The Nahua

There are currently under 300 Nahua (a Panoan speaking people), almost all living in the community of Santa Rosa de Serjali, at the confluence of the rivers Mishagua and Serjali, within the Nahua Kugapakori Reserve. The Nahua settled in Serjali in 1990, six years after their first sustained contact with national society in 1984, an event initiated by illegal loggers and resulting in epidemics of flu and diarrhoeal infections that killed over 40% of the Nahua population.

The Nahua currently have a stable relationship with national society and the local market economy. They travel frequently down to Sepahua (the nearest market town), and there is a State primary school in Serjali and a health post administered by the Dominican Mission.

In 2001-2002 there were huge invasions of illegal loggers into Nahua territory facilitated by corruption in the local forestry department. Although there is still pressure from external loggers the Nahua are controlling the entrances to their territory and do not let any pass. They want to manage their territory and natural resources themselves in a sustainable manner.

Photo: A group of Nahua fishing in the upper river Mishagua, Shinai