I Attended an Amazon Tribe's Death Rite. Here's What I Saw

An unforgettable journey into the depths of the forest and an encounter with the tribes of the Xingu River

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The Yawalapiti tribe's death ritual.
Credit: Ayelet Vardi
Ayelet Vardi

My journey to the indigenous tribes of the Xingu Indigenous Reserve in Brazil began with a flight from São Paulo to Brasilia. There, shortly after landing, in late September, I found myself walking among thousands of indigenous women who had marched for many days to reach the capital. They were here to protest the attempts by the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, to expropriate large swaths of their land for agriculture and mining. “Bolsonaro out!” they shouted, as they strode through the city in traditional garb.