New Uncontacted Tribe in Amazon

This is the second small tribalgroup in as many years located out in the Amazon.  There also are likely similar tribes orgroups still out in spots of Papua New Guinea undiscovered.

A small group such as this, whichis well below the maximum village size of around 150 to 200, will have noimpact outside perhaps a radius of ten miles or less.  Modest gardening keeps staples available and lighthunting would supplement their living with occasional meat and fish.

I suspect that this group isaware of an outside world but have chosen to live this way in seclusion.  They are actually quite mobile and could pickup and go elsewhere anytime, successfully living of the land.  Today most forest game is under exploited andmust be readily available to these folk.

Unknown, Uncontacted Tribe Photographed in Brazilian Jungle

February 1, 2011

A previously uncontacted tribe has been found in Amazon jungle, withaerial photographs giving a glimpse of people who've had no known contact withanyone except their tribal neighbors.

Taken by Brazil'sIndian Affairs department, the photographs were released Jan. 31 by Survival International, atribal-advocacy group.

About 100 uncontacted tribes are believed to exist worldwide. They livein remote, resource-rich areas, and are threatened by invasive development. Thelast such discovery was made in 2008, alsoin the Amazon. This tribe was spotted at the mouth of the Envira river inwestern Brazil,not far from the Peruvian border.

"We're trying to bring awareness to uncontacted tribes, becausethey are so vulnerable. Governments often deny that they exist," said TessThackara, Survival International's U.S. coordinator. "We'rereleasing these images because we need evidence to prove they're there."

Possibly Panoan

Judging by their haircuts, the Indians appear to be Panoan, a tribenative to eastern Peru andwestern Brazil,said Survival International research director Fiona Watson. They're probablydescended from Indians who escaped contact during the Amazon rubber boom of thelate-19th and early-20th centuries, a period of near-genocidal exploitation. Though they haven'thad direct contact with the outside world, they'll know about it.

"I've interviewed people who have gone through the process ofcontact," said Watson. "One of the things that struck me is that theyknow more about us than we think they do. They've been watching us. The worldis full of dangers, and they've made this decision to remain isolated forsurvival. But there's a lot of curiosity."

Trade with tribes who have made contact likely explains the machetecarried by a young boy at center, and the pot atop a stone below. Moretraditional is a basket containing papaya at left. Above it is a pile of bittermanioc, peeled prior to soaking. At top right are baskets with carrying straps,with banana leaves used as covers.

From the picture, the people appear in good health, said Watson."These people look healthy. They're not obese, they're not thin. There'snot a decrease in the population. The communal houses are still there,"she said.

Garden Clearing

A garden clearing is clearly visible from above. A man painted red withannatto-seed dye can be seen on a path leading to the garden. Red paint is a commonbody decoration among Amazon tribes.

"They must feel relatively comfortable to have a settled communitywith developed gardens and structures, which is good news," said ChrisFagan, executive director of the Upper AmazonConservancy, an environmental-and-cultural-conservation group that works insoutheastern Peru.

Fagan said the photographs are important for providing documentation ofthe group, an essential step in pushing the Brazilian government to honor lawsthat promise territorial rights to indigenous tribes. Those laws can be evadedby refusing to acknowledge the tribes' existence.
Fagan also recommended a consumer boycott of Amazonian mahogany, demandfor which fuels deforestation of tribal territories.

Man in the Garden

A closer view shows the man in clearer detail, along with details ofbanana plants and annatto shrubs in the garden. Papaya and manioc would also begrown there, and perhaps cotton used to make bracelets, anklets and hammocks,said Watson
Three Men Look Upward

Two men painted red and another painted black look up from theirvillage clearing. Black paint can be either decorative or a sign of hostility,but Watson doesn't believe hostility is directed at the plane overhead.

"In other photographs of uncontacted people that I've seen, yousometimes see them with bows and arrows pointed at the plane, or firing at theplane. That clearly denotes hostility," she said. "In this picture,they appear to be an isolated people, looking up with curiosity."

Threatened by Illegal Logging

Thackara and Watson want the public to write the Peruvian government,urging a halt of illegal logging in the Amazon. With logging, ranching andmining come foreign diseases and the destruction of forests on which tribesrely.

Some uncontacted people have fled from Peru intowestern Brazil,where this new group was spotted. Thackara emphasized that the tribes deserveprotection not as living examples of Stone Age life, but as rare and distinctcultures.

"We're trying to encourage the view that these are evolvingsocieties," she said. "They're not stuck in the Dark Ages. We want peopleto see them as something that can be part of our future."

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