THE APETE FOREST ISLANDS OF THE KAYAPO
LOCATION | Kayapo
TYPOLOGY | Forest Farming
SYSTEM | Apete Forest Islands
PEOPLE | Amazon Basin, Brazil
In the ocean of the Amazon rainforest, bright circles connected by spidery trails appear faintly through the canopy. Living along the Xingu River in Para Brazil, the Kayapo Indians who call themselves ‘Mebengokre’, which means ‘people of the wellspring’, are a group of indigenous people that use fire to burn large, circular villages known as Apete into the rainforest. Comprising an area the size of Kentucky, the Kayapo territory is one of the largest tracts of intact tropical rainforest on earth. Nine thousand Kayapo people inhabit several scattered villages, ranging in sizes from one hundred to one thousand people. Their villages are composed of a series of concentric circles with a morphology that can be traced to their use of pyrotechnology and to the origin story of the tribe.
Illustrations by Despoina Linaraki