Huitoto(redirected from Witotoan languages)
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a South American Indian tribe inhabiting the tropical forests of the Amazon basin in southeastern Colombia (in the area between the Caquetá and Putumayo rivers) and in the neighboring regions of Peru. They speak a Huitotoan language and retain ancient animistic beliefs. Most of the Huitoto were exterminated by Europeans during the exploitation of local rubber in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to unreliable estimates, the Huitoto numbered 25,000 in the early 20th century. They numbered 1,500 in 1942 and, according to various estimates, from 750 to 2,000 by 1970. The chief occupation of the Huitoto is the seminomadic slash-and-fallow farming of bitter cassava, supplemented by hunting, fishing, and gathering.