2014 – Fishing Net: Providing our Food, Sustaining our Culture



The giving and sharing season is around the corner and many of you already started thinking of gifts to make for your loved ones.  And, because we are in the US, many of you – of us – are thinking of making gifts to charity. I was asked to help obtain a ritual fishing net by the Kamayura village I have been extensively visiting since 2012, so I am inviting you to consider this year the Kamayura initiative “Fishing Net: Providing Our Food, Sustaining Our Culture”.

netI am encouraging you to think about making a small donation to this community initiative, especially if you are regularly donating to charity. What is the difference? Your money goes directly to the Kamayura community which I personally know; the project has been created by the community and born out of the community’s need; your money will have direct impact on the Kamayura community – and I believe this is what we want when we make a charitable donation. Of course, your donation is tax deductible and you will receive a receipt for your records.

Important facts:

  1. The money goes directly to the community and has a direct impact
  2. The fishing net has TRIPLE ACTION: not only it provides food for the village, but at the same time maintains all the customs, chants and dances performed during the week-long ritual fishing AND by being lent to neighbouring tribes, it strengthen local alliances among these tribes

Details about the initiative:

The Kamayura do not have a ritual fishing net. The ritual fishing net is a large, 150 m (500 feet) long by 3 meter (10 feet) tall seine net with floats on top and lead weights on the bottom. Ritual fishing is doen yearly, before the Kwaryp and Yamurikuma festivities, and it ensures the food of the village and its hundreds of guests for the duration of the celebrations. The net is pulled by men (for Kwaryp) or women (for Yamurikuma) through a special lake, where fishing is undertaken only for ritual purposes and only every few years.  In the past, this net was being weaved by the villagers, however, because of complex acculturation processes triggered by the more often contact with the outside world, this knowledge has been lost.  The use of this net is strongly connected to spiritual practices, dances and chants, so it is more than a mere fishing net. It is a cultural element that ensures not only the community’s livelihood, but also the continuation of several rites.

UPDATE REPORT: the fishing net arrived in the village. It was used in 2015 for the kuarup festivities that took place in July.