Native Village News Articles
Grandmothers Clara Shinobu Iura and Maria Alice Campos Freire


Huge Chunk of Amazon Forest Cut Down in 2003
Ranchers, soybean farmers and loggers destroyed a chunk of Brazil's Amazon rainforest about the size of Massachusetts last year. Satellite photos and data showed that 9,169 square miles of rainforest was cut down in the 12 months ending in August, 2003. During 2002, Brazil estimated 8,980 square miles of rainforest had been destroyed. Robert Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth, is more concerned that the average annual destruction of the rainforest had doubled since the 1990s.  "Never in history has the tropical rainforest disappeared at such a rapid rate," he said.
http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20040407184209990002&_mpc=news%2e10%2e10

Amazon Holds Key to Future of Earth's Climate
Brazil:  1,700 researchers from 200 universities and institutions have been working for six years on the "LBA:"  Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia. The study tackles the assault on the unknowns of what some call the planet's "lung," the Amazon's rainforest.  Amazonia is more than 11 times the size of Texas and home to one-third of the world's species, and the scientists are studying its critical relationship between the atmosphere and the region.  The respiratory process is well known: Trees absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves, use it to build themselves, and emit oxygen into the air. That keeps an atmospheric balance. However, man has thrown the balance off through deforestation and burning fossil fuels. This produces excess carbon dioxide and traps the heat that otherwise would escape into space.  "We already know enough to make policy decisions. The important thing is to stop deforestation," said ecologist Philip M. Fearnside. In 2003-2004, over 9,000 square miles were destroyed-- an area about the size of New Hampshire.  The forest is being destroyed by cattle ranchers, peasants who slash and burn to create cropland,  illegal lumbering, and large businesses planting soybeans.
http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050212135409990004

A Rain Forest Debate: Could It Have Been Home To Complex Societies?
South America: Most archeologists have viewed the Amazon rain forest as an inhospitable environment where early complex societies could not live.  But new research suggests that prehistoric people thrived in large numbers by overcoming the jungle's natural limitations.  The secret, say the theory's supporters, is in the ground beneath their feet.  The highly fertile soil called terra preta do indio, [Portuguese for Indian black earth], was either intentionally created by pre-Columbian people or is the byproduct of their presence. If today's scientists can discover how the Amerindians transformed the soil, today's farmers could use that technology to improve land productivity instead of cutting down larger swaths of jungle.  The benefits of terra preta is already known to farmers who plant their crops wherever they find it.  "It's made by pre-Columbian Indians and it's still fertile,’" said Bruno Glaser, a soil chemist from Germany. "If we knew how to do this, it would be a model for agriculture in the whole region." This specially modified soil is scattered across millions of acres in the Amazon rain forest. In some places, it makes up 10% of the ground area.
H-Amindian Listserv

Television crew 'spread deadly flu to Amazon tribe
Amazon Rainforest, Peru: A British television crew has been blamed for infecting an ancient Amazonian tribe with a lethal flu epidemic. Four Matsigenka tribal members, including three children, have died since two Westerners arrived to film The World's Lost Tribes late last year.  Peru had permitted the filmmakers to visit the community of Yomybato; however, witnesses say the crew traveled further up river to find more isolated people. Many of these tribes, including the Matsigenka, have not been exposed to the flu and other common illnesses, so their immune systems have no protection.  Lost Tribes producers deny their employees are to blame. "The researcher and his guide did not visit the area where the deaths are said to have occurred and no deaths occurred amongst the individuals they met," Cicada Productions said in a statement. "They at all times followed correct procedures..."  The documented history of the Matsigenka tribe goes back 500 years when they traded with the
Incas.

