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The Indigenous People of Venezuela – Guardians of the Land, Part 2 of 2



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Today we will continue to explore more aboriginal groups in this great country. The Orinoco River is the longest river in South America. The river created the Orinoco basin, a fascinating place with landscapes untouched by colonization. The people of the Basin still keep their indigenous housing styles and use canoes to travel.

The Warao tribe is the guardian of the Orinoco River. The word Warao means “the boat people," which reflects their direct relationship with the river. Some live in palafitos, which are thatched huts on stilts above the water. Because the palafitos resemble similar architectural features in Venice, the land was named Venezuela by the Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda, which means “Little Venice.”

West of the Orinoco River, in the Llanos region, are the Guahibo and Yaruro tribes. They live in huts made of wild plantain leaves, as well as Jessenia and other palm leaves. The Yaruro are a mobile tribe, moving between the two dry and wet seasons. Their homes use Moriche palms as the main material for thatching the roofs, with Zinc lamina also used on some buildings. The Yanomami tribe lives as a community under a large round-shaped shelter called “Shabonos,” which is made from natural materials such as leaves, vines, and tree trunks.

The Los Roques Archipelago consists of an estimated 350 islands north of the La Guaira port. In 1972, the Los Roques Archipelago National Park was created to protect this marine ecosystem of exceptional beauty, consisting of coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds.

The Guajira Peninsula is a territory along the Caribbean Coast known for a lively ecology, deep tropical rainforests, an abundance in biodiversity, plentiful clean water, and plenty of fresh air. The El Limón River in Venezuela is the main water source for the Wayuú tribes. Artificial ponds were developed to hold rainwater during the rainy season.

Wayuú people have traditional crafts, such as making a variety of styles of bags, or mochilas. The Wayuú women have inherited a strong weaving tradition from their ancestors who, according to legend, learned it from a mythical spider called Walekeru.

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