Jívaro (hēˈvärō) [key], linguistic stock of Native South Americans in Ecuador. The peoples, N of the Marañón River and E of the Andes, engage in farming, hunting, fishing, and weaving. They have a patrilineal society, with some 15 to 20 people, the family group, living in each huge, isolated communal house. Though not unique to the Jívaro, head shrinking, accompanied by elaborate ceremony, made them famous, but the practice has virtually disappeared. The Jívaro long resisted government and missionary efforts to subdue them.
See V. W. Von Hagen, Off with Their Heads (1937); J. Hanzelka and M. Zikmund, Amazon Headhunters (tr. 1964); M. J. Harner, The Jívaro (1972).