Xingu Indigenous Park

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Xingu Indigenous Park
Parque Indígena do Xingu
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Xingu Indigenous Park
Map showing the location of Xingu Indigenous Park
Coordinates 11°13′55″S 53°11′06″W / 11.232°S 53.185°W / -11.232; -53.185Coordinates: 11°13′55″S 53°11′06″W / 11.232°S 53.185°W / -11.232; -53.185
Area 2,642,003 hectares (6,528,530 acres)
Designation national park
Indigenous Territory
Created 14 April 1961
Administrator ICMBio

The Xingu Indigenous Park (Portuguese: Parque Indígena do Xingu, pronounced [ʃĩˈɡu]) is an indigenous territory of Brazil, first created in 1961 as a national park in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Its purposes are to protect the environment and the several tribes of Xingu indigenous peoples in the area.


The Xingu Indigenous Park is in the north east of the state of Mato Grosso, in the south of the Amazon biome. It covers 2,642,003 hectares (6,528,530 acres), with savannah and drier semi-deciduous forests in the south transitioning to Amazon rain forest in the north. There is a rainy season from November to April. The headwaters of the Xingu River are in the south of the park. The area covered by the park was defined in 1961 and covers parts of the municipalities of Canarana, Paranatinga, São Félix do Araguaia, São José do Xingu, Gaúcha do Norte, Feliz Natal, Querência, União do Sul, Nova Ubiratã and Marcelândia in the state of Mato Grosso.[1]


The national park was created after a campaign by the Villas-Bôas brothers for protection of the region. An account of the exploration of this area by the Villas-Bôas brothers and their efforts to protect the region is documented in the film Xingu (2012).

The idea of creating a park originated with a round table organized by the vice president of Brazil in 1952, at which a much larger park was proposed. However, the state of Mato Grosso began granting land within the proposed area to colonizing companies, so the park that came into existence by decree 50.455 of 14 April 1961 was only a quarter of the proposed size. Adjustments were made on 31 July 1961, 6 August 1968 and 13 July 1971. The final demarcation of the perimeter was made in 1978. The area was given the designation of "National Park" to cover the dual purpose of protecting the environment and the indigenous people, and is subject to both the indigenous agency and the environmental agency. In 1967 the term "National Park" was replaced by "Indigenous Park" to reflect the primary goal of protecting the social diversity of the indigenous people.[1]

Pátio da Aldeia Kamaiurá, Alto-Xingu. Indigenous people playing the uruá flute

The park began to suffer from the incursion of fishermen and hunters in the 1980s. By the late 1990s livestock farms to the north east of the park were starting to reach the park, as was deforestation to the west of the park. The effects of human activity outside the park were starting to pollute the waters of the park. The park remains as an island of forest increasingly threatened by activity outside its perimeter.[1]


The tribes occupying territories within the boundaries of the park are the Kamayurá (355), Kaiabi (745), Yudjá (248), Aweti (138), Mehinako (199), Wauja (321), Yawalapiti (208), Ikpeng (319), Kalapalo (417), Kuikuro (415), Matipu (119), Nahukwá (105), Suyá (334) and Trumai (120), population figures as of 2002.

The Xingu area is of interest also for its relation to the history of early-20th century exploration by Europeans, among whom perhaps Percy Harrison Fawcett is most notable. He sought out a city rumored since early 16th-century European contact. David Grann's book, The Lost City of Z documents those early explorations. It also explores more recently found evidence of large-scale indigenous civilizations pre-dating Spanish and Portuguese contacts and colonization.



  • O Parque (in Portuguese), ISA: Instituto Socioambiental, retrieved 2016-05-05 

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