The last four survivors of a decimated people

The Juma Indigenous Land has 38,351 hectares and was demarcated and homologated in 2004. The tribe is located on the banks of the Assuã River, more than 1,100 kilometers from Manaus, capital of Amazonas.

In the 18th century the Juma group had about 15 thousand indigenous people.

Today there are only four left.

Historically the people were decimated by gold miners, rubber tappers and by all the diseases that arose after the contact with the white man. In 1998, with a very small number, the Juma were taken from their original area to the Alto Jamari tribe of the Uru-eu-wau-wau people. Because they were a completely different ethnic group, although they spoke the same language, they suffered from cultural shock and felt marginalized, apart from their homesickness. The return to Juma territory only happened in 2013.

The Juma people fish, hunt and plant in their territory. The river is a fundamental part of the daily life of the community. It is where the natives bathe, wash their clothes, draw water to the tribe and are also the main route of locomotion.

In the Juma tribe, children also fish and women also hunt. Because it is a small community, everyone helps in the daily chores.

Despite their numbers, the Juma people keep their culture alive. One of the rituals still practiced is the Feast of the Young Girl, an event that marks the beginning of adult life for the woman.

At the Feast of the Young Girl, she spends weeks lying in a hammock, having only contact with her parents. After this time of preparation, the family meets at dawn and chants are sung, which deal with the suffering that will be the adult life for the young woman. The girl is taken from the hammock, painted and adorned with bracelets and necklaces. Then she’s taken to the river to be bathed and soon begins to work piling the chestnut. On this day the girl is responsible for preparing the food for the whole tribe.

Feast of the Young Girl

Although they resist, the situation of the Juma people is complicated. In addition to the invasion of hunters, they suffer from the poor assistance of public agencies.

Aruká is 82 years old. He and his three daughters are the last of the ethnicity. As there are no more indigenous people of the same people for new marriages, this is the final family of the Juma.

Aruká Juma
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