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Old 05-30-2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Isolated Tribe Found In Brazil

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One of South America's few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.

The Brazilian government says it took the images to prove the tribe exists and help protect its land.

The pictures, taken from an aeroplane, show red-painted tribe members brandishing bows and arrows.

More than half the world's 100 uncontacted tribes live in Brazil or Peru, Survival International says.

Stephen Corry, the director of the group - which supports tribal people around the world - said such tribes would "soon be made extinct" if their land was not protected.
BBC NEWS | Americas | Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

Amazing! Here it is the 21st century, and there are still isolated people being found!

Sad thing is, I wouldn't be surprised that in 20 years, their homes and way of life would be destroyed, and these people would be wearing jeans and t-shirts and using cellphones (or the equivalent of).
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:16 AM   #2
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Im curious to know if these people know life exists outside their home, especially advanced civilized life. The news reporter today said the tribe probably thought it was a big bird or large spirit.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:16 AM   #3
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BBC NEWS | Americas | Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

Amazing! Here it is the 21st century, and there are still isolated people being found!

Sad thing is, I wouldn't be surprised that in 20 years, their homes and way of life would be destroyed, and these people would be wearing jeans and t-shirts and using cellphones (or the equivalent of).
Sure, you are right. And that began with the first colonizers, that annihilated the indian people and imposed a new culture, a "civilized culture".
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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I feel really sorry for them. Here they've had their own little lives as they know it, and that will be changed forever.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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I feel really sorry for them. Here they've had their own little lives as they know it, and that will be changed forever.
Not necessarily, the Brazilian government decided not to disclose the exact location of the tribe and has also announced to protect them from any contact.

We can only hope there are not any bone-headed, greedy journalists or others trying to find them and making a quick buck. Well, we can only hope...
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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The noble savage is alive and well.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:48 AM   #7
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The pictures are all over the web, I'm sure they will be "found" sooner or later. I doubt very much that the blessings that contact with the so-called "civilised" world would bring will be making their lives any better. This might be a little naive, but I'm sure they are better off while in "isolation", what possible improvemt would it bring for their lives to see the outside world? I guess it will be a huge shock.
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:53 AM   #8
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Obviously genocidal germs, cultural annihilation and long term exclusion from governance are not desireable outcomes but are we really to take hunter-gatherer societies as the be all and end all?

This prime directive non-interference policy has some things going for it, but it doesn't feel clear cut.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:48 PM   #9
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^ How would you propose deciding when and to what extent pursuing further contact is OK? What if the tribe in question has responded violently to previous attempts at initiating contact?
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:24 PM   #10
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I think that limited contact via intermediaries or employing knowledge about similar tribes to approach in a very passive and non-aggressive fashion and then explaining the situation to leaders would be approaching appropriate. A sustained and reciprocal long term engagement would be the desirable outcome. To formulate such an approach I would call in the anthropologists and ethicists.

I don't feel that keeping people cut off from the rest of the world simply to preserve their way of life is in and of itself a good and just thing, they should have a choice in the matter.
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:32 PM   #11
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I've been reading about this more and more in the news this week. Interdesting discovery and I do hope that the Brazilian Government or some kind of authorities can keep the outside world away from the Tribe. Poor people are going to completely freak out if and when they learn about another world outside theirs especially if people begin trying to infiltrate their land to get a closer look. Ha! Those are liekly to get a tribal arrow fired at their dumb asses! Like I said, I find this whole story fascinating but my vote is to leave the poor tribe alone.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:08 PM   #12
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I find it odd when people start talking about they 'should' be left alone. It would be highly unfair for them to be suddenly bombarded by modern civilisation, the culture shock would be immense. But should they be left alone to suffer a readily curable medical condition or for a violent leader to remain in charge etc...not saying that is how their society is though, but many people would like to impose a way of life in many states and peoples across the world ie. China, the Middle East...but when it comes to a wee tribe, you get a some what patronising attitude of 'aww shucks people should just leave the poor people alone'.

That said these folk exist outside our world, but I don't think just because they have always lived a certain way they 'should' continue to exist that way, as Wanderer said they should be allowed to see what options they have available to them.

There really isn't a right choice in how to handle them, but they will come in contact with the world eventually and it would probably be better if someone made some kind of contact in a reasonable manner than for the world to suddenly appear on their doorstep.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #13
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Its truly amazing that people still live like that in the world. I say leave them alone. I hope they will be protected.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:28 AM   #14
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Those pictures almost look staged.

They even took time to put on different color body paint.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
I think that limited contact via intermediaries or employing knowledge about similar tribes to approach in a very passive and non-aggressive fashion and then explaining the situation to leaders would be approaching appropriate. A sustained and reciprocal long term engagement would be the desirable outcome. To formulate such an approach I would call in the anthropologists and ethicists.
But what do you do if they are flat-out uninterested in even limited contact? It reminds me of one of the most mysterious of the uncontacted tribes, the Sentinelese of Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean. They have treated every attempt to contact them with utmost hostility and they have no interest in engaging with us. It also doesn't help that their language is completely undecipherable, even to neighboring tribes on other islands.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
I think that limited contact via intermediaries or employing knowledge about similar tribes to approach in a very passive and non-aggressive fashion and then explaining the situation to leaders would be approaching appropriate. A sustained and reciprocal long term engagement would be the desirable outcome. To formulate such an approach I would call in the anthropologists and ethicists.

