Katukina Rapé – Blond
Katukina Blond is a beautiful fresh Rapé made by our friends from the Katukina tribe. It is made with a mixture of local organic moi tobacco and the more potent natural corda or ‘string’ tobacco. They add a touch of eucalyptus for extra freshness, helping to open the respiratory system and clear the mind. The Katunika Blond Rapé is a pleasant and medium strength medicine.
All products are sold only as botanical samples with no expressed or implied claims for a specific purpose or use. All information provided is for educational, scientific, ethnographic and historical research purposes only.
About the Katukina
The Katukina are a society of several hundred indigenous people in the Acre region of Brazil. They use rapé for its shamanic and medicinal properties, and also use the tree frog medicine kambo in healing ceremonies.
Their culture is based on hunting and swidden agriculture, and is divided on the basis of sex. Men learn to hunt and clear the forest for growing vegetables, while women maintain their homes, care for children, wash clothes, manage the farmland, and prepare food. Family groups live in small villages, and there are also a number of different clans within the Katukina culture, spread out across a region including the Gregório and Campinas rivers.
The name ‘Katukina’ is a generic word that was given to the group by the government, or by early anthropologists. The Katukina themselves have adopted the word, but state that it holds no meaning in their own language. They do, however, have their own designations for the six main clans of the Katukina: the Varinawa (people of the Sun), Kamanawa (people of the Jaguar), Satanawa (people of the Otter), Waninawa (people of the Peachpalm), Nainawa (people of the Sky) and Numanawa (people of the Dove).
One group that is sometimes attributed the name Katukina lives on the shores of the Envira river – but these people call themselves Shanenawa, and are not the same ethnic group as the Katukina who live on the rivers Campinas and Gregório.
The Katukina speak a language that belongs to the Pano linguistic family, which is highly nasal and involves mostly disyllabic words. The Shanenawa, sometimes called Katukina but ethnically different, speak a significantly different language.
Around half of the Katukina also speak Portuguese, which they use to communicate with non-Indians. Katukina children are given a unique Portuguese name in addition to their Katukina name.
The Katukina were dramatically affected by the appearance of whites in their lands. During the rubber boom of the late 1800s, gangs of rubber tappers attempted to displace the Katukina from their lands, or murder the indigenous groups who stood in the way of the supply of rubber.
The Katukina fled, and as a result ended up spread across a large region, forced to abandon their swiddens and forage from the wild instead. Their population also suffered from disease and lost many numbers to the violence of the colonists.
Eventually, most Katukina began working on rubber plantations in order to survive. After a long period of dislocation and dispersal, and tense conflicts with non-Indians and the Yawanawá people, the Katukina reunited during the 1970s. They finally received official rights to their territory in the 1980s.
Despite a turbulent history, the modern day Katukina keep a mostly peaceful relationship with the neighboring Yawanawá – although tensions around accusations of sorcery are not uncommon. The nearby Marúbo are a culture with whom the Katukina have a friendlier relationship – despite only having met in the 1990s.
In addition to rapé and kambo ceremonies, an important cultural practice for the Katukina is the ‘jests’ or vete that act as social and matchmaking events. Groups of men and women taunt each other, hurl abuse, and even attack with their fists, while trying to steal sugarcane or papaya from the opposing group. The game ends when the elder women of the group have possession of all the sugarcane and papaya – mirroring how the women of the society manage all the food. The vete is important in offering an opportunity for flirtation and matchmaking for unmarried men and women.
More About Rapé
Rapé is a medicinal snuff, usually made with tobacco, found throughout the Amazon. It is used in traditional Amazonian medicine and shamanism as a medicinal herb, and as a tool for shamanic journeying.
Although rapé usually contains tobacco, it can contain a number of different herbs and plants to alter the experience. In addition, the strength of the tobacco used can change depending on the blend!
Rapé is usually administered by a shaman, through a pipe called a tepi. Small quantities of rapé are blown up the nostrils, one after the other. The effect can be powerful and immediate!
You can also take rapé yourself, using a special pipe called a kuripe. You will lose out on the experience and knowledge of the shaman, who can impart energetic healing and guidance too.
Depending on the cultural group, rapé is used in different ways. It is often used recreationally as a stimulant, but is also used to enhance the power of other plant medicines, or on its own for its transformative power. It has a number of purported medicinal properties – its capacity to provoke purging means it has a reputation as a cleanser of toxins from the body, and a booster of natural immunity.