Tsimane: Bolivia

The Tsimane occupy a large area of both wet-forest and savanna lands throughout the Andean foothills and Moxos savanna of Bolivia. They practice swidden agriculture (primarily rice, corn, sweet manioc and plantain) and remain heavily dependent on forest goods, both foraged and hunted. Only men hunt, but men women and children all fish.

The Tsimane have remained resilient to major changes in subsistence and lifestyle over the last century by continually shifting their settlements to more remote areas. However, due to encroachment and access to mechanized transportation, a number of villages are now located closer to market towns, which has produced increased access to wage labor, a mixed economy, and variable degrees of exposure to formal education.

Dr. Helen Davis is the primary researcher at the Tsimane fieldsite; she has spent 36 months in the field with the Tsimane over the past 7 years. Davis has investigated factors affecting cognitive performance in children, including exposure to formal education, health and nutrition, and parental embodied capital.