Araweté - Orientation



Identification. The Araweté are an Indian group in northern Brazil. The name "Araweté" was imposed by the leader of the "pacification" team of the Fundação Nacional do Índio (National Indian Foundation, FUNAI) in 1977, who probably mistook some word of their language for a self-designation. The Araweté call themselves "Bïdé" (human beings, or people). "Asurini" (of Juruna origin and meaning "red people"), a term applied in the last century to the Indians of the right bank of the middle Rio Xingu, may have designated the Araweté as well as the present-day Asurini.

Location. The Araweté live in the middle course of the Ipixuna (4°45′40" S and 52°30′15" W), a small blackwater tributary of the Xingu, in the state of Pará in northern Brazil. The region is covered with semihumid tropical vegetation ("liana forest"). Heavy rains fall from December to late March; the rest of the year is dry, with occasional thunderstorms.

Demography. The Araweté might have numbered at least 200 just before contact in 1976. In March 1977 the first census counted 120 persons. In August 1989 there were 180.

linguistic Affiliation. The Araweté language belongs to the Tupí-Guaraní Linguistic Family.


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