An estimated 400-500 indigenous Amazonian Indian tribes (Amerindians) exist today in the
Amazon Rainforest. There are about fifty of these tribes who do not have any contact with the outside world. These groups have their own society where kids do not go
to a formal
school but instead, when they are old enough, are taught what they need to know from
their elders. Another interesting fact is that some of the greatest threats to these
tribes come from people from the outside world. The reason why is explained in the Amazon Rainforest tribe information below.
Amazon Rainforest Tribe General Facts
With 20,000 total members, the Yanomani tribe is the largest tribe in the Amazon
Rainforest. They live in Northern Brazil and near the border of Southern Venezuela. In
contrast, the Kanoe and Akuntsu tribes have no more than 30 members.
The tribes live off the land and grow different types of fruits and vegetables such as
bananas, passion fruit, papayas, corn, manioc and beans and the popular "super fruit",
the acai berry.
Both legal and illegal activities have threatened the Amazon Rainforest tribes. Some
of the reasons for declining populations are due to deforestation in the Amazon, war,
disease, oil development and drug trafficking. In response, Brazil has set up a type of
reservation to protect the Amazonian tribes.
The many tribes of the Amazon are very diverse in culture, language and heritage. There
are approximately 180 different languages spoken by these indigenous people.
Communal houses are common and the structures are made out of bamboo covered in
banana or palm leaves and straw.
The tribes that have made contact with the outside world wear minimal clothing. What they
do wear is made from natural resources found in the rainforest. However, both the men and
women in the tribes that have no contact with outsiders live completely naked.
Spiritual ceremonies and rituals are commonplace. In a ritual to become a man in an
Amazon tribe called Satere Mawe; young boys must wear gloves filled with bullet ants.
Many Amazonian tribes believe in animism, a belief that animal spirits inhabit all
animate and inanimate things.
Some of the indigenous tribes of the Amazon are still hunters and gatherers who have
extensive knowledge of almost every aspect of the rainforest in which they live. Many of
the tribes also practice a slash and burn type of agriculture. When the resources are
depleted, they move on to new land.
Because many of these tribes do not have proper medical care, the life span of the
Amazonian tribe people is considerably shorter than those living in the countries
surrounding them. Many die of malaria, malnutrition and parasites.
Tribal Role Facts
Men and women have distinct roles within their village. Women generally have the
responsibility of cooking, household chores, crop growing and taking care of the
Men do the hunting, which accounts for a relatively small amount of their total food
intake. They hunt game such as deer, monkey and tapir with blow guns and poison tipped