Guardians of the Amazon

with Putanny Yawanawa & Chief Nixiwaka Biraci

  • March 7, 2024 - March 9, 2024


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.


Yawanawa spirituality is a sacred territory where never a woman had dared to step, for since ancestral times, it had belonged exclusively to men. In 2005, Putanny and her sister were the first women to make the sacred oath of the Yawanawa people. They have since been recognized as the first women to undergo Yawanawa spiritual training. After a year of strict diet, Putanny earned her communities’ respect as spiritual leader, opening the way into this sacred path for other Yawanawa women. A break in tradition that united the male and female universes – and brought the magic of feminine spirituality to strengthen the Yawanawa culture. Together with her husband, Chief Nixiwaka, Putanny currently leads the place of origin of the Yawanawa people, considered the cultural sanctuary of this Nation. 


Chief Nixiwaka is one of the most relevant indigenous leaders of our time. He has dedicated his life to reclaiming his people’s ancient culture and spirituality. After reconquering the rights over their ancestral territory, Nixiwaka, alongside his family, led the opening of their culture to the outside world. Its main element is the Yawa Festival, which is held annually since 2002 in the village of Nova Esperança (“New Hope”). In the past years he has spent most of his time in the Sacred Village, dedicated to spirituality and healing, receiving teachings from the elders, in order to carry on the Yawanawa legacy. In his few journeys out of his village to represent his people, he’s also visited other spiritual leaders around the world and has partaken in the sharing of many cultural traditions.


Nawashahu is the eldest daughter of Putanny and the chief Nixiwaka Yawanawa. She has been brought up to become a leader. Nawashahu has been very dedicated to their studies of  Yawanawa spirituality, dieting with the elders and always seeking to learn more from the leaders of the tribe. Nawashahu is a guardian of this knowledge and a very talented singer, who has accompanied her parents in their work and travels outside the villages since early age. 


Peu is one of the most devoted spiritual leaders from the younger generation of the Yawanawa people. He committed to the sacred “samakei” (diet), the Yawanawa’s highest spiritual initiation, for five consecutive years. In this period he received direct teachings from the elders Tata and Yawa, who have recently passed away. His studies with the elders brought exceptional  strength to his work with the sacred healing prayers of his ancestry. Today Peu is responsible for preparing and serving the medicines in the Sacred Village. He is also a talented musician, as has traveled to Europe, North America and Asia sharing Yawanawa spirituality.  


Mukashahu is the youngest daughter of Yawanawa chiefs Nixiwaka and Putanny, she comes from a long lineage of indigenous leaders and medicine men and women. She has been raised to be a leader of the Yawanawa people in the future. She lives in the Sacred Village of the Yawanawa people where she studies their spirituality, history, language and songs.  From an early age she mastered the acoustic guitar and now in her teenage years brings out a strong voice ready to accompany her sisters and her mother. Mukashahu has just come off a year-long spiritual dieta with her mother. She and her brother, Mukaveine, are the first children of the Yawanawa nation to undertake such a profound spiritual dieta within the Yawanawa culture.


Referred to as the “Little Chief’, Mukaveine is the youngest son of Yawanawas chiefs Nixiwaka and Putanny, he also comes from a long lineage of indigenous leaders and medicine men and women. Mukaveine has the name of the prophet of the Yawanawa people, who received many visions, such as the invasion of white men. The prophet thus instructed the Yawanawa people to make alliances with the white man and keep peace. “Little Chief” Mukaveine is thus expected and raised to be a leader of the Yawanawa people in the future. He lives in the Sacred Village with his family and after recently completing a year of dieting alongside his mother, Mukaveine has been honoring his name and prophecy, representing the culture, songs and stories of his people like few others, despite his young age. 


Saku is a very powerful medicine man of the Marubo nation in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, although of young age. Considered part of the family by chiefs Nixiwaka and Putanny, he has been working assisting them in the healing of participants. In the Marubo nation, medicine men and women identify the children who will continue their work and they start doing healing work at a very young age, as Saku, who started when he was age 4. He has for decades deeply studied the indigenous spirituality of his people, having undergone thru very strict dietas to serve as channels for the healing of his patients. He’s a master of ancient spiritual codes and techniques which he uses on the patient’s body and spirit to bless the person in the way needed. 


March 7th:10 am:     Rapé Circle & Story telling2 – 4 pm: Market8 pm:       ConcertMarch 8th:10 am: Singing Class10 pm: CeremonyHauxHaux


Details $US
including all offerings $ 450
all offerings discounted for people staying in PachaMama $ 390
Ceremony only $ 260
Ceremony only discounted for people staying in PachaMama $ 240

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