2020 fires endangering uncontacted Amazon Indigenous groups

Amazon fires are burning this year within the protected lands inhabited by isolated uncontacted Indigenous peoples. The fires, largely illegal and intentionally set by land grabbers, ranchers and farmers, are often utilized as a deforestation tool — clearing land for timber, beef and soy production. The fires can deprive these forest peoples of their homes and subsistence livelihoods, forcing them off their ancestral lands. Uncontacted Indigenous groups, which may be more accurately described as “Indigenous people in voluntary isolation” still exist in all nine of Amazonia’s countries, but are most concentrated in Brazil, where at least one hundred Indigenous groups are known to live with no regular outside contact. An ‘uncontacted’ tribe in the Brazilian Amazon photographed in 2011. These groups may be more accurately described as “in voluntary isolation.” Some are known to have historically traded with other Indigenous groups, explaining their possession of metal tools.  © Gleison Miranda/FUNAI. Map showing the general areas of uncontacted tribes in South America. Screenshot from Uncontactedtribes.org. Imagery ©2020 NASA/TerraMetrics. According to Survival International’s (Survival) senior researcher Sarah Shenker, Survival has been receiving reports of fires from contacted Indigenous people in territories neighboring these uncontacted groups. “We get updates regularly from [contacted] Indigenous people by WhatsApp and other means,” Shenker said. “They’re telling us about the fires, where the fires are, how bad they are, and whether or not they’ve managed to put them out.” Survival can verify these alerts using apps that draw upon satellite data from Brazil’s National Space Agency (INPE) and…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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