Data related to 15 short tandem repeat polymorphisms (STRPs) are reported for four South American Indian populations, and integrated with previous Brazilian Indian results. Overall heterozygosities varied significantly among groups (Kruskal-Wallis test, P = 0.002). The lowest levels of heterozygosity were observed in the Ache, Ayoreo, and Surui, an expected finding considering their isolation and ethnohistory. Genetic distance and gene diversity analyses suggested that geography was a good predictor of genetic affinity among these Native Americans. New evidence from this study supports the hypothesis that the Ache population descends from a Ge group that preceded the Guarani colonization of Paraguay.