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ETHNONYMS: Anambe, Amanayé (Manayé), Turiwara


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-Indiansa 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.

History and Cultural Relations

From time immemorial the Anambé had lived at the headwaters of the Rio Pacajá Grande de Portel; in 1842 they moved to the district of Baião on the left bank of the Tocantins. They were led by a chief and appeared willing to settle. The Anambé were already pacified, having had contact with Whites for the previous twenty years. The leader of the group told the naturalist Ferreira Pena, who visited them in 1864, the following story about the origin of the tribe: "For many years they had been living on the Pacajá Grande led by a single chiefa wise warrior who came from the west. Many years later the Europeans arrived and began hostilities against the tribe. After that the Jesuit missionaries arrived and initially showered them with friendship. However, soon after they began to separate wives from their husbands, taking many of them to where the present city of Portel is located: the men to work clearing land and making canoes and the women as domestic servants. This displeased the members of the tribe who no longer obeyed a single chief and began to form separate groups. Later the Jauodité-Tapuíra Indians, reputed to be cannibals, appeared on Pacajá Grande. After attacking the Anambé they left the area. For their part, the Anambé from Tocantins, dissatisfied with the behavior of the Indian leader Manoel Luiz, separated from the group and went to found another village on the headwaters of the Rio Caraipé, taking the Indian José Pacheco as their chief (Magalhães 1864, 40-41). After having crossed the Tocantins to the right bank, they clashed with the Western Gaviões (Parkateyé) who pushed them out of the headwater region of the Rio Moju. They crossed the dividing waters between the Moju and the Cairari rivers and settled in Sipoteua. There they were encountered by the businessman Bernardino Inácio dos Santos who also acted in the capacity of a Protestant cleric and established friendly relations with them.

Between 1948 and 1968 the contacts between the Anambé and the local Brazilians took on a definitive pattern. Until then, the Brazilian penetration and settlement of the Rio Cairari had reached from the mouth of the Rio Moju to the town of Repartimiento, where a population of Pentecostals of the Assembly of God from Mocajuba were establishing themselves. South of that settlement, the Anambé were the only permanent and settled inhabitants. Nonetheless, from 1950 on, the extraction of wood and macaranduba latex attracted new settlers. Besides a number of families that lived between Repartimento and Alto Cairari, it was usually entrepreneurs and around 200 workers, coming from two municipalities of Mocajuba, Baião, and Cametá, who dispersed themselves over the area each year. The Anambé rarely took on those jobs. Under the paternalistic influence of the businessman who managed them and who felt they were too weak to work in heavy lumbering, they were employed as suppliers of skins, game, flour, copal, jutaicica resins, and auxiliary services. Even though this was disadvantageous to the Anambé in terms of income, it enabled them to maintain group cohesion in a single village and to survive as a tribal unit apart from the Brazilians. In 1973 some Indians joined the woodcutting crews as salaried workers and were employed by two contractors who used to carry on business dealings with a sawmill in Moju. Other Indians, however, preferred to negotiate on their own with a middleman who traveled throughout the area.

In 1982, in view of the already increasing invasion of the general Cairari region, FUNAI was able to convince the Anambé to move to the Indian reserve in Alto Guamá, which was occupied by the Tembé Indians, with whom the Anambé had cultural affinty. Meanwhile, having clashed with settlers who had invaded the Guamá reserve and finding themselves unable to adapt to the area (which was deficient in fish and wildlife), the Anambé decided to return to Cairari. They did this despite the fact that FUNAI had removed twenty-two settlers and their families from the reserve territory, leaving more than 100 tarefas (25 hectares) planted with manioc, bananas, and peppers. In 1983, when the Anambé returned to the Cairari region, they seized about 1,700 logs of wood and a number of trees felled by the invaders who by then had occupied the area for about ten years. The Anambé gave them a time limit of two years in which to leave the area. By the 1990s the dispersion of the Anambé had ceased, probably partly because of assistance received from FUNAI and partly because the Anambé are demonstrating the ability to integrate recent arrivals into their group.


