Guahibo people

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Guahibo in Venezuela playing a siku
Total population
approx. 24,000
Regions with significant populations
 Colombia 23,006 (2005 Census)Juncosa 2000, cited in SIL, "Guahibo", Ethnologue.
 Venezuela 8,428 (2001 census)SIL, "Guahibo", Ethnologue.
Guahibo, Colombian Spanish, Venezuelan Spanish
Animism, Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Achagua, Guayupe, Hiwi, Tegua, U'wa

The Guahibo people (also called Guajibo, or Sikuani, though the latter is regarded as derogatory) people are an indigenous people native to Llanos or savannah plains in eastern Colombia–Arauca, Meta, Guainia, and Vichada departments–and in southern Venezuela near the Colombian border.[1] Their population was estimated at 23,772 people in 1998.[2]

Municipalities belonging to Guahibo territory[edit]

The Guahibo inhabited the Llanos of Arauca.

Name Department Altitude (m)
urban centre
Arauquita Arauca 165
Colombia - Arauca - Arauquita.svg
Fortul Arauca 246
Colombia - Arauca - Fortul.svg
Tame Arauca 340
Colombia - Arauca - Tame.svg
(shared with Achagua & U'wa)
Boyacá 1210
Colombia - Boyaca - Labranzagrande.svg


An 1856 watercolor by Manuel María Paz is an early depiction of the Guahibo people in Casanare Province.[3]


Main article: Guahibo language

Guahibo (ISO 639: GUH) is related to the Arawakan language family of South America and is divided between the dialects of the Wüinpumuin (northeast region) and Wopumuin (southwest region) although the groups understand each other. The existing dialects are: Guahibo (Sikuani), Amorua (Río Tomo Guahibo) and Tigrero. They each have their own languages but many are lost, now replaced by Spanish. Despite 55% illiteracy, there is a written form of Guahibo. There is a Guahibo newspaper, dictionary and grammar book.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]