The Arara are an indigenous ethnic group who live in the Brazilian state of Pará. According to Funasa, there were 271 people in the group in 2006. They speak a language pertaining to the Caribe family of languages.
The Arara became famous for their bellicosity, and they used the skulls of enemies to make flutes, the teeth to make necklaces, and scalps. The virtual overlap between their passion for warfare and their continual disposition for establishing supportive and generous relations seems to have been a feature of an Arara world that today has given way to contacts and relations with the outside world.
Location and demographics
There are two areas which have been legally defined for the Arara, with different juridical and geographical situations. The Arara Indigenous Territory is associated with the subgroups contacted between 1981 and 1983, while the Cachoeira Seca do Iriri Indigenous Territory is associated to the subgroup contacted a few years later in 1987. The area to the north of the Transamazonian highway was completely abandoned by the Indians.
All the indigenous people contacted between 1981 and 1983 ended up being settled in villages to the south of the highway, first in two different villages, then later in a single village. The majority of the Arara live in a village built by FUNAI after contact, within the Arara Territory, located near the Laranjal creek, with the population numbering around 100 individuals. A small portion of the population, about two dozen people, was relocated to a FUNAI surveillance post constructed next to the Transamazonian highway. There are a total of 139 inhabitans in the Arara Indigenous Territory.
The other subgroup, which is still quite isolated from the rest, is the one contacted in 1987, and the people live in a village close to the Cachoeira Seca creek, on the upper Iriri river, in the Cachoeira Seca Indigenous Territory. There are 56 individuals in the group, and all of them are descendants of a single woman, who was still alive in 1994.
There were 195 Arara people in total in 1998, and 271 in 2006, therefore confirming an increase in population.
*Arara on socioambiental.org, in English