RainbowBridge works with indigenous artisans who are often in dire need of a platform to sell their art. Right now supporting these communities is crucial so that they can protect themselves, their families and elders from COVID-19 as these communities rely on tourism and are not supported by their governments or most NGOs. Many of our artisans live in indigenous villages, often isolated from major towns and selling their art is often their only source of income. Some of our artisans are also spiritual leaders or healers in their communities. By supporting them through the selling of their art, we also support the work they do in their communities. Learn more about who we work with below.
Waxy Yawanawa along with her sisters were the first Yawanawa women in history to undergo the Yawanawa’s rigorous shamanic initiation. Before Waxy and her sisters women in the Yawanawa community were primarily seen as mothers, sisters, wives, homemakers, and caregivers. Thanks to Waxy, her sisters, and their spiritual training which lasted many years women in the Yawanawa culture have been elevated to a level of equality that is often not seen in other Amazonian cultures. Today Waxy is one of the few Yawanawa women to be a community chief (Cacique), and is actively working to raise funds to further develop her healing center Mawa Yuxn. Mawa Yuxn represents one of Waxy’s dreams to create Yawanawa cultural, spiritual, and healing center so that she may receive visitors from the outside world to receive spiritual healing, and to experience the Yawanawa culture.
Huni Kuin, Brazil
Txana Nawâ and his family Txana Huya Huni Kuin live in the aldea caucho in Acre, Brazil where rapé is traditionally made. These ancestral medicines are used for the protection of the physical and energetic body. Through artisanal production and sharing of these traditional medicines, wisdom and knowledge revive and strengthen the culture of the Huni Kuin people.
Hermenegildo Nazario Yuitia, Wixrarika medicine man and traditional musician, singer, and apprentice of elders and mother nature comes from the community of Santa Catarina Jalisco town Pueblo Nuevo Jalisco. Buying his craftwork helps support the primary and secondary education of their community, with materials and resources to support the expenses of the schools, also helping single mothers and the elderly. It also supports the Jicareros (prayer people, medicine men, and guardians of the peyote).
Roberto Kuntanawa has been working with plant medicines since he was a child and for the past decade has been a student of the world-renowned Ashaninka curandero (healer). Roberto is a skilled artisan and curandero has undergone some of the most rigorous Amazonian initiations to be a healer. He is an expert at making rapé, kuripes, and kashimbos (shamanic pipes). We are proud to support Roberto and the Kuntanawa community.
Guardians of the forest
Many of our beautiful artisanals is a collection from The Guardians of the Forest Association of the Alto Yurua River, in Acre Brasil. These young warriors are from the Ashaninka, Kuntanawa and Yawanawá tribes who come together to study for the protection of the Amazon. Through the support of these art pieces, you are supporting these young warriors to partake in the learning of traditional and new art practices. Proceeds from these items get sent back to the Young Guardians to plant more trees in the Amazon.
In a collaboration with our Peruvian alliances, we are proud to be supporting the women in villages near Puculpa by purchasing their embroidery work. Teresa Silvano and her daughters Emily and Luz provide most of the embroidered textile work. Revenue from these pieces go into projects that build houses, wells, provide tuition and technology and garden projects in the communities.
Izaias & Izabel work together as activists and promoters of Mayan ceremonies, dedicated to rescue, conserve and preserve the Mayan sacred sites so that they are not privatized. We support LavaLove Cacao's mission of rescueing the wisdom of the Mayan ancient practice. LavaLove Cacao is harvested on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Their blend is the result of a selection from various local farmers who preserve their Criollo cacao trees.
We support the handcrafts of the Arhuaco Women’s Collective and community of Inkarua or “Los Besotes”, near the city of Valledupar. This land and its sacred sites in Los Besotes is a place of resistance. It was recovered by the Arhuaco people by buying it back from ranchers whose activities had severely degraded the soil. When the government wanted to make a dam and flood that whole territory, a few families decided to go live there to protect their land and its sites from the powerful interests that are unable to understand the catastrophic consequences to the whole Sierra Nevada that the Mamos foresee. The project had to be stopped not without constant retaliation and harassment by the authorities. Today, by doing their traditional spiritual work, nature has recovered in extraordinary ways, but the proximity to the city and the poor farming soil makes life very difficult for these brave people and their many children that heroically protect this emblematic place of resistance.
Huni Kuin, Brazil
Yube (aka José de Lima Kaxinawa) is the Vice President of FEPHAC; the Federation of the Huni Kuin People of the State of Acre, Brazil. Yube ‘Zezinho’ comes from a long lineage of Huni Kuin traditions, which include detailed artisanal beading and textiles, plant medicines, songs, ceremonial dances, and the preservation of their living language. He works to unite their numerous villages to make positive changes in Acre and the region at large. As a cultural ambassador for his and other Amazonian tribes, he has traveled the world to forge alliances for his people. Yube truly embodies the spirit of "Sao Alegria" only joy and brings this energy with him everywhere he goes in true Huni Kuin fashion.
Kene Rao Foundation, Peru
Kene Rao Foundation is an indigenous non-profit foundation made up of professionals from the Shipibo – Konibo people of the city of Pucallpa, district of Yarinacocha, department of the Ucayali Region.