Quechua, about 2.5 million people; Aymara
, 2.0 million; Chiquitano
, 181,000; Guaraní
, 126,000; and Mojeño
, 69,000. Some 124,000 belong to smaller indigenous groups.
The Constitution of Bolivia
, enacted in 2009, recognizes 36 cultures, each with its own language, as part of a pluri-national state. Some groups, including CONAMAQ
(the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu), draw ethnic boundaries within the Quechua- and Aymara-speaking population, resulting in a total of 50 indigenous peoples native to Bolivia.
Large numbers of Bolivian highland peasants retained indigenous language, culture, customs, and communal organization throughout the Spanish conquest and the post-independence period. They mobilized to resist various attempts at the dissolution of communal landholdings and used legal recognition of "empowered caciques" to further communal organization. Indigenous revolts took place frequently until 1953. While the National Revolutionary Movement government begun in 1952 discouraged people identifying as indigenous (reclassifying rural people as campesinos, or peasants), renewed ethnic and class militancy re-emerged in the Katarista movement beginning in the 1970s. Many lowland indigenous peoples, mostly in the east, entered national politics through the 1990 March for Territory and Dignity organized by the CIDOB confederation. That march successfully pressured the national government to sign the ILO Convention 169 and to begin the still-ongoing process of recognizing and giving official title to indigenous territories. The 1994 Law of Popular Participation granted "grassroots territorial organizations;" these are recognized by the state and have certain rights to govern local areas.
Some radio and television programs are produced in the Quechua and Aymara languages. The constitutional reform in 1997 recognized Bolivia as a multi-lingual, pluri-ethnic society and introduced education reform. In 2005, for the first time in the country's history, an indigenous Aymara, Evo Morales, was elected as president.
Morales began work on his "indigenous autonomy" policy, which he launched in the eastern lowlands department on 3 August 2009. Bolivia was the first nation in the history of South America to affirm the right of indigenous people to self-government.education reform. In 2005, for the first time in the country's history, an indigenous Aymara, Evo Morales, was elected as president.
Morales began work on his "indigenous autonomy" policy, which he launched in the eastern lowlands department on 3 August 2009. Bolivia was the first nation in the history of South America to affirm the right of indigenous people to self-government. Speaking in Santa Cruz Department, the President called it "a historic day for the peasant and indigenous movement", saying that, though he might make errors, he would "never betray the fight started by our ancestors and the fight of the Bolivian people." A vote on further autonomy for jurisdictions took place in December 2009, at the same time as general elections to office. The issue divided the country.
At that time, indigenous peoples voted overwhelmingly for more autonomy: five departments that had not already done so voted for it; as did Gran Chaco Province in Taríja, for regional autonomy; and 11 of 12 municipalities that had referendums on this issue.
Indigenous peoples of Brazil make up 0.4% of Brazil's population, or about 817,000 people, but millions of Brazilians are mestizo or have some indigenous ancestry. Indigenous peoples are found in the entire territory of Brazil, although in the 21st century, the majority of them live in indigenous territories in the North and Center-Western part of the country. On 18 January 2007, Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI) reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. Brazil is now the nation that has the largest number of uncontacted tribes, and the island of New Guinea is second.
The Washington Post reported in 2007, "As has been proved in the past when uncontacted tribes are introduced to other populations and the microbes they carry, maladies as simple as the common cold can be deadly. In the 1970s, 185 members of the Panara tribe died within two years of discovery after contracting such diseases as flu and chickenpox, leaving only 69 survivors."
tribe died within two years of discovery after contracting such diseases as flu and chickenpox, leaving only 69 survivors."
According to the 2012 Census, 10% of the Chilean population, including the Rapa Nui (a Polynesian people) of Easter Island, was indigenous, although most show varying degrees of mixed heritage. Many are descendants of the Mapuche, and live in Santiago, Araucanía and Los Lagos Region. The Mapuche successfully fought off defeat in the first 300–350 years of Spanish rule during the Arauco War. Relations with the new Chilean Republic were good until the Chilean state decided to occupy their lands. During the Occupation of Araucanía the Mapuche surrendered to the country's army in the 1880s. Their land was opened to settlement by Chileans and Europeans. Conflict over Mapuche land rights continues to the present.
Other groups include the Aymara, the majority of whom live in Bolivia and Peru, with smaller numbers in the Arica-Parinacota and Tarapacá regions, and the Atacama people (Atacameños), who reside mainly in El Loa.