The Brazilian government confirmed the existence of a community of uncontacted Amerindians in a protected area near the Peruvian border, reports Funai, Brazil’s Indian affairs agency.
Funai said the tribe came to the attention of authorities after satellite images revealed three large clearings in the Vale do Javari reservation, which is nearly the size of Portugal and is known to house at least 14 uncontacted tribes. Subsequent airplane fly-overs in April provided more data.
Funai estimates the community’s population at 200 people who live in four large straw-roofed structures that have been built within the last year. The tribe appears to grow bananas, corn, peanuts, and other crops.
Picture of buildings in the newly discovered community. Image courtesy of Funai.
Funai says the group likely belongs to the Pano linguistic family.
As is Brazilian government policy, Funai will not attempt to contact the group. However the government will work to protect their land from loggers, miners, ranchers and other invaders to ensure they can continue living in isolation should they wish.
“The main threats to the integrity of these groups are illegal fishing, hunting, logging, mining, large-scale farmers and ranchers, missionaries and frontier activities, like drug trafficking,” said Fabricio Amorim, the Funai coordinator for Vale do Javari. “Another situation that requires care is the oil exploration in Peru, which may impact the Indigenous Javari Valley.”
“The Indigenous Javari Valley is an isolated complex of peoples regarded as the highest concentration of isolated groups in the Amazon and the world,” he added in a statement. Some 2,000 indigenous people are thought to live in Javari.
Funai has identified 68 isolated communities in Brazil.
Indigenous reservations account for nearly 22 percent of the Brazilian Amazon.
Google Earth map
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