Document


Title

The practice of burning savannas for hunting by the Xavante indians based on the stars and constellations
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Monica Martins de Melo; Carlos Hiroo Saito
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • astronomy
  • Brazil
  • cerrado
  • ethnoecology
  • fire management
  • hunting
  • Native American burning
  • savanna burning
Topic(s):
Region(s):
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 15, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 20957

Description

The cultural basis for the practice of savanna burning for hunting by the Xavante Indians was investigated. Fieldwork was performed in the Indigenous Lands of Areões and Pimentel Barbosa in Mato Grosso State, Brazil. This study showed that natural events are still relevant in the cognitive universe of the Xavante and are considered in the people's decision-making processes. The eldest village members select the best location and time to start a fire. Their decision is based on the winds and the positions of the stars. The constellations that have a special meaning for the Xavante are rather similar to those acknowledged by Western culture. The results of the study support the conclusion that a dialogue between the traditional knowledge of the Xavante about fire management and the scientific fundamentals of fire ecology can contribute to a broader understanding of the management of fires in the cerrado.

Online Link(s):
Citation:
Martins de Melo, Monica; Saito, Carlos Hiroo. 2013. The practice of burning savannas for hunting by the Xavante indians based on the stars and constellations. Society & Natural Resources 26(4):478-487.