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'Uncontacted' Amazon Tribe Members Are Reported Killed in Brazil
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BurfordTJustice
2017-09-11 10:02:13 UTC
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'Uncontacted' Amazon Tribe Members Are Reported Killed in Brazil



SÃO PAULO, Brazil - They were members of an uncontacted tribe gathering eggs
along the river in a remote part of the Amazon. Then, it appears, they had
the bad luck of running into gold miners.

Now, federal prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation into the
reported massacre of about 10 members of the tribe, the latest evidence that
threats to endangered indigenous groups are on the rise in the country.

The Brazilian agency on indigenous affairs, Funai, said it had lodged a
complaint with the prosecutor's office in the state of Amazonas after the
gold miners went to a bar in a near the border with Colombia, and bragged
about the killings. They brandished a hand-carved paddle that they said had
come from the tribe, the agency said.

"It was crude bar talk," said Leila Silvia Burger Sotto-Maior, Funai's
coordinator for uncontacted and recently contacted tribes. "They even
bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river."

The miners, she said, claimed that "they had to kill them or be killed."
Ms. Sotto-Maior said the killings were reported to have taken place last
month. The indigenous affairs bureau conducted some initial interviews in
the town and then took the case to the police.

"There is a lot of evidence, but it needs to be proven," she said.
The prosecutor in charge of the case, Pablo Luz de Beltrand, confirmed that
an investigation had begun, but said he could not discuss the details of the
case while it was underway. He said the episode was alleged to have occurred
in the Javari Valley - the second-largest indigenous reserve in Brazil - in
the remote west.

"We are following up, but the territories are big and access is limited,"
Mr. Beltrand said. "These tribes are uncontacted - even Funai has only
sporadic information about them. So it's difficult work that requires all
government departments working together."

Mr. Beltrand said it was the second such episode that he was investigating
this year. The first reported killing of uncontacted Indians in the region
occurred in February, and that case is still open. "It was the first time
that we'd had this kind of case in this region," he said in a telephone
interview. "It's not something that was happening before."

Survival International, a global indigenous rights group, warned that given
the small sizes of the uncontacted Amazon tribes, this latest episode could
mean that a significant percentage of a remote ethnic group was wiped out.

"If the investigation confirms the reports, it will be yet another genocidal
massacre resulting directly from the Brazilian government's failure to
protect isolated tribes - something that is guaranteed in the Constitution,"
said Sarah Shenker, a senior campaigner with the rights group.

Under Brazil's president, Michel Temer, funding for indigenous affairs has
been slashed. In April, Funai closed five of the 19 bases that it uses to
monitor and protect isolated tribes, and reduced staffing at others. The
bases are used to prevent invasions by loggers and miners and to communicate
with recently contacted tribes.

Three of those bases were in the Javari Valley, which is known as the
Uncontacted Frontier and is believed to be home to more uncontacted tribes
than anywhere else on Earth. Approximately 20 of the 103 uncontacted tribes
registered in Brazil are in the Valley.
"We had problems with previous governments, but not like this," said Ms.
Sotto-Maior, the Funai coordinator.

Her agency's budget this year for the uncontacted tribes department was just
two million reais, or about $650,000, down from 7.5 million reais in 2014.
"What can I do with two million reais?" she said.
President Temer, who is deeply unpopular, has sought support from powerful
agricultural, ranching and mining lobbies to push economic changes through
Congress and shelter him from a corruption investigation. Last month, the
lower house of Congress voted to spare him from standing trial for
corruption in the Supreme Court, but only after the president doled out jobs
and agreed to a series of concessions, many of which affected longstanding
deforestation and land-rights regulations.

A decree by Mr. Temer that opened up a large reserve in the Amazon to mining
prompted an international outcry. After a judge blocked the decree, the
government announced that it would revise its decision, but critics are
wary.

With land disputes on the rise in many remote areas of Brazil, indigenous
groups, rural workers and land activists have all been targeted by violence.
More than 50 people had been killed as of the end of July, compared with 61
in all of 2016, according to the Land Pastoral Commission.

In some cases, government or police agents have been blamed for the
violence. The authorities are investigating one police raid in the Amazon
region that ended with 10 activists being killed. No officers were injured.

Activists worry that the country's indigenous groups - and especially the
uncontacted tribes - are the most vulnerable when it comes to land disputes.

"When their land is protected, they thrive," said Ms. Shenker, the rights
campaigner. "When their land is invaded, they can be wiped out."
BurfordTJustice
2017-09-12 11:17:30 UTC
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The New York Times reports that the investigation was launched after the
gold miners were heard bragging about the killings in a bar. The miners
reported brandished a hand-carved paddle taken from the tribe.

The reported massacre took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in
Western Brazil, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International,
which reports that more than ten members of the tribe were massacred. “If
confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped
out,” the group added in a statement.

Survival International noted that women and children are believed to be
among the dead.

