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Mana

Print version ISSN 0104-9313On-line version ISSN 1678-4944

Abstract

COSTA, Luiz. VIRANDO FUNAI: UMA TRANSFORMAÇÃO KANAMARI. Mana [online]. 2016, vol.22, n.1, pp.101-132. ISSN 1678-4944.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0104-93132016v22n1p10.

The Kanamari, a Katukina speaking people who inhabit the Western edge of Brazilian Amazonia, say that they are "becoming Funai". Funai is the acronym of the Fundação Nacional do Índio (National Indian Foundation), the Brazilian government agency responsible for the tutelage of Indigenous people in the country. Becoming Funai can reflect practical aspirations, such as employment in the agency, but it more habitually refers to a diffuse and collective process through which the Kanamari enthusiastically accept many of the laws enforced by Funai and emulate or exaggerate some of its conventions. This includes tattooing Brazilian states insignia on their bodies, suspending work on Sunday, dressing in the Foundation's uniform and naming children after Funai employees. In this article I argue that, far from being a sui generis consequence of Kanamari submission to the trappings of the Brazilian state, "becoming Funai" is a process that must be understood in relation to Kanamari history and mythology. When analyzed in this light, "becoming Funai" reveals itself to be a logical transformation of more ancient Kanamari ideas of asymmetry and submission to others as these ideas are confronted by the tutelary politics of the Brazilian state.

Keywords : Amazonia; Fundação Nacional do Índio (Funai); History; Kanamari; Mythology; Politics.

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