Huitoto necklace, c. 1924
|Regions with significant populations|
|Witotoan languages: Ocaina language (oca), Witoto Proper: Minica Huitoto (hto), Murui Huitoto (huu), Nüpode (hux)|
|traditional tribal religion|
The Witoto people were once composed of 100 villages or 31 tribes, but disease and conflict have reduced their numbers. At the early 20th century, Witoto population was 50,000. The rubber boom in the mid-20th century brought diseases and displacement to the Witotos, causing their numbers to plummet to 7,000–10,000.
Since the 1990s, cattle ranchers have invaded Witoto lands, depleted the soil, and polluted the waterways. In response to the incursions, the Colombian government established several reservations for Witotos.
Witoto peoples practice swidden or slash-and-burn agriculture. To prevent depleting the land, they relocate their fields every few yields. Major crops include cacao, coca, maize, bitter and sweet manioc, bananas, mangoes, palms, peanuts, pineapples, plaintains, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and yams. Ethnobotanists have studied Witoto agriculture due to its efficiency and sustainability.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Witoto people.|
- "Huitoto Tribe in Colombia Teaches its Native Language", Indian Country Today