Interviews..

During our meetings with the Enawene-Nawe they have asked us to make their situation known to a larger number of people.

We have therefore created this website and decided to put on the network the interviews that we carried out during our stay, allowing the Enawene themselves to tell the story. To hear the anguish in their voices, their fears and the means they need to provide themselves with, to face the threats to their culture and the challenges of modern life.

Click to watch the interview with Yokuali

I am an Enawene, of the village of Halai Taiqua.
We have a culture that includes rituals.
We use fish for food
We have a great, strong culture.
We are losing it because the white man does not protect it.
Today the fish stocks are diminishing
Therefore we eat less fish.
Because of this the Spirits
Are arguing with us.
We no longer offer fish to the Spirits,
Therefore we are very worried.
Because of this we are asking for help.
For our culture, for our rituals,
For our food.
We are Indios,
True Indios.
Completely different from the rest of Brazil.
We have straw buildings, we do not speak Portuguese
Only Indios language.
There are many problems here in the Mato Grosso region.
We want someone to help us
From the outside.
The Government are building dams inside the Reserve.
Always larger hydro-electric power station.
We do not allow building inside the Reserve
We do not authorize the use of dynamite.
It is not only this, there are already finished buildings
That are about to start producing power.
We are asking for help
There are no fish, not even for the rituals.
There are very dangerous things.
Another problem is the marking of the boundaries
Close to the River Preto.
We have been asking for demarcation for more than 20 years
No-one from the Government has come to mark out of the land.
They want to mine for minerals.
They do not want to listen to us.
Therefore we need help.
To mark out the boundaries.
The Federal Government wants to come
To mine for minerals,
To create soya plantations.
They contaminate the water and the fish.
There are no more fish for food,
For our culture , for the forest.


Click to watch the interview with Daliyamase

Here we are today in the year 2011-05-11
 in the village of Ataika
We have a population
of 600 people here,
16 houses, including the house of the flutes.
We are here because there is a problem with Adwina
We want to mark the boundaries of the River Adwina land,
Which the white man calls River Preto.
A long time ago the Indios had no contact at all,
They did not know the white man existed.
Only Indios lived in the state of Mato Grosso.
We are in a village in the Juina area,
There was space,
Now there is not, now it has changed.
It is a city, this land we called Adwina.
This was our land
The Rikbaktsa on one side of the river, us on the other,
The Cinta Larga on another side.
A very long time ago we had two enemies.
The Cinta Larga and the Rikbaktsa.
They caused trouble in our village.
They attacked us.
The Cinta Larga hunted macaques
They hunted animals for food, they collected chestnuts.
They started to wander further afield
Until they managed to find our village.
They entered on foot and killed us.
They destroyed the crops.
They returned, took a young girl.
They captured her and took her away.
Because of this, we changes villages 10 time – including (list of villages)
Every 4 years we changed again
But they came back and killed again.
They killed people and ate the flesh.
Sometimes they took adults, sometimes children.
Each year that passed, my father told me this story
That is how I came to know it.
Each year there was a war.
Then the white men arrived
They built farms, they built a lot.
Many years ago we had land,
We have the Adwina land, we had the village.
My grandfather was born and died in this land.
Therefore we are very worried
We have wanted to mark the boundaries for 20 years.


Click to watch the interview with Yowali

Do they want to put an end to the Indios?
Do they want to lose the Indios culture?
This is all very worrying,
For our grandchildren, for our children.
How can you bring up a child? Allow them to grow?
For these reasons we do not want to let in
All these people who want to build.
The Government wants to build dams in the waterfalls,
The water will be dirty. We are not in agreement.
It is not good for the food.
We do not want them to build
Because it creates big problems.
Without fish the culture is lost.
Therefore we are asking the world for help.
This is the  reason we are giving interviews.
So the whole world can see and hear our problems.


