancestors did them or they
are considered to have been performed incorrectly.
When music occurs in a ceremonial context, it is still recreational in the sense that people are freely enjoying themselves rather than being concerned with carefully putting on a precise, respected ceremony. Numerous occurrences of ceremonial sing-dancing take place. Each major summer festival has a number of styles of its own for its different ceremonies. The following are some of the more outstanding styles or forms.
During the Khêêtúwayê festival, the novices in the two large internment cells on either side of the village circle file out into the center of the plaza and turn to face each other in two rows (Nimuendajú, 1946:174). The first set of three or four songs is sung in slow time; following songs are sung in faster time. The facing rows approach and retreat from each other repeatedly. Each row is led by a sing-dance master, who, when the sing-dancing has gone on for some time, may turn sideways, forming the two facing rows into two files that follow their leaders. These two files, sing-dancing all the time, move independently all over the plaza, sometimes making circles around each other. All during this sing-dance, a female relative of each Khêêtúwayê boy must be close at hand, holding him, to prevent a ghost from snatching away his soul. (See Plate 41 for a series on the Khêêtúwayê festival, and [II.D.3.a] and [IV.A.3.c.(1).(b)].)
Sing-dancing in a circle,
facing inward, is a form carried out in a number of festivals. In the Festival
of Oranges (Nimuendajú, 1946:7375) [IV.A.3.f.(5)], about 30 to
40 women who have just returned from their foraging trip in some backland community
(usually Leandro) (Map 3), sing
in a circle facing each other. They repeatedly move in and out, making the circle
smaller and larger. This pulsating movement, continues all night except for
occasional resting periods. These women have requested the sing-dancer leader
with his maraca to come out from the village and sing in their circle.
This same formation is assumed
by the novices in both the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê
(Nimuendajú, 1946:176, 192) festivals, as they sing all night just before
they march out of the village to hunt wild field rats (preá: Cavea
The Waytikpo sing-dance
held during the climax of the three internment festivals is also carried out
in this expanding and contracting circular formation (Plates
[IV.A.3.c.(2).]. The only difference from the other circular performances mentioned
above is that in this sing-dance there are only about five or six people involved
(Nimuendajú, 1946:196). (For other information on the Waytikpo, see [II.D.2.f,3.e]
[II.G.3.a.(2),(6),(7),b.(7)] [III.A.3.b.(3).(a),(b)] [IV.A.3.b.(3)], and [IV.A.3.c.(1).(e),(2).(c),(3).(d)].)
In the Pepkahàk festival
[IV.A.3.c.(3)], the Pepkahàk troops sing in a circle facing inward. They
do not, however, dance or move in and out in a pulsing manner (Nimuendajú,
1946:216). First, as they start their songs, they sit in one spot, singing very
softly and slowly. Later, when their songs have gathered momentum and volume,
they stand up. This pattern is also true in the Fish festival songs of the Clowns
(Nimuendajú, 1946:229) (Plate
47b) [IV.A.3.c.(4)] who also sing the same Pepkahàk repertoire.
This circular formation is utilized when the age-set moieties go out from the village on collective hunting expeditions (më hõt wél: they sleep go-towards: they go to spend nights away) [IV.A.3.b.(2),(3)] to obtain enough game to prepare meat pies for the festivities of the terminal part of any of the great festivals of the Wè?tè ceremonial season (Nimuendajú, 1946:118). After maybe two weeks when enough game has been killed and smoked, the hunters prepare to return to the village. On the evening before their return, they dance most of the night in this circular formation. When they have been unsuccessful in the hunt, they also sing special songs about desired game animals: krôô-re (boar), poo-tsum-re (deer-male-dim.: the male cerrado deer), and tsoo-re (fox-dim.).
During certain festivals
(e.g., the Pepyê and Pepkahàk), two rows of singers (consisting
of both sexes) face each other, as they do in the Khêêtúwayê
festival. However, instead of moving toward and retreating from each other (opposition),
all individuals of the two rows make right turns and then file off in opposite
directions, staying parallel to each other but moving out to opposite edges
of the plaza. Then, when the edges of the plaza have been reached by the leading
individuals, they all do an about-face and return to the center so that once
again the two rows are opposite each other, but only for a moment. They then
continue on, passing to each others' side, until the leading individuals, at
the opposite ends of the files this time, reach the opposite edges of the plaza.
There they do an about face and keep repeating the pattern: backwards and forwards,
always with the two files to the side of and paralleling each other. Eventually
the two files stop in the center of the plaza, do a half turn, and face each
other again in their double row formation.
In the Pepyê festival, the people in the village who are not involved with the Pepyê novices during the latters' all night singing [IV.A.3.c.(2)] maintain this Më Hakrel formation for most of the evening while singing songs that the younger Kaapêltùk says are similar to praying (rezando) [IV.D.5]. In the Pepkahàk festival [IV.A.3.c.(3)], the Wetheads and the Dry-heads [III.C.7] march parallel to each other in this manner during their only appearance in all the festivals.
Just before an age-set
moiety leaves the village in the morning to go out to cut logs for the Krówa-ti
(buriti-great) log race of the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê
festivals, they form a moving square of men surrounding several girl associates.
In this block formation, the age-set moiety sings for maybe 45 minutes while
marching down one after another of the radial pathways, stopping short of the
boulevard each time and returning to the plaza. They continue this pattern until
they have entered almost all the radial pathways. This pattern of singing is
called Kàà Kookhyê (plaza splitting) and is carried out
on a number of occasions.
Sometimes individual men sing all night in the Kàà Kookhyê style. For instance, when a man has killed a large anaconda (ro-?ti: sucuruju) snake (Plate 15a), he must sing "splitting the plaza" all night long so that he and the villagers may gain strength from the anaconda.
As part of a ceremony,
or because of having received a festival award [II.D.3.e], individuals sometimes
sing alone all day or all night while going around the boulevard. Men who are
members of the Upper age-set moiety jog clockwise while men who are members
of the Lower age-set moiety go counterclockwise. The singer stops at every third
to sixth house to sing, moving backward and forward close to the house and parallel
to it (Plate 32d). Then,
after about three minutes, he moves on, jogging to the next stop before a house
to repeat his performance there. This kind of individual singing is so loud
that conversations in the house being serenaded must stop.
A man can sing in this same style outside of festivals and ceremonies for personal reasons [II.F]. A research assistant who was upset about an extramarital relationship excused himself for the day to sing in this manner.
[II.F.1.d] FOREIGN SONGS
Songs of other Eastern
Timbira tribes are called khrï-?nõ nkrel (village-other's
sing-dance; or cantiga de outra nação: song of other nation:
songs of other Timbira tribes)[IV.C.1.f.(2)].
Apanyekra and Krahó
sing-dancing is similar, but Pukobyé forms are somewhat different. All
these tribes have the female sing-dance line facing a sing-dance leader, who
leads them with his gourd rattle, but the quality of the music is distinctly
different in each case. As a nonmusicologist, I cannot describe this difference
other than by saying, subjectively, that the Pukobyé music sounds sadder.
Moreover, it relies more on melodies while the Canela, relatively, emphasize
The Canela borrow and perform songs from other Timbira tribes freely, acknowledging their origin. A group of Pukobyé/Kr"katí Indians visited the Canela village at Baixão Prêto in 1960 and stayed there for well over a month. During this period the older Kot-hù learned a number of their songs which he still sings today. These songs are considered less worthy than Canela songs; nevertheless, certain Canela sing-dance leaders have learned them and are willing to perform them late in the evening, after the traditional evening sing-dancing has been finished [II.E.3.b]. The Canela are trying to preserve their own traditional forms exactly as they were, even though they have also learned some of the other Timbira forms of singing [IV.C.1.a].
By far the most prominent Canela sport is log racing [I.A.1] [II.E.6.b]. A number of track events and several kinds of arrow shooting or throwing contests are also popular. Since 1958, the Canela have been learning to play soccer, which under the Portuguese name of futebol is actually the Brazilian national sport. Canela traditional activities are well adapted to the cerrado [II.A.3.b.(2)], where contestants can run long distances relatively unhampered by vegetation. Forest Indians would have less of an opportunity for unhindered, long distance running.
[II.F.2.a] LOG RACING
Log racing is the pan-Gê
sport (Nimuendajú, 1946:141-145), practiced throughout the Gê-speaking
peoples [II.A.1, 2] in one form or another. Among the Canela, Apanyekra, and
other Eastern Timbira tribes, log racing is undertaken by two teams which generally
come from moiety divisions of some sort. The Canela race with logs according
to the Upper and Lower age-set moieties, the Black and Red Regeneration season
moiety divisions, and the Upper and Lower plaza moiety dichotomy in the Fish
festival. They also race in the eastern and western men's society divisions
in the Pepkahàk and Masks' festivals. Thus, there are five divisions
in which log races can take place, though actually about 95 percent of all Canela
racing is carried out between the Upper and Lower age-set moieties (cf. Nimuendajú,
1946:140; Plates 34, 35;
Fortunately, among the Canela the two age-set moieties have been relatively even in running strength and numbers. Among the Apanyekra, however, one of the age-set moieties has become weaker; thus, the motivation to continue age-set moiety racing has diminished.
Unless they have been altered by some festival event, log racing procedures are as follows. After the morning council meeting, the members of one of the age-set moieties (cf. Nimuendajú, 1946:137) challenge the other age-set moiety members by making a loud shouting call. Within 15 to 30 seconds, the other moiety responds with a similar, precise shouting declaration. Leaders of the two age-set moieties come together and decide upon the starting place from which they will race back to the village that afternoon. Such a challenge is usually made by the team that lost the last race, so they might win this time and erase some of the shame "passed on their faces" from the loss. These log races vary in distance from 2 to 12 kilometers.
In earlier times, the Canela cleared race tracks through the cerrado so that the two racing teams could run side by side without being hampered by shrubbery (Nimuendajú, 1946:136). These days, however, it is difficult to summon, organize, and maintain a work force to clear such roads (pa-?khre: our hollowed-out-spaces). Although the Canela in the 1950s (or 1970s) did not maintain their old highways, they nevertheless did have clearings through the cerrado of a lesser sort. They also had the truck roads to Barra do Corda, Leandro, and Bacabal. They also raced along single-track trails through islands of dry forest where, for a considerable part of the race, one team could not pass the other. For instance, team passing on such pathways was impossible between the Mato Seco (Hïn-re: intestines-dim.) area farms and Baixão Prêto (Map 3). Ideally, such raceways should have sufficient space and breadth so that a whole team can pass another, and individuals who want to catch up or go ahead of the leading racers have room to pass. The track should be about 15 to 20 meters wide (Nimuendajú, 1946, pl.1c). With heavy logs and therefore a slow race, individual racers sometimes go ahead to take a rest, and then eventually lend a hand in the racing when the runners with the logs catch up.
The challenging team goes
out in the morning just after the council meeting to cut a pair of logs from
one standing buriti palm (krówa: Mauritia flexuosa) or they send
men ahead to do this job and then join them in the early afternoon to finish
the preparation of the logs. When the log races take place after age-set moiety
work on certain farm plots, reservation limits, or on truck roads, the two moieties
are already in the starting area of the race. Therefore, the log cutters merely
stop work a little earlier in order to do their log cutting jobs.
All log races are run with a pair of buriti logs cut from the same tree, a new pair for each race. Only the Pàlrà racing logs (Plate 35b) should be made from some other kind of tree trunknecessarily hardwood ("heartwood" per Nimuendajú, 1946:137) for the special occasion. Often they do not bother to make the extra effort of using hardwood, as in the November 1974 Canela Pàlrà race (Plates 50, 51). Apparently, enough buriti trees exist in the Canela closed cerrado so that log races can take place 50 to 75 times a year without seriously diminishing the supply. Groves of the buriti palm grow along the water courses, particularly in headwater areas, where there is likely to be standing water during part of the year.
