Deep in the Amazon lives the world’s most endangered tribe, an ancient group who trudge through the forests of eastern Brazil carrying everything they own – their children, their weapons and their pets.
They have been pushed to the brink of extinction by European colonists who enslaved them and ranchers who stole the land they need to survive.
And yet, they live in complete harmony with their jungle home. Most Awa families adopt several wild animals as pets and remarkably, the women breastfeed them until they are fully grown.
These people are so close to being wiped out forever, that they are kept safe, away from the modern world.
As a result, very few people have ever met the Awa. Photographer Domenico Pugliese is one of those lucky enough to spend time with this remarkable tribe – and even became a source of amusement for them.
Facts About The Awa Tribe
- The Awa tribe living in Amazonian forests in east Brazil has been all but wiped out by colonists and illegal ranchers
- Tens of thousands of them lived in settlements in Brazil’s Maranhao state 500 years ago, only around 300 remain
- The Awa love animals so much the women breastfeed them to become ‘hanima’ and treated as part of the family
- In return, the animals help them with everyday tasks such as cracking open nuts and getting fruit from high trees
The people from the Awa tribe adopt several wild animals such as squirrels and monkeys as pets.
But the most remarkable fact is that the women of the Awa tribe breastfeed these adopted animals until they are fully grown and then let them into the wild.
The Awa never eat animals they have breastfed.
“Sometimes when we’re out hunting, I’ll see one of our pets and say, “don’t hurt it!””, says one of the Awa tribe members.
“I would never eat an animal we raised. We looked after it, we watched it grow.”
“I can hear the howler monkey that used to be my pet singing in the forest. My pet lives in the forest, and now it’s going to make a family of its own.”
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