Pink River Dolphins
Camilla French
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YAKURUNA is a short documentary film set in the Colombian Amazon in collaboration with Tikuna Elders, Alba Lucia, Don Ruperto, Obsimar Lopez and Don Mauricio.

The Yakuruna, a Quechuan word meaning ‘river man’ (yaku – river; runa – man), and called yewa-e in Tikuna, has a mythological reputation across Amazonia. In Tikuna cosmology, bufeos (pink river dolphins) are regarded as evil spirits, guardians of the sub-aquatic domain and mischievous seducers.

The most common Yakuruna myth tells of a dolphin that transforms into a handsome white man. He has a stingray for a hat, a crab for a watch, a snake for a belt and cucha fish for shoes. After dancing and drinking all night at the pelazon, a young girl’s puberty ritual, he will seduce an unsuspecting victim, stealing her away to an enchanted world beneath the river.