New Tribe "Found" in Brazil: An Opportunity to Be a Bit Creepy & Colonialist

The news has broken across major news sources this morning: a new, uncontacted tribe has been found in Brazil, on the Amazonian border with Peru. Obviously this tribe has been in contact with its tribal neighbors since, like, forever (it's human nature wander around and explore), but as far as Brazil, Europe, and anthropologists are concerned, this is a new discovery.

The BBC has placed helpful tags to label these people, who apparently didn't appreciate the interruption of the aircraft flying overhead to examine them and take pictures. Something about the gaze of the viewer (overhead, safe from any threat from arrows, invisible) and the way we can see the Indians (below, toy-soldier-like in size, nearly nude, waving a laughable threat at our faces, unable to hide or protect themselves from us) is troubling.

There are between 50 and 100 similar groups living without contact with the rest of the world. The dangers groups like this face upon a situation of first contact? Disease (remember the case in Peru where a reality TV show spread an epidemic?). Destruction of their habitat. Removal from their lands. I think it's important to note that these are people who've delved deeper into the Amazon in order to avoid contact with the western world as a survival strategy.

Brazil is trying to take a new tack in its relationship to indigenous groups in the Amazon: prevent their destruction. These photos have been released not just to indulge human curiosity, but to bring international attention to this situation and thereby put pressure on officials to not allow loggers, rubber traders, farmers, and ranchers to go in and take over the land (remember when that US nun was assassinated in Brazil for standing up for the poor when loggers and ranchers tried to take their land?).

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One Response to New Tribe "Found" in Brazil: An Opportunity to Be a Bit Creepy & Colonialist

nblinks said...

Well "uncontacted tribe" is somewhat better than "lost tribe". No need to cast aspersions on their sense of direction.


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