We often forget about the people living in the rainforest. Did you know, that there are actually about 50,000,000 tribal people living in the world’s rainforest? These people depend on the rainforest for their food and shelter. As we cut down more and more trees and destroy more and more rainforests, we are also wrecking people’s homes. Here is some information about the three more well-known and larger tribes:
Mbuti and Baka Pygmies live in the rainforest of Central Africa. Traditionally, they live by hunting and gathering food from the rainforest. Did you know, that a pygmy is a member of a group whose average height is unusually short? (anthropologists define pygmy as a member of a group where men are on average less than 150 cm!) Various theories have been proposed to explain the short statue. Some studies for example say it’s the cause of the low ultraviolet light levels in the rainforest or the low calcium level in the soil or adaptation to heat and humidity.
The Huli are one of the many tribes that live in the remote highland forests of Papua New Guinea and have approximately 90,000 members. Also called Haroli, they’ve lived in their current area for about 1000 years. Primarily they use the language Holi and Tok Pisin, but some of them also speak the surrounding languages as well as English. They live by hunting, gathering plants and growing crops. Men and women live separately, in large group houses. As you can see in the picture above, the men decorate their bodies with coloured clay and wear elaborate headdresses for special ceremonies.
One of the largest groups of Amerindian people in South America is the Yanomami. They live on the border between Venezuela and Brazil and have approximately around 35,000 members. Their village life is centered around the yano, or communal house. The yano is a large, circular building constructed of vine and leaf thatch, which has a living space in the middle. There are around 200-250 villages in the Amazon rainforest. The Yanomami are known as hunters, fishers and for growing crops like cooking plantains and cassava. Another typical food source of the Yanomami is grubs.