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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Amazonia | [Jim Fleming]

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Amazonia

Deep in the Amazon rainforest lives a mysterious tribe known as “the Arrow People.” One of the last unconquered tribes, they’ve had virtually no contact with the modern world. Now, they’re fighting for survival as developers cut through the Amazon. We’ll travel with an explorer who’s trying to protect the Arrow People, and meet an anthropologist whose life was transformed by Amazonian shamans and the hallucinogen ayahuasca.
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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, on assignment for National Geographic, reporter Scott Wallace joined an expedition led by Brazilian explorer Sidney Posseulo - a man whos life's mission is to protect the Amazon's indigenous people. They traveled deep into the Amazon, risking death, in search of one of the last uncontacted tribes, the Arrow People.

Next, in the 1980s anthropologist Jeremy Narby went to the Peruvian Amazon to investigate the plight of indigenous people. Narby's experience with the Ashaninca Indians transformed his life, especially once he tried their powerful hallucinogen ayahuasca. He says the experience forced him to question the reductionist, materialist paradigm of Western knowledge.

Then, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder is the story of a young scientist working for a pharmaceutical company who's sent to Brazil to track down another scientist who may have discovered a miraculous fertility drug. It's a fable about medical ethics and self-discovery. Patchett also describes her own experience visiting the Amazon.

Finally, Alfred Wallace was the co-discover, with Charles Darwin, of the theory of natural selection. Wallace was also a great 19th century naturalist who spent years collecting speciments in the Amazon River Basin and later in the Malay Archipelago. Unlike the aristocratic Darwin, Wallace always had to work for a living. Historian of science James Moore says Wallace remains a mysterious figure, unlike the more famous Darwin. [Broadcast Date: February 1, 2013]

(P) and ©2013 Wisconsin Public Radio

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