The Enawene-nawe (also known as Enauenê nauê and Salumã) are an indigenous ethnic group who live in a single, large village located in the north-west of the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. According to Opan/Funasa there were 540 individuals as of 2009. They speak a language belonging to the Arawak family.


Until the 1980s, these people were maily known as Salumã. In 1983, after various contacts with these natives, some Jesuit missionaries discovered that the name they used to refer to themselves was Enawene-nawe. (Thomaz de Aquino Lisbôa, 1985)


The Enawene-nawe speak an Arawakan language, which is very similar to that spoken by the Paresí. Some work has been done to study phonetics and phonology of the language, and it is now confirmed that it belongs to the Maipure subfamily.


The Enawene-nawe inhabit a transitional zone between the cerrado and the rainforest. The area is located in the valley of the Juruena river, a tributary of the Tapajós river. The closest indigenous neighbours are the Myky, Nambikwara, Rikbaktsa, Irantxe and Cinta larga.


At the time of the first official contacts, there were around 130 individuals. The demographic data show that the population grew a lot from 1974 to 2000. From 1992 to 2006 the number of individuals rose from 216 to 435. Children (dinwá) account for around two-thirds of the total population, according to their own classification.


Since the start of the 2000s they have risked losing a portion of their social life and culture. A project to construct eleven PCHs (small hydroelectric plants) in the region surrounding the Enawene-nawe Indigenous Territory could damage the ecological dynamic of their land, compromising the performance of ritual ceremonies, which are events of great importance to their life. They are also exposed to other threats such as territorial invasion, pollution of rivers, cattle ranching, mining, and production of soya in areas bordering their territory.

External links

Enawene-nawe on

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