Image by Raul Antonio Alvarez Image by Raul Antonio Alvarez

The Chaguar (Bromelia Hieronymi) is a plant traditionally used for food and fibre by the Wichi people – hunter-gatherer natives of the Argentine Chaco region in the Amazonian subtropical forest. The majority of Wichí families live from the income derived from the sale of the unique crafts that they produce. The production of Chaguar textiles is an activity traditionally performed by the women of the community who travel many kilometres into the forest in small groups to harvest the Chaguar; they separate its fibres, spin it, dye it and knit it.

Each woman gathers only material she herself needs before returning to spin and knit with the help of other female family members of the community, sometimes in the company of neighbours and friends. Today, sustainability of the Chaguar is not threatened by the Wichí, but as a direct result of deforestation and cattle herding. Support of the Wichi is cited as key to restoring ecological balance in the Amazonian Chaco forest.

Wichi Weaver