Panare Indians


Penare (Panare, Panari, Abira, Eye): 1,200 in 20 or more villages. 150 mile perimeter south of Caicaro de Orinoco basin of the Cuchivero River; Bolivar State. Two groups: jungle and highland. Carib, Northern, Western Guiana. Communal life. Nearly all are monolingual. Tropical forest, mountain slope.

Penare (Pah-nah-ree) Indians live in the Amazon Basin of Venezuela. The Penare are a very traditional people. They still live in thatched huts, usually on a river bank. The men wear traditional loin cloths that are dyed red from the onoto berry. Penare men and boys wear blue and white beads around their upper arms and below the knees and ankles, whereas the women and girls wear huge necklaces of blue and white beads around their necks as well as on the wrists and ankles. Penare women wear lengths of cloth as skirts in addition to their beads. Penare women are not allowed to learn Spanish and only speak in their Indian tongue. When speaking to outsiders they must speak through a man as an interpreter. While this is obviously sexist, it has been a good for the tribe because the women continue to pass down the traditional myths, stories, and culture. It has been said that after a tribe begins speaking Spanish, their Indian culture disappears within 25 years.