The Meeting of the Tribes

By Mike Collis

On the 12th February the Regional Government of Loreto (GOREL) tried something new. They invited indigenous communities from throughout the Upper Amazon Region to Iquitos, The idea was to show the cultural differences between the indiginous peoples, their dress, food, music, dance, dialect and culture.

They constructed a whole typical village on the riverfront boulevard, a collection of little wooden thatched houses and a dining area where indigenous chefs served traditional local food. About a dozen tribes came in from all over the Amazon Region, some even as far as the Yavari River, near Brazil. The Shipibo, Bora, Cocama, Maijuna, Ocaina, Matses, Mayuruna and Yagua, were all there in full traditional dress, selling their arts and crafts, performing dances and songs, representing their communities with much pride.

The rain held off and thousands of people, both locals and tourists enjoyed a great day.

One of the organisers said, “I think it was a great success, but what I would really like to is see is a real meeting of the tribes. An international indiginous festival where communities from all over the world would come to Iquitos. Can you imagine it”, he said “North American Indians like the Soux or Apache Indians rubbing shoulders with Eskimos from Canada, Maoris from New Zealand, the Aborigines from Australia, the Matabeles from Africa and many, many more. It would be an amazing event, and Iquitos being the indiginous capital of the world is the place to stage it ”.