ETHNONYMS: Parintintin, Tenharém, Juma, Urueu-wauwau, Karipuna
Identification and Location. Kagwahiv is the self-designation of a number of small groups that live in the region of the middle and upper Madeira River and central Rondônia, fragments of a "Cauahiba" tribe that in the early nineteenth century lived on the upper Tapajós. The groups that call themselves Kagwahiv or Kagwahiva'nga all speak a language in the Tupí-Guaraní family and share features of social structure, including a pair of patrilineal exogamous moieties named for contrasting bird species. The self-designation Kagwahiv in its widest sense denotes "our people," as opposed to tapy'yn, "enemy."
Today the various groups that call themselves Kagwahiv are known by separate names, many conferred by enemy groups. The northernmost group is known as Parintintin, possibly from a Mundurucú designation. When this group was pacified in 1922, its territory extended on the eastern side of the Madeira from the Maicí and Ipixuna river drainages south to the mouth of the Machado. (The reservation now is cut off on the south by the Transamazon Highway.) East of that group are the Tenharem, who live along the Transamazon Highway east of the Marmelos River. Several other groups that occupied the area between the two—the Pãi'ĩ, the Kutipãi'ĩ, the Diahoi (Nimuendaju's Ojahub ), and the Jupa (Bocas Pretas)—are extinct as tribal entities, their few surviving members mostly having merged with the Parintintin and Tenharem. Nimuendajú (1924) speaks of a group he calls Apeirandé. The only Kagwahiv-speaking group to cross the Madeira was the Juma, of whom seven survivors (among thirty-eight at first contact) live on the west bank.
The southernmost groups are the Urueu-wau-wau (a name given by the Warí, meaning "flute players") and Amundava, who traverse the central Rondônia plateau and who were contacted by the FUNAI (Indian service) around 1980 after conflicts with settlers being introduced in the region. On the western end of the Rondônia plateau, north of the Paácas Novas Mountains, are the even more recently contacted Karipuna, whose name results from their being confused with a Carib group that used to be designated by that name and was settled in that area. One report mentions a group that the Warí call Oroín ("the painted ones"). To these groups may be added the Tupí-Cawahib visited by Lévi-Strauss on the upper Machado River; the Wyrafed, Paranauat, and Takwatyb that Rondon and Nimuendajú had earlier contacted; and the elusive Kagwahiv do Madeirinha on that affluent of the Rio Roosevelt, who continue to resist contact.
Linguistic Affiliation. Although there are slight differences from group to group, all these groups share a common Kagwahiv language, a Tupí-Guaraní language of the "h" variety characterized by gender-differentiated pronouns (ga and he ~). There are two major dialects: a northern dialect spoken by the Parintintin and Tenharem, along with the few surviving Juma, Pãi'i, and Diahoi among them, and a southern dialect spoken by the Urueu-wau-wau, Amundava, and Karipuna; these dialects are distinguished by small but significant differences in vocabulary. All are presumably descendants of the "Cabahyba" who inhabited the Tapajós headwaters in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, one of the group of upper Tapajós tribes designated by Carl Friedrich von Martius as "Central Tupí, " which included, besides the Kagwahiv, the Kayabí (whose language shares gender-differentiated pronouns) and the Apiacá.
History and Cultural Relations
There is a limited record of the Parintintin before their pacification by an expedition led by Curt Nimuendajú in 1923 except for melodramatic accounts of their raids on rubber tappers on the Madeira. Phonological affinities with the Urubú (Ka'apor) of Maranhão suggest a coastal origin, which is confirmed by legendary accounts of a journey upriver from a "land without water" to the present location, crossing an expanse in which the shore was out of sight for two days (possibly the lower Amazon).
The first historical references to the Kagwahiv or Cawahib do not occur until the end of the eighteenth century, when, according to Nimuendajú(1924), they were located at the confluence of the Arinos and Juruena rivers, which form the Tapajós. Nimuendajú reconstructed the history of their ancestral tribe, denoted the "Cabahyba" by Martius, from the first mention of them on the Tapajós in 1797. They were driven from the Tapajós by Portuguese-armed Mundurucú in the nineteenth century, scattering westward in several waves (Menenedez 1989) to the Madeira, where the Parintintin are now situated; to the Machado, where Lévy-Strauss and before him Rondôn and Nimuendajú encountered the "Tupí-Cawahíb"; and across the Machado to the central Rondônia highlands, where the Urueu-wau-wau, Amundava, and Karipuna are located.
