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About The Baure Tribe

 

Baure tribe is part of the Arawak population together with Moxeños and Machineri.

They lived 1000 B.C. and drifted up through the Amazon rivers  arriving to the flat lands of Moxos.  These tribes have built a number of banks over the swamp where they set their hamlets. These banks were linked by “channels” to make the fishery and the transport easier during dry seasons with connections to major rivers. In the present, these fascinating channel constructions (locally called camellones) are known by very few people.

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Although, at present, very few people know these fascinating canal constructions locally called “Camellones”, even today it is possible to appreciate them when the area is flown over or enters the jungle.

 

Since the 7th century A.D. a considerable part of the Arawak population moved to the South walking mainly through the bottom of the Andean mounts and the coast of the Paraguay River.

David in one of the canal.

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Organization

 

The Baure tribe was organized in families forming economic units.

 

Families were very large and under command of a chief with special authority during war.

Nowadays, the Baure community is very well adapted to the organization of the Bolivian State, which due to its large aborigine-origin population has a policy of respect to their ancestral traditions, but also demands respect to the different government levels and  political institutions.

In relation to their original organizational system, the “Indigenous Council” is still currently active and a sort of nostalgic figure mainly during religious ceremonies performed by Jesuit legacy.

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Economy

 

As in the early times the familiar economy is still based on hunting, fishing and familiar crops like rice, cassava, banana and in some cases peanuts.

Livestock activity is linked to a very small group of families and destined to national and not local trade.

The national government generates some economic activity, but it hardly impacts the 7% of the local population.

For the local families the “Chocolate” harvest, as they call it, is currently the most important source of income. This activity taking place from December to March represents for them an average of 70 to 80 percent of their annual income.

In 2001, when we started our activities, a bartering economy dominated in the whole community, but due to the economical injection generated by the wild cacao activity it since has changed  progressively.

Notwithstanding this, the exchange of goods still is a popular method.

 
 

Current Situation

 

Despite the activities in Baures, the local dialect, and culture in general, is slowly disappearing due to the constantly growing globalization.

Still the actual situation gives hope for the aborigine populations. The Bolivian law has created a figure called “Communally Land '' to grant their cultural, social and economical rights, protecting this way not only their own dialects, and cultural habit in general, but also giving them the communal property of their original territory.

 

This includes the right of self-governing, in accordance to the rest of the national body of law, their natural resources.

 

The Amazon area where we operate is not an exception. The community members own the land and there is not private property ownership regarding the wild cacao spots.

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Any inhabitant who decides to respectfully use the natural resources, is free to do so under the single right of being part of the Baure Community.

Summarizing, the access and the regulation of how to use the jungle has resulted in a harmonic cacao activity with a highly positive environmental, social and economic impact.