Photo: http://etnologia.pl/news2/data/upimages/matsigenka1.JPG
NativeNewsDigest

Hit by disease, deforestation and war, Colombia's last nomadic tribe faces extinction
For thousands of years, the Nukak-Maku Indians roamed the jungles in southeast Colombia, hunting game with blow guns and gathering berries. Then, in 1988, their world changed when a few Nukak men ventured into a town carved out of the jungle. That first encounter was peaceful, with the Nukak men so trusting that they brought out their women and children  waiting in the bush. But the aftershocks of that meeting are now devastating the Nukak. Diseases, modern conveniences, and Colombia's civil war are driving the tribe to extinction--the same path more than 100 other Amazonian tribes have walked.  In 1988, at least 1,200 Nukak roamed the jungles. Just 15 years later, their number have plunged to about 380. There are no elders--they have all died. Anthropologists believe there are only a few dozen Nukak still living deep in the jungle, relatively untouched by civilization.   The United Nations estimates more than 300 indigenous tribes live in the Amazon basin, but only about 60 remain in isolation in Brazil and Peru.
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/detail.asp?onNews=1&GRP=A&id=21099

Activist is Brazil's first Indian woman lawyer
Brazil: Officially, she is known as Joênia Batista de Carvalho. But that is not the real name of the first Indian woman to become a lawyer in Brazil--just the name a clerk selected when her parents left their Amazon village to have her birth registered. Whether her preoccupation with issues of cultural identity and autonomy stems from that incident, Ms. Batista is not sure. Still, when she went to the U.S.  this year to receive a Reebok Prize for human rights work, she accepted the award as Joênia Wapixana, using the name of her tribe.  "Everything I do is aimed at focusing attention on our community, so that others, outside, can see who we really are," explained Ms. Batista. "Why have we as a people been able to continue to exist? Because we know where we come from. By having roots, you can see the direction in which you want to go."

www.indianz.com/

Report: Brazil Not Respecting Indian Rights
Brazil: Brazil's indigenous population continues to face threats of violent attacks and discrimination.  Amnesty International says that "while there have been some advances in respect for [Indian groups] rights over the years," Brazil's native population is treated unfairly by the government, land-owners, and agro-business interests in the Amazon.  "The continuous failure of Brazilian governments to act effectively to protect indigenous communities has exposed them to human rights violations and has laid the foundations for the violence of the present," said Amnesty International. Among violent acts include the January beating to death of 72-year-old Marcos Veron, a Guarani-Kaiowa leader, during a reported attempt to remove him from ancestral land.

UPi

Innovators of Our Time
Every genius, said Danish writer Isak Dinesen, is doomed. She meant that geniuses, or those touched with a spark of it, had very little choice in life. Each one, she said, was powerless "in the face of his own powers," compelled to follow a certain path and to do a particular thing with instinctive flair and originality. The Smithsonian Magazine recently chose 35 innovators who make a difference, a contribution, and inspire.  Included on that list are:
  Mark Plotkin
:  From his very first visits to the Amazon's indigenous villages, Mark Plotkin understood that shamans—tribal elders who use plants for healing—were actually the rain forest's most endangered species. While the tropical forests and medicinal plants were being destroyed by miners, ranchers, and farmers, shamanic wisdom was lost as younger, more Westerinzed, tribal members lost interest in their own traditions.  In 1993, Plotkin published Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, a story of his experiences and a call to preserve nature's pharmacy and undiscovered promise for curing disease. Now in its 25th printing, Tales has been translated into five languages and has been adapted into a video, audiotape, children's book and IMAX film. In 1995 Plotkin and his wife, Liliana Madrigal, founded the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) to help the tribes. "Our approach is bottom up," he says. "Tribes come to us. They want to protect their forest, culture, system of healing. They want clean water, job opportunities, ethno-education."
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian/issues05/nov05/35_plotkin.html

