Thursday, April 19, 2007


Thomas Riggins

The Peruvian government is sitting by while illegal loggers are invading parts of the Amazon rain forest supposedly set aside as Indian reserves. In the 1990s two hitherto unknown tribes were “discovered” by loggers cutting down mahogany trees for the US market.

They are the Murunahua and Mashco-Piro people. These people have no immunity to diseases of European origin so, just as in the days of Columbus and Pizarro, 50% of the Murunahua died after the initial contact.

The government set up two reserves in 1997 (on paper) to “protect” the survivors. After the die off, many Indians fled deep into the forest to avoid contact.

The mahogany market is booming (90% of the illegal trade goes to the US). The loggers are invading the Indian reserves and again coming into contact with the surviving Indians (the total for both tribes is about 600 people.)

One expert predicted the Indians would be totally wiped out in ten years if the do nothing Peruvian government doesn’t prevent logging in the reserves.

Its simple. Money vs the lives of these people who have only recently come into contact with our civilization. Who do you think will win-- the Indians or the US lumber market?

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