Xingu Indigenous Park
The Xingu Indigenous Park (Portuguese: Parque Indígena do Xingu, pronounced [ʃĩˈɡu]) is an indigenous territory of Brazil, first created in 1961 as a national park in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Its official purposes are to protect the environment and the several tribes of Xingu indigenous peoples in the area.
|Xingu Indigenous Park|
|Parque Indígena do Xingu|
|Nearest city||Peixoto de Azevedo, Mato Gross|
|Area||2,642,003 hectares (6,528,530 acres)|
|Designation||national park |
|Created||14 April 1961|
The Xingu Indigenous Park is in the north east of the state of Mato Grosso, in the south of the Amazon biome. It covers 2,642,003 hectares (6,528,530 acres), with savannah and drier semi-deciduous forests in the south transitioning to Amazon rain forest in the north. There is a rainy season from November to April. The headwaters of the Xingu River are in the south of the park. The area covered by the park was defined in 1961 and covers parts of the municipalities of Canarana, Paranatinga, São Félix do Araguaia, São José do Xingu, Gaúcha do Norte, Feliz Natal, Querência, União do Sul, Nova Ubiratã and Marcelândia in the state of Mato Grosso.
The national park was created after a campaign by the Villas-Bôas brothers for protection of the region. An account of the exploration of this area by the Villas-Bôas brothers and their efforts to protect the region is documented in the film Xingu (2012).
The idea of creating a park originated with a round table organized by the vice president of Brazil in 1952, at which a much larger park was proposed. However, the state of Mato Grosso began granting land within the proposed area to colonizing companies, so the park that came into existence by decree 50.455 of 14 April 1961 was only a quarter of the proposed size. Adjustments were made on 31 July 1961, 6 August 1968 and 13 July 1971. The final demarcation of the perimeter was made in 1978. The area was given the designation of "National Park" to cover the dual purpose of protecting the environment and the indigenous people, and is subject to both the indigenous agency and the environmental agency. In 1967 the term "National Park" was replaced by "Indigenous Park" to reflect the primary goal of protecting the social diversity of the indigenous people.
The park began to suffer from the incursion of fishermen and hunters in the 1980s. By the late 1990s livestock farms to the north east of the park were starting to reach the park, as was deforestation to the west of the park. The effects of human activity outside the park were starting to pollute the waters of the park. The park remains as an island of forest increasingly threatened by activity outside its perimeter.
The people living within the boundaries of the Park are the Kamaiurá (355), Aweti (138), Mehinako (199), Wauja (321), Yawalapiti (208), Kalapalo (417), Kuikuro (415), Matipu (119), Nahukwá (105) and Trumai (120), who all share a common cultural system (population figures as of 2002). Also living within the Park are the Ikpeng (319), Kaiabi (745), Kisêdjê (334), Yudja (248), Tapayuna and Naruvotu peoples (population figures as of 2002).
The Xingu area is of interest because it was a destination for early-20th century exploration by Europeans.
One of the first explorer, who wrote about the people of the region, was German Karl von den Steinen in the 1880s, followed by others.
The Xingu area was an interesting destination for early-20th century European explorer, such as British Captain Percy Harrison Fawcett, who sought a city which Europeans had heard rumor of since their early 16th-century colonial contact, and he disappeared in the jungle in 1925.
David Grann wrote an article about his exploration, followed by an expanded book, The Lost City of Z (2009) on the same subject and with the same title. It documents those early explorations. It also explores archeological evidence found since the late 20th century of large-scale indigenous civilizations that pre-date Spanish and Portuguese contacts and colonization.
Unexpectedly, the last bulletin on isolated indigenous people published by FUNAI (on December 2017) states that there are two isolated Uncontacted peoples within the park boundaries. As per the map published by FUNAI, the first tribe is located in the north-west portion of the park, and the second tribe is located to the far-South central area of the park. Until 2017, the previous publications by FUNAI showed the presence of no Uncontacted peoples in the region. If this is not an error from the FUNAI, then it can be assumed that these tribes recently migrated to the park from the surrounding areas due to deforestation and violence (both the locations are given along the fringes of the park).
- O Parque (in Portuguese), ISA: Instituto Socioambiental, retrieved 2016-05-05
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Parque Indígena do Xingu.|
- Interview with Orlando Villas Boas on the history of the park (in Portuguese)
- Maps of Xingu National Park
- (in English) "Indigenous Park of the Xingu", Instituto Socioambiental