Four years ago members of an unnamed Amazonian tribe were filmed from the air and created a world-wide sensation. There had been a lot of doubt about the possibility of unknown indigenous groups living in remote areas of the Amazon, but this video by tribal rights organization Survival International confirmed their existence. About 20 days ago, members believed to be from the same group made contact with a settled Asháninka indigenous community.
This is the first time since monitoring of the group began in the 1980’s that contact has been made. Researchers such as José Carlos Meirelles, who has monitored this region for the Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department for 20 years, are concerned since it is unusual for such a large group of uncontacted Indians to come out and seek out other groups like this.
There are many concerns about the movement of these tribes besides the loss of the land they have lived on for years. The people face new viruses and illnesses that they have no immunities to, and relocation can bring threats of conflict. However, they have no choice with the activities of illegal loggers and drug-traffickers forcing them out of their traditional areas. While Brazil has a no-contact policy and has signed agreements with Peru to respect the autonomy of the Indians, it is a lawless area that is difficult to control or protect even with assigned guards.
The world was gripped by the sight of a previously uncontacted tribe in the Brazilian rainforest three years ago. What happened next has only just emerged – and it suggests their very existence is under threat.
People fear that something bad must have happened to force the tribe to come out and ask for food and clothing. Doctors and linguistics specialists are now in the area in hopes of protecting the group and to help with communication. These events prove that there is even more at stake with the disappearing Amazon: the culture, the land, the way of living, and the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest itself need to be protected, not destroyed.