Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 12:37 UK

In pictures: Indians' changing customs


The Xavante Indians were evicted from their land in Mato Grosso, Brazil, in 1967 to make way for a new cattle ranch. They were invited to return in 2004, but relations with some ranchers remain tense.

face of indian

The Xavante spent their years away from home moving from one reserve to another. Even after their return to Mato Grosso, they face an uncertain future.

Kids with grain

Forced to abandon their traditions of hunting and fishing, because of the devastation of the forest, they have turned to growing rice and raising cattle as a way of life.

Sieving rice

The Xavante Indians used to have a reputation as fearless warriors, now they are adapting to a life based on subsistence agriculture.

Woman pounding rice

The women do a lot of the agricultural tasks, harvesting the rice by hand, preparing it for eating and carrying wood for the fire.

indian on horse

The men are also learning to adapt to farming as a way of life. Two of them are learning how to become cowboys.

Indian saddling up

A local rancher has donated 120 head of cattle to the Xavante. Now there are no animals to hunt, the Indians need to find alternative sources of meat or protein.

Man playing football

When they are not working, football is popular among both men and women, and they hold regular tournaments.

man leaning on fence

But competition for the land is also keen. This settler says he bought his land and has the deeds to prove it, but he also admits he knew the land was claimed by the Indians.

cowboy on horse

Ranchers whose property borders Xavante land do not appreciate having the Indians as neighbours and relations are uneasy.

smiling child

But the Xavante say they are determined to resist any claims on their land and guarantee a future for their children. Photos: Fernando Cavalcanti.

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