Already facing extinction from illegal logging, deforestation, the invasion of oil companies and colonization, uncontacted members of the Awá tribe living for centuries on the edge Brazil’s Amazon are now facing another serious threat to their survival as uncontrollable forest fires devour thousands of acres of pre-Amazon forest in their area.
It is believed that there are less than 80 members left of the Awá, and without immediate international support to stop these fires and to control illegal logging in the Amazon, they certainly face total destruction within coming years, if not sooner, an all too predictable fate.
“Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Tribes like the Awá are being wiped out by violence from outsiders, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance. Unless their land is protected, they face catastrophe.” [Source]
In 2015, fires started by illegal loggers raged on for over two months, torching over 50% of forest cover in the territory inhabited by the Awá, and the Brazilian Environmental Ministry has stated that for 2016, new fires are ‘even worse this year.’ The area lying under immediate threat include the territories of the Araribóia in central Brazil.
Illegal logging is one of the greatest crimes against humans and nature and is tragically under-reported by Western media, because sadly, media is an ally of big business against the interests of the environment.
Very little support is given to uncontacted tribes by Amazonian regional governments and international aid organizations operating in these areas, and much of the work being done to protect the land and its people from the devastating effects of consumerism, capitalism and colonization is carried out by small groups of self-motivated and under-funded local activists.
“We are defending our territory, so that the uncontacted Awá can survive. We have managed to reduce the number of loggers on our land and we hope to force all of them out. Otherwise, the Awá could be wiped out. We just want them to be able to live in peace.” – Olimpio Guajajara, leader of the Guajajara Guardians
The current crisis should be of imminent concern for Brazil, and for the world, but all government and media attention is presently directed toward the Olympics in Rio where the city’s poor people have been swept aside to make way for the lavish and over-hyped athletic ceremonies where ridiculously expensive arenas and sports courts are being forced on taxpayers.
In addition to fires deliberately set by illegal loggers, the Amazon forest is under increasing duress as temperatures continue to rise and droughts worsen from year-to-year, which are side-effects of widespread deforestation. However, whether the conditions are directly anthropogenic in origin or even naturally occurring, the noticeable shift in global weather conditions is of little significance to the survival of regional indigenous tribes who have zero control over the policies and practices of the first world.
“This is an urgent and horrific humanitarian crisis. The Brazilian authorities know that fires are going to break out in the dry season, and that they could decimate uncontacted peoples. Brazil needs to take its eyes off the Olympics and focus proper attention on stopping the annihilation of its tribal peoples.” – Survival’s Director Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International
Read more articles by Alex Pietrowski.
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
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