FUNAI says that the area under investigation is near the Jandiatuba and
Jutaí rivers, near Brazil’s border with Peru, about 621 miles from the city
of Manaus.
Post by BurfordTJustice
'Uncontacted' Amazon Tribe Members Are Reported Killed in Brazil
SÃO PAULO, Brazil - They were members of an uncontacted tribe gathering
eggs along the river in a remote part of the Amazon. Then, it appears,
they had the bad luck of running into gold miners.
Now, federal prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation into the
reported massacre of about 10 members of the tribe, the latest evidence
that threats to endangered indigenous groups are on the rise in the
country.
The Brazilian agency on indigenous affairs, Funai, said it had lodged a
complaint with the prosecutor's office in the state of Amazonas after the
gold miners went to a bar in a near the border with Colombia, and bragged
about the killings. They brandished a hand-carved paddle that they said
had come from the tribe, the agency said.
"It was crude bar talk," said Leila Silvia Burger Sotto-Maior, Funai's
coordinator for uncontacted and recently contacted tribes. "They even
bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river."
The miners, she said, claimed that "they had to kill them or be killed."
Ms. Sotto-Maior said the killings were reported to have taken place last
month. The indigenous affairs bureau conducted some initial interviews in
the town and then took the case to the police.
"There is a lot of evidence, but it needs to be proven," she said.
The prosecutor in charge of the case, Pablo Luz de Beltrand, confirmed
that an investigation had begun, but said he could not discuss the details
of the case while it was underway. He said the episode was alleged to have
occurred in the Javari Valley - the second-largest indigenous reserve in
Brazil - in the remote west.
"We are following up, but the territories are big and access is limited,"
Mr. Beltrand said. "These tribes are uncontacted - even Funai has only
sporadic information about them. So it's difficult work that requires all
government departments working together."
Mr. Beltrand said it was the second such episode that he was investigating
this year. The first reported killing of uncontacted Indians in the region
occurred in February, and that case is still open. "It was the first time
that we'd had this kind of case in this region," he said in a telephone
interview. "It's not something that was happening before."
Survival International, a global indigenous rights group, warned that
given the small sizes of the uncontacted Amazon tribes, this latest
episode could mean that a significant percentage of a remote ethnic group
was wiped out.
"If the investigation confirms the reports, it will be yet another
genocidal massacre resulting directly from the Brazilian government's
failure to protect isolated tribes - something that is guaranteed in the
Constitution," said Sarah Shenker, a senior campaigner with the rights
group.
Under Brazil's president, Michel Temer, funding for indigenous affairs has
been slashed. In April, Funai closed five of the 19 bases that it uses to
monitor and protect isolated tribes, and reduced staffing at others. The
bases are used to prevent invasions by loggers and miners and to
communicate with recently contacted tribes.
Three of those bases were in the Javari Valley, which is known as the
Uncontacted Frontier and is believed to be home to more uncontacted tribes
than anywhere else on Earth. Approximately 20 of the 103 uncontacted
tribes registered in Brazil are in the Valley.
"We had problems with previous governments, but not like this," said Ms.
Sotto-Maior, the Funai coordinator.
Her agency's budget this year for the uncontacted tribes department was
just two million reais, or about $650,000, down from 7.5 million reais in
2014. "What can I do with two million reais?" she said.
President Temer, who is deeply unpopular, has sought support from powerful
agricultural, ranching and mining lobbies to push economic changes through
Congress and shelter him from a corruption investigation. Last month, the
lower house of Congress voted to spare him from standing trial for
corruption in the Supreme Court, but only after the president doled out
jobs and agreed to a series of concessions, many of which affected
longstanding deforestation and land-rights regulations.
A decree by Mr. Temer that opened up a large reserve in the Amazon to
mining prompted an international outcry. After a judge blocked the decree,
the government announced that it would revise its decision, but critics
are wary.
With land disputes on the rise in many remote areas of Brazil, indigenous
groups, rural workers and land activists have all been targeted by
violence. More than 50 people had been killed as of the end of July,
compared with 61 in all of 2016, according to the Land Pastoral
Commission.
In some cases, government or police agents have been blamed for the
violence. The authorities are investigating one police raid in the Amazon
region that ended with 10 activists being killed. No officers were injured.
Activists worry that the country's indigenous groups - and especially the
uncontacted tribes - are the most vulnerable when it comes to land disputes.
"When their land is protected, they thrive," said Ms. Shenker, the rights
campaigner. "When their land is invaded, they can be wiped out."
Caecilius
2017-09-12 16:09:23 UTC
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On Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:17:30 -0400, "BurfordTJustice"
Post by BurfordTJustice
The reported massacre took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in
Western Brazil, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International,
which reports that more than ten members of the tribe were massacred. “If
confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped
out,” the group added in a statement.
That implies the whole tribe is only around 50 people. Is that
possible? I thought a self-sustaining population would need to be an
order of magnitude bigger than that to have sufficient genetic
diversity.
Incubus
2017-09-12 16:14:32 UTC
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Post by Caecilius
On Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:17:30 -0400, "BurfordTJustice"
Post by BurfordTJustice
The reported massacre took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in
Western Brazil, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International,
which reports that more than ten members of the tribe were massacred. “If
confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped
out,” the group added in a statement.
That implies the whole tribe is only around 50 people. Is that
possible? I thought a self-sustaining population would need to be an
order of magnitude bigger than that to have sufficient genetic
diversity.
Perhaps they intermarry with other tribes.
BurfordTJustice
2017-09-12 17:29:44 UTC
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Google....
Post by Caecilius
On Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:17:30 -0400, "BurfordTJustice"
Post by BurfordTJustice
The reported massacre took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in
Western Brazil, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International,
which reports that more than ten members of the tribe were massacred. "If
confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped
out," the group added in a statement.
That implies the whole tribe is only around 50 people. Is that
possible? I thought a self-sustaining population would need to be an
order of magnitude bigger than that to have sufficient genetic
diversity.
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