Now what...contact or leave them alone?
"Video: Uncontacted Tribe in Brazilian Jungle"
February 4th, 2011
Video of an uncontacted tribe spotted in the Brazilian jungle has been released, bringing them to life in ways that photographs alone cannot.
The tribe, believed to be Panoa Indians, have been monitored from a distance by Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, a government agency charged with handling the nation’s indigenous communities. Many of the world’s 100 or so uncontacted tribes live in the Amazon.
Until 1987, it was government policy to contact such people. But contact is fraught with problems, especially disease; people who have stayed isolated from the mainstream world have stayed isolated from its pathogens, and have little immunity to our diseases. Brazilian government policy is now to watch from afar, and — at least in principle — to protect uncontacted tribes from intrusion.
Unfortunately, uncontacted tribes usually live in resource-rich areas threatened by logging, mining and other development. There’s often pressure on governments to turn a blind eye. Videos like this, released by tribal advocacy group Survival International and produced by the BBC’s Human Planet program, are legal proof that uncontacted tribes still exist, and deserve protection.