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The Huni Kuin

Meet the true guardians of the forest

The Huni Kuin are an indigenous community living in the Brazilian state of Acre, in villages spread across the rivers of the Amazon. Here they have made their homes since time immemorial, living in harmony with nature. Huni Kuin means “the true people” and their culture is deeply connected to the rainforest around them. As inhabitants of the forest, they protect nature while passing on ancient knowledge to live sustainably. 

The Story

Our dream is for the world to learn and value natural life with strengthened spirits, with the hope that everyone can heal and live in more harmony with nature.” 

~ The women of the Xinã Raya Bena project

Like many indigenous communities worldwide, the history of the Huni Kuin tells a story of genocide, forced labour, and missionaries and rubber landlords colonizing their land. Today, the Huni Kuin and other indigenous groups face the continuation of a colonialist system, where defending their land risks threats of violence; where unsustainable development and illegal cattle ranching are displacing homes and destroying forest land; and where indigenous groups are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Despite the many years and layers of pain, the Pinuya Village and the Xinã Raya Bena project tell a story of healing and hope through a vision of sharing their culture and knowledge with the rest of the world.  As a homage to the craft that her sister loved, Samia Hunikui founded the Xinã Raya Bena Project in 2019 after finishing her Bachelor of Business Administration course. Today she seeks to develop sustainable autonomy for her community in the Pinuya Village and for other Huni Kuin artisans from further territories. The Xinã Raya Bena women hope to maintain and strengthen their identity, culture, and tradition by sharing their knowledge and history through their craft with the rest of the world.

Each beaded creation is full of colours and patterns that translate into the stories of the Huni Kuin and the artisans of the Xinã Raya Bena Project.

The artisans of the Xinã Raya Bena project chose to tell their stories through the beading of “kenes, ” their sacred patterns. Each kene is chosen by the artisan and their clans, recording the stories and the history of their people. They carry the “spiritual strength” and the powers of healing and protection through a variety of colours and the depiction of the forest and its animals. 

⁓ You can expect our jewellery co-creations by December 2022⁓

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