A Connection To Past and Future

The Yawanawá are a bridge between the past and the future of the Amazon rainforest. They live on the Gregorio River in the State of Acre, Brazil, on lands that their ancestors have called home for eons. Theirs is a story of connection to their land, their traditions, and a commitment to passing that connection to the next generations of the Yawanawá.

Empowering Female Leadership

The Yawanawá have 9 villages within the territory. The village of Mutum is unique in the history of the Yawanwá, as it is the first village to be led by a woman – Chief Naiweni Yawanawá. Chief Naiweni was chosen by her father Tuikuru, the great leader of the Yawanawa, and took her place as the Chief of the village of Mutum after his passing. She has been in her leadership role for over 25 years and became the first woman Chief of her people.  She is a well-respected authority figure in her village and she has won the hearts of many, young and old, due to the great generosity of heart. She has also served as a powerful role model for the next generation of Yawanawá women, encouraging them to step into their power and to rebalance the feminine and masculine energies in her community.

Preserving Traditional Knowledge

The Yawanawá have a deep traditional knowledge of the forest, its plants, and healing properties. They have always passed this knowledge from one generation to the next through their oral tradition. The Yawanawá are at risk of losing their traditional knowledge due to the rapid deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. The impact of colonization, including being forbidden from teaching their language and culture, has created a generational gap in passing this knowledge from one generation to the next. The elders of the villages, the last keepers of their traditional knowledge, are dying before they can pass it on to the new generations.