Located in the extreme south of the city of São Paulo, in the Parelheiros region, this is the largest and most populous Guarani-Mbya village in the city. The Guarani-Mbya occupied the entire Atlantic Forest strip in the country and also in Latin America. After centuries of extermination, few remain.
For me, they are the only ones that, in fact, are so symbiotic with this “such” environment (which is everything that surrounds us, including ourselves) that they cannot separate. We have a lot to learn. If we still have time…
Chronicle of a visit to the Tenondé-Porã Village
The smoke from the fire blinded everything at Opã, the house of rituals. Men and teenagers gathered on one side; women, children, and girls on the other, around the fire. Men speak first. All the voices are in Guarani. Marcio, the vice-cacique explained us in Portuguese that they were debating a project from CDHU for the building of popular houses in the village. Shall them accept it or not? Must the houses respect Guarani architecture? Men speak first, then teenagers, then women. All the voices are in Guarani. I close my eyes to bear the smoke irritation, I don’t want to leave Opã, I want to be there until the end. After camping in the village for two days, that was the first evident movement of approach, the first feeling of belonging to it. Until my retinas howl and the smoke wins. I must leave Opã. Pedro, my immersion comrade, leaves too. We look at each other, both relieved and deceived.
This wooden dust burnt the eyes and mess around the memory. How long have we stayed at Tenondé Porã, Aldeia Morro da Saudade? Was it Marcio the vice-cacique’s name? I remember how we got there. Let’s get to know the south of the city? Sure. Pedro took his car, and we went there with our twenty years old up to Parelheiros. The middle-class bubble asphyxiated us and the heart craved for difference, inequality corrodes consciousness, we were hungry for other references, both close and distant realities. On this path to the end of the city, a board announced Guarani village. We got in. We stopped when we found a man – I don’t recall what he was doing. We talked and found out that he was the cacique – I don’t remember his name. We asked him if we could visit the villa other times, perhaps even camp a few days. He authorized. A few weeks later, we were there.
MARCO MIGUEL, journalist
Written in March 2022, for the 13th BIA, but referring to the moment we camped in Tenondé-Porã Village, around 1999. Text requested for Marco by Pedro Smith.
A very interesting book created by Aldeia Tenondé-Porã
A curious fact that came from some research: a possibility for the origin of the term “mutirão”
“Mutirão” [mutal self-help construction method] would be the exact word translated from the term potirõ, which refers to an event celebrated together in which women, men, elderly, and children participate in the construction, and not just any specific constructive activity.
PRUDENTE, Letícia Thurmann. Arquitetura Mbyá-Guarani na Mata Atlântica do Rio Grande do Sul. (Dissertação de mestrado em Engenharia) – Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre, 2007.
Classical Guarani-Mbya territorial occupation
occupation and architecture
Forest, fields and buildings
TEKOAS: “villages” constituted in headwaters or along rivers. “In our culture, it is the river that avoids evil from passing” (Ladeira, 2008). Foundation of the villages supported by the myth.
TEKOA: “unity” (to build one tekoa you must have one PAJÉ and one CACIQUE)
Teko (to be, sistem, law, culture, habits) + one (place)
Logo: Tekoa it is the physical and environmental place where there are conditions of being Guarani, based on spirituality and subsistence agriculture.
OPY (House of Prayers): where the AMBA (huse of the spirits) is located. Conducted by the Pajé – Centro Social e Espiritual da Tekoa (opening to the rising sun – East).
LADEIRA, Maria Inês. Espaço Geográfico Guarani-Mbya: significado, constituição e uso. Edusp: São Paulo, 2008.
“Cidades são aldeias mortas” [Cities are dead villages]
EMICIDA, song “Passarinhos”