Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

As of the mid-twentieth century the Tapirapé numbered only about 80 individuals living in a single village at the mouth of the Tapirapé and Araguaia rivers in northeastern Mato Grosso, Brazil. Their language belongs to the Tupí-Guaraní family of languages. The Tapirapé share a reservation with a group of Karajá, riverine Indians who speak an unrelated language. Subsistence was based on hunting, fishing, gathering, and horticulture. Crafts included pottery, basketry, and hand-weaving. Villages are circular in shape with a men’s house in the center and family dwellings arranged around it.


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 the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The SP22 Tapirapé collection consists of nine documents, three of which are translations from the Portuguese, and the other six in English. Major contributions to the collection are the works of Baldus (1970, no. 1), and Wagley (1977, no. 16), which together form a comprehensive overview of  traditional Tapirapé ethnography from 1935 to 1965. Other topics in this collection deal with  culture change and acculturation (Wagley 1955, no. 3, and Shapiro 1979, no. 15); shamanism (Wagley 1943, 1940, nos. 4 and 9);  religion, mythology, and ideas about animals and man (Wagley 1940, no. 9);  puberty rites (Wagley 1945, no. 11); feasting and eating groups (Baldus 1937, no. 5, and Shapiro 1968, no. 14), and cultural revitalization processes (Shapiro 1979, no. 15).

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

John Beierle

Ãciwãwã – formalized friendships - use "FRIENDSHIPS (572)"

Age grades - use "AGE STRATIFICATION (561)"

Amuchino – mass rape - use "MISCELLANEOUS SEX BEHAVIOR (839)"

Anchunga – spirits or souls - use "SPIRITS AND GODS (776)" and/or "ANIMISM (774)"

Ankungitana – an elaborate ceremonial headdress use "SPECIAL GARMENTS (292)"

Apachirú – a communal work party - use "MUTUAL AID (476)"

Bird Societies – moieties - use "MOIETIES (616)"

Capitão – persons of high prestige and wealth - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)” and/or “ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH (556)”

FUNAI – National Indian Foundation use "PUBLIC WELFARE (657)" with "INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (648)"

Iunga – the soul - use "ANIMISM (774)"

Kaó – a ceremony, songfest and festival - use "ORGANIZED CEREMONIAL (796)" and/or "REST DAYS AND HOLIDAYS (527)", "MUSIC (533)" or "DANCE (535)" according to context

Kawi – a beverage made from either corn, manioc, cottonseeds, peanuts, rice or various combinations of the above - use "NONALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES (272)"

Maciró – communal clearing of gardens - use "TILLAGE (241)" with "MUTUAL AID (476)"

Panche – shamans - use "SHAMANS AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS (756)"

Takana – the men’s house - use "RECREATIONAL STRUCTURES (345)"

Tãtãopãwa – feast or eating groups - use "VISITING AND HOSPITALITY (574)", with "EATING (264)"

Tawa – dance masks representing spirits - use "DANCE (535)" and/or "VISUAL ARTS (5311)"

Tembetá – an ornament worn in the lower lip - use "ORNAMENT (301)"

Tipiti – a device for wringing-out the poisonous juice of the manioc - use "FOOD PREPARATION (252)" and/or "UTENSILS (415)"

Torí – non-Indians - use "BEHAVIOR TOWARD NON - RELATIVES (609)"

Wuran – Bird Societies - use "MOIETIES (616)"

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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