Foto: Paulo França, s/d

Huni Kuin (Kaxinawá)

  • Autodenominação
    huni kuin
  • Where they are How many

    AC10.818 (Siasi/Sesai, 2014)
    Peru2.419 (INEI, 2007)
  • Linguistic family



The Kaxinawá live on the Brazilian-Peruvian border in Western Amazonia. The Kaxinawá villages in Peru are located on the Purus and Curanja rivers. The villages in Brazil (in the state of Acre) are spread along the Tarauacá, Jordão, Breu, Muru, Envira, Humaitá and Purus rivers.

I conducted fieldwork in the Cana Recreio, Moema and Nova Aliança villages on the Purus river, near to the border with Peru. The Peruvian and Brazilian Kaxinawá were separated at the beginning of the 20th century when a group that had been gathered at a seringal (rubber extraction area) on the Envira river relocated to the headwaters of the Purus river, in Peruvian territory, after a revolt against the rubber boss (McCallum, 1989a: 57-58; Aquino, 1977; Montag, 1998). The groups coming from Peru converged with the Brazilian Kaxinawá through marriage, though even today differences in the lifestyle of the two groups can be observed.

Some Kaxinawá groups migrated from the Envira river, where they had been engaged in rubber extraction work, to the Purus. Most of these Envira Kaxinawá settled in Fronteira village and in various nearby settlements. Over the last two decades, the migratory movement has continued with other Kaxinawá arriving from Peru and from the Envira and Jordão rivers settling in villages along the Purus.

In the Alto Purus Indigenous Territory, the Kaxinawá also live alongside their traditional neighbours, the Kulina, for whom this reserve was originally created.