Fission was a continuing process; a Pãi'ĩ chief described how the Kutipãi'ĩ split off from the Pãi'ĩ over a leadership issue. The many Kagwahiv groups at war with each other in the region might have split apart after arriving in the area or might have come successively from the Tapajós.
The Kagwahiv-Parintintin are a small, once warlike Kagwahiv group that after the mid-nineteenth century fought with rubber tappers along 250 miles (400 kilometers) of the Rio Madeira. Pacified in 1922, the Parintintin now live in clusters of small settlements scattered along tributaries throughout the territory they once dominated, which borders the eastern bank of the Rio Madeira from the Rio Marmelos (8° S) to the mouth of the Machado and east to the Maicí.
In the late nineteenth century Byahú (who died in an ambush by a Pirahã) may have been chief of all the Parintintin. After his death they divided into subregional groups: Byahú's son Pyrehakatú opened up the Ipixuna valley and became the chief there, and Diai'í led the upper Maicí region, where Nimuendajú established his pacification post. A third group farther south, near the mouth of the Machado, was led by Uarino Quatro Orelhas. After pacification, Indian Protective Service (SPI) posts were established at Canavial on the Ipixuna and near Calamas under Garcia de Freitas, who later turned it into his personal seringal (rubber producing estate). In 1942, when the SPI experienced a fiscal crisis, the SPI mandate was terminated on the pretext of punishing a rebellious appointed chief, Pyrehakatu's son-in-law Paulinho Neves (Ijet), who then became the Ipixuna area chief.
Groups of Parintintin also live near Tres Casas on the seringal of Manuel Lobo, who had called on the SPI to initiate the 1922 pacification. The post of a newly established reservation under the Pôrto Velho agency of FUNAI (the new Indian service) is located on the Maicí Mirim. In a new policy initiative for FUNAI, the chefe de posto (agent in charge of a contact post) is a Parintintin, as is the teacher.
Parintintin settlements were never very large and now average three to five nuclear families. The largest prepacification settlements of Pyrehakatú were little more than two or three times that size. Tenharem settlement was somewhat more nucleated owing to decades of subjugation to a Portuguese landowner. Settlements are typically located on igarapés (small waterways) for access to canoe transportation and aquatic resources, although the largest Tenharem concentration is now centered on the Transamazon Highway. Fewer water courses are available in the altiplano of Rondônia where the southern Kagwahiv are located, but even Urueu-wau-wau settlements are likely to be located near a stream.
Traditional settlements consisted of a single longhouse (ongá ) in which each nuclear family was allotted a segment between the central pillars and the outer wall stanchions to stretch its hammocks. Only exceptionally large settlements had two longhouses. Around the longhouse was a plaza (okará ) that was kept rigorously clear of growth, and a thriving settlement would be ringed by fruit trees. In the northern Kagwahiv groups that have a long history of contact, the ongá has been replaced by individual family houses in the style of Brazilian rubber tappers' houses, made of poles and thatch with one or two separate sleeping rooms and an open front room to receive guests. Three or four of these houses make up a present-day settlement. More recently contacted groups such as the Urueu-wau-wau and Amundaua retain the larger longhouse, to which they may return after a long visit to the FUNAI post.
Subsistence. The traditional Kagwahiv economy is based on hunting, fishing, the gathering of nuts and palm fruits, and shifting (slash-and-burn) cultivation. Fishing is done with a bow and arrow from canoes or, during the rainy season, from triangular platforms (mbytá ) made of poles tied between trees in the flooded forest. As the rains tail off, pools left in the forest by the receding waters are poisoned with timbó ; the vines are beaten against logs, and the stupefied fish are speared on the surface with fishing arrows. Hunting, now done with shotguns, was once done with feathered arrows of bamboo with notched hardwood tips inserted for small game or a larger corner-notched bamboo point attached to a hard-wood tip for larger game (or for warfare). Small catches of game or fish were distributed by the hunter according to family ties; larger catches were brought to the headman or the hunter's father-in-law (usually the same man), who would distribute it to the community according to the rules of allocation.
