What Are Some Amazon Tribes?

The Kayapó, Yanomami, Akuntsu, Enawene Nawe, Awá, Piripkura and Kawahiva are indigenous tribes of the Amazon region in South America. The National Indian Foundation, or FUNAI, estimates that approximately 77 isolated tribal groups live in the Brazilian Amazon. Some tribes have dwindled to only a few members due to diseases spread by outsiders and invasive practices, such as logging and ranching.

The Kayapó live across 26 million acres of legally protected land in the southeastern region of the Brazilian Amazon. Roughly 7,000 people populate 46 Kayapó villages, which are surrounded by major areas of deforestation. Conservation International has supplied funding and training to help the Kayapó protect their culture by improving border patrol and electronic communication and setting up environmentally friendly products and businesses.

The Yanomami have 32,000 tribespeople populating 17.8 million hectares of land in Brazil and Venezuela. The Venezuelan villages are part of the Alto Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve, while the Brazilian villages are threatened by diseases and destruction brought on by local gold miners and ranchers.

The Akuntsu have only five remaining tribespeople in a legally protected section of forest in western Brazil. Their forest home consists of two communal houses and small gardens. The Akuntsu had seven members in 1995 when FUNAI initially made contact with them, but a young woman was killed by a fallen tree in 2000, and the oldest tribesman died in 2009.