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As millions of dollars poured into environmental organizations during the past decade, hundreds of activists headed for Central and South America to save threatened animals and to preserve the rain forests. Some activists arrived with naive and romantic notions about virgin forests. They had failed to accept the fact that the forests were already occupied, used, and "developed" by Indians. The environmentalists soon met and were sometimes confronted by Indian tribes and nations asserting their ownership of the same forests, lands, and resources that the environmentalists sought to protect.

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