The Not-So-Lost Tribe

By | June 24, 2008

Even in an age when cynical sleuths can hyper-analyze stories for truth and accuracy, the occasional hoax still slips through the cracks. Such was the case with a so-called “lost Amazon tribe.”

A few months ago, mainstream news outlets (including, ahem, Yahoo!) reported that a photographer had found a lost tribe of warriors near the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Photos of the tribe backed up his claim.

As it turns out, the story is only half true. The men in the photo are members of a tribe, but it certainly ain’t “lost.” In fact, as the photographer, José Carlos Meirelles, recently explained, authorities have known about this particular tribe since 1910. The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group. – ybuzz

Much of our species lives in a state of violent denial about who and what we are, as a group. This leads to disturbing hatred and attacks by some individuals toward members of un-contacted tribes. For some persons, finding groups of humans “living naked like animals” triggers their own primitive xenophobic genes. Ironically, those with the most self loathing of their true animal nature act the most like animals.

2 thoughts on “The Not-So-Lost Tribe

  1. Matt - Survival International

    There was no hoax. There may have been some media misunderstanding, but from the beginning, Survival International (the global movement for tribal peoples) and FUNAI (the Brazilian Government National Indian Foundation) have not said that the tribe was ‘unknown’. The tribe was and remains ‘uncontacted’: no outsider has been known to have any peaceful contact with its members.

    This is true of about 100 tribes worldwide. Since the photographs were released, Peru has acknowledged the lands of uncontacted tribes on its side of the border, and sent a team to investigate the illegal logging that threatens their survival.

    Find out more about the world’s uncontacted tribes at and read Survival’s article on the supposed hoax at

    Survival International

  2. ze

    I don’t think they’re really unknown
    it’s someone who wants to have some attention
    making false news off it

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