Indigenous peoples in isolation in the Peruvian Amazon: by Beatriz Huertas Castillo

By Beatriz Huertas Castillo

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Extra info for Indigenous peoples in isolation in the Peruvian Amazon: their struggle for survival and freedom

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Their presence in the area is not strange given that, a number of years ago, reference was made to various Yora peoples in isolation throughout the whole region from the south of Ucayali department to the north of Madre de Dios. One of these peoples, living between the upper basin of the Manu River and other tributaries of the Urubamba, such as the Mishagua, was contacted in 1985 by loggers. This led to the deaths of half the population and their subsequent transfer to the current native 59 60 community of Santa Rosa on the Serjali River, a sub-tributary of the Urubamba River.

Local groups became extensively dispersed. There was no longer any pressure on their lands from outside people and contact was scarce (Townsley, 1994). Various Pano groups, particularly from the Yurúa and Purús river basins, remained in isolation following their flight from the rubber barons. But when their iron axes and machetes began to wear out, they once more came down to the main rivers in search of tools, leaving only four groups remaining in isolation, including the Morunahua (sic) and Yaminahua (Wise, 1983).

They form part of the Palotoa, Shipetiari, Tayacome, Yomibato, Diamante, Boca Isiriwe and El Pilar native communities. There are also groups living in isolation or in sporadic contact within the Manu National Park. The Ese Eja belong to the Tacana linguistic family. They live on the lower Madre de Dios, Tambopata, Sonene and Beni rivers. They form part of the Sonene, Palma Real and Bawaaja Kuiñaji native communities. The Yine (Piro) also belong to the Arawak linguistic family. They live in the Diamante and Isla de los Valles native communities on the upper Madre de Dios, and Monte Salvado on the Las Piedras river.

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