Nukini Tribe

The Nukini are part of the group of peoples that speak the group of Pano languages, they inhabit the region of the Juruá valley and are characterized by leading ways of life and a very similar worldview.

Nukini tribe of the Amazon

History of the Nukini

The Nukini have survived great adversities, such as epidemic fevers and the expansion of the rubber exploitation front. Throughout the first decades of the 20th century, they joined the rubber company and remained in the Môa River region until today.

After decades working as rubber extractors, the Nukini obtained official recognition of their lands in the late 1970s.

Due to contact with rubber tappers, small producers and riverside residents of the upper Juruá region, the Nukini incorporated many of their customs, but they retain their individuality, especially with regard to their social organization.

Nukini way of life

In addition to obtaining animal protein through hunting, the Nukini have some domestic animals for food, usually raised near their homes; mainly pigs, chickens, ducks, and cattle.

They also collect various products from the forest; mainly açaí, bacaba, buriti, patuá and pupunha for fruit consumption.

They also use various medicinal plants; Bitterwood for insect bites, jatobá bark to make tea for general aches, coughs and bloating; Quinine bark tea is used for malaria; and Cipó-guaribinha is used for the flu, among many others.

Nukini rituals

In relation to rituals, the Nukini currently dance the mariri – as well as several Pano peoples in the region – and sing numerous indigenous songs, some composed by them and others learned with elders.

The Nukini families

Hunting, gathering and farming activities are reserved for men, while women are responsible for taking care of the home, in addition to collecting forest products, making handicrafts and helping in agriculture.

The Nukini have an economy based on family production. Fishing complements agriculture and hunting as a secondary activity, and is practiced with hook and net.

The Nukini have a clan organization, and the elders are able to precisely define the ancestry of the Nukini families, classifying their members according to the clan to which they belong; Inubakëvu (“people of the jaguar”), Panabakëvu (“people of the Açaí”), Itsãbakëvu (“people of Patoá”) or Shãnumbakëvu (“people of the snake”).

In general, Nukini houses are home to nuclear families. Next to a residence there may be other children who have married and formed another family nucleus, and the male child often lives with his father-in-law.

Nukini residences

Nukini residences are generally built with forest resources. Some houses have a paxiubão wall and floor and a roof covered with palm leaves. Other homes are built with walls and floors of sawn planks, usually of high quality wood. There are also some buildings with aluminum roofs, mainly schools and health centers.

Nukini indigenous territory

The Nukini Indigenous Land is located in Acre, the extreme southwest of the Brazilian Amazon, and is part of one of the most important mosaics of protected areas in Brazil.

Most of the Nukini families are distributed along the Timbaúba, MeiaDúzia, República, Capanawa streams and on the left bank of the Môa River.

The state has international borders with Peru and Bolivia, and national borders with the states of Amazonas and Rondônia. At the western end, is the highest point in the state, where the relief structure is modified by the presence of the Serra do Divisor, a branch of the Peruvian Sierra de Contamana, with a maximum altitude of 600m.

The biodiversity value of the Serra do Divisor National Park (PNSD) is among the highest so far found in the Brazilian Amazon. This biological diversity has been used and conserved for centuries by the area’s resident population, including the Nukini, whose lands are home to a large part of the biodiversity.

The soils of Acre harbor a natural vegetation composed of dense tropical forest and open tropical forest, characterized by their floristic heterogeneity. The climate is hot and humid equatorial type, marked by high temperatures, high levels of precipitation and high relative humidity. The hydrography of Acre is formed by the Juruá and Purus basins, tributaries of the right bank of the Solimões river.

Name and language of the Nukini

The Nukini are peoples of the Pano linguistic family, although currently few Nukini speak the mother tongue.

Nukini is the name by which they call themselves, and it is possible that in the past they had another self-denomination. In some historical texts, the Nukini are also known as Inucuini, Nucuiny, Nukuini, Nucuini, Inocú-inins and Remo. Originally, it seems that the Nukini are one of the surviving branches of the so-called Remo Indians.

Possibly, as a result of their contact with the expansion of the rubber industry; their language was discriminated against and ridiculed, to such an extent that the transmission of the language to their descendants was interrupted, generating a population educated only in Portuguese.

Speakers of the Pano language family can be found in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Political organization

The Nukini are organized according to a model of electoral representation; a political leader of the community, a president of the productive association and a representative of that community are elected to the Advisory Council of the PNSD (Serra do Divisor National Park).