Remote tribe filmed making contact with the outside world - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 August

Members of a long-isolated indigenous Peruvian tribe have been captured on film during a three-day encounter with outsiders. More than 100 people from the Mashco-Piro clan emerged from the jungle on the banks of the Las Piedras river, reportedly demanding bananas, rope and machetes.


Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 August

Remote tribe filmed making contact with the outside world


Lana Crowe

Members of a long-isolated indigenous Peruvian tribe have been captured on film during a three-day encounter with outsiders. More than 100 people from the Mashco-Piro clan emerged from the jungle on the banks of the Las Piedras river, reportedly demanding bananas, rope and machetes.

Communication took place across the river, as the law in Peru prohibits physical contact with an estimated 15 “uncontacted” tribes. It is thought that the tribe members’ immune systems would not be able to cope with germs carried by other communities due to their isolation, leaving them highly susceptible to illness.

The tense encounter involving Mashco-Piro members of both sexes and all ages – including men with lances, bows and arrows – was captured on video by a ranger. The footage was taken in June, and released by local rainforest campaign group Aidesep and Fenamad, an organisation that promotes indigenous rights. This is the second attempt at contact by this tribe since 2011, following two decades of complete isolation.

It is unclear what provoked the stand-off, but authorities claim that the Mashco-Piro may be upset with illegal logging in their territory, a problem dating back to a dispute involving loggers in search of mahogany in the mid 1980s.

Anthropologist Beatriz Huertas, who works with Peru’s agency for indigenous affairs, told the Associated Press that it was particularly unusual for the tribe members to come so close to a village.

“It could be they are upset by problems of others taking advantage of resources in their territories and for that reason were demanding objects and food of the population,” she said.

Naturalists in the area say that the tribe’s traditional hunting grounds have been affected by a rise in low-flying air traffic related to natural gas and oil exploration in the region.

Researchers believe that the group has already been forced to desert their traditional farming communities for life as hunter gatherers, as their natural supply of resources has been destroyed.

Questions


  • What does "indigenous" mean?
  • What kind of problems are faced by indigenous populations?
  • What more could be done to help protect the rights of these populations?
  • How do you imagine your life might be different if you had grown up in isolation from the rest of the world?

Related resources


Tribes in the Amazon

  • Explore the different tribes in the rainforest with this PowerPoint and supporting resources.

Living in the rainforest

  • What would it be like to live in the rainforest? Pupils explore the climate and living conditions in this activity.

The Amazon rainforest

  • Introduce the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife with this lesson plan and activities.

Geography of Peru

  • Learn about the different terrains of Peru with this Spanish lesson on its geographical features.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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