Did you know that there are still tribes that live without contact with the modern world? In fact, there are an estimated 113 uncontacted tribes in the Brazilian Amazon, with 27 confirmed sightings, and the Brazilian government has recently released incredibly captivating drone footage of one of these tribes, providing us with an unprecedented insight into how its members live on a day-to-day basis
The video of this never-before-seen tribe was released last Tuesday night, but it was actually filmed last year by Brazil's agency for indigenous affairs. Drones were used to capture the rare footage in order to monitor the isolated tribes. To see the incredible drone footage of this never-before-seen tribe for yourself, check out the video below:
In the video, you can clearly see 16 members of the tribe walking around. One appears to have a bow and arrow and there is evidence of crops and deforestation. Handmade tools and lodging have also been discovered. The tribe lives in the Vale do Javari region, which is in the southwest part of the Amazon. This area houses more tribes than any other part of Brazil and has been an area of interest to researchers for years, but the recently released video is the first of its kind.
"These images have the power to make society and the government reflect on the importance of protecting these groups," Wallace Bastos, president of the indigenous affairs agency, said.
So little is known about this tribe that researchers don't even know its name. Guesses have been made not only about what it calls itself, but also about the members' ethnicity and the language they speak. The goal in discovering more about these hidden cultures is that knowledge can help the Brazilian government better protect them.
The agency does not seek to make contact with the tribes. After all, these tribes do not attempt to make contact with the outside world at all. "If they wanted contact with the outside world, they would seek out ways to communicate with us," said Bruno Pereira who works for the agency.
So far, 107 isolated groups in Brazil have been registered. It seems they are aware of cities and villages in their proximity but traumatic experiences with outsides have led to maintaining solitary tribal lives. For example, last year 10 tribespeople were allegedly killed by gold miners who stumbled into the area. This isn't the first deadly attack on a tribe. There have been many clashes with nearby civilizations and even epidemics when viruses unknown among the tribes are passed from outsiders. Without modern medicine, entire tribes can be wiped out.
Take a closer look at the drone footage to get even more of an insight into their world:
In one tribe, all inhabitants except for one were murdered by farmers 22 years ago. Footage of the lone survivor was captured by researchers who nicknamed him "the man in the hole". He has been seen attempting to survive alone without any other human contact.
He received his nickname after he was often found to be digging holes in the ground, which were for him to hide in or to set traps for animals. He has not attempted to make contact with any outsiders but has accepted handmade weapons that have been left for him by the indigenous affairs agency.
Despite giving him makeshift items such as axes and machetes, the agency has a policy of not interfering with his way of life. They have never offered any modern tools or goods and have never let any of the researchers be seen by him.
"The man in the hole" uses a bow and arrow to hunt pigs, birds, and monkeys, wears nothing but a loincloth, and lives in a hut made from local trees. He also has managed to create his own papaya and corn plantation.
"I understand his decision. It is his sign of resistance, and a little repudiation, hate, knowing the story he went through," said Altair Algayer, who also works at the indigenous affairs agency. As a result, the agency has granted "the man in the hole" a territory of 8,070 hectares to protect his way of life.
The agency really wants to be able to show that these tribes are alive and thriving. In order to do that, they must grant land territory to them. This has been a source of conflict for some greedy outsiders who would want the land for themselves.
Similar to "the man in the hole", researchers have been monitoring the long-lost Moxihatetema tribe who live in an isolated part of the South American jungle. They seemingly went missing for a period of time, but images taken from a passing airplane revealed that they were alive and well in a portion of the Amazon rainforest in Northern Brazil.
They did not seem to appreciate the small intrusion from outside as one of the photos revealed the tribespeople not looking too pleased. One even shook a spear toward the camera as the plane passed by overhead.
This tribe is heavily monitored because of concerns over clashes with nearby miners who illegally trespass onto the protected land in search of gold. Hopefully, the use of drones and other new technology will better enable the agency to monitor these tribes with little interference.
It is important that we learn all we can about these indigenous people so that they can be better protected and their cultures and ways of living can remain preserved.