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Amazon Tribe Clings to Traditional Way of Life
The tiny Waiapi tribe is struggling to maintain its traditional way of life as mining companies edge ever closer in Brazil's Amazon.
Jawaruwa Waiapi and his family walk through early morning fog at the Manilha village in the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Brazil's Amapa state on Oct. 13, 2017.
Tribal chieftain Tzako Waiapi perfectly remembers the day almost half a century ago when his hunting party stumbled across a group of white adventurers in the Amazon rainforest. Within months, nearly everyone in his entire tribe had died from disease.
Waiapi men dance and play flutes during a tradition known as the “Anaconda’s party.” The men leave all the flutes on the river as an offering for the Anaconda snake to protect their village.
The Waiapi are one of the most traditional tribes in Brazil's Amazon, but modern life is getting closer and the forest dwellers are learning how to navigate between two worlds.
Waiapi men enjoy the Feliz River.
The tiny Waiapi tribe is resisting moves by the Brazilian government to open a national reserve twice the size of New Jersey to mining.
In August, a Brazilian court suspended plans to abolish the protected status of the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), which is split between the Northern Brazilian states of Amapa and Para.
The government has said it will appeal the decision.