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Aweikoma also known as “Xokleng”, “Kaingáng”, “Caingang” Pitek, Emily


The Aweikoma traditionally inhabited a large area in what is now the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and lived in small, exogamous patrilineal clans. These highly mobile bands were led by chiefs, whose authority was limited. In 1914 the Aweikoma were pacified by the Brazilian Government and relocated to Duque de Caxias Reservation (near Ibirama). This entry focuses on the Aweikoma living on the reservation around the time of 1932, when the principal ethnographic authority, anthropologist Jules Henry, began a two-year ethnographic study in the area. This entry primarily relies on Henry’s field work, which broadly covers Aweikoma life but provides somewhat limited information on the religious realm of life. Traditional Aweikoma religious beliefs and practices were able to be documented as the Brazilian government resisted attempts to establish missions (Henry, Benedict, and Kraus, 1941: xvi). These beliefs involve a variety of supernatural beings, including the spirits of deceased humans (referred to as ghost-souls or kuplêng), and monsters (Kuchágn Yunggí Wangdjó Yóin and Véin). The monsters, ghost-soul, and spirits of the natural world are collectively called nggïyúdn. According to Henry, shamans served as religious practitioners in former times, but no shamans were still living during the time of his visit. For the Aweikoma, religion does not exist within its own distinct sphere of life, but rather, is bound up with the functioning of society as a whole. Consequently, this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with Aweikoma society as a whole.

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