Indigenous women at the forefront of cultural rescue actions

The Cinta Larga women’s collective, called “Wanzeej Pakup Pit”, which in Portuguese means “Women Warriors”, has been working since 2019 with the aim of fighting for the demands of the indigenous people of the Roosevelt Indigenous Land. One of the most important points of this struggle is the resumption of the connection of the Cinta Larga people with their origins, promoting activities that can value the traditional culture of the community. Since 2020, with the adversities imposed by the pandemic, projects aimed at food security for families are being carried out, such as the resumption of work in the swiddens, which had ceased to be a tradition within the villages, and being replaced by the acquisition of food from the non-Brazilian culture. indigenous.

Indigenous women from the Wanzeej Pakup Pit Collective. Photo: PPA Collection.

In 2022, as an additional step, the first workshop was held to rescue a traditional piece of Cinta Larga handicraft: basketry made with tucum fiber. According to the elders, there is a braid that characterizes and differentiates the baskets of the Cinta Larga people from others in the region that are part of the Tupi Mondé trunk. Therefore, the women mobilized and had the support of the Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative of Forest Trends to bring together women from different generations so that traditional knowledge and practice could be transmitted. The workshop also had the participation of men from the village, who at the beginning of the mobilization of the women's collective resisted and disbelieved that the articulations led by them could generate results. Currently, the collective is recognized and played an important role in encouraging the involvement of several indigenous peoples in the engagement in actions to strengthen and unite the people.

Indigenous women from the Wanzeej Pakup Pit Collective. Photo: PPA Collection.

According to Carina Cinta Larga, leader of the women of the Cinta Larga people of TI Roosevelt, “this workshop meant a lot in stimulating the rescue, and it brought the participants' desire to continue working with other aspects that are important for the culture of our people”.

For Tatiana Tintino, forestry engineer who leads Forest Trends' actions aimed at the handicraft value chain, “indigenous handicrafts are a great symbol of resistance for native peoples, especially for women who are mostly involved in production. Each piece carries ancestral knowledge and tells the story of the people who make it. In addition, we have observed how much it directly impacts the lives of indigenous people from the income it promotes, providing autonomy for these women. Knowing all this relevance and the great potential of this chain to bring positive socioeconomic impacts, we have acted to strengthen and stimulate actions such as this important workshop proposed by the Cinta Larga women's collective.”

The work of the Wanzeej Pakup Pit collective reinforces how much the protagonism and union of indigenous women can bring inspiring and impactful results in the local reality. The Cinta Larga indigenous, with great strength and resistance, are concerned with the challenges of the current world and with the generations to come, with their children and grandchildren, and thus, they remain firm in the fight for what they believe, being a reason for inspiration for several other groups in the region.