Photos released to protect endangered Amazonians

Jan 31, 2011
Undated handout picture released by Survival International of what they say are uncontacted Indians seen from a Brazilian government's observation aircraft in the Brazilian Amazon forest, near the border with Peru. Brazil has allowed the release of rare photographs of Amazonian natives to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people who rights groups say are faced with possible extinction.

Brazil has allowed the release of rare photographs of Amazonian natives to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people who rights groups say are faced with possible extinction.

The astonishing images, showing curious adults and children peering skyward with their faces dyed reddish-orange and toting bows, arrows and spears, were taken by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).

Rights group Survival International, which accompanied the government agency on the overflight near the Brazil-Peru border, said their baskets were full of papaya and manioc grown in a communal garden.

"Illegal loggers will destroy this indigenous people. It is essential that the Peruvian government stop them before it is too late," warned Survival's director Stephen Corry.

FUNAI has released similar photographs in the past and acknowledged that Peruvian loggers are sending some natives fleeing across the border to less-affected rainforests in .

The coordinator of Brazil's Indian organization COIAB, Marcos Apurina, said he hoped the images would draw attention to the plight of the indigenous peoples and encourage their protection.

"It is necessary to reaffirm that these peoples exist, so we support the use of images that prove these facts. These peoples have had their most fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, ignored -- it is therefore crucial that we protect them," he said.

Graphic on an Amazonian tribe featured in a set of photographs released by Brazil to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people struggling to survive as logging threatens their way of life.

FUNAI says there are 67 tribes in Brazil that do not have sustained contact with the outside world. Some are often referred to as "uncontacted" tribes even though they have some kind of, albeit limited, contacts.

A year ago, rights groups sent a letter to then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva voicing concern that the very survival of indigenous groups was under threat.

Brazil's latest census counted more than 500,000 indigenous people among more than 190 million Brazilians. Millions in the country, however, have some indigenous ancestry.

Most indigenous people in the Americas descend from Asian people who crossed a land bridge from Siberia, an estimated 13,000-17,000 years ago. One notable exception: the indigenous people on Chile's Easter island, in the Pacific, are ethnic (Rapa Nui) Polynesians.

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3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 31, 2011
Uncontacted? There's an aluminium pot sitting on the edge of a rock in front of the boy and man on the left; the boy toward the middle has a large metal machete; there's a metal knife sitting on a rock between the boy and man on the right.
5 / 5 (4) Jan 31, 2011
RobertKarlStonjek-- Nice catch.

Although it is certainly possible that those are trade objects and this particular group has never had actual "contact" with outsiders, it is almost impossible to imagine any "uncontacted" humans still on this planet, no matter how isolated they are and how traditional their way of life remains, if the definition of "uncontacted" requires absolutely no influence whatsoever from any other "uncontacted" groups.

Since obviously at some point on the periphery of concentric rings of "uncontacted" zones you would have to share at least one boundary with a "contacted" group which shared a larger boundary on the other side with the "contacting" culture, you would get some degree of cultural influence in terms of trade goods, and arguably some degree of indirect "contact" would have thus occured through them.
not rated yet Feb 01, 2011
Uncontacted? There's an aluminium pot sitting on the edge of a rock in front of the boy and man on the left; the boy toward the middle has a large metal machete; there's a metal knife sitting on a rock between the boy and man on the right.

I was gonna say. I suspect we are also miss-interpreting their "aggression". I think they merely want to shoot down the big bird to get more "cargo". Nothing personal.
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
At least bring these people some grooming aids.
not rated yet Feb 01, 2011
Has anyone looked at their FEET?!!

How can anyone deny the power of selective evolution. Their feet practically have opposable great toes! (Would drive an Italian shoemaker crazy).

Obviously evolved for simplicity of movement barefooted through forest and perhaps limbed-vegetation. Perhaps a living fossil example of our savanna living ancestors in Africa.
1 / 5 (2) Feb 01, 2011
What kills me is that "civilized" people want to protect these "uncontacted" people. What right do the "civilized" people have, to protect "uncontacted" people, who may, or may not, wish to be protected?

Only a liberal can demonstrate such hubris.
5 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
@Shootist: what do you suggest? Capturing them and dropping them in the middle of 20 million people São Paulo city, then say "welcome to civilization. Btw, your territory is part of a nation of 190 million people, no matter that you dont know what a nation is."
not rated yet Feb 01, 2011
I am all for protecting forests and so on, but I fail to see why this state of "uncontactedness" is so important... :-/
1 / 5 (1) Feb 01, 2011
I see that they have updated this page with a second photo explaining the western artifacts...explaining away their ceremony featuring break-dancing and moon walking will not be so easy...
1 / 5 (3) Feb 05, 2011
What gives anyone the right NOT to teach these people about the modern world?

For goodness sake, they live lke animals. Excluding what they obviously were given by someone in the "modern world," thier technology is less than what Europe, Asia, Egypt, and the middle east had 5000 years ago.

This is a sad joke that this has gone on this long that these people have been decieved into living in such squalor and ignorance for hundreds of years while the world developed Steam engines, then electricity, automobiles, and aircraft.
not rated yet Feb 06, 2011
I saw something similar driving through Yorkshire.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 06, 2011
Here's some stunning video of these people: