“Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.”
~ Rene Dubois
When we Skyped with Ashli and Zoe, two weeks ago, Ashli told us a bit about “voluntary no-contact” tribes living in the Peruvian Jungle. We were shocked to hear that one of her friends had been shot with a bow and arrow while trekking through the jungle. He must have accidentally stumbled on one of these tribes that had chosen to have nothing to do with the rest of the world.
We couldn’t stop thinking about it. We thought it was even MORE interesting than discovering that some Peruvians enjoy a good meal of GUINEA PIG! We HAD to find out MORE! Our research turned up some INTERESTING information. The picture above taught us to be diligent in our searches and to check MULTIPLE sources. At first, we thought this was taken in the Peruvian Amazon … several other sources sited the photo as being on the border between Peru and Brazil. Our FINAL search stated that this was a tribe in Brazil.
Because borders are not PHYSICAL lines between countries, we think that MAYBE this specific tribe travels in the Amazon Jungle BETWEEN the two countries!
We had SO many questions:
- WHY would a tribe CHOOSE to have no contact with others?
- WHY would they shoot at people who were NOT members of their tribe?
- How MANY tribes are like this in Peru, and around the world?
- WHY are their bodies painted red or black?
- HOW do they meet their NEEDS?
First, we spent some time talking about what voluntary and INDIGENOUS meant:
What follows are our initial thoughts about WHY these indigenous people would CHOOSE to have NO contact with people outside their own groups:
“I wonder why Indigenous people choose to be uncontacted? I think it is because they might get sick, or they might think we are there to steal goods such as furniture, food and land. We had this inquiry because we were Skyping with Ashli. She said one of her friends got shot with an arrow.” ~Daniel
“Hi blog readers! Welcome to our new blog post! Do you know why the Indigenous people might shoot you with a bow and arrow? I think it’s because the Indigenous people might think that you could harm them, ruin their homes, burn their land, (Cloud Forest, Jungle, Amazon), take their goods, (like food, homes, land), and maybe, if you have a sickness, the tribes don’t want you because they don’t want to get that sickness, (even flu).”
“I think tribes don’t like strangers coming in their homes because they think you are going to harm them. And, they think you are going to burn down their village or kick them out of their homes. They’re very proud of what they have and they don’t want to start over. They don’t want to build a new home and get more food.” ~Lane
“I did not know that Indigenous people could harm you with their bow and arrows because maybe they think that you are going to burn the forest and take their food and you don’t look like them.” ~Hilary
“I think that the Indigenous people don’t want us in their territory because we don’t look like them. I am not sure that the Indigenous people point their bow and arrows at airplanes because they think the plane is an alien. I think the Indigenous people don’t like us because we don’t act like them.” ~Isaac
“This is what I think. I think the Indigenous people don’t want us in their houses because they think we are going to take their food, their land and their homes. Maybe they think we will burn their homes, villages, forest, and land. We don’t have the same skin colour. We are different than them.” ~Aya
“I think that why the indigenous Peruvian tribes shot at the plane was that they thought that the plane was going to take their treasures and take over their houses. Guess what my teacher saw on the internet? It said they paint themselves by using a plant! Another reason is that they might burn the forest or ruin their homes. If the people in the plane took my home it would be terrifying. If we would be sick and we pass the sickness on to the indigenous people they might get sick too.” ~Kelly
“I wonder what the Indigenous people in Peru speak. I think the Voluntary No-Contact people in Peru might feel like we might harm them, if we go into their territory. I also think that they might think we might steal their goods from them. They may think that we would want to take over their territory. If that happened to me I would be terrified, angry and sad. I hope some day in the future we learn more about them.” ~Peng Peng
“I think the indigenous people do not want to let anyone come into their culture because they might think we are strangers. They might think like that because you look different than them. Or they might think that you will burn their forest. They might think you will take their homes, foods, or their treasures. They may even think you will harm them. When we were doing our Skype with Ashli and Zoe, they said that one of their friends was shot by a bow and arrow.” ~Hannah
“I think that some indigenous people shoot a bow and arrow because they think we will harm them. I also think that we don’t look like them so the indigenous people choose to shoot at outsiders sometimes. Maybe the indigenous people are scared.” ~Melvin