Shifting fields are cleared annually for gardening in jungle areas selected by the headman, who may assign specific areas to each family head. A man calls a collective work party to help clear the garden, repaying their labor with a feast. Women used to plant and harvest, although today this is increasingly done in family groups. Traditional crops included several varieties of maize that have been lost; now manioc and several varieties of potatoes and yams are cultivated. Fruit trees are planted in the garden areas close to the settlement site and also around the edge of the settlement clearing. Turtles are picked up in the forest, and turtle eggs laid on the beaches in dry season are gathered as a delicacy. Men cut down honey trees after the bees are smoked out.
Commercial Activities. Cash is needed to buy shotgun shells, metal tools, coffee, sugar, and clothing. The Parintintin and Tenharem buy some items they once made, such as hammocks. Economically dependent on gathering Brazil nuts and tapping rubber and sôrva (a latex from a jungle tree that is used in natural plastics and chewing gum), the Parintintin are hard-pressed economically. Exploitation of their resources by neighboring Brazilian settlers further threatens their livelihood. They are diminishing in numbers, counting fewer than two hundred individuals, many of whom oscillate between living on the reservation and working along the bank of the Madeira or in the nearby cities of Humaitá and Pôrto Velho. Men work in construction on the roads or in the cities, and women work as domestics. Some have achieved success as cooks or boatmen on recreios (passenger boats) and regatóes (vending or trading boats) on the Madeira, and a few work as translators and functionaries for FUNAI. One has achieved success in boat construction.
Industrial Arts. The main day-to-day vehicle for transportation is the canoe. Canoes are still made from hollowed tree trunks, but wooden canoes are often bought from Brazilians. Older Parintintin make excellent bows and arrows. Hammocks used to be woven from cotton planted in settlements; now they are made from the threads of worn-out commercial hammocks. Pottery has not been made in the memory of living informants. Purchased metal utensils are used for cooking; they were introduced before pacification during raids on rubber tappers' households, as were raised floors in houses.
Division of Labor. Traditionally, men cleared gardens in the dry season and women were responsible for planting, weeding, and harvesting food crops. Men, however, always gave some aid to their wives in weeding; working in the garden was understood to be a time for sexual activities as well. Today, under the influence of neighboring Brazilian settlers, harvesting manioc and other crops is much more a family activity. Men and women work together in the toasting of manioc flour and beijus (flat breadcakes made from manioc).
Traditionally, men hunted and women did most cooking, and this is still the case. Men now build the platforms for smoking cuts of large game for preservation. Women, and today some men, make excellent baskets, including carrying baskets for transport over trails. Women weave hammocks.
Children are often detailed to pick fruit from the settlement's fruit trees, and young boys shoot lizards and small fish with miniature bows and arrows.
Kin Groups and Descent. Nonlocalized exogamous patrimoieties are named after birds: among the Parintintin, the mytũ (mutum, or curassow, a ground-dwelling game bird) and the kwandú (harpie eagle), with the latter also being associated with the red-headed macaw, taravé. While all Kagwahiv groups have the mytũ as one moiety, the other moiety is identified with different macaws in each case: taravé for the Tenharem and Parintintin, kanindé (the blue and yellow macaw) for the Urueu-wau-wau, and a different macaw for the Karipuna. Among the Parintintin the system is complicated by a third group, the Gwyrai'gwára, who are considered Kwandú but marry indiscriminately with other Kwandú or with Myt ũ and so effectively constitute a third patrisib.
The moieties are not localized. Since the Parintintin marriage pattern is uxorilocal, the moiety of a settlement's headman will often alternate from generation to generation. On the largest Tenharem reservation all the headmen happen to be Mytũ, but there were Kwandú headmen before them.
The Kagwahiv are unique among all the societies of the Tupí-Guaraní family in having exogamous moieties. (The Tapirapé have nonexogamous moieties, and the Mundurucú, who have exogamous moieties, are of the Tupí macrofamily but are not Tupí-Guaraní.) It is unlikely that the moieties were borrowed from their old enemies the Mundurucú, as their Red and White moieties are quite different in structure. However, it is probable that the moieties were borrowed from a neighboring group. The most likely source is the Rikbaktsa, who were neighbors of the ancestral Cawahib tribe immediately upriver on the Arinos River. The Rikbaktsa have a pair of moieties named for birds: the yellow and scarlet macaws, both of which are among the eponymous birds of Kagwahiv moieties. Such borrowing from neighboring tribes, even hostile ones, is not uncommon among Tupí-Guaraní societies.
