The Banawá are one of the least known indigenous groups in Brazil. They live in the state of Amazonas between the Juruá and Purus, close to a neighbor tribe, the Jamamadi, with whom they share a language. Their territory was invaded by white brazilians towards the end of the 19th century, and only in 1990 the state recognized their rights on the land.
Location and land ownership
The Banawá Indigenous Territory lies near the municipalities of Canutama and Tapauá. It covers 195,700 hectares, with a perimeter of 240 km. The four Banawá villages are confined to the shores of the Purus river.
The first studies and surveys were conducted in 1986 by the Technical Group created by Directive No. 1348/86. With the creation of the Banawá-Yafi do Rio Piranhas Indigenous Territory, the area was declared to be held under permanent indigenous ownership on May 29th 1992 by Directive No. 260/MJ/92, with a surface area of 79,680 hectares and a perimeter of 200 km.
Language and population
Speaking mutually intelligible languages, sharing a similar vocabulary and significant cultural traits, the Banawá are considered to be a subgroup of the Jamamadi, who live just outside the southern border of the indigenous land. They speak a language belonging to the belong Arawá linguistic family.
Data concerning birth rate, death rate and demographic growth were not recorded before the team instituted by Executive Instruction No. 146/DAF/98 arrived in the region. They then registered a total of 100 people; half of them are very young.
on socioambiental.org, in English