Araweté - Settlements



In the period just before contact, villages had an average population of fifty and formed two widely separated agglomerations. Marriage between these was infrequent but occurred often enough to keep the two divisions of the tribe in contact with each other. The Araweté gathered for ceremonies and were closely connected through marriage. Villages of the same agglomeration were settled in the headwaters of a river basin, lying within a radius of one day's march. Villages were abandoned after an average period of four years because of enemy raids, the increasing distance of the swiddens, or the death of some prominent person. Araweté villages were multicentric clusters of conjugal houses; each cluster sheltered an uxorilocal extended family or a group of married siblings. There was no communal center; ceremonies were conducted in the clusters' small plazas. The present village maintains this traditional arrangement, but it is much larger, being occupied by the whole Araweté population. The Ipixuna village also has FUNAI Post buildings. The employees of the post are the only Brazilians the Araweté see regularly. The aboriginal Araweté house was windowless with a single small door. The dwelling had a rectangular ground plan and no separation between roof and walls; its two vaulted side walls were covered with palm leaves, and its front and rear walls were of woven mats. Today, houses are built in the wattle-and-daub regional style.


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