The Apinajé are an indigenous tribe who live in the Brazilian state of Tocantins. According to Funasa, there were 1525 individuals in this group in 2006. They speak a language pertaining to the Jé family of languages. The Apinajé, belonging to the Western Timbira group of indigenous peoples, are characterized by an advanced social organization; they live in fairly populous villages. In the second half of the 20th Century the population started declining and they entered a phase of social disorganization, when their territory was was invaded by white brazilian people, who built highways and roads such as the Trans-Amazonian highway. The Trans-Amazon passed through their land, effectively cutting a part of the territory which was assigned to them.

Name

Apinayé or Apinajé is not the name used by these indigenous people to refer to themselves, but it is used by other Timbira groups and by their regional neighbors. In Eastern Timbira vocabulary, the suffix yê/jê designates collectivity. Curt Nimuendajú gives other names for the group, which were derived from the term hôt or hôto among the Eastern Timbira, which means "corner, angle, nook" and refers to the traditional territory of the Apinajé, located near the Araguaia and Tocantins rivers, a region known as Parrot’s Beak.

Location

Presently, the Apinajé Indigenous Land is located in the municipalities of Tocantinópolis, Itaguatins and São Bento, in the extreme north of the State of Tocantins. The Apinajé Indigenous Land covers around 141,904 hectares. The Apinajé are asking for the territory to be extended further, and the FUNAI established a work group to identify the indigenous area called Apinajé II in 1994; this process has been managed by the indigenist agency in order to determine the landholding situation of the region.

External links

*Apinaje on socioambiental.org (in English)

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