SÃO GABRIEL DA CACHOEIRA, Brazil — Using the selfie camera on her phone as a mirror, Penha Góes Figueiredo Yanomami applies red paint on her face. It’s a tradition inherited from her people, the Indigenous Yanomami of the Amazon; the paint is called urucum in the Tupi language, and comes from the seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana). It’s usually used on festive days in her village, but this time, Penha Yanomami, 44, is painting her face while sitting in a hammock at the Yanomami support house in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, a municipality in the northwest of Brazil’s Amazonas state. Lying on the banks of the Rio Negro, this town of 46,000 inhabitants is known as Brazil’s most Indigenous municipality. Life in an urban setting hasn’t distanced Penha Yanomami from her people’s traditions, and the urucum on her skin reaffirms the ancestral habits. Born in the village of Maturacá, in the Yanomami Indigenous Reserve about 140 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Penha Yanomami works today as a health agent for the Indigenous health board that covers the Upper Rio Negro region. She has lived in São Gabriel da Cachoeira for a year and a half now, since it’s the closest urban center to the community she serves, and in her spare time she visits the support house reserved for the Yanomami. Penha Góes Figueiredo Yanomami applies red paint, called urucum, on her face. Life in an urban setting hasn’t distanced Penha from her people’s…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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