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For the language, see Ticuna language.
Indios amazonas 1865 00.jpg
Ticuna people in Amazonas, Brazil, ca. 1865
Regions with significant populations
( Amazonas)
36,377 (2009)[1]
 Colombia 8,000 (2011)[1]
 Peru 6,982 (2007)[1]
Shamanism, Christianity

The Ticuna (also Magüta, Tucuna, Tikuna, or Tukuna[2]) are an indigenous people of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. They are the most numerous tribe in the Brazilian Amazon.[1]


Ticuna is a Brazilian tribe which faced violence from loggers, fishermen, and rubber-tappers entering their lands around the Solimões River. Four Ticuna people were murdered, 19 were wounded, and ten had disappeared in the 1988 Helmet Massacre. By the 1990s, Brazil formally recognized the Ticunas' right to their lands.[1]


Ticuna people speak the Ticuna language, which is usually identified as a language isolate, although it might possibly be related to the extinct Yuri language thus forming the hypothetical Ticuna–Yuri grouping.[3] It is written in the Latin script.[2]

Religion and rituals[edit]

Ticuna people historically practiced Shamanism, although with the influence of Christian missionaries since contact Shamans have becaome rare in all but the most isolated communities.[4] Ta'e was the Ticuna creator god who guarded the earth, while Yo'i and Ip were mythical heroes in Ticuna folklore which helped fight off demons.[4] Depending on different estimates some say that the Ticuana primarily practice ethnic religion,[5] while other estimates say that 30%[6] to 90%[7] are Christian.

The Ticuna practice a coming-of-age ceremony for girls when they reach puberty called a Pelazon. After the girl's first menstruation her whole body is painted black with he clan symbol drawn on her head. All their hair is shaved off and dress in a costum made from eagle feathers and snail shells. The girl then must continuously jump over a fire. After four days the girl is considered a woman and is eligible for marriage. Ticuana men and women must marry outside their own clans according to customs. Nowadays the ritual is shorter and less intense as it was historically.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ticuna: Introduction." Povos Indígenas no Brasil. Retrieved 4 Feb 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Ticuna." Ethnologue. Retrieved 1 Feb 2012.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Terrence (1990). "Language History in South America: What we know and how to know more". In David L. Payne. Amazonian Linguistics. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 13−74. 
  4. ^ a b "Ticuna - Religion and Expressive Culture". Countries and their Culture. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "People Name:Ticuan of Brazil". peoplegroups.org. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ticuna Indians". Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "Ticuna". Joshua Project. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  8. ^ Dan James Patone. "Ticuana rites of passage". Amazon-Indians.org. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 

External links[edit]