|Regions with significant populations|
|Brazil ( Amazonas)|
The Mawé, also known as the Sateré or Sateré-Mawé, are an indigenous people of Brazil living in the state of Amazonas. They have an estimated population of about 13,350. The Sateré-Mawé were the first to domesticate and cultivate guaraná, a popular stimulant.
The name "Sateré-Mawé" comes from Sateré, meaning "caterpillar of fire", and Mawé, meaning "intelligent and curious parrot".
They are also called Maué, Mawé, Mabue, Maragua, Sataré, Andira, Arapium.
The Sateré-Mawé people intentionally use bullet ant stings as part of their initiation rites to become a warrior. The ants are first rendered unconscious by submerging them in a natural sedative and then hundreds of them are woven into a glove made out of leaves (which resembles a large oven mitt), stinger facing inward. When the ants regain consciousness, the boy slips the glove onto his hand. The goal of this initiation rite is to keep the glove on for a full five minutes. When finished, the boy's hand and part of his arm are temporarily paralyzed due to the ant venom. In addition to suffering intense pain, he may hallucinate and shake uncontrollably for days. The only "protection" provided is a coating of charcoal on the hands, supposedly to confuse the ants and inhibit their stinging. To fully complete the initiation, however, the boys must go through the ordeal a total of 20 times over the course of several months.
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