The Karitiana are an indigenous group of people who live in Brazil, state of Rondônia. There were 320 individuals in the group in 2005.
They fought recent cultural battles, including attempts to have an expansion of their reservation, investments in school education, and valorization of their own customs and oral history.
The Karitiana Indigenous Territory covers a square-shaped area of 89,682 hectares. It's located within the municipality of Porto Velho, the capital of the state of Rondônia. The demarcation was ratified in 1986. A considerable portion of the eastern part of the ratified territory overlaps with the Bom Futuro National Forest.
Name and population
The meaning and origin of the word Karitiana remains unknown. The natives explain that the name was given by rubber collectors who invaded the territory at the end of the 19th century. The Karitiana call themselves Yjxa, which is equivalent to "we", also translated as ‘people’, in opposition to Opok, which means "not indian", and the Opok Pita, which means "other indians".
The current population counts 320 individuals according to Nelson Karitiana, one of the members. In August 2003 Felipe Ferreira Vander Velden conducted a census which recorded 270 people. 230 of them lived in the Karitiana village, while the others were living in the cities of Porto Velho and Cacoal.
As a result, it can be attested that the population has been growing steadily since 2003.
*Karitiana at socioambiental.org