The Huni Kuin Sustainable Community Master Plan
The Huni Kuin (“true people”) are the largest indigenous population in the Brazilian state of Acre and currently live in 116 villages on twelve Indigenous reservations along seven different rivers, including the Purus, Envira, Murú, Humaitá, Tarauacá, Breu and Jordão. They are also known as "Kaxinawá" (bat-people) and live mostly in the Brazilian Amazon Basin but their lands extend to the Andes in eastern Peru. The native language is “hatxa kuin” (true language) but today they live in a bilingual reality in which most of the Huni Kuin communicates in Portuguese.
The Huni Kuin are guardians of the Amazon forest. They are sacred protectors of the earth and her forests and live in ecological harmony; their culture, history, and entire existence are intricately dependent on it. The Huni Kuin had relatively late contact with the world. At the end of the 19th century, from 1890 onwards, a wave of invasions by rubber extractors began. During this period of violent contact, the local indigenous groups were systematically attacked by invaders. In the midst of this violence, the rubber extractors were not only clearing rubber trails, they were hired to remove the indigenous population. The rubber tappers brought disease, genocide, and land encroachment. Despite years of persecution, the Huni Kuin’s beautiful traditions and sacred rituals have triumphed and to this day they continue to pray to the spirit of the forest and the spirit of transformation.
The Huni Kuin Sustainable Community Master Plan is a holistic vision for the future that honors the traditions and way of life of the Huni Kuin people while responding to the needs and challenges they are facing with low tech, low cost, and zero waste to low impact solutions. This Master Plan’s main objective is to co-create with the Huni Kuin Federation a sustainable community model for the future with design guidelines and protective regulations that will be implemented in 12 pilot villages and serve as the sustainable community model for Huni Kuin villages. The Huni Kuin Sustainable Community Master Plan aims to ensure the restoration and long-term protection of the health and culture of the Huni Kuin people and the Amazon forest. Providing access to clean water to reduce mortality from preventable diseases, improving population health, and preserving Huni Kuin culture and traditions are at the heart of this Master Plan.
As of today, the majority of the 116 Huni Kuin villages lack access to clean water and are facing new diseases they have never been exposed to before such as stomach cancer and uterine cancer. They also suffer from malnutrition, diabetes, cholera, and mosquito-borne diseases. During our last field trip, we provided water filters to 7 Huni Kuin villages and to over 600 people as an emergency response in order to provide immediate access to clean water to the villages we visited and their surroundings.
During our field trip, we conducted a health baseline assessment in 3 villages and tested for water quality. We also assessed diet, sanitation, and food sources. Since our return in January, our team started to co-create with the Huni Kuin Federation sustainable, low tech, low cost, and zero waste to low impact solutions that will be implemented in 12 pilot villages.
Providing clean water to 12 pilot villages to reduce the risk of pandemics.
Organize an emergency medicine workshop that will gather the 12 health agents of the 12 pilot villages and train them in basic integrative emergency medicine.
Provide direct internet access to allow the Huni Kuin to remain connected to their families in other villages in time of quarantine. Our aim is to provide internet to a network of 4 villages which will give indirect access to a total of 12 pilot villages.
Build sanitation facilities that will prevent soil contamination, improve population health.
Natural water purification systems for streams, ponds, and cassimbas, such as floating gardens, seed and plants.
Permaculture: cultivate foods with high vitamin content to fight malnutrition, improve diet, and offer natural remedies to support population health in fighting emerging diseases.
Sustainable and circular economy so they cease to be dependent on financial support for basic needs such as medical emergency, travel, educational, and self-governance expenses.
Ecotourism workshop between key members of the HuniKuin community, the Federation, and sustainability specialists to support the Federation in creating protective regulations for tourism and protect the forest from further tourism pollution.
Sustainability series workshops bringing together key members of all 116 villages (the caciques, health agents, the forest agents, pajes, etc.) to share and learn about the solutions tested in the pilot villages for further implementation of those solutions in the remaining villages. The workshops will address how to purify water (streams, ponds and, cassimbas) using natural purification systems, emergency medicine, permaculture to fight malnutrition, improve diet, natural remedies to support population health in fighting the emerging diseases, circular economy and sustainable sources of income such as natural products and food and bio-construction.
This project is conducted in collaboration with and under the supervision of the Huni Kuin Federation. The Huni Kuin Federation and Mothers of the Amazon share the same mission is to protect the rainforest and preserve the Huni Kuin traditions.