Witoto people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Witoto
Huitoto
Huitoto-Necklace.JPG
Huitoto necklace, c. 1924
Total population
8,500[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Colombia,  Peru
Languages
Witotoan languages: Ocaina language (oca), Witoto Proper: Minica Huitoto (hto), Murui Huitoto (huu), Nüpode (hux)[2]
Religion
traditional tribal religion

The Witoto people (also Huitoto or Uitota) are an indigenous people in southeastern Colombia and northern Peru.[3]

History[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

Subsistence[edit]

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.[1]

Witoto men hunt with blowguns and shotguns.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Witoto." Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved 6 Dec 2011.
  2. ^ "Language Family Trees: Witotoan, Witoto." Ethnologue. Retrieved 6 Dec 2011.
  3. ^ "Witoto." Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 Dec 2011.

External links[edit]