Who are the Apurina?
The Apurina people live along the river Purus and its tributaries in the Brazilian Amazon. They belong to the linguistic group Aruak and call themselves in their own language “Popingaré” or “Kangitê”. Currently they are spread over 23 indigenous territories in the Brazilian state of Amazonas with a population of 2416 (FUNAI 1987).
One of these communities is known as “Apurina of the 45”. They are located at the 45km point on the BR-317 highway between Boca do Acre in the state of Amazonas and Rio Branco in the state of Acre.

Rural exodus
Depending on market economy, some of the Apurina migrate to the suburbs of Boca do Acre and Rio Branco in search of new opportunities, leaving behind their indigenous identity. This rural exodus threatens legal maintenance and environmental protection of their demarcated indigenous lands.

New ways
In light of this situation, the ”Apurina of the 45” were looking for new ways to improve living conditions for their families and that of future generations. Since 1994 they are being supported by the Non Governmental Organization PESACRE seated in Rio Branco, Acre. The support includes joint activities, aiming at improvement of that community’s quality of life in a participative process. The basic principles of this process are the equilibrium of environmental, economic and socio-cultural factors and mainly the community’s self-government and prevention of the rural exodus.
One outstanding activity is the development and implementation of a management plan for the plant species which provide the main raw material (Tucuma) for the production of handicraft. Activities for the management of production and commercialization are still being developed. Currently the Association of the Apurina Craftsmen - ASAMIA is being founded.
The production of jewelry from rainforest seeds on a commercial basis was started in 1999.
Besides the assistance of PESACRE, the community receives support from the Brazilian National Fund for Environment - FNMA/MMA.A partnership with Amazonlink.org was established aiming at the dissemination of the communities’ products.
A first successful deal was closed with Greenpeace Austria, who rewards their members with an apurina bracelet for a minimum donation.