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Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Brazil905 (2008)
 French Guiana710 (2002)
Wayampi, French Guiana Creole, Portuguese[2]
traditional tribal religion[1]

The Wayampi or Wayãpi are an indigenous people located in the south-eastern border area of French Guiana at the confluence of Camopi and Oyapock rivers, and the basins of the Amapari and Carapanatuba Rivers in the central part of the states of Amapá and Pará in Brazil. The Wayampi number approximated 1,615 individuals scattered in eleven villages. Approximately 710 live in French Guiana in three villages, and 905 live in eight villages in Brazil.[1][2]


The Wayampi are also known as the Wajãpi, Wayapi, Wajapi, Oiampi,[1] Barnaré, Oyampi, Oyampik, Waiapi, Walãpi, Guaiapi, Guayapi, Oiampipucu, Oyampí, Oyampipuku, Oyanpík, Waiampi, Wajapae, Wajapuku, Wayapae, and Wayãpi people.[2]


The Wayampi people speak the Wayampi language, which belongs to Subgroup VIII of the Tupi-Guarani languages. Wayampi has three dialects: Amapari Wayampi, Jari, and Oiyapoque Wayampi. The language is written in the Latin script; however literacy rates are low.[2]


The first Western documents about the Wayampi are Portuguese sources from the early 18th century mentioning the groups migration from the lower Xingu River to the Jari River, then northward along the Jari and Amapari rivers. Under the influence of the Jesuits, the Wayampi fought with the French colonialists until 1780, when they became totally isolated. Reports from the beginning of the 19th century show a total population of 6,000, as compared with 850 in 1990. From 1820, some northern groups began making contact with French officials, but most of the Wayampi continued their isolation in the Amazonian forest throughout the 19th century. Only in the 1940s were the villages of French Guiana contacted by geographers; two schools were built in here 1956 and 1971.[3] In Brazil, as late as 1973 had FUNAI established contact with the Wayampi. Even as today the various Wayampi communities are moderately acculturated at best, and as of the late 1990s there was evidence of two groups, located at the headwaters of Eureupousine (French Guiana) and Tangararé (Brazil) rivers, respectively, who have made no contact at all, either with the main group of Wayampi or with non-Indians.


The Wayampi practice slash-and-burn agriculture and subsist primarily on cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, and bananas. Among the groups of the Amapari and upper Oyapok rivers hunting is the most important, while bow- and arrow-fishing is predominant for the northernmost group. With the exception of the Mariry community, which carries out limited exploitation of gold claims, there is little participation in the cash economy. The Wayampis that work as civil servants in the local administrations are paid through gifts.

The Wayampi were part of the great commercial link of the Wayana Indians which extended form the Amapari river in Brazil as far as the Tapanahoni river in Surinam. They traded cotton thread, hunting dogs and feather crowns mainly for tools. Today this network has been disrupted by the increased control of national boundaries, though it remains alive between various Wayampi groups. Since the late 1970s Western goods replaced local manufactures, with the exception of baskets and cotton-woven hammocks. Such products as ammunition, fishhooks, pans, and glass beads are increasingly traded.


  1. ^ a b c d "Wajãpi: Introduction." Instituto Socioambiental: Povos Indígenas no Brasil. Retrieved 11 April 2012
  2. ^ a b c d "Wayampi." Ethnologue. 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  3. ^ Ailincai, Rodica; Jund, Sandrine; Alì, Maurizio (2012). "Comparaison des écosystèmes éducatifs chez deux groupes d'Amérindiens: les Wayãpi et les Wayana". Revue française d'éducation comparée, Raisons, Comparaison, Education. 8: 55–90.


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