 
Project Seeks to Preserve Dying Languages
WASHINGTON -- Every two weeks or so the last elderly man or woman fluent in a particular language dies. At that rate, as many as 2,500 native tongues will disappear forever by 2100. Linguists say languages aren't just words, but a people's way of looking at the world.  Some experts say there are up to 10,000 different languages left in the world. Others say that if we don't count each dialect, that estimate is thousands less.  David W. Lightfoot is leading a preservation effort to save some of these dying languages. "If we are going to lose half the world's languages, that endangers our capacity to understand the genetic basis of language," said Lightfoot, who is from the National Science Foundation. The NSF recently joined the National Endowment for the Humanities in awarding $4,400,000 to 26 institutions and 13 individual scholars to investigate 70 endangered languages and help preserve them. The project is now asking researchers to apply for additional grants, with the expectation that at least $2,000,000 a year will be available. Some insights:
Spoken by people in the Australian state of Queensland, the Guguyimadjir language has not words for "left" or "right."   Instead, the people orient themselves and their world by the points of the compass -- unlike most of us, who see things in relation to ourselves rather than to the world as a whole.

Piratapuy-speaking people in Brazil's Amazon rain forest say "The cake ate John" instead of "John ate the cake."  In other words, they put the object of a verb first and the subject last.

National Endowment for the Humanities: http://www.neh.gov/news/archive/20050505.html
National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov

The Associated Press

HCJB World Radio To Air Daily Broadcasts In Cofan Language
Ecuador: About 1,000  members of the indigenous Cofan tribe are scattered throughout the Amazon rainforest in northeast Ecuador and southeast Colombia. To better serve them, HCJB radio is recording and broadcasting radio programmes in the unique Cofan language.  Last year, 36 songs were recorded in the Cofan language, with more than 103 programmes produced at a radio studio. The first known Cofan Language transmission from HCJB World Radio was aired on December 17, 2004.  Cofan programmes will begin airing daily Monday through Friday as soon as fix-tuned radios are distributed to the people.

Financial Times Information

Dire warming report too soft, scientists say
A new global warming issued by the United Nations warns of near apocalyptic changes in earth future. The report is also, in a sense, a  pointed indictment of the world's biggest polluters — the industrialized nations.  However, many scientists are complaining that the findings were watered down by governments hoping to deflect calls for actions. "The science got hijacked by the political bureaucrats at the late stage of the game," said John Walsh, a climate expert at the University of Alaska.  The new report reaffirms previous findings and predicts even more devastating world effects striking all levels of society. 
Among the findings:

  Global warming is caused by humans;

  The world's biggest polluters are industrialized nations.

  Spring is arriving earlier, with plants blooming weeks ahead of schedule. In the mountains, early and longer runoff is shrinking glaciers in the Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes.

  Habitats for plants and animals, on land and in the oceans, are shifting toward the poles;

  Nineteen of the
20 hottest years on record have occurred since 1980;
  More frequent and more intense heat waves are "very likely" in the future;

  By mid-century, rising temperatures and drying soil will turn tropical forest to savanna in the eastern Amazon;

  In North America, snowpack in the West will decline, causing flooding and reduced summer flows for crops and people;

  California agriculture will be decimated by the loss of water for irrigation;

  Water across the world will arrive in its least welcome forms: storms and floods.

  Rising temperatures will change the world's coastlines as the oceans rise;

  Tiny islands of the South Pacific and the Asian deltas will be overwhelmed by storm surges;

  In the Andes and the Himalayas, melting glaciers will unleash floods and rock avalanches;

  Within a few decades, as the glaciers melt down, streams will dwindle, cutting the water supply to almost
20%  the world's population;
  Between
20% and 30% of the world's species will disappear if temperatures rise 2.7 to 4.5 degrees, the report said.
  Africa will suffer the most, with up to
250,000,000 people running short of water by 2020;
  Yields from rain-fed crops will drop by
50% in many countries;
   Africa will need at least
5% to 10% of its gross domestic product to adapt to rising sea levels.
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-warming7apr07,1,1960670,full.story?coll=la-default-underdog&ctrack=2&cset=true

