Identification. The Kagwahiv, known in Brazilian literature as "Parintintin," are a small, once warlike, Tupíspeaking tribe, who during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries terrorized rubber gatherers along 400 kilometers of the Rio Madeira, driven there from the Rio Tapajós in the mid-nineteenth century. The popular denomination "Parintintin" may be of Mundurucu derivation, although it does not fit Mundurucu phonological patterns (Robert Murphy, personal communication). The group's name for itself, "Kagwahiv," in its widest sense encompasses "friendly people," as opposed to the tapy'yn, "enemy."
Location. Pacified in 1923 (a classic pacification led by Curt Nimuendajú), the Kagwahiv now live in clusters of small settlements scattered along tributaries through the territory they once dominated, which borders the east bank of the Rio Madeira from the Rio Marmelos (8° S) to the mouth of the Machado. To the west, they fought with the Pirahã and Diahoi for control over the Marmelos. The hostile groups with which they were surrounded included the Brazilian rubber tappers along the Madeira, the indigenous tribes they found in the area when they arrived (of which the Mura Piraha are the chief survivors), and a number of small, culturally and linguistically affiliated tribes—the Pai'i and Kutipai'i, the Diahoi, the Jupa (Bocas Pretas), and the Apeiran'di to the south; the Juma, west of the Madeira; and the Tenharem, who share the Kagwahiv moiety system. Only the last two survive as cultural entities.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Kagwahiv speak a TupíGuaraní language of the "h" variety, one of several closely related dialects spread along the Madeira and Machado rivers, which include the Tupí-Cawahib. They are one of the group of upper Tapajós tribes denoted by Carl Friedrich von Martius "Central Tupí," which includes Kayabi and Apiaca.