Nivaclé - Settlements



The Nivaclé settled on riverbanks or at lagoons or watering places. They had U-shaped villages. Around the bend were the huts of their head chief, in the open space the water, and in the center, the sports arena and ceremonial plaza ( clôija'vat ). The huts ( jpôyich ) were dome shaped and had an oval base; they were linked by interior corridors and had several exits to the exterior. Occupied by extended families, they were separated according to territorial clan relationships ( tachifas ). Although there was a men's or guest house, a rectangular hut, its presence did not imply the existence of a secret society nor was the hut strictly out of bounds to women. Each extended family had its own pile storehouses. In hunting camps the Nivaclé use screens ( vanônilh ) to protect themselves from the wind and the sun. During the 1920s there were more than thirty villages of the Tovoc Lhavos alone, some with 2,000 people. Nowadays, the horseshoe-shaped villages have changed to a lineal form, especially in the Mennonite settlements, although houses are still grouped according to a pattern of factions and territorial clans. There are four agricultural settlements and six in workers' districts. The Oblates minister to twelve less-acculturated villages and the Mormons to one, all of them on Paraguayan territory.


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