The Nukak women have short black hair, they still decorate their faces with ornaments painted with red dye and they keep their eyebrows always plucked. The Nukak women have short black hair, they still decorate their faces with ornaments painted with red dye and they keep their eyebrows always plucked.
At the time of the first contact, the Nukak Maku’s population was about 2000 people. During 20 years most of them have died from flu and pneumonia. Now, there are about 400 Nukak. At the time of the first contact, the Nukak Maku’s population was about 2000 people. During 20 years most of them have died from flu and pneumonia. Now, there are about 400 Nukak.
The collision of cultures caused that Nukak can not return to the jungle, to a nomadic lifestyle. They were given and got used to clothes, radios, bicycles and other western stuff. The collision of cultures caused that Nukak can not return to the jungle, to a nomadic lifestyle. They were given and got used to clothes, radios, bicycles and other western stuff.
Although Nukak lost their original tribal way of life, they still collect vegetal materials in the jungle (palm leaves e.g.) to make their hammocks. Although Nukak lost their original tribal way of life, they still collect vegetal materials in the jungle (palm leaves e.g.) to make their hammocks.
The young Nukak boys from refugee camps, influenced by Colombian colonists and missionaries, often adopt Christian symbols and proudly wear them. The young Nukak boys from refugee camps, influenced by Colombian colonists and missionaries, often adopt Christian symbols and proudly wear them.
Colombians and Nukak do not understand each other. Many villagers believe Nukak women paint themselves to witch a white man. In fact, the red painting has a variety of meanings. Colombians and Nukak do not understand each other. Many villagers believe Nukak women paint themselves to witch a white man. In fact, the red painting has a variety of meanings.
Nukak people have been naked for thousands years. Now, most Nukak want clothes. They learn from the (mainly Christian) aid workers to cover their bodies. Nukak people have been naked for thousands years. Now, most Nukak want clothes. They learn from the (mainly Christian) aid workers to cover their bodies.
The helicopter of the Colombian Police, flying over the Nukak settlement, protects fumigation planes eradicating coca crops. Nukak are among casualties of the US supported drug war in Colombia The helicopter of the Colombian Police, flying over the Nukak settlement, protects fumigation planes eradicating coca crops. Nukak are among casualties of the US supported drug war in Colombia
The traditional world of Nukak is going through a quick and irreversible change. Nukak kids were born in the jungle but they can not live in there anymore. The traditional world of Nukak is going through a quick and irreversible change. Nukak kids were born in the jungle but they can not live in there anymore.
In 2007, after the Nukak leader committed suicide by drinking poison, some of the young boys speaking little Spanish became tribe’s spokesmen dealing with the outside world. In 2007, after the Nukak leader committed suicide by drinking poison, some of the young boys speaking little Spanish became tribe’s spokesmen dealing with the outside world.
Nukak are nomadic hunter-gatherers, they always have to move to find new territories. As they stuck in a refugee camp, they hunted out all the animals around and now there is nothing left for them. Nukak are nomadic hunter-gatherers, they always have to move to find new territories. As they stuck in a refugee camp, they hunted out all the animals around and now there is nothing left for them.
Nukak always lived off fruits and berries they found in the tropical forest. Giving them rice, beans and milk was not a help but an error because their digestion is not able to process western food. Nukak always lived off fruits and berries they found in the tropical forest. Giving them rice, beans and milk was not a help but an error because their digestion is not able to process western food.
Nukak treat monkeys as pets until they kill them for food. Nukak say their ancestors climbed from the world underground and now they must share this world with monkeys. Nukak treat monkeys as pets until they kill them for food. Nukak say their ancestors climbed from the world underground and now they must share this world with monkeys.

Nukak Maku: Stuck between Worlds

Meta dept., Colombia – September 2009

The Nukak Maku people, a nomadic indian tribe from Amazonia, were violently driven out of the jungle by the Colombian guerilla and paramilitary squads. Since the time of the first contact, more than a half of Nukak have died of the western diseases like flu. Now, roughly cut off their original tribal lifestyle in refugee camps, they stuck between worlds. They learn from the (mainly Christian) aid workers to use clothes, to listen to the radio, to beg for money despite the fact they do not understand these concepts. Although their digestion suffer, they love to eat sweets, cookies and other western food. They have hunted out all the animals around and now there is nothing left for them. Nukak can not return to the jungle, their world has already passed through an irreversible change.

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