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HPV and Cervical Cancer among Indigenous Amazonian Hunter-Gatherer Groups: Analytical Essay

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In 1999, Elizabeth Reichel looked at worldviews surrounding global religions based on the culture and the ecology that encompassed gender-based knowledge among indigenous Amazonian hunter-gatherer groups. The dynamic difference between gender-based knowledge among hunter-gatherer groups is tied closely in with cosmology and perception of their worldview. This is heavily worked into the social structure of these indigenous groups; their cosmology and worldview impacts everything from property rights to the status of chiefdoms. Looking at the concepts that surround Thoughts of Knowledge as being the basis of existence for these populations that stretches from their nature surrounding them to the end of their cosmos. The two groups that are interacted with are the Tanimuka and Yukuna. Lastly, one of the vital parts of research was the interaction that these two populations had with rejecting alien concepts of Thoughts of Knowledge and its added application to the western modern world as well as their own traditional worldview.

The fact that the worldview that many of them share is a “universal home” philosophy is interesting. This means that they see the universe as their home community within their living shelters as much as the see the universe within themselves (Reichel 1999). While to an etic that may seem a drastic way to view themselves; it is simply just a worldview that someone that grew up staunchly only seeing western world view as the way as a ridiculous way to perceive the world. If their universe is being changed drastically and without asking their permission; it is clear that any sort of stressor that is to arise will take root in the community – which is the universe—and begin to leave its negative mark. A paper done Desmarcherlier et. al looked at the ritual and medicinal use of plants within the Amazon as used by the Ese’eja. In Peru, there is a tribe called Ese’eja, they are a hunter gatherer tribe that focuses heavily on fishing as one of their primary sources of subsistence. When analyzing their culture and the relationship in which they have with their environment.

It must be kept in mind that there cannot be any disassociation from religious beliefs and their own worldview. Researchers give description to what Shamanic practices are taking place and how they allude to the position of health within the Ese’eja tribe. A main focus of their practices and culture is the knowledge and collection of medicinal plants. The medicinal plants that aid in creating medicine or are used in healing rituals. The shamanic practices give an insight into the worldview that Ese’eja see themselves surrounded within (Desmarcherlier et. al 1996). With their vast knowledge of medicinal plants to use in and among the community. They relay heavily on the forest as an aspect of their healing and religious practices. When the universe, or their home is tainted and in need of healing the forest is the first thing that many of the shamans turn too (Desmarcherlier et. al 1996). In 2010 Van Solinge and Tim Boekhout complied documents to explain and reveal the crimes that deforestation and conflicts in the amazon have brought onto the indigenous population that have laid claim to this land as their home for generations. Van Solinge and Time Boekhout look at the effects of deforestation crimes and conflicts that have ravaged the amazon for decades. Looking at the relationship it has created for indigenous groups and that of western populations.

They also look at the change it has created for hunter-gatherer populations that inhabit the amazon and what it means for them as their home is decimated. The article also looks to call to the public what this means for our human population as a whole as the amazon makes up a large portion of the oxygen that is consumed worldly. They attempt to show that this problem is so much bigger than just the amazon, it is an international crisis that must be addressed. Solinge and Boekhout also examine and discuss possible solutions that could begin to aid those that are personally affected by this on a day to day basis. The main goal of their paper was to discuss and reveal the tragic incidents that have been happening in the Amazon. If we want to aid the Amazon and its inhabitants, then a step back is needed to be taken in order to let the population and the forest heal. One thing they could have pushed for the introduction of western medicine in the groups hurt most by the crimes done to the amazon are still choosing to live. The medicine that they could receive could easily be funded by government money. Though, the main point of the paper was to detail and deliver the crimes and allegation that were going on within and to the rainforest and that they did extraordinarily well. Recently, in 2015 Luz et al. looked at the cultural change affect the indigenous population and their own hunting activity. They were looking at indigenous populations in the Amazon. The effect and adaptations that a hunter-gatherer population must make in order to try and maintain its traditional lifestyle is arguably one of the biggest stressors that these people face today.

Hunter gatherer populations rely on subsistence as an important factor of their economic activity. Subsistence is one of the fundamental foundations of their society. Thus, understanding the cultural effect of encroaching western society can give insight into the dynamic and sometimes dangerous situations that some hunter gatherer populations must entangle with. The researchers are attempting to discuss and properly dissecting the relationship between cultural change and the detachment from traditional culture. They are wanting to explore the loss of traditional culture and how that will affect the way that other researchers study hunter-gatherer groups. Looking at three changes among traditional culture that they are analyzing is the interaction and engagement of hunting. At the same time, dissecting how that compares to hunting efficiency and catch within their territory. Lastly, looking at the change in how traditional cultural interacts with schooling and market areas and how drastically they change with contact and sometimes integration to western society (Luz et al. 2015). They conclude with wanting to push for more conservation in the forest and to aid in the shock of societal and lifestyle changes these people are to face. If they wish to continue their traditional lifestyle then people should leave them be. Looking at the diet and the way in which these groups choose to subsist will guide for a more holistic view on how they work within their own world and how the world reacts to them biologically.

