Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Brazil : Tukano

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2008
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Brazil : Tukano, 2008, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Tukano are river-dwelling agriculturalists living on the Upper Rio Negro. They are known as Baniwa, Kuripako, Dow, Hupda, Nadöb, Yuhupde, Baré, Warekena, Arapaso, Bará, Barasana, Desana, Karapanã, Kubeo, Makuna, Mirity-tapuya, Pira- tapuya, Siriano, Tariana, Tukano, Tuyuca, and Wanana.

Historical context

A number of government proposals regarding demarcation of their land resulted in a 75 per cent reduction of the 'indigenous areas' proposed by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI). Land close to the Colombian border, on which Tukano carried out small-scale, environmentally sound gold mining operations, was recognized by FUNAI as belonging to Tukano but was wanted for strategic defence purposes by the military. This led to harassment and accusations of illegal dealing in gold and drugs.

Current issues

The FOIRN (Federation of the Indigenous Organizations of the Upper Rio Negro) has undertaken several health, education and development projects in the region. They coordinate the DSEI (Special Indigenous Medical District) of the Rio Negro and have hired 200 health workers, of whom 90 per cent are of indigenous origin. Many of these projects have been undertaken with support from the Instituto Socioambiental.

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