Deep in the Amazon rainforest, after several days of travelling, I arrived in Mutum - a small indigenous village located along the Gregorio river in the Brazilian state of Acre. One of several villages belonging to the Yawanawa tribe.
After nearing extinction in the late 19th century, the people of the Wild Boar (“Yawa” = wild boar, “Nawa” = people) are now thriving in many ways, rebuilding and reviving their ancestral culture and traditions, thanks to a few elders who managed to keep this knowledge alive during the first ravaging years of white contact - purposely isolated in more remote areas of the forest, in order to survive, protect and transmit the ancestral ways of the tribe. Today through arts and spiritual knowledge, the Yawanawa people are remembering, reinforcing and practicing their connection to the abundance of medicinal plants growing all around their villages - learning, teaching and sharing this knowledge amongst themselves, and with the few westerners who now come to them to learn and expand their consciousness through the many rituals this tribe practices; often finding a deeper sense of connection to themselves and to the Earth.
Like many indigenous tribes post white contact, the Yawanawa people seem to be in a delicate state between past and future, ancient and modern ways. Remembering one whilst longing for the other. During my time there, I could see the practical support which western culture brings to these people, but I could also feel the polluting and chaotic effects of this influence. The sense of pride for being guardians of the rainforest, paradoxically paired with a longing to come closer to a civilisation which nearly destroyed them, a mere 100 years ago. Being in such a setting made life feel more intense and accelerated in every way. A similar kind of paradox I suppose, as I could experience the joy and simplicity of life in the jungle, whilst simultaneously feeling the deep wounds of the land and its people, thus creating a certain tension in the air.