Bananal Island (Ilha do Bananal) is a large island bordered with Araguaia rivers (Araguaia and Braço Menor do Araguaia) in Tocantins, Brazil. The island is formed by a fork in a very flat section of the Araguaia River. When the river forks, the Araguaia continues on the west.
In accordance with Article 28 of the Statute of Indian Law (Artigo 28 do Estatuto do Indío-lei) No. 6001 laid out in 19/12/1973, the Bananal Island has been preserved as a national park and indigenous preservation. The northern third of the island is a national park which is a very popular destination for ecotourism. The southern two thirds are reserved as terra indígena for the native tribes of the region. Although Brazilians of non-native descent lived on the island in the past, today only natives populate the island.
At least four tribes live on the Bananal Island: the Javaés, Karajá, Ava-Canoeiro, and Tuxá. There are sixteen aldeias or villages on the island:
There are no bridges to the island from the states of Tocantins to the east nor from Mato Grosso to the west. For the greater majority of the year, the only transport to the island is by boat. However, for a few weeks during the dry season (Jun-Aug) the river is low enough that the island can be reached by car. The villages have roads wide enough for cars and tractors even though the main forms of transport are by horse, bicycle, and foot.
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