Brazil: high-risk expedition to contact isolated tribe declared success

Thirty-person expedition, including Funai officials and a doctor, contacted and vaccinated 34 people from the Korubo tribe

Akuntsu

Brazil’s biggest and most ambitious expedition in decades to contact a willingly isolated indigenous tribe has been testified a success after venturing deep into remote and inaccessible Amazon jungle.

The rare, high-risk expedition aimed to prevent potential conflict between tribal groups in a enormous and remote reserve near Brazil’s Peruvian border.

Thirty people, including officials from its indigenous organization Funai, indigenous people from four local tribes, a doctor and medical officials, successfully contacted and vaccinated 34 people from the Korubo tribe.

” We had some extraordinary times which we will never forget. Our hope is that[ the Korubos ‘] lives are good from here on ,” said safarus chairman Bruno Pereira, head of the department of isolated and recently contacted indigenous at Funai.

The Funai expedition constituted contact with group of 34 Korubo people, including eight humankinds, six females, children and three babies, Funai said in a statement. The group lives by hunting and plantations of cultivates like banana, corn and manioc.

The expedition set off along the Coari river in the Javari Valley, a remote and inaccessible indigenous reserve the dimensions of the Austria, on 3 March. The densely forested substitute of nearly 31,000 sq miles- residence to about 6,000 indigenous people from eight tribes and 16 willingly isolated groups- is merely accessible by barge or helicopter.

Among its 30 members were six Korubo people who had previously moved contact. They examined the forest for over a few weeks, discovering the isolated group’s village on 13 March but not the tribespeople. On 19 March, Xuxu Korubo, himself simply contacted in 2015, and others satisfied two men from the isolated group out hunting- both Xuxu’s friends. When the whole group was together he found a third friend and others satisfied relatives they had not seen in years.

” It was particularly emotional ,” said Pereira.” They were hugging, crying a lot .”

One member of the isolated group had malaria but has been treated and they have all now been vaccinated for viruses such as measles and flu that can prove deadly to indigenous people with no immunity.” They’re well, they’re strong ,” Pereira said.

Korubo
Korubo people get their first look at a laptop computer. Photo: Courtesy Funai

Last year Guardian reporters joined an expedition monitoring isolated groups is presided over by Pereira in the same field that included some of the indigenous people involved in this latest duty, as well Korubo tribesmen. Reporters interviewed Xuxu– who voiced his concern then over three friends still living isolated in the forest sector and the threats they faced from armed commercial-grade fishing gangs who attack the reserve.

The Korubo are a proud and warlike tribe who hunt with blowpipes and long wooden associations. They have a long biography of repelling invaders, and the first Korubo group was firstly contacted in 1996.

Another isolated Korubo group had a long-running conflict over region with a neighbouring tribe, the Matis- who wear western clothes, hunting with handguns and were contacted in 1975. The dispute betweenthe tribes turned violent in 2014. Two Matis were killed by Korubo tribespeople and nine to 10 Korubo killed subsequently in a counter-attack by Matis armed with shotguns.

Funai intervened, and those isolated Korubo- including Xuxu- went to live with contacted Korubo living in riverside villages. But another group remained segregated in the forest- and it was these that the jaunt set out to contact.

Pereira said it was because strains have continued to simmer in the field, with Matis grumbling that isolated Korubo were emerging near their villages and Korubo anxious to contact relatives in the isolated group. Funai decided to intervene to avoid” a new confrontation “, Pereira said before giving off in February, contributing his concern that non-contacted Korubo could be exposed to viruses the Matis have that they lack exemption to.

The expedition find prospering plantations with corn, banana and manioc used by the isolated group, who made a temporary camp as their relatives tried to convince them not to visit Matis villages and take axes and other tools.

” We tell the relatives do the talking, we don’t want to be invasive. It is an intermediary relationship ,” said Pereira.” They are suspicious of us, they don’t like our bouquet, the smell of soap .”

Pereira said the operation did not mean the Funai policy of not contacting isolated groups had changed.” It is important that the implementation of policies of separation continues, of containment. We carried out a delicate running for their safety. We believe that if we hadn’t done there could have been a new conflict ,” he said.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world-wide/ 2019/ apr/ 05/ brazil-high-risk-expedition-indigenous-tribe-success

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