“It was fun to learn about the indigenous people from Ashli and Zoe. I think indigenous people choose to not have other people come because they could think that we were taking their goods such as food, their homes and even their land. They could think that you were there to take the plants. The indigenous people might think we would ruin their houses or their village or burn the forest. Maybe they would think we would hurt their territory. What if you came in as a big group of people? What would the indigenous people think … that we might take their land. If I was an indigenous person I would be terrified if someone came in to my house who was not wanted there. If you go on google you can find some good stuff about them. I hope I can learn some more about them!” ~Jenna
“Hi. My name is Kale and I’m here to tell you about indigenous people in Peru. Where in Peru? Well, in the Andes jungle of course! Well … let’s go on! I think the indigenous tribes choose not to have contact with us because they think we will harm them or take their goods, like their food, land, homes, villages and burn the jungle.” ~Kale
“Hi, around the world! I want to talk to you about indigenous people. Is that ok? I think so. We do not know much about the indigenous people but my class was brain storming about (voluntary no-contact) indigenous people. Here are some of the things we brainstormed:
- maybe we don’t look like them
- maybe we would bring sickness
- maybe they think we will take their goods, (food, homes, land)
- maybe they think we will harm them (burn or hurt the forest)
- maybe they think we will ruin their homes and villages
Hey, did I ever tell you that one of Ashli’s friends, (Ashli is one of the people my class Skypes with), got shot with a bow and arrow? But he is still alive. Which is good, don’t you think? I think it is a good thing. Oh and just so YOU know … we are just guessing these ideas … so do some research and that’s when you will find the true answers!” ~Claire
“Well, I think that why indigenous people are scared of us is because they think that we will steal their food, houses and land. Also, I think that they are scared of us because they think we might harm them. So that is why some indigenous people are voluntary no-contact.” ~Catherine
“When we were having a Skype with Ashli and Zoe they were telling us about the indigenous people. She said they were voluntary no-contact. Maybe they think we are going to burn the jungle down or we are going to harm them. Maybe they think we will take their food or water because we take their plants for medicine.” ~Ethan
“Why do some indigenous people think we want to harm them? They might think that other people want to hurt them. They also might be scared.” ~Amy
“I think that the indigenous people think we want to hurt them because a lot of planes go by and the indigenous people probably think that they might want to steal their homes. I would be scared if someone stole my home. I don’t know why some indigenous people have chosen not to have contact with others in the world.” ~Alex
“Why are some tribes in Peru scared of us when we come in? Maybe they think we are going to steal their food and their houses! They might have special food or medicine that they need but other people take it. If you don’t look like them they might hurt you.” ~Zyne
“I think that part of why some indigenous tribes choose to not have contact with other people is because they might think we will bring sickness in. Also, they might think we are there to take their goods, treasures, food, homes or land. They also might think we are there to ruin their homes then take their land. I think some indigenous people paint their bodies red or black because they might feel threatened or frightened.” ~Noam
We quickly discovered, with our research, that Voluntary No-Contact is NOT the same as “never been discovered” before. There are about 100 of these groups living around the world, according to Survival International. They CHOOSE to have no contact for MANY reasons.
Machetes cut paths through the jungles and forest and destroy plants and habitats for animals AND for the Indigenous people living there. Some people illegally log in the jungles to get “red gold” for furniture and hardwood floors. Red gold is a tree that people cut down … it’s mahogany … and it’s worth a LOT of money!
People go in to the rainforests to take plants to make special medicines. If lots of people cut the trees or the plants for medicines it would take a long time for them to grow back. If we took ALL the plants that the Indigenous people have been using for hundreds of years they may not be able to survive living in the jungle. For example the tribes that paint themselves red with the annatto tree, which WE use as medicine. Maybe they even use it as STRONG bug repellent … because it CAN be used that way. There are a LOT of poisonous bugs in the jungle that could harm them. Maybe they won’t be able to survive if we take all the annatto trees.
- How can people get into the jungle to cut down trees if it is illegal?
- How can we make sure that EVERYONE’S needs are being met?
- Can we use the plant DNA to make the medicine without the plant?