One of the original traditions and cultures that suffered erasure with the colonization of Brazil was the production of Tupinambá mantles, an indigenous tradition that is now being carried out again thanks to the dedication of Célia Tupinambá. The indigenous woman has been rescuing this cultural tradition and disseminating it through her unique and meaningful pieces. Watch:
The desire to weave the cloaks arose after a concern when realizing the faulty act of a university that, when exhibiting the piece, did not invite the cacique, owner of the garment, to the ceremony, he explains. “The mantle for me comes in this political act. In the first moment that I have contact with the mantle, that I will bring him evidence, that I will devise the mantle so that he can have this moment of protest, which is this indignation of the cacique”.
Célia explains that in this process, the role of the mantle became evident, not just as a garment. “And I understood how much memory, history and our indigenous heritage is erased in the memory of the Brazilian people. They don’t know about the heritage it has and the mantle has existed since 1500, since the mantle was removed from the territory. He is an entity, a relative, an ancestor, so he is our virtue and our enchanted one on earth” she emphasizes.
Tupinambá mantles are garments made with cotton fibers and bird feathers, which were used by Tupinambá indigenous people on special occasions, such as religious rituals and festivities. With colonization, this tradition was gradually lost, and the production of these pieces had become rare.
Célia, however, decided to rescue this tradition and began to produce using ancestral knowledge and traditional techniques, based on cotton seed. For her, the production of Tupinambá mantles is a way of preserving the culture of her people and disseminating it to future generations.
“I am in this process of teaching, of people understanding yarn, cotton, the importance of planting this seed. We had this seed as a wonderful, technological, necessary thing. This seed already existed with us, so having this cotton seed was a guarantee of fire, clothing, fishing and many other things”, she recalls, referring to the role of cotton in different aspects of life for the Tupinambá people in other generations.
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With her production, Célia Tupinambá is one of those responsible for bringing back and preserving this important cultural tradition of the original peoples, which contributes to the resumption of the physical and immaterial territory of the Tupinambá people.
Now, the rescue of this process has a larger ethnic group. “Within the community, I work with a group of 35 young people. So some learn, others don’t, some have difficulties, others don’t… and we keep walking, educating ourselves, learning a little about our culture, our identity, our place”, concludes Célia.
Read too: Cacica Cátia Tupinambá: “I still dare to have a dream: I want to die of old age!”
Source: BdF Pernambuco
Editing: Vanessa Gonzaga
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