The Kandozi

April 24th, 2007

In the heart of the vast jungle department of Loreto, close to the river Pastaza, live an ethnic group known as the Kandozi, ancestral guardians of an immense lake called the Rimachi. A lake where floating islands form a labyrinth of channels between which shoals of fish dash perhaps avoiding the ferocious piranhas.

PastazaThe Pastaza river is tributary of the Marañón, itself a tributary of the Amazon, the father of all the rivers of America; the longest, the most mighty and deepest of the planet. Rimachi lake is at the heart of the extensive territory of the Kandozi-Chaprade nation of more than 15 thousand kilometers, South between latitude 3 degrees and 5 degrees and West 76 degrees and 78 degrees of latitude, in the humid tropical forest that grows under the Andes and extends throughout amazonía until the Atlantic Ocean.

Kandozi means “more people” and these people live mostly along the rivers of Huituyacu, Chapuli and Chuhuida – lands so marshy that any dewellings and farms are built in the higher zones, but ones that also have steady high temperatures. In the zone of the Rimachi lake the high temperatures stay throughout the year and the rainy season is predictable. On the shores you can find the most exotic of amazonian animals.

The Kandozi have maintained a reputation as warriors since 1744, when the mission of Santo Tomé reported their existance and constant threat to the Andoas. Throughout the centuries they stayed hostile towards neighbouring ethnic groups, developing a reclusive isolationist society. Today there exists a very organized federation of Kandozi peoples in the high Pastaza that defends the exclusive fishing in the Rimachi lake and against oil developers and loggers.

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