ABSTRACT

In this chapter, I delineate intersecting demarcations in the case of the Kaliña/Kali’na, the smallest of the four indigenous groups in the border heartland. Special attention is given to the memories and future aspirations of Kaliña/Kali’na women living on the Brazilian side of the Oyapock River and how they employ legal, spatial, and activist strategies fighting for social and spatial justice. I first offer a brief historical sketch of the Kaliña/Kali’na, including their historical dispersion across the Guianas; their decimation in the aftermath of colonisation; and their forced, temporary migration to the metropole in the late 19th century. This historical contextualisation is necessary for a nuanced understanding of the second part of the chapter which focuses on a number of Kaliña/Kali’na families who migrated from the northwestern part of Guyane to the Brazilian side of the Oyapock River, the official borderline between France and Brazil since 1900. In tracing this movement, I unveil the underexplored reasons behind this movement and its long-term impacts for some Kaliña/Kali’na members living in Oiapoque today, including the official demarcation of their indigenous land in 1982. Focusing on the lived experience of Dona Cristina, the fourth part of the chapter stresses the ways in which the Kaliña/Kali’na in northern Brazil are nowadays confronted with entangled inequalities resulting from the intersection of various categories such as citizenship, ethnicity, and gender. Finally, I draw conclusions pointing to the Kaliña/Kali’na’s current and future struggles. Overall, their narratives of location suggest political, social, and cultural geographies that can both fit into and defy state-centred and absolutist territorial divisions.