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Xavantes (Marãiwatsédé) celebrate the return of their land

The Xavante (also Shavante , Chavante , Xavantes , Akün , A'uwe , Akwe , Awen or Akwen ) are in Brazil -based indigenous people . They live in the east of the state of Mato Grosso and in 2010 have 15,315 relatives (Funasa), who are spread over ten Indian territories. They speak the Xavante language ( ISO 639-3 : xav), which belongs to the Gé or Jé family of languages.


They were enslaved in the 17th century after trying to prevent contact with the whites. After a temporary coexistence, they withdrew from Goiás to Mato Grosso behind the Rio das Mortes in the 19th century . There they were rediscovered in the 1930s. From 1946 to 1957, under dictator Getúlio Dornelles Vargas , they were forced into the “National Integration Program”, where they were severely decimated by massacres and diseases . Because of their history, they are very suspicious of whites. Even today they are extremely careful with non-Xavante, whom they call "waradzu".

The Xavante have a reputation for being very aggressive and proud. But their most famous attribute is their dualistic social structure . There are two clans , the Âwawẽ and the Po'reza'õno. Marriage within a clan is prohibited. An example of the relationship between the two clans are the traditional tree trunk races, in which the aim is to transport palm stumps weighing 80 kilograms to a specific location.

The Xavante are also known for their intricate initiation rites for young men . At the age of 14, small wooden sticks are stuck through the earlobes of the prospective men . These sticks get bigger and bigger until the end of life.


The Brazilian thrash metal - band Sepultura devoted to their album Roots in 1996 to the music of Brazil's indigenous people, in particular the Xavante. The song Itsári includes a ceremonial song by the Xavante, who are supported musically by the band. The last track on the album is a hidden track , on which members of the tribe and the band perform an approximately 13-minute work.

The Aermacchi MB-326 GC fighter aircraft, built under license by Embraer , was named AT-26 Xavante .


  • Carlos EA Coimbra Jr., Nancy M. Flowers, Francisco M. Salzano, Ricardo V. Santos: The Xavánte in Transition. Health, Ecology and Bioanthropology in Central Brazil . University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Mich. 2002, ISBN 978-0-472-11252-4 ( PDF; 3.6 MB ).

See also

Web links

Commons : Xavante  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Xavante. In: Povos Indígenas no Brasil , Instituto Socioambiental. Retrieved December 28, 2015 (Portuguese, English).
  2. Glottolog : Xavante.