Kuntanawa Rapé | Heart Opener | #42
A close friend of ours visits remote tribes and buys the Heart Opener rapé directly from the Kuntanawa people. By doing so we can guarantee genuine quality to you and a fair trade deal that benefits the community.
The Kuntanawa People
The Kuntanawa were allegedly exterminated during the armed persecution of indigenous peoples. It happened during the so-called rushes which accompanied the opening and setting up of rubber plantations throughout the Brazilian state of Acre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By 2008 the population was estimated at 400 individuals. The last known descendants of this group are members of an extended family known until recently in upper Juruá as “the Cables of Milton”. The name referring to their patriarch (Milton Gomes da Conceição). Initially, their tribe’s name was spelled Kontanawa, meaning “coconut people”. However, more recently the group began to pronounce and spell their name as Kuntanawa. Their language belongs to the Pano linguistic family. In recent times the Kuntanawa have had a revival of their cultural traditions.
What is Rapé?
Rapé, pronounced ‘ha-pey’ in Portuguese, is a traditional snuff used by various indigenous tribes of South America. Predominantly tribal people from Brazil and Peru. Rapé blends contain a ground mixture of plants, tree bark, seeds, and ash. The fine powder is blown into each nostril through a bone or bamboo pipe called a ‘Tepi’ or ‘Kuripe’. The Tepi applicator is a long blow pipe that connects the nostril of the receiver to the mouth of the person that administers the snuff. The Kuripe is for self-application. The V-shaped applicator connects the nostril to the mouth allowing the snuff to be self-blown into the nose.
Each tribe has its own rapé formula and usually, it is women who gather the ingredients. The selection, mixture, and grinding process are regarded as a ritual only to be performed by a reputable healer. The snuff is typically made in small batches according to the specific needs of the person being treated or the ceremony’s occasion.
The use of Rapé aims to restore our connection to nature and a sense of grounding. It clears mental fog and confusion eliminating negative thought patterns. These powerful snuffs bring about physical and spiritual wellness.