SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Bringing the deep Amazon to Miami

The New Tropic

A canoe, a car, three flights, and a full 24 hours: That’s how long it takes to get from deep in the Amazon to Miami.

The Yawanawá Tribe of the Brazilian Amazon is making that journey for the world premiere of their first ever performance “Journey to Mutum: A Cultural Encounter with the Yawanawá Tribe of the Brazilian Amazon.”

Many members of the tribe have never been out of the Amazon, let alone on an airplane.

“Some didn’t have passports, they weren’t even documented in Brazil. We had to transport the crew from the Amazon jungle back and forth and it took many months of coordination, but here we are,” said Anne Marie Miller, co-founder and CEO of Indigenous Celebration, the nonprofit bringing the tribe to Miami.

There are 800 Yawanawá left living in eight villages on the banks of the Gregorio River. But, younger members of the tribe are losing their connection to the culture, opting to speak Portuguese instead of the traditional Yawanawá language.