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Posted:     Post subject: Guarani

Guaraní "(wuarani)" are a group of culturally related indigenous peoples of South America. They are distinguished from the related Tupi by their use of the Guaraní language. The traditional range of the Guaraní people is in what is now Paraguay between the Uruguay River and lower Paraguay River, the Corrientes and Entre Ríos Provinces of Argentina, southern Brazil, and parts of Uruguay and Bolivia. Although their demographic dominance of the region has been reduced by European colonisation and the commensurate rise of mestizos, there are contemporary Guaraní populations in these areas. Most notably, the Guaraní language, still widely spoken across traditional Guaraní homelands, is one of the two official languages in Paraguay, the other one being Spanish. The language was once looked down upon by the upper and middle classes, but it is now often regarded with pride and serves as a symbol of national distinctiveness. The Paraguayan population learns Guaraní both informally from social interaction and formally in public schools.

The history and meaning of the name Guaraní are subject to dispute. Prior to their encounter with Europeans, the Guaraní referred to themselves simply as Abá, meaning "men" or "people." The term Guaraní was originally applied by early Jesuit missionaries to refer to natives who had accepted conversion and were thus "civilized". Cayua or Caingua (ka'aguygua) was used to refer to those who had refused conversion. Cayua is roughly translated as "the ones from the forest". While the term Cayua is sometimes still used to refer to settlements of indigenous peoples who have not well integrated into the dominant society, the modern usage of the name Guaraní is generally extended to include all people of native origin regardless of societal status. Barbara Ganson writes that the name Guaraní was given by the Spanish as it means "warrior" in the Tupi-Guaraní dialect spoken there.

The history of the Guaraní people prior to contact with European explorers is not well documented. Their early history is based entirely on oral tradition, since they did not have a written language. Since the Guaraní people were a somewhat nomadic, decentralized society, there is little in the way of a reliable historical record.

Early Guaraní villages often consisted of communal houses for ten to fifteen families. Communities were united by common interest and language, and tended to form tribal groups by dialect. It is estimated that the Guaraní numbered some 400,000 people when they were first encountered by Europeans. At that time, they were sedentary and agricultural, subsisting largely on manioc, maize, wild game, and honey.

Equally little is known about early Guaraní society and beliefs. They practiced a form of animistic pantheism, much of which has survived in the form of folklore and numerous myths. According to the Jesuit missionary Martin Dobrizhoffer, they practiced ism at one point, perhaps as a funerary ritual, but later disposed of the dead in large jars placed inverted on the ground. Guaraní mythology is still widespread in rural Paraguay.

European contact

In 1511, the Spanish explorer Juan de Solis was the first European to enter Río de la Plata, the estuary of the Paraná or Paraguay River, followed by Sebastian Cabot in 1526. In 1537, Gonzalo de Mendoza traversed through Paraguay to about the present Brazilian frontier. On his return, he made acquaintance with the Guaraní and founded Asunción, later the capital of Paraguay.

The first governor of the Spanish territory of Guayrá initiated a policy of intermarriage between Europeans and the indigenous women, whose descendants characterize the Paraguayan nation today. He also initiated the enslavement of the natives.

The first two Jesuits, Father Barcena and Father Angulo, came to what is now the State of Paraná, Southern Brazil, in 1585, by land from what is now Bolivia. Others soon followed, and a Jesuit college was established at Asunción. In 1608, as a result of Jesuit protest against enslavement of the indigenous population, King Philip III of Spain gave authority to the Jesuits to convert and colonize the tribes of Guayrá. In the early period the name Paraguay was loosely used to designate all the basin of the river, including parts of what are now Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Exploring expeditions were accompanied by Franciscan friars. Early in the history of Asunción, Father Luis de Bolanos translated the catechism into the Guarani language and preached to Guaraní people who resided in the area around the settlement. In 1588–89 St. Francis Solanus crossed the Chaco wilderness from Peru and stopped at Asunción, but gave no attention to the Guaraní. His recall left the field clear for the Jesuits, who assumed the double duty of "civilizing" and Christianizing the Native Americans and defending them against slave dealers. "The larger portion of the population regarded it as a right, a privilege by virtue of conquest, that they should enslave the Indians" . The Jesuit provincial Torres arrived in 1607, and "immediately placed himself at the head of those who had opposed the cruelties at all times exercised over the natives"

A Guaraní family captured by slave hunters. By Jean Baptiste Debret

The centre and depot of the slave trade was the town of São Paulo. Originally a rendezvous place for Portuguese, Dutch, and Spanish pirates, it later became a refuge for criminals, who mixed with Native American and African women and actively participated in the capturing and selling of Guaranís as slaves.

To oppose these armed and organized robbers, the tribes had only their bows and arrows, since the Spanish government prohibited the use of firearms by even "civilized" Indians. Many Native Americans were slain or enslaved by the slave-hunters active in Brazil during those years.

