The Akuntsu (also known as Akunt'su or Akunsu) are a small ethnic indigenous group of people who live in the forests near the Omerê river, in the Brazilian state of Rondônia. The area where they live comprises a small reserve of forest, which previously belonged to a private farm, interdicted by Funai at the end of the 1980s. Like the other forest reserves of Rondônia, the territory is threatened from crop farming and cattle ranching.
In January 1999, a FUNAI technical had to define the limits of the Omerê reservation, inhabited by Kanoê and Akuntsu people, which delimited an area of 26,000 hectares, with a perimeter around 81 km long.
Information concerning the names of the tribe in the ethnographic literature is practically non-existent, at least prior to official contact with FUNAI in 1995.
Neither Akuntsu or Akunsu corresponds to the tribe's self-denomination. This is the name given to them by their Kanoê neighbours, who are survivors of the Kanoê groups contacted by the Rondon commission in the valleys of the Tanaru river between 1913 and 1914. The Akuntsu, in turn, call the Kanoê "Emãpriá."
"Akuntsu" means "other Indian" in the language spoken by the Kanoê.
Today the Akuntsu are one of the smallest ethnic groups in Brazil. According to information given to ISA by the local FUNAI representative, Moacir Góes, in March 2005 the only people in the tribe were Kunibu, a 65 years old man; Ururu, a 75 years old woman; Popak, a 35 years old man; and three women between the age of 18 and 30.
In the 1980s the Akuntsu had a devastating conflict with whites. A massacre had taken place in the forest, since agents of the FUNAI found remains of tools and traces of a village where about 30 people lived. Ten years later an official agent contacted the Akuntsu for the first time, and one of the seven last members of the tribe explained to FUNAI's officers what had really happened. Kunibu recognized the ceramic and tools, and identified them as items belonging to people from his former village, and showed the scars on his own body which revealed that he had been shot. Kunibu described the attack against his people, and he remembered the names of the more than fifteen people who died.
Kunibu's daughter died at the age of seven in 2000, due to a tree which fell on their hut because of a violent storm.
Akuntsu on socioambiental.org, in English