Isolated tribes

From the Guardian: ‘We said to them, ‘Come closer’ but they said to us, ‘Go further back”.

"First just one came out, then two, then three, four, five, six, seven, but there were more than that in total. We had a dozen machetes, a dozen knives and some axes and pots with us. We gave these to them. Not by hand, but by leaving them on the beach. We said to them, ‘Come closer’ but they didn’t want to. They said to us, ‘Go further back, further back,’ so we did."

The encounter between José, a Peruvian from the Las Piedras river area near the border with Brazil, and members of the large isolated Mashco-Piro tribe living in the deep Amazonian rainforest, took place this year and was described to the anthropologist Richard Hill, of Survival, the international campaign for tribal peoples.

Following a series of similar encounters and incidents, such as one this week when a Peruvian government team photographed a group of 21 Indians from the air, Mr Hill and other anthropologists are reassessing how many tribes there may be left who have chosen to shun the 21st century.

"Only 30 or so years ago, it was believed there were just 12," said Stephen Corry, the director of Survival. "Now we think there are 107 living in isolation. As more and more incursions are made into the forest, more and more groups are being found. The more people look, the more are being found," he said. [continue]