Click to watch the interview with Ivar Luis Vendrusco Busatto

My name is Ivar Luis Vendrusco Busatto, I work with the O.P.A.N. organisation “Native Amazonia “ and we have been following the Enawene-Nawe tribe for the last 40 years, having had the first contact with them in 1974.
Ok, what is the problem  at this point?
In the 1970s, at the time of the economic miracle, of military dictatorship, expansion and development were encouraged , above all in the Brazilian Amazonia, there were tax incentives for undertakings in all the areas considered as jet unoccupied and, specifically, the Mato Grosso region of the Amazon; various indigenous people were found by these forms of expansion which, in reality, brought about the destruction of forests in the “ mato “, grass was planted for the breeding of  cattle.
The Indios population that lived there, the Mato Grosso, at the time did not have demarcation of their land and FUNAI were used, very rapidly, by the military to make contact with people who up until then had never had contact with the outside world: a disaster happened, practically a genocide, with a tribe called “ Bestin Pau “.
As a result of this, with the experience that the Jesuits had of the disaster, a more respectful form of contact was decided upon, with regard to the “ Myky “ and the “ Enawene-Nawe “ considering respect of their culture to be essential and top priority.
The following were considered as the best methods:
In the first place make respectful contact with them, do not make this public because interaction with the white man could easily bring them new illnesses.
Contact was made with a “ work team “ who could really help them, guarantee demarcation of their land and also assure them of respect for their culture by whoever came in contact with them and autonomy of the Indios people.
These were the basic things agreed with the Jesuits and that O.P.A.N. helped to create and maintain.
The first contact with the Enawene-Nawe was in 1974, then there were 97 Indios, now there are nearly 600.
Now they are strong, they are healthy, they continue to keep their traditions going, it is a very active population, now they say what they think and maintain a relationship with the white man.
The success of O.P.A.N.’s work is that they will continue to have a relationship and to always work with the Indios and have continuity of this work.
We have seen that the neighbours of the Enawene-Nawe have serious health problems, if they keep their traditional diet, there are better opportunities for a good healthy life.
They must be taught how to have a relationship with the outside world.
We are gradually introducing education, so that the Enawene have the possibility to write, read and have means of communication.
The Indios calendar is used in education according to their rites and traditions.
Many people come from Xingu to see the Enawene’s rites, because they know they keep their traditions intact, something that other Indios have not managed to do in the last 20 or 30 years.
There have been improvements, for example, they have motor boats, they use petrol, but the Spirits of the Enawene-Nawe accept this because it is only a means to an end and it is only the Spirits that make the calendar.
In 1996 the region became legally regulated with exclusive use by the Enawene-Nawe.
But occupancy of the region by animal breeders and the monoculture of soya, cotton and sugar cane has limited the possibilities, it has diminished the natural resources, especially the fish, which is the main food of the Enawene-Nawe, who do not eat red meat.
Therefore this occupation has reduced the resources available to the Enawene-Nawe.
The quantity of fish has decreased in the riverJuruena and its tributaries.
One of the main problems that causes sleeplessness to many indigenous groups, including the Enawene-Nawe, is that since 2003, the building of several hydro-electric plants has been programmed in the river Juruena valley, a programme that is talking about 20-30-40-50 or more hydro-electric power stations.
This means that the fish resources which were already falling will be reduced even more until the quantity of fish available will no longer be enough for them to carry out their ceremonies, this is a problem, the Enawene-Nawe society are desperate.
The high number of hydro-electric plants will bring about a decline in fish stocks because of the lowering of the level of the river Juruena, the time will come when there are no more fish, therefore the Enawene-Nawe will die, but also the white man, because for the Spirits, lack of fish will cause death everywhere.
Another problem is that the white men have built a badly constructed road in the region and in exchange have given them motor boats, which is good thing.
When they gave up the canoes with oars, with the speed of the motor boats they managed to reach their old territory by the river Preto.
Now, they want to continue to build one of the fish-barriers on the river Preto so they can keep their Yakwa ritual.
Several times they have managed to stop the building of a dam on the river Preto, they are compromising the fishing and the nature of the area.
Now the FUNAI have begun the process of giving them back a part of the river Preto region.
The FUNAI is still studying how to do this and has created a work group who has to mark out the exact land of their ancient territory.
The Enawene-Nawe are waiting for who, in reality, through the Federal Government and the FUNAI will guarantee them a place for traditional use.
The Enawene-Nawe are asking to have a  guarantee  that the water of the river Preto will continue to be crystal  clear, that the fish will continue to be there and the nature will not be destroyed.
They stand firm on this.