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Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon

Listed under Traditional Cultures in Peru.

  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
  • Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
Photo of Matsés: The "Cat People" of the Amazon
Photo by danpantone
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For the 17 Matsés communities living by the Rio Yavari and Rio Galvez, many changes have been made since contact was first established by Christian missionaries in 1969. There are still no phones or public transportation in these parts of the Peruvian and Brazilian rainforest, but the Matsés are fighting logging and oil companies to preserve an ancient way of life. The "cat people" (so-named for the 'whiskers' and facial tattoos that adorn the members) are clinging to ancient traditions and methods, their awesome knowledge of Amazonian plants and wildlife as threatened with extinction as the rainforest itself. The community is working to preserve the culture with their grass-roots organisation, the Movement in the Amazon for Tribal Subsistence and Economic Sustainability or MATSES. MATSES was formed by Matsés teachers, who work to preserve the language and culture through the education of both Matsés and tourists. Contact MATSES to inquire about a native guide as commercial operators are forbidden from entering the reserve

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Written by  Amber Due.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

A book about this people written by a guy who lived with them in one year, Anders Krogh, the book is unfortunately only available in Norwegian. Med Jaguarens kraft (with the power of the jaguar). Back home in Norway Krogh started up one rainforest foundation to protect the rainforest. www.regnskog.no where you find info in english.

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