Every single day, people have to fight to sustain their way of life. Big Money often comes with Big Eye-blinds.
Investors and companies and growing industrial “Western” communities are influencing the way of life of rural and indigenous peoples, and making decisions that will ultimately bring about an end to these age old “pagan” cultures. Because that is what they are, pagans.
Country dwellers. Farmers. Storytellers. Hunters. Mothers. Brothers. Fathers. Children.
Content peoples who for decades have lived close to the land without a worry of invaders.
Well now, consider them invaded.
They may have adopted some of “western” culture: clothes, guns, and basic modern tools; but their culture has survived.
Many of these tribes and cultures are much like the Xikrin, who find themselves on the fine line of assimilation and annihilation.
Here is an article and photo essay by Taylor Weidman.
“Taylor Weidman is an award-winning documentary photographer and co-founder of the Vanishing Cultures Project. His work focuses primarily on the effects of modernization and human rights issues. The Vanishing Cultures Project is currently fundraising for their next project working with tribes affected by the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest.”
Deep in Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest, on a tributary of the mighty Xingu, live the Xikrin, the “People of the Big Water.” “Everything we need, we have here,” says Ngrenhkarati, a Xikrin woman. “For food we can fish, harvest manioc, and hunt.” The Xikrin live a subsistence lifestyle within their villages and depend on the river as a supplier of food, the primary mode of transportation, and a tie to their ancestors.
However, this way of life is coming under threat. A few miles away on the Big Bend of the Xingu River, construction of the world’s third-largest dam is peaking this year. As the dam nears completion, the Xikrin have already seen a negative impact on fish populations, and scientists warn of a lowered water table that could dry out this area of the river. The Xikrin, whose lives, history, traditions, values, and practices depend on the river, have not been given proper consultation under the law and are fighting an uphill battle against the construction of the dam.
This essay features a selection of images from the upcoming book, The Xikrin: Indigenous Life in a Changing Amazon. Proceeds go towards supporting Xikrin cultural initiatives.Sign up for the Vanishing Cultures Project’s newsletter for book updates.