The Brazilian government has confirmed the existence of a previously unknown group of so-called uncontacted people who have remained isolated from industrial society.
The Brazilian government agency charged with protecting the country’s indigenous tribes took aerial photographs of the group’s Amazon dwellings. The photos were released by Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous people.
Survival International research director Fiona Watson talked to Wired.com about the photos.
The structure of the dwelling is very different from those seen in photographs of another uncontacted Amazon group that were released in February. Unlike those small, open dwellings, these are large and enclosed.
“Probably 20 or 30 people could fit in there,” said Watson. “You can see smaller structures toward the back of the house. These could be areas for cooking, or storing things. I’ve been to indigenous villages where they have separate structures for keeping the large birds from which they pluck feathers to make arrows.”
Below are photographs taken of an uncontacted group found along the Peru-Brazil border in 2008. These jungle inhabitants seem annoyed, or terrified, at the airplane taking the pictures. They are pointing their arrows at the plane. This plane must have blown their minds. Never would they have seen such a large bird of prey. They must have thought this giant rigid bird was going to pounce on their people. Some of them look like medicine shamans, painted in a dark colour.
Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalised civilisation.
Few peoples have remained totally uncontacted by modern civilisation, and almost all current groups are in danger of being unwillingly contacted. Indigenous rights activists call for such groups to be left alone in respect of their right to self-determination. A number have chosen to make contact either exceedingly difficult or dangerous for those trying to reach them.
The majority of such communities are located in densely-forested areas in South America and New Guinea. Knowledge of the existence of these groups comes mostly from infrequent (and often violent) encounters by neighbouring tribes, and also from aerial footage. A major problem with contacting isolated people is that they will lack any immunity to common diseases, which can be devastating to a closely-contained population with no natural immunity.
Areas of the world where uncontacted peoples live.