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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why the uncontacted tribe air photos?

Al Jazeera has today an interview with Jose Carlos Mereilles, the man who located and pictured the uncontacted Amazonian tribe that made headlines some days ago:

"... the Peru side of the Amazon is a no man's land where everything is permitted.

"The Indians are being pushed into Brazil, which causes conflict with Indians already here, but if they stay in Peru they know they will die after contact with loggers".


"Alan Garcia [president of Peru] declared recently that the isolated Indians were a creation in the imagination of environmentalists and anthropologists - now we have the pictures. Now the pictures exist for the whole world".


He claims Brazil has 69 references to isolated tribes with little to no contact with the outside world – 22 of which have been confirmed, several by Meirelles himself.

Previously the government policy was to integrate isolated tribes into society after contact, but studies showed two-thirds died within months of the first contact.

"That is not contact, that is genocide," Meirelles said.

So he and some colleagues were instrumental in changing policy to "no contact".

"These people have lived on their own for 500 years and that is their choice," he said.

"They can decide when they want contact, not me or anyone else. The policy of FUNAI is protection, we do not want to contact them; to run experiments on them to know about who they are, how they live or what ethnic group they belong too."

"As long as they are there, they are fine."

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