Figure 2.6. Suyá men in the central plaza of the Suyá village, during the Javari ceremony,
shooting arrows at the farmer, represented by a tree bark effigy, 1999.
jaguar, whose fur adorned the headdress he was wearing. The jaguar's qualities
emerged as a source of energy that Romdó hoped the villagers would employ in
Fighting like the spotted jaguar [ Pantera onca ; in Suyá, rowo ] you become
strong, you shout, you pull out your big claws and show your teeth. The white
men will fear you. (My translation from Suyá into English.)
Shaman Intoni Suyá worked closely with me in this 1999 court case (Ferreira 1999f),
involving the dispute between Mr. Russo and the Suyá community here considered.
As my student in the Diauarum Indigenous School in the 1980s, Intoni helped
produce numerous important educational materials, such as map topics, calendars,
first readers, and history topics. In the late 1990s, as my research assistant in the
court case Hélio Salvador Russo X FUNAI and Kuiussi Suyá , Kuiussi helped me
understand shamanic power as control exercised by his people and other beings,
human or not, over a large portion of ancestral lands in Mato Grosso, which was
opened to homesteading by the federal government in the 1960s. The victory in
court by the Suyá in 1997, regaining possession of the Wawi Indigenous Territory,
is mainly attributed by the Gê-speaking Suyá to 12 underwater animals, whose
transformative energy “opened the white men's heads,” according to Intoni,
confirming the existence of a cosmos where humans and animals belong to the same
community of energy.
In the court case Hélio Salvador Russo X FUNAI and Kuiussi Suyá , the drawing
map-making wisdom. Intoni produced the picture in August 1999 in an attempt to
explain to me where the source of his knowledge and power as a shaman stems