The Kayapo people are indigenous peoples in Brazil, from the plain lands of the Mato Grosso and Pará in Brazil, south of the Amazon Basin and along Rio Xingu and its tributaries. Kayapo call themselves "Mebengokre", which means "people of the wellspring". In 2010, the population was an estimated 8,638 people, which is an increase from 7,096 in 2003. Subgroups of the Kayapo include the Xikrin, Gorotire, Mekranoti and Metyktire. Their villages typically consist of a dozen huts. A centrally located hut serves as a meeting place for village men to discuss community issues.
The Kayapo tribe lives alongside the Xingu River in the eastern part of the Amazon Rainforest, near the Amazon basin, in several scattered villages ranging in population from one hundred to one thousand people. Their land consists of tropical rainforest savannah (grassland) and is arguably the largest tropical protected area in the world.
The resource patterns of the Kayapo are non-destructive to the resource base but require a very large area of land. The Kayapo people use shifting cultivation, a type of farming where land is cultivated for a few years, after which the people move to a new area. New farmland is cleared and the old farm is allowed to lie fallow and replenish itself. The Kayapo use approximately 250 different food plants and 650 different medicinal plants that they find around their village.
The Kayapo have incorporated a great deal of traditional myth, ritual and cosmology into their practices honouring the importance of the earth's relationship with the people. Threats to the forest home of the Kayapo have been an area of extreme concern in the last 30 years, beginning with mining and logging enterprises which threatened to destroy the rainforest, and thus the Kayapo's way of life.