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The older Matses men once practiced raiding outside settlements and this period of Matses history was very violent. Until 1969, the Matses were feared native warriors that actively raided Spanish and Portuguese speakers for tools and women. In addition, they took a large number of captives from other indigenous Amazonian tribes and integrated them into the Matses tribe. The raids of these native warriors covered a large area extending from the Ucayali River of Peru in the west to the Itui River of Brazil in the east. The warriors organized a raid by calling other men to a ceremony in which the warriors chanted while dancing with their bows and arrows. These raids peaked in the mid-1960s with the Peruvian Air force actively bombing Matses communities. Even the US Marines became involve, sending helicopters from the US Southern Command in Panama to help evacuate the Peruvian militias after their failure to defeat the Matses native warriors.

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Text © 2007, Photos © 2007, Bjorn Svensson, all rights reserved, Native Warrior.