Foto: Vincent Carelli, 1982

Palikur

  • Autodenominação
    Païkwené
  • Where they are How many

    AP1.293 (Iepé, 2010)
    Guiana Francesa720 (Passes, 1994)
  • Linguistic family
    Aruak

Name

palikur_5

In 1513, the Spanish traveller Vicente Yanez Pinzon reported in Seville that he had found a numerous indigenous population in the region north of the mouth of the Amazon River, which was called Paricura Province, referring to its inhabitants. After this first mention, the Indians who are today known as Palikur were mentioned several times in the reports and maps left by travellers in the following centuries, and were designated on the basis of corruptions of the same name, such as Paricuria, Paricura, Paricores, Palincur(s), Palicur, Palicours, Paricur, Pariucur, Parikurene, Parikur, Parincur-Iéne and, finally, Palikur.

When they refer to themselves, the Palikur use the term Parikwene, "the people of the river of the middle", alluding to the geographic position of the Urukauá river , which lies between the Uaçá and Curipi rivers. Pa’ik is derived from Aúkwa, and means in the middle (when translated to Portuguese it becomes Urukauá); (w)ené is a self-explanatory suffix, which, in this case, denotes people. Both for the Palikur who live in Brazil as well as for those of French Guiana, the Urukauá River is considered their homeland.

But, although they call themselves Parikwene, they are actually mentioned in the literature and known in the region as Palikur. The use of the term Palikur as an ethnonym arose from contact with non-Indians and other ethnic groups of the region. For the Parikwene, Palikur is a synonym for Indian, being used to refer to any other indigenous society.