The Movima Indians live close to Santa Ana on the Río Yacuma, as well as on the lower Río Rapula, and on the Matos and Apere rivers in the central part of the department of Beni in Bolivia. Estimates of their population range from 1,000 to 2,000. The Movima language, which has not been classified as to its affiliation, is spoken by only half of the Movima people. Those who consider themselves Movima are declining in numbers owing to advanced assimilation.

Fairly early in the recorded history of the Movima, the Jesuit missionaries settled them in the missions of San Luis and Borja on the Río Maniqui, as well as in the mission of Santa Ana at the confluence of the Yacuma and Rapulo rivers. Their relationship with the Catholic priests was not always easy, and in 1709 they killed Father Baltazar de Espinosa. Some Movima escaped the Santa Ana mission in the second half of the nineteenth century. Today, the Movima live in much the same way as the neighboring mestizos. They are subsistence farmers; some work on cattle ranches and others also in the rubber forests.

Traditionally, the Movima were horticulturists, hunters, and fishers. They raised beans and peanuts on sandy beaches in the dry season. They traveled in 10-meter-long, 45-centimeter-wide dugout canoes. For weapons, they used spears, atlatls, and bows and arrows; the fletching of the arrows was of the wrapped (Arara) type. By 1922 the Movima had become prosperous agriculturists and animal husbanders. By that time as well, they had become essentially acculturated and of their traditional material culture had retained only clay pans with clay-stump supports and bows and arrows.


Bolívar, Gregorio de (1906). "Relación de la entrada del Padre Gregorio de Bolívar en compañia de Diego Ramírez de Carlos, á las provincias de indios Chunchos, en 1621." In Juicio de límites entre el Perú y Bolivia, edited by Victor M. Maurtua. Vol. 8, 205-237. Barcelona.

Giglioli, Enrico Hillyer (1906). "Appunti sulle condizioni attuali delle tribú indigene dell'alto Madeira e regioni adiacenti (Brasile e Bolivia). Raccolti dal Dott. Andrea Landi." Archivio per l'Antropologia e la Etnologia 36:219-228.

Key, Harold, and Mary Key (1967). Bolivian Indian Tribes: Classification, Bibliography, and Map of Present Language Distribution. Norman: Summer Institute of Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: