Footage of the World’s Last Uncontacted Tribe, Deep in the Brazilian Amazon

Here we have the first aerial footage of an uncontacted tribe living in the Brazilian Amazon – a people living entirely apart from civilization as we know it. The short clip, filmed for the BBC show Human Planet, follows Jose Carlos Meirelles, who works on behalf of the Brazilian government to safeguard the country’s indigenous people. The livelihood of these indigenous peoples is constantly threatened by illegal mining and logging. And it’s Meirelles’s mission to protect this population by publicizing their existence. This footage was filmed at 1 KM distance with a long telephoto lens to minimize disturbance. To learn more about this and other uncontacted tribes, visit http://www.uncontactedtribes.org.

via @AlyssaMilano



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  1. janmejay singh says . . . | February 7, 2011 / 7:02 am

    ‘Seeing is believing’ is an apologetic punch line. Image is simulacrum, but there is no need to preempt that attitude if we just believe.

  2. janmejay singh says . . . | February 7, 2011 / 7:17 am

    Makes me think, maybe the preoccupation with aliens is something more than mere projection of our own future. What would Meirelles be to these tribes when they look up at his flying object? Do these tribes imagine this future in their dialogue? Shows how actively we in 21st century constitute our future.

  3. DJ says . . . | February 7, 2011 / 9:38 am

    “they are the last free people on this planet”
    in a time where so much war is justified with the concept of “freedom” i find that a very interesting statement. and even when looking at my own, rather libertarian, life, i find myself thinking it might be true.

  4. Sarah T says . . . | February 7, 2011 / 12:33 pm

    If we could ask them, how do you think they’d respond to being publicised like a zoo attraction? They’re not free, they’re ignorant. It’s a horrible catch 22 but how can they have any idea what their choices are without those choices being devastatingly limited. Would they thank us for intruding on their lives, probably not, but conversely, would they thank us for leaving them out of ours, leaving them alone, ignorant and vulnerable in a world that has moved on so much, I doubt that too. They shouldn’t be our responsibility, and I think they’d be horrified that we view them in the way we do, as curiosities, but they are our responsibility, and there’s no way we can do the right thing here.
    They must be a proud, resourceful, and mighty people to survive in ways we no longer remember how, and it saddens me that we regard them as primitives in need of protection, and it saddens me that this is actually the case.

  5. jdub says . . . | February 7, 2011 / 8:29 pm

    i dont really think its fair of him to go in and disrupt their way of life. they have no idea about our technology so im assuming that small plane did nothing but frighten them much like we’d probably be frightened if we saw an alien spaceship in the sky.

  6. Claudio says . . . | February 8, 2011 / 3:41 am

    “mission to protect this population by publicizing their existence” – I am not sure of how one thing would help with the other.
    I think it is our responsibility to try to rescue them from the stone age and bring them into the modern times, where they might have access to decent medicine and good quality of life; not to mention to be put away from the dangers of the jungle.
    If a spaceship landed on Earth that is what we would like to have, a share of the knowledge and the progress of the more advanced civilization.
    Not to be treated as a zoo attraction, as already mentioned above.

  7. Nuno Ferreira says . . . | February 9, 2011 / 7:07 am

    Hi Claudio, your comment sounds somehow logical. But when i remember all the cultures(knowledges,ways of life,freedom) that were and still are being lost in our society, with the (huge) “bad side” of globalization… your opinion starts to not make sense to me…if this community really exists and resists maybe it’s a real sign that their traditional medicines work and that they always know how to protect themselves from the “dangers of the jungle” (which for them is just their natural habitat)According to history the biggest danger comes from outside ;-)
    Also I think that if they were not happy where they live…they would start looking for another place…that is a natural human characteristic, like biological adaptation and solution finding.

    According to the “Zoo atraction”subject… today there are many knowned tribe communities which are protected, and that everybody, as an interested tourist can visit. Wrong or right, who visits them will learn a lot,and the tribes can go on most of their way of living… that they have been continuing since thousands of years from generation to generation.

    Greetings.

  8. Claudio says . . . | February 11, 2011 / 4:23 am

    It seems to me that if we apply Nuno’s view at face value we should also consider preserving cultural practices like
    1. Infanticides (Africa and Brazilian tribes, as far as I am aware of)
    2. Female genital mutilation (Africa and Near East)
    3. Legal amputations (all around the world)
    Of course all “ways of live” are part of the human cultural baggage and as such they must be well documented for the benefit of future generations. For example, as a good lesson of what should not be repeated.
    Needless to say that even without direct intervention, cultures do disappear and populations do get isolated – mostly in result from the lack of scientific and technological progress. Decay and extinction are present also in biology, with the extinction of species, and in the geology (not to mention in the planetary realm).
    One picture I once saw (not too long ago) in a daily newspaper let a strong impression on me. It was a group of people from the remote countryside of Brazil watching TV for the very first time in their lives, their eyes shining in total amazement.
    If during your entire life you ate worms and saw people dying around you in miserable conditions at a young age, then you will still find some degree of happiness. That is the most wonderful characteristic of humans beings: adaptation.
    But should we go ahead and introduce that first group of people to the Internet? What about that tribe? Should we prevent their young people from dying in consequence of preventable diseases?
    At the end, I really can’t figure out one good example of a closed and isolated society in which knowledge and freedom have thrived.

  9. Robbie Flett says . . . | February 25, 2011 / 1:17 pm

    Give them protection while leaving them very much alone. No Amazon tribes have benefited from contact. They have been decimated from disease and left with no culture, identity or purpose in life. They are infinitely better off living as they have for thousands of years.

  10. igor andrade says . . . | August 27, 2012 / 6:59 am

    they have banana and papaya… i don’t think they are an “uncontactec tribe”.

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