Collection Description

Culture Name

Warao

Culture Description

The Warao Indians, fishermen and incipient agriculturalists, inhabit the Orinoco Delta of northeastern Venezuela and adjacent areas. All Warao speak mutually intelligible variants of the same language. Warao has traditionally been considered an isolate, without affiliation with one of the great South American language families.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

South America --Amazon and Orinoco

Countries

Guyana

Venezuela

OWC Code

SS18

Number of Documents

38

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

2911

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Warao file consists of 37 documents, 30 of which are in English, with six translations from Spanish and one from German. The file focus is primarily on the relatively unacculturated Warao living in the Orinoco Delta region of Venezuela, with particular emphasis on the Winikina subtribe. Although the Warao have been known since the early sixteenth century, no significant amount of information has been published on them until about the middle of the nineteenth century. Probably the most comprehensive studies of traditional Warao ethnography in this file, although dated from today's standpoint (2000), are the works of Kirchoff (1948, no. 3), Turrado Moreno (1945, no. 6), Wilbert (1972, no. 7), and Suárez (1968, no. 31). These are updated to some extent by more recent studies on culture change relevant to the economy and social organization in Heinen (1975, 1975, nos. 9 and 20), and Wilbert (1980, no. 34). Other major ethnographic topics discussed in the file are: human biology (Hill et al, 1956, no. 4; Fleischman, 1975, 1980, 1980, nos. 12, 25, and 38; Layrisse, 1980, 1980, nos. 37 and 40; and Gardner, 1980, no. 39); religion (Wilbert, 1979, 1975, nos. 17, and 20); and kinship (Suárez, 1971, no. 11; Heinen, 1972, no. 29; and Osborn, 1964, no. 14). A document of particular interest in this file is that found in Heinen (1988, no. 42) which presents a series of narratives told to the author depicting various elements of native culture from the Warao's point of view.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article, Warao, by H. Dieter Heinen in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 7. 1994. Johannes Wilbert, ed. Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in May 2000.

Overview by

John Beierle

AIDAMO -- an elite of elders -- category 631

AIDAMOGUITU -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

ARIMAGUITU -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

BAHANAROTU -- medicine man -- category 756

BAJANAROTU -- medicine man -- category 756

CACIQUE -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

communication bridges between houses of a settlement -- category 417

CRIOLLO -- a Venezuelan whose ancestors have interbred for several generations with whites, Indians and blacks -- category 563

DAUNONA staffs -- representatives of the KANOBO ancestral spirits -- category 778

DAWA -- son-in-law -- category 606

FISIKARI -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

GOBENAJORO -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

GUISIDATU -- priest, shaman -- categories 756, 793

HATABU -- a negative super force -- category 778

HEBU -- category 778

HEBU practioner -- priest, shaman -- categories 756, 793

HEBUROTU -- priest, shaman -- categories 756, 793

HOA -- immaterial supernatural force -- category 778

HOAROTU -- shaman -- category 756

INE MAOBONONA DOKUKORE -- a thinking being; the equivalent of becoming a person at the age of about four or five -- category 858

JEBUAROTU -- priest, shaman -- categories 756, 793

JEFES -- a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

JOAROTU -- shaman -- category 756

KABITANA -- traditionally a headman -- category 622

KANOBO -- ancestor stone; spirit -- categories 776, 778

KANOBO ARIMA -- the guardian of the sacred KANOBO stone, generally a shaman -- category 756

KANOBO house -- category 346

KAPITA -- a member of the JEFES, a political organization introduced by the missions -- category 631

PIACHES -- shaman -- category 756

WISHIDATU (WISEDAA, WISIRATU) -- priest, shaman -- categories 756, 793

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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