Witoto people

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Huitoto necklace, c. 1924
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Colombia,  Peru
Witotoan languages: Ocaina language (oca), Witoto Proper: Minica Huitoto (hto), Murui Huitoto (huu), Nüpode (hux)[2]
traditional tribal religion

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


The Witoto people were once composed of one hundred villages or 31 tribes, but disease and conflict has reduced their numbers. Until 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—depleting the soil and polluting waterways. In response, Colombia has established several reservations for Witotos.[1]


Witoto peoples all practiced 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 also hunt with blowguns and shotguns.[1]


  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.

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