Anambé - Orientation

Identification. In the Tupí-Guaraní language, the word "Anambé" is applied to various species of birds. "Amanayé" (Manayé) means an association of people, and the expression "Turiwara" was used to designate a group of Indians from the Rio Turi region in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. Until the first decade of the twentieth century, the Anambé continued to be identified by their original name. Later, after they had left their ancient territory, they were confused with, first, the Amanayé, who inhabited the Rio Capim area, and later with the Turiwara who were then living on the Rio Cairari (an affluent of the Moju). Finally, as of 1969, in their contacts with Whites, they again identified themselves as Anambé.

Location. The Anambé were first sighted in 1842 on lands located on the left bank of the Rio Tocantins (in the state of Pará)—that is, at the headwaters of the Rio Pacajá Grande de Portel (4° to 5° S and 50° to 51° W). In 1842 an Anambé subgroup appeared in the district of Baião, also on the left bank of the Tocantins. In 1874 the presence of another group of Anambé-Curupity was recorded, which at that time joined the subgroup living in Baião. On a map published by the government of Para in 1908 the Anambé were assigned to the area between the Pacajá and Irinynauá rivers. Around 1940-1950 they were considered extinct, but this was not the case. They had moved to the right bank of the Tocantins, finally settling on the Rio Cairari. At first confused with the Amanayé and Turiwara, they later assumed their original name (Anambé). In 1982 the Fundação Nacional do Indio (National Indian Foundation, FUNAI) had moved the Anambé to the Indian reserve of the Tembé, located on the Rio Guamá. They were not able to adapt, however, and returned to their former territory on the Rio Cairari.

Demography. Early in 1850 the Anambé population was estimated at 600 individuals. In 1862 the group made up of Anambé and Curupity numbered around 250; in 1874 this number was reduced to 46. In the following year, 34 people having died from smallpox, the 12 survivors joined the other group that had already settled on the bank of the Rio Tocantins. In 1940 there were 60 individuals living in a village located on the upper Cairari, but in 1948 the group consisted of barely 32 individuals, including a Brazilian caboclo married to an Indian woman. Twenty years later (1968), the group had been reduced to 19 individuals, consisting of 11 men (6 above the age of 15, 5 below) and 8 women (7 above the age of 15, 1 below). In the following year (1969) there were 22 individuals living in the village of Jací-Tatã (20 Indians and 2 mestizos); 4 Indians and 2 mestizos lived outside the village. In 1984, according to a survey made by the Second Regional Delegation of FUNAI of the indigenous population in the Cairari area, there were 32 people: 20 Indians and 12 non-Indians—a total of eight families distributed in four village houses. Living outside the immediate area, but in the vicinity, were another four Anambé families: in three cases indigenous women were married to Whites, and in the fourth an Indian was married to a White woman. Some of those families, consisting of 12 individuals, were building houses within the indigenous area. In Mocajuba there lived two Anambé women, as well as a boy whose mother was an Anambé. Other Anambé lived dispersed on the banks of the Cairari, at the headwaters of the Rio Moju.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Anambé speak a language of the Tupí-Guaraní Language Family, similar to the languages spoken by the Guajajára-Tenetehara, Tembé, and Turiwara. All the Anambé over 40 years of age still speak the traditional language, and almost all in the 20to 30year-old age bracket still understand it. In general, they speak Portuguese fluently.


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