Peru set to make first contact with tribe

Peru will try to make contact for the first time with an Amazonian tribe that largely lives isolated in the jungle, part of a bid to ease tensions with nearby villages after a bow-and-arrow attack in May.

Peru set to make first contact with tribe

Government anthropologists will try to talk with a clan of Mashco Piro Indians to understand why they have been emerging from the forest, said deputy culture minister Patricia Balbuena.

The Mashco Piro have increasingly been spotted seeking machetes and food outside their jungle enclaves in the Manu National Park in southeastern Peru.

Villagers, Christian missionaries and tourists have all interacted with the tribe, often giving them clothes and food. “The only ones who haven’t been in contact with them are representatives of the state,” said Balbuena.

Peru prohibits contact with around a dozen “uncontacted” tribes, mainly because their immune systems carry little resistance to common illnesses.

Indigenous group Fenamad warned the decision could legitimise the kind of unwanted interactions that have decimated isolated tribes in the past. “Authorities should restrict boat transit and keep people from approaching,” said its president Klaus Quicque.

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