Identification. The name "Nambicuara" was given to this group of Brazilian Indians by neighboring Indian groups. It means "hole in the ear" ( nambi, "ear," and kuara , "hole"). Nambicuara subgroup self-names are based on local ecological features.
Location. Aboriginally, the Nambicuara occupied the northern parts of what is now the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in the region of the Rio Guaporé, primarily near the tributaries of the Juruena and Roosevelt rivers, between 11° and 14° N and 57° and 61° W. As of the early 1990s, the following groups are reported as occupying the Guaporé Valley from north to south: Mamainde, Negarote, Hahaintesu, Waiksu, Alakatesu, Alentesu, Wasusu, and Sararé.
Demography. An expedition led by General Cãndido Mariano da Silva Rondon in 1907 estimated the number of Nambicuara at 20,000. In 1912 only 1,000 to 1,500 were reported, and by 1985 the number had decreased further to 658.
Linguistic Affiliation. The Nambicuara speak an independent language with several local dialects.