Culina - Settlements



It appears that until the end of the nineteenth century the Culina built their villages deep in the forests between the major waterways of their territory. These villages consisted of a single, large structure, similar in design to an A-frame: two sloping roofs that extended to the ground in the classic maloca (longhouse) style. Inside these structures, family members occupied discrete sections, forming two rows of family areas along the two sides of the house. The central space inside the structure was used for rituals and other communal activities. The population of these malocas is difficult to determine, but could have been as large as 300 individuals or more.

The movement to the river banks produced changes in settlement patterns. Individual extended families built separate houses raised about 1 meter from the ground in the Brazilian style and consisting of a single enclosed room for sleeping, with an open, roofed platform in front for social gatherings and a small attached platform for cooking. These houses are built in two rows parallel to the river, and are essentially modeled on the pattern of family areas in the aboriginal malocas. Currently, large villages may have 150 to 200 residents, but smaller settlements may consist of a single extended family of as few as 8 or 10 individuals. The Culina prefer the larger villages, calling the two parallel rows of houses a "complete" village.


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