Like many peoples of Acre, the Puyanawa suffered heavily from the boom in rubber and caucho extraction in the region at the start of the 20th century. Since the first contacts with non-Indians, many have died in direct confrontations or from diseases contracted during the colonization process. The survivors were forced to work in the rubber extraction areas – the seringais – and quickly found their way of life decimated due to the methods used by the ‘rubber barons’ to keep the Indians working under their yoke. The Puyanawa were expelled from the lands, missionized and education in schools that banned any expression of any trace of their culture.
It was only with the beginning of the process of demarcating their territory that Puyanawa culture was once again valued by the Indians themselves, who have worked hard to recuperate their native language, a difficulty task given the small number of speakers left.
Get to know the Puyanawa Rapé Snuff
Get to Know some of the Brazilian Native Populations, their art and culture: