The Rubber Tree People were an ancient Native American tribe who lived in the rainforests of Central America on Earth. They were amongst the "Inheritors," descendants of Humans to whom a genetic bonding was imparted by an alien race which the Rubber Tree People referred to as "Sky Spirits."
Some descendants of the Rubber Tree People chose to remain in the jungle and live in the way of their ancestors, never leaving and rarely intermarrying with outsiders. Due to their isolation, by the 24th century they had evolved similar facial features to the Sky Spirits, a result of the genetic modifications which the Spirits had performed on them.
In 2344, a descendant of the Rubber Tree People named Kolopak took his fifteen-year-old son, Chakotay, into the jungle to find the members of their tribe who had chosen to isolate themselves, although Chakotay was less than enthusiastic about the journey. Twenty-six years later, the USS Voyager discovered the Sky Spirits' homeworld in the Delta Quadrant, and Chakotay, who by this time was Voyager's first officer, learned the story of how the Spirits had visited his ancestors. (VOY: "Tattoo")
- The Rubber Tree People: Mayan or Myth?, an analysis of Chakotay's heritage.