Scott Wallace

Indians near Brazil frontier seek protection as officials investigate allegations Ashéninka indigenous leaders are calling on authorities to guarantee their safety after receiving alleged death threats from irate loggers whose wood was impounded this week at a sawmill in the timber hub of Pucallpa on the Ucayali River. National Police agents and investigators from the…

Changing Planet

 Reprisals, “forced contact” campaign feared after attack in Yasuní National Park   Native officials and conservationists fear possible reprisals in eastern Ecuador following an attack by uncontacted tribesmen that killed two Waorani Indians last week.   According to a preliminary investigation by officials from the Orellana Province public prosecutor’s office, the victims were speared to…

Changing Planet

Brazilian Prospectors Said To Raze Native Village As many as 80 Yanomami Indians are feared dead in a village deep in the jungles of Venezuela, victims of an alleged massacre carried out last month by Brazilian gold prospectors. According to a criminal complaint filed this week with prosecutors and military authorities in Puerto Ayacucho, capital…

Human Journey

As Brazil braces for president Dilma Rousseff’s forthcoming decision on whether to sign or veto recent legislation that would alter the country’s Forest Code, rights groups are decrying a surge in illegal land grabs that is wrecking environmental havoc and threatening vulnerable tribal populations. According to the rights organization Survival International, a gold rush mentality…

Changing Planet

New study says U.S. firms importing millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten timber The timber industry in Peru is rife with corruption and illegality, and international buyers are complicit in a “well-oiled machine” that is plundering the Peruvian rain forest, endangering its rich biodiversity and undermining the welfare of indigenous communities, according to a major new…

Changing Planet

Why Would Isolated Indians Kill Their Point of Contact With the Outside World?  Authorities are scrambling to establish security in a remote Amazonian frontier region following recent attacks by isolated tribesmen that have left one man dead and another wounded in the wilds of southeastern Peru. The attacks — in October and November of last year…

Human Journey

The Peruvian government has released dramatic new footage showing a near-encounter with a group of uncontacted Indians along a riverbank in the Amazon rain forest. The video was taken by travelers on the Manu River in southeastern Peru in recent months, according to officials from Peru’s Ministry of the Environment, who released the images on…

Changing Planet

Lumberjack invasion spurs cross-border contact between native villages In a sign of growing indigenous activism and impatience with ineffectual bureaucrats, communities in Peru and Brazil have joined forces in recent days to patrol a volatile border region rife with illegal loggers and heavily armed gangs of drug-runners. Earlier this month, a joint patrol of Ashéninka…

Human Journey

Natives face retaliation when they stand up to those who loot the forest While on assignment for National Geographic in Peru this summer, I had the privilege of visiting the Ashéninka indigenous community of Saweto, at the headwaters of the Alto Tamaya River near the border of Brazil. It can take up to eight grueling…

Human Journey

Officials from Brazil’s Indian affairs agency, FUNAI, say they have confirmed the existence of a previously unknown indigenous group in the rugged folds of the western Amazon. The tribe, believed to number as many as 200 people, was initially discovered through the examination of satellite images of rain forest clearings and confirmed by aerial reconnaissance…

Human Journey

In Brazil’s violent backwoods, environmental destruction and murder go hand in hand By Scott Wallace Late last month the Brazilian Congress passed a bill that if it becomes law would ease restrictions on rain-forest clearing and make it easier than ever to mow down the Amazon. That same day, 800 miles north of the parliamentary…

Human Journey

Officials deny plans to open rain forest reserves, promise new protections By Scott Wallace Peru says it will bolster protections for uncontacted tribes roaming the deep Amazon after a public row erupted last week that sent indigenous affairs officials scrambling for cover. The debate began in recent days after officials from the outgoing administration of…

Human Journey