Two or three members of
the challenging team choose a tree to cut down. They use axes; they have no
saws. Two sections of appropriate size are separated from the trunk, and the
two racing logs are formed from these sections (Plate
34). Sometimes the logs look like long cylinders with small diameters, other
times they are more like large coins or disks [IV.A.4.b]. The shape of the logs
varies between these two dimensions, and also between small and large sizes,
depending on the ceremonial tradition required at any particular time during
the annual festival cycle or for the particular Wè?tè season great
The surface of a buriti
trunk is gray and relatively smooth; this covering is left untouched by axes.
The cross-section is mushy but stable and has longitudinal spines projecting
beyond the wet interior pulp of the trunk. (Consequently, a person cannot sit
comfortably on a log's cross section for long. Sitting this way was a punishment
for insubordination during the 1963 messianic movement [II.B.2.f].) The ends
of a racing log are somewhat hollowed out to prevent these spikes from scratching
shoulders. The circular rims, which do not have such spines, are shaped to protrude
so that runners can fold their fingers around one of them at any point along
its circumference (Nimuendajú, 1946:137, pl. 29b), holding the log securely
onto a shoulder. This circumferential rim extends 5 to 8 centimeters beyond
the end mass of a log and is 3 to 5 centimeters across.
After both ends of the two
logs have been prepared in this manner and all rough edges have been worn off
with carefully placed axe and machete blows, the logs might be painted on their
cross-sectional parts or longitudinally on their smooth gray bark.
After the logs are prepared, members of the challenging team test both of them. One person lifts one log barely off the ground and then moves to test the other one in the same way. Then someone meticulously chops material off the heavier log until it equals the weight of the other one. Men also test the logs' carrying qualities by taking turns running with them on their left shoulders. They keep practicing with the logs for some time. When the challenged team is sighted jogging towards them, however, they put the logs down and place them parallel to each other, their ends facing in the direction along which the race is to be run. Sometimes, according to a ceremony's tradition, they are put on leaves. Occasionally, they are put in a smoothed out, grass-removed rectangular area several times larger than the horizontal logs; and depending on the occasion, they may be painted.
The racing logs are often
so heavy that it takes at least two men, and sometimes three or four, to lift
one of them high enough to put it on the shoulder of the first runner. In 1960,
one log (a Pàlrà type), which was taken into Barra do Corda on
a truck and weighed there, weighed 123 kilos. The logs are evenly balanced,
and the hand grip and the surfaces are smooth. The racers have been doing this
kind of log racing since they were 13 to 14 years old. Pepyê festival
novices often practice racing with smaller logs just after they have come out
of their internment and are camped outside the village [IV.A.3.c.(2).(b)]. Youths
start practicing carrying such logs by putting them in the water, and getting
under them, thus using their natural buoyancy to lift them. The carrier then
walks the log out of the stream and begins to move with it with an even gait.6
The log racer must keep the log's ends at the same height above the ground, not bobbing up and down but moving along under it as evenly as he can. With full-size logs, the racers go only slightly faster than a good walk, though they move with a running motion.
In a great race like the Pàlrà one (Plates 50, 51), the two logs are raised when a signal is given, so that the skill of lifting the log and placing it on the first runner's left shoulder is a very important part of the race. When the logs are heavy, the racers may not run more than 20 to 40 meters before they have to turn and pass the log onto the runner behind them. The next man runs directly behind the runner with the log and waits for the front end of the log to be turned towards him in a counterclockwise rotation as seen from above. This next runner then moves in under the log, and what was its front end becomes its rear end. The vertical motion of the log during the transfer should be minimal. All logs are carried on left shoulders to facilitate the transfer in a uniform manner. Usually, the first three to four runners are assigned to follow each other and are chosen because of their reliable qualities. After the team effort has been well started, the successive log carriers volunteer their services by moving themselves into the log-receiving position directly behind the racer with the log.
The object of the race is for one team to carry its log over the edge of the village boulevard ahead of the other team. Usually, when one team is far ahead, it begins to slow down so that the other team has a chance to catch up. Then, when the logs are sufficiently close together, a second type of challenge may occur. An individual of the team that is behind tries to pass the log carrier of the opposing team. This is an exciting point in any race, as demonstrated by the shouting and cheering; and usually.there are several individually staged contests of this sort during any race. After a race, a member of the losing team may boast with great satisfaction that at least he passed a certain member of the winning team. If it happens that opposing runners have a Formal Friend relationship with each other [III.E.5], the person who is behind does not try to pass or catch up to his Formal Friend. He races along somewhat more slowly than if he did not have this relationship, maintaining a respectful, noncompetitive distance.
The sequence is similar
in big festival races except that the challenging team, just before the arrival
of the challenged team, sings a set of songs that is particular to that log
race. On certain festival days, the team that cuts the logs may pick up and
start running with their log when the opposing team has been sighted, in order
to gain a significant head start in the race. Usually the opposing team, blowing
horns and shouting, comes running into the spot where the two prepared logs
are resting in order to lift their log onto one member's left shoulder at about
the same time that the log-preparing team does. The arriving team may have had
less time to rest, but they are the ones who had won the preceding race.
During the daily log races, only the participants go out to the log-preparation spot and return racing. On festival occasions however, or when the age-set moieties are out working on some particular project [II.D.i.c.(2),(3)], many more people may be involved and some go all the way out to the log-preparation spot to hear the special singing. Most of these spectators start walking back toward the village well before the race has begun so they can see the middle portion of the race (when individuals vie to pass each other) or the end, as the two teams, possibly neck to neck, struggle to enter the village first.
The arrival in the village,
of course, is the high point of the race. It certainly does matter which team
arrives first, but as Nimuendajú (1946:139) implies, it does not matter
very much [III.B.1.h]; and little bitterness is felt because of a loss [III.B.1.c.(3)]:
"There are neither triumphant nor disgruntled faces. The sport is an end
in itself, not the means to satisfy personal or group vanity."
After an exchange of challenging
shouts, the same pair of logs is laid in the boulevard parallel to each other
and in the direction the racers are going to run according to the challenging
age-set's tradition. They may run this second race just one or two times around
the village circle. A few minutes after the race has ended, another challenging
shout from the losers may be heard and a third race may occur, and then a fourth;
but there are rarely more than three or four races.
If a sense develops that the racers are becoming too tired but that the losers' pride may be obliging them to challenge and rechallenge the winners, one of the two Wè?tè girls (Glossary) [III.E.10] might come with a bowl of food for the men to eat. As soon as they see her, they know they must drop their challenges and race no more (cf. Nimuendajú, 1946:225). (For complementary material on log racing, see [II.E.6.b].)
[II.F.2.b] TRACK EVENTS
The most popular time for
track events is before, during, and after the morning meeting of the council
of elders. These events take a number of forms. Sometimes, runners of the two
moieties start from the plaza. The first runner to reach the boulevard turns
the way that his age-set moiety runsUpper goes clockwise, Lower counterclockwise
and the rest of the runners have to follow him. Then, it is simply a race to
see what man in either age-set moiety can run completely around the village
along the inner edges of the boulevard and return to the plaza first by the
same radial pathway from which the exit was made.
People do not applaud. They
merely show their pleasure or dislike by facial expressions and comments which
actually are quite restrained.
They also have relay races
with batons (Table 8, item 11;
Plate 64a,b) [II.G.3.d.(4)].
Members of each age-set moiety are stationed together at six or eight points
around the boulevard to pick up the baton of the runner as he comes abreast.
Since each runner carries a baton only a short distance (3040 meters)
these races are run at a very fast pace.
During the morning period,
one age-set moiety may challenge the other moiety to run around the boulevard
with old buriti racing logs. This is one of the possible track events, which
is conducted in the same manner as the boulevard log race following the afternoon
log race. The latter log race started with new logs from outside the village.
These old racing logs remain in the village, usually rolled up to the front
of somebody's house, so that people can sit on them and watch what is going
on in the morning or late afternoon (Plate
Another track event is a
race from either one of the Wè?tè houses to the edge of the plaza.
This race, which is usually downhill, is carried out in heats of two, three,
or four individualsreally sprinting, as in a 50-meter dash.
Young Canela men in their mid- to late-teens and early 20s are usually in very good condition and, therefore, are the fastest runners. While little serious competition exists [III.B.1.h], nevertheless, the young men want to do well because the young women are watching them [III.A.3.c.(3).(j)]. There is always the possibility that excelling in these races will touch the heart of somebody else's wife [III.E.3.a.(6)] so that sexual encounters [III.F.8] can be arranged more easily.
[II.F.2.c] PROJECTIVE GAMES
The Canela play several "games" with arrows, during or immediately after a festival. Considering this context, these events might be considered either ceremonies or games. None of these arrow "games" are played as daily events [II.E.1], however, except informally when the boys are away in the cerrado, amusing themselves [II.D.1.c] [III.A.2.m].
The arrow game that seems
to attract the most interest is the I?têk, Nimuendajú's (1946:147)
watotek (wa to têk: I with-it [untranslatable]). This contest appears
in the Pepkahàk festival and is played out between the Pepkahàk
and the Ducks near the beginning of the festival itself [IV.A.3.c.(3).(a)].
In this context, the episode might be considered a ceremony [II.E.1], since
it is in a festival and since the Clown's intervention to help the Ducks is
artificial and its outcome is traditionally determined. When it takes place
on the morning after the end of an internment festival, however, it is merely
an informal game, since it is carried out with relative individual freedom of
movement, and its outcomewhich age-set winsis not traditionally
A section of a thick stem
of a buriti palm frond is placed in the ground in a shallow cavity dug for it.
This horizontally placed stem forms the front part of a low mound which, from
the point of view of the archer, is just beyond a depression in the level of
the ground. This buriti palm stem may be 1/3 meter in length and about 8 to
16 centimeters thick. The archer aims his arrow so that its point passes just
above this stem or board. The body of the arrow, however, hits the board so
that the arrow is deflected up into the air. If done properly, the arrow bounces
off the round part of the cylindrical surface of the board, which lies horizontally
and across the line of flight of the arrow. The arrow's trajectory arches up
into the air, and it flies 50 to 75 meters, depending upon the skill and strength
of the archer (Plate 28a.)
Pairs of contestants representing
two teams (usually age-set moieties) take turns, with the one who shot furthest
the previous time going first. The one whose arrow, after its rebound and arched
flight, lands and slides the furthest wins the arrow of the other contestant.
Little boys run to collect this pair of arrows, bringing them to their winner.
The game stops when one side's contestant has won all the arrows (cf. Nimuendajú,
1946:219) of the other side's contestant or when an arrow is broken or badly
damaged. It is then considered bad luck to proceed with the game, and the team
that has the most arrows at that time wins.
Each team puts forward its
best archer, and if he continues to succeed, he remains the archer until tired.
If he does not continue to succeed, his team chooses a successor.
In the festival contest
between the Pepkahàk and the Ducks, the competition is complicated because
Formal Friends [III.E.5] of the Pepkahàk, using masks (Plate
56b), try to distract the Duck contestant while he is shooting, so
that he will not do well (Nimuendajú, 1946:219).
The I?têk arrow game is often played just after the closing of the Pepkahàk and Pepyê festivals. These internment ceremonies end in the morning at about 8 or 9 o'clock, leaving nothing for the participants to do during the day but go to work or hunt. Consequently, they lengthen the period of festivities by carrying out these I?têk contests between the two age-set moieties. The competition usually stops before noon. In these post-festival contests, the depression in the ground is made near the edge of the plaza and the board of buriti palm frond stalk is placed where a radial pathway begins. Sometimes the shape of the depression and the hard mound just beyond it suffice to bounce the arrow; in which case, they place no board in the ground. Thus, the archers shoot down or up a radial pathway, one that does not lead to a house but goes well outside the village. The contestants, consequently, bounce their arrows from the edge of the plaza to some point along the radial pathway, or on the boulevard, or between houses, or along the road outside the village. Rivalries between good archers can be quite intense, but as usual the Canela try not to show such emotions in public [III.B.1.h].
