Why did Kamña kill Kiña?
Later when Doroti and I were conducting classes and the people had confidence in us, similar questions emerged, “Why did the Kamña (civilized people) kill the Kiña?” “What did the Kamña throw from the airplane that killed the Kiña?” The Kamña threw kawuni (from above, from the airplane) something, like a powder that burns the throat and the Kiña died soon after.” “Apiyemeyekî?” (Why?). Initially we tried to avoid their curiosity about these issues, knowing the liability of FUNAI (Brazilian National Indian Foundation) and the Armed Forces, those solely responsible for the fate of these people.
A sentence composed by one of our students, Damxiri, read: “Apapeme yinpa Wanakta yimata” (“My father abandoned me on the road from the Wanakta village.”) The sentence was discussed in class and led to the following story:
One day the civilized people attacked the village of Yanumã, the father of one of our Yawara school students whose name was Damxiri. Yanumã tried to stave off the attack while the women and children were escaping out through the trail that led to Wanakta’s village, located in the upper Camanaú river. Mortally wounded, Yanumá was still able to catch up with his wife and children. Feeling weak, he advised his wife to seek refuge in the village of Wanakta, a leader who was described as “Wanakta karanî, xuiyá, todapra” (“Wanakta, a fat, handsome, good man”.) His village was well off the beaten track, away from the known roadway and waterway. Possibly it had never been seen by the military since it was one of the few places that had escaped the violent attacks they carried out.
The thirty one people who comprised the Yawara community, where we conducted our work, were the survivors of four villages which had been located on the right bank of the Alalaú river and then disappeared between 1970 and 1975. The oldest member was about 40 years of age. The rest, all over ten years, were orphans, with the exception of two sisters whose mother was still alive. Their parents had died during the resistance against the BR-174 highway construction. The 4 to 10 year old children were also orphans; their parents had died of measles in 1981 and were abandoned by FUNAI on the BR-174 at KM 292.
As the community confided in us more and more, we were not only their teachers but also became part of their desire to live. They questioned the reason why the Kamnã killed their parents, relatives and friends. They drew sketches of the scenes of violence: a plane, or helicopter, flying over the village … soldiers shooting from behind trees … and at the side of the page there was usually just one word: “apiyemeyekî” (why?)
Sometimes they talked about the dead. A young father, named Panaxi, described the following episode, which he, his parents, siblings, relatives and friends lived through in a village of the lower Alalaú river in the early 70’s:
“Back then, there was no sickness; the Kinã were healthy. “Look out there … over there … there … the civilized people! They are hiding behind the tree stump! They killed the Maxi. The civilized people killed the Sere; they killed the Podanî. The civilized people killed the Mani; they killed the Akamanî. The civilized people killed the Priwixi; they killed the Txire. The civilized people killed the Tarpiya. They used bombs; they hid behind tree stumps!”
Yaba wrote: “Kamña mudîtaka notpa, apapa damemohpa” (the civilized people descended on my house from a helicopter and then my father died.) “Ayakînî damemohpa. Apiyemyekî?” (My sister died. Why?)
Another list of the dead: In Mahña mudî, (a village on the Mahña river, upper Alalaú) Mawé, Xiwya - Rosa’s mother; Mayede - Wada’s husband; Eriwixi; Waiba; Samyamî - Xere’s mother, and Pikibda. Wade’s little (pitxenme) daughter also died. Maderê’s Elsa’s wife; Wairá, Amiko’s wife, who lived in Jara; Pautxi, Woxkî’s husband who lived in Jará. Arpaxi, husband of Sidé who lived in Alalaú; Wepînî, son of Elsa. Kixii and her husband Mayká; Paruwá, Ida’s father. Waheri, sister of Wome and another sister of Wome. Suá, Warkaxi’s father and his two wives and son. Kwida. Wara’ye – father of Comprido. Tarahña, Paulinho’s father. Ida, Mayedê’s mother. An old woman whose name they did not give. The daughter of Sabe who lived in Mrebsna Mudî; Mário Paruwé’s two uncles; Womé’s father and Antônio’s daughter.
Kramna Mudî was a village located on the west side of the BR-174 highway, on the lower Alalaú river, close to the place known as the “Crossing over the Umá,” an inter-ethnic passageway, crossing the Waimiri-Atroari territory from south to north and connecting it to Wai Wai and other Karib peoples in Guyana and Suriname. In late September of 1974, Kramna Mudî hosted the Kinâ people for a traditional feast. Other guests from the Camanaú and upper Alalaú were already there. The people from the villages of the north were on their way. Lots of people had already arrived and the feast was well underway. About mid-day the drone of an approaching aircraft was heard. People came out of their huts to see; children were gathered out front. The plane spread a powder that killed all but one.
The chief, Comprido, was on his way; he was arriving from the north together with his people. As they came close, they found the silence odd because a partying village is usually lively. On arrival, they found everyone dead except one. They died without any sign of violence on their bodies. Inside the hut there was a lot of meat on the grill, everything ready to welcome lots of people for the feast. The one survivor could only remember the noise of the plane passing over the village and the dust shed down from it.
The Kinã people provided a list of 33 relatives who died in this massacre. They told us how Chief Comprido became very revolted at the sight of his dead relatives. Before returning to their village, perhaps around the evening of September 30 1974, a group of Kinã attacked three FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) agents: João Dionísio of the north, Paulo Ramos and Luiz Pereira Braga, who were traveling up the Alalaú river to get fuel at the Alalaú II outpost. They killed the three and discarded the bodies at a place where the Umá crosses the Alalaú, and about six kilometers from the massacre. The next day, Chief Comprido attacked the Posto II, about 500 meters from the Alalaú bridge which was the most distant point along the BR-174 highway.
The Urubuí Cultural Center, Presidente Figueiredo
14 de maio de 2011.
Gentilmente traduzido por Catherine Halvey