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The cattle and the Indian: relations between Amerindian peoples and animal husbandry

Grant number: 20/05507-0
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2020 - October 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal Investigator:Felipe Ferreira Vander Velden
Grantee:Felipe Ferreira Vander Velden
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


This project aims to analyze the forms of incorporation of cattle (mainly bovine and equine, but not only) and the technologies, techniques and practices of their management and husbandry among indigenous peoples in Lowland South America. Special emphasis will be given to what I call the 'material dimension' of this phenomenon. With this, I refer to the indigenous objects related to these large introduced herbivores and their breeding in Native's villages: the representations of these beings in native artifacts, objects made from raw materials obtained from bodies of these exotic animals, and technologies (of indigenous manufacture or not) used in the relations with these beings, in their control and use (transport, traction, confinement, food). It is expected to pursue this objective through the analysis of documentation - both textual and museological - largely accessible online on Museu do Índio/Rio de Janeiro's website (, as well as from the analysis of artifacts preserved in some museum collections in Brazil and abroad (some of them already analyzed), and, of course, with the extensive support of the available ethnological bibliography and other relevant documentary and museum collections. From this, it is expected to contribute to the study of the relations between Amerindian populations and the animals brought by Europeans, as well as on the properly indigenous ways of adopting (or not) these beings and the ways of living with them - via predation, taming/familiarization, management or breeding. It is also about writing a culturally sensitive history of the ways of animal husbandry in indigenous Brazil (and South America), and proposing subsidies for an analysis that seeks alternatives to the hegemonic narratives of the success of Brazilian agribusiness (specially livestock) through different stories of contact between the cattle and the Indian. (AU)

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