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Auwe e Waradzu: young Xavantes experiences in Ribeirão Preto

Grant number: 18/16016-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2018
Effective date (End): October 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:José Francisco Miguel Henriques Bairrão
Grantee:Maria Clara de Campos Silva
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil


Brazil's indigenous people have continually faced, since colonial times, many challenges related to their historical rights to their territories, the recognition of their value as a People, the respect for their identity and the exercise of their citizenship. Within this context, the Xavante people have developed relationship strategies with the Wazardu - the non-indigenous - in order to foster their survival. In that sense, in the end of the 1950s, eight boys were sent to Ribeirão Preto, with the mission to learn the Wazardu language and culture from inside its core. During that time, they would be under the responsibility of non-indigenous families who agreed to watch over the children and provide them with the white man's formal education. Such a phenomenon has contemporary reflections: like their ascendants, some young Xavantes walk similar paths to those of their predecessors, thus constituting the focus of the present study. Based on the case described, an ethnopsychological investigation of the experience of the young indigenous people in transit between two culturally disparate environments is intended, capturing their living within and between two universes, each one in a different family. Data collection will be executed through coexistence and interviews which focus on the thematic interests of the researcher, to be carried out at least twice a month. The data collection and analysis methodology stems from the Ethnopsychoanalytic approach in conjunction with ethnographic practices, such as the participant listening. This study aims to contribute to the construction of a joint knowledge between psychology and native wisdom, benefiting both the Xavante people and Brazilian society as a whole.

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