Desana - Orientation

Identification. The name "Desana" is of Tariana (Arawakan) origin. "Papurí-uara" means "Papurí River dwellers." Their traditional name is "Wirá" (wind, referring to flatulence), a derogatory term used by other Tukanoan groups; in myth and traditions the Desana refer to themselves as "Emëkóri mahsá" (Day people).

Location. The Desana occupy mainly the middle course of the Río Vaupés and the drainage of the Río Papurí, both in the northwestern Colombian Amazon; some scattered settlements are found on the Rio Tiquié and Rio Negro, in Brazilian territory.

Demography. No precise demographic information is available; the Desana number approximately 800.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Desana speak a language belonging to the Tukanoan Family but, like other Tukanoan groups of the Vaupés (Eastern Tukanoan), are multilingual.

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