Indigenous Survival Key to Indigenous Survival




Indigenous Schools



he goal of this publication is to provide education to the general public and to indigenous people.  It is my belief that education is the key to indigenous cultural survival.  Without education, the young will not learn about their culture and perpetuate their traditions; without education, outsiders will not appreciate indigenous cultures and give them an opportunity to survive. 

What are the key indicators of indigenous cultural integrity?  Is it the way indigenous people dress?  Is it the absence of modern technology?  Many scientists are focusing on language as a key indicator, because when a language dies, it takes with it the essence of the culture and its traditions.  It is not change or technology per se that threatens the survival of a culture.  To give an example, the indigenous people of the Amazon are no less indigenous when they wear modern clothing and use boat engines than I am lesser an American because I no longer use horses and buggies like my pioneer American ancestors did.  Indigenous cultures are not inferior cultures doomed to extinction.  Native cultures are dynamic and adaptable, and presently, many are threatened by identifiable external factors.  Some indigenous Amazon cultures are being driven out of existence by foreign diseases, other by the destruction of the rainforest.  Given the opportunity, indigenous people are capable of surviving in a modern world. 


Where are the most culturally-intact Amazon Indians located?  Many are located in the frontier areas of Peru and Brazil.  As a former resident of the Peru-Brazil border area, I highly recommend taking the time to explore the frontier. Here you will find virgin primary rainforests and rarely visited indigenous communities.  The tribal land of the Matsés Indians on the Rio Gálvez is an excellent area to experience pristine rainforest and  real Amazon natives.  In addition, please refer to my articles on the Matis, Marubo, Mayoruna, and Ticuna Indians. 


How can you visit "real" Amazon Indians?  The best way is to contact the indigenous tribes directly rather than using middle-men such as commercial guides.  Generally it is much more economical, guarantees you will meet authentic natives, and makes sure the indigenous people receive something for their efforts to teach you about their culture.  I will be glad to take the time to personally help you plan your visit to the Amazon by putting you in direct contact with Amazonian natives.  Moreover, I will provide you with various maps, books, and educational resources to help make your journey a success.  All I ask is that you get my videos, which will help you learn about real indigenous Amazonians and show you exactly what you might expect to experience during your encounter. 

One word of advice, please get to know the Amazon and its natives while it is still possible. Time and again, it amazes me how many people visit the Amazon without really seeing it. In the near future, it may no longer be possible to experience virgin rainforests or see indigenous people living like they did before Columbus arrived. Because of the large size of cities like Iquitos, Peru and Manaus, Brazil and the exploitation of nearby resources (forest and wildlife) to support the cities, you must travel quite a long distance from them to encounter primary rainforest and unassimilated natives. Unfortunately, tour guides do not travel very far from the large cities because of the expenses involved. It is much easier and less expensive for tour guides to travel locally and mislead tourists into thinking they are in a virgin rainforest or visiting real natives, than actually taking them there. To really know the Amazon and its people you need to go to travel far from the cities. On the frontier areas of Peru with Brazil you will find the last remaining virgin tropical forests and recently-discovered tribes of the Amazon. Some tour guides have criticized me for sending tourists away from the cities to the more pristine areas.  Again, my goal is not to promote tourism, but to provide people with the best information available so that they can learn about native peoples.  If you would like help planning your journey to the rainforest, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Dan James Pantone, Editor



Matis Indians
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