The Most Complete Guide of Ecuador

An intro to the Huaorani: Indigenous Community

The Huaorani, Waorani, or Waodani, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador.

Where do they live?

In the provinces of Napo, Orellana and Pastaza in Ecuador.

Tongue? They speak their own tongue, a language named Wao Terero (or Wao Tededo). It is believed it is exclusive to them, not related to any other language on Earth. However, half of the Huaorani population now speaks spanish because it’s the language taught to kids at school.

Population: With approx. 4,000 Huaoranis, this is one of the most numerous indigenous communities in the Amazon.

Housing: They are semi nomads and have small settlements which they will occupy for up to 10 years, and then leave. The “onka”, the traditional Huaorani house is made of palm and medium sized tree trunks, and it is quite spacious. 10 to 15 members from the same family live in the same onka!

Food: Huaoranis are famous for their hunting abilities. They hunt monkeys, toucans (for their feathers), pigs, and plenty of other mammals from the Amazon.

Clothing: Curious fact: They live in voluntary solitary isolation and for this reason much about them still remains a mystery for the outside world.

Craft: Their cerbatanas and hunting utensils are admired in the Amazon and the world.

Worldview: Huaoranis make no distinction between the physical and the spiritual world, they believe spirits are everywhere. Ome is the word use to describe a forest, and also the world. For them the forest is home, and anywhere outside the forest is insecure- it is a space of slavery and colonies.

Curious fact: Some animals are sacred to the Huaoranis. Anacondas and jaguars hold a special spiritual meaning, and therefore are never hunted. Anacondas represent the most imposing and evil force in their spiritual world while jaguars are the animal that shamans identify with.

Comments (1):

  1. Allen macneel

    July 4, 2021 at 23:10

    I would like to know the history of the huaoranis in depth. Are there any books on the subject? Esp. Any contact between the catholic church in quito and the huaoranis in the late 1500,s thru mid 1600,s


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