Native People in the Rainforest

Written by phillip chappell
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Native People in the Rainforest
Rainforests are rich with life, including native human tribes. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Native people in the rainforest are often referred to as tribespeople. The natives live much differently than people in developed countries, with many of them not aware of the various technologies available in modern homes. They live off the land, in areas that are free from political and market systems.

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Lifestyle

Native rainforest people must depend on the land for their survival. Their food, medicine and clothing all come from their surroundings. In fact, the rainforest is also investigated by scientists who are seeking out cures for diseases. The natives use leaves, barks, seeds and other common rainforest items to make medicine. Most children in the rainforest don't attend school. Their only schooling is by their parents and tribal leaders who educate them about the various necessities for survival. The Baka, from Cameroon, make their homes form Tilipi leaves to form a green structure that looks like an igloo.

Food

Native rainforest children are taught from a young age how to hunt, fish and gather. Because of the millions of species of plants and animals in the rainforest, children must learn about those that will help them and those that are harmful. By the time they reach adulthood, they have a vast knowledge and the expertise to use weaponry. Climbing techniques are used to get to hard-to-reach food. One technique used by the Baka is to poison the water in a river. The fishers then gather the immobile fish in a narrow area of the river. The Baka eat berries, nuts fish, termites and honey. The pygmies, who live in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Rwanda and Zaire, hunt lots of meat, such as antelope, birds, buffalo, elephants and monkeys.

Farming

A small area is cleared by burning all the vegetation to expose and create arable soil. Various plants are grown for an extended period of time. Eventually the soil becomes ineffective and a new area must be burnt. The vegetation planted can either be for food or medicine. It takes 10 to 50 years for the used land to be arable again.

Threat

As land for the indigenous people becomes more scarce in rainforests, they are less able to farm. The method of crop rotation applied by the natives is impossible when the amount of land available is cut down and taken over by farmers. The construction of roads in rainforests have caused natives there to be exposed to diseases they haven't witnessed. They haven't built immunity to these diseases like their carriers and many have become sick and have died. Some tribes, such as the Cashinahu from Peru, have changed the way they live by replacing the use of arrows with guns. Some tribes are more willing to work with outsiders than others. The pygmies fully rely on the rainforest. According to Cesa10, the race would likely die out if they were no longer able to use the rainforest.

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