The location of the Palikur near the mouths of the Amazon made them one of the first Amazonian tribes ever encountered by Europeans. As early as 1507 their name was recorded by the Spanish explorer Vicente Yañez Pinzón. By the middle of the 17th century there was an estimated 1,200 Palikur population, of which 400 bowmen, roughly one third of the total indigenous population living between the Cassiporé and Maroni rivers. They were enaged in a century-long war with the Galibi, and resisted evangelization. A Portuguese expedition of the late 18th century burned all Indian villages of the region, which was then under French influence, and moved the Palikur into the interior of Brazil. Consequently, the Palikur remained isolated for much of the next century. After the disputed territory was finally conceded to Brazil in 1900, the Brazilian government deported the immigrants from French Guiana. More sympathetic towards the Creols than the Brazilians, the Palikur, with the exception of one family, moved to French Guiana. They numbered between 200 and 300 individuals.
The majority of Brazilian despised the Indians, and on their side, the Palikur had not forgotten their ancestors enslavement by the Portuguese. In 1942 the Brazilian Indian Protection Service (SPI) installed a Nationalizatin Service in the area with the purpose of integrating the natives, but with limited success. As an example, the Palikur elders refused schooling to their people because they perceived it as a form of slavery. Not until the late 1960s, with the creation of FUNAI, and as they began converting to Pentecostalism, did the Palikur became more responsive to the Brazilian government. Between 1977 and 1981 FUNAI demarcated a common area of 4347 sq. km for the Palikur, Uaçá Galibi, and Karipúna. In 1980 a Pentecostal church was built in the village of Ukumene, gathering a population of 350, nearly two third of the then Brazilian Palikuri population, and more than a third of the global Palikuris.
The Palikur subsist largely on bow and arrowfishing, supplemented by hunting and horticulture. Manioc, roasted, or used for the preparation of flat cakes and beer, is the main cultivated plant. Sweet potatoes, sugarcane, peppers, gourds, cotton, and papayas, which the Palikur have adopted from the Europeans, along with mangoes, coffee, and citrus trees, are also cultivated. Commercial relations between the Palikur and the Europeans began to intensify in the early 18th century; river and forest products were exchanged for tools, harpoons, clothes and glass beads. Until the end of the 19th century the main commercial surplus was roasted manioc flour. In the 1940s and 1950s an intense commerce with aligator skins took place, until the aligator population was depleted. The Palikur manufacture objects of wood, bone, feathers, and cotton seed. Shotguns for hunting and harpoons and cotton fishing lines are being widely used at the present.
Cultural Heritage, Archives & Citizenship: Reflections on Using Virtual Reality for Presenting Knowledge Diversity in the Public Sphere (1)
Nov 01, 2007; Abstract This article reports on an effort to apply to an oral history archive design the findings of ethnographic research...