Long lost tribe spotted in the Colombian Amazon

February 23, 2013

The March 2013 issue of Smithsonian magazine features an account of the flight that confirmed the presence of an isolated indigenous tribe in a remote part of the Colombian Amazon.

In 2011 Colombian anthropologist Roberto Franco and photographer Cristóbal von Rothkirch went in search of an "uncontacted" tribe rumored to live in a tract of rainforest between the Caquetá and Putumayo rivers in the Colombian Amazon. During a flyover they spotted a maloca — an indigenous hut — in a region with no other human habitation, confirming the existence of the group. A subsequent flyover found four more indigenous structures.

The thatch longhouses are thought to be belong to two indigenous groups, the Yuri and the Passé. The groups, which are believed to have sought refuge from the outside world to escape the abuses of the early 20th century rubber trade, may represent the last isolated tribes in the Colombian Amazon.

Isolated and uncontacted indigenous people in Colombia are afforded the right to isolation, the right to their traditional territories, and reparations in case of violence under legal decree #4633 signed by Colombian President Santos in December 2011. That measure specifically protects such groups — which may be voluntarily isolated — from unwanted contact

For the full story, check out The Lost Tribes of the Amazon by Joshua Hammer.

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mongabay.com (February 23, 2013).

Long lost tribe spotted in the Colombian Amazon.