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Indigenous Brown Girls of the Amazon

Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Ever since I heard about Discovery Channel's casting for Season 2 of Out of the Wild taking place in South America, I've been thinking about whether or not I could survive in the Amazon jungle and live off of the land like the Indigneous peoples of Brazil have been doing since pre-1500. A Survivor-esque type of reality show that took place in Alaska during Season One (see video below), "[t]he [Discovery Channel] challenge is to join a band of fellow explorers and trek through some of the harshest climates and roughest terrains in the world. Both an epic quest and the ultimate test of courage, this amazing journey will test you in ways you never thought possible and, in the process, allow you to experience the raw beauty of nature and see the world like you never have before."

Wowie kazowie.  I love the raw beauty of nature and I'm totally down to see the world like I never have before.  Plus, I run an adventure camp, right?  I've always wanted to experience the Amazon rain forest, so a big part of me feels like I should be able to go on an adventure that challenges me physically and emotionally.  After all, I'm a Gusty Brown Girl, right?  But another part of me (the realistic part?) feels like I should stick to blogging instead of entering a reality competition and embarrassing myself.  LOL.  There are, after all, other ways for me to celebrate the Indigenous Brown Girls of the Amazon...
Straight from Wiki:  The Indigenous peoples in Brazil comprise a large number of distinct ethnic groups who inhabited the country prior to the European invasion around 1500. Many of the estimated 2,000 nations and tribes which existed in the XVI century died out as a consequence of the European settlement, and many were assimilated into the Brazilian population.  With close to 40 major ethnic groups today, there is also this comprehensive List of Indigneous Peoples in Brazil that is quite long.  I just find all of this sooo fascinating.  The cultural diversity of Brazil continues to amaze...
Below are a just few photos of Brown Girls of the Amazon along with a few interesting cultural facts.  Enjoy!
A woman and a child of the Kamayurá tribe in the Amazon bathe in a lake....
Members of the tribe usually bathe three times each day.   [Photo source: Damon Winter/The New York Times]
The Kamayurá are an indigenous tribe in the Amazonian Basin of Brazil.  Much like other small indigenous cultures around the globe, the Kamayurá are struggling to adapt to the effects of deforestation and climate change. 
A Tapirapé woman has her body painted.
The Tapirapé indigenous people is a Brazilian Indian tribe that survived the European conquest and subsequent colonization of the country, keeping with little changes most of their culture and customs. Stationed deep into the Amazon rainforest, they had little direct contact with Europeans until around 1910, and even then that contact was sporadic until the 1950s.
Women of Sateré Mawé from National
The Satere-Mawe is an indigenous tribe located in the Brazilian Amazon with an estimated population of about 7,000.  It shares little contact with the outside world.  The Satere are most famous for the cultivating and extracting guarana, a climbing plant in the maple family native to the Amazon.  Its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean, is used as a dietary supplement and is an effective energy booster containing about twice the caffeine found in coffee beans.  As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels pathogens from the berry and its seeds.

Members of Brazil's Kayapo nation dance during the Indigenous Nations' Games
in Pagagominas, northern Brazil November 3, 2009.
The Kayapo get medicine from 650 different plants that they find around their village.  They also have trade agreements with The Body Shop.  The Body Shop buys Brazil nut oil from Kayapo villages for its Brazil Nut products.  Verrry cool.  I had no idea.  I just ordered the The Body Shop Brazil Nut Body Butter in celebration of the Kayapo (and to get a handle on my dry skin).  Between the organic kukui nut oil from Hawaii that I use (and hope to get for, I'm going to be One mighty soft Brown Girl.  =)


Anonymous on: April 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM said...

Lots of great reading here, many thanks! I had been researching on yahoo when I found your article, I’m going to add your feed to Google Reader, I look forward to far more from you.


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