Huni Kuin

The Huni Kuin people, also known as “Kaxinawá” (bat-people) or “true people,” (from huni, “people”, and kuin meaning “true.”) as they call themselves, live mostly in the Brazilian Amazon Basin, but their lands extend to the foot of the Andes in eastern Peru. The Huni Kuin are the largest indigenous population in the Brazilian state of Acre, currently living on twelve Indigenous reservations along seven different rivers: Purus, Envira, Murú, Humaitá, Tarauacá, Breu and Jordão.

They had relatively late contact with the Western world, and despite decades of persecution during the rubber extraction years, they managed to maintain their traditional ways. The native language is “hatxa kuin” (true language), but today they live in a bilingual reality in which most of the Huni Kuin communicate in Portuguese as well. They continue to practice their sacred rituals and “pajelanças” (healing sessions) with their plant medicines, perform traditional baptisms of their children and celebrate the “katxanawa” (fertility rituals).

Today Huni Kuin spirituality echoes throughout the world. This movement began just over a decade ago, with the arrival of three young Huni Kuin leaders in Rio de Janeiro, to conduct ceremonies outside their villages for the first time. Nowadays, many Huni Kuin spiritual leaders travel regularly through the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

There have been numerous exhibitions on this rich culture in some of the major museums in the world, as well as award-winning films and books. These messengers of the forest have an important and positive message that suggests a new era, a time of reconciliation between mankind and Mother Nature.

Huni Kuin from Acre on Vimeo.