Skip to content

Tacana Indians

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

The collective designation for a group of tribes constituting the Tacanan linguistic stock in different dialects, occupying the upper valleys of the Beni and Madre de Dios Rivers, on the eastern slope of the Andes, Department of Beni, north-western Bolivia. The group includes: the Tacana proper, the Isiamo, the Cavina, and the Aten or Leco, all missionized by the Franciscan Fathers of the College of Ocopa, Peru, about the end of the eighteenth century; the still uncivilized Toromona and Araume and several others; and the more remote Sapibocona of the Moxos mission farther to the south. In 1832 the five Tacana missions contained 5304 Christian Indians, while the wild Toromona were estimated at 1000 more. In 1852 the traveller Weddell spent some time at the mission of Guanay and has given us a good description of the Indians as he found them. In 1883 Heath reports them as greatly reduced, the 1000 Cavina of 1832 having dwindled to 70 souls. Like their neighbours, the Mozetena and Yurucare, the Tacana are noted for their light complexion, fine features, and tall stature, averaging over five and a half feet. Of their language, which is extremely guttural and jerky in pronunciation, we have vocabularies by Heath and Weddell, besides a small devotional publication. In their primitive condition they subsisted, and still do, by agriculture, hunting, and fishing, went naked except for feather decorations on dance occasions, and lived in small communities subject to petty chiefs. Some of their tribes were reputed cannibals. The civilized Tacana wear as their principal garment a sleeveless shirt or chemise, keeping the head and feet bare. They are expert at weaving and the making of straw hats, but are not industrious beyond their immediate needs.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

To all our readers,

Please don't scroll past this. We interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online School's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $10.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online School could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online School is useful. If Catholic Online School has given you $10.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to Catholic education matters to you. Thank you.

Help Now >

Crowd at BBQ with Montana Ranch and Cattle meat As a big thank you for your service to our Church, Montana Ranch and Cattle offers you a special discount. Enjoy 25% off ‘The Greatest Meat on Earth’.

By the Grace of God, with the help of Montana Ranch and Cattle, Catholic Online School has become one of the fastest-growing, online K-Adult schools in the world. The school now has over 915,000 student enrollments from 193 countries. Click to Save 25% Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!