Epidemic hits nomadic Amazon tribe
Columbia: The nomadic Nukak tribe, who fled their jungle homes because of Colombia's civil war, have been hit by a flu epidemic.  Almost 25% of the tribe have fallen ill.  Experts fear that further epidemics are likely unless the Nukak can be returned to their own territory.  Their Nukak's new camp is just 2% of the size of their own territory.  Health experts warned that settling 200 Nukak there would lead to disease and epidemics because the Nukak are used to living in  small, nomadic groups.   Also, their wild food is in short supply -- there are few fish in the river and  area trees do not provide what's needed to make blowpipes and poison for hunting meat.  The Nukak's own territory contains abundant natural resources. "It is absolutely essential that the Colombian government finds a way to let the Nukak return to their own land," said Stephen Corry, Survival International, "otherwise they will not survive in the long term." Flu and malaria have already killed half the Nukak since they were first contacted in 1988; just 500 Nukak survive.
http://www.survival-international.org/news.php?id=1876

Poisonous Tree Frog Could Bring Wealth to Tribe in Brazilian Amazon
Brazil:  In the Amazon
rainforest, tribal shamans have used poisonous tree frog slime as an ancestral remedy for illness, pain, and even laziness.  Scientists are now seeking $1,000,000 in donations or grants to learn more and to reimburse the tribes for their knowledge.  "Traditional knowledge can help modern medicine and generate significant economic benefits, too," said Bruno Filizola, a Brazilian biologist.  Fernando Katukina is chief of an Amazon tribe without running water, electricity, or links to the world.  He is working with the Brazilian government in accessing the tree frog.  Katukina's help is crucial because Brazil, like other developing nations, is fighting biopiracy. Biopiracy is the theft of biological resources from the country's native habitats for commercial use.
H-Amindian Listserve

Brazil's President Pledges $270 Million for Amazon Indians
Brazil: Brazil will spend $270,000,000 in three years to create new Indian reservations and bring water and electric power to remote Amazon communities.  President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said military engineering units would do the work if private companies wouldn't.  Brazil has 615 recognized Indian reservations that cover 12.5% of the country -- larger than the 48 continental United States. The most recent census says 730,000 Indians live in the country and belong to 220 different ethnic groups that speak 180 languages.
2007 Associated Press

More Isolated Indians Survive in Amazon Rain Forest, but Face Peril
Brazil: More uncontacted Indian groups are surviving in Brazil's Amazon rain forest than previously thought. A study by FUNAI, the government's National Indian Foundation, estimates that 67 Indian groups live in complete isolation, up from previous estimates of 40.  "With the rate of destruction in the Amazon, it is amazing there are any isolated people left at all," said Fiona Watson from Survival International. Brazil probably has the largest number of uncontacted tribes in the world. Most still hunt with blow guns or bows and arrows, and most uncontacted tribes live as their ancestors did before European invasion.   However, these tribes risk being destroyed by encroaching loggers and miners.

Nukak tribe - "We are being wiped out"
Columbia: The nomadic Nukak live in small family groups deep in the rainforests of Colombia and Brazil. They move from camp to camp every few days depending on the  availability of fruits, vegetables, fishing and  hunting. Since their first close contact with non-Indians in 1988, more than 50% of the Nukak have died, mainly from flu and malaria transmitted by outsiders. Now, the 400 remaining tribal members are displaced because of civil war among guerrillas and the Colombian army. "We are few now; hardly any Nukak remain. The outsiders are many, and have big houses. They don't care that the Nukak are being wiped out,' says Nukak man Chorebe Colombia's left-wing guerilla army, FARC is warring the right-wing paramilitary army, AUC, to control the coca crops. In addition, the army is spraying poison on coca plantations owned by colonists on the Nukak's land.  The remaining tribal members run a huge risk of being killed in crossfire if they return to their Amazon
forest home. "If the authorities do not act swiftly to protect the Nukak and their land, Colombia's last nomads face extinction," said Survival International director, Stephen Corry.
Learn more and sign a petition protecting the Nukak: http://www.survival-international.org/news.php?id=1610

