Sirionó - Orientation

Identification. The name "Sirionó" is of foreign origin and comes from síri , tucum palm—hence designating these Indians as "Tucum-palm people." The Sirionó refer to themselves as "Miá," which may be translated as "the people." Besides using this name to identify themselves, the various bands of the society received their names from their respective chiefs or from the places they frequented most.

Location. The Sirionó inhabit a territory of considerable size (from 12° to 16° S and from 62° to 65° W) in Bolivia. The climate is tropical, with a rainy and a dry season. There is precipitation from October until May, and the dry season extends over the remaining months. The annual rainfall is around 160 centimeters, and there is a high degree of humidity. The dry season is short, and humidity decreases markedly. During the rainy season, precipitation is torrential and temperatures are high. The average annual temperature is 26° C, with a minimum of 24° C and a maximum of 28° C. Winds from the east and north predominate, although in the southern area, cold winds from the south make themselves felt.

Demography. Sirionó territory extends over some 2,400 square kilometers and is occupied by some 1,800 individuals: population density is 0.75 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Sirionó language is of TupíGuaraní affiliation, but it features certain archaic elements that distance it from the core languages of the family.

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