Kadiweu indians- warriors and athletes

Por: M. Vinha e .

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Kadiwéu is a Waikurúan language spoken by about 1500 Indians distributed over an area of 538.000 hectares in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the central region of Brazil. They are known as the "Warrior" and "Waikurúan - the horsemen Indians". Their warrior spirit is based on a mythological approach of creation, which has influenced different aspect of their life. The sport is present in the indigenous settlement for the last 20 years, with emphasis on football. The researchers show that is a small part of Kadiwéu reality, because sport is also a new phenomenon. The aim of this study is to understand the insertion of sport in the Kadiwéu Indian Society.


The National Indian Foundation and the internal Kadiwéu leadership authorized this study. Literature review was based on different approaches of missioners and ethnologists. The work was developed by ethnographical procedures. The subjects interviewed were: elderly and adults of both sexes, and young athletes. The oral information obtained was based on specific methods. The material used was: a cassette recorder, cassette tape and a camcorder. The problem was elaborated with the following question: "what is sport managing in the traditional culture body of the Kadiwéu?" The following characteristics were observed: [i] influence of traditional culture in the sport and [ii] internal sport organizational.


The results show the insertion of sport for the Kadiwéu has not only an urban approach but also a live mythical memory. The symbolical context shows the Kadiwéu with their own ethnic distinction, observed in football competitions. The first characteristic emphasized is the "ritual for not being thirsty", which is present in the male warrior’s although less accepted among the Indian youth nowadays. The second characteristic emphasized is the internal organization "Association of Kadiwéu Indigenous Area", which still keeps some traditional values.

Discussion and Conclusion

Although the young Kadiwéu Indians are practicing sports, particularly football, it does not imply that they have the same meaning for them as they do in urban society. They still have a warrior mythological memory, a strong value in culture, which helped them to resist the colonizing process, and to maintain their identity. The study shows the importance of maintaining the Kadiwéu ethnic knowledge in terms of strength and warrior spirit in a contemporary Indian society to contribute to the cultural maintenance of human ludodiversity.


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