Kaxinawa Mother and ChildI had this black and white film sitting in a ziplock bag for 2 years and finally got around to developing the rolls a few weeks ago. I as surprised that the photos even came out, and even more surprised at how beautiful some of the images were.

Rio Jordao

I took these photos when I traveled to Brazil in 2005 as a guest of the Kaxinawa chief Sia and his son Fabiano. We traveled for 5 days by river in a convoy of 3 boats. We sang and made music, a lot. Or rather, I listened while the Brazilians sang up a storm and made music, since guitars, maracas, and tambourines were, to them, as much necessities on this trip as camera equipment, water, and food.

Kaxinawa Dance

We were going to the village of Chico Curimim, which was a day further down-river from the town of Jordao, where Sia was elected Vice-Mayor. For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Kaxinawas were gathering as one people to celebrate the Festival of the Royal Hawk – and we were going to film it.

Kaxinawa Dance

We saw a lot of dancing, sacred dances that enacted legends and honored the spirits of the rainforest.

Kaxinawa Dancing Mariri

We participated in sacred ceremonies, went for medicinal plant hikes and interviewed their shamans.

Paje Agostinho

But the journey there and the journey back provided rare glimpses into the reality of life in the indigenous villages of the Brazil’s Western Amazon. We pulled over at various locations, and stopped at farms were we procured fresh papaya, banana, peanuts, palm nuts, and other local produce to supplement our rations of rice, beans, and canned meat.

Chicken for Lunch

Frequently, we had to catch our meals.

Kaxinawa Weaving

This woman, whose house we visited, was responsible for reviving the art of weaving and passing on this knowledge to the next generation of Kaxinawa women. Without her, much of this traditional art would have been lost forever.

Kaxinawa Weaving

Kaxinawa was a name given to this tribe from outsiders. They refer to themselves as the Huni Kuin, or the True People. Indeed the curiosity, generosity, kindness and welcome I experienced from our hosts seemed to be rare, almost forgotten qualities in this modern world.

Below are the complete set of images taken from this trip, including shots from Mapia, a Santo Daime community in Amazonas.


[tags]kaxinawa, huni kuin, amazon basin, acre, brazil, jordao, rio jordao, lorna li[/tags]

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