The following are stories I collected from several news sites on the web.


 

May 30, 2008 10:09 AM- Extract from BBC News

Uncontacted Tribes Discovered In Brazil

(PHOTOS)

 

The BBC reported last night that an uncontacted tribe had been discovered on the border between Brazil and Peru.

According to the Guardian, there are around 100 uncontacted tribes in the world. "Survival International estimates more than half are in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon."

The National Indian Foundation, a government agency in Brazil, took these photos and published them Thursday. According to CNN, "it tracks "uncontacted tribes" -- indigenous groups that are thought to have had no contact with outsiders -- and seeks to protect them from encroachment.

They and their relatives apparently live in six communal shelters known as malocas, according to the government, which has tracked at least four uncontacted groups in the region for the last 20 years.

The photos were taken during 20 hours of flights conducted between April 28 and May 2.

 


Members of one of Brazil's uncontacted indigenous tribes have been photographed in a protected

area of the Amazon jungle near Peru. All pictures: Brazil National Indian Foundation (Funai)


Funai officials said the aircraft passed over the site a number of times,

and photographed "strong and healthy" warriors, women and children, six huts and a large planted area.


The first flight had an obvious impact on the tribe. By the time the plane returned,

most of the women and children had fled and those who remained had painted their bodies.


These images are all from a later pass by the plane. The men, painted red,

brandished weapons and fired off some arrows at the aircraft. The person in black may be a woman.


The government said the images would prove those who doubted the tribe's existence wrong.

The tribe, which has not yet been identified [but has been known since 1910- see articles below],

is one of four different isolated groups in the region.


Funai says it does not make contact with the tribes and prevents invasions of their land,

to ensure their total autonomy.


 

More than half the world's 100 uncontacted tribes live in Brazil or Peru

and campaigners say many face threats to their land from illegal logging.



 

BBC News: Page last updated at 00:51 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 01:51 UK

Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

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.

'Monumental crime'

Survival International says that although this particular group is increasing in number, others in the area are at risk from illegal logging.

 

 

The photos were taken during several flights over one of the most remote parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil's Acre region.

They show tribe members outside thatched huts, surrounded by the dense jungle, pointing bows and arrows up at the camera.

"We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist," the group quoted Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior, an official in the Brazilian government's Indian affairs department, as saying.

"This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence."

He described the threats to such tribes and their land as "a monumental crime against the natural world" and "further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the 'civilised' ones, treat the world".

Disease is also a risk, as members of tribal groups that have been contacted in the past have died of illnesses that they have no defence against, ranging from chicken pox to the common cold.

 



What do the pictures tell us about the Amazonian tribe?

Although we do not know the name of the recently discovered tribe in Brazil, or what language they speak, it is possible to tease out some clues as to their way of life from the aerial photographs taken by the Brazilian government. Fiona Watson, from the campaign group Survival International, uses her experience gained during 20 years of visiting the region, to explain what the pictures may show.

 

 

 

MALOCAS

Malocas, or communal houses, are typically thatched. They often have fires, used for cooking or heating during the night. Smaller structures are used for cooking and other tasks, while larger buildings can be used as sleeping areas, and are usually equipped with hammocks.

The thatched roof does not reach to the ground suggesting that this is an area for communal activities including cooking, socialising or preparing the paste that is used for dyes and body paint.

 

COTTON AND BASKET

The white blob in the photograph could well be cotton, and the beige area next to it is probably a basket. The cotton would either be cultivated by the tribe, or gathered in the wild. It would be woven by the women, into the kind of short skirt worn by the black figure. Cotton would also be used to make hammocks.

 

The woven basket has a strap which would be either worn across the forehead or over the shoulder and would be used during the collection of cotton or other produce.

 

TWO MEN

These men are trying to drive off the plane from which these photographs were taken. They are aiming their bows at the aircraft, which had returned to fly over the settlement for a second time, after making a first pass some hours earlier.

The men have large bows made from forest hardwood, which they use to hunt for animals including tapirs, monkeys, deer, wild pigs and other small mammals.

They have also painted themselves with the red dye, urucum, commonly used by tribes in the Amazon. It is made from the seeds of a fruit similar to the horse chestnut. The seeds are ground into a paste to form the dye.

The body paint is most likely a show of aggression, possibly in response to the plane's first flyover.

 

WOMAN

The black figure may be a woman, although it is impossible to be certain. That this person is not carrying a bow hints in this direction. The black body paint is called genipapo, and is made from fruit. Like the red dye it is likely to be an aggressive display.

 

SETTLEMENT

The series of buildings have very little space cleared around them, and are set deep into the forest. This suggests that the tribe are keen to keep themselves hidden.

The larger building is most likely used for sleeping quarters, the smaller buildings would be used for food preparation, cooking and other practical tasks.

The surrounding area has signs of cultivation by the tribe, who are probably maintaining gardens of manioc, a type of tuber which would form a large part of their staple diet.

 

Source: Fiona Watson, campaigns director Survival International.



(CNN.com/world) May 30, 2008 -- Updated 0844 GMT (1644 HKT)

'Uncontacted tribe' sighted in Amazon

 

Researchers have produced aerial photos of jungle dwellers who they say are among the few remaining peoples on Earth who have had no contact with the outside world.

[See photos above.]

Taken from a small airplane, the photos show men outside thatched communal huts, necks craned upward, pointing bows toward the air in a remote corner of the Amazonian rainforest.

The National Indian Foundation, a government agency in Brazil, published the photos Thursday on its Web site. It tracks "uncontacted tribes" -- indigenous groups that are thought to have had no contact with outsiders -- and seeks to protect them from encroachment.

More than 100 uncontacted tribes remain worldwide, and about half live in the remote reaches of the Amazonian rainforest in Peru or Brazil, near the recently photographed tribe, according to Survival International, a nonprofit group that advocates for the rights of indigenous people.

"All are in grave danger of being forced off their land, killed or decimated by new diseases," the organization said Thursday.

Illegal logging in Peru is threatening several uncontacted groups, pushing them over the border with Brazil and toward potential conflicts with about 500 uncontacted Indians living on the Brazilian side, Survival International said.

Its director, Stephen Cory, said the new photographs highlight the need to protect uncontacted people from intrusion by the outside world.

"These pictures are further evidence that uncontacted tribes really do exist," Cory said in a statement. "The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct."

 

The photos released Thursday show men who look strong and healthy, the Brazilian government said. They and their relatives apparently live in six communal shelters known as malocas, according to the government, which has tracked at least four uncontacted groups in the region for the last 20 years.

The photos were taken during 20 hours of flights conducted between April 28 and May 2.



Postscript:

After these stories ran accusations were made that they were a hoax.  The issue was mostly about the use of the word “undiscovered” in some news stories.  (I did not include any of these stories in this collection.)  Technically, this tribe is not “undiscovered,” it is “uncontacted.” 

 

Here are links to articles that goes into more detail on how these pictures were taken and why the location of this tribe is top secret.  Elizondo-Al_Jaz-interview and Lloyd-Fox-report.

 

-Why no contact with these super isolated tribes?

 

-How does this situation relate to Star Trek’s Prime Directive?  How is it the same and how is it different?  What’s the point?

 

-What technologies are identified?  What documented societies in history have similar technologies?

 

-Think about the body war paint?  Why? What is a modern analogue?