Brazil’s first peoples were composed of several ethnic groups descended from ancient migrants from North Asia. They were semi-nomadic tribes who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and some agriculture. These early cultures did not leave stone monuments or keep written records, and unfortunately most wood and bone relics have deteriorated in the humid climate.
A significant number of these tribes were wiped out with the arrival of European diseases, and others were enslaved to work on Portuguese sugar plantations.
Today, native tribes have been offered official protection by the FUNAI (National Indian Service). There are still some tribes living deep in the Amazon that have been able to resist acculturation into Brazilian society. Unfortunately, rubber exploration daily poses a serious threat to these native peoples, including expulsion and death.