Márcia Wayna Kambeba – Indigenous Poet – Belém – Pará – Brazil
Photo Credit: Brazilian Women’s Magazine Seja Extraordinária
My Poetry Corner November 2019 features the poem “Silent Warrior” (Silêncio Guerreiro) by Márcia Wayna Kambeba, the artistic name of Márcia Vieira da Silva, an indigenous Brazilian poet, geographer, performer, and activist for indigenous rights. Born in 1979 in the village of Belém do Solimões in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, she is of Omágua Kambeba ethnicity. At eight years, she moved with her family to São Paulo de Olivença—once the largest settlement of the Kambeba people—in Amazonas. Today, she lives in the city of Belém, capital of Pará.
In the opening stanza of the title poem—written in Tupi followed by its translation in Portuguese—of her poetry collection, Ay Kakyri Tama – Eu Moro na Cidade (Ay Kakyri Tama – I Live in the City), she writes:
I live in the city
This city is also our village
We do not erase our ancestral culture
Come white man, let us dance our ritual.
Influenced by her grandmother, a teacher and poet, Márcia Wayna began writing her first poems at twelve years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in geography at the Amazonas State University in Manaus. In 2012, she received her master’s degree at the Amazonas Federal University. For her dissertation, she documented the history of the Omágua Kambeba people from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century, examining the relationship between territory, identity, and ethnicity. Her poetry collection, self-published in 2018, is the transformation of her dissertation to inform others about the invisible life of indigenous peoples.