As part of the Corn ritual [IV.A.5.d], an interesting game (or ceremony) takes place at night with lances that are padded with corn husk material (Table 8, item 50; Plate 63a) [II.G.3.b.(14)] so that when they hit a person, they will not penetrate the skin or cause any damage.
On the final morning of the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê festivals, the winner of the ceremonial lance and war bonnet [II.D.3.e] runs the gauntlet of the novices [IV.a.3.c.(1).(e),(2).]. All these young men are equipped with bows and padded arrows (Table 8, item 35; Plate 63b) [II.G.3.b.(13)], and they attempt to hit the runner, with his war bonnet and ceremonial lance [II.G.3.a.(1),(2)], as he passes. The points of the arrows are padded in such a way that the runner cannot possibly be hurt. This youth is practicing his skill at dodging arrows, which was an art (hal-pey) the ancestors were known to have valued [IV.D.1.c]. This festival act also tests the skills of the young novice warriors who have just come out of an internment to see if they are stronger, both physically and psychologically [IV.A.3.c.(2).(a)] [IV.D.3.f].
The Arrow Dance (Nimuendajú,
1946:117) is performed in the setting of an ordinary evening dance, and so is
not considered a ceremony. The sing-dance leader takes a bow and arrow from
a dancing youth and gives it to one of the young women in the dance line. She
then stalks one of the youths in the plazaa lover or potential spouse
[III.E.3.a.(6).(a)]. He is either dancing or sitting around the edge of the
plaza, and she tries to hit him. He stands 10 to 15 yards away and tries to
dodge her arrows, usually succeeding. Then she returns the bow to the sing-dance
leader who gives it and an arrow to another young woman who goes after another
man in the same way.
I saw this dance only once
and was told that it came from the Krahó. An Apanyekra called Kôrã
visited the Krahó some years ago and learned it. He returned to the Apanyekra
village and later visited the Canela, teaching them this game.
The time I saw the Arrow Dance, a Canela woman stalked the Indian service agent, Sr. Sebastião [II.B.2.i.(4).(d)] (Figure 9), who played the game well but was hit.
In 1957 the Canela began
playing soccer (futebol), the national sport of Brazil. A field was cleared
for young Canela to play in between the village and post at Baixão Prêto.
The conspicuous characteristic of these games was that Canela individuals did
not compete very much with each other. One individual had the ball and kicked
it here or there and then tried to make his goal, while defenders of the goal
scarcely attempted to stop him or take the ball away. They were hesitant about
being competitive [III.B.1.h].
In Ponto, the Canela also played this game, but sufficiently level land for a good field did not exist there. Nevertheless, they played in a broad section of the village boulevard, and Emiliano, a son of the school teacher, Sr. Doca (Raimundo Ferreira Sobrinho), played with them. Here also, it was obvious that whereas Emiliano was aggressive and willing to take the ball away from his opponents, Canela individuals were not willing to be competitive and were hesitant to behave in a manner appropriate for winning a game.
This sport became well
developed in Baixão Prêto in the late 1950s because the post agent,
Alcibiades Resplandes Costa, liked futebol and was willing to participate himself.
A popular Indian agent being able to set the example was the significant factor
in motivating young men to experiment with this new sport. But Sr. Alcibiades
left in 1960, and the Canela did not play soccer while they lived in the forest
near the Sardinha post from 1963 to 1968 [II.B.2.g].
With the reunification of
the five tribal villages in Escalvado in 1968, the Canela were able to assemble
a larger number of youthful players and gained a flat area for a field. With
the arrival of the service's Sebastião Pereira in 1970, they gained another
futebol enthusiast. Sr. Sebastiào constructed a regulation field
tangential to the post (Plate 28b,d)
(Map 5), and once again young men
started becoming futebol players, a sport which is changing their values.
Sebastião himself trained and led his team. This time it was clear to
any observer that the young generation of players in their late teens and 20s
had lost their traditional concerns about being aggressive and were lunging
into their opponents as any Brazilian player would do, taking over the ball
in any legal way.
In 1975, the Canela fielded a set of players that beat all the backland teams. They were particularly proud of defeating a strong team from Leandro (Map 3), the community that had contributed the leadership and the most men to the 1963 attack on the Canela messianic movement [II.B.2.f]. Although the score of the match was almost tied at the half, the Canela were less tired in the second half and consequently outran their opponents so completely that they easily won by an uneven score. The Canela team also went to Barra do Corda to play against a "gentleman's" team composed of sons of the wealthy and some well-off men in their 40s. Indian service personnel considered that these men, if losing, would not enter into a fight with the Canela, who easily won 5 to 1. Sr. Sebastião made four of the goals for the Canela, and Kôyapàà (Plate 70a), the son of the younger Kaapêltùk, made the other one.
By this time the Canela had "arrived" as a respected presence in the backland area (Map 3). It had become inconceivable for the backlander (Glossary) (Plate 72) to attack the tribe again [II.B.2.f.(3)]. Too many interconnections and friendships existed. In contrast, some backlanders were becoming jealous of the Canela, who received free medicines and even free trips to São Luis in the Indian service ambulance [II.B.3.g.,h] to undergo surgical procedures. Occasionally, the Canela were shown free educational movies at the Indian service post. Moreover, it was obvious to the backlander in 1979 that the Canela sometimes ate better and possessed more basic materials (cloth, axes, machetes, medicines) because of their opportunity to trade artifacts with the Indian service for certain foods and goods [II.B.3.e] [Ep.6]. Thus, by the late 1970s, instead of looking down on the Canela in every respect as they had done in the late 1950s [I.A.1] [II.B.2.g.(7),4], the backlander had to look at them with greater respect, at least for some of their accomplishments. The Canela futebol team helped considerably in bringing about this change in relative status, and generated undeniable respect for the Canela in the backland area (Map 3), at least among the members of younger backlander generation.
[II.F.3] Children's Games and Toys
Chance is conspicuously missing from games for children or adults. Of course, almost any game that can be devised has an element of chanceeven an intellectually and psychologically-oriented game like chess. Relatively considered, however, Canela games such as log racing, arrow bouncing, lance throwing, and now futebol are more obviously games of skill and teamwork than chance. The Canela are not gamblers [III.B.1.e.(3)], so in children's games, as should be expected, chance, though an element, is not the important factor.
[II.F.3.a] INDIVIDUAL GAMES AND TOYS
Little girls play with
dolls, which were made by their fathers and used to be simple lengths of the
balsa-like stem of a buriti frond. Girl dolls had little wax breasts and small
belts of tucum cords, which identified their sex, but boy dolls had no distinguishing
features (Nimuendajú, 1946, pl. 23i-k). This kind of home-made doll was
replaced by more realistic plastic ones, and other kinds of toys, bought in
Barra do Corda in the 1950s and later.
Canela boys love to play
with little tops (Table 8, item
87), which work on the same principle as tops known in the United States. A
father cuts a piece of solid wood into a pear-like shape with a point on its
bottom and an edge on its top onto which string can be coiled. Then, the string
is pulled to make the top spin, as it is released on the ground. Then it moves
around on a hard ground floor until its spinning momentum is lost, and it falls
over (Nimuendajú, 1946:112).
Boys make another toy consisting
of a central hole in a relatively flat circular piece of broken gourd. A doubled,
continuous string is pulled through this hole, both ends of which are looped
on fingers of opposite hands. The piece of gourd is revolved many times until
the doubled string on which it is strung is completely wound up. The ends of
the wound string are pulled outward with the hands, causing the string to unwind
and the piece of gourd to spin around rapidly until its momentum rewinds the
string in the opposite direction. By using an in and out motion with their hands,
this spinning motion can be maintained for some time. Carved projecting points
along the piece of the gourd's circumference create a humming sound as these
"teeth" pass rapidly through the air (Nimuendajú, 1946:112,
Little boys have many individual toys, most of which are made for them by their fathers [III.A.3.a.(1).(a)]. The balsa-like wood (pith) of the interior part of the stem (puu-re-?ti) of a buriti palm frond is the material (cf. [II.G.3.d.(5).(b)]) most often used to make small trucks, airplanes, and various representations of backland implements, such as knives and machetes. The pith can be cut and carved very easily with a knife, and consequently is ideal for making toys. Quite notably, the Canela rarely make toys in the form of a backland pistol, but every boy had his miniature set of bow and arrows (Plate 19a), even in the 1970s. Toy trucks and airplanes made of buriti pith were replaced in the 1960s by those made of metal and later of plastic.
[II.F.3.b] GROUP GAMES AND TOYS
Little girls under the
age of 6 or 7 [II.D.1.c] [III.A.2.m] play house together behind the houses (a?tùk-mã)
that line the boulevard (Figure
24). They make toy houses (Plate
19d,e) about one-third to two-thirds of a meter high of local materials.
Dolls represent human beings in the play houses, and tiny stones support the
small cooking pots made of nuts. Older girls sometimes cook small quantities
of real food, such as manioc pancakes (beiju) in small cast iron pots,
but they are more likely to be helping their mothers carry out adult jobs. Little
boys come by to eat these small contributions. Generosity training [III.B.1.a]
In the late 1950s group
games were played that I never saw practiced in the 1960s and 1970s. Either
they had recently been learned from the backlander or they were ancestral, but
in either case they were lost during the Canela stay in Sardinha. One competitive
game of chance called hôtsäktsäk (chicken) [Ap.4.a.(1)]
probably came from the backlanders. A blindfolded child who is "it"
has to detect by sound and hit one of many taunting children with a straw bat.
When finally successful, the hit child becomes "it" and is blindfolded.
(I think this game is too competitive and "unfeeling" [III.B.1.b]
to have been aboriginal.)
Boys play games in the cerrado, which they roam freely during the day [II.D.i.c] [III.A.2.m].
[II.F.4] ADULT FORMAL FRIENDSHIP DRAMAS
One of the most amusing aspects of Canela life is the adult Formal Friend chastising game (khritswè yààkhrun tsà: Formal-Friend game thing). Public displays of this sort occur frequently and account for a large and increasing part of the recreation and amusement these days. Besides helping to keep general morale high, this game serves to keep people carrying out authoritative roles, especially parental ones, in conformity with tradition and prevents them from disciplining children in excessive ways. For a detailed account and example, see [III.A.3.c.(3).(b)] and [III.E.5].
[II.F.5] Body "Painting"
including application of falcon down (Glossary)
to the body, is associated with recreation. "Paint" is put on the
body to make a person feel better or to express a person's status or physical
well-being of the moment (W. Crocker, 1986). Paints can be applied to all parts
of the body except the hairy areas, genitals, and palms of hands and soles of
feet. While women paint men and each other, men rarely paint each other and
paint women only when they are applying charcoal and latex to their lovers.
People of any age are casually painted red and black, though older persons tend
to have themselves painted less often and prefer black. Individuals are painted
far less frequently these days, as people tend to wear more clothing and adopt
backland attitudes. This reduction in usage was well in progress by the late
1950s and was accelerated by the Canela stay in Sardinha in the mid-1960s [II.B.2.g].
The Apanyekra painted themselves
far more frequently in the mid-1970s than did the Canela, and the former's frequently
used body paints (the non-rare ones) were the same as the latter's and were
used under similar circumstances.
