"An Amazon Culture Withers as Food Dries Up"

"XINGU NATIONAL PARK, Brazil -- As the naked, painted young men of the Kamayura tribe prepare for the ritualized war games of a festival, they end their haunting fireside chant with a blowing sound -- 'whoosh, whoosh' -- a symbolic attempt to eliminate the scent of fish so they will not be detected by enemies. For centuries, fish from jungle lakes and rivers have been a staple of the Kamayura diet, the tribe's primary source of protein.

But fish smells are not a problem for the warriors anymore. Deforestation and, some scientists contend, global climate change are making the Amazon region drier and hotter, decimating fish stocks in this area and imperiling the Kamayura's very existence. Like other small indigenous cultures around the world with little money or capacity to move, they are struggling to adapt to the changes."

Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times July 24, 2009.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009