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“Deep in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest, on a tributary of the mighty Xingu, live the Xikrin, the “People of the Big Water”. “Everything we need, we have here”, says Ngrenhkarati, a Xikrin woman. “For food we can fish, harvest manioc, and hunt”. The Xikrin live a subsistence lifestyle within their villages and depend on the river as a supplier of food, the primary mode of transportation, and a tie to their ancestors. However, this way of life is coming under threat. A few miles away on the Big Bend of the Xingu River, construction of the world's third-largest dam is peaking this year. As the dam nears completion, the Xikrin have already seen a negative impact on fish populations, and scientists warn of a lowered water table that could dry out this area of the river. The Xikrin, whose lives, history, traditions, values, and practices depend on the river, have not been given proper consultation under the law and are fighting an uphill battle against the construction of the dam”. – Taylor Weidman


An indigenous man surveys the quarry site for the Belo Monte Dam. Belo Monte will be the world's third-largest dam and is facing strong resistance. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. Studies show that the dam will displace up to 40,000 people in the Xingu Region. (Taylor Weidman)

An indigenous man surveys the quarry site for the Belo Monte Dam. Belo Monte will be the world's third-largest dam and is facing strong resistance. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. Studies show that the dam will displace up to 40,000 people in the Xingu Region. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A Xikrin woman walks back to her village from the riverside. Most Xikrin villages are situated next to a river for transport and fishing. (Taylor Weidman)

A Xikrin woman walks back to her village from the riverside. Most Xikrin villages are situated next to a river for transport and fishing. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Krôire, a warrior of Poti-Krô, returns from a successful hunting trip with the jabuti, a land turtle. Villagers usually take boats to different parts of the jungle to avoid overhunting any one area. (Taylor Weidman)

Krôire, a warrior of Poti-Krô, returns from a successful hunting trip with the jabuti, a land turtle. Villagers usually take boats to different parts of the jungle to avoid overhunting any one area. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Nhakri and Nhgreipr ti, Xikrin women in the village of Poti-Kr , stand for a portrait under the fruit trees behind their houses. (Taylor Weidman)

Nhakri and Nhgreipr ti, Xikrin women in the village of Poti-Kr , stand for a portrait under the fruit trees behind their houses. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Indigenous Munduruku men cheer during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Taylor Weidman)

Indigenous Munduruku men cheer during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




K pri, who is the one female elder at Poti-Kr , is a renowned storyteller. She tells the stories from memory with her husband, Bepoti, sitting by her to confirm details. However, her audience is shrinking as she increasingly competes with new diversions such as television. (Taylor Weidman)

K pri, who is the one female elder at Poti-Kr , is a renowned storyteller. She tells the stories from memory with her husband, Bepoti, sitting by her to confirm details. However, her audience is shrinking as she increasingly competes with new diversions such as television. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A storm moves in over the village of Poti-Kr . (Taylor Weidman)

A storm moves in over the village of Poti-Kr . (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




School in the village of Poti-Krô is taught in Portuguese, rather than their native tongue Je. (Taylor Weidman)

School in the village of Poti-Krô is taught in Portuguese, rather than their native tongue Je. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




While line and net fishing are increasingly popular, a few youth like Kremoro still fish effectively with a bow and arrows. This method of fishing usually takes place along the river's edge in the jungle, where the fisher can also spot other game, such as turtles and monkeys. (Taylor Weidman)

While line and net fishing are increasingly popular, a few youth like Kremoro still fish effectively with a bow and arrows. This method of fishing usually takes place along the river's edge in the jungle, where the fisher can also spot other game, such as turtles and monkeys. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




The frontier town of Altamira lies on the banks of the Xingu River, which is being dammed by Norte Energia. When finished, the Belo Monte Dam will be the world's third largest hydroelectric project. (Taylor Weidman)

The frontier town of Altamira lies on the banks of the Xingu River, which is being dammed by Norte Energia. When finished, the Belo Monte Dam will be the world's third largest hydroelectric project. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Jabuti, a type of land turtle, is considered easy game. When hunters come across a jabuti, they tie it with bark or vine to a tree to be collected on their way back home. (Taylor Weidman)

Jabuti, a type of land turtle, is considered easy game. When hunters come across a jabuti, they tie it with bark or vine to a tree to be collected on their way back home. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Xikrin women spend much of their time painting the bodies of their family and friends. The designs are passed down from mother to daughter, and the Xikrin often say that they do not feel like themselves when they are unpainted. (Taylor Weidman)

