KOTIRIA (WANANO) & WA’IKHANA (PIRATAPUYO), BRAZIL
KOTIRIA (Wanano) and Wa’ikhana (Piratapuyo) are two closely-related Eastern Tukanoan languages spoken in the Vaupés region of north-western Amazonia (Brazil/Colombia). Most of the Kotiria population (approx. 1,800) lives in 14 villages on the Vaupés River and use Kotiria as their language of everyday communication. In 2001, the Kotiria began organizing their own indigenous education program, two of their explicit goals being to increase use of Kotiria in village schools and to incorporate traditional forms of knowledge and oral literature into the curriculum,adopting language documentation as one of their five community-serving projects.
The situation of the Wa’ikhana (approx. 1,800) contrasts dramatically. The population is dispersed in villages on the lower Papuri River, the Makú Paraná, and the middle Vaupés; moreover, many Wa’ikhana are migrating to the former mission town of Iauaretê and to downriver communities where theirs is not the dominant language. Consequently, Wa’ikhana language use is rapidly declining, even in traditional village settings. Though most of the over-40 population still speaks Wa’ikhana, younger people increasingly use Tukano in everyday communication. This shift is driven by migration to Tukano-speaking communities (e.g. Iauaretê) and use of Tukano by in-marrying wives, many of whom come from groups who are themselves undergoing processes of Tukano-language shift.