Hidden Tribe Emerges from the Jungle

Video footage was released recently by FUNAI (Brazil’s National Indian Foundation) of a formerly hidden tribe emerging from the jungle in the State of Acre near Brazil’s border with Peru. This tribe has been living in voluntary isolation, possibly since the Amazon rubber boom of the late 1800’s, perhaps longer. Speaking a language from the Panoan linguistic family, interpreters brought in by FUNAI were able to communicate with the group of three young men. Transcripts of the reported conversation are chilling. Many from their tribe, including most, if not all of their leaders, were killed recently by drug traffickers and loggers who have been intruding in their traditional (and supposedly protected) land just across the border in Peru. Those that that were not shot reportedly fell victim to disease they may have contracted from the intruders. According to our own contacts in the area, the tribal men may be from a sub-group of the Mastanahua tribe, which according to Peru’s Ministry of Culture in 2007 numbered less than 80 people.

Christian missionaries have made previous attempts to contact this tribe over the years. It is tragic that the (inevitable) contact would instead be by violent criminal actors. Petitioning by secular anthropologists and NGOs to encourage governments to seal off known tribal areas to outsiders seem aimed only at keeping missionaries out. Drug traffickers, loggers, miners, and poachers find few restrictions as they simply pay corrupt officials to gain access. There are an estimated 60-70 uncontacted tribes across the Amazon region, at least four of which are within proximity of where this contact was made. It is just a matter of time before the next group comes face to face with an increasingly shrinking outside world. When they do emerge, who will they encounter? Will they be met with the blasts of shotguns or greeted with the message of hope in Jesus Christ?

Through ALTECO, we train and equip indigenous, tribal missionaries to minister to the spiritual and holistic needs of tribes such as these. Will you pray with us for these hidden tribes, and over how you too can partner with us in this work?

I created the above map to show details about this event. Below are links to related news articles:

Frantzis, Dominic (2014, July 25). Previously uncontacted Peruvian Indians ‘could carry flu back to tribe’. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/peru/10991921/Previously-uncontacted-Peruvian-Indians-could-carry-flu-back-to-tribe.html

Ribeiro, Veriana (2014, July 29).Vídeo mostra momento de contato com índios isolados no Acre. Globo.com. Retrieved from http://g1.globo.com/ac/acre/noticia/2014/07/video-mostra-momento-de-contato-com-indios-isolados-no-acre.html

Contato de índios isolados alerta para necessidade de planos de contigência de atenção à saúde. Instituto Socioambiental. Retrieved from http://www.socioambiental.org/pt-br/noticias-socioambientais/contato-de-indios-isolados-alerta-para-necessidade-de-planos-de-contigencia-de-atencao-a-saude

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