Sirionó people

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Total population
420 (2004)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Sirionó language, Spanish
traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Yuqui people[1]

Sirionó people are an indigenous people of Bolivia. They primarily live in the forested northern and eastern parts of Beni and northwestern Santa Cruz Departments of Bolivia.[3] They live between the San Martín and Negro Rivers and the Machado River.[4]


"Sirionó" comes from a neighboring language, in which síri means "tucum palm" (Astrocaryum vulgare). Their autonym is Miá, meaning "the people." They are also known as the Chori, Miá, Ñiose, Qurungua, Sirionó, Tirinié, or Yande people.[2]


The Sirionó language is a Guarayú language of the Tupí-Guaraní language family, written in the Latin script. The language is taught in primary schools. A whistled language has been observed among Sirionós.[1]


Sirionó people originated in the Gran Chaco and moved north in the Amazon rainforest.[4] Spaniards contacted in the 1690s. Jesuits tried to missionize them and convince them to lead sedentary lives. Sirionó people died from diseases introduced by Europeans, and by the dawn of the 20th century, only 500 survived. They lived either in remote forests or worked as ranch or farm hands.[3]


Sirionó traditionally were semi-nomadic and fished, hunted, gathered wild plants, and farmed. They cultivated maize, sweet potatoes, and sweet cassava. They brewed beer from maize.[3]

Traditional Sirionó houses were often only temporary structures with wooden supports and palm leaf roofs that could house up to 120 people at a time. Families were matrilineal and matrilocal, that is, young married couples would live in the wife's community.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Sirionó." Ethnologue. Retrieved 25 Nov 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Sirionó - Orientation." Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved 25 Nov 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Sirionó." Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 Nov 2013.
  4. ^ a b Olson 337