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Matsigenka Indians

Along with two other tribes who share the Manú Biosphere Reserve, the indigenous Matsigenka tribe thrives in a region of astonishing biodiversity. These people are generous, strong and highly attuned to their environment. History attests to the fact they are one of the few indigenous peoples of Perú who were never conquered by the Incas. The Matsigenka’s’ desire to create a sustainable tourism model, thus building a cultural bridge between their ancient traditions and those of the modern Western world, is a project worth supporting. It was through numerous conversations with them that our team became emboldened to assist them to protect their indigenous heritage and the threatened eco-systems that they govern.

Today, the greatest threat to these people’s existence and their fragile environment is from US oil and gas conglomerates, which are threatening to drill at the perimeters of their designated World Heritage Site boundary. This unspoiled rainforest represents some of the most sensitive and biodiverse forest of the Peruvian Amazon, especially the “protected” Reserve areas. To learn more how we can assist first-hand, our SFSU graduate student, Kelsey Smith, a Cultural Anthropology major, is spending four months with the Matsigenka this summer.