Chief Aritana Yawalapiti led his people for five decades. During his life, he fiercely defended his people’s traditions and land. He was instrumental in the creation of the 6.5 million-acre Xingu Indigenous Territory and was recognized as one of the greatest warriors of his people.
The Indigenous people of the upper Xingu are known for their elaborate funeral rites ceremony. In a video posted online to raise funds for the community amid Aritana’s illness, young warriors in colorful clothing dance and sing and then face off against each other in a wrestling battle. It represents the close of a long process of mourning.