Amazon tribes to get free Internet
Brazil: Brazil is a relatively poor country the size of the continental United States.  It struggles to protect its vast Amazon rain forest from illegal miners, loggers and ranchers. Now Brazil is offering free satellite Internet connections to Amazon's tribes.  Land protection is a key aim of that plan.  "It's a way to open communications between indigenous communities, former slave villages, coconut crackers, river fishermen and the rest of society," said Environment Minister Marina Silva. The plan will bring the Internet to 150 small remote communities, such as an Ashaninka village which has already experienced success.  "Internet helped us bring in the police [when we had illegal logging in our area]," said Benhi Piyanko.  "We managed to spread the message widely.  We even reached the president."  While indigenous leaders support the program, many worry that computers could erode native cultures in a country with more than 200 tribes, said Ailton Krenak, an indigenous member of Brazil's national Forest People's Network.  "I don't like computers but I don't like planes either," he said.  "What can you do?"
http://www.theage.com.au/news/web/amazon-tribes-to-get-free-internet/2007/03/30/1174761716468.html

Little known Indian tribe spotted in Brazil
Brazil: The tiny Jururei tribe, numbering only eight or 10, and is the second "uncontacted" group to be threatened this month by loggers in Brazil.  The tribe was spotted by a photographer during a recent helicopter flyover of Pacaas Novos national park to catch land grabbers. One Jururei shot three arrows at the helicopter as it flew overhead. In the most recent scuffles, Jururei Indians set booby traps with spikes, piercing the foot of one logger who was within 5 km of the Indian camps.  "Unless Brazil acts now to protect uncontacted tribes, they will disappear off the face of the earth forever. The annihilation of a tribe, however small, is genocide," said Fiona Watson of Survival International. Rainforest
destruction continues to grow, threatening the few remaining uncontacted tribes.  From 2003-04, 26,130 sq km of the rainforest was destroyed, the most in nearly a decade.  Most blame political leaders, cattle ranchers and soybean farmers for the destruction that threatens Brazil's 700,000 Indians.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/

Brazil authorises Indian reserve
Brazil: President Liz Inca Lull DA Silver has signed a decree creating Rapes Sera Do Solon, an Amazonian Indian reserve in northern Brazil.  The move follows 30 years of campaigns by the Indians which led to bitter conflicts with miners, settlers and farmers. During that time, at least a dozen Indians were killed in conflicts.  Rapes Sera Do Solan --"The land of the fox and mountain of the sun--" is home to 12,000 Indians. Its hills, rivers and forests cover 17,000 sq. km (6,500 square miles).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/4450755.stm

Hit by disease, deforestation and war, Colombia's last nomadic tribe faces extinction
For thousands of years, the Nukak-Maku Indians roamed the jungles in southeast Colombia, hunting game with blow guns and gathering berries. Then, in 1988, their world changed when a few Nukak men ventured into a town carved out of the jungle. That first encounter was peaceful, with the Nukak men so trusting that they brought out their women and children  waiting in the bush. But the aftershocks of that meeting are now devastating the Nukak. Diseases, modern conveniences, and Colombia's civil war are driving the tribe to extinction--the same path more than 100 other Amazonian tribes have walked.  In 1988, at least 1,200 Nukak roamed the jungles. Just 15 years later, their number have plunged to about 380. There are no elders--they have all died. Anthropologists believe there are only a few dozen Nukak still living deep in the jungle, relatively untouched by civilization.   The United Nations estimates more than 300 indigenous tribes live in the Amazon basin, but only about 60 remain in isolation in Brazil and Peru.

