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On-line version ISSN 1851-1694


LEOPOLDI, José Sávio. Aguerra implacável dos Munduruku: elementos culturais e genéticos na caça aos inimigos. Avá [online]. 2007, n.11, pp.171-191. ISSN 1851-1694.

The fundamental reasons of war in the aboriginal world constitute a subject that deserves greater attention from anthropologists. One obvious reason of those wars was dispute over environmental exploitation, but that didn't usually happen among Brazilian natives because of the vast territory available to them. Even in the case of the Munduruku warriors, the reasons for belligerence of the tribe remain little explored. One usually finds descriptions of the attacks on enemies, of the warriors' social value, of the immediate objective of the war - headhunting - and of the ceremonies in which the captured heads were decorated and became the most valuable trophies to be owned by warriors who took them home. Their importance was due to the fact that, according to the Indians' belief, they propitiated success in hunting, gathering and agriculture, therefore becoming necessary to the well-being of the tribe. We propose to consider war as the central element of the Munduruku life, that is, the core reason of the tribe's existence. War anchored the cultural values and social organization of the tribe. Independently of revenge, of disputes or of any other "just" cause, the war had to happen for the Munduruku: the life of the tribe depended on the enemies' death and on their valued heads. Our hypothesis is that an explanation of genetic basis can explain more coherently that radical "need" of the war perpetrated by Munduruku.

Keywords : Amerindians; War; Head-Hunters; Genetic.

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