Uncontacted tribes flee Peruvian Amazon: evidence

<em />Recovered arrows: evidenceRecovered arrows: evidenceArrows just discovered by government officials in one of the remotest corners of the Brazilian Amazon prove that uncontacted Indians are fleeing from Peru into Brazil. The arrows were recovered by members of the Brazilian government's Indian affairs department (FUNAI), near a protection post established to monitor the movements of uncontacted Indians in the region. According to José Carlos Meirelles Jr, head of the post, the arrows are different from those used by uncontacted groups on the Brazilian side of the border. Footprints, the remains of a fire and the site where the Indians camped overnight on the riverbank were also found. It is estimated that they numbered six or seven.

The Indians are thought to be fleeing from Peru to escape illegal logging devastating their territories. Earlier this year, photos were taken of shelters built by uncontacted Indians from Peru five kilometres across the border into Brazil. Logging in that region has already led to disastrous contact with members of one tribe, the Murunahua, resulting in the death of more than half of them.

The arrows were found in the same region (along the Envira River in Acre state) as an uncontacted Brazilian tribe which was photographed earlier this year—photos which made headlines around the world. In the immediate aftermath, Peru's government promised to investigate the logging, but to date has failed to take any effective action.

Peru's President, Alan Garcia, has publicly suggested the uncontacted tribes don't exist, saying they have been "invented" by "environmentalists" opposed to oil exploration in the Amazon.

Survival International's director, Stephen Corry, said, "This is yet more proof of uncontacted Indians fleeing from Peru into Brazil. Peru's government must not ignore the plight of what are in effect 'uncontacted refugees'—some of Peru's most vulnerable citizens."

From Survival International, Sept. 29

See our last posts on Peru and the struggle for the Amazon.