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Liliane Costa Conteville et al. in 2019 looked at gut microbiomes and biomarkers and the placement of their functionality within the diversity of semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer groups of the Amazon. Popular among academics is the idea that populations that have maintained a hunter-gatherer lifestyle while still practicing traditional modes of transportation can be living time capsules (Conteville et al. 2019). They can give a peek at possibly what human microbiome would closely represent for our hunter gatherer ancestors of the past. Thus, giving researchers a basis for them to analyze the evolution of human microbiome and attempt to detangle the relationship it has with human health and disease. Using a method of data collecting called shotgun metagenomic data researchers are analyzing the Yanomami from Brazil. They are a semi-nomadic hunter gatherer population that lives deep in the Brazil and Venezuela Amazon. While attempting to recreate a similar construction of what the human microbiome would be; researchers are looking at how relations and interactions with western society add to the drastic change to humans microbiome (Conteville et al. 2019). In 2013, London Stuart worked on a dissertation thesis for their PhD. They were looking at diet as a double-edged sword; their evidence, the pharmacological properties of food among hunter-gatherers of the Amazon.

The construction of food systems within hunter gatherer societies are evaluated across the Waorani tribe in the Amazon in comparison to the neighboring indigenous tribe that subsists off of agriculture community. The anti-inflammatory nature of the food systems that the Waorani use could possibly contribute to their health. While it does help regulate infectious pathogens that could be passed throughout the community and inflammatory diseases it is also supporting the beneficial growth of good microbiomes for humans to have within their body. This study alone provides enough evidence to show the role that diet plays in human health. This is stressed that in doing so this is often ignored by scientists that specialize in nutrition and agriculture; while also not sharing knowledge like this to policymakers so that the make create policy that would aid the community instead of barring them. Albert and Tourneau examine ethnographies that show the spatial patterns that are used by hunter-gatherers subsistence strategies that they use. In this article researchers are studying the spatial patterns of land use in the Amazon rainforest by the Yanomami community that inhabit the Brazilian Amazon (Albert and Tourneau 2007). They combine high resolution satellite imagery and the global positioning system survey data along with ethnographic fieldwork that depicts natural resource is confined within “reticular space” rather than “territory zones”.

Looking at how the Yanomami interacts with other groups of the amazon and how this entails on the depth of knowledge that they know for the reticular space they inhabit. Finally, they are arguing that this is essential to understanding the environment that these indigenous protected areas contribute and discuss long term sustainable ideas that can aid in managing their environment in the Amazon. The genetic variation and longevity of hunter-gatherers of the Amazon coupled with their remote placement is what gives way for diseases to either die off when it reaches the community or for it to consume the community. The diet and active lifestyle are what can aid to the longevity that many of this population are accustomed to. In 1998 Black et al. looked at the genetic variation of across several hunter-gatherer groups. Researchers worked with 505 individuals belonging to four populations of three different Brazilian Indigenous tribes. The goal was to look at the genetic variation between these tribes. They are also looking at how this contributes to the health of these populations.

One of their main concepts is to discuss the genetic variation between two people who are assumed to be part of the same tribe but yet shared a large degree of genetic variation (Black et al. 1998). The researchers are aiming to emphasize the idiosyncrasies of genetic variation in hunter gatherer populations. The populations main economic resource is the subsistence strategy with extremely rudimentary agriculture. Being able to distinguish the genetic variation between tribes can aid in the discussion of solutions to aid the health of these hunter gatherer populations. (Black et al. 1998). In 2007 Michael Gurven and Kaplan Hillard looked at the longevity among hunter gatherer populations and what their relationship with longevity and ecology has to do with them. Longevity that occurs post reproduction is large feature of human life. Only becoming a recent phenomenon caused largely in part to the improvements of the quality of life – i.e. sanitation, public health and the advances in medical science. However, among hunter-gatherer populations Gurven and Hillard attempt to dissect and disprove that prehistoric human lives were “nasty, brutish, and short” to quote Thomas Hobbs in his depiction of prehistoric societies. They argue that the development of longevity that we see in today’s population would not be without in thanks to the lifestyle an evolution adaptation that happened while we were still hunter gatherers.

They discuss age-specific dependency and its relations to resource production is helped to explain the adaptive longevity in humans though an evolutionary lens (Gurven and Hillard 2007). By the end of the research they understood that the link between a long life would be the activity that they participated in thought their life and their subsistence of rudimentary agriculture with seasonal hunting and gathering (Gurven and Hillard 2007). The idea of modern hunter gather societies in the world today is a subject that has ignited the academic community. But if this paper has done anything; it was to prove that they are very much alive and around in today’s world. Trying to solve world problems is also a center of topic to discuss among the younger academic community and the scholarly academic community. Debates ranging from subsistence consumption to disease patterns among populations has kindled a plethora of research to be done around the globe. Among some of the research done, results showing a high rise of human papillomavirus; otherwise known as HPV, and cervical cancer among the hunter gathers communities of the Amazon. This has left scholars to wonder what the cause could be due to cervical cancer being referred to as a “modern disease”. Researchers are trying to see what the amplifying difference of the hunter gather lifestyle in comparison to the western lifestyle contributes to the high rate of HPV among indigenous hunter gather women. Something that could contribute to the high cause of HPV and cervical cancer among indigenous hunter gather women could be the lack if HPV vaccinations. Possibly, does the lack of hygienic actions in comparison to western society by hunter gathers have to do for the high rate of HPV and cervical cancer. While women are the only people that can have cervical cancer, it has recently been confirmed that men can contract HPV through sexual intercourse. For future studies if men can contract the virus and pass it along; what is the total percentage of HPV among Amazon Indigenous hunter gather communities?

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HPV and Cervical Cancer among Indigenous Amazonian Hunter-Gatherer Groups: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from
“HPV and Cervical Cancer among Indigenous Amazonian Hunter-Gatherer Groups: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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