Kuntanawa Rapé – Yunu
Yunu is prepared with ashes from wood and bark from the Sapota tree and leafs of a tree called Yunu in their indigenous language. In Portuguese it is locally known as Lourinho. The Sapota tree makes a great ash that is very gentle on the nose. Yunu or Lorinho has a very pleasant, refreshing minty scent which definitely lifts the spirits, supports spiritual cleansing and drives away negative energies. In the Kuntanawa tradition it is used to heal depression.
More About Rapé
Rapé is a shamanic snuff, usually made with tobacco and found throughout the Amazon. Traditional Amazonian medicine and shamanism uses it as a medicinal herb, and as a tool for shamanic journeying.
Indigenous snuff usually contains tobacco and special ashes. It can contain a number of different herbs and plants. These are for flavor and sometimes for their alleged medicina properties. 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. He blows small quantities of rapé 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.
Distinct cultural group use Raoé in different ways. They consecrate it on its own for its transformative power or to enhance the power of other plant medicines. Sometimes they use it recreationally as a stimulant to give nergy for physical labor. 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.
Use with respect and care; it is a tobacco product and can be habit forming!
About the Kuntanawa
The Kuntanawa were almost wiped out during the armed persecution of the indigenous peoples. This persecution accompanied the opening and installation of rubber plantations throughout Acre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The last known descendants of this group are the members of an extended family. They are until recently known in the upper Juruá as “the caboclos of Milton,” in reference to the name of its patriarch (Milton Gomes de Conceição).
The restoration of the indigenous origin of the Kuntanawa, who have a deep sense of their identity, has several factors. On was the recent struggle for the creation and maintenance of the Alto Juruá Extractive Reserve and the development of relationships with neighboring indigenous peoples. Also the resumption of rituals with ayahuasca and rapé and the acknowledgement of ethnic and political discrimination.
The group pronounces and engraves its name “Kuntanawa,” meaning “coconut people” or “people of the coconut.” However the press and government refer to them as “Kontanawa,” and in bibliographical references, the names “Kontanawa” or “Contanaua” are the most cited. Although the Kuntanawa mainly speak Portuguese, in the Pano language of Hantxa Kuin (spoken by the Kaxinawá), the word for coconut is “kunta”. That is why they prefer “Kuntanawa”.
The Kuntanawa live on the banks of the upper Tagus River, inside the Extractive Reserve of Alto Juruá, located in the extreme west of the state of Acre, in the municipality of Marechal Thaumaturgo. They are progressively restoring themselves in villages. The main one is as Sete Estrelas. This group has pleaded for its ethnic recognition and the identification and delimitation of its Indigenous Land, which overlaps with a portion of the above mentioned Extractive Reserve. In the year 2008, The Kuntanawa count around 400 members.
The Kuntanawa, Ayahuasca, and Rapé
The patriarch of the Kuntanawa family, Milton Gomes de Conceição, first met the ancestral drink ayahuasca in the late 1990s. Hearing stories about their culture from his grandmother Dona Regina.
Through ayahuasca, the Kuntanawa have received positive reinforcement of their ethnicity and self-identification. Their relationship to indigenous ancestry has become more present giving value to their past. The Kuntanawa now train their own shamans to prepare ayahuasca and perform rituals, after learning techniques from the Kaxinawá.
Today, having ayahuasca as their guide and teacher, the Kuntanawa explore unfathomable dimensions. They bring back to their people body paintings, songs, and magical and ethnobotanical knowledge. It is under the command of ayahuasca, and with the support of Ashaninka shamans, that Kuntanawa shamanism emerges. These rituals have also profoundly influenced the development of the unique rapé blends of the Kuntanawa. Ayahuasca always guiding their components and production. Ayahuasca can not be dismissed as a powerful mechanism of subjectification throughout the ethnic Kuntanawa emergence. Like this also in the development of these powerful rapé blends.