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Water people



Ancestral roots

When we refer to the pre-Hispanic or pre-Columbian population, we are citing all those humans who populated the American Continent before the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the Island of Guanahaní on October 12, 1492.  The pre-Hispanic population of the Delta Amacuro State was made up of different tribes, among which we can mention: the Aramayas, Arawak, Caribes, Pariagotos, and Panacayos.  All these tribes were located in what we now know as the Upper Delta and the Tiuitiuas or Tiguitiques tribe, the Mariusas and Waraos inhabited the deltaic part itself. Currently all ethnic groups have disappeared except for the Waraos.


More than 10,000 years of history

It has been quite difficult to determine the date these tribes first settled in what is now known as the Delta Amacuro State. However, it is claimed that the Warao's antiquity in the Delta dates back to approximately 17,000 BC. This is established, based on studies that have been carried out in some ceramic pieces that were found in the La Horqueta village, which are considered to have been made by the indigenous people. All this suggests that this ethinc group is one of the oldest in Venezuela, from where they traveled to different islands in the Caribbean Sea.



Life on the banks of the Orinoco

The term Warao translated into Spanish means: people of water or boats.  Currently, the indigenous population of the Waraos is approximately 25,000, distributed in the Delta Amacuro and Monagas States, in the areas adjacent to the mouths of the Delta Del Orinoco channels.


Originally the Waraos, like  than other indigenous people, they led a nomadic life, which they have been replacing by sedentarization or settlement in certain places. Only at certain times of the year do they move to other places, leaving the huts  uninhabited.


Their homes are still mostly the typical habitat  of their ancestors, although with some modifications that obviously show the influence of transculturation. The houses are generally located parallel to the river, with the thatch roof covered with the Temiche palm, and built on stilt houses, in such a way that the Manaca floor is always above the highest tide.


Coexisting with nature

The traditional subsistence activities of the Waraos are fishing, hunting and the gathering of wild fruits and roots. Undoubtedly, the culture of these indigenous people continues to be linked to the Moriche palm, which provides them with food, drink, shelter, ornaments and a shelter to sleep in, such as the hammock.  


The Waraos sleep in hammocks, made by the women through laborious processing and weaving of the fiber of the Moriche palm. Due to their aquatic environment, one of the Warao's most precious possessions is the curiara or canoe, which they carve entirely from the trunk of a tree.

Artesanía indígena


From generation to generation

According to the archeology work carried out in the Delta Amacuro State, a large number of ceramic pieces have been rescued, which shows that the Waraos were expert artisans in this specialty, in times that go back thousands of years . Today they continue to be excellent artisans, using plant-based materials such as moriche palm, bora or water hyacinth floating plant, and wood from the sangrito tree. They make hammocks, baskets, necklaces, animal figures and other objects carved in wood or woven with plant fibers.

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