Collection Description

Brief Culture Description

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Culture Description

The Xokleng traditionally inhabited a large forest and savanna area in what is now the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. At the time of contact in the mid-nineteenth century there were three Xokleng bands each numbering 400-600 individuals. Since the early twentieth century, they have lived on a reservation. They are hunter-gatherers although traditionally they also practiced horticulture.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


South America --Eastern South America



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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The basic ethnography on the Xokleng is by Jules Henry, who did his fieldwork in 1932-33 in the southern Brazil state of Santa Catarina (Henry 1941, document no. 2). Henry mistakenly identified this group as “Kaingang”, another, closely related, Southern Gê group. Henry also wrote on the Xokleng language and emotions (1936, no. 8). Another anthropologist who studied the Xokleng is the linguistic anthropologist Greg Urban who focused on the social meaning of food taboos (1981, no. 5), Xokleng understanding of their pacification (1985, no. 6), and the role of speech in Xokleng myths (1993, no. 7). David Hicks’ (1966, no. 9) article is an examination of binary symbolism is Xokleng myth and cosmology based largely on data from Henry (1941).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

Collection Indexing Notes

ãgran –a ceremony held in connection with the giving of lip plugs to boys and thigh tattoos for girls; also a general allpurpose ceremony– Use ORGANIZED CEREMONIAL ( 796) and CEREMONIAL DURING INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD ( 852) and MUTILATION ( 304)

FUNAI –(Brazilian government Indian Agency)– Use PUBLIC WELFARE ( 657)

kôplëgn –divining with charcoal– Use REVELATION AND DREAMS ( 787)

kuplêng –the ghost soul– Use ESCHATOLOGY ( 775)

nggĭyúdn –the supernatural– Use SPIRITS AND GODS ( 776)

nungnyên –one’s kin– Use KIN RELATIONSHIPS ( 602)

thûpáya –a widowed person– Use MOURNING ( 765)

waikayú –selflove– Use PERSONALITY TRAITS ( 157)

Social group –moiety– Use MOIETIES ( 616)

Sub –tribe– Use TRIBE AND NAITON ( 619)

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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