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The Ka’apor

Five hundred twenty Ka’apor live in 12 villages on a reserve in the Brazilian state of Maranhao. Their environment and lifestyle are threatened by the encroachment of logging and mining.

The Ka’apor are best known for their environmental knowledge and sustainable resource management.  They use the forest environment to make soap, medicines, dyes, glues, and poisons. They hunt according to strict ritual practices which have maintained the population of the wild animals they eat and their diet is mostly derived from wild plant and domesticated crops and fruits, especially bitter manioc.

The Ka’apor create the most intricate and delicate feather ornaments in all of Amazonia.

"Ka’apor means 'footprints in the forest.'  Metaphorically, the term stands for 'people of the forest.'"
- Baleé 1991:101

Ka’apor: Headdress, akangatar, worn as a visor by men during the Ta’l Hupi Rahã name-giving ceremony. Photo © Houston Museum of Natural Science.