The Canela have seven kinds of body "paint," not including the no-longer-used white chalk. Four of these paints are worn on a number of occasions, and four are used only on a single ceremonial day per year, or only once in the entire ceremonial repertoire. Falcon down and the four rare paints can only be used in prescribed situations, but urucu, charcoal with latex, and dry charcoal can be applied casually at any time. The latter gives the viewer the message that the wearer is undergoing severe food and sex restrictions. Charcoal-and-latex paint (Glossary) imply extramarital sexual relations and joking; urucu (Glossary) suggests family care and concern, and falcon down informs the viewer that the wearer is participating in a high ceremonial situation. (See Nimuendajú, 1946:5155, 355 [pigments], or Nimuendajú, 1974:111119, for more extensive accounts of paint origins, preparations, and applications.)
[II.F.5.a] FALCON DOWN
The most formal kind of
body paint, or ornamentation, is falcon down (hàk kwèn:
falcon down) (Glossary) (Plates
which is glued on the body only for ceremonial situations. As the first step
in application, a kind of tree resin (almécega: ràm: Hedwiçia
balsamifera) found in the Guajajara Indian dry forest reservations (Map
3) is put on the body. To do this, men chew babacu nuts to cause salivation.
They spit their saliva, along with the nut oil, onto a ball of collected tree
resin, thus making the resin more flexible. As a result, this hard, solid material
becomes soft and sticky enough to be spread evenly on the body. After a person's
Formal Friend has passed this strong smelling resin from his palms to this person's
body, the Formal Friend steps aside letting his helpers apply the falcon down
(Plate 30d). Using tiny
sticks to pull the down out of a small storage gourd, the helpers dab the down
onto the area of the body covered by the moist resin. When thoroughly applied
so that all gaps are filled (which they never are), the body appears as a solid
white glistening surface (Plate
The down comes off by itself eventually through wearing and tearing, or is pulled off with fingers and fingernails (which hurts). After one washing or a night's sleep, this formal suit becomes crushed, messy, and spotty in appearance (Plate 57c), the greasy red urucu being mixed with the white. Falcons (hawks) are harder to find and kill these days; consequently, ducks are raised so that their down can be used for this purpose.
In terms of decreasing formality, red urucu (pù: Bixa orellana) (Glossary) (Plate 78d) body paint follows falcon down. Unlike falcon down, which can be worn only in ceremonial and prescribed situations, urucu can be spread on the body both for certain ceremonies and for daily use. It is associated with health and family welfare [III.B.1.b]. Women spread urucu on themselves, on other women (Figures 48, 49), on men, and on children. Wives decorate their husbands, and female kin decorate their male relatives. In earlier times, even in the late 1950s, if a man appeared often without urucu, it was said that his female relatives, and his wife, were not taking good care of him. Urucu is applied to the body with falcon down on all the occasions falcon down is used to complete the characteristic ceremonial dress, except for the procession to the plaza of the Visiting Chiefs' society (Glossary) in the Pepkahàk festival (Plate 44d).
[II.F.5.c] CHARCOAL AND WHITE LATEX PAINT
In contrast to the serious
familial implications of urucu, charcoal and latex paint (Glossary)
implies joking, informality, and recent sexual activity, usually extramarital
[III.F.8] [IV.A.3.f]. First, a white, rubber-like, wet latex is fingered onto
the body. This latex (aràm hôk: tree's paint: sap of Sapium
sp., a low cerrado tree) is pure white (Plate
47a,c), and can be used to waterproof jackets and airproof bouncing
balls for simple games. This pau de leite (tree of milk) tree, as it is locally
called, is a relative of the rubber tree (not found in the area). Then, the
charcoal from the bark of certain kinds of burned trees (Sapium included)
is applied to the body by rubbing a branch from the tree onto the person's body
where the latex has already been applied. The applier often crushes the charcoal
from the bark in her or his hands, and then spreads it onto the latex where
it sticks. This paint's adhesion to the skin is so strong that after only one
washing away of loose charcoal, it sticks firmly to a person, only slightly
diminishing its precision of pattern over a week. It scarcely soils clothing
worn over it, unlike greasy urucu and falcon down.
A person is decorated in this manner by her or his lover or spouse. Women can "dress" their uncles and nephews in this manner, as is consistent with their mutual joking relationships [III.B.1.c.(1)]; but they would never do this to their fathers, brothers, or sons because of embarrassment over the sexual implications [III.A.2.j.(2)].
[ II.F.5.d] BLACK CHARCOAL
Charcoal without latex
can be applied to the body in a very casual manner by a man to himself. He takes
the burned bark of certain trees and irregularly rubs it, or its powder, on
his body. This indicates that he is undergoing severe food and sex restrictions
(Glossary). Postpubertal youths
are expected to paint themselves this way for at least a year [II.D.3.c.(1)].
When the contributing-fathers arrive in the mother's house in the postpartum
meat pie rite with the social father [IV.B.2.d.(2)], they arrive wearing patches
of charcoal on their bodies.
When latex is unavailable, dry charcoal alone is sometimes applied to imply comic or extramarital situations.
[II.F.5.e] RARE "PAINTS"
The other kinds of Canela
body paint are rarely used. Genipap (pôl-ti: Genipa americana)
comes from a dry forest, apple-like fruit (Nimuendajú, 1946:53). It is
used only on the day the novices finish their internment in the Pepyê
festival (Plates 26, 27,
to create the dark blue plaza group membership designs on their bodies. The
yellow paint, which comes from the root of the urucu plant, is put on the body
early in the morning when the novices in the Pepyê festival are released
from their internment (Plate 42f).
Also, there is wôhô-re (pati:Orcus sp.) (Nimuendajú,
1946:55), which is a fuzz applied to the Duck girl associates on just one day
of the Pepkahàk festival.
White chalk, which is currently very difficult to obtain, was traditionally used for the Grasshopper ritual [IV.A.5.c]. White latex is used instead and appears similar to body-worn chalk at night (Plate 47a,c). Since the messianic movement of 1963, it has become increasingly difficult for the Canela to get chalk from their traditional source in the Alpercatas range hills on the Arruda lands, just south of the family sítio (Map 3).
Recreation among the Canela
may be considered to be an escape valve for expressions of frustration arising
from the strong desires for immediate gratification developed during prepubertal
years [III.A.5.a]. These frustrations are increasing in modern times [III.A.5.e].
For this reason, activities in the recreational sector of the sociocultural
system should be increasingly needed. Upon this premise, predictions of future
recreational trends can be based. The practice of futebol (soccer) [II.F.2.d]
and Formal Friendship games [III.A.3.c.(3).(b)] should continue to increase,
and so should track events. Log racing with very heavy logs [II.F.2.a] may become
somewhat reduced, because the Canela are becoming relatively sedentary and physically
soft. Log racing is too rough and too much of an effort, and a log dropped on
a leg or foot can do much damage.
Body painting lends itself
to extensive Canela interpersonal interpretations (W. Crocker, 1986), though
little care is given to its form and precision. The Canela do not emphasize
the visual arts, especially in contrast to their cultural cousins, the Xikrin-Kayapó
[II.G.1] (Fuerst, 1964; Muséé D'Ethnographie, 1971; Vidal, 1980)
or in contrast with their own extensive artistic expression through musical
forms. Besides body painting analyses, specialists study other parts of the
body, such as earlobes and lips, to arrive at similar social interpretations
involving conformity and bellicosity (Chiara, 1975; Seeger, 1975; Turner, 1969;
and Verswijver, 1978).
Similarly, dancing abraçado
(embraced) [II.B.3.1] (Plate 55a)
in the manner of backlanders and urban Brazilians has started to take the place
of traditional sing-dancing of the secular kind. But I predict that the Canela
will not lose their affinity for sing-dancing (Plate
33). It is too rich, varied, and personally satisfying. abraçado
dancing [II.F.1.b.(2)], which is more individualistic (especially for women)
and increasing in popularity, is becoming a parallel activity to sing-dancing
rather than replacing it. Surely, abraçado dancing will be one
of the major alternative forms of recreation. In general, recreation as a sociocultural
sector, should continue to grow in relation to other sociocultural sectors as
acculturation increases and becomes more oppressive in contrast to the lesser
pressures of the earlier Canela style of living.
In the above sense of an escape valve for frustrations, the extramarital sexual relations sociocultural system should be considered "recreation" but is described in the chapter on festivals [IV.A.3.f] because it is sanctioned in several ceremonial settings. Like racing with heavy logs and body "painting," extramarital practices [III.F.8] should diminish through acculturation [II.B.3.a,b,d,g,h,l] [Ep.4.b.(2).(e),5.c,d], placing a greater emphasis on the acculturation-approved forms of recreation.
As with recreational activitiesmusic,
sports, games, and body "painting"artifacts are daily and ceremonial
in their use. Specific artifacts, however, instead of being both daily and ceremonial,
are either one or the other.
Canela women and men make
about 150 categories of artifacts for which precise manufacturing traditions
exist (Plates 5667).
Variation from these traditions is allowed to some extent, depending on the
destination of the itemwhether for use in festivals, in private Canela
life, or in backlander or city Brazilian life. For festivals, the item is used
precisely according to tradition and made with traditional materials if possible.
For individuals in a daily context, the rules of fabrication are less strict,
though standards remain high. For sale to outsiders, however, the workmanship
is not as good, and poor materials are often substituted for traditional ones,
though the traditional form is largely preserved.
Studies of material artifacts, including those of other Timbira Indians, have been published by Heath and Chiara (1977), Newton (1974, 1981), and Marcos de la Penha et al. (1986), among others. Photographs of and references to Canela artifacts and corporeal adornments can also be found in V. Turner (1982a:28, 7172, 77, 115117, 184185; 1982b, figs. 5662); J. Turner (1967 :6466); Nimuendajú, 1946, plates).
[II.G.1] The Visual Arts
The item on which a careful,
precise artistic technique is rendered by a woman is seen on a certain kind
of headband (Table 8, item 12f).
It is made from one leaf of a frond of a babaçu palm tree (Plate
56d) and is cut and tied to form a circle, which rests on the top
of a male head. Dignified fathers of many children often wear it. Some of the
designs that are painted on the leaf are traditional; other designs used in
decorating such a headband are quite individualistic.
Few women attempt to express
themselves in this art form. It is mostly Po-?khwèy, the wife of the
younger Mïïkhrô, who frequently practices this form of art with
a great deal of individuality and artistic expression. She uses both black [II.F.5.c]
and red (urucu) in her designs, and sometimes yellow of the urucu root.
Canela body painting is far less elaborate than that of the Xikrin-Kayapó (Crocker, 1973; Fuerst, 1964; Vidal, 1980) (Map 1), and the Mëkrãgnoti-Kayapó (Verswijver, 1982), with their very precise, time-consuming body painting, using genipap [II.F.5.e].
[II.G.2] Commercial Products
The traditions according
to which Canela artifacts should be made were quite narrow. The sex of the maker,
the materials themselves, and the style with which certain items should be produced
were well known. By the mid-1960s, however, and certainly in the 1970s, the
Canela began substituting one material for another and adding extra paint (usually
the yellow fluid from the root of the urucu plant; Plate
78d) to make the item more interesting for city dwellers [II.A.3.a.(3)]
[II.B.2.g.(7)] [II.C.3.f] [Ep.6]. Moreover, the maker of the item no longer
had as much concern about the precision with which most commercial pieces should
be made. Women and men could be seen rapidly and carelessly constructing items
(Plates 17b, 18e)
to get them to the Indian service truck before it departed, or to one of the
Canela stores to exchange for goods before it closed.
The market, of course, required that certain items be made for sale rather than others in the traditional inventory of items. Thus, certain kinds of baskets, whisk brooms, and containers with lids, for instance, were requested by the Indian service. These items, therefore, were made in great numbers in the late 1970s. Items of other traditional categories were made only when Canela individuals needed them for themselves. Items in this last type have suffered little change, but material artifacts made for sale have already gone through some changes away from their traditional form, materials, and design.
