Foto: Beto Ricardo (ISA)

Baniwa

  • Autodenominação
    Walimanai
  • Where they are How many

    AM6.243 (Siasi/Sesai, 2012)
    Colombia7.000 (2000)
    Venezuela2.408 (INE, 2001)
  • Linguistic family
    Aruak

Introduction

The Baniwa live on the borders of Brazil with Colombia and Venezuela, in villages located on the banks of the Içana River and its tributaries the Cuiari, Aiari and Cubate, as well as in communities on the Upper Rio Negro/Guainía and in the urban centers of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Santa Isabel and Barcelos (AM). The Kuripako, who speak a dialect of the Baniwa language and are kin of the Baniwa, live in Colombia and on the upper Içana (Brazil). Both groups are highly skilled in the manufacture of arumã (aririte) basketry, an age-old art that was taught to them by their creator heroes and which is being commercialized today in Brazilian markets.

Recently, they have also become outstanding for their active participation in the indigenous movement in the region. This movement includes a cultural complex of 22 different indigenous groups who are articulated through a network of trade and are very similar in their social organization, material cultural, and worldview.