From the time of their settlement on the Cairari, where Brazilian occupation was sparse, the Anambé considered as theirs the land from mid-river of the Lago Grande up to its headwaters. However, the now-defunct Indian Protection Service (SPI) never tried to legalize the ownership of these lands for the Anambé, and eventually the Indians found themselves encroached upon by an expansive national frontier. Finally, in the 1980s, and upon a proposal made by the Indians through the agency of the Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI-Norte II), the Anambé were allotted an area on the right bank of the Cairari, between the Carrapatal waterway and Lake Comprido. The only homesteader territory was indemnified, and an area of 7,912 hectares and 42 kilometers in perimeter was demarcated and legalized on behalf of the Indians. Within thie area, local groups have rights only to their houses and plantations, and only for as long as these are maintained. In 1968 the only existing village (Jací-Tatã) was located on the bank of the Rio Cairari, on high ground with six large houses scattered about without any plan, orientation, or alignment. They were rectangular, with thatched saddle roofs and no side or front walls. Floors consisted of split palm stems. Three of the houses were occupied by nuclear families and one by an extended family. One was uninhabited and another was used for making farinha or cassava meal. The only piece of furniture in the houses was a cotton hammock (of the Cearense type), which must have been commercially acquired as indigenous hammocks were not made locally. After returning to the reserve in Guama, the Anambé first lived like their Brazilian neighbors, waiting for their crops to ripen. Then they returned to the interior of the region that they had formerly occupied and set about building houses in the regional style with straw or wooden roofs.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Anambé derive their subsistence from hunting, fishing, agriculture, and the gathering of wild fruits. At present they use shotguns for hunting and cotton or nylon lines with steel hooks for fishing. Occasionally, however, they still use the bow and arrow. The Anambé plant mainly bitter and sweet manioc, maize, pumpkins, bananas, beans, sugarcane, papayas, and pineapples; lately they have also been growing rice and tobacco. Fields are cleared of trees and bushes in the jungle or in secondary-growth areas using machetes or steel axes, and sickles and hoes are used for planting and harvesting. Domestic groups, as a rule, plant their fields separately. Sometimes they also clear a larger area and divide the harvest proportionately among those who participated in the work. In the preparation of meal or tapioca, fermented cassava dough is mixed with grated manioc. In this process the Anambé use mortars and pestles, plaited cylindrical manioc presses (tipitis ), troughs from old canoes, graters made from tin cans, and ovens made from steel drums. The Anambé stopped making manioc beer (caxiri ) a long time ago.

Besides the extractive products previously mentioned (timber, latex, and resins), the Anambé also sell surplus products, as well as the hogs, ducks, and chickens they raise. Until the end of the 1960s all Anambé commercial dealings were with a single dealer. Soon thereafter they began selling their products to traders and some moved to the city of Mocajuba, where they could sell their products for cash and for higher prices than those offered by traders or local bosses, from whom they generally did not receive cash. The Anambé acquire items such as clothes, shoes, salt, sugar, coffee, tobacco, matches, shotguns, nets, lead sinkers, gunpowder, and fishhooks and fishing lines from stores.

Industrial Arts. The Anambé make straw carrying baskets, fans, and plaited straw sieves, as well as small plaited and coiled baskets in which to keep odds and ends. Plaited manioc presses, which are arduous to make, are bought from stores in the region. The Anambé no longer make pottery; they prepare their food in earthen ovens, on open fires, and over metal grates using metal pots. From wood, in addition to bows and arrows, they make mortars, pestles, and spindles. The small canoes that the Anambé use are bought from Brazilian caboclos. Although the Anambé still spin cotton, they do not now make hammocks, instead purchasing them from the regional market. They no longer have any knowledge of featherworking.

Division of Labor. The men hunt, fish, make wooden items and baskets, and clear fields. Planting is a mixed activity, but harvesting is mainly done by women. Both men and women carry burdens and collect wild fruit.

Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kinship and Descent. The Anambé traditionally were organized in extended families; owing to modern influence, however, the nuclear family now predominates. In 1968 there was only one domestic group that could be considered an extended family. No information has been obtained regarding lines of descent or rules of residence. Among the available publications, only one includes a list of kinship terms, but it is incomplete. It is therefore impossible to correctly describe or analyze the Anambé terminological system with any degree of accuracy.

Marriage. Marriage can be polygynous, including marriage with outsiders. Even though women now marry when they reach puberty, monogamous unions predominate, mainly because of a shortage of available women. Because of the reduction in the group's population and because its members are closely related, marriage to people outside the group has come to be preferred.

Domestic Unit. In 1968 there were four domestic groups in the village, one formed by an extended family and the other three by nuclear families. Outside the village there were other nuclear families, formed by native women married to men from the local population. As of the early 1990s, families that were formed by those out-marrying groups are returning to the village.