[II.G.3] Traditional Artifacts
The Canela artifacts presented here are divided into several categories: (1) items bestowed to honor good behavior, (2) items made only for use in certain festival acts, (3) objects just for women, (4) objects just for men, and (5) musical instruments. The Canela collection in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, has additional categories of artifacts, which are organized as shown in Table 8. This list was developed while I was in the field in the late 1950s and 1964 and is organized somewhat in the order of the items' acquisition and on the years when certain festivals happened to be put on. To conserve space, many of the 150 NMNH categories of artifacts are not described here. The items presented here are a representative sample of the more significant artifacts in the NMNH's collection, but not all the items presented here are listed in Table 8. These items and others are listed in a computerized inventory in the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History.
[II.G.3.a] HONOR AWARDS
These items are very special to their owners and are made by certain categories of people for specific persons. Most objects of this sort are given to adolescent girls and boys who have displayed exemplary skill and behavior in public activities. Some of the artifacts are awarded by the Pró-khãmmã (Glossary) to festival participants for their excellence in singing, attendance, and attitude during the course of the festival [II.D.2.f,3.e] [II.F.1.c.(2)] [III.A.3.b.(3)] [III.D.2.c.(2)] [IV.A.3.c.(1).(e),(2).(c),(3).(d)]. Other awards are given by the naming-aunt or naming-uncle [II.D.1.b.(1)] who has made the item (or had it made) to a particular named-niece or named-nephew who is considered worthy of receiving it. These items are used on daily occasions as items of honor [III.G.3.b].
[II.G.3.a.(1)] Feather Bonnet (hàkyara) (Table 8, item 2; Plate 56e)
The feather bonnet (Plates
is the most prestigious artifact and is put together after a Khêêtúwayê
or a Fish festival (Glossary).
It is made from the many macaw tail feathers that the novices wear (Plate
41b) in their occipital headbands [II.G.3.b.(1)]. The last time the
novices sing (Plate 41c),
these headbands are collected and the tail feathers (Plate
41d) given to the Pró-khãmmã. The Pró-khãmmã
choose a novice for excellence in the festival performance to whom they award
the right to wear the warbonnet. This youth's naming-uncle is then summoned
and given the feathers to make the bonnet. The headband strap and the tassel
at the end are made of cotton. If the bonnet is made on time, the runner with
the ceremonial lance will wear it while he runs the gauntlet of padded arrows
[II.F.2.c.(3)] on the last morning of the Khêêtúwayê
festival. He dashes up a radial pathway, and runs quickly with the warbonnet
(and ceremonial lance) across a portion of the plaza. This is done in front
of the novices, most of whom are assembled to shoot at him with a bow and padded
After the nephew has run
this gauntlet, he sings with the bonnet and ceremonial lance while jogging around
the boulevard [II.F.1.c.(5)] (Plate
32d). Then a sister of his, preferably a name-exchange sister [III.E.4.a],
comes to the plaza and holds the bonnet and ceremonial lance in the center of
the plaza while a name is sung onto them by the town crier [II.D.3.i.(4)] (Plate
51d). Next, the sister takes the bonnet and lance to her house and
puts urucu paint on them and delivers them back to her brother. He then sings
all day with them, jogging around the boulevard in the direction that is traditional
for his age-set. The bonnet may be kept or broken up, according to the wishes
and needs of the owner, who is considered its father (hàkyara päm:
When first used ceremonially, items made of cotton have to be white and clean with no coloring on them at all; e.g., the tassels of some ceremonial lances (khrúwa-tswa) [II.G.3.a.(2)], the bracelets of the Waytikpo act [II.G.3.b.(7)], and the warbonnet of macaw tail feathers. However, as soon as their ceremonial display ends and they are to be used in a secular manner, urucu is then thoroughly applied and embedded into the cotton.
[II.G.3.a.(2)] Ceremonial Lance (khrúwa-tswa) (Table 8, item 1; Plates 56e, 63c,d)
The ceremonial lance (Plates
47d) is made for a festival
and is awarded by the Pró-khãmmã to a ceremonial performer
for excellence in singing and dancing. The staff is made from purple wood (kuuhê-?khâ-?tùk:
bow-wood surface dark: pau roxo: wood purple), the supply of which by
1978 was exhausted in the area because of over-cutting. The lance is adorned
with four to eight long macaw (päm: arara) tail feathers
that hang from a point near the top. In the Khêêtúwayê
and Fish festivals the ceremonial lance is adorned by the macaw tail feathers
as described, but in the Pepyê and Pepkahàk festivals (Plate
44e), cotton tassels of about 50 strands hang down on all sides in
the place of feathers.
In the terminal portion
of the Khêêtúwayê festival, the Pró-khãmmã
choose a youth who is to be the winner and future bearer of the ceremonial lance.
The youth's uncle is summoned and given the lance and the feathers so that he
can remake the lance for his named-nephew. When the lance has been completed,
the uncle must go around the boulevard all night long, singing in the plaza
and before each house, as described just above for the warbonnet. After this,
the uncle gives the lance to his named-nephew, who, in one of the last acts
of the Khêêtúwayê festival, runs the gauntlet of his
opposing age-set, the novices.
In the Pepyê festival
the Pró-khãmmã receive the ceremonial lance from the uncle
of the file leader (mamkhyê-?ti) of the Pepyê (Glossary)
and give it to the file leader about 10 to 15 days after the novices are "caught"
[IV.A.3.c.(2).(a)] (Plate 42a,d,e).
The file leader keeps and uses the ceremonial lance for official occasions as
he walks in front of his file of novices. On the third day of the terminal part
[IV.A.3.b.(3)] of the Pepyê festival, just after the singing of the climactic
Waytikpo set of songs (Plate 43a,c),
the Pró-khãmmã select a youth who is not a Pepyê
novice. He then sings all night with the ceremonial lance, and runs the gauntlet
of padded arrows.
In the Pepkahàk (Glossary)
festival just after the Pepkahàk are caught and interned in their hut
outside the village, the oldest member of the Pepkahàk cuts the ceremonial
lance, shapes it in the proper manner, and gives it to the mother of the file
leader of the Pepkahàk troop, who then gives it to her son. He walks
with it at the head of his troop file (Plate
44c), on all ceremonial outings. When the Pepkahàk sing each
evening (Plate 45a),
and later when they sing during an entire night in the plaza (Plate
45c,f), this ceremonial lance is thrust into the ground at the center
of their singing circle so that it stands erect on its own.
In the Fish festival, the
macaw tail feathers that will decorate the future ceremonial lance are strung
on cotton headdresses that allow one or two macaw tail feathers to hang down
the back between the shoulder blades of the members of the River Otter (Têt-re)
plaza group (Glossary). While
the Otters are on their way to their house, however, the Clowns step in and
take the feathers and put them in a pile. The mother of the ceremonial chief
of the Clowns receives the feathers, and the uncle of this ceremonial chief
makes the ceremonial lance. The uncle then sings all night with the ceremonial
lance and delivers it to his named-nephew who then runs the gauntlet of padded
arrows, this time shot by the Clowns. An important difference in the Fish festival
is that the ceremonial chief keeps the ceremonial lance for himself (Clowns
can be selfish), whereas in the other festivals, the Pró-khãmmã
take it away from the file leaders and give it to a deserving youth.
In all of the examples above, the final owner is called the "father of the ceremonial lance" (khrúwatswa päm).
[II.G.3.a.(3)] Belt With Pendants All Around (tsù) (Table 8, item 3; Plate 60c,d)
This belt of cotton (Plates
is awarded for superiority in running. In former times the pendant strings were
strung with seeds, which now are usually ceramic beads. At the bottom of each
strand of beads were the tips of tapir hoofs (Plate
56d), which now are so rare and expensive that tips of calabash tops
are used instead as well as tips of the beaks of toucan birds.
When it has been decided that a youth is to receive this award, his naming-uncle asks one of the youth's sisters, preferably a name-exchanging one, to make this artifact for her brother. Before this item can be worn by the youth, his naming-uncle must wear it and run singing around the boulevard in the late afternoon to show it off. Then the youth can run with it in a log race or at any other time. The owner is the "father" of the belt, the tsù päm.
[II.G.3.a.(4)] Belt With Pendants Only In Front (tsêp) (Table 8, item 4)
The belt band is made either of cotton or tucum, with tapir tips that hang down in front just above the genitals of the racing man. This item comes from the Apanyekra Indians.
[II.G.3.a.(5)] Belt Of Cords With Bead Pendants Behind (akàà) (Table 8, item 5; Plates 57c, 59h)
award another category of belt to individuals whom they expect to be the fastest
runners in the great Krówa-ti log race [IV.A.3.c.(2).] of the Khêêtúwayê
and Pepyê festivals. One belt of this category in the NMNH collection
has 52 cords of tucum fiber (Plate
18a-c). The pendants on these belts are often strings of beads adorned
with deer hoof tips (Plate 57c),
ostrich claw tips, or berries of the forest. However, hoof tips of either the
female cerrado deer (poo) or the forest deer (gïyasùù)
are most frequently used. Modern beads have replaced a certain kind of seed
The name-exchange sisters of the officers of the Khêêtúwayê or Pepyê festival novices-their commandants, deputies, or file leaders [IV.A.3.c.(1).]make these running belts for them on the order of the officers' naming-uncles. (See Glossary for "officers," "novices," and "festivals.") The members of the opposite age-set moiety to the novices are designated by the Pró-khãmmã to win these belts. These winners take the belts from the officers of the novices just after these officers have run with them. When the ultimate owner of the akàà (the "father" of the belt) can no longer run well, he dismantles this artifact into its components to remake into other traditional objects.
[II.G.3.a.(6)] Dorsal Neck Pendant With Bead Pendants And Small Gourd Bowl (krat-re) (Table 8, item 6; Plate 59f)
The krat-re is worn
in the terminal part of all three internment festivals by the two girl associates,
who only wear it during the Waytikpo ceremony (Plates
At its termination, the Pró-khãmmã take each krat-re
off the backs of the girl associates and give them as awards to female performers
who have sung well during this festival period [II.D.2.f] [III.A.3.b.(3).(a)].
The krat-re is often kept for the life of the awardee in a small basket
(khaypo) hung up in her house, or it may be taken apart when its owner
("mother") no longer sings much. The commandants and deputies in the
Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê festivals and the file leaders
in the Pepkahàk festival make this item for the girl associates.
The dorsal cord of the krat-re is made of tucum fiber, and its small gourd bowl is about 2 ½ to 4 centimeters in diameter. The pendants are strung with beads and hoof tips of the female cerrado deer (poo) or the forest deer (gïyasùù). Ostrich claw tips are used but never the hoof tips of male cerrado deer (kaarà).
[II.G.3.a.(7)] Dorsal Neck Pendant With Wooden Comb And Bead Pendants (khoykhe-re) (Table 8, item 7; Plate 59b,g)
Like the krat-re,
the dorsal cord of the khoykhe-re is made of tucum fiber. At the end
of the cord a little wooden comb and other adornments hang at the level of the
small of the back on the wearer. The naming-uncle of an internment festival
(Glossary) girl associate makes
a comb as a replacement for the loss of her krat-re at the end of the
Waytikpo ceremony in each of these three festivals.
This item is higher in prestige than the krat-re because it is only won by girls of hàmren status [III.C.7, 9] (Glossary). The dorsal neck cord is made of strings of rolled tucum, at the lower end of which a number of strands of beads hang. At the tips of these strands of beads, which are maybe 10 centimeters long, deer hoof tips hang in the same way as in the krat-re. The comb itself was traditionally made of purple wood, which grew no longer in the region by 1978 because of over use. After the Wild Boar day of each internment festival, the comb is painted red with urucu. This artifact may be kept for a lifetime or until its owner ("mother") no longer sings in the plaza.
[II.G.3.a.(8)] Shoulder To Waist Diagonal Sash With Two Tassels (hahï) (Table 8, item 8; Plate 56)
A girl's mother, her uncles,
and her naming-aunt decide whether or not a girl is to receive this singing
sash of honor [II.D.2.f] [III.A.3.b.(3).(a)]. It is made of woven cotton and
with tassels (Plate 18d,f).
