Imperiled Amazon Indians Make 1st Contact with Outsiders

Jul 22, 2014

By Megan Gannon


Indigenous people with no prior contact to the outside world have just emerged from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and made contact with a group of settled Indians, after being spotted migrating to evade illegal loggers, advocates say.

The news, which was released yesterday (July 2), comes after sightings of the uncontacted Indians in Brazil near the border with Peru, according to the group Survival International. Officials with the organization had warned last month that the isolated tribes face threats of disease and violence as they moved into new territory and possibly encountered other people.

“Something serious must have happened,” José Carlos Meirelles, a former official with the Brazilian Indian Affairs Department FUNAI, said in a statement. “It is not normal for such a large group of uncontacted Indians to approach in this way. This is a completely new and worrying situation, and we currently do not know what has caused it.”

Survival International officials said dozens of uncontacted Indians were recently spotted close to the home of the Ashaninka Indians in Brazil’s Acre state along the Envira River, while a government investigation in the region uncovered more ephemeral traces of the tribe on the move: footprints, temporary camps and food leftovers. On Sunday (June 29), reports suggest, the vulnerable group of Indians made contact with the Asháninka.

Advocates think the Indians crossed into Brazil from Peru to escape drug traffickers and illegal loggers who started working in their territory, Fiona Watson, research and field director for Survival International, told Live Science in an email.

7 comments on “Imperiled Amazon Indians Make 1st Contact with Outsiders

  • I recently went into the Amazon and happened to witness an American evangelical “Mission” reeking havoc on a native population, displacing their laws, social structures and customs with fundamentalist dogma. Our guide, who originally came from that village told of the split in the village, the factions and that violence that ensued.

    To the religious of all faiths. Keep away from these people. Keep your religion to yourself, and don’t presume that your god, one of thousands and thousands of gods, all with equal standing and evidence, is somehow the right god.

    Religion should be practiced by consenting adults in private.

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  • Well said David R Allen.

    Religion is really root of all evil as Dawkins said. I do not know what to say about this topic except it is horrifying and it makes me angry. There is less and less freedom for a human being in this world. And it makes me angry the fact that we (people in general all over the world) who are bothered with this are not doing anything on a global scale. I mean we need to show ours teeth and reciprocate, we need a revolution and fight for freedom. Unfortunately I see no other way when you are bullied, but to return likewise, because this is the only language that bullies understand. We need a revolution on global scale.

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  • Anyone seen the 1991 movie: ‘At Play in the Fields of the Lord”? Tom Berenger, John Lithgow, Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah – left a lasting impression on me – same topic with the “missionaries” trying to convert the indigenous population (Amazon rain forest) to their brand of Christianity!

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  • Yes indeed, “well said David R Allen”; spot on!

    Before I clocked your comment I was going to make a flippant remark along the lines that they might come to rue the day contact was made with them from the outside world.

    It seems they already have; didn’t take long did it.

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  • First, the poster called them “Indians”. There is no such thing as an Amazonian Indian…. Indians are from India the name was mistakenly made by Columbus when he thought he landed on India…hence he called the indigenous Indians instead of doing due diligence and research….now the indigenous are stuck with this misnomer of ignorance. The worst part of this whole debacle is that the American indigenous call themselves Indians….that’s sad.

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  • Desmond Tutu says it best…
    “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

    Missionaries should be banned from contact with any indigenous people.

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