I don't feel that keeping people cut off from the rest of the world simply to preserve their way of life is in and of itself a good and just thing, they should have a choice in the matter.
I don't necessarily disagree, but it's seldom a straightforward matter of, Just call in some anthropologists to manage the engagement and all should go well. Brazil does have more 'uncontacted' tribes than any other country, but they're still a tiny proportion of its indigenous peoples overall, and that assignment of 'uncontacted' status is based on a diagnosis of 'voluntary isolation'--i.e., government anthropologists believe solid grounds exist to assume the tribe in question is actively striving to avoid contact, based on some combination of information gleaned from other local tribes who are 'in contact' (with both the 'uncontacted' tribe and the government...and 'uncontacted' tribes are in fact often splinter groups of known tribes, who broke off specifically over disagreements about contact); the nature of the 'uncontacted' tribe's response to past chance encounters with Westerners (loggers, anthropologists, freelance explorers, oil drillers etc.); the location of the tribe's settlements, as tracked through flyovers (do they settle close to their water supply/boat landing, make a large clearing for themselves, and stay put for long periods, as is usual? or do they make a point of wedging their settlements into tight spots away from rivers/creeks and decamping frequently in response to movements of other groups, particularly Westerners, in the area?). If you look at the Brazilian government's Indian agency's report on these photos (FUNAI; these are the people who actually took the pictures), it sounds as though FUNAI has in fact been tracking this tribe, as well as 3 other 'uncontacted' tribes in the region, for 20 years now. So it certainly wasn't news to them that these folks were out there, though these may (or may not) be their first clear photos of them.

Additionally, the threat of disease (to indigenous peoples) remains a huge ethical issue when the prospect of initiating contact arises, and that has to be weighed against any medical benefits they may or may not derive from contact. The Matis, a tribe who live not too far to the north of this 'newly discovered' group, initiated contact themselves in the late '70s through a network of stations FUNAI maintains in tribal regions, only to see more than a third of their numbers die from flu and other 'minor' diseases inevitably acquired through contact with Westerners. FUNAI also has a noble policy for its own field workers of 'morrer se precisa for, matar nunca' ("Die if need be, never kill"), which prevents the trust-eroding violent confrontations often seen between loggers, poachers, miners, oil drillers etc. and natives, but which also places its own people at great risk in the early stages of contact with a tribe; that too must be weighed into the ethical considerations, as some of their field anthropologists have been killed in contact attempts before. And while it shouldn't be treated as an inevitability, the fact is that most of Brazil's indigenous peoples, like most surviving indigenous peoples elsewhere, are in the main very poor, socially and politically marginalized, and have inferior access to education and healthcare--assimilation is always a challenge, and good results for the tribe in question should they pursue it can't be taken for granted.

That's not to say there aren't situations where the risks of leaving a tribe alone and settling for attempts to protect them from nearby resource exploitation outweigh the risks of contact, and this latest 'uncontacted' group's situation may turn out to be one of those--with Peru encouraging logging and large-scale drilling by a French oil company just across the border, it may be inevitable that the worst effects of unsought contact will eventualize anyway. But it's not a decision to be made lightly nor is it a simple question of abstract principle ('Well, hey, let's at least show them a little bit of what modernity has to offer, then let them make the choice').
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But what do you do if they are flat-out uninterested in even limited contact? It reminds me of one of the most mysterious of the uncontacted tribes, the Sentinelese of Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean. They have treated every attempt to contact them with utmost hostility and they have no interest in engaging with us. It also doesn't help that their language is completely undecipherable, even to neighboring tribes on other islands.
The Sentinelese were precisely who I had in mind earlier in asking how violent responses to contact attempts should be handled--they are certainly living proof that some 'uncontacted' peoples are well aware of who else is out there, well aware that some of their neighbors have superior technology to theirs, but are vehemently disinterested in contact nonetheless.
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Old 05-31-2008, 04:42 PM   #17
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I wonder what they thought of the strange, big and shiny noisy bird flying around.
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Old 05-31-2008, 08:53 PM   #18
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There's every reason to assume they've seen low-flying small Cessnas and helicopters many times; both FUNAI and the various resource extraction companies use them frequently, and it's not difficult with those types of aircraft to see that there are people inside, particularly when they're hanging out the window filming you or your settlements.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:24 PM   #19
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But who's to say that these tribes people knew that there were human beings in the aircraft?

Let's say they never saw a small plane before. If they recognized human beings, they probably saw them like the Incas saw the Spaniards - they thought the Conquistadors and the horses were the same being. Also, I saw on the Travel Channel I believe, about anthropologists exploring a tribe in Papua New Guinea. When the tribesmen encountered the cameraman, the way they reacted reminded me of the Incas. They probably thought the camera and the person were also one being!

So, that was probably how these tribes people saw the people in the aircraft, hanging out with their cameras.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:39 PM   #20
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I saw this the other day and I was fascinated, although I knew such groups existed in a number of different areas, it's still hard to imagine that in this day and age there are people on this planet that have managed to remain isolated.

And while the whole contact thing is a tricky issue, I respect that efforts are being made to at least respect them and provide them with the opportunity to continue their way of life by making attempts to protect the land they live on and such.

Out of curiosity however, are there less noble motivations for trying to protect/isolate this land?
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