A Different Perspective


Innovation requires looking at things differently. One wonders about the perspective of this group of people who had avoided contact with the rest of us until now. From the Associated Press:

A group of indigenous Amazon people has been filmed emerging from the Brazilian rainforest and making contact with the outside world. Pictures and video released by Brazil’s indigenous authority show the small group carrying bows and arrows walking along the banks of the Envira River, near the Peruvian border.

Experts said the indigenous people probably crossed the border from Peru because of increasing pressure from illegal logging and drug trafficking in their home area. The people from the Amazon are from the Panoan linguistic group, and made contact with members of the Ashaninka native people. They have been identified as members of a group known as the Rio Xinane.

In one scene, an ethnic Ashaninka gives bananas to two of the tribe who come forward towards him. They take the fruit, communicate a little and then return to their bank.

The native people initially made contact with the Ashaninka on June 26 and were subsequently filmed four days later by a team from Brazil’s Indian Foundation, Funai. Two Panoan indigenous interpreters were brought in to communicate with them on the visit. “They were whistling and making animal sounds,” said one interpreter.

“They speak our language. I was so happy we could talk to each other.” He said the group had come in search of weapons and allies. “They described being attacked by non-native people and many died after coming down with the flu and diphtheria,” he said.

Anthropologist Terri Aquino said the group had probably come in search of axes, knives and pots. “This is a people looking for technology. It’s important in their lives because there’s an internal war among them and because of contact with non-indigenous groups,” he said.

Funai said the group had come back out of the forest after their initial visit because they had contracted flu – a government medical team was sent to treat seven of them. Rights group Survival International said the episode was extremely worrying, since influenza epidemics have wiped out entire tribes in the past.

The Brazilian Amazon has the largest number of uncontacted tribes in the world, estimated at 77.

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