Identification. The Tatuyo are part of the Tukano linguistic and cultural group. "Tatuyo" is the Nheêngatu translation of the indigenous word "pamô" (pl., pamwa ), which means "armadillo." "Pamwa Mahâ" literally means "the armadillo people." This is a pejorative designation (since humans emerged from the earth, and not from the water of the river), used by the junior clan to refer to the senior clan. By extension, this term is used in the Tukano area to refer to the entire tribe.
Location. The territory occupied by the Tatuyo is that surrounding the upper course of the Río Pirá-Paraná, at its headwaters, which is where the people have always lived. In addition, there exists a Tatuyo clan (Owa Mahâ) that lives at the confluence of the Papurí and Yapú rivers and in a few malocas (indigenous houses) on the upper course of the Caño Ti. The Pirá-Paraná is a small river that flows along the western margin of the Guyana flank, in Colombian territory. Tatuyoland is located between 69° 50′ and 71° W and between 0° 20′ and 0° 60′ N.
Linguistic Affiliation. Tatuyo is part of the Eastern Tukanoan Group of the Tukanoan Language Family (formerly called Betoya).
Demography. In 1970 the population of the Tatuyo was estimated at between 250 and 300 persons.