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Amazon Rainforest tribe first contact with civilization sparks concern (+Video)

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An Amazon Rainforest tribe's first contact with the outside world has triggered a slew of questions and has also inspired much curiosity about the mysterious people. A July 11 report from explained that some experts now warn that the encounter with the indigenous tribe could be a dangerous development for the uncontacted people because they are said to be extremely vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold.

The Department of Indian Affairs, Government of Brazil (FUNAI) announced last week that the isolated Amazon Rainforest tribe, who had never had contact with the civilized world, had peacefully established contact with a group of government scientists. This tribe was in the state of Acre, Brazil, which is situated in the southwest of the Northern Region, bordering Amazonas to the north.

This contact was not entirely unexpected. Since early June, several inhabitants of the region told Brazilian authorities that a group of 35 Indians had attacked their crops to try and steal machetes and other tools. Given that could cause problems, a group of specialists with FUNAI, including medical staff and a Brazilian anthropologist, were dispatched to the area.

Since 1987, FUNAI has maintained a policy of non-contact with the tribes, except in cases where they felt that the survival of indigenous was in danger. The tribe's decision to make contact with the outside world makes them vulnerable because civilization can threaten the survival of indigenous people, and they may suffer from diseases in which their immune system's can't handle.

The Amazon Rainforest maintains the world's largest concentration in isolated tribes. There are at least 70 Brazilian tribes in the area, as published by FUNAI. Most of these tribes have had contact with the outside world, especially during the height of the rubber trade in Brazil in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many tribes fled to more remote parts of the Amazon and cut off all contact with the civilized world.

The priority must now reside in preventing the transmission of diseases by quarantining the area, preventing people who are at greatest risk from coming into contact with the research staff.

The fate of the tribe depends on the Brazilian government because it is now up to them to provide long-term monitoring and medical care, as well as a plot of own land to settle on. It is not yet clear what has motivated the tribe to make contact with civilization but the FUNAI team must identify the language of the tribe in order to understand its history.



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