The Last of His Tribe


Cooking for one, hunting for one, taking care of your house by yourself, having no one to talk to because no one speaks your language; this is the life a man leads in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. He is the last of his tribe.

This man belongs to an uncontacted tribe. “Uncontacted” here means that these people largely lived by themselves without contacting the outside world. Therefore, they are unaffected by modernization and what we see as "contemporary" life. What makes this man special, is not only that he is the last of his tribe, but that the Brazilian Government is actually making an effort in protecting his privacy and his right to lead his life as he sees fit. Governments have usually tried to interfere with uncontacted people who lived in their country, but the outcomes were usually negative. This is why the decision to leave the man be, and to also enforce a rule that no one shall disturb him.

Officials have created a 50-km2 exclusion zone in his patch of the rainforest. This is because many logging companies work in the area and are eyeing that patch, wanting to work there as well. This time the Government stepped in to protect the man, unlike other tribes who were forced off their land by logging companies.

Even though he has not been sighted, his presence can be found everywhere. As Fiona Watson from Survival International says: "His presence is everywhere and I can sense him watching our every move. Mario and Pedro, our Indian guides, point to one of his hunting shelters made of leaves, and a palm tree which he has chopped down to extract the palm heart ... Get too near and he will fire an arrow in warning ... Here are carved arrow heads, calabashes for storing water, dried nuts and a torch he has made from resin. He will probably come under cover of night to gather the fruits when they are ripe. It must have taken him days to chop down the trees, single handed, to make the clearing."

Fiona was there examining the area to see if the man was still alive, and once it was established that he was indeed alive, great measures were taken to ensure his safety and privacy.

From what she has described, we can see how the man is leading his life like normal, albeit, lonelier. He sets an example of human resilience and sustainability, by using the resources found around him. Even though his lifestyle may not be to everyone's liking, it is one where the beats of nature dictate his life, and is definitely something to be admired.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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