August 08, 2011

UN Day of indigenous people

August 9th is the UN Day of indigenous people. To celebrate, here are 9 little-known facts from Survival about tribal peoples:

1) There are over 100 uncontacted tribes in the world. Some live less than 100km from Machu Picchu, Peru’s biggest tourist attraction.

2) Tribal people in the Baliem valley of New Guinea probably developed agriculture long before the ancestors of Europeans.

3) The Moken ‘sea gypsies’ of the Andaman Sea have developed the unique ability to focus under water, in order to dive for food. The eyesight of Moken children is 50% more powerful than that of European children.

4) The Sentinelese tribe is thought to have lived on the Andaman Islands for about 55,000 years.

5) One in every 6 languages spoken on the planet comes from New Guinea.

6) Tribal peoples developed some of the world’s staple foods. Manioc (cassava), maize and potatoes are all the product of indigenous husbandry.

7) Hadza hunters in Tanzania use the song of an African bird to guide them to bees’ nests in baobab trees.

8) Awá women in Brazil care for orphaned baby monkeys by suckling them.