Religion of the Kadiweu

Doctrines Central to the religion of the Kadiweu is the figure of Go-noeno-hodi, who is variously conceived as the creator of all things, the protector of the Kadiweu, a fearful being dwelling in heaven, and an impoverished humble old man who is worthy of pity rather than veneration.
An important trickster hero is Caracaca, a generally selfish and perfidious being who is responsible for human suffering and mortality.
Other supernatural beings are the shaman-heroes who are role models for the kadiweu shamans and spirits who can take a variety of forms. The shamans mediate between the realm of the spirits and the world of human beings.
The Kadiweu believe in life after death. The realm of the dead has the same form and social structure as the realm of the living. Because of this, cemeteries are constructed in the same form as the village, and the dead are buried with their belongings. The realm of the dead is, however, distinct from that of the creator being, Go-noeno-hodi.

History The Kadiweu belonged to a larger indigenous group called the Mbaya which itself belonged to a language group called the Guaikuru. The Guaikuru originally occupied an area called Grande Chaco, which is located at the Paraguay river basin. In the 18th century they moved along the Paraguay river to lowlands of Mato Grosso do Sul - a Brazilian state situated in western-central Brazil.
The first descriptions of the Kadiweu date from the beginning of the 16th century when they were encountered by Spanish and Portuguese colonialists. Although they tried to resist the encroachment of Europeans into their territory, they were eventually overpowered by the European settlers and their numbers decreased to a point at which there are now only 100 to 250 Kadiweu left.
As well as decimating the population, European colonialists also were responsible for Kadiweu society and religion. Exposure to Roman Catholicism has led the Kadiweu to replace trickster heroes with Catholic saints in their rituals and for the shaman to adopt the role of a Catholic priest. The transformation of Go-noeno-hodi from creator into humble old man can possibly be seen as symbolic of the transformation of the Kadiweu from a warlike tribe into a tribe subdued by the presence of Europeans.

Symbols Various colours are used to paint the body in feasts and rites of passage. A rattle made out of a calabash and panache (tuft of feathers) are used by the shamans to perform prayers and acts of intercession.

Adherents There are between one hundred and two hundred and fifty Kadiweu alive today.

Main Centre
 The tribe is located on the Paraguay river.