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B - UNCONTACTED ETHNIC GROUPS

The particularity of Greater Amazonia is that it includes a number of small groups which have little or no contacts with other indigenous populations and even less with non-indigenous populations.

This phenomenon can be explained by the segmentation of indigenous populations in the course of the last two centuries, a minimum strategy responding to the brutal invasion of the area by Europeans. Table 6 and map 3 ("Uncontacted ethnic groups") give as precise a picture as possible, despite inaccuracies that are obviously inherent to this type of inventory. It seems there are 52 such groups (plus 3 which are being contacted at present), an estimated total of about 7 100 people. Many of these ethnic groups are actually only segments belonging to groups which are already known. In this case, they present all the characteristics of an isolated unit (endogamy, no exchanges, a minimal economy...), but nevertheless used to

Map 3 : Uncontacted ethnic groups

belong to wider and more complex cultural and economic entities (e.g. the Akulio or the Tupi-Kawahib, among others).

Since the 1940s, many groups or segments of groups are no longer isolated. They have now been included in the wider context of those Amazonian ethnic groups on which data is available : the Kayapo-Gorotiré emerged on the scene in 1938, the Guavião and the Shavante in the 1950s, the Marubo in the 1960s, the Yuqui and southern Wayãpi in the early 1970s, etc. The impact of policies aiming at pacifying them always turned out to be disastrous, especially in Brazil. This affected their health status, and therefore the group's demography, but also had cultural consequences. It was not rare to see up to a 50 to 70 % decrease in population within a few years (e.g. the Parakanã (Povos indígenas no Brasil : Sudeste do Pará, 1985) or the Waimiri-Atroari (Carvalho, 1982), etc). The relentlessness of national organizations and the resistance with which these populations opposed any form of contact often led to violence, sometimes entailing a near complete destruction of the given group (e.g. the Jora in Bolivia or the Purus Yuma of Brazil).

It is absolutely essential that these uncontacted ethnic groups should not be seen to be in ignorance of the outside world, but rather as groups actively fighting to maintain, as much as they can, a safe distance between it and them.

Besides, though weak demographically, these are the groups now considered as the symbolic guardians of the wild and unexplored hidden backwaters of Greater Amazonia. This is true on the international scene, but also for other native American Indians who do have contact with the outside world. It is therefore absolutely necessary to include uncontacted groups in any project aiming at protecting and improving their environment.

table 6 : Location and demography
of uncontacted ethnic groups, by country

Bolivia +/- 450 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop.
(estim.)

location

commentary






I
Sinabo/

Kapuibo

(Nahua)

<200 ?
Between Lower Beni and Lower Yata
Pano. Related to the Chakobo.

Some sources question their existence.

II
Yanaigua
100/

200

Between the Rio Grande and

Upper San Miguel

Pano according to some, more likely Tupi-Guarani related to the Yuqui.

Mainly hunter-gatherers.

They live on the Guarayos forest reserve.

III
Yuqui
+/-100
Between Upper Ichilo and Upper Yapacani
Tupi-Guarani.

Small uncontacted group of Yuqui. Mainly hunter-gatherers.

They live in the Amboro national park.

Brazil +/- 4750 uncontacted native American Indians
[13]

ndeg.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary[14]






IV
Apiaka
>100

Mato Grosso Norte

Between Lower Juruena and Lower Teles Pires

Tupi-Guarani.

Isolated Apiaka group.

Were massacred some time ago.

V
Apurinã
>50

Amazonas

Upper rio Sepatini

Arawak.
VI
Arua
75

at most

Rondonia

1) Between the rios Mequens and Colorado

2) Rio São Miguel

Tupi-Mondé.

1) Living over both the Rio Branco I.T. and the Guaporé B.R.

2) Outside reserves.

Area invaded by loggers.

Frequent fighting.

VII
Ava-Canoeiros
30
1) Goias

Sources of the Tocantins

2) Border between Goias and Minais Gerais

Tupi-Guarani.

Small groups of highly mobile hunter-gatherers.

VIII

Guaja

[already counted among the known group]

120


Maranhão

Scattered throughout the western part of the state

Tupi-Guarani.

Small groups of highly mobile hunter-gatherers (even after contact).

They have their own I.T. but also move in and out of several other reserves.

IX
Ingarune
+/-100
North Pará

Rio Cuminapanema and Paru de Oeste

Karib.

Related to the Kachuyana.

Existence confirmed by the Poturuyar (recently contacted Tupi-Guarani). They live within the latter's I.T.

X
Kanibo

(Mayo)

120/

150

Amazonas

Rio Quixito,

Javari Basin

Probably Pano.

Several unsuccessful official contacts.

Occasional contacts with loggers.

XI
Kaniwa

(Corubo)

300

9 malocas

Amazonas

Between Lower Itui and Lower Itacoai

Pano.