Xikrin women spend much of their time painting the bodies of their family and friends. The designs are passed down from mother to daughter, and the Xikrin often say that they do not feel like themselves when they are unpainted. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Indigenous Munduruku men survey the quarry site for the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Taylor Weidman)

Indigenous Munduruku men survey the quarry site for the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




The Xikrin have distinct gender roles while the men spend the day hunting and fishing, women often stay in the village to care for the home and the family. (Taylor Weidman)

The Xikrin have distinct gender roles while the men spend the day hunting and fishing, women often stay in the village to care for the home and the family. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Indigenous men stand watch inside the gates of the Belo Monte Dam's main turbine site. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Taylor Weidman)

Indigenous men stand watch inside the gates of the Belo Monte Dam's main turbine site. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A Xikrin woman holds her husband's shotgun while he cleans freshly hunted peccary in the river. According to tradition, Xikrin women are not allowed to leave the village while their husbands are out hunting a wife must patiently wait for his return. (Taylor Weidman)

A Xikrin woman holds her husband's shotgun while he cleans freshly hunted peccary in the river. According to tradition, Xikrin women are not allowed to leave the village while their husbands are out hunting a wife must patiently wait for his return. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Food generally comes from the river and the jungle. Honeycomb has been gathered to harvest honey and beeswax, which is used as a traditional medicine. (Taylor Weidman)

Food generally comes from the river and the jungle. Honeycomb has been gathered to harvest honey and beeswax, which is used as a traditional medicine. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Xikrin men and women spend the majority of their time in Altamira close to the indigenous living areas – especially at night. Norte Energia workers, Altamira residents, and the indigenous visitors often don't get along well together. (Taylor Weidman)

Xikrin men and women spend the majority of their time in Altamira close to the indigenous living areas – especially at night. Norte Energia workers, Altamira residents, and the indigenous visitors often don't get along well together. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Xikrin hunters offload a large haul of peccary to be cleaned in the river in the remaining light of day. For the next few days, the villagers will eat mostly peccary so that the meat will not go to waste. (Taylor Weidman)

Xikrin hunters offload a large haul of peccary to be cleaned in the river in the remaining light of day. For the next few days, the villagers will eat mostly peccary so that the meat will not go to waste. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Mukuka spends time with relatives during the midday heat. The village of Poti-Kr  is made up almost entirely of direct descendants of the two village elders. (Taylor Weidman)

Mukuka spends time with relatives during the midday heat. The village of Poti-Kr is made up almost entirely of direct descendants of the two village elders. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




The Xikrin àrkàm, or headdress, is worn at celebrations and special occasions. It is made from the brightly colored feathers of jungle birds, such as the parrot. (Taylor Weidman)

The Xikrin àrkàm, or headdress, is worn at celebrations and special occasions. It is made from the brightly colored feathers of jungle birds, such as the parrot. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




The Bacaja River is a tributary of the Xingu River, which is being dammed by the third-largest hydroelectric project in the world, the Belo Monte. As the dam quickly nears completion, the Xikrin have already seen a negative impact on fish populations, and scientists warn of a lowered water table that could dry out this area of the Bacaja. (Taylor Weidman)

The Bacaja River is a tributary of the Xingu River, which is being dammed by the third-largest hydroelectric project in the world, the Belo Monte. As the dam quickly nears completion, the Xikrin have already seen a negative impact on fish populations, and scientists warn of a lowered water table that could dry out this area of the Bacaja. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A Poti-Krô villager leaves in the early morning fog to check his nets for fish. (Taylor Weidman)

A Poti-Krô villager leaves in the early morning fog to check his nets for fish. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Indigenous men keep watch during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Taylor Weidman)

Indigenous men keep watch during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up of an alliance of indigenous groups occupied the dam and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Bekre, a young Xikrin man, plays pool with friends in an Altamira bar. (Taylor Weidman)

Bekre, a young Xikrin man, plays pool with friends in an Altamira bar. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Ngrenhkaroti is known by her friends and family as Sappa, or “female frog”. The Xikrin marry young – usually from 13 to 16 for girls – and although Sappa is still in her thirties, she is a grandmother. (Taylor Weidman)

