The Kaxinawá people or Huni Kuin (true people) as they calls themselves, lives in the tropical forest, in lands situated between Brazil and Peru. In Brazil, the territory of the Kaxinawá people is situated in the State of the Acre, in the regions of the Valleys of the Purus and Juruá rivers, while in Peru their territory is located by the river Curanja.
The Kaxinawá communities, in the State of the Acre, are located in 12 aboriginal lands, of which three are shared with the Ashaninka, the Shanenawá and the Madijá; distributed for five cities corresponding to an area of 633.213 ha.
With a population of approximately 5,964 people, a percentage of 42% of the aboriginal population of Acre. Their language belongs to the linguistic family Pano, that they call hatxa-kuin (true language), whose abundance manifest also in their musical diversity.
The Kaxinawá possess a vast material culture that goes since the weaving in cotton, with natural colours, until ceramics made in clay with gotten leached ashes of animals, special trees, where is stamped the Kene (drawings of the snake), a kind of brand that identifies their material culture. The meaning of these sacred patterns is related to spiritual forces from the forest and their qualities as courage, force, power and wisdom…
The Kaxinawá society, traditionally, has a social organization that turns around groups of extensive families, with prominence on two figures: the leadership and pajé (shaman). The leadership because he has a ”political” power of gathering the community around the collective interest, and pajé because he has the spiritual power, of the cure, to do and to undo witchcrafts, the magician-religious power. He is the middleman between this and the other side of reality.
Although pajés (shamans) has been one of the most persecuted figures of the indigenous societies during the process of settling of the Amazon, the Kaxinawá society still keeps them as significant element in its culture. The conquerors knew they should extinguish the
magician-religious and politician power of the aboriginal societies, to weaken their social organization. However, the Kaxinawá had resisted
Even living in an unfavourable correlation of forces with the involving society, being victims of slaughter, captivity, discrimination and preconceptions, still thus they keep alive essential aspects of their traditions, as rituals, myths and dances, mainly the Katxa Nawa (celebration of harvest and fertility), the Txirin (ceremony of the royal Hawk), the Nixi Pae (sacred spiritual brew, also known as ayahuasca, daime and yage), Nixpu Pimá (the party of baptism). The medicine of the forest and its medicinal herbs and plants.
In the Kaxinawá culture, the shamanism propitiates the connexion of the people with yuxin, that is out of the nature and out of the human being, is supernatural and inhuman. Through the knowledge of the pajé, that goes from cure illnesses to the contact with the spiritual side of the reality, is established the connection of the Kaxinawá with the vital force that surround all the living phenomenon in the Earth, Waters and Skies and that mark out with buoys its cosmovision.
The Huni Kuin know all science from the forest, the rivers, the plants, bushes and animals. All knowledge comes through the Nixi pae (Ayhauasca). In the ceremonies led by the shaman, the sacred drink gives the paths to follow, teaches, guides and clarifies. The Nixi pae has the power of the White Jibóia (sacred snake), the enchanted being that revealed the secrets of the the brew, and is invoked in the rituals. The sacred chants, that still chanted nowadays, remote to thousand of years behind, the mythological era of the Nixi Pae origin. They are the main line that guides the spirit in the journey with the enteogenous brew.
text is taken from www.kaxinawa.com