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The Araweté (also known as Araueté) are an indigenous group belonging to the Tupi-Guarani ethnic group, who live in the Brazilian state of Pará. They are hunters and gatherers, who moved 40 years ago from the headsprings of the Bacajá river to the Xingu river, in the state of Pará. According to Funasa there were 339 members in the group in 2006.


The name "Araweté" was invented by a Funai woodsman, and it doesn't have any real meaning. The word used by the tribe to refer to themselves is "bïde", which means "we", "our people", "human beings". The Araweté language belongs to Tupi-Guarani family. The prosody is heavily nasal, the pace is quick and there are sounds which are difficult for the native Brazilian Portuguese speaker to replicate. Syntax and morphology are quite different from those of Indo-European languages. The adult Araweté population is almost totally monolingual. Only the young children who were born after the tribe started having contacts with the outside world are able to understand and speak some Portuguese. It is expected that in a few more years more people will be able to speak both languages.

Location and population

The Araweté live in a single village on the banks of the Igarapé Ipixuna, a right bank tributary to the Xingu river, in the Araweté Indigenous Land. The Araweté claim to live "on the edge of the earth": their tradition tells of successive movements from some Eastern spot (the center of the earth), always fleeing from more powerful enemies. What could be gleaned is that they have lived for many years in the forest region between the Xingu and Tocantins rivers. There were 278 individuals in 2000, more than twice as many as surveyed by the Brazilian Federal Agency for Indian Affairs (FUNAI)'s first census (120 individuals) made in March 1977, when 36% of the population contacted a year earlier died of attacks from the Parakanã and, mainly, of diseases caught during contact with whites.

External links

*Arawete on sociambiental.org, in English

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