The Great Web of Percy Harrison Fawcett

Parque Nacional Indigena do Xingu

The Parque Nacional Indigena do Xingu was founded in 1961 with the help of the Villas-Boas and today has an estimated population of 6000, spread throughout 30 villages from 17 indigenous nations. The Parque is located in the northern state of Mato Grosso and occupies 2.3 million hectares, an area 30% larger than that of the state of Israel. Originally planned to be 120,000 square miles in area, by the time the Park’s creation was officially ratified, it had shrunk to 12,000 square miles. The area is administered by Funai (Indian National Foundation) and is under direct supervision of the Brazilian Justice Ministry.    

However, the Park was not to remain untouched for long, when a road was built effectively cutting the park in two and increasing outside contact with the communities within PIX (Parque Nacional Indegina do Xingu). This ultimately led to the introduction of non-traditional goods, and facilitated the spread of disease (most notably malaria), both of these factors would alter the cultural make-up of the groups within, and necessitate activities to counteract their effects.

Today the park is a cultural and biological oasis surrounded by ranches, mechanized farming activities and expanding urban centers. Within the Park's border, a complex eco-system made up of grassland and dense rainforest is home to 16 distinct cultural groups. But the reserve is under threat from a number of activities in the surrounding area, the advancing agricultural frontier being the main threat.

In an effort to assist the communities of PIX to come to terms with the new circumstances by which they were being faced, the Rainforest Foundation working closely with Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) set about implementing a series of integrated projects to help them maintain their environment and cultural integrity.


           Group                      Language               Population

Aweti                         Tupi                       091

                 Ipeng                       Carib                     176                  

Juruna                        Isolated                 175

Kayapo Metuktire    Ge                          556

Kalapalo                  Carib                     311

Kamayura                Tupi                       326

Kayabi                    Tupi                       603

Kuikuru                   Carib                     327

Matipu                    Carib                     102

Mehinaku                Arawak                  121

Panara                     Ge                        122

Suya                       Ge                         165

Tapayuna                Ge                         048

Trumai                    Isolated                078

Waura                    Arawak                  187

Yawalapiti              Arawak                  140

Total                 3,101*

*1997 - # totaled approximately 3,400

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