SHAMANIC MAP-MAKING IN THE
The Suyá People of the Xingu Indigenous Park
Figure 2.1. Intoni Suyá: “We learn from water creatures how to protect our land.”
This chapter explores shamanic map-making as cited in central Brazilian court cases
involving land tenure since the end of the country's military dictatorship in 1985.
It explores the status of Indigenous Peoples' critical knowledges and practices in
judicial reports elaborated by anthropologists (Ferreira 1999f; Franchetto 1987; Lea
1997a, 1997b). Previous court reports were designed by military officers, engineers,
and other close alliances in the scientific community. In an attempt to regain
possession of ancestral territories illegally occupied by farmers, gold miners, and
multinational companies in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, political and ceremonial leaders
of the Suyá, Kayapó, Kayabi, and Juruna peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Park have
evoked the power of humans and also of certain animals over the environment, its
goods and resources.
Here, shamanic power is seen by Intoni Suyá - a leading character in the court
case Hélio Salvador Russo X FUNAI and Kuiussi Suyá - as control exercised by his