Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brazil's Tikuna Struggle Against Drugs

The NY Times released a story on the struggle of Brazil's Tikuna Indians against increasing drug and alcohol abuse. The Tikuna of Mariaçu, a region of the Amazon that borders Colombia and Peru, are increasingly acting as drug traffickers. Young Tikuna are seduced by the lucrative pay offered to smuggle drugs, and many become addicted to the cocaine they help transport. Tikuna enjoy certain exemptions from Brazilian law, but Mariaçu's two chiefs have asked police to intervene and crack down on traffickers and abusers in their communities. The chiefs are concerned that the young are destroying what is left of traditional Tikuna culture.