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Ora, o SENHOR disse a Abrão: Sai-te da tua terra, da tua parentela e da casa de teu pai, para a terra que eu te mostrarei.
E far-te-ei uma grande nação, e abençoar-te-ei e engrandecerei o teu nome; e tu serás uma bênção.
E abençoarei os que te abençoarem, e amaldiçoarei os que te amaldiçoarem; e em ti serão benditas todas as famílias da terra.
Gênesis 12:1-3

What's the importance of a language?

​The Rikbaktsa's territory comprises three different lands in the north of the state of Mato Grosso, on the banks of the Juruena River.

In the late 1940s, European barons gave money to catholic missionaries to enter the Rikbaktsa lands for the purpose of what they called ' pacifying families’. The series of invasions resulted in the death of 75% of the Rikbaktsa population due to diseases such as influenza and measles. 

Children were forced to leave their families to live in Catholic schools, where they were forced to work and learn Portuguese, and were prohibited from speaking their own language.​

As the decades went by and the adults passing away, just a few people still knew how to speak the Rikbaktsa language. 

In 2019, more than sixty Rikbaktsa people embarked on a 7-day expedition through the Juruena River basin to revive cultural practices and pass them on to young people. Children, elders and adults came together aboard 10 small boats camping in the dense forest, in parts of the territory only the elders have visited before.

Hunting and fishing techniques were taught and words and phrases in the original language were shared with the younger generation.​

A month after the expedition, already in the comfort of the villages, children learned techniques for producing artifacts such as necklaces, headdresses and bracelets, all crucial to keeping traditions alive.​

Rikbktasa territories and traditions are threatened by hydroelectric construction projects that would flood sacred sites and threaten the lives of animals that are important to the culture.

Follow the series divided into two parts.


Elders, teenagers, children... a group of 60 people gathered in an ethnomapping expedition through the Juruena river at the Rikbaktsa territory.

During 7 days, camping in small inhabited islands, Rikbaktsas showed important part of their lands that awere known only by elders.

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BRAZIL, 2019

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