Occasional contacts.

Hostile.

XII
Karafawyana

and other isolated Karib

400/

500

Roraima and north Pará

1) Source of the Jatapu

2) Rio Urucurina, tributary of the Mapuera

3) Rio Kafuini,

tributary of the Trombetas

4) Upper Turuna,

tributary of the Trombetas

Karib, Parukoto-Charuma sub-group.

Related to the Waiwai.

Some individuals visit Waiwai communities without warning the authorities. This is how they obtain their metal tools.

Partly in the Trombetas-Mapuera I.T.

XIII
Karitiana
50/100
Rondonia

Upper rio Candeias

Tupi-Arikem.

Identified by the small group that has been contacted.

XIV
Katawixi
50
Amazonas

Upper rio Mucuim, tributary of the Purus

Isolated language.

One community only has been located.

XV
Kayapo
>100

Mato Grosso Norte

Lower rio Liberdade

Gé.

Identified by other Kayapo towards whom they are hostile.

XVI
Kayapo-

Pu'ro

100

South Pará

Lower rio Curuá

Kayapo.

Group which has broken away from the Mekragnoti since 1940.

Outside Kayapo I.T.

XVII
Kayapo-

Pituiaro

200
South Pará

Rio Murure

Kayapo.

Group which has broken away from the Kuben-kranken since 1950.

Partly outside Kayapo I.T.

XVIII
Kayapo-

Kararao

+/-50
South Pará

Lower rio Guajara

Kayapo.

Group which has broken away from the Kararao.

Struggles are part of their traditions.

XIX
Kulina
?
Amazonas

Rio Curuça, tributary of the Javari

Arawak.

Small isolate communities belonging to the big Kulina group.

XX
Maku

(Nadeb)

+/-100
Amazonas

Uneiuxi and Urubaxi Basins

Isolated language. Isolated elements of Maku groups that have already been contacted. Hunter-gatherers.
XXI
Mamaindé
50/100
Rondonia

Upper rio Corumbiara

Isolated language.

Isolated group of Nambikwara.

A no-entry zone was allocated and then cancelled under local pressure.

Recently massacred.

XXII
Marimã
30/40
Amazonas

Riozinho,

tributary of the Cuniuã, Purus Basin

Arawak ?

Were massacred in 1986.

Their area has recently been declared protected.

XXIII
Mayoruna
200/

300

Amazonas

1) Rio Batã, source of the Javari

2) Rio Pardo

3) Between the Pardo and middle Javari

Pano.

Small isolated communities of the large Mayoruna group.

XXIV
Miqueleno

(Cujubi)

?
Rondonia

Upper rio São Miguel

Isolated Chapakura language.

Area invaded by loggers.

Recently massacred.

XXV
Nereyana
+/-100
North Pará

Rio Panama, headwaters of Paru de Oeste

Karib.

Perhaps more closely related to the Kachuyana than to the Tiriyo.

XXVI
Pakaa-Nova

of which :

2) Oromawin

+/-150
Rondonia

1) Serra dos

Pakaas-Novas

2) Source of the rio Formoso

Isolated Chapakura language.

Isolated groups belonging to the major Pakaa-Nova group.

1) Included in the Uru-eu-wau-wau I.T..

2) Neighbouring one of the Pakaa-nova I.T.

XXVII
Papavo

[former name used to refer to them]

[today]

1) Mashko (Harakmbet)

2) Kulina

3) Amawaka

4) Yawanawa

>400

Acre

Scattered over a single large territory :

1) Rio Breu, headwaters of the Upper Jurua

2,3,4) Between the sources of the Envira and the Muru, and Igarapé Xinané, tributary of the Purus, overflowing into Peru

1) Isolated language ;

2) Arawak ;

3, 4) Pano.

Many isolated communities belonging to 4 distinct groups.

Struggling is part of their traditions : reciprocal hostile contacts with the Kampa (whom they plunder), and peaceful ones with the Kulina; they plunder the loggers'encampments.

1) On the extractivist reserve of Alto Jurua.

2,3,4) Two I.T. have been set up for them.

XXVIII
Pariuaia
>100

Amazonas

Rio Bararati, tributary of the Lower Juruena

Tupi-Guarani.

Probably Tupi-Kawahib.

Have refused all contact since 1930.

XXIX
Piriutiti
100/

200

Amazonas

Rio Curiau

Karib.

Related to the Waimiri-Atroari.

Some live in, others outside, the latter's I.T.

XXX
Sateré
?
Amazonas

Rio Parauari, tributary of the Maués-açu

Tupi.

Communities that split away from the Sateré-Maué a long time ago.

XXXI
Tupi-Kawahib

(Piripicura)

200/

300

Mato Grosso Norte

Between the Madeirinha and the Roosevelt

Tupi-Guarani.

