Peru’s Forest Indians
Indians living in the forest were less affected by the Spanish conquerors than the Andean Indians. Spanish missionaries reached the area later in the eighteenth century but the real clash with the western civilization came in the late nineteenth century when the English found rubber in the forest creating the rubber boom. Foreign companies employed local forest Indians to extract the rubber under very harsh conditions. Foreign workers brought with them diseases such as pneumonia and flu for which locals had no immunity and as a consequence thousands of them died wiping whole populations of local indigenous tribes.
Economic development is taking its toll among native Indians, many of them have fled deep inside the jungle, some have died of starvation and others have adapted to modern live.
Small towns and villages are scattered across the forest and because its vegetation is so dense, some remote areas are still unexplored. Scientists believe that there are indigenous tribes living deep in the jungle that have never met outsiders. There may be as many as 75 indigenous groups that choose to live in the Peruvian and Brazilian rain forest without outside contact. These groups hunt animals for food and clothing, gather fruits and vegetable and fish. They also work small plots of land to grow fruits and vegetables.
Today’s indigenous people are working together with businesses to save the land that traditionally have belonged to them. Some Peruvian and Brazilian Amazonian indigenous tribes such as the Matis, Marubo, Kurobo, Shipibo, Amahuaca, Kulina and Matses are experiencing that industry is affecting their way of life, oil extraction, logging and increased population are destroying and polluting the land.