Canela is a name used to refer to two groups of indigenous groups of people, the Ramkokramekrá and the Apanyekrá, which live in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. There are some differences between these two groups, however both of them speak the same language, belonging to the Je family, and many cultural aspects are shared.
Until the 1940s, the Ramkokamekrá had fewer contacts with the outside white society than the Apanyekrá, but after that the situation reversed. Both groups have been contacted by agencies such as the FUNAI, and ranchers and missionaries as well.
Both groups are trying to recover their autonomy in order to maintain their own native culture and ways of life.
According to Funasa there were 2502 individuals in the group in 2008.
The Canela speak a language belonging to the Macro-Gê family, similar to various other languages spoken in regions nearby. It's mutually intelligible with the language of the Krikati/Pukobyé and that of the Gavião of Tocantins. The Canela don't understand speakers of Xavante (central Gê) or Xokleng (Southern Gê).
Many people can speak Portuguese decently. The Ramkokamekrá have mastered the language better. Men speak a better Portuguese than women because they are involved with white people regarding commercial aspects.
The reservation for the Canela people covers 125,212 hectares and was created between 1971 and 1983. The land is officially registered. These lands are included in an ecoregion called cerrado (with vegetation similar to shrubland and savanna), with some forests and small plateaus. This kind of environment has a good soil for swidden agriculture and is abundant in game and fish. They are included in the municipality of Fernando Falcão, which was created when the old town of Jenipapo dos Resplandes expanded. The southern limit of the reservation borders the Alpercatas mountains.
The reservation for the Apanyekrá covers 79,520 hectares and is located within the municipalities of Fernando Falcão and Grajaú. The main village is located 80 km southwest of Barra do Corda and 45 km west of the Ramkokamekrá of Escalvado.
*Canela on socioambiental.org, in English