We are the Wai-Wai
Today, there are about 2500 Wai-Wai, a people traditionally recognized as specialists in the supply of sophisticated manioc graters, talking parrots and hunting dogs. They are famous to today as great travellers for their expeditions in search of the ‘unseen peoples’ (enîhnî komo).
Field visit to Wai-Wai village in Pará. Picture: Regnskogsföreningen
It was (and continues to be) the famous expeditions of the Wai-Wai in search of the ‘unseen peoples’ (enîhni komo) that enabled (and continue to enable) widespread exchanges with other peoples as part of a wide regional network. It is as a result of this network that there occurred (and continue to occur) numerous marriages and invitations to whole families to move to live in the Wai-Wai communities.
The officially recognized territory consists of the following three indigenous territories, covering parts of the states of Amazonas, Pará and Roraima:
- TI Nhamundá-Mapuera (Pará), totalling 1,049,520 hectares and 2,218 people in 2005;
- TI Trombetas/Mapuera (Amazonas/Roraima/Pará), totalling 3,970,420 hectares and 500 people in 2005;
- TI Wai-Wai (Roraima), totalling 405,698 hectares and 196 people in 2005.
(The text above is modified from "Waiwai - Indigenous Peoples in Brazil" (socioambiental.org), July 2022, where much more information is to be found.)
Regnskogsföreningen, in its current and previous form, has supported the Wai-Wai for around ten years, by enabling the institutional strengthening of their organisations and their rights, territorial management including the protection of their land.