A Conversation with Shamans

Since ancient times, the Yawanawá have inhabited the headwaters of the Rio Gregório in the Western Amazon in Brazil. In this encounter the Yawanawá will share their practices and cosmologies related to sacred forest plants. It will be a chance to reconnect with the spiritual essence of plants and rediscover the ancient wisdom related to them. Some of the plants they will talk about include the ones used for making their sacred medicine called uni (ayahuasca) and tabacco. The Yawanawá have a magical conception of plants, always related to the enchanted beings of nature, which make up their cosmological worldview. For them traditional practices are directly related to the preservation of culture and is inseparable from the right to the territory, their relationship with nature, and sacred knowledge. In their traditional experience, human health is intimately connected to the health of the community – and to the health of the land and Earth.

This event is part of a European Tour in which the Yawanawá are looking for supporters who can help them to protect their culture, traditional medicines and biodiversity.

Nani Kateyuve
Pai (“father”) Nani as he is often called, is the main Professor of the Yawanawá People. He is 60 years old and a healer of his people, who carries ancient knowledge passed along from generations. He is actively working to keep the Yawanawá’s traditions alive, planting different species of trees, harvesting, cultivating medicinal plants, and teaching the Yawanawá children. Pai Nani is a protector of the authenticity of the Yawanawá culture, focusing especially on the language, the prayers, the songs and in transmitting a very deep understanding of the Yawanawá ancestrality.

Yawatume is one of Nani’s daughters, steeped in rich cultural heritage from her birth. A vital aspect of Yawatume’s work is her commitment to the preservation of the Yawanawá language. She has 3 children and through her interactions and teachings, she safeguards that the language is passed down to the younger generation, ensuring its continuity. But beyond her many roles, painting emerges as Yawatume’s predominant talent. She adeptly translates the Yawanawá’ss kênes – the sacred visions and part of the Yawanawá’s identity – into intricate body and textile artworks, weaving a tapestry of tradition, belief, and history.

Wiahu is an expert and talented keeper of medicinal plants from the forest, wisdom that he received from his father Jorge Yawanawá a healer recognised for knowing different traditional medicines. Wiahu has deep knowledge of the Yawanawá language and is a keeper of the ancestrality and culture of his people especially within the Yawanawá spirituality.