Karajá - Orientation

Identification. The Karajá are an Indian group of Brazil. They are subdivided into the Karajá proper, Javaé, and Xambioá.

Location. The Karajá are established in central Brazil in the region of the Rio Araguaia, where it splits to flow around the island of Bananal. They inhabit the interior of the island as well as the longer arm of the river. Some local groups live off the island, along the Araguaia to the north and south.

Demography. Reliable estimates of the total Karajá population tend to fall near 2,000 for the three subgroups. One of the censuses done by the National Indian Foundation (Fundação Nacional do Índio, FUNAI) in 1990 showed a total of 2,200 Karajá.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Karajá language belongs to the Karajá Family of the Macro-Gê Language Branch. Dialect differences, principally phonological, occur among the three subgroups. There are also differences between male and female speech.

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