There are approximately 1200 Yawanawa living in the Brazilian state of Acre, in villages along the banks of the Gregório river, where they have made their homes since time immemorial.
The Yawanawa people’s first contact with the non-indigenous world happened around the 19th century. It was an intense period of much conflict with the rubber barons and missionaries who invaded their lands and tried to forbid Yawanawa language, culture and spirituality. In the 1980s, chief Biraci Nixiwaka Brazil led his people in the fight for the recognition of their native territories, and the Yawanawa became the first indigenous people to obtain the official rights to their lands in the state of Acre.
The Yawanawa have since then reclaimed their sacred medicines, rituals, song and dance, festivals, games, traditional body painting and adornment, artwork and food, in a profound journey of cultural revival.