Kuikuru - History and Cultural Relations

The Kuikuru became a separate village following a split in a parent community. The leader of the dissident Kuikuru faction brought his group to the shores of Lake Lamakuka, where they settled, occupying four successive sites over the next hundred years. Around 1962 they left this locale and moved north, setting up a new village on the east bank of the Rio Arjafuku, an eastern tributary of the Kuliseu. Around 1973 they moved again, to a site about 3 kilometers southeast of this earlier one, near a small lake. While the Kuikuru were residing in their two most recent locations, some 50 of their number left the village over allegations of witchcraft and went to live in the Yawalapití village near the Leonardo Villas Boas Indian Post; the two groups reunited in the main village in 1976.

Near the Kuikuru in the upper Xingu Basin are villages representing four different language families: Carib (Kalapalo, Nafukuá, Matipú), Arawak (Waurá, Mehinaku, Yawalapití), Tupían (Kamayura, Auetí), and the isolated Trumai. These groups, the so-called Xinguanos, isolated for centuries from surrounding tribes, are all very similar culturally and engage in joint ceremonies and sporting events, trade with each other, and intermarry. There has been no warfare among these nine upper Xingu villages since they were discovered by Karl von den Steinen in 1884Hostilities have occasionally occurred, however, between Xinguano villages and surrounding groups of "Wild Indians" such as the Suyá, Shavante, Chukahamay (Mekranotí), and Txikão.

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