The Kugapakori Nahua Nanti Reserve on the border of Manu National Park, Peru
(Note: the author of this blog lived in this area of Peru with the recently contacted Nahua (Yora) in the late 1980s. The uncontacted Nahua’s land was originally invaded in the early 1980s by Royal Dutch Shell Oil, which detonated explosive charges in their territory. The invasion ultimately led to the Nahua’s contact with the outside world. Roughly 30% of the Nahua population died within two years of the contact, due to an epidemic of whooping cough, for which they had no natural defense.The Peruvian government created the Nahua-Kugapakori Territorial Reserve in 1990 to protect the territorial rights of the Nahua, Nanti (uncontacted Machiguenga) and other uncontacted or recently-contacted peoples living in the area. The reserve also serves as a buffer to Peru’s enormous Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Now, thirty years after their first contact, the Nahua and other groups of isolated indigenous peoples are once again under assault, this time by a new group of oil companies, facilitated by the Peruvian government–KM).
January 27, 2014
Peru Approves Gas Project, Spells Disaster for Uncontacted Tribes
Uncontacted Nanti could be decimated by plans to detonate thousands of explosive charges and allow hundreds of workers to flood onto their land.
Peru has approved the highly controversial expansion of the Camisea gas project onto the land of uncontacted Amazon tribes – despite international outrage, the resignation of three ministers, and condemnation by the United Nations and international human rights organizations.
Peru’s Ministry of Culture, tasked with protecting the country’s indigenous population, has approved plans by oil and gas giants Pluspetrol (Argentina), Hunt Oil (US) and Repsol (Spain) to detonate thousands of explosive charges, drill exploratory wells and allow hundreds of workers to flood into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, located just 100 km from Machu Picchu.
The expansion could decimate the uncontacted tribes living in the reserve, as any contact between gas workers and the Indians is likely to result in the spread of diseases or epidemics to which the Indians lack immunity.
Pluspetrol itself recognizes the devastating impact the expansion could have. In its ‘Anthropological Contingency Plan’ the company states that any diseases transmitted by workers could cause ‘prolonged periods of illness, massive deaths, and, in the best cases, long periods of recovery.’
Protests were held around the world against the plans to expand the Camisea gas project in Peru’s Amazon rainforest.
When oil giant Shell first started explorations in the area, it led to the death of nearly half the Nahua tribe. One Nahua man recounted, ‘Many, many people died. People dying everywhere, like fish after a stream has been poisoned. People left to rot along stream banks, in the woods, in their houses. That terrible illness!’
Raya, a Nahua elder who survived contact.
The project violates Peruvian and international laws which require the consent of any projects carried out on tribal peoples’ land.
Last year, protests were held around the world to stop the expansion of Camisea, and more than 131,000 Survival supporters have sent a message to Peru’s President Humala demanding a halt to the oil and gas work on uncontacted tribes’ land. Today, Survival handed the list of the thousands of petition signatures to the Peruvian embassy in London.
As a result of the high profile campaign by tribal rights organization Survival International, local organizations AIDESEP, FENAMAD, COMARU and ORAU, and others, to stop the expansion, seismic testing has been averted from riverways and the location of one well was moved from the land of an isolated tribe.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Thirty years ago workers prospecting for the Camisea deposit penetrated deep into the territory of the Nahua people – and soon after, half the tribe were wiped out by flu and similar diseases. Has the Peruvian government really learnt nothing from history, that it is prepared to risk this happening again for the sake of a few more gas wells?’
New Amazon Highway ‘Would Put Peru’s Last Lost Tribes At Risk‘
Eco-campaigners clash with developers over plan to build 125-mile road through rainforest
June 30, 2012 The Observer
Members of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro tribe photographed through a telescope late last year
A fierce row has broken out over a controversial plan to drive a road through pristine Amazon rainforest, imperilling the future of some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes.
The 125-mile (200km) road would pass through the Alto Purús national park in Peru, connecting a remote area to the outside world but opening up the most biologically and culturally important area of the upper Amazon to logging, mining and drug trafficking. Opponents of the plan fear it will threaten the existence of uncontacted tribes such as the Mashco-Piro. The first detailed photographs of members of the tribe made headlines around the world earlier this year after they were spotted on a riverbank.
Peru Struggles To Keep Outsiders Away From Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Mashco-Piro Indians have been spotted on the banks of a river popular with tourists after increasing logging in the area
Jan 31, 2012
Peruvian authorities say they are struggling to keep outsiders away from a clan of previously isolated Amazon Indians who began appearing on the banks of a jungle river popular with environmental tourists last year.
World pays Ecuador not to extract oil from rainforest
Governments and film stars join alliance that raises £75m to compensate Ecuador for lost revenue from 900m barrels
An alliance of European local authorities, national governments, US film stars, Japanese shops, soft drink companies and Russian foundations have stepped in to prevent oil companies exploiting 900m barrels of crude oil from one of the world’s most biologically rich tracts of land…
Languages like Kiliwua in Mexico, Amanayé in Brazil, Záparo in Ecuador and Mashco Piro in Peru are on the verge of disappearing. Their extinction would be a tragedy for humanity, warn linguists.
Oct 2, 2011
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Hundreds of languages disappeared from Latin America and the Caribbean over the past 500 years, and many of the more than 600 that have survived could face the same fate in the not-so-distant future.
United Nations agencies and many experts maintain that it is an avoidable tragedy, but there are those who see it as the inherent fate of almost every language…
(Note: An estimated 100 uncontacted tribes still exist in the world, with the majority of them inhabiting Brazil (with an estimated 67 uncontacted tribes) and Peru (with 15). Most are located not far from the Peru-Brazil border in the Amazonian portions of those countries. Meanwhile, more than 180 oil and gas blocks now cover most of the western Amazon, the most species rich area on earth and home to many uncontacted or extremely isolated tribes. Many of these oil and gas concessions currently overlap indigenous territories, that is, land that has either been titled to native groups or else is currently lived upon by isolated tribes. Recently, a BBC film crew flew over an uncontacted village of what are probably Panoan natives in Brazil’s remote jungle near the Peruvian border. The following is a film clip of that footage from Survival International):
BP’s calamitous behavior in the Gulf of Mexico is the big oil story of the moment. But for many years, indigenous people from a formerly pristine region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador have been trying to get relief from an American company, Texaco (which later merged with Chevron), for what has been described as the largest oil-related environmental catastrophe ever…
( Note: At a time when oil is gushing unchecked into the Gulf of Mexico, despoiling one of the richest ecosystems in the Americas, another oil company, Perenco, moves closer to building an oil pipeline through one of the remotest areas of the Amazon, in northern Peru, with the risk of oil workers making a potentially deadly contact with one or more uncontacted Amazonian tribes. Oil workers and illegal loggers have been invading indigenous territories–with often deadly consequences for native peoples–for the last one hundred years–Kim MacQuarrie)