Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Video of an Uncontacted Tribe Spotted in the Brazilian Jungle

[UPDATE: OK, then, turns out this a replay of a drama that played out in 2008 - thanks to Adrian from immanence for the heads up - and check his post, first contact (again & again), for the details.]

Uncontacted Family: Closeup

[more images available at Wired]

This commentary (accompanying the video) was posted at Thoughtware.tv - another article appeared at Huffington Post (below the video). Pretty amazing images - I wonder how the sighting of the plane (the people are clearly watching it - one guy looks like he is ready to shoot it down with an arrow) will shape their understanding of the world. Is the plane seen as some kind of sky spirit, a god, an animal? Will this event become some form of myth?

Video of an uncontacted tribe spotted in the Brazilian jungle has been released, bringing them to life in ways that photographs alone cannot.

The tribe, believed to be Panoa Indians, have been monitored from a distance by Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, a government agency charged with handling the nation’s indigenous communities. Many of the world’s 100 or so uncontacted tribes live in the Amazon.

Until 1987, it was government policy to contact such people. But contact is fraught with problems, especially disease; people who have stayed isolated from the mainstream world have stayed isolated from its pathogens, and have little immunity to our diseases. Brazilian government policy is now to watch from afar, and — at least in principle — to protect uncontacted tribes from intrusion.

Unfortunately, uncontacted tribes usually live in resource-rich areas threatened by logging, mining and other development. There’s often pressure on governments to turn a blind eye. Videos like this, released by tribal advocacy group Survival International and produced by the BBC’s Human Planet program, are legal proof that uncontacted tribes still exist, and deserve protection.

[If this embedded video does not play, watch it here]

Here is the text from the Huffington Post piece on the release of this footage.

Worldwide attention has turned to the Peru-Brazil border where uncontacted Indians live, and the South American countries are finally feeling the pressure to protect them.

Survival International's campaign with newly released photos of the tribe, followed by a breathtakingly haunting film by the BBC, has raised awareness of one of the last uncontacted tribes in the world.

The BBC film, narrated by actor Gillian Anderson was made in collaboration with the Brazilian government for the new BBC 1 'Human Planet' series. Shooting from a kilometer away with a powerful zoom lens in order to minimize disturbance, the BBC crew captures gardens, homes, and people covered in red body paint. An undisturbed civilization. Unfortunately, it may not remain this way.

Illegal loggers have entered the Peru side, forcing the Indians into Brazil. Jose Carlos Meirelles, a member of the Indian Affairs Dept. in Brazil, is responsible for monitoring the land and proving that the tribe exists. According to him, "This footage is the only way to convince the rest of the world that they are here. If illegal loggers or miners contact these people, they won't shoot images... they'll shoot guns."

Until now, there has been little success in preventing the loggers from taking over the land. As Gillian Anderson reports, "Instead of expelling the loggers, Peru's government has suggested that uncontacted tribes don't exist at all." But that seems to be changing, as Peru's authorities have just announced that they plan to work with Brazil to stop the loggers from entering Indian territory. Survival's Director Stephen Corry holds hope for the future, stating, "This is a really encouraging first step, let's hope their declared intention turns into real action quickly."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Unfounded allegations have been made that this video is a hoax because similar photos of the same tribe that were released in 2008 were incorrectly reported in the media as being an "undiscovered" tribe, thus leading to rumor.
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