lundi 8 août 2016

An Isolated Tribe Emerges From The Rain Forest

08/08/2016 -

Before Nicolás (Shaco) Flores was killed, deep in the Peruvian rain forest, he had spent decades reaching out to the mysterious people called the Mashco Piro. Flores lived in the Madre de Dios region—a vast jungle surrounded by an even vaster wilderness, frequented mostly by illegal loggers, miners, narco-traffickers, and a few adventurers. For more than a hundred years, the Mashco had lived in almost complete isolation; there were rare sightings, but they were often indistinguishable from backwoods folklore.

Flores, a farmer and a river guide, was a self-appointed conduit between the Mashco and the region’s other indigenous people, who lived mostly in riverside villages. He provided them with food and machetes, and tried to lure them out of the forest. But in 2011, for unclear reasons, the relationship broke down; one afternoon, when the Mashco appeared on the riverbank and beckoned to Shaco, he ignored them. A week later, as he tended his vegetable patch, a bamboo arrow flew out of the forest, piercing his heart. In Peru’s urban centers, the incident generated lurid news stories about savage natives attacking peaceable settlers. After a few days, though, the attention subsided, and life in the Amazonian backwater returned to its usual obscurity.

In the following years, small groups of Mashco began to venture out of the forest, making fleeting appearances to travellers on the Madre de Dios River. A video of one such encounter, which circulated on the Internet, shows a naked Mashco man brandishing a bow and arrow at a boatload of tourists. In another, the same man carries a plastic bottle of soda that he has just been given. Mostly, the Mashco approach outsiders with friendly, if skittish, curiosity, but at times they have raided local... Read More