Kinship Terminology. Kagwahiv kin terminology is a two-line (Iroquois) system that is appropriate to moieties. All cross cousins—same-generation members of the opposite moiety—are designated amotehé, a term that means "lover" in other Tupí-Guaraní languages. Bilingual Parintintin translate it into Portuguese as "unrelated." Married amotehé traditionally observed a formal avoidance of one another, although by the 1960s only a few of the very oldest generation took that practice seriously.
Marital terms show divergence between the northern and southern dialects of Kagwahiv. The northern Kagwahiv groups—Parintintin and Tenharem—have symmetrical terms for wife and husband, with these descriptive terms meaning "she whom I have go with me" and "he whom I have go with me" (rembirekoh, "wife," and rembireko'ga, "husband"). Southern Kagwahiv speakers, as in many other Tupí-Guaraní languages, use this construction for "wife" but conserve the ancient Tupí root men for "husband" (mena'ga with the Kagwahiv masculine suffix).
The Parintintin have a distinct series of kin terms for deceased relatives. In speaking of a deceased relative, one cannot use the term employed for that person while he or she was living but must use a series of kin terms that apply only to deceased persons, some of them adding the suffix "-ve'e" to the regular kin term but some of them completely distinct: "father" = rúva, "deceased father" = poría.
Marriage. Parintintin marriage was traditionally determined by a series of arrangements beginning at birth. When a woman had a child, it would be named by a brother of hers who had a small child of the opposite sex. The brother's act of naming his sister's child established a betrothal between the named child and his own child. When of age—at the completion of the girl's menarche ritual—the betrothed pair were married, with the bride being given away by two real or classificatory brothers. Those brothers thus gained the right to give a name to her newborn child and claim that child for betrothal to one of their own children.
A man completed his marriage through a period of bride-service rendered to his father-in-law (tutý ). At the completion of this period—about five years for a first wife, less for a subsequent one—the marriage was considered fully realized. The couple then moved to their own sector of the ongá or, more recently, were free to construct their own family house. At that point the son-in-law was free to leave the settlement if he could persuade his wife, but in practice the couple usually remained in the wife's father's group and the husband became one of his father-in-law's core followers.
Polygyny was practiced, preferably sororal, and was limited in regard to the number of wives by family complications. A first wife was free to leave if her husband took a second wife, but in some cases the first wife urged her husband to take a second one, often her sister.
Many marriages still follow the rules of moiety exogamy, but it is increasingly difficult for young people to find appropriate spouses in the opposite moiety, and the system of social relations is rapidly changing. Monogamy is enforced by the Salesian bishop who comes once a year to sanctify marriages as well as by social relations with neighboring Brazilians, who often serve as godparents for Parintintin.
Domestic Unit. During the period of bride-service the bride and groom and their children are part of the bride's father's domestic unit. They hang their hammocks in the father-in-law's section of the longhouse (today in the sleeping room of his family house) and cook at the same fire. The son-in-law delivers all his game to his father-in-law for distribution and repairs his house. He has no garden of his own but helps clear his father-in-law's garden.
On the completion of bride-service, the new family unit (by this point usually with children) traditionally would move to its own section of the longhouse and establish a separate cooking fire. By the end of the twentieth century the new family built its own separate house, with an adjacent cooking shelter. Ostensibly the husband is free to move to another settlement, but wives are usually reluctant to leave their fathers and the family usually stays in her settlement, with the son-in-law serving her father as a follower rather than being a dependent. This is how the core following of a group headman is formed.
This developmental cycle is followed most strictly in the case of marriages that are first marriages for both partners; in earlier times these marriages usually were arranged at birth. When one partner has been married before, the new couple have greater autonomy, with the extent of dependence being determined by the relative prestige of the new husband and his wife's father.
Socialization. Infants are freely nursed, carried on the mother's hip to have free access to the breast. A child continues to nurse for three years or more after birth and may be given the breast even at age four or five years when sick. Two children cannot nurse from the same mother simultaneously, and so when a child is born, its next older sibling is weaned. Feelings of sibling rivalry on the part of the displaced child are recognized and laughed about. A strong effort is made to space children at intervals of at least five years, using contraceptive herbs, to avoid what is considered premature weaning.
