Ikpeng people

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Total population
459 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Brazil ( Mato Grosso)
traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups

The Ikpeng are an indigenous people of Brazil, who live in the Xingu Indigenous Park, located in Mato Grosso, Brazil.[2] They live near the Upper Xingu River. They had a population of 459 in 2010,[1] up from a low of 50 in 1969.


The Ikpeng are also called Txicão,[1] Txikão, Txikân, Chicao, Tunuli, or Tonore people.[2]


The Ikpeng language belongs to the Karib language family.[2]


The earliest recorded western encounters with the Ikpeng people dates back to their arrival in the area surrounding the Upper Xingu River in the early 20th century. Earlier history is tied to the oral history of the Ikpeng themselves. According to the oral tradition, the Ikpeng originally lived in the land inhabited by the Txipaya people, and early records of encounters with the Ikpeng place their tribe in a region inhabited by the Txipaya on the banks of the Iriri River, the principal tributary of the Upper Xingu.

At around 1850, the Ikpeng state that they inhabited a region with several converging rivers. Although the names given to the rivers by the Ikpeng do not allow identification of the region, geographical and resource data points to an area around the Teles Pires-Juruena river basin. The Ikepng were at war with other tribes in the area, including the Tapaugwo and Abaga, and also claim to have lived near European settlers, some of whom they may have taken prisoner.

In 1960, the Ikpeng kidnapped two girls from the Wauja people, who brought a non-native disease (possibly influenza) to their tribe. The Wauja tribe also attacked the Ikpeng in an unsuccessful attempt to the get the two girls back, and as a result of disease and war, the population of the Ikpeng was cut in half.

In 1964, the damaged Ikpeng tribe was assisted by the Villas-Bôas brothers, and by 1967, they had moved into the Xingu Park. The Ikpeng dispersed for a short period of time before coming back together in a new village in the early 1970s. The Ikpeng did not adapt well to the location of this new village, however, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s chose to move to the middle Xingu.

Although the Ikpeng now live in the Xingu Park, they desire some of their old land on the Jabotá River which is contiguous with the park back. In 2002, the tribe went into this land to collect resources such as medicinal plants.


Ikpeng people are hunter-gatherers. They also fish and farm. Their primary crops include cotton, gourds, maize, manioc, and urucu.[2]

Involvement in the Video nas Aldeias/Video in the Villages project[edit]

Members of the Ikpeng community are involved with the Vídeo nas Aldeias project based in Brazil. Ikpeng filmmakers that have received their training through Vídeo nas Aldeias include Karané Ikpeng, Kumaré Ikpeng, and Natuyu Yuwipo Txicão. Natuyu Yuwipo Txicão is the first indigenous woman to join the Vídeo nas Aldeias project. Notable Ikpeng films include Marangmotxíngmo Mïrang: From the Ikpeng Children to the World (2002), Moyngo, the Dream of Maragareum (2003), and Pïrinop, My First Contact (2007).[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Ikpeng: Introduction." Instituto Socioambiental: Povos Indígenas no Brasil. Retrieved 28 March 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ikpeng." Ethnologue. 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  3. ^ Video nas Aldeias website


External links[edit]