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Our People

We call ourselves the Mẽbêngôkre, a name that can be translated as “People of the Water Hole”. In the past, other Tupi-speaking peoples called us and we became better known as the “Kayapó”, a name that became popular among the Kubẽn (non-indigenous). Nowadays we sometimes call ourselves Kayapó, although Mẽbêngôkre is our self-denomination and the way we prefer to be called.

Our village

We speak a language from the Jê family and live in villages between 50 to 600 people. We live in a transition region between the cerrado and the Amazon forest, as well as the forest itself. The center of the village – ngàipôk-ri is the center of our cosmological universe. It is there that the Casa dos Guerreiros (Warriors Hourse) – ngà-be is located, a space that welcomes the different organizations of men, as well as being a place of great importance for the political and ritual life of the village.

Traditionally, the center of the village is surrounded by a ring of houses, which is a space led by women and their ceremonial associations, in addition to their daily activities with childcare. As we move further away from the village, we find spaces where children play, the river, our gardens, hunting fields and a vast territory full of biodiversity that our ancestors helped create with sophisticated forestry management techniques.

Our Ceremonies

We dedicate a large part of our time and energy to organizing and executing rituals, preceded by collective hunting or fishing. Body painting is part of everyday life in the village, and this activity is carried out by menire women from the moment they become mothers. Body Painting represents a very striking characteristic of our culture. We are very proud of the beauty of our painting, our rituals and our art!

Our Worldview

In our mythology, Indigenous People, plants, fish, and other animals transform, thus creating an important kinship relationship between humans and nature. These transformations are the stories of great adventures that only elders know how to tell. This cosmology guides our way of understanding and acting in the world and nature.

Our Fight

We actively fight for the guarantee of our traditional rights and territories, granted by the Brazilian Constitution, which guarantees us ownership of our Territory and made us responsible for the conservation of a large area of forests and savannas. Our stewardship directly contributes to the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the maintenance of rainfall and climate throughout the planet.