Chiriguano - Settlements

In aboriginal and early contact times Chiriguano settlements were villages along rivers. Each settlement was formed by one or several malocas (communal long houses), which could be inhabited by up to 300 people. Population density was high; villages ranged from 50 to up to 1,000 inhabitants. Towns had a large central plaza used for religious festivities and assemblies. The influence of Chane culture and contact with the missionaries and Whites changed the housing structure to small-household, extended-family units, which persist today. The traditional Chiriguano house was of wattle-and-daub construction, with a pitched roof of thatch reeds or poles. A storehouse for maize and other crops was built on piles near the dwelling. Currently, the same type of construction exists side by side with houses made of adobe brick and zinc roofs. Each village features a small primary school, a dispensary, and a grocery cooperative or several small grocery stores. In most Chiriguano villages there is neither running water nor electricity.

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