Tashka and Laura Yawanawá

Leaders of the Yawanawá
Chief Tashka Yawanawá and Laura Yawanawá represent the critical perspective often missed in the discussions about the future of indigenous people in Brazil: that of the indigenous people themselves.

Why you should listen

For Tashka and Laura Yawanawá, leaders of the Yawanawá people living in the Acre region of Brazil, engagement with the world begins with his people’s right to self-determination and self-worth.

The son of a former leader of the Yawanawá, as a boy Tashka witnessed the near annihilation of his culture by the New Tribes Mission and by the pressure of economic interests. He studied in the United States and visited other indigenous communities. With other tribal leaders in the Amazon, he is working to restore dignity, identity and a sustainable economic future to indigenous populations, founded on their own values, culture and definition of prosperity.

What others say

“Tashka inherently understands the forces at work in both his and the Western worlds. As a result, he serves as an unusually effective bridge between indigenous groups and the outside.” — Ashoka, 2008

Tashka and Laura Yawanawá’s TED talk

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