This nearly extinct amazonian Awa tribe connects with nature by breastfeeding animals which they take into their homes as part of their families. The Awa tribe living in the Amazon is so at one with nature they believe that all animals are family and together they form a small remote jungle community.
The Awa Amazon tribe is located in Brazil’s forests where they have been hiding from colonists for almost 500 years. In the settlements of Brazil’s Maranhao state, there used to be tens of thousands of Awa people, but their population decreased to the brink of extinction.
Only around 300 people remain today in the Awa Amazon tribe and they consider family to be the most important thing in the world, being the key element that keeps their remote society united.
Unlike the modern world, where we have a different perception of family, the Awa Amazon tribe considers every living thing in the jungle to be part of their family. If they find baby monkeys, squirrels, rats or any other helpless animals, they take them into their homes, take care of them and even breastfeed them alongside with their children.
Once they reach adulthood, they are set free in the jungle and everybody knows not to hunt the animals that were once fed by them.
Domenico Pugliese is the photographer who first got in contact with the Awa Amazon tribe in 2009 and he was fascinated about their community, their traditions and their life. ‘They heard the sound of the speedboat’s engine and they came down to the river bank,’ Pugliese says.
‘The impact was like being in another world. The sensation could not be explained. You extend your hand to shake it [in greeting] and then think, I do not know what I need to do,’ he added.
The cultural clash was overwhelming for both Pugliese and for the Awa tribe, who could not understand how a man can live alone, without his family and pets by his side.
‘They do not understand what a grown man is doing being single, without a family. They look at me and they try to give me advice. They do not know where I am coming from. They do not have a concept of the world. I cannot explain to them where I’m coming from, I can’t explain the lifestyle to them. For them, it is unbelievable to be a man who does not have a family” said Domenico Pugliese.