Foto: Hein van der Voort, 1998

Kwazá

  • Other names
    Coaiá, Koaiá
  • Where they are How many

    RO40 (Van der Voort, 2008)
  • Linguistic family
    Koazá

Introduction

Expelled from their lands by ranchers after the opening of BR-364, in the 1960s, the Kwazá people lost many of their members and their culture. Today they are only about 40 individuals who have been living together with the Aikanã and Latundê for a number of decades, in the south of Rondônia.

They were known in the literature as 'Koaiá'. Their traditional neighbors were the Aikanã, Kanoê, Tuparí, Mekens/Sakurabiat, Salamãi, and possibly several others. The people maintained relations amongst themselves, through the exchange of women, festivals, wars. Their languages are not mutually intelligible. Even so, their cultures are very similar probably because of intertribal contacts and common subsistence resources in the region. Today the majority of these people either have been decimated or are dispersed, with their cultures having been destroyed by the national society since the beginning of the century. More or less 25 speakers of the Kwazá language are left. Most of the Kwazá are already mixed with the Aikanã and live on the Tubarão-Latundê Indigenous Reserve, in Rondônia, together with survivors of the Aikanã and Latundê peoples. There is also a family of mixed Kwazá and Aikanã in another Indigenous Reserve, the Terra Indígena Kwazá do Rio São Pedro