Indigenous People

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.