Small beads, where formerly wild seeds were used, are sewn into the heads of
the tassels. The sash (Plate 32a)
is a higher honor award than the little gourd (krat-re) and is given
to a girl for her great voice, unusual singing, and excellent attendance at
the daily sing-dances [II.F.1.b.(2).(a)] (Plate
32). Traditionally, only two or three women were qualified to sport such
sashes in a tribe at one time, but now there may be half a dozen. Such a hahï
më-ntsii (sash its-mother) must take care of her sash as if she were
its mother, as is implied in the name, and she must carry out such responsibilities
The young woman who wins
this award, Nimuendajú's "precentress" (Nimuendajú,
1946:97), wears it for the first time during a Great Sing-dance high ceremonial
performance [II.E.7.a]. The next morning her brother puts a name on the item
[IV.A.5.e.(3)], unless she is married, and then her husband's sister names it.
After the sash has received its name, it can be painted with urucu and returned
to its owner for her use whenever she sings in the female line in the plaza,
especially during the early morning sing-dances [II.E.4.a]. When its owner does
not sing much any more, this cotton sash may be taken apart.
Canela research assistants
say the Apanyekra allow their women to wear these sashes for no special reason,
whether they sing well or not. Among the Canela, however, only extremely good
singers are awarded this right, though they are not as good as earlier singers;
otherwise the wearing of such a sash would be criticized and ridiculed, they
The great hõ-?khre-pôy (her throat it-comes-out-from) women, those that sing extremely well, have to maintain high food and sex restrictions while they are wearing this sash of high honor, or they are likely to become sick, and then the sash has to be taken away. In earlier times, as in 1900 when the Cakamekra tribe joined the Canela [II.B.1.c.(1)], remnants of tribes joined each other [IV.C.1.d.(1).(a)] after taking part in a ceremony during which most warriors had sex with the great singing sash "mother" of the other tribe [III.B.1.a.(4)].
[II.G.3.b] FESTIVAL ITEMS
Some items are produced just for festivals. This assures their higher workmanship. Such items are usually not worn outside of their festival context. Some festival items, however, such as the ceremonial lance and the dorsal gourd pendant, are used on daily occasions as items of honor.
[II.G.3.b.(1)] Headband Of Vertical Macaw Feathers (pàn-yapùù) (Table 8, item 24, Plate 61a)
This headdress (pàn-yapùù:
macaw-tail) (Plate 41b-d)
is worn only in the Kêêtúwayê festival by the interned
novices (Plate 41a).
When the festival is over, the headdresses are taken apart and the macaw tail
feathers, which are the principal part, are used for other purposes [II.G.3.a.(1),(2)].
This item is made for the young novice by his naming-uncle.
The stem on which the feathers are tied is made of purple wood. The headdress is put together with cotton string, and the chin and forehead straps are cotton as well. The headband, which fits between the upper part of the head and the occiput, is made of woven bast (hõl-ti-?hùl: bast-large-woven). Strings of tucum with beeswax are used to tie the feathers onto the small shafts of purple wood. The tip of a green and red tail feather of a parrot is tied to the center feather with a very fine string of tucum or of human hair. It is said to blow in the breeze and to be the hihot hihot (tip's tip). A slightly larger piece, but still very small, of a parrot's tail feather, is placed at the base of each macaw tail feather at the place of binding of the macaw tail feather to the purple wood shaft.
II.G.3.b.(2)] Body Scratching Stick (Table 8, item 25; Plate 67c)
Scratching sticks (amyi-kaakhrên-tsà:
self-scratching instrument) are made of the stem (awal yà?khà)
of an anajá palm frond leaf and are from 6 to 10 inches long. Only men
may cut and carve these little sticks; women must never do so. A father will
make such a scratching stick for his daughter when she is undergoing restrictions
for her belt [II.D.2.f.(1)]. Such sticks are used to scratch the body and to
move foods that fingers must not touch at that time. Such foods are soft, wet,
and sticky substances. (Dry foods can be touched.) The only time a woman uses
the stick is when she is undergoing restrictions for her belt, while her uncles
are hunting for deer meat [IV.B.1.h.(3)].
Scratching sticks are used also by the novices in the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê festivals, and in all situations where food restrictions are required for a man, such as during his postpartum couvade [II.D.3.g]. Men in earlier times used these sticks when planting peanuts (because restrictions were required) and when returning to the village after killing in battle.
[II.G.3.b.(3)] Child's Dorsal Head-Strap Basket (Table 8, item 26, Plate 66a)
This basket (amtsô
yõ-?khay-re: field-rat its-basket-dim.) is only used in the Khêêtúwayê
and Pepyê festivals. Each of the two girl associates wears one when she
goes out to hunt wild field rats (pereá: Cavia sp.) with the novices.
It is given to the girl associate by her naming-aunt just after the all night
sing, at the time that she is leaving the village for the rat hunting, but is
taken away when she returns.
The day before, during their
morning meeting, the Pró-khãmmã appoint another girl to
win and own this little basket. According to tradition, this item is awarded
to some girl of another tribe who is about the same age as the girl associate.
When there is no such visiting girl (potentially including city dwellers and
foreigners), the basket is awarded to a girl of some formerly independent nation
now within the Canela tribe [III.C.7.a] [IV.A.3.c.(3).(e)] other than the Mõl-tum-re,
the principal Canela tribe according to tradition.
The basket is made only of bast (hõl-ti) and the bark of the stem of a buriti palm frond (puu-re yatê: buriti-palm-stem little its-bark). This bark forms the vertical and more solid material on which the softer bast is woven to form the basket. Such little baskets always have three forehead straps attached to them and are shaped in the traditional manner, flaring near the top, like their full-size counterparts [II.G.3.c.(4)].
[II.G.3.b.(4)] Miniature Racing Logs With Handles (Pàlrà-re) (Table 8, item 27; Plate 67a)
This pair of tiny hand-sized
logs with handle extensions on either side of them are used only in the Khêêtúwayê
and the Pepyê festivals [IV.A.7.c] (Plate
36a,b). They are made by the catcher (më-hapèn katê:
them-catch agent) (Plate 42a,d)
of the novices.
In the festival, the logs
are passed from one relative of the Pepyê file leaders to another, and
finally to the mother of the first file leader. She sits over them just where
she has buried them in the plaza. She then unearths them and somebody in the
Khêt-re plaza group takes them from her. All the novices then run out
of the village down one of the roads.
After a sing-dance master
has sung over these little logs, one is given to a Khêt-re (dwarf-parrot
little) and the other to a Tsêp-re (bat) society runner. They then sprint
back to the village according to the plaza moiety divisions (Figure
17), passing the little logs from runner to runner in a relay manner. Afterward,
the tiny logs are delivered to any women (and later to their matriline descendants)
in the current houses of the younger Tààmi or Hàwmrõ
(Figure 24, B and BB), because
these are the traditional houses [III.C.8.b] in which the Khêêtúwayê
novices are interned.
An additional race between the novices and the adjacent opposite age-set takes place using these little logs. After this, they may be given to anyone to keep or to throw away. They must never be painted with anything other than urucu [II.F.5.b], and they can only be painted outside the village just before the two plaza moieties race back with them to the village, not before they are buried or sat on in the plaza.
[II.G.3.b.(5)] Diagonal Shoulder-Armpit Sashes Of Cords (Table 8, item 28; Plate 59a,e)
These sashes of many tucum
strings are placed in the category of neckties (Table
8, item 14), but they are also festival items (Table
8, item 28a-c). There are three kinds of these sashes, distinguished only
by their color.
First, there are the green
sashes of many strands, maybe 30 to 50, but of one long piece of string. These
are worn by the Khêêtúwayê and Pepyê novices
at certain times. The one long piece of string used to form a sash of tucum
fibers (or any of the belts made of tucum) is rolled by women on their thighs
(Plate 18a-c). These
sashes are green from the color of fresh tucum fibers before they are used and
These same sashes of tucum
string, when worn by the Pepkahàk troops, are colored black from the
burned bark of the massaroc tree, or the burned seed (pit) of bacuri fruit (kumtsêê-ti-?khrã:
The third kind of ceremonial sashes are made of buriti bast rather than tucum strings. This kind of sash is worn by the Clowns (Më?khên yara-?pê) (Glossary). The ceremonial chief of the Clowns wears one (Plate 46b right), as well as all the Clowns at certain times (Plates 46a,d, 47b). They are also used by the women in the Festival of Oranges when they sing outside the village all night, before undertaking their sunrise "attack" on the village [IV.A.3.f.(5)] (Plate 54).
[II.G.3.b.(6)] Novice's Carved Staff With Tines (Pepyê yõõ khô) (Table 8, item 31; Plate 64d)
These sticks or staffs can be made of any wood, but they are almost always made of a wood that is naturally white. The yellow juice of the urucu root is used to color them. The naming-uncle provides the wood, and the novice does the carving. The important point in carving the wood is to make tines at the top of the staff which, when rubbed on the arms of the novice, make a little vibrating, humming sound. The purpose is to let the commandant know that the novice is in his cell without the commandant having to enter it. When he passes by the cell, on the path around the village just outside the houses, the commandant expects to hear the novice causing this humming noise. The staff is collected from the novice just as he is leaving his internment. There is no particular tradition for the disposal of these instruments.
[II.G.3.b.(7)] Cotton Bracelets With Tassels (pa-tsêê) (Table 8, item 34; Plate 60f)
The bracelets are made of cotton, and each are tied together with small strings made of tucum. They are worn by the girl associates and the young male singers who are apprenticed to the sing-dance leader of the Waytikpo ceremony in the Pepyê and Pepkahàk festivals. In the late afternoon just before the singers and girl associates leave the houses to perform in the Waytikpo ceremony (Plates 43a,c, 44e), they are given these cotton bracelets, without any paint on them. At the end of the Waytikpo ceremony, the young women whom the Pró-khãmmã have appointed to win the little back pendant gourds (krat-re) [II.G.3.a.(6)] of the two girl associates, also win the two sets of bracelets. Young men of the opposite age-set moiety from the Pepyê novices, or young men who are not members of the Pepkahàk, are assigned by the Pró-khãmmã to receive the wristlets of the young singing apprentices. The young men who win these bracelets must be great singers and are supposed to wear the ceremonial bracelets whenever they go out to the plaza to sing. In each case, their mother has spun the cotton, and a mother's brother has put the bracelet together for his nieces. A naming-uncle does this for his nephew.
[II.G.3.b.(8)] Occipital Hair Tie Of Cotton With Cane Rod Pendants (poopok) (Table 8, item 39; Plate 61b)
This artifact is made of
cotton, cane shoots, and two macaw tail feathers. Occipital hair is pulled through
the circle of cotton, fastening the pendant to the back of the head. Two macaw
tail feathers are placed into the cotton so that they stand up vertically behind
the head. A kind of cane (cana juba) is employed for the rest of the
artifact. Tubes about 30 to 38 centimeters long of this cane are hollowed out
so that cotton strings can be pulled through them and tied, hanging the tubes
vertically. There are maybe a dozen of them in this artifact.
This item can never be played
with, dirtied, or painted. Only white chalk [II.F.5.e] can be put on the cotton
part of the artifact. It is worn by the Visiting Chiefs (Tàmhàks)
in their very high ceremonial procession (poopok nã ipikamën:
poopok with procession) [III.C.7.a] [IV.A.3.c.(3).(e)] (Plate
This item must be made for
a Visiting Chief (Glossary) by
his father, not by his mother's brother. If he has no father, it must be made
by some other poopok wearer. The wearer should keep it from being soiled
and bring it out of its container only when he wears it in a Pepkahàk
festival. When he dies, it cannot be buried with him, nor can it be given to
his Formal Friend. It must be destroyed. More than any other artifact this is
the Canela sacred object.