After a period toddlers are cared for by an older sibling, usually a big sister. The task is not entirely welcome on the older sibling's part, but a special lifelong bond grows between the young child and its caretaker. Children are given considerable freedom of choice, and physical punishment is strongly avoided, but the value of generosity and sharing is insisted on from an early age.
An infant traditionally was given its first name (mbotagwaháv, "play name") by a mother's brother in the naming ceremony. At initiation, a boy received his face tattoos and his first ka'á (penis sheath) from a father's brother who bestowed on the boy a new moiety-associated name that replaced his birth name. Thereafter, new names were taken when there were major changes of status such as marriage or entry into a new stage of life or at certain special events such as a woman on the birth of her first child and a man on taking an enemy head. A woman's initiation came at menarche, when she was isolated for ten days in a hammock behind a partition, observing strict taboos on movement and eating. At the end of that period she was carried to the river by her father or a brother and ritually bathed, and her face was tattooed. Her wedding followed this ceremony.
Social Organization. Because patrilineal exogamous moieties are combined with bride-service, a mature traditional Parintintin household consists of a father and daughters of one moiety and sons-in-law of the opposite moiety. The mother's brother (tutý), as the future father-in-law, is regarded with the same respect due a father; it is the father's brother (ruvý ) who, along with the mother's sister (hy'ý ), provides the warm, supportive relationships in the ascending generation.
Political Organization. Leadership in Kagwahiv societies lies primarily with the headman of the residential local group or settlement, who is called mborerekwára'ga, "he who binds us together," or more often ñanderuviháv, which may be translated either as "our residing person," or as "our father-person." Among the Parintintin, the leading headman was designated the paramount chief or, later, the chief of a particular river drainage (ńanderuvihavuhú/mborerekwaruhú ).
A man with married daughters would become the nucleus for a settlement, with his sons-in-law as his core followers. Often the headman's authority is reinforced by a brother as coheadman, ga-irúno. The headman's wife has important duties of hospitality and as a leader of the women in the settlement; traditionally, the headman retired when his (first) wife died. He would be succeeded either by a son or by a son-in-law. A son who is expected to succeed his father may be excused from bride-service or return quickly to his father's settlement after an abbreviated period of service.
Social Control. The means of controlling conflict and unwelcome behavior in Parintintin groups is avoidance. A major focus of child socialization is to discourage competition and fighting between playmates. Undesirable behavior such as failure to share is dealt with by social pressure and ostracism. A headman works to minimize friction in the group, leading by persuasion rather than by coercion and mediating disputes. In cases of irreconcilable conflict, one party to the conflict moves out of the group. Thus, intragroup conflicts are channeled into intergroup ones, leading to a situation of rivalry and antagonism between neighboring groups.
Conflict. Since intergroup discord may lead to fission of a society, this situation may lead to warfare among neighboring Kagwahiv groups. Warfare was a cultural focus of precontact Parintintin society, as in other coastal Tupí societies. Raids could be organized by any warrior and were led by two ñimboipára'nga, "raid organizers," whose position lasted only for the duration of the raid. A focus of male prestige was the taking of an enemy head, which would be exhibited at an akangwéra torýva ("head-trophy dance"), a lavish festivity celebrating the exploit. It was cosponsored by the head taker, who thus achieved the honored status of okokwaháv, and another prominent warrior, often a headman. There is evidence of the ritual consumption of certain body parts of the slain enemy to gain prized qualities or to help women have a male child. The killer was obliged to undergo a period of ritual seclusion like a woman's menarche seclusion. He then assumed a new name.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs. The cosmological frame of the Parintintin world view is laid out in the myth of Pindova'úmi'ga (or Mbirova'úmi'ga), the spiritually powerful ancient chief/pajé (shaman) who brought into being the Sky People (Yvága'nga), who appear to shamans during their healing ceremonies. After going successively into the sky, into the river, underground, and into a tree and finding them already occupied by, respectively, too many vultures, fish, ghosts, and bees, he lifted his house and the most productive forest land to the vacant second level of the sky, where he and his offspring became the Sky People. The mythical model for shamans, he is distinguished from the trickster-creator Mbahíra (Maír in other Tupí mythologies), who brought fire to humankind and originated many cultural items and processes as well as shaping the landscape but does little in the current world. A third ancestor, "Old Woman" (Ngwãivĩ), was cremated by her sons and transformed into corn, manioc, and other tubers.
