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The Aweti (also known as Awytyza, Enumaniá, Anumaniá, Auetö) are an indigenous group of people who live in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, in the centre of the Upper Xingu region, between the Aruak groups to the west and south and the Carib groups to the east. They played an important role among the Upper Xingu peoples as intermediaries in the circulation of news and wealth items and as hosts for travellers, but the population loss experienced in the first decades of the 20th century, which almost led to their disappearance as a group, meant that their presence in the area became less visible. The Aweti are the least known of the Upper Xingu peoples, and the same applies to their language, belonging to the Tupi family. Following their demographic recovery (there were 140 individuals in the group in 2006), the Aweti are resuming much of their traditional cultural life.

Name

The name "Aweti" originally applied to one of the Tupi-speaking groups whose fusion gave rise to the contemporary Aweti. In their language, the Aweti call themselves "Awytyza". The name may be related to the word ayté, "man", where -za indicates a plural number. The neighbouring groups also use similar names, such as Auyty or Ahyty.

Location

The Aweti still live where Von den Steinen (a German explorer and ethnologist) encountered them at the end of the 19th century: the region bordering the backwaters, brooks and pools forming the Tuatuari stream in a stretch of tall forest separating the latter from the lower Kurisevo, around 20km south of the Leonardo Post (Apakwat, "river otter den", in Aweti). They therefore occupy the heart of the Upper Xingu area, which favoured their position as intermediaries within the network of exchanges that they seem to have held in the past. They usually move, along with their villages, every 15 to 30 years, but they always remain within the same area in a diameter of a few kilometres (although they at least once occupied the left shore of the Tuatuari river). The current main village, Tazu’jytetam ("village of the small fire ant"), is located around 200 meters from the Tuatuari and around 7 km from Tsuepelu. Paths through the forest connect the village to the Leonardo Post to the north and the Mehinako village to the south. Since 2002, a new village has been created, inhabited by a family and their associates, also situated on the right shore of the Tuatuari, about 16 km to the north of the main village, close to the Leonardo Post.

External links

*Aweti on socioambiental.org, in English

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