Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Brazil contacts isolated Indians and reduces tension between ethnic groups in the Amazon

Brazil contacts isolated Indians and reduces tension between ethnic groups in the Amazon



An expedition led by the National Indian Foundation (Funai) came in contact with a group of 34 indigenous people who lived isolated and reduced the tension experienced in recent years between two ethnic groups that share territory in the Brazilian Amazon.

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The expedition, the largest carried out by the state company Funai in the last two decades, was aimed at pacifying the relationship between indigenous Korubo do Coari ethnic groups, in a situation of voluntary isolation, and the Matis, who have been in contact with other groups since the decade of the 70.

Both ethnic groups live in the Vale do Javari Indigenous Land, an area rich in natural resources located in the extreme west of the state of Amazonas, bordering Peru, and even came to face years ago, leaving dead.

The situation worsened in 2015, when a group of 21 indigenous Korubo broke their isolation in a forced way after being approached by the Matis while crossing the Branco River of the Vale do Javari, the region with the highest concentration of uncontacted indigenous peoples registered until the moment, with a total of 10 confirmed.

The Korubo who broke the isolation moved to live with another group of Indians of the same ethnic group, but, after four years without seeing their relatives expressed their desire to "resume ties", which was possible thanks to the expedition "meticulously planned. "

"The reunion was peaceful, the objectives were met and we informed the isolated Indians about the possibility of a conflict with the Matis group," Bruno Pereira, coordinator of the expedition led by Funai, the organization responsible for the indigenous policy in Brazil.

According to Pereira, the reunion was "extremely exciting, there was much crying, hugs, a lot of contact" as the isolated Indians thought that their loved ones had died when they disappeared in 2015.

The first contact was established on the morning of March 19, when the team located two isolated indigenous people who were hunting in the middle of the jungle, who, coincidentally, were blood brothers of a Korubo Indian who was part of the Funai expedition.

In the following days, another 32 isolated Korubo were approached, fourteen of which were between the ages of 20 and 48 years.

All the natives were subjected to clinical analysis and were in good health, except for an adult man diagnosed with malaria who accepted treatment for seven days.

After the emotional encounter, dialogues were also initiated to reduce tension and try to avoid land conflicts in the areas near the Coari river with the Matís, who are "irreducible" about their desire to live in that region, according to the specialist. He spent 27 days in the Amazon rainforest.

Funai applies the maximum of "no contact" with isolated Indians, but, according to Pereira, in extreme situations, such as the tension experienced in the Vale do Javari, one of the largest indigenous areas defined in the country, is necessary an approximation.

That is why they decided to undertake the so-called Protection and Monitoring Expedition of Isolated Indigenous Korubo of the Coari River, made up of 30 people, including doctors, officials of the Funai and Indians of the region.

All of them went through a quarantine period for 9 days before starting the mission with the aim of preventing the transmission of diseases for any of the uncontacted Indians.

The team that began the expedition will be replaced on April 7 by another group of 21 people, since, according to the Funai in a statement, "the indigenous action must be perennial."

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