Ngrenhkaroti is known by her friends and family as Sappa, or “female frog”. The Xikrin marry young – usually from 13 to 16 for girls – and although Sappa is still in her thirties, she is a grandmother. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A young man sights down the barrel of his shotgun while hunting in the jungle. Hunting trips are quiet affairs with many stops to listen for game. Experienced hunters can recognize and mimic many animal sounds. (Taylor Weidman)

A young man sights down the barrel of his shotgun while hunting in the jungle. Hunting trips are quiet affairs with many stops to listen for game. Experienced hunters can recognize and mimic many animal sounds. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




An indigenous Munduruku man and member of the Federal Police argue during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. The Belo Monte is the first of a series of dams planned across the Amazon, and the Munduruku have come from the Tapaj's River to protest several planned dams there. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied Belo Monte and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Taylor Weidman)

An indigenous Munduruku man and member of the Federal Police argue during an occupation of the Belo Monte Dam. The Belo Monte is the first of a series of dams planned across the Amazon, and the Munduruku have come from the Tapaj's River to protest several planned dams there. On May 27th, an indigenous group made up predominantly of Munduruku occupied Belo Monte and halted construction on the main turbine site. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Mukuka, a Xikrin leader, signals to the driver as they navigate a boat through the flooded jungle. (Taylor Weidman)

Mukuka, a Xikrin leader, signals to the driver as they navigate a boat through the flooded jungle. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Xikrin girls pose as a group during a day of celebration and traditional dances. (Taylor Weidman)

Xikrin girls pose as a group during a day of celebration and traditional dances. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Yucca is a staple food for the Xikrin. Here, grated yucca is roasted to make farinha, which accompanies almost every meal. (Taylor Weidman)

Yucca is a staple food for the Xikrin. Here, grated yucca is roasted to make farinha, which accompanies almost every meal. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A view of the village of Poti-Kr . Xikrin villages are always built in a large circle with the communal meeting house in the center. Norte Energia has begun building 'modern' structures for the village, including the new meeting house. (Taylor Weidman)

A view of the village of Poti-Kr . Xikrin villages are always built in a large circle with the communal meeting house in the center. Norte Energia has begun building 'modern' structures for the village, including the new meeting house. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Warriors are an important part of Xikrin society. To become a warrior, a young man must pass several tests of pain and bravery, such as getting bit by fire ants, getting stung by wasps, and clubbing a jaguar to death. (Taylor Weidman)

Warriors are an important part of Xikrin society. To become a warrior, a young man must pass several tests of pain and bravery, such as getting bit by fire ants, getting stung by wasps, and clubbing a jaguar to death. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




A Xikrin couple clean a very dirty apartment in a housing space for indigenous visitors in Altamira. Many of members of the Xikrin indigenous tribe complain that they were not consulted about the dam despite a constitutional obligation to do so. (Taylor Weidman)

A Xikrin couple clean a very dirty apartment in a housing space for indigenous visitors in Altamira. Many of members of the Xikrin indigenous tribe complain that they were not consulted about the dam despite a constitutional obligation to do so. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Irenapti is one of the village founder's four daughters. Women in the village often smoke pipes, which they say helps to keep the mosquitos away. (Taylor Weidman)

Irenapti is one of the village founder's four daughters. Women in the village often smoke pipes, which they say helps to keep the mosquitos away. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




For the Xikrin people of the Xingu Region of Brazil's Amazon Rainforest, construction of the world's third largest dam a few miles away is a life-altering phenomenon. (Taylor Weidman)

For the Xikrin people of the Xingu Region of Brazil's Amazon Rainforest, construction of the world's third largest dam a few miles away is a life-altering phenomenon. The massive hydroelectric project, which local indigenous groups condemn, is also bringing modern conveniences through payoffs of cash and goods. Although some welcome the impact that increases in income have had upon their traditionally subsistent lifestyle, others fear the social and cultural erosion the rapid change has already wrought. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)




Bepoti and his wife K pri are the two elders of Poti-Krô. It is the elders' responsibility to pass on the tribe's myths and stories. Villagers are unwilling to share these stories to outsiders, because they are considered the elders' “property”. (Taylor Weidman)

Bepoti and his wife K pri are the two elders of Poti-Krô. It is the elders' responsibility to pass on the tribe's myths and stories. Villagers are unwilling to share these stories to outsiders, because they are considered the elders' “property”. (Photo and caption by Taylor Weidman)
13 Dec 2013 09:32:00