Save the Humans - The Awa Tribe of the Amazon May 06 2016
We live in an amazing time, technology is at an all time high and more people have more options than ever before. At the same time many people feel disconnected from their lives and lack fulfillment, our environment is in dire condition and we all are looking for a way to change ourselves and our community for the better.We have to find examples of successful human / environment relationships, mentors to show us 'civilized' humans how to live in harmony with our mother, nature. Luckily for us we still have a few examples still living with us on this spaceship earth. Tribal societies, while not perfect ( no one is ) can show us ways we can adapt our behaviors to live happier, healthier, more connected lives. If we can meld our advanced technology with their time tested wisdom, humanity and earth stand the best chance we have at not only survival, but a thriving, meaningful, connected existence.
The health of the earth depends directly on the health of it's humans.
This is why I am so passionate about saving the sovereignty and wisdom of tribal cultures and why I am so passionate about sharing that wisdom with the world. If we lose these people, these wild humans, we lose the only living connections we have to a way of life in tune with the earth we live on. So I hope you, my dear reader, enjoy our new blog feature "Save the Humans" where we will feature information on different tribes, sub-cultures and groups either living the life day to day or working to bring that wisdom to our modern society in unique ways.
With the internet we have an incredible tool to share wisdom around the globe like never before... spread the knowledge, learn more, find ways you can help. Every person, every action counts.
- Shannon Puma Drake, Founder and Lead Dirty Girl 'The Dirt - Personal Care'
First contacted by the outside world in the 1980's the Awá tribe are a small group of people living in the Amazon rain forest. Estimated to number around 200-400 they were true hunter gatherers until recent loss of their land to illegal logging has persuaded them into growing a few crops.
"Their troubles began in earnest in 1982 with the inauguration of a European Economic Community (EEC) and World Bank-funded programme to extract massive iron ore deposits found in the Carajás mountains. The EEC gave Brazil $600m to build a railway from the mines to the coast, on condition that Europe received a third of the output, a minimum of 13.6m tons a year for 15 years. The railway cut directly through the Awá's land and with the railway came settlers. A road-building programme quickly followed, opening up the Awá's jungle home to loggers, who moved in from the east." Guardian.com
The Awá still manage to hold most of their traditional beliefs and hunt according to the seasons and they hold some critical animals too sacred to eat.
"The Awá know their forests intimately. Every valley, stream and trail is inscribed on their mental map. They know where to find the best honey, which of the great trees of the forest are coming into fruit, and when the game is ready to be hunted. To them, the forest is perfection: they cannot dream of it being developed or improved upon." http://www.survivalinternational.org
The Awá have intricate family networks, they believe that a child is not conceived by one man and one woman but by one woman and 3 men ideally*. They also have rather flexible relationships, moving from one group of intimate partners to another, keeping small family groups closely tied. While this may seem unusual to our modern idea of matrimony, it creates a strong support group for the child and incredibly strong bod between men and women who share responsibility and pride over the child's sucess. We can learn much from their cooperative relationships, raising vibrant children is no simple task.
The Awá are threatened by illegal logging operations who invade their land with guns and plow down their forest home. We can help! Write emails to the Brazilian government and donate to the cause.
Learn more about these beautiful humans and watch a beautiful documentary at http://www.survivalinternational.org/awa