Chorote - Orientation

Identification. The name "Chorote" or "Choroti" is probably of Chiriguano-Guaraní origin and is used in the Argentinian and Bolivian-Paraguayan Chaco. The Chorote call themselves "Yoxuaxa," which probably means "those who eat doves." In contemporary settlements on the Río Pilcomayo they are also identified as "Téuak Lhele" (river people) and "Lhimnal Lhele" (forest people), alluding to their native ecological niches.

Location. Until the second half of the seventeenth century the Chorote lived in the southern Chaco on the right bank of the middle Río Bermejo. Punitive expeditions during the late colonial period forced the displacement of the Chorote to the left bank of the Pilcomayo. Today they are found on both shoulders of the middle Pilcomayo and in the central-western Paraguayan Chaco. The climate is tropical of the dry-rainy type, characterized by marked seasonal precipitation.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Chorote language belongs to the Mataca-Macá Family of the Macro-Guaycurú Stock. At present there are at least two dialects: one predominates in the Pilcomayo area and the other in the interior of Paraguay.

Demography. In 1980 the Chorote population was estimated at 1,200, with 830 in Argentina and 370 in Paraguay. Estimates made in the 1920s varied between 2,000 and 2,500 persons.

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