Apiaká - Orientation

Identification. The Apiaká are an indigenous group living in the northern part of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The name "Apiaká" has been known since the beginning of the nineteenth century; it is a variant of the Tupí word "Apiaba," which means "person, people, human." The Kayabí, a neighboring group, call them "Tapê-iting," "Tapy'iting," or "Tapii'sin" (light-skinned people). Present-day inhabitants of the Apiaká Indian Reserve are known and recognized as Apiaká.

Location. The Apiaká are scattered along large river courses, and some live in the cities of Juara, Pôrto dos Gaúchos, Belém, and Cuiabá. There are also reports of a nomadic group. The majority of Apiaká live in the Apiaká Indian Reserve, however, located at 10°50′ S and 58° W, on the right bank of the central course of the Rio dos Peixes, beginning at the waterfall.

Demography. According to Koch-Grünberg, who assembled and ordered the data recorded by various travelers during the nineteenth century and up to 1902, the Apiaká were a numerous and warlike people. From his base in Guimarães, he reported of a village of up to 1,500 people in 1819, as well as very populated villages at the time of Hercules Florence's and Francis de Castelnau's travels. In the Cuiabá archives, Koch-Grünberg found data mentioning 2,700 Apiaká, although he points out that his data are incomplete (1902, 350). According to a report by Rondon, at the beginning of the twentieth century a massacre reduced the Apiaká population to 32 people. Subsequently, part of the group withdrew from contact with Whites and formed the aforementioned nomadic group, the population of which is unknown. In 1978 there were 71 Apiaká living in the Apiaká Indian Reserve, a number that was reduced to 52 in 1984 by emigration. In May 1990, after the arrival of new families, 92 people were living in three villages in the reserve.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Apiaká language belongs to the Tupí Language Family.

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