These myths and a few others form the core of the extensive Parintintin mythology, and some of them are also told among the Tenharem and Uru-eu-wau-wau.
Ceremonies. A major festivity was the celebration of the taking of an enemy head. Like the women's initiation ritual, it is no longer practiced. One area of ritual has survived. Food taboos are an enduring and central part of the lives of older Parintintin. These taboos probably are more generally observed among the more recently contacted tribes. Different sets of food avoidances (mainly fish, meat, and honey) apply during pregnancy and after the child's birth, for all parents from the birth of the first child until old age, and during a sickness. Avoidance for sickness, especially a child's, applies to close relatives as well as the sick person. Handling manioc is dangerous when one is sick. Eating agouti, which makes one lazy, is prohibited for young men of the age when they used to be warriors.
Sex is prohibited when timbó is being used to poison fish; it will interfere with the action of the poison. Sex between parallel cousins (members of the same moiety, clan siblings) will cause the deaths of the children of the offenders.
Certain acts make a hunter paném, unable to kill a certain species of animal or fish or any species with an affected weapon. Hunters who suspect they are paném now go to a curandeiro (syncretic Amazonian curer) to be freed from that state.
Religious Practitioners. Curing beyond the herbal level was done by a shaman (ipají ) in a ceremony called the tocáia ("hunting blind"). One ipají would go into trance inside a small hut (tocáia) in the plaza, undergoing a spirit journey to all sectors of the cosmos to summon the spirits to come and blow on the patient to heal him or her. Another shaman would remain outside the tocáia to engage in a dialogue with the spirits that were summoned. The regions to which the shaman journeyed in his trance corresponded to the sectors of the cosmos visited by Pindova'úmi'ga. The journey concludes with a visit to summon the Sky People, climaxing with Pindova'úmi'ga. Each spirit would announce himself with a signature song (sung through the voice of the ipají in the tocáia) and was greeted by the ipají outside, who would ask for its help. Shamans had special relationships with spirit familars (rupigwára ), and also used dreams to bring about desired events.
The central religious rite of Parintintin culture, the ritual of curing by an ipají, is no longer practiced. The transmission of shamanism is a complicated process that started with an older shaman dreaming the birth of his successor, and the chain of transmission was broken by the premature death of many shamans in the epidemics that followed pacification. Many of the children dreamed by the last ipají are still alive, but he died before he could pass on his knowledge to them.
Medicine. Parintintin travel to Humaitá to use the public health system or to Pôrto Velho to be treated by FUNAI doctors, but to supplement these medical treatments, they regularly turn to local Brazilian curandeiros, whose methods blend old Iberian curing traditions with indigenous practices.
Death and Afterlife. Death was often announced by the spirit of the dying person in dreams of close relatives. Relatives would gather around the body and wail through the night. The body was then buried by members of the opposite moiety, wrapped in a hammock and accompanied by the deceased's personal possessions. Affines of the deceased made gifts to the deceased's relatives. Concepts of the afterlife are little developed. The dead become ghosts (añang ), which are much feared; contact with añang can cause death or madness. Ideas that the soul (raúv ) goes to join the Sky People may be traced to missionary influence.
For the original article on the Kagwahiv, see Volume 7, South America.
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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.
History and Cultural Relations
There is scant record of the Kagwahiv prior to their pacification by an expedition led by Nimuendajú in 1923, save for numerous melodramatic accounts of their raids on rubber tappers on the Madeira. Phonological affinities with the Urubu (Ka'apor) of Maranhão suggest an ultimate coastal origin, confirmed by legendary accounts of a journey upriver to their present location from "a land without water," crossing an expanse in which the shore was out of sight for two days (the lower Amazon above Marajó). The first historical references to them, however, do not occur until the end of the eighteenth century, when, according to Nimuendajú's researches, they were located at the confluence of the Arinos and Juruena rivers on the upper Tapajós. Nimuendajú (1924) has reconstructed the history of their ancestral tribe, denoted "Cabahyba" by Martius, from the first mention of them on the Tapajós in 1797, whence they were driven by the Portuguese-armed Mundurucu in the mid-nineteenth century, scattering westward to and distributed in fragments along the Machado (where Lévi-Strauss encountered the "Tupí Cawahíb") and to the present location of the Kagwahiv on the Madeira.
