We are the Parintintin, Jiahui and Piraha
In southern part of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the pressure is increasing dramatically on the rich forests and people living there. In one of Regnskogföreningen’s projects, the support goes to three indigenous groups: Parintintin, Jiahui and Pirahã.
The texts below are taken and slightly modified from the website of "Indigenous Peoples in Brazil" in August 2022 (references given in the text). Much more information can be found there.
Training in environmental law to Parintintin and Jiahui, May 2022. Picture: Kanindé
“Kagwahiv” is the self-denomination of a number of small groups in the region of the middle and upper Madeira River and central Rondônia that speak a language of the Tupí-Guaraní family and share features of social structure. Today the various tribes that call themselves Kagwahiv are known by separate names, many of them given by enemy groups. Presently, the surviving Kagwahiva are the following: Jiahui, Tenharim, Parintintin, Juma, Uru-eu-wau-wau, Amondawa, Karipuna, besides some possibly isolated groups.
The northernmost is known as Parintintin, and are mainly argicultalists, fishermen, and gatherers. Following contact with Brazilians in 1946, a population of 4,000 at the time was eventually reduced to 120 after Brazil's second rubber boom and the construction of the Trans-Amazon highway in 1970s. Further colonization of the Amazon basin led to the spread of diseases that the Parintintin were not prepared for.
As of today, the Parintintin have a population of around 400 and live in three villages on two indigenous territories (TIs): TI Ipixuna (215,362 hectares), and TI Nove de Janeiro (228,777 hectares). See more here.
The Jiahui live in the south of the State of Amazonas. Historical circumstances have caused the near extinction of the group. Their traditional lands have been occupied by ranchers and the Jiahui have come to live together with other indigenous groups or in nearby cities. In the midst of conflicts, the process of regaining indigenous territory was begun in 1998, in which the Jiahui have sought to reorganize themselves in order to guarantee their physical and cultural survival.
The Jiahui, people of the Tupi-Guarani language family, are a subgroup of the Kagwahiva. Today, they are only around 50 individuals. The moment that these people are living is very special. From a population which was considered extinct, they have begun to reorganize, they have re-occupied their traditional territory and they intend to recompose their fragments, seeking those who live in other villages and even in nearby urban centers. What is important is that, although they have gone through a period of dispersion, they have never totally lost contact. Many of them know how to locate their kin, even tracing their genealogical relations. See more here.
The Pirahã call themselves hiaitsiihi, a category of human beings that differentiates them from whites and other indigenous people. The current Pirahã population is approximately 360 people and live in the municipality of Humaitá in Amazonas state.
They possess an elaborate naming system intimately connected with their cosmology. Even before birth, while still in the maternal womb, they receive their first name: this name is believed to be responsible for the creation of their bodies. During life, they receive further names from beings dwelling in higher and lower layers of the cosmos, responsible for the creation of their souls and destinies, as well as names from war enemies. Hunting is a seldom practiced activity, though it may be undertaken by men and women. Gathering is a daily activity among the Pirahã, pursued in both the dry season and rainy season, by men and women. See more here.
Regnskogsföreningen has just recently started to support these people and this far only to a limited extent. Our intention is to continue the support. Our direct partner is the NGO Kanindé, based in Rondônia.