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The Kanamari (also known as Canamari and Tukuna) are an indigenous tribe of people who live in Brazil, state of Amazonas. They speak a language belonging to the Katukina family. According to Funasa, there were 1654 individuals in the group in 2006. Despite the arrival of white people in the region, which often caused violent clashes, the Kanamari managed to maintain their own native language, an extensive mythological tradition, and a rich ritual complex.


The Kanamari originally lived in the tributaries of the upper-middle Juruá River, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, where the majority of them still live presently. They also started inhabiting regions near the Itaquaí, the middle Javari, and the Japurá rivers. The Kanamari live in some indigenous reservations: the Vale do Javari reservation, the Mawetek reservation, the Kanamari area, and two small areas on the Japurá, Maraã and Parana do Paricá rivers. 60 Kanamari live in a community near the upper Solimões.


They speak a language belonging to the Katukinan family. There is some variation between the dialects of different sub-groups, but these have become less marked through inter-marriage. The Katawishi, whose language was recorded by Father Constant Tastevin in the early twentieth century, used to be spoken near the course of the Juruá. The Katawishi were the first victims of slave raids and rubber tappers from the Amazon River.


The Kanamari tend to move a lot, and at any given time their villages are full of people visiting, with others who are staying for some time, and some who are leaving. Because of this, the census is often approximate and incorrect. The last census, dated 2000, counted around 1500 people. A recent census of the Kanamari who live near the Itaquaí River counted 494 people.

External links

*Kanamari at socioambiental.org

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