'My dad is equivalent to Obama': Amazonian tribesman moves from village of 600 people to the concrete jungle of New York

Nilson Tuwe Huni Kui lives a long way from New York City. In fact, the 29-year-old lives a long way from anywhere.

His village in the Amazon rainforest has a population of only 600 people and it takes five days of travelling by boat to reach the nearest town.

Yet the son of the traditional chief of the Huni Kiu Kaxinawa tribes in Brazil has swapped the rainforest for the concrete jungle, and now calls the Big Apple home.

"My father is what Obama is for you," he explains.

As a youth leader, Tuwe carries the responsibility of making his people's culture and problems known to the world.

After being sent to a summit in Rio de Janeiro last summer he was given an opportunity to study in New York thanks to Tribal Link's Indigenous Fellowship Program and the Nataasha van Kampen Foundation. The Post Factory in Manhattan has been helping him learn to edit so he can pursue his dream of becoming a documentary film-maker.

The BBC spoke to Tuwe about getting used to the city's subway and fast food as well as the challenges indigenous communities face from loggers and drug cartels.

Produced for the BBC by Anna Bressanin; images by Ilya Shnitser.

Video from the Amazon by Nilson Tuwe Huni Kui.

Responses to "Culture shock for Amazon chief's son who left rainforest for New York (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Best of luck to you my friend. You will get through.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting piece. It is great that he has not compromised his culture by forgetting about how his people dress culturally. It is the right of all people to practice their culture and spirituality without comprise to either as that is what makes a person an individual. It is good to learn of others cultures as it brings down barriers and eliminates initial fears. We are all made in the image of the same Creator. Would be nice if we all acted like it, and respected each other as such. Just because people have a different appearance does not mean that they are to be treated anything but equally.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A worthwhile mission you are on - good luck to you. I hope that your people will survive these troubled times, till the "civilized" culture crumbles under its own weight. You have friends in the northern forests.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Amazing, keep up the wonderful work you have started.

  5. Robert Pendergrast says:

    Amazingly, there are people here in the US who are on the same path. A powerful network to support the indigenous people of the Amazon is already in place. Perhaps you know. Please contact Pachamama Alliance and Amazon Watch.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You my brother are what I would wish all the people of the world could be...interested in each other, respectful and helpful to each other. Let Us Celebrate Diversity with our Amazon brother. I am so proud of this very brave young man!

  7. wolfgar says:

    May our great Father follow your progress and give you strength and wisdom. Keep us informed on your journey, my Brother.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a great young man. It is an amazing thing you want to do for your people. Good luck.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nice, so many have gone before you to Washington or NY. Learn from them, do not trust politicians. They always break treaties. Learn about what those white fathers did with their own Indians (there is still one in jail...Leonard Peltier...There was Paulinho Paiakan, Raoni Metuktire and Megaron from the Kayapo. They even have their hands in pies in your country...which results in destruction of your world.

  10. Anonymous says:

    best wishes from new mexico

  11. karen says:

    You must be a genius to learn the technology so fast!

Write a comment