Iawá comes from Kuruaya, an Indigenous group from the Amazon rainforest. She says her people were forced to move continuously because of the encroachment of non-Indigenous profiteers. Iawá worked for non-Indigenous people, moving from place to place to harvest rubber, nuts, and more from her native forest.
The constant movement led to a scarcity of people speaking Kuruaya. Iawá is now the last person on the planet known to speak it.
According to researcher Philip Fearnside, forest loss caused by large dam development projects and the lack of laws and regulations protecting Indigenous peoples makes them more vulnerable than other populations.
To learn more, visit our friends at Mongabay.com.