Tatuyo - History and Cultural Relations

There are no historical documents on the ancient Tatuyo. Tatuyo mythology, for its part, tells of a vast migration and metamorphosis of a primordial people originally located in the east. They entered the world by traveling up a white river, called the Milk River. This myth, which is common to all of the tribes of the northwestern Amazon region, is probably based on historical reality. According to the myth, it was at the great Ipanore rapids that the Tukano tribes, which had been traveling together in a Great Anaconda dugout canoe, parted ways, each acquiring its own language and territory. Each tribe enjoys a distinctiveness, built upon the common foundation of Tukano culture. Although the Tatuyo are mythically related to all the tribes of the Vaupés, their strongest ties are to their closest neighbors, the Karapana to the northwest, and the Taiwano and Barasana to the south. The Tatuyo have had periodic contact with the world of Whites since the mid-twentieth century, through rubber tappers, traders, Catholic and Protestant missions, public schools, sanitation and public health services, ethnologists, and most recently, organized cocaine traffickers and guerrilla groups.

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