In DepthIndigenous Peoples

Uncontacted tribe in Brazil emerges from isolation

Science  11 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6193, pp. 125-126
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6193.125

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Summary

Last week, Brazilian officials announced that an isolated Amazonian tribe took a momentous and potentially tragic step. Emerging from dense rainforest along the Upper Envira River in the state of Acre, Brazil, the group willingly approached a team of Brazilian government scientists on 29 June and made peaceful contact with the outside world. Officials suspect that the tribe fled illegal logging and drug trafficking in their traditional homelands in Peru. The meeting was Brazil's first official contact with an isolated Amazonian tribe in 20 years. Anthropologists remain deeply concerned about the tribe's future as it encounters novel diseases and resource-hungry outsiders. Many previous contacts have ended in tragedy, as diseases such as influenza and whooping cough ravaged tribes.