I meant to blog about this when it occurred, but in June tensions between amazonian indigenous tribes and the Peruvian government boiled over into violence that left dozens of policemen and indigenous protesters dead. The conflict was about oil exploration: the government is pushing for it, the indigenous groups are fighting it.
The incident itself is a little murky, with both sides claiming different stories of "who shot first." Tragically it seems possible that early, inflated reports of the indigenous death count may have led to revenge killings of captured policemen. The fallout does not seem to have resolved the underlying issues at all. You can find good round-ups of news coverage from Amazon Watch and Climate Science Watch.
A few weeks ago, a similar indigenous protest in Ecuador--this time over a new law governing mining and water rights--also turned violent, leading to scores of injuries and at least one death. The fallout from this confrontation seems to be more constructive than in Peru, with the left-wing Correa government accepting talks with the protesters and apparently agreeing to some of their demands. Again, Amazon Watch has the news round-up.
In Ecuador at least, the indigenous people are very well organized, very interested in protecting their sovereignty and (at 35% of the population) a voting bloc to be reckoned with. They are also on the cutting edge of movements for environmental protection. I am less familiar with the situation in Peru, but it is an issue I'm hoping to learn more about.