The Guaraní language has been much cultivated, its literature covering a wide range of subjects. Many works written by priests, wholly or partly in the native language, and were published by the mission press in Loreto. Among the most important treatises on the language are the "Tesoro de la Lengua Guaraní" (Madrid, 1639) by Father Montoya, published in Paris and Leipzig in 1876; and the "Catecismo de la Lengua Guaraní" of Father Diego Díaz de la Guerra (Madrid, 1630).

The Guaraní were later described, amongst many other historical documents in existence today, in 1903 by Croatian explorers Mirko and Stjepan Seljan. Several English words can be traced to Guaraní roots, such as "tapioca", "toucan" and "jaguar."

Presently, the language is still the main binding characteristic of the Guaraní people. The Argentinian communities speak mainly Mbya-Guaraní, as opposed to the Tupi-Guaraní and Guaraní-Jopara spoken in Paraguay and Brazil. These varieties are mutually intelligible. The Guarani villages located in the south of Brazil and in the north of Argentina are more marginalized due to European immigration following the First and Second World Wars. Many Guaraní do not speak Spanish and the European immigrant population does not speak Guaraní. The Mbya-Guaraní still live in secluded villages and only the "cacique" and some other officials in their community learn Spanish. Recently the government of Argentina has partly financed bilingual schools in the northern province of Misiones.

Paraguay is a bilingual country and most of its Spanish-speaking population also speaks a form of Guaraní. The Paraguayan population learns Guaraní both informally from social interaction and formally in public schools. Guaraní became part of the required curriculum in public schools during the ten years since the fall of ex-President Alfredo Stroessner in 1989. The native populations in Paraguay speak the traditional Tupi-Guaraní while the majority of bilingual Paraguayans speak Guaraní-Jopara ("Jopara" meaning mixed). Many words have been borrowed from Spanish but include traditional Tupi-Guaraní prefixes and suffixes. For example "Nde rentede pa?" meaning "Do you understand?" The "entende" root is borrowed from the Spanish verb "entender" meaning "to understand." The evolution of Guaraní-Jopara is very similar to "Border Spanish" or "Spanglish" where the mixture of the two languages begins to develop its own rules and uses. An understanding of both Guaraní and Spanish is required for full fluency.

In August 2009 Bolivia launched a Guaraní-language university at Kuruyuki in the southeastern province of Chuquisaca which will bear the name of the indigenous hero Apiaguaiki Tumpa. The education minister of Bolivia said that indigenous universities “will open up not only the Western and universal world of knowledge, but the knowledge of our own identityâ€Â.

BirdWatchers (La terra degli uomini rossi) is a 2008 film drama set in Brazil directed by Marco Bechis. It depicts the breakdown of a community of Guarani-Kaiowa native Indians whilst attempting to reclaim their ancestral land from a local farmer.


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Posted:     Post subject:


The Guarani were one of the first peoples contacted after Europeans arrived in South America around 500 years ago.

In Brazil, there are today around 46,000 Guarani living in seven states, making them the country’s most numerous tribe. Many others live in neighbouring Paraguay, Bolivia and 

The Guarani people in Brazil are divided into three groups: Kaiowá, Ñandeva and M’byá, of which the largest is the Kaiowá which means ‘forest people’.

They are a deeply spiritual people. Most communities have a prayer house, and a religious leader, whose authority is based on prestige rather than formal power.
The ‘land without evil’

For as long as they can remember, the Guarani have been searching – searching for a place revealed to them by their ancestors where people live free from pain and suffering, which they call ‘the land without evil’.

Over hundreds of years, the Guarani have travelled vast distances in search of this land.

One 16th century chronicler noted their ‘constant desire to seek new lands, in which they imagine they will find immortality and perpetual ease’.

This permanent quest is indicative of the unique character of the Guarani, a ‘difference’ about them which has often been noted by outsiders.

Today, this manifests itself in a more tragic way: profoundly affected by the loss of almost all their land in the last century, the Guarani suffer a wave of suicide unequalled in South America.

The problems are especially acute in Mato Grosso do Sul where the Guarani once occupied a homeland of forests and plains totaling some 350,000 square kilometers.

Today they are squeezed onto tiny patches of land surrounded by cattle ranches and vast fields of soya and sugar cane. Some have no land at all, and live camped by roadsides.


Here you can see some pictures too.

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Posted:     Post subject: Other Brazilian Tribes and theire Habitat

Baniwa - Amazonas, Kolumbien, Venezuela
Bororo - Mato Grosso
Fulni-ò - Pernambuco
Guajajara - Maranhao
Kaingang - Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo
Kamayura - Mato Grosso
Karaja - Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Para
Munduruku - Para
Ofaie - Mato Grosso do Sul
Pataxo - Bahia
Potyguara - Pernambuco
Tapirape - Mato Grosso
Terena - Mato Grosso do Sul
Tupininquim - Espirito Santo
Xacriaba - Minas Gerais
Xavante - Mato Grosso
Xucuru - Pernambuco
Yanomami, Yanomam, Sanuma and Ninam - Roraima, Amazonas, Venezuela
Yawanawa - Acre
Zuruaha - Amazonas

Fundacao Nacional do Indio:

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