Will the 'uncontacted' tribe discovered in Amazon survive?

 @ibtimes
on June 27 2011 8:27 AM

An isolated indigenous group of Indians with absolutely no contact with the modern civilization hidden in the deep pocket of Amazon has been discovered by the Brazilian agency, FUNAI.

An over flight carried out by FUNAI resulted in spotting three clearings in the Javari Valley in the western Amazon, near the Peruvian border. The existence of the indigenous tribe was first discovered through satellite pictures of the rain forest clearings and was recently confirmed by aerial shots taken by FUNAI.

The aerial shots revealed three cleared sites with four-straw dwelling structures. The group's strength is about 200. The group was growing corn, bananas, peanuts and other crops.

Fabricio Amorim, the leader of FUNAI's overflight expedition said: Among the main threats to the well-being of these groups are illegal fishing, hunting, logging, mining, cattle ranching, missionary actions... and drug trafficking. The group also faces threat from oil exploration.

Around 2,000 uncontacted Indians are said to be in the Javari valley. National Geographic reports that the Javari Valley is a dense rain forest area, half the size of Florida.

Most of the uncontacted Indian tribes fall victims to diseases communicated through contact with outsiders. Survival International reported that hunter-gatherer nomadic groups known as Maku who dwell in headwaters of the northwest Amazon basin have been hit with a respiratory disease. Around 35 Nukak-Maku have been admitted to San José del Guaviare hospital in the southern Colombian Amazon. Most of the tribe members have been living in refugee camps outside San José since being ousted from their rainforest abode by guerrilla armies.

The tribe emerged from the forests in 1988 and since then half of the tribe members have lost their lives.

Recently Survival International obtained information about the unsuccessful bid by two missionaries - working with the American missionary organization JOCUM (Jovens com uma Missão- Youth with a Mission) - to contact the Hi Merimã Indians in 1995. It is reported that in the 1980s New Tribes Mission contacted the Zo'é tribe, which resulted in about a quarter of the Zo'é dying due to disease in a span of six years.

The JOCUM mission made a film called Hakani which depicts the tribe Suruwaha carrying out a ceremony where an indigenous child is buried alive. The organization is campaigning to pass a bill in Brazil, to approve the Muwaji law' which would require authorities to intervene in case of such harmful practices.

In February, a video of the life of another uncontacted tribe was released by Survival International.

Here is a video of what happens when isolated tribes come in contact with outsiders:

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