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Culture Express > News Video

Uncontacted tribes in Brazil documented in new video


08-10-2014 19:20 BJT

The world celebrated the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Saturday. Its aim is to highlight the importance of protecting the rights of indigenous people through policies and programmes. In Brazil, uncontacted indigenous tribes have been making frequent appearances, the latest documented in a revealing video.

First encounters with uncontacted tribes are rarely photographed or even documented. But in June, a Brazilian government team managed to capture these images, showing a group of seven young Indians approaching them from across the Envira River.

They were approaching an established Indian village near the border with Peru in the western Brazilian Amazon. Armed with bows and arrows, the group requested clothes and food from the Ashaninka tribe based at Simpatia village.

"Uncontacted tribes don't have any frequent contact with non-indigenous society but that doesn't mean that they don't have any contact with any of their neighbours and actually it's quite common for them to have sporadic contact with their some of their indigenous neighbours and it's been known for them to go to other indigenous communities and whilst they're not there take a few pots and pans, things that they think could be useful," said Sarah Dee Shenker from Survival International.

In the latest contact with the tribe, an Ashaninka Indian took the initiative to share some bananas as a gesture of good will.

They also offered clothing and food to the group, although this caused discussion among government agents, because clothes and food can transmit diseases, but Indians have yet to develop antibodies.

"The policy of the National Indian Foundation is to respect the will of the indians. Differently from our past, we are willing to accept the moment the indians choose to make permanent contact with Brazilian society. The idea is to guarantee a perimeter, protecting the region where they live," said Jose Carlos Levinho, anthropologist.

On August 1st, the Brazilian Government committed to spending 2.3-million US Dollars in the next five years to help protect the uncontacted groups of the western Amazon. Part of the money will be spent establishing four new contact fronts and bases in the jungle. Neighbouring tribes will also be educated on how to deal with their wild neighbours, who still live like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago.

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