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The Indy Eye: The Awá: Earth’s Most Threatened Tribe

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The Awá of Brazil’s eastern Amazon are considered by Survival International, a human rights organisation which campaigns for the rights of indigenous tribal peoples, to be the world’s most threatened tribe. Despite their land being demarcated in 2003, hundreds of members of the tribe have been killed, either by disease or by settlers, and only around 350 Awá remain, 100 of whom have no contact with the outside world.

However, in a victory for campaigners, last month a government operation began to evict illegal settlers, ranchers, and loggers from the land of the Awá. Soldiers, field workers from Brazil’s indigenous affairs department FUNAI, environment ministry special agents, and police officers were dispatched in the operation, that comes at a crucial time, as loggers are said to have been closing in on the tribe, and more than 30% of their forest has already been destroyed.

To find out more about the Awá, or to make a donation to help Survival International’s Awá campaign, please visit Survival’s Awá page.

 

Amerintxia is probably the oldest Awá. She lives on her own in a small palm shelter along with her many pets. She still gathers her own food in forest. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

Amerintxia is probably the oldest Awá. She lives on her own in a small palm shelter along with her many pets. She still gathers her own food in forest. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

 

Amererintxia sits with one of her pet monkeys in a hammock, which the Awá make from palm tree fibres. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

Amererintxia sits with one of her pet monkeys in a hammock, which the Awá make from palm tree fibres. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

 

The Awá have a very close relationship with animals, especially monkeys. Orphaned baby monkeys are adopted – Awá women care for them as pets, including suckling them. They are regarded as part of the family. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

The Awá have a very close relationship with animals, especially monkeys. Orphaned baby monkeys are adopted – Awá women care for them as pets, including suckling them. They are regarded as part of the family. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

 

The Awá live in extended family groups. Families go on gathering trips where everybody collect nuts and berries. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

The Awá live in extended family groups. Families go on gathering trips where everybody collects nuts and berries. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

 

A family take a break during a walk in the forest to collect açai fruits. Photo © Survival

A family take a break during a walk in the forest to collect açai fruits. Photo © Survival

 

From a young age all Awá learn how to hunt. They are extremely skilled marksmen. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

From a young age all Awá learn how to hunt. They are extremely skilled marksmen. Photo © Domenico Pugliese / Survival

 

A young man rests in the forest on a hunting expedition. Many  family groups go off on extended hunts lasting several weeks, where they sleep in palm leaf shelters in the forest and make torches out of tree resin. Photo © Survival

A young man rests in the forest on a hunting expedition. Many family groups go off on extended hunts lasting several weeks, where they sleep in palm leaf shelters in the forest and make torches out of tree resin. Photo © Survival

 

Loggers have penetrated deep into Awá territory, building a network of roads and taking out huge quantities of timber. Sawmills operate just 5kms from the border of the territory. Photo © Greenpeace / Bruno Kelly / Survival

Loggers have penetrated deep into Awá territory, building a network of roads and taking out huge quantities of timber. Sawmills operate just 5kms from the border of the territory. Photo © Greenpeace / Bruno Kelly / Survival

 

The charred remains of burned forest on Awá land, only kilometres from an Awá community. Photo © Survival

The charred remains of burned forest on Awá land, only kilometres from an Awá community. Photo © Survival

 

Takwarentxia with his pet monkey. He, his wife and baby son were contacted in 1992, far from the Awá territory. They were on the run, fleeing from gunmen who murdered some of their family group. Photo © Survival

Takwarentxia with his pet monkey. He, his wife, and baby son were contacted in 1992, far from the Awá territory. They were on the run, fleeing from gunmen who murdered some of their family group. Photo © Survival

 

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2 Responses to “The Indy Eye: The Awá: Earth’s Most Threatened Tribe”

  1. My name doesn't matter says:

    it’s disgusting that the government allows this. They should just make it a park and let them stay forever. You can’t get them back when they’re gone. You just can’t rebuild a culture like that. The idea that they are being murdered is just absolutely disgusting.

  2. My name doesn't matter says:

    Hah. I should have really read the article! Now I am happy! It’s like a wish came true!

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