Cylinders made of buriti frond stalks (puu-re) are used to store this pendant. The poopok is deposited in a cavity made in a buriti stalk. Then a lid is fitted over the cavity and tied down securely. This container is called a poopok kyên tsà (poopok storing instrument).
[II.G.3.b.(9)] Fish-Shaped Meat Pie Frame (tep yà?-kuupu: fish its-pie) (Table 8, item 43; Plate 67b)
These Fish festival [IV.A.3.c.(4)]
items are ordinary meat pies, that is, they are made of manioc flour with pieces
of meat added that are cooked under the ground in wild banana leaves (Plates
2023). These particular
meat pies are small in size, from less than 30 to about 45 centimeters long
at the most. They are placed inside a frame of branches from small trees. This
frame is curved into the shape of a fish and tied with bast. Fish fins are added
in the form of more bast tied to the frame. The bast is then made red with urucu
This is not an important
enough artifact for the uncles to be involved in its making. The father of the
Fish performer makes the frame in the form of a fish, and the mother paints
it and makes the meat pie. Each Fish society member carries this meat pie on
his shoulder as he tries to escape from the weir the Clowns have made in the
middle of the plaza, and runs to one of the houses which would be a place of
safety. To capture a Fish, a Clown merely takes this fish-shaped meat pie off
the running Fish society member's shoulder.
When they have captured all the Fish members' meat pies, the Clowns eat them (Plate 46a) and the frames are destroyed.
[II.G.3.b.(10)] Life-Size Body Mask (ku?khrùt-ti ?hô: water-beast large its-hair) (Table 8, item 47)
This principal item (Plates
48, 49) of the Masks' festival
[IV.A.3.c.(5)] completely covers a Mask society man. A particular Tôkaywêw-re
mask's bar (top horizontal supporting beam) is 103 cm acrossreally the
mask's width. This mask (Plate
48b) measures 155 cm from its bar to the ground, and its skirt is
82 cm wide and 49 cm high. The man inside such a mask supports this cross-beam
at the top of the inside of the mask with a soft, doughnut-shaped cushion of
buriti bast resting on his head. The "horns," which are tied to the
mask in the back, and also to the central beam, project diagonally to the right
and left at about 45 degrees from perpendicular. These horns are made of either
Brazil wood or purple wood.
Designs are painted on the
face of a mask to indicate the category and behavioral character of that mask.
About half a dozen categories of masks have designs that identify the personality
that the mask should act out. (For a full discussion of each Masks' construction
and behavior, see Nimuendajú, 1946:203205.)
The black color on the face
of the Tôkaywêw-re mask is burned bacuri fruit pit (kumtsêê-ti-?khrã),
or burned calabash shell. This is the principal coloring of the mask until the
terminal part of the festival when urucu (red paint) may be painted on the parts
of the face that are not black already.
At the end of the festival, the mask is given to the person with whom the mask owner has contracted as "mother" in the terminal part of the festival. After the festival the mask may be discarded and the horns are used for other purposes.
[II.G.3.b.(11)] Mask's Food-Spearing Stick (Table 8, item 48)
Such a stick is from 30 to 60 centimeters long and is traditionally made out of purple wood. Not a carefully made and carved instrument, it is just cut and rubbed smooth. There is no handle or string attached. The men wearing a mask use the stick to spear the food they are not supposed to touch with their hands during the festival.
[II.G.3.b.(12)] Occipital Hair Adornment Of Catolé Palm Frond (híwa?kèy) (Table 8, item 49)
The occipital hair adornment
of the Closing Wè?tè festival (Wè?tè yikuu-tsà
yõ?-híwa?kèy: Wè?tè terminating-ceremony
its híwa?kèy ) [IV.A.3.e] was used to tie the occipital hair of
male performers. It is made of catolé palm leaves (hot-re ?hô:
catolé-little its-leaf). These days this artifact is not used, but I
remember having seen it worn in the old Ponto village during a Closing Wè?tè
ceremony. The explanation from research assistants is that the younger people
do not know how to make it anymore.
The catolé leaves are held together by small bast cords that also come around the neck to hold the artifact in place. It is made by men for themselves. When it is no longer needed after one particular ceremony, it is simply thrown away.
[II.G.3.b.(13)] Padded Arrows (khrùwa kakot) (Table 8, item 35; Plate 63b)
These may more properly
be considered lances than arrows, because they have no rear tip feathers though
they.are launched from bows. These arrows are made of two different kinds of
cane: cana juba, which is like bamboo, though very thin and tough, and
therefore used for the smaller arrows; and of cana braba, which is smooth,
heavier, and longer, therefore used for the larger arrows.
These are padded arrows that are used at the end of the Fish festival and the three internment festivals (Glossary) to shoot at the runner who is trying to pass through the plaza, dodging arrows [II.F.2.c.(3)], carrying the ceremonial lance, and wearing the feathered warbonnet [II.G.3.a.(1),(2)].
[II.G.3.b.(14)] Padded Lances (Table 8, item 50; Plate 63a)
This lance (põõhù-?prè khãm khrúwa: corn husk-leaf on arrow) is made of cana juba, with corn husks to pad the point, and used only in the Corn Harvest ritual [II.F.2.c.(2)] [IV.A.5.d] (Plate 53). These husks are wrapped so that a pad is formed 4 to 5 centimeters in circumference.
[II.G.3.c] WOMEN'S ITEMS
The are few female body adornments, festival or otherwise. Most of the containers and work-oriented items, however, are used and owned by women.
[II.G.3.c.(1)] Belt Of Tucum Cords (i?pre) (Table 8, item 19; Plate 39d)
The woman's belt that traditionally was worn every day consists of three strands of tucum string (Plate 18a-c), which goes around the girl's waist, as many as 75 times. It is given by her naming-aunt [II.D.1.b] upon the girl's completion of her duty as a girl associate [II.D.2.f.(1)], and then painted by her mother-in-law [II.D.2.f.(2)] (Figures 48, 49). In earlier times such a belt was kept for the lifetime of the person, but these days they are seldom worn and often sold.
[II.G.3.c.(2)] Belt Of Shredded Bast (Table 8, no field number)
In earlier times, after childbirth, a woman wore a belt of shredded bast (hõl-ti), which are the fibers that can be stripped away from buriti palm frond leaves. It had a knot in front to show that she was undergoing restrictions, but when this belt was worn out, it was merely thrown away and not replaced. Another practice before the time of cloth, was for a woman to wear this same kind of belt band during her menstrual periods. It was painted red to show that she was in this condition so that men would not approach her [IV.B.1.f.(1)].
[II.G.3.c.(3)] Necklace Of Many Strings Of Ceramic Beads (Table 8, item 149; Plates 57b, 73c, 76g)
A very valued item is the
heavy necklace of ceramic beads with pendants. Ceramic beads made in eastern
Europe are assembled from various female kin in order to adorn girls from the
ages of about 6 through 17. The necklaces consist of anywhere from 10 to 50
strands of beads around the neck with a pendant extension in front, which often
has coins or medallions of the Virgin.
The Canela know what they prize in the quality of necklace beads: ceramic, not glass; fully colored, although not painted; dark reds, blues, and maybe oranges for people, but not yellows, greens, and blacks. These latter colors suit artifacts. The Apanyekra are not as particular.
[II.G.3.c.(4)] Dorsal Head-Strap Basket Of Buriti Stalk Surface Strips (khay) (Table 8, item 61)
This forehead strap basket
is the woman's work container for carrying heavy objects. She will use it to
carry such things as firewood, manioc roots, sweet potatoes, and fruits from
the cerrado and the farm plots to the village. The forehead carrying basket
is made only for and by women. It is only used by them and may never be made
or used by men.
The vertical strips that
give it strength are the bark taken off of the stem of the buriti frond, the
one that has balsa-like material as its core. The stem is called puu-re
(talo). These strips are known as puu-re yà?khà. The headpiece,
is called the khay yé?khô. There should be three of these
head straps in any proper head basket. Around the basket there should be cords
of buriti bast, which are called hal-tsêê. When a woman is
carrying a load that is high, these straps can be undone and used to support
the high part of the load.
The slightly flaring mouth
of this basket must be formed very precisely to be within Canela tradition and
not incur criticism. The Canela are very precise about this point of style.
When made for commercial purposes, the flaring at the mouth is usually omitted.
This basket will not be buried with a woman when she dies; it will just be torn apart and thrown away.
[II.G.3.d] MEN'S OBJECTS
Most of the body adornments, whether of festival or daily use, are worn by men.
[II.G.3.d.(1) ] Wooden Staff (khô-po) (Table 8, item 9; Plate 64e)
Made from any wood, this staff is usually four-sided and has a point at the end that can be stuck into the ground. It is used for killing game animals, for singing in the street when held horizontally, as a walking stick for old men, and, formerly, as a killing weapon in combat. A man may keep his staff until he dies. It is not buried with him but is given to the Formal Friend who is responsible for burying him. It used to be given by an uncle to his named-nephew, but this is no longer the case. It was not decorated in earlier times but now, because it is used as a commercial item, it is sometimes decorated with feathers or beads to make it more appealing.
[II.G.3.d.(2)] Wooden Club (khôtàà) (Table 8, item 10; Plate 63f)
In contrast to the wooden
staff, this club has a squared-off end. It is between 10 to 20 centimeters in
length, and was used for defense, especially by young people between 10 and
15 years of age. It can be made of any wood, although piqui (kaarà-mput-hê)
is probably the best kind.
Traditionally, it was not
decorated beyond making one half black and the other half white. It was always
round, with an indentation near its top, to accommodate a loop of tucum string
to hang it up by. Now the Canela make clubs that may be decorated with feathers
and beads for sale.
Youths make their own clubs and dance with them, as they are a symbol of maleness. They are not objects associated with any honor and are quite casually thrown away when not wanted anymore.
[II.G.3.d.(3)] Small Wooden Club (khôtàà-re) (Table 8, item 10; Plate 63f)
The Canela make small staffs of a related category (khôtàà-re) but with no points, and also small square clubs that were a form of art [II.G.1]. These items were very carefully carved and carried most of the time by their owner. A few examples of this sort were found in the late 1950s in the old village of Ponto. Better examples are in the museums of Germany where Nimuendajú sent them, and in the several museums in Brazil where he placed his collections. Pictures of this lost art are in Nimuendajú (1946, pl. 8b).
[II.G.3.d.(4)] Relay Race Batons (a?khrô-re) (Table 8, item 11; Plate 64a,b)
These are made of cane arrow material (khrúwa), measuring about ¾ meter in length, and come in pairs. In earlier times, they were never decorated, but now they may be adorned because of the desire to sell them in urban markets. They can be made by anybody, and they are throw-away items when they show some sort of wear.
[II.G.3.d.(5)] Headbands (i?khrã-?khà or hà?khà)
There are at least six types of these headbands, noted as follows.
[II.G.3.d.(5).(a)] Little Old Cerrado Deer (poo-tsém-re)
This type of headband is
made from strands of bast of dried and woven material. These items are made
and owned by their users, who are the young men in the age-set that is directly
above the novices.
Besides the circular headband, the item consists of two prongs, or forks, which emerge from the front and project slightly to the right and left. These prongs project at a 45- to 60-degree angle from the line of movement.
[II.G.3.d.(5).(b)] Headband Like A Calf
This headband like a calf (hà?khà ?te prùù-ti ?khra: headband made-like cattle's child) is also made of bast and the prongs in front extend to the right and left; the prongs are flat, that is, they are at 90 degree angles to the line of movement of the walking person. The flat extension in the front may be 15 to 20 centimeters in length. This headband is made of whole leaves that must be fresh and green. This headband is worn by the third and fourth age-sets above the novices; that is, by men in their late 40s, 50s, and early 60s.