Fission was a continuing process; a Pai'i chief described to one backwoodsman how the Kutipai'i split off from them over a leadership issue. In the late nineteenth century, Byahu (who met his end ambushed by a Piraha) may have been chief over all those who call themselves Kagwahiv, but after his death they divided into subregional groups, with Diai'i holding sway in the upper Maici region, where Nimuendajú established his pacification post in 1923, and Byahu's son Pyrehakatu in the Rio Ipixuna region, which he had opened up with a few of Dyahu's sons-in-law. After pacification, separate Indian Protection Service (SPI) posts were set up at Canavial on the Ipixuna (under Antonio Lobat and a series of successors) and at the mouth of the Maici Mirim near Calamas. The SPI mandate was terminated in 1942, and the Canavial post was turned over to the appointed chief Paulinho Neves (Ijet, Pyrehakatu's son-in-law), but Garcia de Freitas stayed on as patrão at the Calamas post and was succeeded by his son Benjamin.
Groups also live near Tres Casas, on the seringal owned by the progressive descendants of the enlightened landowner Manuel Lobo (who instigated the pacification to end the state of war between the Kagwahiv and the rubber tappers) and near Nimuendajú's pacification outpost just east of Humaita. The Kagwahiv were nominally converted by Salesians and have abandoned traditional ritual but maintain their beliefs, social patterns, and food avoidances. A team of Summer Institute of Linguistics (a Protestant organization) missionary-linguists, Helen Pease and LaVera Betts, were at Canavial from after 1960 to 1976 doing linguistic research and rendering medical treatment, but they made no converts. Economically dependent on the gathering of sorva latex, a jungle product used in natural plastics, the Kagwahiv are hard-pressed economically and are diminishing in numbers. It is difficult for young people to find appropriate spouses of the opposite moiety, and the outlook for preservation of their social system is not bright. Many Kagwahiv retain a strong pride in their history and values, however, and despite the universal contempt for índios in Amazonas, the Kagwahiv retain a certain local respect for their past valor and continuing determination.
The small settlements now average three nuclear families, or sixteen people; the largest prepacification settlements of Pyrehakatu numbered little more than two or three times that size. Settlements are always located on igarapes (waterways) for access to canoe transportation and resources.
Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The Kagwahiv economy is based on hunting, fishing, and shifting cultivation, principally of maize, manioc, and several varieties of potatoes. Fishing is done with bow and arrow from canoes during the dry season, from platforms during the rainy season, or by poisoning pools with timbó. Hunting, now done with shotguns, was done with feathered arrows of bamboo with notched hardwood tips inserted for small game or a corner-notched bamboo point attached to a hardwood tip for large game and warfare. Shifting fields are cleared annually for gardening in jungle areas assigned by the headman. An individual might call a collective work party to help, feasting them in return. Women plant and harvest, although this is increasingly done in family groups. Fruit and potatoes are also planted at the edge of the settlements. Fruit, honey, and turtles and their eggs are gathered, mostly by women and children.
Industrial Arts. The main transportation is by canoe; they were once made of bark, but today wooden canoes are purchased from Brazilians. Pottery has not been made in the memory of living informants. Hammocks are woven from cotton planted in the settlements.
Kinship and Sociopolitical Organization
Kin Groups and Descent. Nonlocalized exogamous patrimoieties are named after birds, the kwandú (harpie eagle) and mytum (curassow). The Kwandú moiety was also associated with the macaw, taravé, the name of the corresponding Tenharem moiety. The system is complicated by a Kwandú subgroup, the Gwyrai'gwara (associated with the japú bird), who intermarry with other Kwandú as well as with the Mytum, constituting a third de facto patrisib.
Kinship Terminology. The kin terminology is a two-line system appropriate to moieties, with sibling terms extended to same-generation members of one's own moiety, all cross cousins of the opposite moiety designated amotehe (a term for "lover" in other Tupí languages), and so on. Married amotehe observe a formal avoidance of one another.
Marriage. Marriage was determined by a series of arrangements beginning at birth. An infant was named by a selected mother's brother (tuty ), establishing a betrothal with the latter's infant of the opposite sex. When of age, the betrothed pair were married, the bride given away by two real or classificatory brothers who thus gained the right to name one of her children and claim that child in betrothal to one of their own children.
Marriage was effected by a period of bride-service to the father-in-law (tuty)—5 years for the first wife and less for later marriages—after which the son-in-law was theoretically free to leave, but usually remained in uxorilocal residence.
