Craho - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Craho society is organized on an egalitarian basis according to sex, age, and kinship.

Political Organization. If the context of Brazilian domination is disregarded, each Craho village is an autonomous political unit. Village headmanship is not inherited and is not for life. The headman, pahí, has power so long as his faction supports him. He must maintain the peace in the village and act as mediator in the relationships between villagers and Whites. Two kokatê administer daily activities, collective works, and meat distribution after a collective hunt. They are selected at the begining of each rainy or wet season, one from each season moiety and from a different age moiety. A rites director, inkrerekatí or pad-ré (from the Portuguese word for priest), is usually appointed for life, having been previously trained by his predecessor. The men who have played the kokatê role form a village council, which meets every morning and, sometimes, in the evening.

There are some honorary roles with political importance, such as the headman's wife; the wutu, girls or boys associated with an age segment of the opposite sex (adult men, adult women, boys, or girls), who are regarded as kin of everybody and guardians of peace in the village; and the honorary chiefs, individuals of any age associated with the opposite-sex members of another village—they are the focal points in the network of friendly relations between the villages. A village can have honorary chiefs in all other Craho villages, in other Timbira or Sherente villages, and even among the White men in large cities. Among the regional Whites, the Chaho have Roman Catholic coparents. To a large extent, social control is maintained by a system that emphasizes the avoidance of conflicts and only tolerates brusque or violent men who can show courage to outsiders. Gossip is an important informal source of social control.

Conflict. There can be confrontation between factions gathered around kinship relationships. Some factions can get help from another village or from FUNAI officials. Rivalry between factions can take the form of accusations of sorcery, but nowadays these confrontations never result in open conflicts. The last execution of a sorcerer was in 1959, and the last war expedition (although it did not engage in battle) was sent against an Apinayé village in 1923. Recently, Craho warriors were sent to help the Apinayé against regional Whites who were threatening to take their land.

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