In 2014 a broad discussion with the women of the Xingu Indigenous Land was held to strengthen their organization, the Yamurikumã Association of Xingu Women. The meetings occurred in lower , middle and high Xingu villages in Sobradinho (Kawaiwete ethnicity) , Kwarujá (Kawaiwete ethnicity), CTL Pavuru with the support of Arayo Village (Ikpeng ethnicity) and Yawalapíti Village (Yawalapíti ethnicity).
About 350 women from diferents ethnic groups met to discuss the problems they and their communities are going through and to think strategies to face them together.
Why did Xingu women organize?
Why did Xingu women organize? The Xingu women came together to have a greater voice and participation in decisions about important issues that affect their lives, such as the tourism project in the villages, construction of hydroelectric plants, roads and other projects that impact the environment, culture and health of the Xingu. They also addressed issues related to the interaction with the surrounding cities, such as feeding with city products, health, non-organic waste, prostitution, alcoholism, violence and misuse of the image of women.
The Xingu women seek to have more access to information, financial support and technical assistance to carry out projects that meet their interests. Instituto Catitu and Yamurikumã Association wish, through this project, to strengthen the union of the Xingu village women with those living in cities, so that they can defend their ideas and their rights inside and outside the Indigenous Land.
So that women from all regions could participate, we traveled the Xingu River from north to south of the Indigenous Territory for 30 days in many boats taking important female leaders, the board of the Association and local coordinators. In addition to the Xingu, the coordinator of the Association of Acre Indigenous Teachers (OPIAC), Francisca Arara, brought her extensive experience in the indigenous movement that enriched the debate. A team from Instituto Catitu helped in the organization and dynamics of conversations.
The circles also gave the women living in remote villages from each other the opportunity to know each other and practice the moitará, a system of object exchanges that all appreciate very much and that brings a lot of joy!
Four Xingu filmmakers trained by Instituto Catitu took care of the audiovisual recordings.
In 2015 another circle will take place in another Xingu village. In the end, we will edit a video on the conversation circles with translation in at least five languages spoken in Xingu.
- At the end of the conversation circles we want to arrive at an answer to these questions:
Which strategies should we use to increase the participation of women in and out of Xingu Indigenous Land?
- How can we strengthen Yamurikumã Association so it can help in organizing the women?
- Which projects should the Yamurikumã Association prioritize?
- What are the main objectives for the coming years?
- When is the next step?
How the idea of conversation circles came about
The Yamurikumã Association held the Second Meeting of Women Xingu in October 2013 in Canarana in Mato Grosso State, in order to bring together and strengthen women leaders of the Xingu Indigenous Land. The meeting received 250 women from 16 ethnic groups and had the support of several institutions, including Instituto Catitu, the Xingu Indigenous Land Association (ATIX), the Xingu Project / UNIFESP, FUNAI, the Socio-Environmental Institute and Rainforest of Japan. In this three-day meeting were discussed various topics of interest to women, including the role of Yamurikumã Association and how it can help Xingu women to have more political clout. These leaders recommended that the talks on the Association should continue to be made in the villages to answer questions, involve more women and deepen the discussion. This orientation of the leaders did the idea Talk Circles of Xingu Women.
- Instituto Catitu
- Instituto Socioambiental (ISA)
- Norwegian Embassy