According to reports released by a watchdog organization advocating for indigenous tribes, illegal gold miners in Brazil slaughtered as many as ten members of previously uncontacted tribe deep in the jungles of the country. The miners were bragging about their kills in a bar and showing off jewelry they had taken from the dead when a citizen overheard them and began recording. That recording found its way into the hands of authorities.
This is the largest known massacre of an uncontacted tribe in decades. The watchdog group Survival International keeps track of uncontacted indigenous tribes and has released a statement regarding the massacre. The miners have said they slit the bellies of the tribespeople to prevent them from floating and dumped their bodies in the Jandiatuba River. Survival International has placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Brazilian government. It claims government inaction has left the tribes “defenseless against thousands of invaders — gold miners, ranchers and loggers — who are desperate to steal and ransack their lands.”
Survival International’s Director, Steven Corry said:
“All these tribes should have had their lands properly recognized and protected years ago — the government’s open support for those who want to open up indigenous territories is utterly shameful, and is setting indigenous rights in Brazil back decades.”
The government has closed more than quarter of the bases offering the tribes protection and monitoring those entering their territory. Three of those bases are in the Javari Valley, home to more uncontacted tribes than any other places on the planet.
Travels in the Peruvian Amazon Region and an account of the atrocities committed upon the Indians therein (1913) By Hardenburg, W. E. (Walter Ernest), 1886-1942 – No restrictions, Wikimedia Commons
Survival International has been prophetic in its reporting. Just two weeks ago, it warned of the dangers posed to remote indigenous tribes by miners.
While some academics have called for forcing contact with these tribes, experts at Survival International has suggested otherwise:
“Claiming that missions to forcibly contact uncontacted tribes, even when “well-planned”, can save lives is naive, and flies in the face of history: first contacts across South America have almost always resulted in death, disease or destruction for the tribe involved. Why should it be any different in the future? The short answer is that it won’t be. Let’s be clear, forced contact is likely to be a death sentence for uncontacted tribes. Uncontacted tribal peoples face catastrophe unless their land is protected and we’re doing everything we can to secure it for them.”
The recent massacre is being investigated but the local prosecutor is not providing details. Although, the coordinator for indigenous affairs in the country has said there is a lot of evidence.