TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Monday, November 7, 2011

Uncontacted Tribes

Awá child, Amazon, photo by Survival International

A friend sent me a link to Survival International's website, Uncontacted Tribes.    These are tribes that still have no contact with the rest of us, considered "civilized" by some.  Many live in forested areas that have encroaching development on their periphery.  Quite a few are down to just a few surviving people.  For example, the Akuntsu of the Amazon in Brazil only have six people left.  The rest of their tribe was slaughtered by developers of a major roadway that went through their land in Rondonia, a Brazilian state in the Northwest, just South of the Amazon.

Can you imagine being left with only five other people who understand your language, your way of life?

Survival International describes a bit of the Akuntsu life:  "The Akuntsu make wooden flutes which 
are used in dances and rituals. They wear arm bands and anklets made of
 palm fibre. Shell necklaces have been replaced by necklaces of bright 
plastic which the Akuntsu cut from the
 pesticide containers left as litter by the ranchers. 
They paint their bodies with urucum (annatto dye) for ceremonies."  Learn more about these survivors on their page:  Akuntsu

Survival International has a list of tribes who are threatened around the world, each with pages describing their story, how they are threatened and what can be done for them.  A couple have even made a come back!

The last issue of National Geographic had an awful story about what is going on in the Congo.  One of the most fertile areas in Africa and held as a conservation area for wildlife, people have been destroying the forest and wildlife in order to survive.  This is also where refugees from the Rwandan genocide have fled to and they want the land.  Armed guerrillas fight the rangers for control of the forest|:

I don't know why I even read or watch these reports.  It is so discouraging and sad.  I remember that back in High School, late 1970's, we were told, "If this doesn't stop, this will happen..."  Cause and effect.  The 7 billionth child was just born.  Where are we going? 

It doesn't help to close my eyes.  I know it is all happening.  The beauty of our planet being run over by our own lifestyle along with the greed, guns, and guerrillas of a failed social system.  Yes, it's depressing.  But, I do believe that every little thing we do in our own corner of the world can create a positive reaction that will stop some of this destruction.  Keep your corner healthy and teach your neighbor how to do it, too!

Here is a Shipibo textile from Medicine Hunter which reminds me how we are all woven together and our paths cross, whether we see it or not:

The Shipibo people are native to the Peruvian Amazon. Traditionally, the women create these beautiful hand embroidered textiles depicting visions experienced in ceremony with Ayahuasca Shaman.


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(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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