It was Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’; unique wetlands in southern Iraq where a people known as the Ma’dan, or ‘Arabs of the marsh’, lived in a Mesopotamian Venice, characterised by beautifully elaborate floating houses made entirely of reeds harvested from the open water.
Categories: Middle East
In an interview with noted conservation journalist Rhett A. Butler, Dr. David Fleck, Acaté’s Field Coordinator, talks about his history of living with the Matsés people in the deep Amazon rainforest. Fleck shares his perspective of life in the Amazon, its threats, and Acaté’s work. Originally posted here.
Tribes in the Amazon are increasingly exposed to the outside world by choice or circumstance. The fallout of outside contact has rarely been anything less than catastrophic, resulting in untold extinction of hundreds of tribes over the centuries. For ones that survived the devastation of introduced disease and conquest, the process of acculturation transformed once proud cultures into fragmented remnants, their self-sufficiency and social cohesion stripped away, left to struggle in a new world marked by poverty and external dependence.
In the deepest recesses of the Amazon, remaining tribes struggle to retain their cultural identity and self-sufficiency in a profoundly-shifting world. Such is the case with the Matsés – or Jaguar People – that live along the Javari river and its tributaries in Peru and Brazil. A tribe of fierce warriors permanently contacted only in 1969, the Matsés are perhaps best-known for their facial tattoos, ceremonial practices, and use of toxins from giant tree frogs as a stimulant for hunting expeditions.