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/detail.asp?onNews=1&GRP=A&id=21099

Amazon Holds Key to Future of Earth's Climate
Brazil:  1,700 researchers from 200 universities and institutions have been working for six years on the "LBA:"  Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia. The study tackles the assault on the unknowns of what some call the planet's "lung," the Amazon's rainforest.  Amazonia is more than 11 times the size of Texas and home to one-third of the world's species, and the scientists are studying its critical relationship between the atmosphere and the region.  The respiratory process is well known: Trees absorb carbon dioxide through their leaves, use it to build themselves, and emit oxygen into the air. That keeps an atmospheric balance. However, man has thrown the balance off through deforestation and burning fossil fuels. This produces excess carbon dioxide and traps the heat that otherwise would escape into space.  "We already know enough to make policy decisions. The important thing is to stop deforestation," said ecologist Philip M. Fearnside. In 2003-2004, over 9,000 square miles were destroyed-- an area about the size of New Hampshire.  The forest is being destroyed by cattle ranchers, peasants who slash and burn to create cropland,  illegal lumbering, and large businesses planting soybeans.
http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050212135409990004

DOCTORS CONFIRM JARAWA HAVE MEASLES
India: Doctors on the Andaman Islands have confirmed that members of the Jarawa tribe are suffering from measles. Large numbers of Jarawa children have been admitted to  a Port Blair hospital with various diseases including pneumonia and eye problems - both common after-effects of measles. All have now returned to their forest. When 108 Jarawa contracted measles in 1999, the local authorities first denied the report. Several weeks later they admitted the truth following doctors' testimonies. Many are warning the authorities to keep outsiders out of the Jarawa reserve and close the road that illegally runs through it.  This will help prevent the Jarawa from contacting potentially fatal diseases which have wiped out  tribal peoples worldwide. In the 19th century, measles killed at least half of the Great Andamanese on one island and all those on another island. That tribe, once 5,000 strong, now numbers only 41 people. In 1978, following the construction of a highway through their forest, four Yanomami communities in Brazil
lost 50% of their population to measles.
To help, visit: http://www.survival-international.org/how_to_help.php?howto_help_id=39

 

On the Warpath
Caiapo Reserve, Brazil
: To the cabodos (rubber-tree tappers and Brazil-nut gatherers), the Caiapó Indians are bad medicine. "The best thing to do when you see a Caiapó is to shoot first," said one trader. To the Caiapó, however, the cabodos are part of a light-skinned tribe who threaten their tropical hunting grounds and may rightfully be attacked.  The Caiapó are supported by Brazil's Indian Protective Services, a powerful federal bureau.  Recently, Para State's Chamber of Commerce sent an angry telegram to Brazil's Congress about Caiapó threats and attacks. It noted: "at a time when Brazil needs its rubber for its economy, security and defense," rubber production has dropped 80% because cabodos refused to enter Caiapó territory.  The IPS responded: "When nuts and rubber pay good prices, white men invade Indian territory. From the position we take against exploiters and invaders comes the animosity against our service."
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,890174,00.html?promoid=googlep

Brazil orders hospitals to obey Indian birth rites
Sao Paulo, Brazil, has ordered public hospitals near Indian villages to abide by ancient tribal customs when delivering the babies of Guarani Indian women. This obliges hospitals to allow tribal midwives to assist in childbirth.  Hospitals must also respect the Indians' traditional diet by serving  chicken, rice, corn and a porridge made from the cassava root. Hospitals will also preserve the mother's placenta so it can be buried in the tribe's village or kept with the community's most prized possessions, in accordance with Guarani traditions. "The Indians believe the ritual of burying the placenta has an impact on the rhythm of life of the newborn baby. We're just respecting their wishes," said Augusta Sato, who tracks Indian health issues for Sao Paulo.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N20103966.htm

COLUMBUS DAY MARKED BY INDIANS SUICIDE EPIDEMIC
Indians in North and South America are killing themselves in record numbers as the continent marked Columbus Day.  In the Innu community of Natuashish in Labrador, four young people have hanged themselves in the past three months. Other Innu communities face suicides with epidemics of petrol-sniffing amongst the children, and alcoholism amongst the adults. All ages have been committing suicide in shocking numbers for many years, but this is now at an all-time high. At the other end of the continent in Brazil, over 300 Indians Guarani Indians have killed themselves since 1986, including 26 children under the age of 14. The tribe has been robbed of almost all its land.  Neither government has made much effort to help the tribes.
Survival International

