Foto: Kristian Bengtson, 2003

Enawenê-nawê

  • Autodenominação
    Enawenê-nawê
  • Where they are How many

    MT641 (Siasi/Sesai, 2012)
  • Linguistic family
    Aruak

Introduction

The Enawenê-nawê speak an Arawak language and live in a single large village close to the Iquê river, an affluent of the Juruena, in the northwest of Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Each year they begin a long ritual directed towards the subterranean and celestial beings – the iakayreti and enore nawe, respectively. During this period the Enawene Nawe sing, dance and offer them food in a complex exchange of salt, honey and food, especially fish and manioc. Consequently they organize their work with the aim of producing food for day-to-day consumption and to be offered in rituals.

Since the start of the 2000s, though, their forms of producing and reproducing social life have come under severe threat. If implemented, the project to construct eleven PCHs (small hydroelectric plants) in the region surrounding the Enawenê Nawê Indigenous Land could completely alter the ecological dynamic of their aquatic environment, directly compromising the performance of ritual ceremonies – events of supreme importance to Enawenê-nawê life. In addition, they are increasingly surrounded by other threats of invasion and exposed to pollution of their rivers and lands by cattle ranching, mining activities and soya production in areas bordering their territory.