Introduction / History The Chiricoa are a small people group living near the Ele River and in Arauquita. Previously a sizeable nomadic group, they were decimated by disease and their numbers dwindled. They are a sub-tribe of the Guahibo. Their name comes from the term the Yaruro Indians use for the Guahibo. Because they lived far isolated from the rivers used by European colonizers, they were more successful in surviving contact with them.
What are their lives like? They live off the land. They use hallucinogenic plants in their rituals and ceremonies. One such ceremony is the Prayer to the Fish for naming and initiating members into the tribe. In this ceremony a young woman is welcomed into adulthood. They observe two funerals. The first is very simple and the second more complex. Theirs is a patriarchal society. When sons begin to have families, they build houses separate from their parents. They value intergenerational family relationship ties rather than individualism.
They are foragers more than agriculturalists. Though cassava is their main staple, they supplement this with many different kinds of vegetables and fruits.
Olson, James Stuart, "The Indians of Central and South America: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary", Greenwood Press, Westport, 1991, p 88.
Arauca department: Cravo Norte municipality; Casanare department: Betania, El Merey, Esmeralda, Mochuelo, San José de Ariporo, and Santa María on Capanaparo river and tributaries; Vichada department: Meta river south bank. (Source: Ethnologue 2016)