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Amazon Tribe Tells World 'Leave Us Alone' March 18, 2011
Amazon tribe in southern Colombia
Residents of Nazareth say they had earned very little from the stream of tourists that are no longer welcome.
An indigenous Amazon basin tribe has become so fearful that their culture is being eroded by prying eco-tourism visitors that one community has decided to ban anyone from the outside world from entering.

Ticuna tribe leaders in the southern Colombian village of Nazareth say they’re tired of backpacking tourists flocking to their remote home, trashing the environment and likewise polluting their culture.

“We had lots of problems. People came, left their rubbish behind, garbage bags, plastic bottles,” Nazareth resident Grimaldo Ramos told Toby Muse of Agence France Presse.

Now, guards armed with traditional sticks stand guard on the edge of town to deter any would-be intruders.

The mayor of nearby Puerto Narino says he understands Nazareth’s concerns, but believes that if tourism is well-regulated, it can help the region to lift itself out of “poverty.”

Photo: Janeth Charris - Flickr