Karajá, indigenous myth

Karajá, indigenous myth

Karajá, from the beginning.

Karajá, also known as iny mahãdu, are a  indigenous community whom inhabit the banks of the Araguaia river across the Amazonian region, crossing the states of Goias, Mato Grosso, Tocantins and Para in Brazil.

The myth surrounding their origin tells a story of a fascinating tribe that lived in a village on the bottom of the Araguaia river, where they lived and formed the community of Berahatxi Mahadu, also known as “the underwater people”. A thriving community, well fed and content, they inhabited a cold and confined space at the bottom of the river. One day, a young Karajá man who was curious in knowing the surface world, found a hidden passageway that connected both worlds and decided to explore. Fascinated by the beaches and wealth from the Araguaia river and the existence of such vast land to wonder and live, the young Karajá man summoned other members of the tribe to the surface world and they too became fascinated by their discovery.

Some time later, the Karajá people that came to the surface discovered death and diseases. Afraid of what they discovered, they tried to return to the bottom of the river, but the passageway was closed and guarded by a giant snake at the order of Koboi, the chief of the underwater people. Unable to return, they decided to spread alongside the Araguaia river in the hope that one day they could return to the bottom of the river.

Through the mythological hero Kynyxiwe who lived among them, they came to know about fish and many good things that the Araguaia river could provide them. After many adventures, the hero Kynyxiwe married a young Karajá girl and settled in the village of heaven, whose people, the Biu Mahadu, taught the Karajá how to make swiddens and survive of the land.

The Karajá are also known for their artistic craft skills, specially their handmade ceramic statues. The Karajá dolls, forms part of an important aspect of the tribes socialization, reproducing the social-cultural, spiritual, mythological and family planning aspects of the tribe. The ornaments were originally a part of the tribes teachings which were passed on from generation to generation, today, it is the main source of income for the tribe and their families.

Working together with the Karajá tribe, brazilartsandcrafts.com is proud to support their work and list some of their ceramic ornaments in our on-line store.