A smiling people

The Awa Guaja live a nomadic life in a region on the edge of the Amazonian forest to the west of the state of Maranhao in the Serra do Tiracambu mountain range in Brazil.

The women harvest bananas, roots and wild berries, while the men hunt and fish. Their life was harmonious until the arrival of geologists, engineers and other experts involved in constructing the railway line linking the capital of Sao Luis to the mines in Carajas.

The Awa Guaja’s land was occupied by gold diggers, speculators and farmers who came in their wake. A genuine manhunt ensued. Naked, and still armed only with their bows and arrows, the Awa Guaja are always on the move.