6. The anaconda, sucuri , which in the beginning of times broke the waters loose
from the grips of the humming bird, who kept the precious liquid hidden in
secretive underground hideouts. Suyá people need the strength of the sucuri to
fight against the white men, caraíbas .
7. The peixe cavalo , horse fish, is just like a horse, but a bit different. It is yellow
and black and can live underwater. Unknown to the Suyá before contact with the
caraíbas , the horse is strong-smelling and therefore a dangerous animal that is
able to survive in hostile environments, underwater. Surviving hostilities is a key
strategy today for the Suyá.
8. The socó , stork fish, which has the same ability as the peixe cavalo , but enhances
its flying ability with a swimming one. Same traits the Suyá should cultivate
during the court case: show the expert [myself] the Suyá's ability to envision
their territory from above, as well as from an underwater perspective.
9. The gourd fish, peixe cabaça , which looks like a gourd but is a fish. He lives in
the bottom of the river, but is still full of mud. Despite its dirty appearance, the
gourd fish is very clever because it is deceptive. It pretends to know nothing, but
it is very knowledgeable.
10. This is a human being, ser humano , but a water creature as well. It can tell all the
fish to move around at any given time. Humans are more powerful than animals,
so when they feel weaker than animals, they need to regain their strength by
resorting to the power of the human fish, peixe humano .
11. It is a sting ray, arraia , that lives under the ground, but also inhabits the rivers. The
arraia can be deceptive and sting those who are unaware of its ability to become
invisible. The Suyá should only resort to violence against caraíbas when really
needed, since stinging can cause the caraíbas to spread diseases, throw bombs,
and engage in other acts of violence that can decimate the Suyá population.
12. This one is also a human being, ser humano , but also lives in the water. All
humans come from the waters, and therefore the importance of the disputed
rivers and lagoons to the Suyá people. All our headwaters are in the hands of the
caraíbas , big farmers, the gold miners that make the waters dirty with poison that
kill the fish, and make our children sick.
Shamanic Map-Making and the Symbolic Order
The Brazilian judiciary system has indeed been confronted with a fundamental
sociological dimension of Amazonian peoples' cosmologies: If knowledge is a
major modality of culture (Barth 1995), then biocultural diversity is the product of
what humans and non-humans alike feel, think, and do in a world where the goods
are often intangible, and the resources symbolic.
Amerindian societies in central Brazil view animals as fully autonomous moral
and social persons, and not as subjects in need of human tutelage. The Suyá,
Kayabi, Juruna, and other populations that inhabit the Xingu Park today and the
Wawi Indigenous territory, adjacent to the park, do not distinguish humans and