Native American Civilizations: Amazonian Tribes--The Aw

Awa Aw
Figure 1.--The Aw are an indigenous people of Brazil living in the north eastern Amazon rainforest. They once engaged n agriculture, but adopted a hnter-gather life style with some agricultural components to escape slave traders. There are only about 350 individuals remaining, about a hirs have no connection with the outside world. They enjoy pers and mny have names related to animals. Here we see a boy playing with his pet armadillo.

The Aw or Guaj live in the eastern Amazon rainforest, a 450 sqm reserve in north-eastern Maranhao state. There are only about 350 members left, although this is just an estimate. Some 100 of them have no contact with the outside world. They are called the world's most endangered tribe, primarily because of encroagments by logging interests into their territory. They speak Guaj, a TupiGuaran language. They once klived in settlements, but adopted a nomadic lifestyle to survive incursions by Europeans, especially slave raiding. They also face settlers seaking to clear the forrest and ser up farms. Some Aw began moving moved to government-established settlements (mid-1980s). Most of the tribe continued to maintain their traditional way of life. The Aw live entirely off the forests, but not by cutting down the trees. They have formed nomadic groups of a few dozen people which avoid contact with modern Brazilians. The Brazilian government received a loan of US$900 million from the World Bank and the European Union to protect the Aw and other indigenous peoples (1982). A major condition of the loan was that the lands of the tribe would be clearly demarcated and protected. That was crucial Aw because they were such a small tribe and their forests were increasingly being invaded by outsiders. There were report tribal people being murdered and forests being destroyed by logging and land cleared by settlers. Without continue government protection the Aw can not survive.


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Created: 11:51 AM 1/21/2019
Last updated: 11:51 AM 1/21/2019