Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One With The People.

The Amazon. A land of unparalleled biodiversity, and unparalleled DANGER. Shit will fuck you up here: piranhas, caimans, jaguars, poison dart frogs, rabies, malaria, yellow fever, not to mention the locals. But it's not all bad, rampant nudity, the clever invention of the dick belt:

(Seriously, every tribe has it's own little variation of the dick belt)

production of 20% of the world's oxygen, it holds 80% of the developed world's diet, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute has ID'd three-thousand plants that have anti-cancer agents, and of them, 70% come from the rainforest. Hell, if we were to manage it properly the Amazon would hold more economic value than if it were to be cut down and used for timber, and grazing land for farm animals.
Now enough of this Avatar-Greenpeace shit. Let's talk about the really awesome stuff~the tribes.Contrary to popular belief, cannibalism is actually pretty uncommon, very few tribes take part in it (the Arakmbut of Peru, the subject of Tobias Schneebaum's memoir, "Keep the River on Your Right," and the Yanomamo, who have been known to eat the bodies of recently deceased family members). Now there are about one-hundred tribes that have been contacted by the Brazilian government, and there is an estimated fifty tribes that have yet to contacted by civilization. And anthropologists want them to be left alone.

For obvious reasons.

And though the majority of the tribes may not be cannibals, they are still pretty dangerous; like the Korubos, once known as the "Head-Bashers." There had been thirty-three recorded fatalities before the first peaceful encounter with them in 1996, and then later that year a FUNAI (Fundação Nacional do Índio) checkpoint was made to keep non-indigenous folks from entering, which was later attacked by a band of twenty-three Korubos, who killed seven of it's agents at the post. (and in a funny twist of irony, the FUNAI are now arming the Korubos with shotguns to protect themselves)
Maybe you've heard of the movie End of the Spear, which is about five missionaries who make contact with a tribe called the Huaorani to preach to them, and then are later fucked up royally by them with, well, spears. Now this tribe is the most badass group in the Amazon, top of the food chain, their primary weapon is a double-bladed-barbed spear! Being a pretty wild bunch, they were constantly fighting amongst themselves and around the time of WWII, it is estimated that 60% of all Huaorani deaths were due to infighting, which, according to them, was 'cos ten generations back, clan members had a falling out over whatever it is you have a falling out about in the fucking Amazon.

And here's more Dick Belt.

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