Hushahu was the first woman to enter into a spiritual study in the story of her people and of other tribes in the region. She lived many strong experiences in the tribe from a young age and became determined to discover the world of the Pajé (Shamans) – to find healing and wisdom for herself and her people. Hushahu asked her father Tuîkuru to study and, after spending many years gaining their trust, her father and the late Pajé Tata accepted her onto the path to study. She spent one year and three months in Samakẽi – isolated in the forest with strict rules and without contact with anyone besides her teachers.
During this time she began to discover the world of the Pajés as a woman, expressing this through her art and her voice, bringing a female voice to the traditional songs. On her return she brought equality between men and women to her people. The Yawanawá women now sit alongside the men as equals in ceremony and in daily life. This transformation, along with the beauty of the songs and art she brought back, inspired many, both men and women to re-engage with their tradition. Following her time in Samakẽi, Hushahu continued to study with Tatá until his death, later repeating this period of study for another year.
Today Hushahu is one of the spiritual leaders of her village Mutum and is dedicated to keeping the tradition of her people alive. She has many students among the youth of the village as well as from the world outside where she travels and shares the teachings that were passed to her. The designs that she received in visions are used in the artworks of many different tribes in Brazil as well as her own.
Her work has drawn international attention, being the subject of the VR movie Awavena and being featured in the magazine of Brazilian airline GOL. She is a great inspiration for female empowerment for the Yawanawa and for women around the world.
Co-Founder & CIC Director
Adair first travelled to the Brazilian Amazon in 2017 where his heart was touched for the first time by the indigenous culture there. The following year his meeting with Hushahu reinforced the importance of indigenous wisdom for himself and for our world.
He has since worked and studied with Hushahu, dividing his time between the rainforest and the Western world. Striving to discover and understand the Yawanawa culture and to share this understanding with others. He acts as a bridge and translator between the indigenous world and our own as well as working to support families in the rainforest.
Today Hushahu and Adair are happily married, working together and realising projects to improve quality of life, lessen dependence on the cities and preserve the Yawanawá culture. They created Kairao together to deepen this work and share it with the world.
Hushahu’s sister Kẽnẽmãni coordinates and organises various projects inside of her people, dedicating herself to move the Yawanawa in a more self-sustainable and positive direction.
Amongst the projects she leads is the centre for education in Mutum, the production and sales of Rauti (artwork) over 7 villages, the reforestation project in Mutum and the reforestation project Waivãna. She works to support many within the Yawanawá family, not restricting herself to her own village, with a focus on working with women.
Kẽnẽmãni is our main coordinator for our work in the forest, organising all of the work that is happening on the ground and overseeing the progress of the projects.
The Yawanawá are an indigenous people whose name can be translated to people of the wild boar. They live on the banks of the river Gregorio in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and, according to their oral histories, this has always been their home.
The Yawanawá have a strong history of colonisation. Beginning with invasion of their land and enslavement of their people by rubber tappers and followed by occupation by missionaries. For decades the Yawanawá were forcibly banned from practicing their own culture in any way, from speaking their own language to their arts and rituals. During this time the rich Yawanawá culture became lost to the tribe as a whole. It was kept in memory and practiced in secret by just a handful of the elders.
During the 1980’s the Yawanawá began to reclaim their land, expelling the missionaries and, in 1983, the Indigenous territory of the Gregorio River was officially demarcated as an area of 92,859,749 hectares. This made it the first indigenous territory demarcated in the state of Acre and set an example for other indigenous peoples of the region.
Since reclaiming their land, the Yawanawá also began to reclaim their heritage. The elders that still held their culture and healing tradition in memory began to pass this to a few of current generation, including Hushahu as the first woman of the tribe to enter a spiritual study.
Today, the Yawanawá are once again proud to be indigenous, celebrating their culture and sharing this with the world. The roles of men and women in their previously very male-dominated society have become balanced, both within their healing traditions and in daily life.
They grow ever more connected to our western world, bringing both blessings and challenges to their people.
Moving into the future is unknown territory as the Yawanawá grow ever more connected to our western world. Formed and directed by leaders of the tribe as well as westerns, Kairao CIC aims to help the Yawanawá strengthen their ancestral roots while also incorporating more sustainability and independence as they move forwards.