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CAUCHO: Back to the roots

With the Huni Kuin, we share neither the same culture nor the same beliefs. Yet, despite so many differences and over 10,000 kilometers separating us, we are directly related to the people of Caucho. Their culture, traditions and habitat are threatened by our way of life on the other side of the ocean. Our generation's consumption of meat, soy and wood threatens the indigenous peoples, including the Huni Kuin of the Igarapé indigenous land of Caucho.

Since Jair Bolsonaro came to power, Brazil's indigenous peoples have been increasingly exposed and attacked through proposed laws that threaten their lands and way of life. Currently under negotiation, a new free trade treaty could be signed between MERCOSUR and the EU. This agreement between some South American and European countries would promote trade in many sectors between the two continents, including agriculture, which would greatly increase the production and export of monoculture soy, cattle and wood, the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon." As of April 2022, the Amazon rainforest has lost more than 1,000 km2 of surface area. These are the worst figures recorded since satellite observations began in 2015" (INPE).

"During the time of slavery, if our ancestors spoke Haxa Kuin, they were threatened to cut out their tongues. For nearly 70 years, families were enslaved and cut off from their culture by the Seringueros who came to exploit rubber in the Amazon forests. Baptized Txina Bena (the new thought), it is at the beginning of the years 2000 that the Huni Kuin (whose name means "The true men"), enter in "the fifth stage of their history", that of a return to the forest and the traditions.

In Caucho, for more than 20 years, the Huni Kuin have decided to tackle the scourges of drug and alcohol trafficking and corruption. These phenomena are largely related to its proximity to the city. This movement was initiated by Cacique Nasso and the pajés who decided to revive their culture and transmit their knowledge and traditions to the new generations. Today, the young people invest their customs and relearn their original language. Through the music and medicines of the forest, the new generation is determined and committed to the preservation of the culture of their ancestors.

Despite their efforts, their project of a return to their roots remains fragile in the face of the proximity of the city and their lack of self-sufficiency that they no longer find in nature.

In 2012, an evangelist church was established in the heart of the village forbidding its followers to use certain natural medicines. Beyond deforestation, the uprooting and loss of identity is a real threat for the root peoples, as we have seen in the previous cultural genocides that took place among the First Peoples of North America (United States and Canada)

As long as the unique culture and way of life of indigenous peoples and the sanctuary of their lands are not recognized, these families will continue to be threatened. If their culture disappears, the root peoples and the Amazon rainforest will also disappear with it. "On March 9, 2022, the deputies approved by a strong majority, the emergency consideration of a law authorizing the exploitation of natural resources in indigenous territories.

Report realized in Brazil in Amazonia in the Igarapé of Cauch in July-August 2021

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