We had a wonderful talk today by John Hemming, a historian and explorer of the Amazon. It drew on his decades of experience in contact with Brazil's Indians, looked at their history over the late 20th century, and looked forward to their prospects for the 21st century after the steep decline in their populations in the 20th century and before. The overall theme was quite positive: for many surviving groups their cultures are intact, their populations are booming, and their lands largely demarcated. The talk was laced by stunning photos of their way of life, most taken by John during his various encounters and adventures in the 1970s and 1980s.
I strongly recommend his three-volume history of the Brazilian Indians, especially the third volume Die If You Must, or the more concise Tree of Rivers. They are gripping.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University