Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

By | May 30, 2008

One of South America’s few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.

The Brazilian government says it took the images to prove the tribe exists and help protect its land.

The pictures, taken from an aeroplane, show red-painted tribe members brandishing bows and arrows.

More than half the world’s 100 uncontacted tribes live in Brazil or Peru, Survival International says.

Stephen Corry, the director of the group – which supports tribal people around the world – said such tribes would “soon be made extinct” if their land was not protected.

‘Monumental crime’

Survival International says that although this particular group is increasing in number, others in the area are at risk from illegal logging.

The photos were taken during several flights over one of the most remote parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Acre region.

They show tribe members outside thatched huts, surrounded by the dense jungle, pointing bows and arrows up at the camera.

“We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,” the group quoted Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior, an official in the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department, as saying.

“This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.”

He described the threats to such tribes and their land as “a monumental crime against the natural world” and “further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the ‘civilised’ ones, treat the world”.

“These images are all from a later pass by the plane. The men, painted red, brandished weapons and fired off some arrows at the aircraft. The person in black may be a woman.”

Disease is also a risk, as members of tribal groups that have been contacted in the past have died of illnesses that they have no defence against, ranging from chicken pox to the common cold. – bbc

6 thoughts on “Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

  1. Ann

    Request from:

    ‘What is happening in this region [of Peru] is a monumental crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the ‘civilised’ ones, treat the world,’ said Meirelles [from Survival Internnational].

    Please write a letter to Peru’s president asking him to recognise his country’s isolated Indians’ land rights – and by doing so protect uncontacted peoples on both sides of the Peru-Brazil border.

  2. Ann

    “Uncontacted” and “Isolated”?

    Not True!

    Anthropologists say almost all of these tribes know about Western civilization and have sporadic contact with prospectors, rubber tappers and loggers, but choose (Please note!) to turn their backs on civilization, usually because they have been attacked.

    “It’s a choice they made to remain isolated or maintain only occasional contacts, but these tribes usually obtain some modern goods through trading with other Indians,”

    Bernardo Beronde, an anthropologist who works in the region, told the Associated Press.

    Meirelles told The Associated Press that anthropologists know next to nothing about the group, but suspect it is related to the Tano and Aruak tribes. Brazil’s National Indian Foundation believes there may be as many as 68 “uncontacted” groups around Brazil, although only 24 have been officially confirmed, according to the Associated Press.

  3. Christine

    i think this is amazing that now in the twenty first centrury theres still people that live without t.v’s,computers,freezers, and much other things.

  4. Ann

    Christine, as quoted above: “It’s a choice they [the tribes] made to remain isolated or maintain only occasional contacts, but these tribes usually obtain some modern goods through trading with other Indians,” I think we should respect their choices. Perhaps they know something we don’t, as hard as it for us to imagine that.

    1. Jon

      I do not think it should even be a question of respecting this society’s choices. This is all this culture has ever known, and therefore there is no other way for them to live. If I were in place of someone of this tribe or any other uncontacted tribe, it would be alien for me to think of living another life. I have no idea what it is like to live this life, but it is completely expected in my mind that there is probably nothing one could do to expect members of tribal societies to ever conform to a vague idea of being part of a working class system that is completely counterproductive for a person of a society that works to live and does not live to work. For example when Darwin observed the three Fuegian children from Tierra del Fuego that were taken to England for an entire year in attempt to see if they could adapt to the sophisticated societal norm of that culture, which is far before so much of the technological mess that the world is now immersed in by the way, and upon returning them to Tierra del Fuego, it was the immediate response of the children to suddenly rip all of their English-given clothes off and run back to their tribal family/community. My point is that it just would not work. And now, if in the 21st century we still cannot assume a greater sense of responsibility for recognizing that interfering with these cultures and societies that we are completely undoing hope for the future of their cultures, then the end result will be one of unwavering intolerance that will eventually devour the entire world. I see this completely in effect now, but it is not too late to procure the land to help at least keep these societies functioning.

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