An isolated and threatened tribe filmed in the Brazilian forest
An association of indigenous videographers broadcast on Monday, through the NGO Survival International, a video presented as a sequence of rare images of the Awa, an isolated tribe of the Amazon rainforest threatened by wood traffickers.
The nearly one minute video filmed in August 2018 in the state of Maranhao (northeastern Brazil) shows a shirtless young man with brown necklaces around his neck and a machete in his hand, looking around him and away from the camera when he feels a foreign presence.
“Only global clamor can prevent genocide,” Survival International director Stephen Corry said in a statement.
The images were filmed by a member of another tribe, the Guajajara, who is also part of the group of indigenous video artists Midia India.
“We filmed them without asking permission, but we know how important it is to show them in pictures. If the world does not see them, they will be murdered by the wood traffickers, “said Erisvan Guajajara, spokesperson for Midia India.
“Call for help”
The Guajajara, numbering about 14,000 in Maranhao, have formed a group called the “Guardians of the Forest”, which aims to defend indigenous territories threatened by illegal logging and agricultural expansion.
In particular, they transmit GPS data from areas where trunks are cut and help firefighters during forest fires.
The Guajajara have also become protective of the Awa, an isolated tribe with only a few dozen members.
“We use these images as a cry for help,” says Erisvan Guajajara.
The Brazilian Constitution provides that indigenous peoples have the right to land reserved for them, where any mineral exploration or non-traditional agricultural exploitation is prohibited.
But far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who came to power in January and is strongly supported by the powerful agribusiness lobby, questions the concept by highlighting the fact that natives must be “integrated into society. And not “confined as in a zoo”.
On Friday, during a meeting with international media journalists, the head of state accused foreign groups of “wanting the natives to remain in a prehistoric state, without access to technology and the wonders of modernity”.
He also questioned data from the National Institute for Space Research, a public body reporting an 88% increase in deforestation in Brazil in June compared to June 2018.