Polygyny was practiced, preferably sororal, but was never widely popular because of the complexity of familial relations involved: a man with five wives was scoffed at as imprudent. When a man took a second wife, his first might leave him if she so desired.
Socialization. An infant is given a "first name" or "play name" (mbotagwahav ) by a mother's brother and, in later childhood, a moiety-associated name by a father's brother (ruvy ). Thereafter, new names (selected from moiety sets of age- and sex-appropriate names) were assumed on entering new stages of life, on major changes of status, or at certain special events. Boys received their first ka'a, penis sheath, from a father's brother. A woman, on her first menarche, was isolated for ten days in a hammock behind a partition, observing strict taboos, at the end of which she was carried to the river by her father and ritually bathed. Her first wedding followed the ceremony.
Conflict and Social Control. Raids were organized by any warrior moved to call one and led by two nhimboypara'ga, "raid callers," whose position lasted only for the duration of the expedition. A principal objective was to take an enemy head, which would be exhibited at an akagwera toryva ("head-trophy feast"), a lavish ceremonial display celebrating the exploit, cosponsored by the head taker (who thus achieved the honored status of okokwahav ) and another prominent warrior. There is some evidence for ritual consumption of parts of the slain enemy. The killer was obliged to undergo a period of ritual seclusion (like a woman's menarche seclusion), and he assumed a new name.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs and Practices. The cosmological frame is laid out in the myth of Pindova'umi'ga, the powerful ancient chief who, annoyed by quarreling among children, lifted his house and the best natural resources to the sky. He is to be distinguished from the trickster/culture hero Mbahira (Mair of other Tupí mythologies), who originated many important cultural items and processes but has little to do in the current world. A third ancestor, the "Old Woman" (Gwaivi), was cremated by her sons and transformed into Kagwahiv crops. These myths and a few others form the core of Kagwahiv mythology. Food taboos are an enduring and central part of ritual life. One set applies to all parents, from the birth of their first child until old age. Others obtain during pregnancy and the months following birth; still others apply to sick individuals and their primary relatives. Agouti, which makes one lazy, is prohibited for young warriors. Handling manioc in any form is dangerous to a sick person. Sexual activity is also prohibited under certain circumstances; during a fish poisoning by timbó it will interfere with the action of the poison, and between parallel cousins it will cause the death of parents and/or children of the offenders. Certain acts will make a hunter panem, unable to kill a particular species or any species with a particular weapon.
Religious Practitioners. Curing, beyond the herbal level, was done by a shaman (ipaji ) in a ceremony called tokaia. The ipaji went into trance (without drugs) behind a small screen or shelter (tokaia) set up in the plaza and made a spiritual journey through the various levels of the cosmos, concluding with an encounter with Pindova'umi'ga, chief of the Sky People. The ipaji (or a helping ipaji outside the tokaia) greeted each spirit encountered on the journey and asked for its help; the spirit replied in a characteristic song through the voice of the ipaji in trance. Dreaming is associated with shamanism. An ipaji or a layman may encounter spirits in dreams or predict (and, for a shaman, alter) the future through them. Dream predictions are mostly of success in hunting or of illness and death. Ipaji were born via dreams; a shaman would dream of a particular spirit of Sky Person, who announced that he would be born to a particular woman as a future ipaji. Her next-born son would then be marked for apprenticeship to the dreaming shaman, and the spirit reborn in him would be his rupigwara, the spirit agent of his power. The chain has been broken by the death of the last Kagwahiv ipaji before he could pass on his knowledge to his "dreamed one.
Kracke, Waud (1978). Force and Persuasion: Leadership in an Amazonian Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kracke, Waud (1979). "Dreaming in Kagwahiv." Psychoanalytic Study of Society 8:119-171.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude (1948). "The Tupí Cawahíb." In Handbook of South American Indians, edited by Julian Steward. Vol. 3, The Tropical Forest Tribes, 299-305. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 143. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
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Nimuendajú, Curt (1948). "The Cawahib, Parintintin, and their Neighbors." In Handbook of South American Indians, edited by Julian Steward, Vol. 3, The Tropical Forest Tribes, 387-397. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 143. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
"Kagwahiv." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kagwahiv
"Kagwahiv." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved January 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kagwahiv