A no-entry zone has just been allocated for them.

XXXII
Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau

[included in the known group]

300

Rondonia

Serra dos

Pakaas-Novas

Tupi-Guarani.

There remain over 3 uncontacted groups.

Several hostile encounter with gold-seekers and loggers.

All are included in the vast Uru-eu-wau-wau I.T.

XXXIII
Wayãpi

(Yawãpi)

100/

150

North Pará

Upper Ipitinga, between the Jari and the Paru de Este

Tupi-Guarani.

Group which formerly broke away from the Southern Wayãpi.

XXXIV
Yakarawakta
20/30
Mato Grosso Norte

Between the rios Aripuanã and Juruena

Tupi-Guarani.

Probably an Apiaka sub-group.

XXXV
Yanomami
300/

400

Amazonas

1) Upper Marauia

2) Between the Demini and the Catrimani

Yanomami.

1) Within the I.T.

2) Isolated communities ; probably outside the I.T., but within the Rio Branco National Park.

XXXVI
name unknown
+/-100
Amapá

Between the Upper Amapari and Upper Oyapock

Unspecified linguistic family :

According to the Southern Wayãpi, a group that formerly broke away from them ;

According to the Northern Wayãpi, one of their former enemy groups, the Tapüiy.

XXXVII
name unknown
300
Amazonas

Between the Upper Jandiatuba and the Itacoai

Maybe a Katukina group.
XXXVIII
name unknown
300
Amazonas

Igarapé São José, tributary of the Itacoai

Seems to be a group distinct from no. XXXVII.
XXXIX
name unknown
?
Acre

Igarapé Recreio, município Cruzeiro do Sul, Upper Jurua

Pano ?

XL

name unknown
?
Pará

Igarapé Tueré,

tributary of the Itacaiunas

Tupi ?


XLI

name unknown
+/-100
Amazonas

South of rio Inauini, Purus Basin

?
XLII
name unknown
?
Amazonas

Igarapé Umari, tributary of the Ituxi

?
XLIII
name unknown
?
Rondonia

Serra do Taquaral,

source of the Rio Branco

?

Columbia +/- 500 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary






XLIV
Karabayo
150
Amazonas

Source of the rio Purué, north of the Putumayo

Isolated language.

Thought to be Maku, but more likely Yuri.

Overstepping the Brazilian border.

Hostile.

XLV
Macusa
300
Guainia

Between the rios Guaviare and Inirida

Isolated language.

Isolated Maku.

Small mobile groups of hunter-gatherers.

XLVI
name unknown
?
Caqueta

Upper rio Yari

Karib or isolated language ?

Karijona or Witoto sub-group.

Live in the Chiribiquete national park.

Ecuador +/- 150 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary






XLVII
Waorani
100/200
Oriente

Between the Upper Napo and Upper Curaray

Isolated language.

Segment hostile to the Waorani. Threatened by the advancing front of oil prospection.

Guyana +/- 200 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary






XLVIII
Wapishana
100
Between the sources of the Essequibo and the Tacutu;

serra Acarai

Arawak.

Isolated segment of the Wapishana group.

They refuse all contact.

XLIX
name unknown
+/-100
Between the Upper Courantyne and the New River
Karib.

Maybe related to the Tiriyo.

French Guiana +/- 100 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary






L
Wayãpi
100
Between the Eureupoucine and the Upper Camopi
Tupi-Guarani.

Group that broke away from the Wayãpi of Upper Oyapock around 1900.

They refuse all contact.

Peru +/- 550 uncontacted native American Indians

In this country, data on the location and numbers for isolated groups are available though there are no permanent contacts with them. They were therefore integrated in the general list (table 5) which one should refer to here.

Morunahua

150
This group is probably to be related to the group that used to be called Papavo in Brazil (no. XXVII in this table).
Parquenahua
200
Pano. They live in the Manu national park.
Pisabo
200
Pano.

Suriname +/- 50 uncontacted native American Indians

no.

name

pop. (estim.)

location

commentary






LI
Akulio
50
Watershed between Suriname and Brazil.

Between the sources of the Itani and the Jari

Karib.

Last uncontacted segment of Akulio.

They refuse all contact.

Venezuela +/- 350 uncontacted native Indians

no.

name

pop.

(estim.)

location
commentary





LII
Yanomami
300/400

[already included in the total for Yanomami populations]

Amazonas

Upper Siapa

Communities in contact with other known segments of the ethnic group, but they refuse all contact with the outside.

They live in the Parimá-Tapirapeco national park.

[13] We have not included here the 420 isolated people who have already been counted as part of two groups with whom there is now some contact.

[14] The following abbreviations have been used : I.T. : Indigenous Territory ; B.R. : Biology Reserve.


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