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Time line

c. 800
Beginnings of habitation in the Upper Xingu in what is today the state of Mato Grosso by peoples of the Arawak linguistic family.

c. 1250
Increased population density, with peoples of the Arawak (Mehinako and Waujá) and Karib language families (Kuikuro, Kalapalo, Nafukuá and Matipu). Archaeological studies suggest the existence during this period of large settlements interconnected by roadways, with practice of agriculture, canals and bridges, and protected by defensive fortifications.

c. 1650
Other peoples arrive in the region such as the Kamaiurá and Aweti (of the Tupi language group), Yawalapiti and Trumai.

c. 1720
The gold rush in Mato Grosso attracts prospectors who kidnap and enslave indigenous peoples in the Xingu.

First expedition led by German ethnologist Karl von den Steinen arrives in Bakairi communities. They encounter the Trumai who flee in fear of gunshots, and some Khisêtje people.

Von den Steinen’s second expedition reaches people of the Nafukuá, Kuikuro, Mehinako, Aweti, Waujá, Yawalapiti, Kamaiurá and Trumai peoples. Member of the team, Paul Ehrenreich takes the first known photographs of the Xingu.

Expedition of German anthropologist Hermann Meyer.

Meyer’s second expedition, with ethnologist Theodor Koch-Grünberg.

German ethnologist Max Schmidt observes that the Bakairi are travelling away from the Upper Xingu to obtain industrialized goods from farms. Contact with non-indigenous people spreads flu and measles, reducing the population considerably.

Creation of the Serviço de Proteção ao Índio (SPI) [Service for the Protection of Indians], directed by Marshal Cândido Rondon. Leading the commission that installed electricity lines throughout the interior of the country from 1907, Rondon defended the integration of indigenous peoples, following the motto “Die if need be. Never kill.”

Rondon Commission arrives in the Upper Xingu. Cinematographer for the expedition, Major Thomaz Reis captures the first moving images in the region.

People of the Kuikuro, Kalapalo, Matipu and Nafukuá start going with increasing frequency to the Simão Lopes post where the Bakairi had lived in order to obtain goods. On these journeys Narru Kuikuro learns the Portuguese language.

English Colonel Percy Fawcett disappears in the Xingu while searching for a supposed lost civilization in the region.

Getúlio Vargas creates the Expedição Roncador-Xingu (ERX) [Roncador-Xingu Expedition] and the Fundação Brasil Central (FBC) [Central Brazil Foundation], as part of a plan to occupy the country’s interior, known as the March to the West. Brothers Orlando, Cláudio and Leonardo Villas Bôas join the expedition, which leaves in August from Uberlândia, Minas Gerais.

SPI expeditions produce newsreels about the Upper Xingu. At this time, major epidemics break out causing many deaths among local people.

ERX crosses the Mortes River and makes the first contact with the Xavante.

ERX arrives in the Upper Xingu and contacts the Kalapalo, Trumai, Kuikuro, Yawalapiti, Nafukuá and Matipu.

Contact with the Kamaiurá.

Orlando Villas Bôas takes on leadership of the ERX. Contact with the Kawaiweté.

Commission presents a call for the creation of the Xingu National Park to the federal government. The document is written by Darcy Ribeiro and approved by Rondon.

Contact with the Mẽtyktire (Kayapó).

President Getúlio Vargas visits the Xingu to inaugurate the Cachimbo Base, of the Brazilian Air Force.

The Captain Vasconcelos Post is founded, the hub for SPI activity in the Upper Xingu.

SPI reveals that more than 6 million hectares of land protected by demarcation had been transferred to realtors.

Contact with the Khisêtje.

Decree from President Jânio Quadros establishes the Xingu National Park, later renamed Parque Indígena do Xingu (PIX) [Xingu Indigenous Park]. The demarcated area is ten times smaller than proposed in the original plans.

Leonardo Villas Bôas dies. The Captain Vasconcelos Post is renamed in his memory.

Contact with the Ikpeng in the region of the Jatobá and Batovi rivers, tributaries of the Xingu River.

The Ikpeng are transferred to the PIX when their ancestral land is invaded by miners.

SPI is closed and replaced by the Fundação Nacional do Índio (Funai) [National Indian Foundation].

Territorial area of the PIX is expanded.

Plan for National Integration created by the dictatorship proposes the construction of Transamazonian, BR-80 and BR-163 highways.

Persecuted and afflicted by disease in their territory in Mato Grosso, the Tapayuna are relocated to the PIX.

The BR-80 highway is opened. It cuts through the PIX leaving most of the Mẽtyktire territory outside of the demarcated area.

First contact with the Panará.

The Statute of the Indian is enacted.

The first school for formal education in the PIX is created at the Leonard Post, with non-indigenous teachers.

Panará are relocated to the PIX but do not adapt.

Agriculturalists found the cities of Canarana and Água Boa, Mato Grosso, to the south of the PIX.

Timber merchants occupy the region that goes on to become the municipality of Feliz Natal, Mato Grosso, to the west of the PIX.

Sale of urban and rural lots accelerates in the region that eventually becomes the city of Gaúcha do Norte, Mato Grosso, to the south of the PIX.

Kawaiweté hijack a plane as a protest aimed at receiving better treatment from Funai.

Born in a Xavante community, Mário Juruna becomes the first indigenous person to be elected a federal deputy in Brazil.

Led by Raoni, the Mẽtyktire protest for the demarcation of their territory, granted in the same year as Capoto/Jarina IT, in the state of Mato Grosso.

Nephew of Raoni, Megaron Txukahamãe is named director of PIX, the first indigenous person to take on the role.

New Constitution is enacted with a chapter dedicated to indigenous rights: “Indians are recognized for their social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and their original rights over the lands they traditionally occupy”.

First Meeting of Indigenous Peoples of the Xingu takes place in Altamira, Pará, against the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power station in the region of the Xingu River known as Volta Grande. The project has been planned since the dictatorship.

The Associação Terra Indígena do Xingu (ATIX) [Indigenous Land Association of the Xingu] is founded. Representing the peoples that inhabit the territory, ATIX is responsible for territorial management, areas of transport, health and education, and economic and cultural projects.

The Panará return to their traditional territory, approved as Panará IT, Pará and Mato Grosso.

First audiovisual workshop for indigenous people as part of the Vídeo nas Aldeias project at the Diauarum Post, in the Xingu.

The Khisêtje return to their traditional territory, approved as Wawi IT, Mato Grosso.

Conflict as a result of the hydroelectric construction on the Culuene River.

The Dilma Rousseff government reinitiates the Belo Monte hydroelectric project and construction begins at Volta Grande do Xingu.

First meeting of the Rede Xingu+ in Altamira, with representatives from indigenous communities, riverine populations and institutions throughout the Xingu basin.

First generation of high school graduates of the Ikpeng people with indigenous teachers.

Belo Monte power station is inaugurated bringing devastation to the Xingu River and the region of Altamira.

Demarcation of the Pequizal of Naruvôtu which, together with the PIX and the Wawi and Batovi ITs, forms the Xingu Indigenous Territory (MT), with a population of more than 6 thousand people from 16 ethnicities.

Jair Bolsonaro is elected president with the promise of paralyzing the demarcation of indigenous territories throughout Brazil.

On the 60th anniversary of the first demarcation, the Xingu faces advancing deforestation in the Amazon, encouraged by the Bolsonaro government, while fires spread on an unprecedented scale fought by indigenous Ibama-trained firefighters.

Graduation of the first generation of high school students of the Yudjá people, taught by indigenous teachers.

Elected president for the third time, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva commits to the creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples.