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For Thanksgiving, A Geography Of The Indigenous World (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 11/21/11 08:25 AM ET   Updated: 11/21/11 04:03 PM ET

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the Pilgrim's bountiful 1621 harvest and a thank you to the Wampanoag tribe, members of which had taught the starving zealots to plant New World-appropriate crops and catch exotic species of fish. One good turn deserved another.

Unfortunately, most meetings of so-called modern communities don't lead to bread breaking, much less national holidays. Not to rain on the Thanksgiving parade, but New England's tribes found themselves at war with invaders little more than a decade after the great feast. Indigenous communities have been pushed to the edges of the map by prospectors and political agendas.

They aren't gone.

The world may be flat and globalization may be an inexorable trend, but tribes stills persist all over the world. Finding them may not be easy, but these native peoples have managed to maintain traditions while living in the forests they've called home for as long as they can remember.

Survival International's Joanna Eede shared the following tour of the shrinking world of modern, indigenous peoples. SI has just publishedTribal People For Tomorrow's World, Stephen Corry's survey of the issues affecting native populations the world over.

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'We love the forest as we love our own bodies,' say the 'Pygmy' peoples who live in the densely forested regions of Central and West Africa.

Each group -- the Twa, Aka, Ba'Aka and Mbuti -- is a distinct people with diverse languages, yet one word is common to all: jengi, which means the spirit of the forest.

Pygmy men will scale immense trees in search of honey, and are such proficient mimics they can imitate the sound of a distressed antelope in order to lure another out of the bush.

Picture © Kate Eshelby
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Filed by Andrew Burmon  |