Indian tribes fear for way of life
Brazil: Xingu, Brazil's oldest and most successful Indian reservation, is 10,800-square-miles of pristine rain forest where 14 Indian tribes live much as their people have for thousands of years.  Xingu has become surrounded by fields and pasture in the center of Brazil's fastest developing agricultural region. The Indians, whose numbers have grown to 5,000 since the reservation was created in 1961, say they are feeling the pressure. "Right now, we have to fight to maintain our traditions. The world won't be the same for our children and grandchildren, so we have to hold on to what we have as long as we can," said Kuiussi, chief of the Suya Indians. That includes fighting. "We taught [the Indians that] if they wanted to survive, if they wanted their children to survive, not to let anyone in. We told them if anyone came, to fight them," said Orlando Villas Boas, one of four brothers who fought to establish the reservation. On at least one occasion, Indians took the advice to heart. They killed 11 loggers who refused to leave, Mr. Villas Boas said. "No one even thought of coming here after that." Today, the Indians perform joint patrols with the Federal Indian Bureau and Brazil's environmental protection agency. But when no officials are around, the Indians aren't afraid to put on war paint and pick up bows, arrows and even hunting rifles to expel invaders.
http://washingtontimes.com/

At This Olympics, They Throw Spears And Blow Darts
Brazil:  About 1,000 athletes from more than 40 Brazilian tribes recently competed in the Indigenous Peoples' Games VII. The Super Bowl-like tournament is billed as the world's largest sporting events for Indian tribes. Among the sports: archery, dart-blowing, spear-throwing, canoe-rowing and footraces in which the runners carry 200-pound tree trunks on their shoulders. For many of the athletes, taking first place isn't the point of the games. "We are not strong sportsmen, but we participate as a celebration of being alive," says Celso Suruí. For some native athletes, the facilities are the most exotic part of the game. Some swimmers have never been in a man-made pool before.  Reginaldo Bakairi, chief of the Bakairi tribe, recalls, "We were strong when we won the tug of war on land, but in the pool we seemed weak because we could not swim fast without a current propelling us."  During the Indigenous People's games, the crowds can be rowdy. At the third Indian Olympics, some women from the Xikrin tribe threw sand in the faces of their braves after they lost a tug of war to a rival tribe. That's the same treatment that Xikrin hunters get when they fail to kill anything for dinner.
Among the games

Wrestling;
Xikunahity
: In this game of "head soccer," touching the ball with feet or hands is prohibited. The Indians say the game was shown to them long ago by a mystic from the heavens;
Tihimore
: Contestants bowl, using ears of corn as pins and a quince as the ball;
Apanare
: Bowmen loft arrows into the sky and braves try to snatch them before they hit the ground;
Ronkra
: A kind of field hockey, players use a heavy wooden stick, without the curved tip, to swat a puck carved out of a coconut;
http://www.azcentral.com/news/columns/articles/1122ruelas22.html

Businessman Aims To Preserve Shaman Culture in Amazon
Carlos Fierro is a 56-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant who moved to Santa Fe more than 30 years ago. He has a large real estate business, two successful sons, a deep religious faith and a knack for making his dreams come true.  Carlos's latest vision is an ecological project on 250 acres of land deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle. The project, called Amada Encarnación, aims to help preserve the culture and medicinal traditions of the Amazonian shamans, or medicine men. "Ever since I was a little boy, my father would take me on trips into the jungle," Fierro said. "I wanted to know about these healers, the shaman. Why do they not live in the city? Why do they wear feathers on their head? Why don't they wear shoes? What kind of language do they speak? Why are they so strong? " Launched in January 2003, Amada Encarnación has attained nonprofit tax status in the United States and earned the blessing of government health officials in Ecuador. The project is also supported by powerful people in the financial industry.    "I am truly blessed," Fierro said. "I feel like God has sent me to this Earth for a purpose -- to help some of the most needy people in the world."
Learn more: www.amadaencarnacion.com.

http://www.abqjournal.com/venue/personalities/153838person03-05-04.htm