The Nukak people (also Nukak-Maku) live between the Guaviare and Inirida rivers, in the depths of the tropical humid forest, on the fringe of the Amazon basin, in Guaviare Department, Republic of Colombia. They are nomadic hunter-gatherers with seasonal nomadic patterns and in addition they practice a shifting horticulture in small scale. An "uncontacted people" until 1988, they have since lost half of their population, primarily to disease. " Se suicida un lider indigena, desesperado por la inminente extincion de su pueblo en Colombia," El Mundo, October 2006. [This appears to be a translated press release from Survival.] Part of their territory has been used by coca growers, ranchers and other settlers and occupied by guerrillas, army and paramilitaries. Responses to this crisis include protests, requests for assimilation, and the suicide of leader Maw-be'. Some 210-250 are estimated to live in provisional settlements at San Jose del Guaviare, while about as many live nomadically in the Nukak Reservation (Resguardo).
Nukak are expert hunters. The men hunt using blowguns, with darts coated with curare "manyi", a poison made from different plants (curares). They specially hunt several species of monkeys , and birds . Also they use javelins of Socratea exorrhiza palm wood to hunt two species of peccaries (Tayassu pecari and T. tajacu) and Caiman sclerops, whose eggs they consume too. Nukak neither hunt nor eat brocket deer, Odocoileus virginianus and tapirs (Tapirus terrestris); these animals are considered by them as part of the same group of origin as human beings.
The Nukak also capture rodents ; armadillos (Dasypus sp.) tortoises (Geochelone sp); frogs (in large quantities); crabs; shrimps; snails; larvae of palm weevils ; larvae of several species of wasps and caterpillars.
Se suicida un lider indigena, desesperado por la inminente extincion de su pueblo en Colombia
Leaving the Wild, and Rather Liking the Change
Nomadic tribe struggles in Colombia
National Nukak Natural Reserve
Nomads killed, others flee as fighting rages
Territorial-Environmental Information System of Colombian Amazon SIAT-AC website
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