This headband must be fresh and green, and is made of the whole inner leaf (bast) of the buriti palm frond. This headpiece is characterized by one solid band of leaf about 15 to 20 centimeters long. It is made and worn by men in their 60s and 70s.
[II.G.3.d.(5).(d)] Clown's Headband (hï or hï-?ti)
This headband is worn by the Clowns or by young men just barely out of their internment. It is made of dried, sometimes slightly twisted buriti bast, which may or may not be woven. Wearers must have participated in carrying the great log (Krówa-ti) in a Pepyê festival. This is used by the principal participants in the Festival of Oranges and by the Clowns in the Fish festival. Shreds of bast hang down on all sides. The front prongs point forward and may be forked. This headband also has a tail that goes down the back as far as the waist. This kind of headband may include the painted strip of a babacu palm leaf in front. In the Fish festival, these headdresses are made only by the ceremonial chief of the Clowns.
[II.G.3.d.(5).(e)] Older Person's Headband
These older persons' headbands (më-?khra-?tum-túwa yà?khà: people's child firm recently headband) are made of woven fibers pulled away from buriti fronds. They are often painted and sold. They usually have two prongs, which go to the right and left at an angle of 45 degrees. The sides of the headband are flat and can be decorated extensively. People in their 50s and 60s can wear this kind of headband. Men in their 40s must not be seen wearing such a headband.
[II.G.3.d.(5).(f)] Calf Headband (prùù-ti ?khra)
The front prongs in this item may be made of light (balsa) wood that comes from the stem (puu-re) of the buriti palm frond. This wood is made into a flat rectangular surface which can be painted in various ways. This item is a variation of the second headband [II.G.3.d.(5).(b)].
[II.G.3.d.(6)] Round Earlobe Spools (khuy) (Table 8, item 13; Plate 62a,b,c)
Earlobe spools (Nimuendajú,
1946, pl. 13a) (Plates 73e,
76a) are inserted into
openings made in the earlobes specifically for them (Plates
24, 25). First the ears
are pierced and wooden pins inserted; gradually the holes are extended by inserting
increasingly larger pins and spools until wheels of 5 to 8 centimeters across
can be placed within the earlobe opening. [II.D.3.b] [III.A.2.o] [IV.B.1.e].
The spools are always circular,
and can be made of different kinds of woods, but craíba (tôk-tsà)
is the best kind. They also can be made of solid chalk (khenpoy-re).
Chalk found near the Sítio dos Arrudas (Map
3) was used for this purpose. It may be pure white but often is partly rose
or reddish. The spools made of wood can be painted black, red, yellow, or any
available color. Some men roll fresh anajá frond leaves, forming a hollow
circle, and neatly place this circle inside their lobe holes.
These items are usually made by men for themselves and can be thrown away when the user is no longer satisfied with them.
[II.G.3.d.(7)] Wooden Earlobe Piercer (hapak katswèl tsà) (Table 8, item 55; Plates 62g, 68c)
In earlier times, a boy's ears were pierced when he was 9 or 10. Around the turn of the century, there were just two ear-piercing specialists in the tribe, who pierced all the boys' ears. The ear-piercing instruments, or awls (më hapak katswèl-tsà: Timbira-Indians' ear piercing-instrument), were made of purple wood and were shaped with the teeth of a paca (kraa-tsà: paca-instrument). Nothing was put on the ear piercing instrument to make it slippery, but it was rubbed smooth with a sambaíba leaf (kràà-ti). An ear-piercing awl is not buried with its user and maker but is given to a relative (Nimuendajú, 1946:352 [ear lobes]) (Plates 24, 25).
[II.G.3.d.(8)] Buriti Bast Bag For First Earlobe Hole Pins (Table 8, item 56; Plate 62f)
This little container (po-re
yõõ paptu-re: pin-dim. its containing-thing dim.) of the first
earlobe pins that are put in a boy's ear is made in the style of the man's carrying
bag, the paptu. These pins are small and made of cane (cana juba). A
youth makes these pins just before and during the seclusion period for ear-piercing
[IV.B.1.e]. In a set there may be as many as a dozen pieces of cane, each pair
increasing slightly in diameter.
When the period of seclusion
is over, the youth who made the pins and the basket will put them in the hollow
of a great tree, perhaps a locust (ku?tàà). This will make
the earlobes become strong, so that they will not be weak and break easily.
The bag is made of ordinary bast and is fashioned by the young man himself.
[II.G.3.d.(9)] Necklaces (hõ?khre-tsêê) (Table 8, item 149; Plate 59a)
These necklaces (hõ?khre-tsêê:
throat-thing) were originally made of shredded bast, dried and rolled back together.
They consisted of many strands, which hang down onto the chest.
Another kind of necklace is 20 to 30 loops of tucum worn in the same way. When painted black, this is what the Pepkahàk wear.
[II.G.3.d.(10)] Plaited Shoulder-Armpit Diagonal Sashes (hara-?pê) (Table 8, item 16; Plate 58a)
These decorative items come in pairs and in two kinds of materials. They can be made either of tucum or of woven bands of shredded bast. In the latter case they can be very decoratively painted.
[II.G.3.d.(11)] Armlets (hara-khat-tsêê) (Table 8, item 17e) And Leglets (i?te-tsêê) (Table 8, item 17f)
Such items are worn around
the upper arm (hara-khat-tsêê), above the wrist (i?pa-tsêê),
just below the knee (i?khõn-tsêê), or just above the
ankle (i?te-tsêê). They can be made of fresh buriti fronds,
fresh babacu fronds, or bast (hõl-ti). These bands around the
arms and legs are used for decoration when dancing and singing, and even racing.
They were used only after a novice had graduated, and up to the age of about
60. Men use all of the four possible positions for armlets and leglets, but
women only use wristlets.
In earlier times, men wore
long strings of cotton which were wound from their wrists part of the way up
their forearm, with no loops overlapping (Table
8, item 17d). Then this wrapping was well painted with urucu. These were
called katsàt-te ?pa-?khà i?kaypre (cotton-made forearms'-skin
wrapped-up). Almost any artifact that is made of cotton must be fabricated by
women. However, men do make these items for themselves.
The Canela used to make wristlets of wood for male babies (më-?ka?pôt pa-tsêê: they-infant forearm-attachment) (Nimuendajú, 1946, pl. 13b) (Table 8, item 17c; Plate 60e) between the ages of 6 and 9 months (Table 9, stages 4, 5). These wristlets were used to remind parents to keep up certain food and sex restrictions for the welfare of the baby [IV.D.3.e]. The naming-uncle carved the wristlet for his nephew, and they were often kept for years because the carving was of such good quality. Nothing similar was made for baby girls.
[II.G.3.d.(12)] Belt With Tail Of Buriti Frond Straw (tsoo-re yapùù) (Table 8, item 18; Plate 58b)
This item, worn only by men, is frequently seen. It is a belt made of 20 to 30 strands of bast with a tail that may be ¼ to ½ meter long and can be painted in any way. These items are very informally made, can be worn at any time, and are simply thrown away when they become somewhat used.
[II.G.3.e] MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
While the Canela have developed the human voice as a musical instrument, they have no instruments of musical precision except the maraca, a percussion instrument. They have no instruments that are tuned to a certain pitch or that can accompany a melody [II.F.1.a].
[II.G.3.e.(1)] Cattle Horn (hõ?hi) (Table 8, item 20a; Plate 65c.)
Canela horns are used as
noise makers and so do not stress pitch and rhythm. They use horns to increase
noise and therefore excitement during daily dances, log races, and festivals.
Horns are used only by males.
The cattle horn is made
from the actual horns of cattle. First the horn is scraped clean, then it is
fitted into a bamboo (po?he) shaft in which a mouthpiece hole has been
cut. The hole is approximately 3 to 4 centimeters by 2 ½ centimeters.
These horns have cotton
pendants and are often wrapped in cotton from the horn to the open end of the
bamboo shaft mouthpiece. They can be decorated with the hoof tips of cerrado
deer, as well as aboriginal beads (akàà) and beeswax (pen-hê).
Only men blow horns (Plate 56a),
and generally it takes a young man with good teeth to do so with good results.
The blowing action and lip control are similar to what is needed for a trombone,
but the aperture (mouth piece) is elongated, not circular.
Such horns are used to enhance movement and gaiety during festivals [II.F.1]. In earlier times, apart from the festivals, such horns were not supposed to be blown except to signal that danger was coming; the enemy, a jaguar, or a threatening wild beast. Horns are not buried with the owner but are given to someone else after the owner has died.
[II.G.3.e.(2)] Gourd Horn (pàtwè) (Table 8, item 20b; Plate 65d)
A gourd horn is made from a large gourd attached to a bamboo shaft, which is hollowed out in the same way as the shaft of the cow's horn, but it is easier to blow. The gourd horn is blown in the same way and used for the same occasions as the cow's horn.
[II.G.3.e.(3)] Gourd Rattle (ku?tõy) (Table 8, item 21; Plate 65a)
This is a completely round
gourd or calabash: Crescentia cujete. It is pierced by a spike of purple
wood so that the gourd has a handle and a point coming out the opposite side
with which to stick the gourd into the ground (Nimuendajú, 1946:114)
(Plate 32b,c). Into
the gourd are placed little balls (pam-ti ?-hù: [small banana
braba tree -aug.] its-seed: caroço da flor). These are seeds that
grow in the forests but can also be raised in a farm plot. The gourd rattle
(maraca) can be hung by a strap through the handle. This strap is made of cotton
which is always thoroughly impregnated with urucu.
Only urucu may be put on a gourd rattle. The instrument is difficult to make and is not buried with its owner, but rather is given to some other sing-dance leader.
[II.G.3.e.(4)] Gourd Whistle (ku?khõn-re) (Table 8, item 22)
In earlier times a little
ocarina of this sort was made for a youth by one of his lovers-never by his
wife. Youths who were going to receive such a gourd made the holes in it, but
their lovers made the loops of tucum string and assembled the beads and other
decorations. When a young man appeared with such an object, everybody knew that
he had a lover. It was hung on a tucum sash, going from his right shoulder to
under his left armpit. The little gourd whistle was tied to this sash as were
some other items, such as strands of beads with cerrado deer hoof tips at the
end of each string. In earlier times, there was one larger hole for whistling
and two small holes for the fingers in order to vary the sound. But these days
there are three or four holes for the fingers.
These gourd whistles are
not intended to produce the whole range of tones. No Canela expects to be able
to whistle songs in this manner. The notes produced by this instrument are haphazard
and by chance and only serve to provide joyful noises and to keep everybody
happy [III.B.1.c.(4)]. The blowing action is like that of a flute, not an ocarina.
Such instruments can be blown while young people are dancing in the plaza, and
formerly were almost always played just after the early morning dance while
young people were going to bathe in the swimming spots (Map
Only urucu may be put on such an artifact, and it is not.buried with its owner. The deceased person's Formal Friend, the one who is in charge of digging the grave, takes it [IV.B.3.c].
[II.G.3.e.(5)] Straight Wooden Whistle (ku?khõn-khrèt) (Table 8, item 23; 65b)
Such a musical item is
made of wood that is hollowed from one end. One cross-sectional hole is made
into the hollowed out center, and a player blows across the hole to produce
the sound (as with the gourd whistle), but the action is like that of a flute.
The sound is varied by the player putting his finger in and pulling it out of
the longitudinal hollowed-out space. These wooden whistles are made by men since
women do not carve items of wood.
I only very rarely saw such
a wooden whistle in use (Plate
57a), whereas gourd whistles were very frequently used.
All of the instruments that
produce musical sounds through blowing breath into them are called i?kaakhôl-tsà
(breath blowing instrument). The gourd rattle, in contrast, is described as
an i?kayrõn-tsà (rotating instrument).
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