Socialization. The education of children takes place within the family. Parents transmit traditional sociocultural values, although these have changed perceptibly since contact with the outside world. In earlier years, children were not sent to regional schools to be educated because such institutions were far removed from the native area. Then, in 1984, CIMI-Norte II and the vicar from Mocajuba made formal education available in a village school. The teacher was a local man who had married an Indian woman. The school was short-lived, however. In 1989 FUNAI set up a permanent village school that provides education for some thirty-four pupils.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Information about the Anambé in historic times is unreliable, and nothing is known about their social organization, social stratification, lineages, or name transmission. The Anambé have by now almost totally lost their traditional social organization.

Political Organization. The schema of traditional Anambé political organization is likewise unknowable. One man, Aypan, had functioned as the group's leader since the 1950s, but after a few years he ceased to have any real leadership role and held little more than a status position. Following Aypan's death in the 1980s, two other Indians were chosen to take the positions of chief and subchief. One was chosen because of his experience with the outside world. The other took on the role of chief in the absence of the former. The Anambé received no help from the SPI, which never played a guardianship role. In this it was quite different from FUNAI, which has begun to exercise such a role through an administrative unit installed in the village.

Social Control. Despite a long series of crises, the Anambé succeeded in maintaining a degree of internal cohesion that became more significant after the group's return from the Indian reserve on the Rio Guamá. According to information furnished by CIMI-Norte II, the more representative members of the group have been able to begin "indianizing" non-Indian elements in the community.

Conflict. Like other native societies, the Anambé historically had both inter- and extratribal conflicts. They also came into conflict with the Jesuits as these began submitting the Anambé to a process of disintegrationseparating the men from the women and designating them to carry out work for third parties away from their homes. Little is known about the period after the Anambé had moved to the right bank of the Tocantins except that they fought with the western Gaviões, who forced them to move to another territory. Since 1950, there has been friction between the Anambé and settlers who have invaded their territory. This, however, has been counteracted by the establishment of the reserve that was assigned to them in 1982.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Traditional religious ideology and mythology have been totally lost. Christian concepts were initially incorporated through the influence of the Catholic church. In the 1940s a Protestant minister tried to convert the Anambé but was unsuccessful. At present they are influenced both by Catholic priests and by members of the Pentecostal community (Vila Erlim) located in the vicinity of the village.

Religious Practitioners. In 1948 the Anambé had two shamans. In 1968, after both had died, there was no one else to take on this role, and the group leader, Aypan, refused to assume the office. In 1990, there were neither shamans nor other religious practictioners in the village.

Ceremonies. The Anambé long ago stopped conducting puberty rites or any other rituals.

Arts. As traditional rites were abandoned, related songs and dances were also forgotten. Moreover, as the Anambé abandoned these practices, they stopped making musical instruments as well as body ornaments and other typical native artifacts. According to the Anambé, several of their songs were known only to Aypan.

Medicine. Once the Anambé no longer had shamans, adult Indians generally continued to employ herbal medicaments in treating illness. For more serious illnesses, they try to obtain treatment in the city of Mocajuba, sometimes using an intermediary to take them to the hospital; they also go to Belém do Pará, where they are treated by FUNAI's regional delegation.

Death and Afterlife. The Anambé practice direct burials in rectangular graves, using wooden coffins just like those used by the Brazilians in the area. Whereas in former times they buried their dead in the vicinity of the village, nowadays they are taken to the nearest village cemetery. The Anambé now adhere to Christian concepts regarding an afterlife.


"Anambé" (1985). In Povos indígenas no Brasil, edited by Carlos Alberto Ricardo. Vol. 8, Part 2, Sudeste do Pará (Tocantins ), 151-161. São Paulo: Centro Ecumênico de Documentação e Informação (CEDI).

Arnaud, Expedito, and Eduardo Galvão (1969). "Notícoa sôbre os índios anambé (Rio Cairari, Pará)." Boletim Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, n.s., Antropologia, 42:1-11.

Figueiredo, Napoleão (1983). "Os Anambé." In Cultura indígena: Textos e catálogos, 73-78. Belém: Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi.

Magalhães, Couto de (1864). Relatório dos negócios da Província do Pará seguido de urna viagem ao Tocantins até a Cachoeira das Guaribas e às bacías dos rios Anopu. Pará: Relatónos e Falas do Presidente da Provincia do Para....

Nimuendajú, Curt (1948). "The Anambé." In Handbook of South American Indians, edited by Julian H. Steward. Vol. 3, The Tropical Forest Tribes, 199-202. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 143. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

EXPEDITO ARNAUD (Translated by Ruth Gubler)