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Polynesian Face of Desana Indians in Brazil

BCFOS -- The Desana Indians – a native tribe which ranges from the Rio Negro basin through to Amazonas, Brazil – is grouped with many tribes in the same region, including Arapaso, BarÁ, Barasana, Desana, KarapanÃ, Kotiria, Kubeo, Makuna, Mirity-tapuya, Pira-tapuya, Siriano, Tariana, Tukano, Tuyuca, Tatuyo, Taiwano, and the Yuruti. The Desana, however, has a scant population of roughly 1,531, according to recent statistics.

While the timing of first contact with the tribe is unknown, what is known is that its primary means of survival is through hunting and the population itself is dominated by various religious missions to the area. The tribe largely can be found along the Negro River, which is a tributary of the mighty Amazon River and ultimately separates Colombia from Venezuela.

The Desana believe themselves to have a deep-seated relationship with nature and refer to themselves as “Sons of the Wind.” While their language is rooted in Tukano, that also seems to be the foundation of their beliefs, as they believe they themselves were created by Tucano, God the Father. Colombian Desana Indians believe each Desana tribe emits a distinct odor that’s inextricably linked to their way of life.


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