THE TEMPORARY FISHING BRIDGES OF THE ENAWENÊ-NAWÊ
LOCATION | Matto Grosso, Brazil
TYPOLOGY | Bridging & Damming
SYSTEM | Fishing Bridges
PEOPLE | Enawenê-nawê
Along the snaking Juruena River in the tropical forest of Western Brazil, circular clearings appear in the endless rainforest canopy. These are villages belonging to the Enawenê-nawê, a tribe whose spiritual life orbits around their fishing rituals in the river at the edge of the Amazon basin. They are innovative dam builders and expert fishermen whose extraordinary territory of rainforest and savannah offers a subsistence lifestyle based on crops like corn and manioc, honey, and above all, abundant fish. They are divided into clans and live in a dozen large malocas, or communal houses, made of wood and thatch built in a circle surrounding the center of the village where ceremonies and rituals are performed. For hundreds of years the tribe of just ninety-seven thrived until contact with a 1974 expedition led by Jesuit Thomaz de Aguino Lisboa. Today, the traditional lifestyle of the now five hundred people is threatened by the construction of several upstream hydroelectric dams.
Illustrations by Despoina Kinaraki