In South America, a vast, forested area of the Amazon River basin in Brazil and neighboring countries is by far the largest rain forest in the world. It encompasses more than 1.4 million square miles, which is about half of the total global rain forest cover. Despite their uniqueness and extraordinary value, tropical rain forests are being destroyed and badly degraded at an unsustainable rate. Indigenous people within the Amazon rely heavily on its environmental aspect and its demolition directly affects them. The Yanomami tribe is a prime example and shows the negative effects of interaction between natives and foreign invaders and how it is detrimental to their future.
The Yanomami are an indigenous tribe made up of four subdivisions of Indians that live in the tropical rain forest of Southern Venezuela and Northern Brazil. They believe that their fate, and the fate of all people, is inescapably linked to the fate of the environment and with its destruction humanity is committing suicide. To them, land is everything and everything upon it is treated with respect. They do not look at their land as something they can use to advance their economic standing, but as a way to live. The Yanomami have had very little contact with the outside world until the 1980's. Since 1987, the Yanomami have seen about 10% of their entire population decreased by massacres and diseases brought by invaders. .
After gold was discovered on Yanomami land in the mid-1980's, thousands of miners illegally rushed into the territory. The constant flights of supply planes and the noise from generators and pumps used in the mining operation frightened away the game animals that the Indians rely on as a key source of protein in their diet. Since the Yanomami had no animals to hunt, they were faced with a difficult challenge. As a result, the Yanamami become dependent on the miners for food. Also, high-pressure hoses were used to wash away riverbanks, silting the rivers and destroying spawning grounds.