|Regions with significant populations|
|Brazil ( Mato Grosso)|
They were formerly called the Kreen-Akrore. Other names for the Panará include Kreen Akarore, Kren Akarore, Krenhakarore, Krenhakore, Krenakore, Krenakarore or Krenacarore, and "Índios Gigantes" ("Giant Indians") - all variants of the Kayapó name "kran iakarare", meaning "roundlike cuthead", a reference to their traditional hair style which identifies them.
The Panará are the last descendants of the southern Cayapós, a large ethnic group which inhabited a vast area in Central Brazil in the 18th century, from the northern borders of the state of São Paulo, Triângulo Mineiro and south of Goiás, stretching eastwards from Mato Grosso, eastern and southeastern portion of Mato Grosso do Sul. The Panará belong to the Jê-speaking group in Central Brazil, a subgroup of the northern Jê, which encompasses the Kayapó, Suyá, Apinayé and the Timbira languages. Latest researches indicate that the southern Cayapó and Panará are in fact one single language.
In 1970 an expedition was formed to make contact with the Panará headed by the Villas-Bôas brothers. Claudio and Orlando worked for the government at the indigenous reserve, Xingu National Park, in Brazil, and were motivated to begin their adventure by the capture of one of the Panará tribes children by a rival tribe, as well as their hopes that contact with Panará would prevent conflict with the outside world when they learned that the (Cuiabá-Santarém) road BR-163 planned to cut straight through their territory. The leaders of the expedition gathered members of other tribes who had once been isolated but who now lived on in Parque do Xingu and set out on to make contact. Despite many months of leaving presents for the Panara at one of their banana and maze plantations the expedition was unable to make any real contact with them other than a few visual encounters as well as few presents which the Panara left them in return. After the expedition was over, The Panará lived in relative isolation until three years later in 1973 when the government project (Cuiabá-Santarém) road BR-163 through their territory finally brought them in contact with the outside world. As a result the tribe was decimated by modern world diseases such as flu which they had no immunity against, and by the environmental degradation of their land. Of the more than 350 members of the Panará tribe, more than 250 perished in the first twelve months after their first contact with the white men.
On 12 January 1975, the 79 surviving members of the tribe were transferred by the government to the indigenous reserve Xingu National Park, and forced to live in neighborly proximity with former enemies, under state supervision. A working team from the Escola Paulista de Medicina examed 27 of the 29 newcomers, adults over 20 years old. The average height was 1.67m, which corresponded to the average height of those from the Jê group, a little taller than the Indians from Alto Xingu.
Twenty years later the Panará began negotiations to move home to their original territory. However, much of their old land had been degraded by prospectors, gold-panning, settlement or cattle breeding (six out of eight of their old villages had been destroyed), but one large stretch of unspoiled dense forest could still be identified. In 1994 the tribe elders met with Xingu Park leaders and FUNAI to demand the right to move back to their original territory, and were eventually allowed 4,950 square kilometres from their ancient traditional territory along the Iriri River located on the border of Mato Grosso and Pará states.
Between 1995 and 1996, the Panará gradually moved to a new village called Nãs?potiti in their traditional land, and on 1 November 1996 the Justice Minister declared the Panará Indigenous Land a "permanent indigenous possession". By 2004 the number of Panará was around 250, and in 2008 they were 374. In 2010 there were 437 Panará.