Ka'apor people

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Total population
approx. 800
Regions with significant populations
Brazil Brazil (Maranhão)
Ka'apor, Ka'apor Sign Language (entire community), some Portuguese
shamanism, ancestor worship

The Ka'apor are a distinct ethnic group of indigenous Brazilians living on a protected reserve in the state of Maranhão. They were the subject of a book by anthropologist Dr. William Balée in an exhaustive study of their ethnobotany lifeways and the historical ecology of the area they currently inhabit.

They live in a heavily deforested area of Pre-Amazonian forest, but have managed to protect the forest within their designated reserve up until now.[1]

There is a high degree of congenital deafness among the Ka'apor, and consequently most of the hearing community knows sign language. (See Ka'apor Sign Language.)



  • Balée, William 1994 Footprints of the Forest: Ka’apor Ethnobotany—the Historical Ecology of Plant Utilization by an Amazonian People. New York: Columbia University Press.