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Photographs and words by Thiago Yawanawá, son of Tashka, head ofthe Yawananá people in Brazil
Thiago Yawananá first picked up the camera at age 20. He was at The Mariri Yawanawá Festival, an annual gathering meant to “rescue” and “preserve” the Yawanawá ancestral culture and customs, knowledge that his grandfather passed down to his father, now the head of the Yawananá people. “Leadership is in my blood,” says Yawananá. “My weapon is my camera. It is a way to fight through images [and make sure] the Indigena resistance will never be erased.
Here, his people’s story, in his own words and pictures.
We are Yawanawá, the People of the Queixadas. According to our ancestors, we have always lived in the same territory for our entire existence, on the land.
The planet is a large living organism and the Amazon Rainforest is an important part of this system. In the heart of the forest live the Yawanawá people in an area of approximately 200,000 hectares protected over generations. There are 10 villages with more than 1,200 people.
The Yawanawá chants bring with them the strength of tradition and ancestry.
Every time it is chanted, through the feet that step on the ground, they bring the balance of the earth.
The Yawanawá chants never go out of style, because they are renewed at the dawn of each day.
Even though I am living in São Paulo, in a city of stone, far from the forest, with all the pollution in the air, yet there are parks with trees and lakes, I can connect. My home will always be in the Yawanawá territory.