Friday, February 3, 2012

Isolated Peru tribe makes uncomfortable contact

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian authorities say they are struggling to keep outsiders away from a clan of previously isolated Amazon Indians who began appearing on the banks of a jungle river popular with environmental tourists last year.
The recent images of native isolated Amazon Indians on the river bank in Madre de Dios captured on camera by an advocacy group “Survival International” is claimed to be the most detailed sight to ever be recorded on a camera. These pictures were released exactly a year following the release of aerial pictures of another tribe taken from Brazil. The native group classified as “uncontacted” is one of such 100 groups existing around the world.
On the other hand, a tribe of other of native Indians named “Mashco-Piro believed to have about 100 clan members living in Manu National Park that borders Diamante had plaid a crucial role for scientists and other stakeholders involved in studying the “uncontacted”. One individual named Flores provided link with the “uncontacted” as he could speak two related dialects and had consistently provided cooking tools to the “uncontacted”. Evidence of close contacts between Flores and clan members of the “uncontacted” were presented by Cortijo, a member of the spanish Geographical Society.
The recent behavior of the Mashco-Piro tribe to attack people near the riverbank in Madre de Dios state where the “uncontacted” were first seen last may has puzzled scientists. A forest ranger was badly wounded in October and a local Matsiguenka Indian named Nicolas “Shaco” Flores was fatally attacked the following month.
The British advocacy group said, a picture of the Mashco-Piro photo was taken by a bird watcher in August, and the other two were shot by a Spanish Archeologist Diego Cortijo on November 16, just six days before Flores was killed.
It is yet unclear why the Mashco-Piro clan left their relatively safe jungle home, but Beatriz Huerta, an anthropologist and Huerta speculates that, an increasing isolation of their habitat by logging activities and oil and natural gas explorations involving aircrafts flying low in the area could attribute to this fact.
The recent count of the appearance of the clan at the riverbank is estimated to be 60, including some 25 adults, said Carlos Soria, a professor at Lima's Catholic University who ran Peru's park protection agency last year. Apart from wanting to draw a bit of attention, which is a bit strange as in previous appearances they attacked people, no one can explain what their appearance meant said Cortijo  by phone from Spain. "It seemed they didn't want us to go near them, but I also know that the only thing that they wanted was machetes and cooking pots."
The group lingered by the river a few minutes, apparently to see if a boat would pass by so they could ask for some tools, something authorities say they had done in the past.
"The place where they are seen is one of heavy transit" of river cargo and tourist passage, and so the potential for more violent encounters remains high, Soria said. He added “compounded by culture clash, The Mashco-Piro live by their own social code, which includes the practice of kidnapping other tribes' women and children”. Furthermore, Soria said, the Mashco-Piro are one of about 15 "uncontacted" tribes in Peru that together are estimated to average between 12,000 and 15,000 people living in jungles east of the Andes.
The Government anthropologist, Huerta, said "the situation is incredibly delicate," and "it's very clear that they don't want people in the area that they consider their territory". Huerta proclaims that one of the clan's likely fears is being decimated by disease borne by outsiders, as has occurred with other uncontacted peoples.
After the first sightings, and after tourists left clothing for the Mashco-Piro, state authorities issued a directive in August dismissing all boats from going ashore in the area. But lack of sufficiently trained and willing local officials hinders the enforcement of the directive.
Authorities aren't sure why Flores was killed. It could be that the Mashco-Pirowere angry because he hadn't provided them with more cooking tools. Or perhaps they were defending against the encroachment of their territory.
We have lost a crucial link to the clan and reaching any understanding with the clan will be very complicated said Cortijo.
By Frank Bajak

1 comment:

Jana ★ said...

I saw that in an internet newspaper, is really sad, that we don´t let them to be alone.
They have a great live.