The Macushi (Portuguese: Macuxi) are an indigenous people living in the borderlands of southern Guyana, northern Brazil in the state of Roraima, and in an eastern part of Venezuela.[2]

Total population
29,931 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Brazil19,000 (2001)[2][2]
 Guyana9,500 (2001)[2]
 Venezuela83 (2001)[1]
Macushi, Portuguese, English and Spanish[2]
traditional tribal religion, Roman Catholicism


The Macushi are also known as the Macusi, Macussi, Makushi, Makusi, Makuxi, Teueia, and Teweya people.[2]


Macushi people speak the Macushi language, a Macushi-Kapon language, which is part of the Carib language family. Some in Brazil also speak Portuguese, while some in Venezuela speak Spanish, and some in Guyana speak English. The Macushi language is written in the Latin script, and the New Testament was translated into the language in 1996.[2]

Housing and lifestyleEdit

They live in villages linked together by tracks and paths, with houses built round a central courtyard. When married, the Macushi couple lives in the wife's family's village and the father-in-law is of great importance in Macushi kinship.

History and cultureEdit

Macushi oral history describes them as descendants of the sun's children, who created fire, as well as diseases, and they also believe they discovered Washacá, the Tree of Life. The Macushi believe in the life principle – stkaton – and they believe it comes from the sun.[citation needed]

Cuthbert Cary-Elwes, a Jesuit missionary settled among the Macushi of the Rupununi Region (Guyana) in 1909, learned the language and stayed with them for more than 23 years.[3]

During the 18th century in Brazil, non-native people occupied Macushi territory, establishing mission villages and farms and forcing Macushi people to relocate.[1] In Guyana, the Machusi settled in the Northern Rupununi Savannah.[4]

The Brazilian Government have set up schools, as well as hospitals for the Macushi and since 2005 they are campaigning for land rights to be recognized throughout Brazil. Some individuals from the Macushi tribe are very well educated. In the trial for the land rights, Joênia Batista de Carvalho Wapichna was the first lawyer with indigenous roots to give a speech in the STF (Superior Tribunal Federal).



  1. ^ a b c "Macuxi: Introduction." Archived 2012-05-15 at the Wayback Machine Instituto Socioambiental: Povos Indígenas no Brasil. Retrieved 30 July 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Macushi." Ethnologue. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  3. ^ "The Interior." The Jesuits in Guyana. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Amerindian nations". Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  • Cuthbert, Cary-Elwes. Bridges, John, ed. Rupununi Mission: the story of Cuthbert Cary-Elwes. London: Jesuit Missionsstka, 1985.

External linksEdit